Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Nannas' Recipes in 4 Sentences....Chicken 3 ways...

My Nanna, and probably yours too, was a great cook. She was European, and used many ingredients that were not common in Australia back in the 1960s.

I loved her shady kitchen with it's enormous windows, overlooking the garden. She grew figs, bananas, strawberries by the mile...a week with Nanna was a treat to be anticipated and savoured on every level. 

If I have one shining memory of her, and she passed away 45 years ago, it's of being enveloped in her warm embrace, breathing the scent of rosemary and vanilla, and always coming away with a bit of flour dust on my cheeks. To say she influenced me, and continues to do so, is an understatement.

She was often asked for her recipes, and she would recite them in her quaint European accent, so that the person asking, could note them down on a scrap of paper, or the back of an envelope. Sometimes a pencil and paper were not at hand, so instructions had to be very brief in order to be remembered.

Now we have to have it all spelled out in black and white or we are lost. Or maybe not. 

I think we're smarter than that, and I'm resurrecting the Recipe in 4 Sentences. You'll see some already at the top of my page here, and I'll be adding to those regularly.

To get us started, here are three favourite Chicken recipes, that I think you're going to love....

Poached Chicken Breasts...Bring 6 cups of chicken stock to a high simmer, and add a bouquet garni. Add 3 chicken breast fillets, or a whole small hen, return to a high simmer (not a rolling boil), cover the saucepan and switch the hotplate off, removing the pan from the heat source. Allow the chicken to poach for 20-30 minutes without lifting the lid. Slice into a breast after 20 minutes and if it's cooked through to the middle it's ready to be served.

Chicken Ragout....Bake 8 chicken thighs for 40 minutes at 200C, in a large baking dish, with one pound (500gms) of diced tomatoes, 2 stalks diced celery, 1 diced capsicum and a chopped onion. Add 2 stock cubes, 2 crushed garlic cloves, and a teaspoon each of basil and thyme. Serve with pasta and a crisp garden salad.

Balsamic Chicken Breasts...Marinate 4 chicken breasts sliced in half lengthwise to yield 8 thinner fillets, in Balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of brown sugar for four hours. Pan fry over a medium heat, and serve with slivered green spring onions, crisp roasted potatoes and fresh baby peas.

For more recipes in 4 sentences, and others that are longer but worth it...see my dedicated recipe page here.



  1. My nanna made boetercook (Dutch butter cake) and used to give us chocolate sprinkles on whit bread for breakfast.

  2. your poached chicken recipe is just my favourite thing, i now make it weekly. for anyone who hasn't tried it, give it a go.

    1. i never ate a thing either of my grandmothers cooked, as one died whilst I was a baby and the other was in the UK. I hope to be the sort of Nan that my grandchildren may even speak as highly of me as you do of yours. Fiona

  3. Thank you, I am going to have to try the balsamic chicken breast sounds so good!

    My grandmother was also a wonderful cook and made everything so special. She took great delight, while her health still allowed, to fix elegant meals, complete with delicate china and crystal glassware and the family silver gracing the dining table. She would go through the trouble of making us each our own individual molded salads and the table would be laden with so many delicious things. Dessert was always a huge homemade cake from scratch or one of her legendary lemon meringue pies, fresh strawberry and angel food cakes or even passionfruit meringue pie. I have her old Good Housekeeping cookbook with the splattered pages and her personal notes and I treasure it! The last time I spent with my grandmother it was I who was cooking one of her favorite meals for her. Her health no longer allowed her to be on her feet for any stretch of time and I was happy to do that for her. She passed on in a cold day in February 32 years ago and not a day goes by when I still do not miss her.

  4. Beautiful tribute! Thanks for sharing. I love your picture fits the post to a tee!

  5. What a lovely idea for a series and a tribute to your Nanna! My grandmother made the most wonderful homemade egg noodles. We had them in place of gravy with our Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys. My mother has perfected Grandma's noodles but I'm still working on it...!
    Blessings, Leigh

  6. Hello, Mimi - I love your sweet memories of your beloved grandmother! I have similar memories and have named my blog after my grandmother. We called her Nana :) Yes, these dear women could whip up a meal just by measuring with a tea-cup and a pinch and it always turned out delicious. Mine was the mother of 7 daughters and 1 son (the baby). My own mother was also an excellent cook. Thank you for the wonderful recipes. Now I am glad that you stopped by for a visit. xx Karen

  7. Dearest Mimi, what a precoius post about your Nana. Indeed, she sounds like she was an extraordinary cook :) Thank you ever so much for the chicken recipes - they sound delicious!

    My lovely grandmother was a wonderful baker. Oh, how she could whip up the most wonderfull sweet treats :) And she kept her kitchen stocked with cookies, pie, and cake. She was also very thin and fit and looked 25 years younger than her actual age. Maybe it was the sugar?? That's what I'm hoping! hehe

    Thanks for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Hugs!

  8. Dear Mimi,
    Reading yours and others comments I was very lucky to have both my Nans until my mid thirties. But still I wish I had them now!
    My maternal Nan L I was closest to as a child and my Paternal Nan B I was closer to as adults. Both were hugely influential. I love to stay with Nan L and she was a great cook of things like sponge rolls, cream puffs, cream kisses, but also make great soups and roasts and all those things!
    Nan and Pa were a big help to me when I had my children. The girls loved them!
    Now they are all gone. Its terrible but their efforts live on that is for sure and I see that everyday.
    What a lovely tribute to your Nan. With love

  9. I loved reading your post. My "Gammie" was born in Norway and she used to make Lefse. I couldn't wait for her to visit or for me to get a trip to Portland to bake with her. Sadly, I don't know of anyone in our family who still makes Lefse. What a shame that a wonderful tradition is gone.

  10. The recipes sound so delicious and I like that they are open to interpretation, probably much like the cooking that your Nanna did. It may not have been weighed or measured, as she sound like a lady who knew her stuff. I'm glad your post has brought back some nice memories for you.

    Sally @ Life Loving


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx