A pepper

Working with peppers

Working with peppers doesn’t have to be difficult, and you don’t need to spend your time scraping seeds from the inside of the peppers.  Here is the best method I have found for preparing peppers 

Equipment  

A pepper
A pepper
  • A chopping board
  • A sharp knife 
  • A pepper 

What to do 

Firstly, cut off the top of the pepper
Firstly, cut off the top of the pepper

Firstly, cut off the top of the pepper, I recommend you slice about 1-2 cm below the stalk of the pepper. 

Put the top of the pepper to one side.
Put the top of the pepper to one side. 

Put the top of the pepper to one side. 

Using your fingers pull out the clump of seeds out of the centre of the pepper.
Using your fingers pull out the clump of seeds out of the centre of the pepper.

Using your fingers pull out the clump of seeds out of the centre of the pepper. 

Take the top of the pepper and push out the stem using your thumbs, this way you don’t waste any of the pepper. 

Pepper cut in half
Pepper cut in half

Slice as you wish 

Slice as you wish
Slice as you wish 

Strips, cubes, finely diced, rings 


Curry chicken wraps

Family favourite

‘Who wants lettuce wraps for dinner?’ is a question I have asked on many an occasion, there have never been any occasions I can think of when the answer from the family is ‘me please’. 

Not long ago, I was working on this recipe. I mixed up a batch of the curried chicken ready for the wraps when a not so little head popped around my elbow and asked ‘what’s that? It smells nice’. One taste test later and I have an extra person ready to eat curried chicken wraps for dinner. Before the end of the day, I had three people on board for eating them again. The next weekend when I asked the question ‘what do we want for dinner?’ I got two requests for ‘that salad we had last week’. That has been the greatest endorsement of a recipe if you ask me.

Curried chicken wraps

Big portions

This recipe is big on flavour and portions. This recipe can feed eight people comfortably; if you have small eaters, you can probably get even more portions out of it. The curried chicken has a creamy coating with a satisfying amount of crunch from the carrots and celery. The mass amount of protein in this recipe may seem a bit much at first glance. I can assure you it isn’t really. The big portion of protein is there to help you feel fuller faster. 

Let the flavours mingle

Whenever I make a batch of the curried chicken for the wraps I like to make it in advance and allow it to sit in the fridge for at least three hours; this lets the flavours hang out and mingle. The mix doesn’t need to be made in advance, but it does make a difference to the taste. If you have fussy eaters that aren’t big fans of spice you can leave out the chilli flakes and use mild curry powder.  

Curried chicken wraps

Curried chicken wraps ingredients

Ingredients

  • 800g chicken breast, cooked 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 3/4 cup easy mayo
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cos lettuce
In a bowl add the honey, lime juice, curry powder, chilli powder, salt and pepper.
Add the mayo.
Whisk everything together.
Add the celery, onion, spring onions and carrots to a large bowl.
Add the cooked chicken to the bowl.
Mix well.
Add the curry sauce to the chicken and vegetables.
Mix well.

Curried chicken wraps

  • Servings: 8
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

Not long ago, I was working on this recipe. I mixed up a batch of the curried chicken ready for the wraps when a not so little head popped around my elbow and asked 'What's that? It smells nice'


Credit: Cath @ easycleaneats

Ingredients

  • 800g chicken breast, cooked
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Curry powder
  • 3/4 cup easy mayo
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 2 tbsp. Lime juice
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cos lettuce

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the chicken, onion, carrots, spring onions and celery.
  2. In another bowl whisk together the mayo, honey, lime juice, curry powder, chilli flakes, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the sauce to the bowl with the chicken and vegetables and mix well.
  4. Wash each of the cos lettuces and take off the leaves and drain them.
  5. Plate up the leaves and then add the chicken mixture into the centre each leaf.
  6. Serve.

Nutrition

Per Serving: 208 calories; 9 g fat; 12 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein.

Equipment 

  • Knife 
  • Chopping board 
  • Mixing bowl x2 
  • Fork 
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Scales

Nutritional disclaimer

Nutrition information is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients used and available in my area (New Zealand). The nutritional information is here to help you understand the recipe; I use MyFitnessPal to generate my estimates. For more accurate nutritional information, please use a nutritional calculator with the ingredients in your area.


Kombucha tea

Kombucha

I don’t profess to know the origins of Kombucha, there any many theories about who came up with it. To be honest, I don’t mind who invented it, I’m just interested in the benefits it offers.

So you may be asking yourself, what is Kombucha?

The basic answer is Kombucha is fermented tea, don’t worry; it is not as gross as it sounds. 

Kombucha

Here is the bro science explanation.

To make kombucha, you need sweetened black or green tea and a SCOBY. SCOBY short for symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast, is a jellyfish looking thing that you put in the tea. The bacteria and yeast munch on the sugar in the tea which causes the fermentation of the tea. It’s similar to making beer but with better health benefits. The sugar in the tea is there only to feed the SCOBY. Some commercial brands of Kombucha are high in sugar; this is usually to mask the sour taste of the finished Kombucha.

