Spicy Apricot Chicken

This spicy apricot chicken is my twist on the classic apricot chicken recipe my mum used to cook us all the time. It was my favourite of mum’s go-to weekly dishes. Dwayne also loves the original apricot chicken and often craves it. However, now that I have dressed it up somewhat and given it a touch of Oriental piquancy, I’m not sure we will ever cook the classic apricot chicken again.

This chicken has the sweet and savoury flavours of the original, but the addition of garlic, ginger, five-spice and chilli gives it a taste of Asian yumminess.

If like us, you enjoy cooking on a campfire, you’ll love this dish. So easy to make. However, it is just as easy to cook in your oven or slow cooker. Follow each step but instead of placing the ingredients into a camp oven, put them into your casserole dish or slow cooker. Cooking with coals and oven instructions are below.

Our camp kitchen

We cooked this delicious, hearty dish while camped at “The Gap” on Yorke Peninsula.

South Australia

Ingredients

6 Maryland chicken pieces, skin removed (joint each piece into leg and thigh if you prefer)
2 tablespoons of plain flour
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of ginger paste
2 teaspoons of Chinese five-spice
2 teaspoons of chilli flakes
820g tin of apricot halves in natural juice or apricot nectar
40g French onion soup mix

Method

Place the flour in a ziplock bag and add the chicken. Close the bag and shake well to lightly coat the chicken.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden, and place into the camp oven.

Add a little more oil to the pan and sauté the onion until soft, then add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the five-spice and chilli and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add the can of apricots & juice or the nectar and the soup mix, bring to the boil. Mix all the sticking spices from the bottom of the pan. Pour over the chicken (in the camp oven or slow cooker).

We cooked it in the camp oven for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until the chicken was cooked and falling off the bone.

To cook in the oven

Preheat oven to 180c. Follow the above instructions, placing the ingredient into a casserole dish with a lid. Cook for 1 – 1/2 hours in the preheated oven.

For more instruction on cooking with hot coals

If you want to cook on coals from a campfire, you need to burn a good amount of wood to create hot coals. It can take an hour or so for your campfire to make enough coals to cook with. Be sure to factor the process of producing the embers into your prep and cooking time. Alternatively, if time or good wood is in short supply, use heat-beads as they heat up quickly and hold their heat well.

The easiest way to cook in a camp oven over hot coals is to lift the coals out of the fire with a long-handled shovel. Select a safe place next to the fire and put a small amount of *coals on the ground. Place the camp oven onto the coals. Get some more coals from the fire to place on top of the oven. Getting the right amount of coals is not always easy. Be aware of cooking the casserole too hot and burning it. It will take some experimentation to get the temperature right. Therefore, check the chicken after 10 minutes to ensure you are not cooking it too hot or not hot enough.

Alternatively, hang the pot over the heat with a tripod (or, in our case, a star-drop acting as one) and then top with coals.

*you only need a small number of coals under the camp oven or none at all. Too many, and you will burn the bottom of the oven.

Many factors determine the heat of the coals, such as ambient temperature and wind. If it is windy, the coals will cook hotter. Make allowances for wind by reducing the number of coals used.

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Pie Maker Chicken Pies with Green Peppercorns and Tarragon

I have made these tasty chicken pies for years now. In fact, I think they were the first pies I made in the pie maker we purchased sometime early last decade. Now that we live on a boat I no longer have the pie maker. I simply do not have the room for that sort of thing. If we get a pie craving while sailing I make the pies with pie tins and cook them in the oven.

However, due to COVID we have been land bound for the best part of 2020 and 2021 and couch surfing with friends and family. Thankfully these couches usually come with a double bed and ensuite. LOL

This week while at my mum’s I noticed a pie maker in the cupboard and suddenly I have a craving for chicken pies with peppercorns and tarragon. So I set about making these super tasty treats.

Ingredients

1.2kg chicken thighs, chopped
150g flat Swiss brown mushrooms, chopped
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 1/2 Tablespoon of plain flour
1 cup of chicken stock
3/4 cup of sour cream
2 1/2 Tablespoons of green peppercorns
1 Tablespoons dried tarragon
6 sheets (25 x 25cm) frozen puff pastry, just thawed

Method

Heat a large frypan and add a little oil. Add the diced onion and fry for a few minutes until soft, and then add the garlic and cook a further two minutes.

Add the chicken and diced mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add the chicken stock, sour cream, peppercorns and tarragon, bring to the boil, reduce temperature and simmer until it thickens and is a good consistency for the pie filling.

