Here in Melbourne we are having a very cold and wet winter, compared to what we have become used to over the last decade.
Winter in Melbourne when I was growing up was often wet always chilly and more often than not grey. But in recent years during the drought Winters were cold, but very dry. Now the rain has returned with gusto and Melbourne is back to, what I always considered normal. But for many kids and teenagers, its quite alien weather.
This time of year is great for warm nights inside with a hearty meal, and a good movie or book, and thats what we have been doing plenty of, along with a bit of help from.....dare i say it..... Masterchef.
I have to admit to being quite a fan, Masterchef has got to be one of my favorite cooking shows.
My son keeps telling me I should go on, but to be honest I'm not sure if I could handle it, I do like cooking and love to create delicious meals for small or large amounts of people, but some of the things they have to do in front of a TV audience, I dont think I could. It takes a lot of resilience, skill and a bit of a thick skin to do what those amateur cooks do and for me, would maybe take the fun out of it!
So I think I'll stick to pottering around my own kitchen making bread and biscuits and cooking the odd roast or hearty soup in the winter, which i cant get sent home for, because I'm already here! I have learnt a few new tricks thanks to Masterchef and heres a recipe for slow cooked chicken with fennell which you may like to try.
4 pieces of chicken Maryland
1large fennell sliced and chopped
1 large onion
3 Star anise
1/2 a cup of dried Tarragon
2 large garlic cloves crushed
2 cups of veggie stock
3 or 4 large carrots
Tablespoon of olive oil
Splash of white wine
Place the oil onion and garlic in a heavy based oven proof dish on the stove top and brown until onions are clear and a little bit caramelised. Add Tarragon and star anise and warm then place chicken pieces in the pot and brown all over. When they are a nice golden brown ad carrots and fennel and pour veggie stock and wine over it all .keep on the heat for a further 10 minutes then put a lid on it and place in a slow still oven, about 140degrees celcius, on the middle shelf. Cook for about 6 hours. Topping up the water if needed. I didnt use the fan for this recipe as I wanted it to cook nice and slowly so the chicken fell off the bone when it was served.
I served it with rice, but mashed potatoe , or even couscous would also be really nice.
I used the leftovers for a carrot and chicken soup the next day, that was pretty good too!