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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

Less than 1 hour

26May 12

Brandied Chicken Liver Paté

Brandied Chicken Liver PatéAh, good old chicken liver paté, a taste from childhood that I’ve only recently rediscovered.  It was only yesterday, in fact, when my daughter and I went over to a friend’s house to play after school.  She and her buddy drank juice, drew great big pictures on a large sheet of paper in green and yellow, and then watched a movie.  And us two mums spread brandied chicken liver paté onto warm slices of wholemeal pitta bread and sipped on a small glass of good red wine in the kitchen, all the while chatting over life, the universe and everything.  An evening very well spent in good company.

You can do a lot with paté. Try this recipe for a multicultural sarnie called a banh mi, using paté as its main ingredient.

There are plenty of great shop-bought patés, but it’s very rewarding making it at home too, so here’s the recipe of the one my friend and I enjoyed yesterday, for you to try.

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 250g butter + 60g melted
  • 500g chicken livers
  • 4 slices of bacon, rind removed and chopped
  • A couple of pinches of dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 30ml brandy
  • 60ml cream
  • Fresh ground black pepper to season

For the topping:

  • 120g melted butter
  • A handful of scissor-cut chives

Steps:

  1. Using a large heavy-based saucepan, first melt the butter.  Then add the onion, bacon and garlic; coating everything in the butter and sautéing until the bacon is golden and the onion is softened.
  2. Toss in the chicken livers and fry them, moving them about occasionally, for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the herbs, grind over with plenty of pepper, then stir in the brandy, cream and melted butter.
  4. Put the mixture into a blender or food processor and whizz until you obtain a smooth consistency.
  5. Turn the mixture out into a serving dish, or dishes.
  6. To create the topping, simply pour the melted butter over the surface of the paté and then sprinkle over with the snipped chives.
  7. Put the paté in the fridge to cool overnight, removing it from the fridge about half an hour before you are ready to serve it, so that it comes up to room temperature.
  8. Wonderful served with hot, toasted and sliced wholemeal pitta bread.

Duration: 30 minutes to prepare, 30 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 8 servings

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19May 12

Roast Chicken Legs with Home-Made Chilli Chips

Roast Chicken Leg and Home Made Chips CollageChicken and chips: a good old British classic, right?  But these are home-made chips, and you’ll eat them fresh, hot, crispy and spicy.  And that’s a real treat!  Roasting chicken always fills the house with a homely, cosy smell; and chips have to be near the top of the list of the ultimate comfort foods – go on, admit it!

Roast chicken legs and home-made chilli chips is a good Sunday roast alternative to throw in to the mix of home cooking once in a while.  Children will love it, though you may want to leave out the chilli powder for them; just pop some chips in a separate bowl before adding the spice.  Sure, those chips are full of calories, but if you enjoy them occasionally and don’t get tempted to make them every other day, that’s fine isn’t it?! (Also, try these lemon and parsley chicken with chips which aren’t as spicy.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 large chicken legs on the bone, with skins on
  • 2 pinches of ground cumin
  • 2 pinches of rock salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 large potatoes
  • Bottle of olive oil
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Lay the chicken thighs on a baking tray, skin side up, and season with the ground cumin, salt and ground black pepper.  Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the chicken legs.  Check that the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer before serving, and if necessary, return the chicken to the oven.
  3. Whilst the chicken is roasting, wash, peel and cut the potatoes into long, thin chip shapes. Fill a deep frying pan halfway with olive oil (enough to entirely cover the chips).  Bring the oil up to a very high heat, and when the oil begins to bubble, gently lower in all of the potatoes and fry them until they are crispy and golden brown.  This will take between about 10 and 20 minutes, depending on the size of the chips, how crispy you enjoy them and the size of the pan. If the pan is small, you may need to cook the chips in a couple of batches.  Remember never to leave hot oil unattended.
  4. Once cooked, lift the chips out of the pan with a slotted utensil and drain them on kitchen paper in a large bowl.  Sprinkle over the chilli pepper and the cumin seeds to your taste, and season well with salt.

Try serving the chicken and the chips together with a mixed side salad and a great big blob of lemon mayonnaise.

Duration: 15 minutes preparation, around 45 minutes cooking time.

Recipe for: 4 people

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30Apr 12

Chicken Kievs

Chicken Kiev

A favourite for the whole family, Chicken Kievs made at home taste great!

