Aussie Rules and Lemongrass Chicken

The Australian Football League (AFL) season starts in earnest this weekend (it actually started last weekend but as there was only one match and it was between 2 Sydney teams that hardly counts).  I love AFL, always have, I think its the opportunity to yell with abandon at the TV screen, or better yet at the actual players as they run around the ground, that attracts me to it.  Since having kids my live footy experiences are limited to day games and even then I have been loathe to take Mr 2 since he turned one as I think he’d just be too much of a pain.  I used to be an Essendon member though and went every week (student concession membership was ridiculously cheap in those days).  I think my supporting reached fever pitch in about 1993 (yes I know this sounds like a long time ago but I did spend 1995 – 2007 in the UK and away from my beloved game) when Essendon won the premiership.  Although I didn’t go to the grand final I did attend the preliminary final and watched Michael Long turn the game and lead what must be one of the greatest comebacks of all time.  Michael Long has the distinction of not only being my favourite footballer of all time, (although I still have a place in my heart for Leon Baker but you’d have to be both a hardcore Bomber fan and about my age to remember him) but also is pictured here on my favourite piece of Essendon memorabilia.  This cookbook was published in 1995 and includes a recipe from each of the Essendon squad from that year.

For those outside Australia or those who avoid Australian Rules like the plague; Essendon’s nickname is the Bombers hence the books title.  This book does make entertaining reading and I am inclined to think that the players may have actually submitted recipes themselves (or at the very least asked a family member for one).  Out of a total of 42 recipes there are 6 for pasta with cream/cheese sauce, there is also one for mashed potato and another for scrambled eggs with cheese – ingredients: eggs, butter & cheese.  Michael Long himself supplies a recipe for burgers which consists of mince, bread rolls and then a list of possible fillings, so unfortunately I wont be cooking his dish today.  Instead I bypassed the big names of James Hird, Mark Harvey, Damien Hardwick, Dustin Fletcher, Matthew Lloyd and Bomber Thompson to bring you a dish from the little known Ryan O’Connor.  I have to say I have only the vaguest recollection of Ryan as a footballer, but his dish contained a decent quantity of lemongrass which is what I have a lot of in the garden at the moment thus I chose to cook it.

When I came to cook this dish I read the ingredients list and then prepared them assuming that this was a recipe for a stir fry.  The original recipe calls for whole chicken thighs which are cooked in the sauce in a frypan,  apologies to Ryan but it I think works as a stir fry – not sure about as whole pieces.

Lemongrass Chicken Stir Fry

  • 500g chicken breasts or thighs thinly sliced.
  • 1 tbspn fish sauce
  • 3  10cm lengths of lemongrass – finely cut
  • 4 spring onions
  • 2 tbspns peanut oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tspn chilli paste
  • 1 tspn palm or brown sugar

Heat the oil in a wok.  Stir fry the chicken until lightly browned.  Remove from wok.  Add the lemongrass, spring onions and chilli paste, stir twice.  Add the fish sauce, stock and sugar.  Reduce by about half.  Add the chicken.  Stir to combine and then serve with rice and some stir fried or steamed Asian vegetables.

I think if I was to make this recipe again I would add a clove or two of finely chopped garlic but otherwise it worked well.  It got my partner’s approval but the kids were fairly ambivalent.  Miss 5 ate about half hers:

To see what others are preparing this week head over to the Gardener of Eden’s place.

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29 Responses to Aussie Rules and Lemongrass Chicken

  1. Gardenglut says:

    Oh hysterical! I have been afraid to admit my LOVE of Aussie Rules to the gardening community. I type as we sit in Sydney watching the first ‘real’ game of the season – Carlton V Richmond. I agree a game between two Sydney teams doesnt count as a season starter.

    I am a St Kilda fan and the lad is a Geelong supporter – you can appreciate the ‘issues’ we have had over the last few years! We are both Marngrook addicts – we dont miss an episode.

    Despite being Sydney born and bred, I had Victorian grandparents and relatives that played and prayed for St Kilda. And we lived in Melb for 15 years – a place I wish I could go back to. David is a Canberra boy so on the cusp of the ‘Barassi line’. I never liked Rugby of any sort.

