I just love that great Australian and New Zealand tradition of ‘bringing a plate’ to contribute. Years ago its was always the ladies, but into todays world – the guys need to get in on the act too. Some would possibly think it’s a little old fashioned, but no, everything that is old is new again! I recently heard of a funny story told to me by a lovely Swiss lady… on first arriving to the country town they had immigrated to, she thought it was most odd being asked to take ‘a plate’ to a church function. “ Why would you take an empty plate?” she said to me.
Over this last Chrissie/summer break I have popped along to many a gathering. It seems, it’s my trusted favourite recipes I always return to and they are quickly gobbled up… so after many requests for the these two recipes… here they are….
• The ‘stand out’ chicken and mayonnaise sandwich:
It’s all about the flavour of the chicken, the creamyness of the mayonnaise and the bread used!
Begin with a good quality whole chicken or a good kg of thighs with the skin and bones/ the flavour kept in the chicken when poaching with skin and bones on and in adds a super flavour).
Pop the chicken into a pot and cover with stock (fresh, tetra pack or a good cube with water), add a roughly chopped stick of celery, some roughly chopped carrot, a torn bay leaf and a handful of parsley. Now partially cover with a lid, bring to the boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cook gently for about 35 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. After about 20 minutes, remove the chicken (discard the skin and bones) and pull all that delicious poached chicken into nice shreds. Keep the stock for your next sauce, simmer, soup etc.
Fresh is best always and with your KitchenAid standmixer/ processor or hand blender it couldn’t be easier. I often mix the mayonnaise with a good dollop of sour cream or even Greek style yoghurt and make sure the mayo is well seasoned.
The bread: I like to use a good quality rye, sour dough or nice grainy bread. And of course you can use Gluten free bread (if needed).
If you like perfect sandwiches, you need a square loaf so the sandwiches are nice and even. (And it’s easier to ask the bakery to slice the bread for you). Crusts – I like them, but many prefer to trim them off.
The little crunchy extra:
Nuts and celery: I toast the nuts until golden: often almonds, but you can also use macadamias, walnuts or a combination. Roughly chop and combine with that thick creamy. Combine the nuts and celery into the mayonnaise just before making the sandwiches.
A sensational apple flan cake:
I created this cake years ago from a classic Italian recipe, adding my own twist and flavours. I have used it over and over again, varying the fresh fruits and dried fruits.
It can be made in a large flan tin or a PushPan is perfect (have you seen PushPan, they are so easy to use). You can also vary the fruit using apples, pears or stone fruit.
It’s really the simplest method of combining a thick batter, tossing in the fruit and pressing it into the pan. Best Eaten on the day made, but equally delicious served a couple days later, lightly warmed with a dollop of ice cream
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
2 tbsp milk
125g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
Grated zest 1 lemon
2 tsp vanilla extract
135g (1 cup) self raising flour (or gluten free flour*)
25g (1/4 cup) almond or hazel nut meal
70g (1/2 cup) currants
6 large granny Smith apples, or firm pears, peeled and cut into rough chunks
Icing sugar to dust
Preheat the oven to 180oC. Line the base and sides of a large 26 cm PushPan or grease the sides and line the base of a large fluted flan tin
Attach the mixing bowl and flat beater to the standmixer. Place the eggs and oil into the mixing bowl. Beat on speed 4 for 1 minute or until the mixture is thickened and foamy. Add the sugars, lemon rind, vanilla, flour and almond meal. Beat 20 seconds or until combined.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add the currants and apples and using a large spoon, lightly combine until the fruit is coated in the batter.
There is a small about of batter, do not worry about this; it just has to coat the fruit.
Pour the fruit into the prepared pan. Bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Dust heavily with the icing sugar.
Transporting to the venue:
Good study quality high sides containers with a good lid / seal are so required and the golden rule… do forget to bring your precious container home!! I think I have lost many beloved Tupperware containers over the years… !!