Any food blogger will tell you that the is a simple formula when it comes to a good blog post:
Tasty Recipe + Good Photos = Great Blog Post
Pretty simple right? Common sense even. So lets see how my blog post for Crunchy Quinoa Crusted Chicken with Fennel Slaw (mmmm sounds yum) goes when we apply the equation to it.
Tasty Recipe = Check!
Good Photos = Hmmmmm….I don’t think so Kate! Let me explain.
I was so excited about sharing this recipe with you all. It is one of my go-to meals that I make all the time. Quick, easy, simple and great for a weeknight meal for the whole family. It is so easy that I made this dish while looking after my three boys who were sick with the flu (yes, the cat had the cat flu too, it was actually kind of cute when he sneezed).
I made the dish then started taking the photos. I took some photos, re-took them, took some more, re-took again… and then… my husband complained he was hungry. No matter how many photos I took (okay 79 to be exact) I just couldn’t seem to capture how fresh and crunchy the fennel is, how creamy the dressing is and how that delicious juicy chicken contrasts so well with the crunchy topping with a hint of thyme and mustard. I couldn’t capture why this is my husband’s favourite salad of all time and one of my favourite dishes. So why did I risk it all (slight exaggeration) and defy all the cardinal rules of food blogging? Because IT IS JUST THAT GOOD!
Yes my friends, I was willing to take a gamble just to bring you this great recipe (I know, I’m so selfless). The photos may not do it justice, but when you make it I am sure you will love this dish as much as we do. The chicken and slaw are even great on their own, but the dish is taken to a whole new level when they are together.
My boys really did have exceptional timing with their flu. My husband Will had taken the week off work and we were meant to fly down to my hometown of Christchurch for my darling Grandmother Betty’s 90th birthday last weekend. Unfortunately we had to cancel our trip because they were unwell. Oh well c’est la vie! Hopefully we will be able to visit again sometime soon. I’m on the hunt for cheap airfares again. My Grandmother has just had a new house built as her last one was destroyed in an earthquake and she is so proud of her gorgeous new house. Can’t wait to see it, and obviously her and the rest of my lovely family, hopefully sometime soon.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom last week though. Once the boys were well enough (including the cat as he was off to the cattery), we went down to Will’s family bach (cabin) near Lake Taupo. It was freezing! Okay, all my lovely friends in Canada may not agree with me it was actually only 4C/39F, so I’m just a whimp. Despite the weather we had a lovely time roasting my homemade marshmallows on the fire, making lots of hot chocolates, visiting the thermal hot pools and going for windy walks. George also got to see snow for the first time ever (see photo below)! He was a little underwhelmed, maybe if we bring him back next year he might be a bit more excited about it. It was a lovely break even if for only a few days. Now its back to Auckland, back to work and back to planning my next blog post. Any suggestions?
Quinoa Crusted Chicken with Fennel Slaw
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 boneless skinless free-range chicken breasts
- 4 tsp dijon mustard
- drizzle of olive oil
- 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 fennel bulb sliced very finely
- 1/4 cup fennel fronds roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 3 Tbsp fresh chives roughly chopped
For the chicken
Preheat oven at 150C (300F). Spread the quinoa on a baking tray and cook until lightly toasted, about 25-30 min. Allow to cool then break up any big clumps.
In a bowl, mix together the quinoa and thyme and season.
Increase oven temperature to 210C (425F).
Halve the chicken lengthways. Place chicken on baking tray, spread each half breast with 1 tsp mustard and top with the quinoa mixture. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Place tray in the oven and cook for 10-15 min or until the chicken is cooked through and the quinoa topping is golden.
For the fennel slaw
While the chicken is cooking, in a large bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and seasoning. Add the sliced fennel bulb, fennel fronds, parsley and chives and toss to coat with the dressing.
Serve the chicken with the fennel slaw on the side.
For the perfect cooked quinoa, rinse 1/2 cup quinoa, place in a pot with 1 cup water and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to the boil, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 12-15 min by which time you’ll be able to see the little ‘sprouts’ (you’ll know what I mean when you see this). Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 min then fluff up with a fork. Yields 1 1/2 cups.