    I LOVE the Michael Long cookbook! Very funny.

    Go Saints, Go Catters, Go Bombers. Any Victorian team over any team of any other state. RIP the wonderful Jimmy Stynes…

    • Liz says:

      When I proof read this post I wondered if anyone was going to get past the first line let alone comment. So thankyou!!! Many times over. Oh no, the second half is starting – must go….

      • Gardenglut says:

        It is a unique culture of its own that should be celebrated. So what if no one else understands the shout of , ‘ball!’, followed by ‘yes!’. Did you see Longy on Marngrook this week, singing? He has a greta voice. May your Bombers go well.

        • Liz says:

          I missed Marngrook this week – I’ll have to see if its on iView. I vaguely remember him singing at a Dreamtime game I think it must have been and he was great. I’ve yelled a few ‘balls’at the telly in the last half hour, I can’t stand Carlton, so am more than happy to passionately support anyone coming up against them. I hope the Saints do well this year. A friend of mine is a passionate saints supporter – he’s been going for as long as I’ve known him and that’s long enough to cover some periods when been a saints fan was not altogether fun…you all deserve some success. Especially as its going to be a few years before Essendon has any realistic hope of doing well….
          I wonder if any of the other teams have produced cookbooks – I’ll have to keep an eye out.

  2. Have to admit I’ve never, ever seen Australian football, never heard of any of those players or teams-I know-I’ve led a sheltered life…do like lemon grass though…
    Great to see someone so enthusiastic about something they love!!

    • Liz says:

      From an international perspective it is a very small sport but in Australia (well the non rugby states of Australia anyway) it is absolutely huge. I agree with you on lemongrass – great plant.

  3. Daphne says:

    The lemongrass chicken sounds yummy. I keep thinking I need lemon grass in my garden. I’d have to over winter it in the house, which means another pot. I hate pots. So I dither. I’d love lemon verbena too.

  4. Leanne says:

    Wow you really are a die hard fan. I have never been to an AFL match. Been to plenty of country footy matches growing up, and followed, what was VFL back then. Now, I have no idea about it. I didn’t even know there were 2 Sydney teams. I was annoyed that last night footy was on tv and what I wanted to watch wasn’t. I think that makes me not a fan.

  5. Robin says:

    I know absolutely nothing about Australian football and we don’t watch American football. But, the lemongrass chicken sounds wonderful! I really need to start growing it. I have been talking about it for a few years now.

    Thanks for posting yet another great recipe!

  6. Julie says:

    I’m impressed a football player cooks with lemongrass. I’m also in awe that they even made a cookbook of football player recipes! No clue if something like that exists in the States. And somehow I doubt that there would be many veggie or herbs in the recipes. Anyway, nice recipe and you have reminded me that I want to grow lemongrass this year.

    • Liz says:

      Funnily enough remarkably few feature vegetables – out of 42 only 12 have vegetables in them, 15 if you count the 3 potato recipes. And they are supposed to be elite athletes….

  7. Norma Chang says:

    My lemongrass has rooted and potted up, waiting for weather to stabilize so I can plant out. Looking forward to harvesting.

  8. Andrea says:

    What no pie recipes!!! com on the Cats……………….
    Unfortunately hubby(Bob) is a footy freak and all games (VFL at lunch time) he likes to watch, now don’t get me wrong i do like a bit of footy but can’t stand all the yelling(mostly Bob) so some headphones were brought and now were both happy!
    Bob and his brother use to make their pocket money at Windy Hill every weekend selling ice-cream and drinks during the game and then the following day picking up all the used beer bottles, he has quite a few stories of the Good ol days of footy ………..

    • Liz says:

      Went we were kids we used to stay after the games to collect cans – it used to be very lucrative (well converted into mixed lollies it was anyway). My partner is like yours but about soccer. He’s English and supports Liverpool but will happily watch any soccer (or football as he calls it) game going. I tend to religiously watch the bombers but otherwise dip in and out of the games depending on who’s playing. Love your headphone idea – I’ll suggest it to my family – it tends to be me who is doing most of the yelling.

  9. mac says:

    Not a football fan, but I love your lemongrass chicken dish. I’ve given up growing my own lemongrass, it cannot survive our winter.

    • Liz says:

      As they get frost my parents have the same problem, but here it dies back in winter but then gets going again in late Spring.

  10. Well now I can’t say I agree with you on the love of the Bombers, but AFL, now there’s a game you can really get your teeth into. I’m an avid saints supporter in a house full of bulldogs. We used to be members to both clubs – now that really was a lot of football to go to! I remember a couple of times we had an afternoon game followed by an evening game on a Saturday. We would go to Movida for an early dinner after one game and before the next, great Saturdays! This is the first year I haven’t had a membership, it’s just too hard with the two girls now and I really don’t get to watch any of the game. We have taken Miss Two since birth and she loves every part of it – the train ride there, watching the warm up, the banners and songs, waving her flag and of course the chippies Granny shares with her. Having said that her second season was a nightmare (at around the 10-18month age) and I spent a lot of time in the parent room at the Dome. Baby Good has never liked it, she doesn’t sleep outside her own bed EVER and now at 11 months I just couldn’t face it. Mr Good and Miss Two are very excited about going to their first game of the season tomorrow though!

    Very impressed that the ‘Dons made a cook book and even more impressed that they used lemongrass in 1995 – I’m pretty sure that exotic ingredient still hasn’t made its way to the country town I was living in in 1995.

    • Liz says:

      What is it about gardening bloggers and the saints – I take it you read Garden Glut’s comment? I love the idea of two footy games with MoVida sandwiched in the middle – a perfect Melbourne day. Fortunately my partner is English so I have been able to indoctrinate him into the ways of the Bombers thus avoiding the problems of being a two team household. I’m considering going next weekend – Essendon play at Etihad on Sat arvo, but I suspect Mr 2 will be pretty horrendous – how long do you think a two year old could make a bag of rice crackers last?

      I suspect lemongrass was the new ingredient of the year – there are two other recipes which include it: James Hird’s BBQ prawns and David Calthorpe’s Peanut Chicken Curry. Hope the doggies and the saints do well today, but I think I tipped against both of them (that is actually a good thing – my tipping track recrod is absymal.)

  11. kitsapFG says:

    It’s fun to learn what other passions and interests bloggers have besides the focus of the blog itself! 😀

    That recipe looks like one worth trying.

    • Liz says:

      Ah yes, sometimes I wonder if revealling is a good thing though. Essendon football club isn’t that popular with everyone….

  12. Eacbie says:

    Spooky – 1995 to 2007, exactly the years I spent in the UK…footy players and cooking, not exactly the first thing that springs to mind…

    • Liz says:

      Ahhh you got out at the right time too. I have to say I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the recipes in that book – Stephen Alessio’s pasta contribution – spinach and feta is really good as well.

      • Eacbie says:

        Just so.

        In terms of unlikely books of recipes, I have one of Bollywood stars’ favourites – some interesting ones in that.

        • Liz says:

          I think I may have the same book – The Bollywood Cookbook – great isn’t it? I have only cooked one recipe so far and i have to say it wasn’t a total success – perhaps I’m just not sufficiently glamorous to get it right….

          • Eacbie says:

            Did you remember to change costumes three times whilst undertaking the preparation? 😉 Some pretty good recipes therein, had a few successes (-ish)

          • Liz says:

            Naturally, and all the while I did ‘changy lightbulb’ style dancing (at least thats what my Bangra loving friends called it). Would love to know which recipes you’ve made?

  13. Eacbie says:

    Hyderabadi biryani, aaloo loshto, dahi vada, sabut gobi masala, methi aaloo, bhatti da murgh (made that yesterday)…

    • Liz says:

      I made the chicken haleem, and from memory I think I struggled with the texture of the dal. I like the look of that bhatti da murgh and mum says shes got heaps of limes…and I think I’ll plant some fenugreek – the methi aloo looks good too. Actually they all look good.

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