Follow pie maker instructions.

Use the pie maker pastry cutter to cut 16 large and 16 small circles from the pastry sheets. Press 4 large dough circles into the pie holes. Spoon mince mixture over dough base until level. Top with the four small dough circles. Turn on the pie maker. Close and cook for 10 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Repeat with the remaining pastry and chicken mix.

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Date and pecan energy balls

I don’t usually make many sweet treats because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. However, there are times I do crave something sweet. I love these date balls as I get to stave off the cravings with a big nutritional hit.

These energy balls fuel your body with superfoods, filling an empty tum and providing energy to burn.

Ingredients

1 cup of dry dates (about 30) soaked in water for 3 – 5 hours
2 tablespoons of honey
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups almond flour

Method

Drain the water from the dates, reserving 1/4 cup of water.

Put the dates, reserved water and the honey into a small food processor/blender. Process until smooth, or leave it a little lumpy with tasty date chunks.

Pour the date mix into a bowl and add the chia seeds. Mix the chia seeds well. Let it sit for two minutes.

Add the almond flour, cinnamon, pecans and shredded coconut to the bowl, and mix well.

Roll the dough into bite-size balls and coat with your choice of finely crushed pecans, shredded coconut or cinnamon, or leave them plain.

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Quail Eggs with Five Spice

What to do with the leftover quail eggs? Or do you need a quick, easy finger food for a party? This is simple and surprisingly tasty. Only three ingredients! In Australia, we can purchase tinned quail eggs from the Asian grocer as well as from some common supermarkets.

This recipe is something I used many times while entertaining friends and family on our boat or at backyard BBQs and dinner parties, and it has always been a hit. When I last made this recipe in Thailand I had to buy quail eggs and boil them myself. I have discovered that pealing quail eggs in absolutely devastating!

quail eggs five spice salt finger food

Ingredients

Quail eggs
five-spice powder
salt

Method

Mix a tablespoon of salt with about a teaspoon of five-spice. Taste and adjust until you have a good balance of salt and spice.

Then simply plate up the eggs, dip a few in the spice and serve along with the salt mix in a small bowl.

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recipe quail eggs five spice finger food

Smoked salmon omelette

I often make myself an omelette for lunch. Sometimes I fill it with ham, mushroom and tomato. At other times I treat myself to an omelette with smoked salmon. I love the flavour of smoked salmon with capers, so I throw a few on top for flavour.

I used chopped chives with this omelette, but it would be super delicious with fresh dill also. That is the best thing about omelettes – just add your favourite flavours! The following is a recipe for one omelette – it’s easy to double, triple, or quadruple the ingredients to make two, three, or four omelettes.

Omelet
ette

Ingredients

For one omelette you will need

2 large eggs
2 teaspoons sour cream
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon of fresh chives
A small dob of butter
15g of smoked salmon, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons of grated cheese

To top the omelette
40g smoked salmon
1/2 tsp of chopped capers
Sour cream and chives to garnish

Beat the eggs, sour cream, pepper and chives until just mixed.

Melt the butter in a small nonstick pan. Add the egg mixture and cook for one minute. Then sprinkle one half of the omelette with the chopped salmon and the grated cheese. Cook gently until almost cooked through, about two minutes.

Using a flexible spatula (or two), flip the bare omelette side over the side that has the salmon and cheese. Cook omelette for another minute or two, until cooked to your liking.

Arrange omelette on a plate, top with smoked salmon, a dollop of sour cream, capers and chopped chives.

Bon Appétit

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Chorizo and wine

Chorizo and wine is another of our favourite tapas. The word tapas comes from tapa, meaning to cover. At first, this is what tapas were – a slice of ham or bread placed on a glass of sherry in a tavern to keep flies out of the glass. These salty complimentary morsels also promoted thirst and hopefully more drink sales. Tapas have evolved since then are now often the main reason for visiting a tavern.

Seriously, I can’t think of anything better than nibbling on this delicious meaty snack as I enjoy a glass of wine… as the sun sets… in a gorgeous location… with friends.

Ingredients

2 chorizo sausages, sliced on the diagonal
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped

Method

Heat a non-stick pan and cook the chorizo slices until browning slightly (you do not need to add oil to the pan). Remove the chorizo from the pan (keep the fat from the chorizo).

Heat the pan with chorizo fat, add the garlic to the pan and cook gently to soften, but do not burn.

