Friday 24 March 2023

Chicken (Wings) With Orange Peel - À La Maggie Beer

Maggie says wings; I say thighs.  I like a bit of meat on my bones!  This recipe is from her book Harvest (our March Cookbook Club choice) which covers food for the four seasons.  Maggie is a well-loved icon of the Australian food scene.  There's been some tragedy in her life, as her daughter Saskia, who was a specialist poultry and pig supplier, died in her sleep when she was in her mid-40s, of no known cause.

It's interesting to see how food changes over the years.  This book was published about 20 years ago, and I think it's showing its age somewhat.  There has been some robust discussion in the Club as to her methods and recipes.  I've adapted this one a bit, and others have mentioned having to change up the recipes they've made, too.  

And oddly, I have found her recipes a bit lacking in flavour, which is why I added extra ingredients.  Same with the other dish of hers I've made for Cookbook Club.  Strangely bland food!  Then again, she doesn't like chilli or a lot of spices, as per the TV show she did with a local chef :=)  He was forever cutting out the chillies so Maggie could taste the food.

the next night!

Serves 6:


2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns

peel of 2 oranges

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3-4 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated

3 French/golden shallots, finely chopped

2 Tbs Tamari or soy sauce (gluten-free)

20 mL/0.67 oz peanut oil (or vegetable oil of your choice) - see Notes

20 mL/0.67 oz sesame oil  - see Notes

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

750g./26 oz chicken pieces - thighs, wings, whatever - skin-on, skin-off, boneless, with bones - you choose:  see Notes

handful of herbs for serving - I used chives and parsley

Serve with rice and/or quinoa and steamed vegetables


Firstly toast the szechuan peppercorns in a small, dry frypan - keep an eye on them as they may burn if you grab a coffee or a loo break

Maggie says to crush them using a mortar and pestle, which I did but it took forever and wasn't very efficient, so I suggest bunging them into a small food processor!

Make a marinade in a large bowl, with all the ingredients except the chicken pieces and the herbs; give it a good stir and throw in the chicken

Stir till the chicken is well-coated, cover the bowl, and into the fridge it goes for 4 hours

After the 4 hours, when you're ready to cook, either place the chicken thighs and its marinade into your pre-heated oven at 190C/375F for about 30 minutes, or do what Maggie says - if you're using wings - and bake at 220C/430F for 12 minutes!

Rest it for a few minutes, then add the herbs, and more salt and pepper if you wish, and serve with the rice and veg.


Maggie uses 2 kg/4.4 lb of wings!

I used sunflower oil as I didn't have peanut oil; I also reduced the amount of oil that Maggie suggests from 60 mL for each oil, to 20 mL, but you could use a bit less or a bit more, esp. if using the 2kg of wings

She doesn't give any ideas as to what to serve this with, so I chose to add rice and veg. to our plates :=)  I also decided to add herbs and seasoning to the dish 

gather your ingredients

toast the peppercorns - carefully!

make up the marinade

give it a good stir

and tip into a baking-paper-lined tray

baked at 190C for 30 mins.

we ate it with veg. in cheese sauce

and with rice + quinoa the next day

Maggie's book

This is a massive tome, weighing about 2.5 kilos!  She shares over 350 seasonal recipes; chapters arranged in seasons and ingredients.  Many interesting dishes herein :=)

C. Sherry M.

Friday 17 March 2023

Apple Bundt Cake

Not having made an apple tea cake of any sort in years, last month I ended up making two!  And both were delicious, but I do have a soft spot for a bundt cake, I have to say.  I always get Mr P. to butter the pan for me, as he has the magic touch when it comes to rubbing butter into curvy spaces :=)

This recipe is from the website I Am Baker.  Amanda, the afore-mentioned Baker, has copped some nasty Facebook comments lately, and I am glad to see she gives them what for!  We all need to stand up for what is good and right.  And one of our national news presenters has been bombarded with foul comments about her personal appearance this week.  What the??!!  What is wrong with people?  Grrrrrr ...  Anyways, back to cake!

