Food is central to the lives of Kathryn Elliott and Lucinda (Lucy) Dodds. A shared philosophy based on encouraging readers to cook healthy meals for themselves rather than eating takeaway food led to their collaborative blog and e-magazine titled An Honest Kitchen.
As you'll discover, in An Honest Kitchen Kathryn and Lucy discuss food and cooking in a delightfully relaxed and chatty fashion. The pair present inspiring and deliciously simple recipes, blended with practical cooking information and a good sprinkle of advice on healthy eating. If you're thinking lentils and broccoli, think again. The Autumn edition featured oven baked chicken schnitzel with coleslaw and sweet potato wedges, and a spiced orange rice pudding; the Spring issue included spicy pan-fried mackerel as well as berry and ricotta tiramisu. Yum! Now it's over to Lucy and Kathryn...
'An Honest Kitchen is all about real food that's good for you. Meals which are balanced, made of ingredients that improve health and served in realistic portions. Food with all its beautiful imperfections ... without the fuss.'
Kathryn and Lucy say...
'Hi everyone, and before I start, I’d like to say a huge thanks to the gorgeous Lizzy for letting Kathryn and I, Lucy, take the reins of Good Things for a moment to introduce you to the latest issue of An Honest Kitchen.
As background, Kathryn is a Sydney-based writer and nutritionist, I’m a Victorian-based artist, and we ‘met’ in 2006. We began blogging about healthy eating at about the same time, felt an immediate affinity for one another’s approach and started emailing. The internet is an amazing place, no? What began as a series of emails about how to get people actually cooking turned into a project about real food that's good for you. Good food without the fuss. The kind of food you might be coaxed into the kitchen to prepare at the end of a long, tiring day. Kathryn's nutrition background means that every recipe is nutritionally balanced but her food writing means that every recipe is delectable. My photographs are made using old film cameras, and my studio is a working kitchen. There’s no styling or fake lighting, just food shown in its natural, beautiful state.
The name An Honest Kitchen came from a passage in Irish chef Richard Corrigan’s Clatter of Forks and Spoons, an inspiring cookbook we were both devouring at the same time, one with strong, stunning, and very real photography. Something about the words Honest and Kitchen just felt right to us both. Our project was born.
As Kathryn explained in our first issue, An Honest Kitchen is about 'Food that’s balanced and made up of ingredients which improve your health, served in realistic portions. Along the way we’ve tried to simplify, cut back on processes, find ways of making the cooking easier and show the food as it really is. Honest food.'
In our latest, sixth (!) issue of An Honest Kitchen we've taken on a challenge from one of our readers, that is to make over some classic family favourite meals, including a couple of new takes on the traditional roast. We think a roast dinner can be a very good thing - simple to cook, manageable even if there's only one or two of you at home, and healthy. Our makeover has fewer kilojoules, lots more vegetables and more fibre. It's a better balanced meal with more nutrient complexity and variety than the traditional roast. This recipe was a huge hit with our recipe testers, and we’d love to share it with you.
FIVE SPICE ROAST CHICKEN
A twist on the normal roast chook. The whole meal is cooked on a baking tray, so you'll either need one large tray, to fit all the ingredients, or spread them out over two smaller ones. Serves 2
2 chicken thighs on the bone (about 400g)
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon olive oil
400 - 450g potatoes
2 red onions
200g green beans
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Remove the skin from the chicken: If your chicken thighs have skin on them, then it's easy to remove. Take hold of the skin at one end and gently, but firmly, pull it away from the flesh. You may need to use a knife to help it along. Cut the chicken skin off, using a sharp knife.
Flavour the chicken: Slash the chicken pieces all over, with a knife. You can do this quite enthusiastically, as you want each piece to have several deep cuts on both sides. Place these on a large baking tray. In a small bowl, whisk together the five-spice powder, soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine. Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and, using your hands, rub the mixture into the chicken pieces. Make sure you push the marinade into the cuts in the chicken and all around the bone. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the chicken. Roughly chop up the leftover lemon shell and add to the baking tray.
Add the potatoes: Cut each potato into chunks, about 4cm in size. Add these to the baking tray. Drizzle over the olive oil. Place the chicken and potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes.
Prep the vegetables: While the chicken is cooking, peel the red onion and cut each into six wedges. Scrub the carrots and cut into 2cm-ish chunks. Trim the beans.
Add the vegetables: After the chicken has been cooking for 20 minutes, remove the baking tray from the oven. Turn each piece of chicken and potato over. Add the onion, carrots and green beans. Move them briefly and gently around in the five spice flavouring. Place the baking tray back in the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes.
Let the chicken rest: Take the baking tray out of the oven. Gently remove the chicken to a plate, cover with tin foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Give the baking tray with the vegetables a quick wiggle, to spread the vegetables out and then place the baking tray back in the oven, while the meat is resting. After 10 minutes serve the chicken, together with the vegetables
Chinese cooking wine is made from rice and is often called Chinese rice wine or Shaoxing Wine. Taste-wise it's a similar to sherry, although it has a more bitter, stronger flavour. Some supermarkets stock Chinese cooking wine and it's also available from Chinese grocers. You can buy Chinese rice wine in many grades and a brand at the cheaper end of the scale is fine for this meal.
Chinese five spice powder is a staple in Chinese cooking. It's a mixture of five spices - star anise, cloves, cinnamon, sichuan pepper and fennel seeds and has a wonderful aromatic smell that manages to be sweet, sour, bitter and pungent, all at the same time. Five spice powder is available from the spice section of many supermarkets. It can also be purchased from Chinese grocers.
For more ideas on making over the meals you love take a look at our publication An Honest Kitchen: Makeovers (see below), in which we revamp popular meals, available in e-format from 11 June. Thanks again Lizzy for this opportunity to share An Honest Kitchen with your readers.'
'Kathryn and Lucy, it is my genuine pleasure to showcase An Honest Kitchen here on Good Things. I share your passion in promoting the benefits of good, honest home cooking over any and all takeaway food; and would like to thank you for approaching me and asking me for space for a guest post. Happy to do so, particularly as I take more of a breather to recover from this illness.'
Dear readers, please join me in welcoming Lucy, Kathryn and An Honest Kitchen to Good Things, and do pop in and sign up for their regular updates.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.