Add paprika and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine and the bay leaf and simmer until liquid has reduced a little. Add the chicken stock powder and the sherry and simmer until reduced and thickening.

Return the chorizo to the pan, add the parsley and toss to coat well.

Serve hot.

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Pork Burgers with fennel and apple slaw

I initially prepared this recipe to make skinless sausages. They were delicious, but before I got around to posting the recipe, I decided to make the pork mix into burgers instead. The succulent pork burger with fennel seeds and apple pairs perfectly with the fennel bulb and apple slaw. Very easy to make, cook and serve. This burger will certainly pass as a gourmet burger if you are entertaining with the barbecue!

Ingredients

For the burgers
500g pork mince
1 med granny smith apple
1 med onion
1 1/2 Tbs fennel seeds, lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle
A pinch of salt and pepper

For the slaw
1 cup of finely shredded fennel
1 cup of finely Julianne green apple
1 cup finely shredded cabbage (use red cabbage to add some colour)
1 tablespoon of lime juice (or lemon)
1 – 2 tablespoons of whole egg mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

To serve
Goat cheese (optional)
4 sourdough buns

Method

Make the slaw by mixing all the slaw ingredients in a bowl, toss well. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Grate apple and onion into a fine sieve over a large mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice out of the apple and onion and collect it in the bowl below. Put the juice into a small saucepan. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to about one tablespoon of liquid.

Put the pork mince, grated apple, onion, fennel seeds, a little salt and pepper, and the reduced apple and onion juice into the large bowl. With a clean hand, mix the mince until everything is well blended.

Shape the mince into four patties.

Cook the pork burger patties on the grill, BBQ, or in a frypan until cooked through.

To serve

Cut the buns in half and place the pork burger patty on the bottom half. Top with cheese and the slaw.

Bon Appétit

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Ham and Cheese Scones

Campfire and home oven instructions to follow…

I have a simple scone recipe I use when camping. None of the ingredients needs to be refrigerated. I use self-raising flour, long-life cream and long-life milk, which is super handy if you have limited fridge/esky space.

Near the end of our last camping trip, I noticed I had ham, cheese and some herbs that I needed to use up, so I decided to make ham and cheese scones. I had never cooked them in the camp oven before and was super pleased they turned out as delicious as they did.

As always, Dwayne was in charge of cooking the scones over the fire. I simply told him I would usually cook them at 200C for about 30 minutes and let him work on getting the right temperature over the fire.

Further on, you will find some instructions about cooking scones in a camp oven and some tips on what you need to consider when producing the cooking heat. I hope you enjoy this recipe and be sure to let me know how they turn out.

Our camp kitchen

We cooked these yummy scones on a recent camping trip on Kangaroo Island. We were camped at American River.

Ingredients

3 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1/2 cup chopped ham
1 cup coarsely grated cheese
A pinch of salt
300ml cream
About 75 ml milk

Method

Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the chives, rosemary, ham, cheese and a pinch of salt, then mix well.

Make a well in the middle of the bowl and add the cream and most of the milk. Mix well add more milk if necessary. The dough should not be too wet and sticky. Do not over mix the dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead a little (do not over-knead). Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten to the shape of your camp oven. Place on a greased piece of baking paper and cut into wedges (you do not need to cut all the way through.

Heat your camp oven over the coals. Carefully lift the dough/scones by the baking paper and place them into the camp oven.

Cook the scones with a little heat under the camp oven and coals on top. Our theory is to cook it from both top and bottom with more heat on top. We hung our camp oven over a small fire. Using a star-drop (as a makeshift tripod), Dwayne was able to lift the camp oven higher to reduce the heat or lower it to increase the heat. We used heat beads on the top of the camp oven because we hadn’t had time to develop many coals and the heat beads hold their heat better, making this ‘brunch’ reasonably quick to make. We checked every 10 minutes until the scones were ready. Again, we adjusted the heat, if needed, when we checked it.

Use a knife to see if the scones are ready. Dig in deep with the tip of a knife; if the knife comes out clean, scones should be ready.

To cook in your home oven.

Place the scones on a greased oven tray and bake at 200C in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes.

For more instruction on cooking with hot coals.

If you want to cook on coals from a campfire, you need to burn a good amount of wood to create hot coals. It can take an hour or so for your campfire to make enough coals to cook on. Be sure to factor the process of producing the embers into your prep and cooking time. Alternatively, if time or good wood is in short supply, use heat-beads as they heat up quickly and hold their heat well.

