Friday, June 29, 2012

All-in-one Thai Curry Chicken and Coconut Rice

I made this all-in-one Thai Curry Chicken and Coconut Rice last night and it was absolutely delicious - a real hit with the whole family. I use my own homemade Thermomix red curry paste (which I store in the freezer), but any mild red curry paste is suitable. I've used Valcom brand before when I run out of my own, and it is very yummy, too.

This recipe does take nearly an hour in the oven, but there is less than 10 minutes hands on time; just prep, bung it in the oven and virtually forget about it! Also, I marinate my chicken from the morning, but it still tastes great even if you don't.

All-in-one Thai Curry Chicken and Coconut Rice

Serves 4-6

500g (1 lb) skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 cups long grain rice
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 cup pineapple chunks (I use fresh, but canned is fine)
2 red capsicums, chopped
1 small can (200g) baby corn bits
400 ml can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup frozen peas

  1. Combine chicken and curry paste in a glass bowl (or ziploc bag) and stir until well coated. Marinate in fridge if possible.
  2. Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F.
  3. Place rice in 8 cup baking dish. 
  4. Top with onion, pineapple and capsicum.
  5. Mix coconut milk and boiling water in a jug, then pour over rice and veggies.
  6. Spread marinated chicken in a single layer over the top. Cover with tight fitting lid or foil.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Uncover and bake for 45 minutes more, until chicken in cooked through and rice is tender.
  9. Remove from oven, sprinkle with frozen peas and cover with lid (or foil) for 5 minutes until peas are warmed through.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

50 Classics For Your Closet Part 5: Tops

Last week I looked at the first six recommended tops in the 50 Classics For Your Closet list from Matchbook, so today we'll look at the final six tops. We've also covered footwear,  accessories, and baubles so make sure you check those out as well, if you haven't already.


  1. Tunic
  2. Silk blouse
  3. Polo shirt
  4. Long wrap cardigan
  5. Dressy tank
  6. Silk camisole

A tunic is a wonderful item for any wardrobe, and when well fitting, will suit almost all figures, from a Liz Hurley-type (hey, she practically based her whole fashion line around them!) through to the Rubenesque. I love them with a crisp pair of white jeans, or as a swimsuit coverup, and in fact, a bright tunic is always on my must-have list when packing for a summer vacation. The Tory Burch versions, like the one above, are classics for a reason. They are beautiful quality, and the fit and shape are impeccable. They are also very expensive! Instead, I look for more affordable options that will give the same effect. Fit is probably the most important thing to keep in mind. Too loose and it will make you look much larger than you really are. Too tight and you lose the breezy appeal. Fabric choice is important, too. Silk looks beautiful, but if it is remotely warm, you will find it sticking and it will show every last drop of sweat! For cooler weather, or cooler summer evenings, though, silk is beautiful. My fabric of choice, though, is a semi-sheer cotton voile. It's light, cool and is perfect even when it is hot.  Mine are all from Athleta and have been collected over the last few years; I haven't seen any this year, but hopefully they will come back when the weather warms up.

Like the cashmere items in the last post, the silk blouse is an item I have modified to suit my circumstances. I love the idea, but as a plus-sized gal, I have never, ever seen a silk blouse in my size. Instead, I've taken what I like about the concept - the retro, feminine appeal - and found something that gives me that effect. The top I am wearing above is from ASOS and is polyester, not silk, but it totally ticks all the boxes I am after.  I am not sure this item belongs in a list of classics. Versions of it come in and out of fashion; blouses like the one I'm wearing are fashionable right now, but in a few years time, it will probably look dated, just like they did just a few years ago.

The polo shirt is definitely a classic, and brands like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger have built brands based almost singlehandly around the prep appeal of the polo. I love this look so much that it is truly heartbreaking that it looks so ridiculous on me. It's also an item that can go horribly wrong and veer directly from the cool looks in the ad campaigns to stereotypical frumpy soccer mum. If you are going to partake, then go for fitted rather than boxy, and if you are busty, you have been warned!

I tend not to wear my long wrap cardigan with its belt, wearing it more like a waterfall cardigan. It's a great addition to any wardrobe, IMO, adding a relaxed and yet still elegant touch. I have a number of them, in different fabrics, from ultra casual striped jersey to more sophisticated wool and angora. Jersey versions make a great addition to your lounge wear as well; isn't one of these cardigans on top of your (nice) pyjamas when lounging around in the evening better than a chenille robe? It's certainly sexier!

When I was pre-children, and a number of kilos lighter, dressy tanks took up quite a large percentage of my wardrobe. I found them quite indispensable; great with a pair of jeans for a casual party, easily dressed up with a pair of black pants for something more formal. Now, I have just one, and it only barely qualifies, so I think this has just been added to my wardrobe wish list! They can really be a versatile addition to your wardrobe because they can cover so many bases. So what makes a dressy tank? Usually its the fabric or the embellishment. Often, they are silk, or beaded, or both. I love the one above from Talbots.  The silky fabric, the retro neckline and the print would look great with so many things. I can imagine it with a fuller skirt for retro lady-like appeal, or dark rinse skinnies and sky high heels for a more modern take.

I can honestly say that I have absolutely no need for a silk camisole (and I don't own one), but it is definitely something that I would love to own one day. A delicate latte silk, with a touch of lace - what could be more sensual? Do you need a silk cami? Of course not! My microfibre ones do a great job of creating a smooth line under sheer tops, or covering up excess cleavage. But one day...I'll want to upgrade to silk!

Stay tuned for part 6, where I'll cover Matchbook's 4 classic pants for your closet.

Linking to:

Momma Go Round

Monday Mingle

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Apple Poffertjes (Dutch Pancakes)

These Apple Poffertjes are so easy to make, and so easy to eat!!  I used my Thermomix and an electric Dutch Pancake maker (which you can see in the left of the picture), but if you don't have these, they would be easy to mix by hand and then fry in a frypan like little pikelets. These are also great the next day, but will deflate a little bit.

Apple Poffertjes

2 small apples (cored and cut in quarters) - I used Galas, and left the skin on but peel if you like;
250g milk (1 cup)
2 eggs
50g rapadura
50g rice bran oil (or other neutral flavoured oil)
1 tbs dried yeast (2 sachets or 14g)
150g flour
150g wholemeal flour

  • Place apples in mixing bowl of Thermomix and chop for 3 sec/speed 4.
  • Scrape into a medium sized bowl
  • Add remaining ingredients to mixing bowl and knead for 2 mins.
  • Add chopped apples back into mixing bowl and knead for 1 mins.
  • Leave to prove and rise for 20 mins.
  • Preheat Pancake maker then make according to pancake maker instructions. For mine, I use about heaped tablespoon of batter, and cook for a couple of minutes on each size.
To make by hand, grate apples coarsely. Mix remaining ingredients together with a wooden spoon, or with the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Stir in apple, then follow rest of Thermomix instructions. 

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