Roast tomato and capsicum sauce


Photos by Gary Corbett

“I love recipes that you can cook in bulk, freeze then whip out for a quick mid-week meal. I always have containers of Bolognese, chilli con carne and pesto in my freezer and also this super easy roast tomato and capsicum sauce.  It all bakes in one tray then gets blitzed up for later use.  I’ve also included a few recipes I make using the sauce. Enjoy”

Sauce ingredients

  • 6 capsicums
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 3 red onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • White sugar
Sauce method
  1. Halve and de-seed 6 capsicums and put them in a deep baking dish.
  2. Halve and core 6 tomatoes and put them inside the capsicums.
  3. Quarter 3 red onions and sprinkle them between tomatoes and capsicums.
  4. Peel 6 cloves of garlic and throw them in the pan.
  5. Douse in olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Cover in foil.
  7. Bake in a 180c oven for an hour.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan with the foil on.
  9. Depending on the strength of your food processor you can remove the skins from the tomatoes and capsicums. I have a Thermomix so this isn’t needed. Place in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
  10. Pour into a saucepan and heat on low. Add Balsamic and white sugar to taste.
  11. Pour into containers and store in the freezer.
Recipe for soup
  1. Heat up a few cups of soup with some veggie or chicken stock and stir until smooth
  2. Blitz some pine nuts, lemon zest and fresh basil to make a gremolata.
  3. Serve the soup with a spoonful of sour cream, some gremolata and toasted sourdough
Recipe for pasta sauce
  1. Chop an eggplant into 1cm cubes, douse in olive oil and salt and bake in a 180c oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Fry some chopped onions and mushrooms in a pan until soft. Add a few cups of sauce and the roasted eggplant.
  3. Stir in some fresh basil.
  4. Serve with pasta and Parmesan cheese.
Recipe for baked chicken (for 2 people)
  1. Pour some sauce in a small baking dish and add 2 whole chicken breasts. Cover with more sauce.
  2. Cover dish with foil and bake in a 200c oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Blitz some bread with herbs and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and take off the foil.
  5. Cover with your breadcrumb mix and bake for another 5-10 minutes uncovered.
  6. Serve with quinoa, roasted potatoes and green veggies.

 

Parma burgers

Photo by Gary Corbett

“With all the catering I do I’ve become used to doing alternative meals for vegetarians and vegans. Sometimes it’s great to have a recipe up your sleeve that can suit almost anyone.  These Parma burgers are great for feeding a crowd or just a fussy family.  Personally I love the mushroom Parma best but my husband loves the chicken version, so everyone’s happy. The sides of sweet potato fries and tangy coleslaw are also super easy to assemble and a healthy alternative to the store-bought varieties. I haven’t given weight amounts for the ingredients but it’s pretty easy to work out how much you need per person. Enjoy!

You can find the video on my Musical Menus YouTube page.

https://youtu.be/Yt6WdtVEFkU

Sweet potato fries ingredients

  • Sweet potato
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
Method
  1. Cut the sweet potato into chunks.
  2. Sprinkle olive oil and salt over the top.
  3. Bake in a 200c oven for 30 minutes or until just starting to brown on the edges.

 Burger ingredients

  • Mushrooms
  • Chicken thighs
  • Plain flour
  • Eggs
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Chunky tomato pasta sauce
  • Pizza cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Gouda cheese slices
  • Brioche buns
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Pickles
Method
  1. Get three bowls ready and fill with some plain flour, beaten eggs and Panko bread crumbs.
  2. Remove the stalk from the mushroom and dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Next dip in the eaten eggs and finally in the Panko bread crumbs. Place on the plate and finish the remaining mushrooms. Refrigerate.
  3. Repeat the process with the chicken thighs. Refrigerate.
  4. Heat some oil in a fry pan and cook the mushrooms for a couple of minutes on each side or until the crumbs have gone golden. Place on a baking tray.
  5. Repeat with the chicken.
  6. Top with some chunky tomato pasta sauce, some pizza cheese and some parmesan.
  7. Bake in a 180c oven for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Tangy coleslaw ingredients
  • White cabbage (or a combination or white and red cabbage)
  • Snow peas
  • Red onion
  • Grated carrot
  • Dried apricots
  • Cashews
  • Vietnamese dipping sauce or tangy dressing
Method
  1. Finely cut the cabbage, snow peas and red onion.
  2. Grate the carrot and dice the apricots and cashews.
  3. Mix in a bowl and add the dressing.
Putting it together
  1. Put a slice of Gouda on the bottom half of the brioche buns and warm in the oven for 5 minutes.
  2. Once they’re ready top with some sliced tomato a lettuce leaf, the chicken or mushroom Parma and some sliced gherkins.
  3. Put the top half of the brioche on the burger and hold together with a wooden skewer.
  4. Serve with the sweet potato fries and coleslaw. Enjoy.

