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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

June, 2012

25Jun 12

Chicken and Pesto Tart

Chicken and Pesto Tart
Here’s a really lovely midweek meal to put together in no time and leave cooking whilst you relax or get on with other things. Chicken and pesto are always a wonderful combination. Sometimes I make this chicken and pesto open tart with green pesto, as in this recipe – but I also like to vary it with red pesto or aubergine and olive pesto when I can find it.

Another nice variation is to throw over a few walnuts or almond pieces 10 minutes from the end of the cooking time to add a little crunch.

We had friends over at the weekend who are about to go abroad to their homeland to get married (exciting times), and we served up this chicken and pesto open tart and tucked into it together, accompanied by a glass of sparkling white wine – now that we are getting into the warmer season. The tart is also really nice served with this lamb’s lettuce salad with serrano ham and apricots.

Chicken and Pesto Tart
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Here’s a really lovely tart to put together in no time and leave cooking whilst you relax or get on with other things.
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry, defrosted
  • 4 tbsp green or red pesto
  • A little beaten egg or milk for the glaze
  • 225g chicken, skin and boneless, cut into thin strips
  • 60g frozen spinach leaves, thawed
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to season
  • Fresh basil leaves to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Open out the ready rolled pastry flat onto a baking tray.
  3. Put the chicken pieces into a mixing bowl, spoon in the pesto and stir them together, coating all of the chicken. Spoon the chicken out onto the pastry, leaving a 2.5cm border filling free around each edge.
  4. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and arrange them on top of the chicken, with the cut side up.
  5. Arrange the spinach leaves around the tomatoes.
  6. Turn the pastry edges up and press the corners together to create a border casing for the tart.
  7. Beat the egg in a little bowl and brush it around the pastry border.
  8. Bake in the oven for around 20-30 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the pastry is nicely risen and golden brown.

 

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20Jun 12

Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

Chicken and Pineapple SkewersNow that the summer is coming, I’m starting to think more about eating outside. Chicken and pineapple skewers can be cooked on a barbeque or in the kitchen under the grill as in this recipe. Juicy pineapple goes really well with the subtlety of chicken, and peppers are always mouth-watering when grilled or flame roasted. This side dish is great accompanied by a rice dish. Why not try this Indian-style brown rice?

I use tins of pineapple chunks for my chicken and pineapple skewers so that I can add the juice to the marinade, and save on preparation time. For a nice variation to the peppers, and as a further time saver when you need it, thread whole cherry tomatoes onto the skewers instead.

 

Chicken and Pineapple Skewers
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken fillets, skinless, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 2 x 227g pineapple chunks in their juice
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 green peppers, deseeded and cut into bite size chunks
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into bite size chunks
  • 3 small pots of natural sweetened yoghurt
  • ⅓ cucumber, chopped into very small cubes
  • Handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Make the marinade for the chicken by mixing the lime, soy sauce, honey and oil together in a shallow bowl.
  2. Add 4 tbsp of the pineapple juice from the can into the mixture and stir well.
  3. Coat the chicken pieces in the marinade in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge for a minimum of half an hour to absorb the flavours. You can even do this the night before to save preparation time on the day.
  4. When you are ready to assemble and cook the skewers, turn the grill onto a medium heat.
  5. Thread the skewers with the chicken, pepper, onion and pineapple chunks. Coat the ingredients with some more marinade and place them under the grill for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Turn the skewers occasionally as they grill.
  6. Whilst the kebabs are grilling, make the minty yoghurt dip.
  7. Mix the yoghurt, little cucumber cubes and the mint together in a serving bowl.
  8. Serve and enjoy.
Notes
Requires marinading for a minimum of 30 minutes

 

 

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01Jun 12

Lemon and Sesame Chicken Breasts

Lemon and Sesame Chicken BreastsLemon and sesame chicken breasts – a lovely recipe for the height of spring; with plenty of refreshing lemon juice in the sauce.

Lemons are very rich in vitamin C, but did you know that they also contain potassium, iron and vitamin B6, amongst other nutrients? Lemons store for longer in the fridge, but if you take them out and allow them to come up to room temperature before extracting the juice, they are much easier to squeeze, and so the juice comes out more easily.

Lemon has antibacterial properties because of its high acid content. The origin of this wonderful fruit is not entirely certain, but its cultivation can be traced far back to Burma, China and India; spreading from there around the warmer climes of the world. Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola during his voyages in the mid 15th century. Did you know that lemon trees produce fruit all year round? And I’ve heard it said that the fashionable ladies of the European Renaissance used to put lemon juice on their lips to redden them! The humble lemon as a beauty accessory – who would have thought it?

Serve lemon and sesame chicken breasts with these minty jersey royals and a glass of home-made lemonade for an all-round lemony meal. I also like to serve it alongside a fresh spinach and tomato salad, drizzled with just a bit of oil and vinegar.

Lemon and Sesame Chicken Breasts
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Lemon and sesame chicken breasts - a lovely recipe for the height of spring; with plenty of refreshing lemon juice in the sauce.
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless, chopped into thin pieces
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • A glass of white wine
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 pinches of flour
  • Salt flakes and fresh ground black pepper to season
  • A few pinches of sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Put the chicken breasts into a clean food bag or between a couple of sheets of clingfilm; then lay them onto a wooden board and pound them with a meat mallet (or rolling pin) to flatten them.
  2. Fry the breasts in a heavy-based saucepan in the olive oil, on a medium/high heat for a few minutes each side; sealing in the juices, and browning them all over.
  3. Season generously with salt and pepper, and then pour in the white wine and lemon juice, reducing it in the pan for a minute or two.
  4. Scatter over with the sesame seeds and fry on until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  5. Roll the butter in the flour, and add it in to the pan, thickening the sauce.
  6. Serve warm.

 

 

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