something so delightful about those curves :=)

Serves 12 (or maybe 8-10) tee hee:


For the cake:

400g./14 oz/2 cups white sugar

355 mL/1.5 cups neutral vegetable oil - I used sunflower (see Notes)

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs (I use 67 gram/2.3 oz eggs)

375g./13 oz/3 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp sea salt

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into small chunks

Caramel Glaze:

110g./4 oz/½ cup butter (unsalted if you wish - I didn't)

2 tsp heavy/thickened cream

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed (here I gave up on grams or ounces)

1 tsp vanilla extract


Whack on your oven to 165C/325F

Amanda says to spray your bundt pan, but I buttered and floured mine

Grab a large mixing bowl, and your electric beaters, and whizz up on medium speed the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs till nicely mixed

And now grab another bowl, and whisk up the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt

You guessed it! - add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, and blend till just combined

Gently - like a butterfly alighting on a flower - whoops, thought I was writing a literary novella just then :=) fold in the diced apples with a large spoon or spatula

Now pour this fruity batter into your prepared tin, and bake for 55-70 minutes - you know the drill - till the skewer comes out as clean as a baby's bottom

Let it cool for 20 minutes in the bundt pan, then tip it out (gently) onto a wire rack

Meanwhile, make the glaze:

A small saucepan, medium heat - butter, cream and brown sugar go into it

Bring to a gentle boil, stirring now and then till sugar is dissolved

Take the pan off the heat, and stir in the vanilla

Let it sit for 15-20 minutes or so, till it cools and thickens

Happily drizzle all over the cake (which you have sensibly placed on a nice serving platter) and hand out to happy family and friends


Eek - the original recipe calls for 327 grams! of veg. oil.  Here in Australia, we measure oil in millilitres or cups, so normally we would say that 1.5 cups (which is the other measure she gives) is 375 mL, BUT I have checked for more info, and an online unit converter site tells me that 327 grams of veg. oil = c.355 mils.  So there you have it!

Amanda says to use Granny Smith apples - very sensible, as they are a fabulous tart Aussie apple for cooking

pour the fruity batter into the well-buttered and floured pan

baked and left to cool on the rack

not much left! :=)

c. Sherry M.

Thursday 9 March 2023

Abdoogh Khiar AKA Chilled Cucumber And Yoghurt Soup

My flatmate of years gone by (who now lives in the UK) was staying here with us recently.  She and I used to make a chilled cucumber soup with loads of garlic (beware, all vampires)!  This version has none (I reckon a clove or two wouldn't hurt), and is a marvellously refreshing meal on a hot summer's night.  Which it was when our Persian friends came for dinner.

They are very charming people, with an adorable 3 year-old son, who always asks: 'where is Sherry?' when they drop in.  He and I play with his trucks, and check out his other toys when at his home.  Oh, the excitement of being 3!  And finally, in my autumn years, boys are after me :=)  

I made this for Cookbook Club, from the book Salamati by Hamed Allahyari with Dani Valent.  Our reviews were a bit of a mixed bag as there seemed to be some errors (or omissions) in some of the recipes.  For instance, in this one, he doesn't list iced water as an ingredient, whereas every other version I've found lists it as a primary ingredient.  

We all found this soup very thick, and it definitely needed to be watered down, especially as I had used a thick Greek yoghurt.  'Twas great when the ice cubes melted finally :=)  I found lots of recipes for this soup, with so many variations in the amounts of yoghurt and herbs, but this one turned out well.

garnished with glee (and walnuts and rose buds)

Serves 6:


500g./18 oz Lebanese cucumbers, diced into small chunks

2 green apples (I used Granny Smith), cored and diced

1 cup (20g./0.7 oz mint leaves, finely chopped - see Notes

1 cup (50g./1.8 oz) basil, finely chopped

1 cup (50g./1.8 oz) dill and/or chives, finely chopped

1 cup/100g./3.5 oz walnuts, zapped in a food processor

170g./6 oz sultanas or raisins

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp sea salt

1 kg/35 oz plain yoghurt (I used Greek)

lots of ice cubes!!  Hamed says 6-8, but more is better :=)

1 Tbs dried mint, for garnish

iced water - maybe half a cup to a cup? - to thin it down

1/2 cup dried rose petals, for garnish (maybe less)

extra walnuts, crushed, for garnish

flatbread, grilled, to serve


Grab a large mixing bowl; add the cucumber, apple, herbs, walnuts, sultanas, salt and pepper

Give it a good stir; add the yoghurt and ice cubes, and iced water

Ladle some out into bowls, and garnish with the rose petals, mint and extra walnuts

Serve with warm, toasted flatbread


I confess I didn't use this much of these herbs!  Not a huge fan of basil or dill so I used a lot less of those and I used chives instead.  Plus I just didn't like that amount of herbs so I used less of all of them, and I zapped them altogether in the processor

Add whatever amount of iced water you prefer; it did need some (as our Persian friends politely informed us).  Mr. Persia also told me it was fabulous, and tasted just as it should - phew!

ingredients gathered (no idea why that rogue lemon is there)

zap or chop the herbs

put everything into a large bowl

start stirring ...

slather on the youghurt

throw in the ice cubes

garnish and serve with warmed flatbread

one gorgeous Persian (Iranian) family, our lovely friends

c. Sherry M.    (a lemon? Why?)

(Sharing with Marg from The Intrepid Reader and Baker for Weekend Cooking)

Wednesday 1 March 2023

In My Kitchen - March 2023

'Crikey', as a certain Aussie zookeeper used to say (and me, and me).  What a year this is!  Funerals and houseguests and lots of socialising - I think I need a rest, my friends.  Well, as the saying goes: 'You can rest when you're dead'.

Things have been rather busy in my kitchen even with all the events, and guests.  There was an art exhibition opening night, and Bookclub, and preserving, and cake-baking, and so on.  Not all in my kitchen of course :=)  Ah, you know what I mean.

It has been a year since the February floods here in south-east Queensland.  It seems like forever ago.  So many things changed - people's houses and livelihoods gone, events postponed, businesses shut.  Tough times, but our community pulled through.  Life can spin on a dime, as they say.  Who knew such a flood would come out of the blue?  And especially after the massive 2011 floods.  And of course it's a year since the war with Ukraine started.  Hold on tight, folks.  Who knows what's ahead? :=)

 Anyways, here's a few things from my February kitchen.  Join in one and all with your latest kitchen happenings, please.  We love to check out what everyone is doing.

In My Kitchen:

a gifted tea towel from Ms. ML

choc pots a là Nigella Lawson

mediaeval hummus with rosebuds

another cookbook

local honey

a chocolate 'doughnut' from a local real estage agent! What the! ...

apple bundt cake

Worcestershire sauce on the go for 2-3 weeks

strawberry sake from the Japanese store (and Ramune lollies)

'Wisdom' by our friend Catherine Reason Macauley

Here's the curveball for this month.  She is still sitting in the Gallery as I am lay-bying her.  So in a few months' time, she will come home.  She will join the other beauties of Catherine's that I have.

Be a part of our friendly IMK community by adding your post too.  Here's how to join us:

Tell us about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg. in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  And a curveball is welcome - whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related.  

The link is open from the first of the month to midnight on the thirteenth of the month, every month.

Options for adding your post to IMK:

1. Add via the Add Link button at the bottom of this post.  Instructions can be found on the sidebar of this page, under the Add your IMK link OR:

2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it manually to the list below OR:

3. Email me:, with your link or any queries about the link process, or if you would like it to be added after the 13th ('cos I'm happy to add it for you later)

c. Sherry M.

Feel free to use the logo on your IMK post, or not :=)

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