Marian’s Moroccan Chicken

“I’ve got to thank my friend Marian for this recipe.  She made it for me years ago and ever since I’ve had it on my stand-by list for quick and easy dinners.  It even features on my Moroccan catering menu alongside slow-cooked beef with dates and orange almond cake.  The best thing about this dish is the combination of flavours and textures.  You get the sweet and sour tang from the vinegar and sugar and the caramelised goodness of the chicken with the salty hit from the capers and the olives.  Whoops, just drooled on the keyboard thinking about it!  Of course as an avid cook I couldn’t quite leave the recipe alone so I’ve tweaked it ever so slightly (Sorry Marian!).  You may also notice that this recipe feeds quite a few (Christmas party catering!) so just cut the ingredients in half if you want, or make huge amounts and eat as leftovers.  I’ve paired it with a roast pumpkin cous cous salad.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 2kg chicken thighs
  • 500g mushrooms
  • 1 red onion
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 400g pitted prunes
  • 400g dried apricots
  • 300g pitted olives
  • 150g capers
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups light olive oil
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 tbsn dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Quarter the chicken thighs and mushrooms and place in a large container.
  2. Finely slice the onion into rings and slice the garlic.  Add to the chicken.
  3. Add the prunes, apricots, olives, capers and bay leaves.
  4. Combine the vinegars, oil and wine with the sugar and stir into the chicken mixture.
  5. Finally add the oregano, salt and pepper and refrigerate covered for 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Place mixture in an baking dish and cook at 200 degrees c for 40-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.  Don’t worry if some of the fruit and chicken caramelises (burns!) during the cooking process, this adds to the flavour.

Roast pumpkin and cous cous salad

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pumpkin
  • 2 tbsn ras e hanout (Moroccan spice)
  • 1 cup cous cous
  • 1/2 cup currents
  • 150g pine nuts
  • 1 red onion
  • Fresh coriander
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Cut the pumpkin into 1cm cubes. Coat in olive oil and Ras e hanout and bake in a moderate oven until cooked.  Allow to cool.
  2. Place cous cous in a sealed container and cover with boiling water.  Place the lid on and let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir with a fork to separate the grains.
  4. In a dry pan roast the pine nuts until they start to turn golden then put in a bowl.
  5. Finely dice the red onion and coriander and add to the cous cous with the other ingredients.
  6. Top with roast pumpkin and some more coriander.

 

Hummus Chicken

“After a weekend of catering three different events with three completely different and rather complicated menus I thought it would be good to post my favourite simple stand-by recipe.  I came up with this recipe years ago when I started making hummus from scratch (when I realised it’s so much better than the store-bought varieties!).  I needed a dish that I could prepare in the morning and throw into the oven when I got home.  It’s also really easy to modify by substituting different vegetables such and capsicum or eggplant.  I sometimes do it in small ramekins for a more formal occasion but usually I just bring it to the table in the baking dish and let everyone dig in!  It may not look pretty but the flavours are sensational!  Enjoy!”

Hummus Ingredients

  • 2 x 400g tins of chick peas
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 tbsp tahini paste
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup light olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat a small fry pan and add cumin seeds, stirring until they become fragrant.  Grind with a mortar and pestle until reduced to a powder.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Add a small amount of water if it’s too thick and season to taste.

Hummus chicken ingredients

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 6 medium mushrooms
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 quantity of hummus
  • 850g chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Prepare all your ingredients.  Finely slice potatoes (I use a mandolin on the thinnest setting).  Slice onion into rings. Slice mushrooms.  Slice zucchini lengthwise into 4mm strips.  Cut chicken thighs into quarters.
  2. Grease a baking dish and put a layer of potato and red onion at the bottom.
  3. Follow this with a layer of mushrooms and cover with the zucchini.
  4. Spread some of the hummus (about a cup) over the zucchini in an even layer.
  5. Spread the chicken on top and cover with another layer of hummus.
  6. Finish with a layer of potato, season with salt and pepper and some Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees c for 45-60 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the topping is golden.
  8. Serve with a green salad, crusty bread to soak up the sauce and vegetables.

 

 

Healthy Stuffed Chicken Breast

“As part of my push to lose weight and get fit and healthy I’ve been redesigning some of my favourite recipes with less fattening ingredients.  Obviously I want to do this without losing the flavour hit that comes with high fat foods and cooking techniques so I can confuse my taste-buds into thinking they’re still being spoilt.   I have a recipe from my classical music range called “Nutcracker Chicken”.  It consists of a chicken breast that’s been filled with a combination of goats cheese, blue vein and pistachios, coated in macadamia and panko crumbs, then fried and baked.  I serve it with roast capsicum sauce, roast potatoes, asparagus spears and honeyed pine nuts.  YUM!  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!  …but for now here is a much healthier alternative that packs a huge amount of flavour in the sauce and chicken filling.  Enjoy!”

