Month: June 2011 (page 2 of 5)

RunningBlog: Week 25

Week 25
Easing back into everything this week. Work, exercise, all of it. Some things are easier than others. My diet and sleep are still messed up, and I’m having trouble finding the willpower to get back to my low-carb diet and proper bedtimes. My running buddies think I need to cut myself some slack, given that – HELLO – I ran a marathon less than a fortnight ago. I just think I could do a little better. My workouts have been really good though. The Snook and I went for a short run Sunday, then I had a (hard) Spudds class Monday night. Tuesday was another run at lunchtime. Wednesday was Spudds again. For my last run of the week today, I did some hill repeats on Cathedral Street with a friend. YOWCH. I got that painful (but also good) burn down way down in my chest that you only get from wheezing up a hill in cold weather…

June 19: 4.08km
June 21: 5.63km
June 24: 5.43km
Total this week: 15.14km (9.4mi)
Total in 2011: 644.88km (403mi)

To meet my goal of running 1200km in 2011, I should be at 576.9km. Yep, still got a nice cushion.

I have to give a shout-out to the Snook too, who is gamely joining me in training for the Blackmore’s Half-Marathon. He even did some mid-week workouts by himself! Kickass.

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Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals #19: Chicken Skewers

Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals #19: Chicken Skewers
This is our 19th cooking/blogging experiment from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. For this one, we chose “Chicken Skewers, Amazing Satay Sauce, Fiery Noodle Salad, Fruit & Mint Sugar.” We picked it because we already had some rice noodles to use up, and we had that particular episode recorded. This week it was my turn to cook, so the Snook was on camera and cookbook duty. There wasn’t a lot of active cooking in this one; it was mostly making sauces and assembly. I managed it in a respectable 34:48, and I think I could shave a little more off that next time!

Chicken Skewers, Amazing Satay Sauce, Fiery Noodle Salad, Fruit & Mint Sugar

Substitutions: Our chicken breasts were a bit bigger than the ones Jamie suggests. We used metal skewers instead of wooden ones. We used rice noodles for the salad instead of egg noodles. For the dessert, we used canned pineapple instead of fresh along with strawberries and plain yogurt (rather than coconut yogurt).

Quick verdict: Very tasty! If you like lime, chilli, and coriander, this is the meal for you. Luckily those are some of my favourite things, so I loved this one. The satay sauce really was amazing, and I actually wished I’d held more back to eat on its own (rather than smother it on the chicken). The Snook thought the noodles needed something “more” (like sweetness or salt) but I thought they were fine. (He’s not a big fan of cold noodle salads though.) I was dubious about the lettuce and “garnishes” at first, but I think they gave some welcome crunch. The mint sugar was really good and definitely transformed some simple fruit into something special. Overall I rated it a 9 out of 10, while the Snook went with 8.5. Read on for a photo essay of the preparation!Pre-start prep: We got out all the necessary ingredients, tools, and cooking vessels. The kitchen was clean (well, as clean as it gets) and everything wiped down and ready to go. The food processor was prepped with the standard blade attachment. The kettle was boiled and the grill was turned on full whack. We had a baking tray for the chicken, a saucepan for the noodles, and a frying pan for the nuts. You’ll also need a number of serving bowls and platters, as well as a separate cutting board for the chicken.

First up are the ingredients for the satay sauce: coriander, chilli, garlic, crunch peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, and limes.

Ingredients for satay sauce

Next up is the chicken breasts, along with honey and olive oil for drizzling.

Ingredients for chicken skewers

Ingredients for the noodle salad: rice noodles, cashews, red onion, chilli, coriander, soy sauce, lime, sesame oil, fish sauce, honey. We also have baby lettuce, coriander, chilli, soy sauce, and lime for the garnishes.

Noodles and garnish ingredients

Lastly, the ingredients for the dessert: pineapple, strawberries, mint, sugar, lime, and yogurt.

Dessert ingredients

Pots and pans, ready to go! The baking tray with the skewers is for the chicken. The saucepan is for the noodles, and the frying pan is for the cashews.

Pots and pans

Here we go! I started preparing the satay sauce. Here I’ve combined coriander, garlic, and peanut butter in the food processor.

Starting the satay sauce

I also added a red chilli and some ginger, which I peeled.

Peeling ginger

Next I grated in the zest of two limes…

Zesting limes

…before adding the juice of one of them.

Juicing lime

Time to whiz!

Whizzing the sauce

I had to add a few lugs of water to get it to the right consistency.

Whizzed satay sauce

I put half of the satay sauce on the baking tray for the chicken. (Actually, this probably more than half. I wish I’d held back more!)

Readying sauce for the chicken

The remainder of the sauce went into a bowl with some olive oil, to be eaten straight as part of the meal.

Finished sauce

Time to make the skewers! I lined up the four breasts as Jamie instructed and then ran them through with my metal skewers.


Then I used my knife to trim up the sides and then slice down between to make the kebabs.

Cutting the skewers

I stuck all the extra trimmed bits on the end of the skewers. Then I used my knife to “chop” all around the chicken to provide extra surface area. (He does this on the episode.)

Chopping the chicken

I placed the skewers on the tray of sauce and rubbed them all over to coat.

Coating the skewers

A little bit of salt and olive oil was added as the final step.

Drizzling with oil

The skewers went into the oven with a timer on 8 minutes!

Into the oven

Now for the garnishes. I removed the base from the lettuce and then clicked all the leaves off into my salad spinner. Then I washed and spun them dry.

Lettuce leaves

Time to start my noodles! I placed my rice noodles in the saucepan and then poured boiling water from the kettle over them.

Softening the noodles

Next my cashew nuts went into the frying pan to toast. I didn’t bother bashing them up, as Jamie left them whole on the episode. I also added a little olive oil, as he did. (This is a step where I lost a few minutes due to the pan being cold. Next time I’ll turn it on from the start so it’s hot.)

Toasting the cashews

Next I started work on the dressing for the noodles. I put half a red onion, a chilli, and a bunch of coriander stalks into the food processor.

Prepping the noodle dressing

The book tells you to whizz the aromatics, then add the liquids in the serving bowl. But in the episode, Jamie did it all in one step in the food processor. So that’s what I did. I added soy sauce, olive oil, lime juice, sesame oil, and fish sauce to the mix.

Juicing a lime

Once whizzed, the resulting sauce was poured into the serving bowl to await the noodles.

Finished noodle dressing

Time to flip the chicken! This is how it looked when it came out. It was cooking nicely.

Half-done chicken

I flipped each skewer over and then drizzled them with honey before placing them back under the grill.

Drizzling with honey

The noodles were softened, so I drained them before rinsing them in cold water, draining again, and adding to the bowl.

Noodles added

My cashews still weren’t ready, so I began prepping the dessert by scattering pineapple and strawberries over my platter.

Prepping the fruit

Once the cashews finally started toasting, I added some honey and some sesame seeds. (He used the sesame seeds on the show but not in the book.)

Adding honey and sesame seeds

Back to dessert. I began pounding up some mint in the mortar and pestle.

Pounding mint

I added some sugar for abrasiveness, then added more to soak up the moisture that came out of the mint.

Mint sugar

Finally the nuts were done, so I added them to the noodle salad along with a handful of coriander leaves.

Adding the nuts

To complete the salad, I simply tossed everything together as best I could.

Tossing the salad

The finished salad, with a little extra coriander and chilli to “tell the story” on top.

Finished noodle salad

To finish the dessert, I scattered mint sugar over the fruit and added a dollop of yogurt and a lime wedge to the platter.

Finished dessert

Here is the completed garnish bowl of lettuce, coriander, chilli, and lime.

Finished garnishes

And lastly, the chicken! We let it go a little longer than 8 minutes on the second side to try to get some caramelisation happening. (I think maybe next time I’ll move the shelf closer to the grill, which might shave off another minute or two.)

Finished chicken

And here is the completed meal of chicken skewers with amazing satay sauce, noodle salad, and garnishes!

Finished meal

Tasting notes: We had been worried the chicken wouldn’t cook through, but it was fine. If anything, it was maybe a little overdone in the middle! Next time we’ll move it closer to the grill for less time. I liked the cold noodle salad, but the Snook found it lacked something to balance out the chilli and lime. He added some more soy sauce to his and seemed to like that. (He also liked the leftovers more the next day, so perhaps the flavours had sucked into the noodles more at that point.) I thought the honey cashews added some nice sweetness and crunch. The satay sauce itself was fantastic, and eating a chunk of chicken in a lettuce cup with some sauce was really, really good. The dessert was better than I expected, considering it was pretty much just some fruit! But the mint sugar really added something, and we polished off the whole plate pretty quickly. Overall this is a quick, fresh, and zingy meal for those of us addicted to lime and coriander! I rated it a 9 out of 10, while the Snook gave it an 8.5. Next time I’ll make double the satay sauce, I think…

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Nutter Butter Brownies

Nutter Butter Brownies with Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache. Oh. My God. *drool*

My Daguerreotype Boyfriend

My Daguerreotype Boyfriend – where early photography meets extreme hotness. I predict some of my friends are gonna be ALL OVER THIS. (Link courtesy of MetaFilter, where the ‘shopped version of Teddy Roosevelt as Wolverine made me laugh and laugh.)