The easiest way to cook in a camp oven over hot coals is to lift the coals out of the fire with a long-handled shovel. Select a safe place next to the fire and put a small amount of *coals on the ground. Place the camp oven onto the coals. Get some more coals from the fire to place on top of the oven. Getting the right amount of coals is not always easy. Be aware of cooking the scones too hot and burning them. It will take some experimentation to get the temperature right. Therefore, check the scones after 10 minutes to make sure you are not cooking them too hot or not hot enough.

*you only need a small number of coals under the camp oven or none at all. Too many, and you will burn the bottom of the scones.

Many factors determine the heat of the coals, such as ambient temperature and wind. If it is windy, the coals will cook hotter. Make allowances for wind by reducing the number of coals used.

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Crumbed Chicken Balls with cream cheese & bacon

These crumb chicken meatballs stuffed with cream cheese and bacon are ‘ball number two’ that has evolved from the idea of a ‘crumbed-ball-off’. Number one of the crumbed balls was Turkey Balls with Camembert and Cranberry Red Wine Sauce.

To recap where this idea came from – after Christmas this year, while sailing down Australia’s east coast, we decided to have a ‘crumbed-ball-off’. My son, Jedd, kick-started the idea by saying he would make a turkey and camembert crumbed meatball. Dwayne then piped up that he was going to make a crumbed meatball also.

It soon became known as the “crumbed-ball-off”. All three of us were going to make a crumbed meatball and pick the best one. The winner was not going to have to cook for a week. The “crumbed-ball-off” never happened as Jedd flew back to Adelaide sooner than expected. This crumbed chicken ball was my creation which I came up with by simply using ingredients already in my fridge that I needed to use up. It is super tasty, though.

four chicken meatballs served with salad

Ingredients

For filling
1 rasher of bacon, rind removed and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped sun-dried tomato
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped fresh basil
150ml cream cheese

For chicken meatball
1kg chicken mince
100ml fine bread crumbs
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

For coating the chicken ball
1 Cup of fine bread crumbs

Method

To make the cream cheese filling. Mix all ingredients well. Put the mixture into a container or wrap it in foil. Refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).

Mix the ingredient for the meatballs well using your hands.

Place a large tablespoon of chicken on your palm and flatten. Using a melon scoop or a teaspoon, scoop about 1 tsp of cream cheese mix and place in the middle of the flattened chicken.

Shape chicken around the cheese and roll into a ball. Coat the chicken ball with crumbs and place it on a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken mince.

Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour (or longer).

Cook the chicken balls

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a saucepan, and heat oil to 190c. When the oil is at the correct temperature, add the balls in batches. Deep fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove the chicken balls from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Serve with salad or vegetables. I served mine with a simple salad of capsicum, cucumber, tomato, olives and sun-dried tomato.

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Smoked Salmon and Potato Cakes with Horseradish Cream

I often make this recipe as an entrée at dinner parties. It is always well received by my guests and is one of my favourites. Change up the flavours by substituting fresh dill for the chives.

Very easy to make. Create the potato and salmon cakes hours before your guests arrive (even the day before) and have all the toppings and garnishes ready to go. Super easy! In fact, the last time I cooked this dish was while we were camping at Moana Caravan Park in our camper trailer with our small outdoor kitchen… one gas burner.

Camping at Moana, South Australia

Ingredients

For the salmon and potato cakes

500g of peeled potato, chopped
200g salmon fillet, finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 egg, beaten
Black pepper and salt to taste

For the toppings and garnish

Capers*
Olive oil*
20 – 40 grams of smoked salmon per plate to serve.
Chives, finely sliced
Horseradish cream (I used Masterfoods Horseradish cream or make your own).

Method

Boil the potato – do not overcook. Mash the potatoes roughly, leaving some lumps.

Mix the potato, egg, spring onions, salmon and pepper and salt. Mix well, then form into six patties/cakes.

Place the cakes on a plate on top of some baking paper, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the cakes until they are cooked through and golden brown.

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and heat the capers. *Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of capers per serving (entree or main). Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil per serve.

To serve

As entrée (serves 6)

Place each potato cake in the centre of each plate. Sprinkle the capers and olive oil around the plate. Top each potato cake with salmon, a dollop of horseradish cream and sprinkle with finely chopped chives.

For the main serve (serves 2-3)

Place two or three potato cakes on each plate, top with smoked salmon, a dollop of horseradish cream, sprinkle with finely chopped chives and some capers and olive oil. Serve with a green salad.

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