Ok, I had no idea how difficult it is to cook a meal and try to take photos at the same time!
Pioneer Woman and smitten kitchen make it look so effortless. But as I found, it really isn't.
My timing was all whack because I would be trying to get that perfect shot but all the while the dish keeps on cooking. It was a juggle trying keep everything looking moderately neat and photo-worthy and not burn anything. Maybe I just need to add some photo-taking time to recipes? Or maybe it's a skill that comes with practise? Any tips from seasoned bloggers out there?
So, for my first blogtastic dish, I decided to try out a recipe from MasterChef New Zealand.
MasterChef NZ took our wee country by storm. Hundreds of thousands of Kiwis tuned in to watch our very own version of the hit overseas show.
I have to admit, I only actually watched the very first episode and the very last episodes. I'm a bit of a purist and was a big fan of the original English Masterchef so didn't really get into the NZ series so much. Sorry!
However, one dish in particular, from the first episode, caught my attention. The scene went a little something like this:
Sue Drummond, aged 61 years, approaches the podium, obviously very nervous. She places her dish on to the stand. She has made Creamy Chicken Fricassee with Orange Kumara Scones and Asparagus with Lemon Butter. One at a time, the judges taste her dish, with the background music slowly building in intensity. You could cut the tension with a knife. The three judges look at the camera intensely. Then break into smiles...they love it! They rave about it! "Can I have a hug?" Simon Gault, asks Sue. Sue is into the next round.
I was intrigued. The dish must have been amazing if it compelled Simon to hug a contestent? I had to try it.
And tonight I did. I used what I had on hand and added a few Nessie touches. I didn't have time to make my own stock or the scones but the dish was pretty delicious without them.
It was creamy and herby and rib-stickingly good. It kind of reminded me of the filling in a chicken pie but in a good way. Perfect dish for the upcoming winter nights.
Recipe is adapted from Sue Drummond's recipe.
Creamy Chicken Fricassee a la MasterChef NZ
4 chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
25 g butter
3 carrots, roughly diced
1 onion, sliced
2 leeks, sliced
1 celery stalk, roughly diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped (I used NZ garlic which is stronger than chinese bulbs so if you are using chinese garlic I 'd add a couple more cloves. You can never add too much garlic I say)
Large handful of thyme, chopped
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves chopped
1 tsp dried tarragon
25 g butter, melted
2 Tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 heaped Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp cornflour
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Brown the chicken pieces in butter in a cast iron casserole over medium to high heat.
Add the sliced carrots, leeks, onion, celery and garlic and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add thyme, rosemary and tarragon and cook for around 10 minutes.
For the sauce: in a bowl, mix melted butter, mustard, flour and cornflour to form a paste. Whisk in milk and stock.
Push the chicken and vegetables in the pot to the side and pour the sauce next to the chicken and veges. Simmer the sauce until thickened then mix altogether.
Season to taste.
Serve over rice with some fresh thyme sprinkled on top and a side salad.
Next time I think I might try putting mashed kumara or potatoes on top and bake it like a shepherd's pie.