Q I want to make something that’s wholesome but fuss-free for a brunch party I’m hosting next week. I’m leaning towards a stew. Please share an easy recipe.
A Stews are great for when you’re pressed for time as it practically cooks itself. Slice 2 medium-size onions, crush 1 garlic clove, deseed and chop 2 red chillies, chop 250g peppers and skin 1.25kg of chicken thighs and drumsticks.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a casserole. Sear chicken pieces in batches. When brown all over, remove and keep aside. To the same pan, add onions, garlic and chillies. Sauté for 5 minutes or until soft and slightly golden. Add peppers, 400g canned chopped tomatoes, 420g canned kidney beans in chilli sauce and 400ml of hot chicken stock. Add the chicken, then partially cover the pan. Simmer for about 50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Serve with crusty bread.
Q After my New Year’s party, I was left with a lot of sponge cake, which I put in an airtight container and into the freezer. But now the cake is very dry. How can I revive it?
A Cakes that do not have any icing or fondant on them, or have been sliced, generally tend to dry out when kept in the freezer. The best and the easiest way to restore its moisture is to microwave it.
Place the portion that you’re about to serve on a piece of damp kitchen towel and microwave it for two bursts of 10 seconds each. But remember to do this just before you will be serving it. The cake will taste like sawdust if left on the counter for too long after it has been microwaved. Serve it with ice cream and some fresh fruit, as the slices will soak up the moisture from these accompaniments.
Also, remember to microwave only what you plan on consuming as any slice left over after you have heated it up cannot be revived again.
Stale cake can also be used in a trifle or a bread pudding. If making a trifle, then soak the pieces in some fruit juice before layering it with the rest of the ingredients. With this delicious treat, nobody will find out you’ve used leftover dry scraps.