Sunday, October 18, 2015

Favourite NZ foodie serves up another fabulous cook book

Bestselling author Chelsea Winter has done it again with this utterly gorgeous new cook book. Fans will delight in this treasure trove of recipes infused with love. It is an absolute gem.

Since her win on MasterChef Chelsea Winter has won over the hearts of the nation and her warm, fun and fresh approach to food has seen her quickly become a household name in New Zealand.
Homemade Happiness is the book that her fans have all been waiting for. Her previous books, At My Table and Everyday Delicious have consistently topped the bestsellers’ charts. 

When Chelsea first announced the publication of Homemade Happiness on her Facebook page she had almost 43,000 enthusiastic comments

Good food is Chelsea’s passion, and creating recipes for home cooks is what she most enjoys doing. ‘I hope you’ll feel as inspired cooking from Homemade Happiness as I have when creating the recipes for you. I love them, I know they work and that they’re achievable for cooks of all levels,’ she says.  
‘If you want a happy, healthy relationship with food, I reckon the simple act of preparing a home-cooked meal is a great place to start. When you eat homemade food using quality ingredients you know exactly what’s gone in, and you know that it’s real. So what if it’s got a little cream or bacon or sugar in it every now and then? As long as you keep active and eat a balanced diet, I figure it’s all good. Good homemade food is the key; it has the power to make people happy.

Homemade Happiness is packed with delicious recipes that use everyday ingredients to create special meals the whole family will love. Included are dinners, lighter meals, irresistible tasty treats and kids snacks. I have made two of them already and I have only had the book two days !

With beautiful photographs from Tam West, this is a book you will certainly want to have in your collection. It is real, tasty, honest food served generously.

The publishers have kindly agreed to let me reproduce one of the recipes I have already used,  - Chicken Fettucine.(right - photo Tam West), the other one already made is Bubbling Smoked Fish & Kumara Bake. I warmly recommend both dishes.

Chicken Fettuccine

Extracted from Homemade Happiness by Chelsea Winter, published by Random House NZ, RRP: $50.00. Photography by Tam West

Heaven in a bowl. The perennial favourite at every Italian-style restaurant — a gloriously creamy chicken fettuccine. I’ve certainly ordered my fair share of this dish over the years! But really, who needs to go out when you can make a cracking version at home? It’s not hard to prepare in the slightest, and I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t love it. The garlicky, creamy sauce cascading over fresh hot ribbons of fettuccine, crunchy bites of crispy bacon and tender chicken pieces are just what the doctor ordered.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

2 cups reduced-salt chicken stock
250g bacon, rind removed, chopped into pieces
600–700g boneless and skinless chicken thighs
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
25g butter
7 big cloves garlic, crushed
300g brown mushrooms, sliced
½ cup dry white wine
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
zest of 1 lemon
1½ cups cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1½ tbsp cornflour mixed with ¼ cup milk
2 cups baby spinach (or 1 cup cooked peas)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
handful fresh basil leaves, torn
cooked fettuccine or spaghetti to serve (about 500g)

Simmer the chicken stock in a small saucepan until reduced right down, so only about ½ cup liquid remains — this could take 10–15 minutes. Set aside.
Fry the bacon in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Tip the excess fat from the pan (or keep it to fry the chicken in — I do).

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil (if not using the bacon fat) in the same frying pan over a high heat, then when the pan is hot add the chicken and leave without turning until browned on one side. Turn and brown the other side, then remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
Add the butter, remaining oil and garlic to the same pan and stir over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms, wine, thyme and lemon zest, turn up the heat and let the wine bubble rapidly for 30 seconds to evaporate the alcohol.

Shred the chicken into chunks and add back to the pan with the cooked bacon, reduced chicken stock, cream, Parmesan and cornflour mixture. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through. Add the spinach and cook another couple of minutes until just wilted. Season to taste with salt, if needed, and pepper, and stir through the parsley and basil.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, according to packet directions (or until al dente). Toss the chicken mixture through the drained pasta, with extra Parmesan and herbs if you like.

Chelsea’s tips

·         Add ¼ cup pasta cooking water to the sauce in the last few minutes of cooking to help the sauce stick to the pasta.
·         If you don’t want to use wine, try a splash of white wine vinegar or lemon juice — you won’t need to simmer to evaporate the alcohol, though.

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