Many people claim Kombucha is a cure-all. I don’t really buy into these claims, what I do buy into is that Kombucha is full of probiotics and these are great for you.

Probiotics

We all know that antibiotics are important when you have an infection. They don’t just wipe out the bacteria that cause infections, they wipe out all of the good bacteria in your gut. We all have good bacteria in our gut, and it’s crucial for a healthy immune system. 

I have to say that Kombucha has done wonders for the immune systems in our house, even the kids slam down a glass. 

I will be honest, Kombucha is an acquired taste, but it’s a taste worth acquiring. It’s tart and fizzy, once you get past the smell which is far stronger than the taste you will be sold on it.

One major drawback of Kombucha is the cost when buying it; a litre can set you back as much as $15. If everyone in the family grabs a glass daily it quickly becomes very expensive.

Make your own

There is a much cheaper way to have kombucha, and that is by brewing your own, don’t worry it is not as complicated as you might think. The key to brewing your own is a good SCOBY and a starter. (you can get one here)

Equipment needed is minimal.

  • A saucepan or stock pot
  • A jar large enough to hold the kombucha
  • Cheesecloth or clean tea towel
  • Rubber bands

That’s it

In a large stock pot bring 2-4 litres of water to the boil.
In a large stock pot bring 2-4 litres of water to the boil.
2 litres use 4-6 tea bags or 4 litres use 8-12 tea bags
2 litres use 4-6 tea bags or 4 litres use 8-12 tea bags
When the sugar has dissolved add in your tea bags
When the sugar has dissolved add in your tea bags
When the tea bags have been added leave the tea to cool to room temperature
When the tea bags have been added leave the tea to cool to room temperature
When the tea is at room temperature pour it into a jar or container
When the tea is at room temperature pour it into a jar or container
When the tea is at room temperature pour it into a jar or container
When the tea is at room temperature pour it into a jar or container
Add the scoby to the jar with approximately 250ml of the kombucha starter.
Add the scoby to the jar with approximately 250ml of the kombucha starter.
Cover the top of the jar with a clean cloth and secure the cloth with some string or an elastic band.
Cover the top of the jar with a clean cloth and secure the cloth with some string or an elastic band.
Cover the top of the jar with a clean cloth and secure the cloth with some string or an elastic band.
Cover the top of the jar with a clean cloth and secure the cloth with some string or an elastic band.
New scabby on the kombucha brew
New scabby on the kombucha brew
Kombucha ready to bottle
Kombucha ready to bottle

So here is what to do.

How to make kombucha

The brew

In a large stock pot bring 2-4 litres of water to the boil.

When the water is at a rolling boil turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 1 cup of white sugar.

If you want sweet kombucha use 1 cup per 2 litres, for less sweet kombucha add 1/2 cup per 2 litres.

When the sugar has dissolved add in your tea bags

  • 2 litres use 4-6 tea bags
  • 4 litres use 8-12 tea bags

You can use plain black tea or a mixture of black and green tea bags.

When the tea bags have been added leave the tea to cool to room temperature (I usually leave the tea overnight to cool in the stock pot with the lid on).

The ferment

When the tea is at room temperature pour it into a jar or container, I recommend using a large glass jar with a tap on it (like the one below).

Add the scoby to the jar with approximately 250ml of the kombucha starter.

Be warned every scoby has a mind of its own, some float, some sink, some sit sideways. You will grow a new scoby every time you brew and that will have a mind of its own as well.

Cover the top of the jar with a clean cloth and secure the cloth with some string or an elastic band.

Put the jar is a warm place but away from direct sunlight.

Leave the tea for about a week how long it takes to brew will depend on how warm your house is.

A good indicator that your tea is close to ready is that you have a new scoby forming on the top of the tea. The new scoby will look like patches of jelly to start, then it will look like a film on the top of your tea, then it will look like a skinny version of your scoby. At this point you can start to taste the tea.

When you get the tang you want it is ready to bottle, put it in a sterilised bottle and store it in the fridge.

Make sure you save 250ml as a starter for your next batch and make sure you leave some liquid for the scoby to live in. The scoby will use the liquid to get bigger even when you are not brewing kombucha, check on it regularly to make sure it does not dry out.

Carbonation

If you want a fizzy kombucha you can carbonate it.

If you do want to carbonate you will need to use a plastic bottle to make it easier to check the carbonation level.

Fill the bottles as much as possible, when filled, seal the bottles and put them out of direct sunlight at room temperature. It will take a few days for carbonation to get started.

Don’t carbonate your kombucha unless you are home to check them twice a day they will explode and make your house smell funky.

When you use a plastic bottle it is easy to check for carbonation, check the bottle twice a day, when the bottle becomes hard it is carbonated.

As soon as the kombucha is carbonated put all of the bottles in the fridge.

The bigger your scoby gets the more natural carbonation you will get without having to do the additional step.