Stuffed chicken breast ingredients

  • 1 leek
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 8 mushrooms
  • 150g sun-dried tomatoes
  • Splash of white wine
  • zest and juice from half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 12 slices of prosciutto
  1. Clean the leek then quarter and dice.  Add to the pan with a small amount of olive oil.  Cook until leeks have softened slightly.
  2. Finely dice the garlic and add to the pan for a few minutes.
  3. Dice the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and add to the pan with the white wine.
  4. When liquid has reduced to almost nothing remove from the heat and stir in the pine nuts and diced basil.  Set aside to cool.
  5. Cut a cavity in the chicken breast and put stuffing inside.
  6. Wrap 2 slices of prosciutto around chicken to keep the stuffing in and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  7. Heat a small amount of light olive oil in a pan and on medium heat cook the chicken on each side until prosciutto has cooked (about 1 minute per side)
  8. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees c or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Roast Tomato and Capsicum Sauce

  • 2 red capsicums
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • Light olive oli
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 tbsp kecap manis
  1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove stem end.
  2. Cut capsicums into quarters and remove stem ends and seeds.
  3. Peel and quarter onion.
  4. Place all in a roasting dish and drizzle with light olive oil and some salt
  5. Roast for 30 minutes in a 220 degree c oven or until capsicum skins start to blacken.
  6. Let cool slightly and transfer to a blender adding the kecap manis.  Don’t throw out any of the remaining juices from the pan as you will use them later!
  7. Blend on high until smooth.  Season to taste. (If you want a smoother sauce pass the mixture through a drum sieve)

Vegetables

  • 4 carrots
  • 12 asparagus spears
  1. Peel and cut carrots into battens and transfer to the roasting dish you cooked the tomatoes in and coat with the juices.  Add a little more olive oil and salt in needed.
  2. Bake in a 200 degree c oven for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Cut asparagus into thirds and steam until cooked.

Plating up the dish

  1. Gently reheat the sauce and put a generous smear on the plate.
  2. Cut the chicken breast into 3 rounds and lay onto of the sauce (You can save the off-cuts for lunch tomorrow!)
  3. Put a pile of asparagus and carrots on the plate and garnish with 2 basil leaves.

 

Chicken and Leek Pies

“This is my partner’s favourite item off my catering menu.  For most events I make a huge batch of them and they fly off the plate.  I also do different fillings including Moroccan Lamb, Massaman Beef Curry and Mushroom for my vegetarian clients.  Having a pie maker makes life much easier as long as I can stop people from eating them before they make it to the venue.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 2 large leeks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 500g chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups diced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 100g Parmesan cheese
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsn plain flour
  • 3 sheets short crust pastry
  • 3 sheets puff pastry (egg wash optional)

Method

  1. Rinse and dice leeks, dice garlic and fry in a pan with olive oil until soft.
  2. Add diced chicken thighs and simmer until meat is cooked through.
  3. De-glaze with white wine and add diced mushrooms.
  4. When wine has been cooked off add stock, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice and simmer for 15 minutes.  Season to taste.
  5. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to incorporate.  Let mixture cool completely.
  6. If using a pie maker cut round out of the shortcrust pastry for the base and puff pastry for the tops.  Spoon filling in and cook to manufacturers instructions (usually about 7 minutes)
  7. If cooking in the oven line the base of a pie tin with short crust pastry, spoon filling in and top with puff pastry.  Brush egg wash over the top and cook until pie is golden brown.

Mexican Mole Sauce


“As part of my catering menu I have a Mexican BBQ inspired by Aaron Copland’s symphonic work El Salon Mexico featuring chicken in a Mole Sauce.  This traditional Mexican sauce contains about 20 ingredients and usually includes such things as smoked chillies, capsicum, tomato, peanuts, chocolate and even grated avocado seed.  My recipe takes most of its ingredients from the grocer and pantry so you shouldn’t have too much trouble sourcing them.  If you can’t get smoked or dried chillies, fresh ones will suffice.  To serve I usually barbeque chicken thighs then combine them with the sauce in a pot and serve hot with tortillas, corn salads, guacamole, sour cream and salad veggies. This recipe makes quite a large volume of sauce but it freezes really well so you can spice up your dinner whenever you want.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 4 red onions
  • 4 capsicums
  • 8 tomatoes
  • 5 dried chillies
  • 5 smoked chillies
  • 10 red chillies
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp diced coriander root
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 tsp chilli powder
  • 8 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tsp cloves
  • 4 tbsn sesame seeds
  • 4 oranges
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 8 tbsn peanut butter
  • 4 cups dark beer
  • 8 tbsn dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 100g dark chocolate

Method

  1. Peel and quarter onions, quarter tomatoes and de-seed and quarter capsicums and bake in a 220 degree oven for 45 minutes or until capsicums are soft.
  2. Process onions, capsicums and tomatoes until smooth and put into a large stock pot.
  3. De-seed and chop chillies and fry until fragrant with garlic and coriander root.  Pound with a mortar and pestle until broken down.  Add to stock pot.
  4. Dry fry or roast the almonds until lightly coloured.  Add to stock pot.
  5. Dry-fry chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves until fragrant.  Add to stock pot.
  6. Juice 4 oranges and grate the rind from 2. Add to stock pot.
  7. Add all the remaining ingredients except the dark chocolate to the stock pot and bring to the boil.  Turn down and simmer for an hour stirring occasionally.
  8. Let the mixture cool slightly then process in batches in a food processor.
  9. Bring back to a simmer and add the chopped chocolate.  (For a smoother sauce pass mixture through a drum sieve.)
  10. Serve with cooked chicken or turkey.