Ingredients:

For the Herb butter

  • 75g butter, softened
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Large handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • A couple of twists of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to season

To make the Kievs

  • 6 chicken breasts, skin removed
  • 150g plain flour
  • 300g breadcrumbs, fine and dry
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Fresh lemon, cut into wedges to serve

Steps:

  1. Make the sauce.  Mix the butter, garlic, lemon, parsley and tarragon in a bowl.   Season well with salt and pepper.  Lay a length of clingfilm on a clean work surface and spread the softened butter mixture thickly over it in a fat log shape.  Roll the film up to create a more defined log shape and cool in the fridge until the butter hardens.
  2. Next prepare the chicken.  Lay the breasts smooth-side down and cut off the mini fillet.  Create a pocket for the sauce:  Slit into the middle of each fillet with a sharp knife.  Take the incision to half-way deep into the breast and to within 4 cm of each side – go carefully here.  On a board, lay a small piece of clingfilm over each breast, and flatten them out a little by batting with a rolling pin.  Do the same with the mini fillets.  Put in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. Remove the hardened butter from the fridge, and cut it into 6 round discs.  Place a disc inside each chicken pocket.  Seal the pocket by tucking the mini fillet just inside the slit and pulling the tops of the fillet just over it.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  5. Lay 3 shallow bowls out on your work surface.  Put the flour in one, the eggs in another and the breadcrumbs in the third. Roll and coat each breast in the contents of each bowl, in this order: flour, egg, breadcrumbs, egg again, breadcrumbs again.
  6. Heat a good amount of oil on high in a large frying pan.  Once hot, reduce the heat to medium, cooking the kievs for a few minutes until golden on both sides.  Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper before placing in a roasting tray and cooking in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until the chicken is firm to the touch at its widest part.  When cooked throughout, serve the kievs hot with mashed potatoes or these Minty Jersey Royals with Chives and Lemon Butter.

Duration: 25 minutes to prepare, 25 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 8 servings

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19Apr 12

Simple Chicken Satay

Simple Chicken SatayI want to share a simple chicken satay recipe with you – one you can whizz up indoors all year round.  The sauce is rich and spicy, and we’ll fry the chicken for simplicity.  Of course you can always barbecue the chicken outside in the summer if you wish, or grill it in the oven.  You can also vary the amount of chilli to your taste.

There are many variations on this classic Malaysian dish, which is often served with rice.  One such variation is this chicken satay with sun-dried tomatoes. My version works to bring out the elemental flavours of the dish, combining the juicy meat with the tangy sauce.

The peanut is actually part of the bean family and is thought to have originated in Peru.  This humble legume which we all think of as a nut is both energy-giving and rich in nutrients.  A good source of niacin, fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and protein, peanuts may also help to reduce levels of bad cholesterol.

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh chicken breasts, skinless
  • 1 tbsp olive oil to fry the chicken
  • 8 tbsp peanut butter
  • 8 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 4 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1-2 red chillies, very finely chopped

You will also need 8 short wooden skewers

Steps:

For the sauce:

  1. Blend the peanut butter, chilli, water, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and the soy sauce in a food processer.
  2. Transfer to a serving dish or individual dishes.

For the chicken:

  1. Cut each chicken breast into 4 strips length-wise and concertina fold them onto the wooden skewers.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a shallow-based pan and fry the chicken on the skewers until golden brown and thoroughly cooked, usually 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the chicken.
  3. Serve on one communal plate alongside the satay sauce.

Duration:  15 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to cook

Recipe for:  8 skewers to serve 4 people as a starter

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08Apr 12

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Thai Green Chicken CurryThere are so many wonderful variations on this classic Thai dish.  Mine is put together on the basis of ease and simplicity. Kaffir lime leaves characterise this curry and give it a delicate fragrance.  I’ve chosen to use a fairly short list of ingredients to keep the flavours simple and the preparation straight forward.  Enjoy Thai Green Chicken Curry with a very chilled crisp dry white wine.  If you want to add to the vegetable content of this recipe you could experiment with adding diced aubergine once the chicken has browned for 5 minutes.

Ingredients:

For the chicken marinade

  • 900g chicken breast, fresh, skinned and diced into 3cm cubes
  • 4 tsp Barts Thai green curry paste

To make the sauce

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 6-10tsp Barts Thai green curry paste
  • 1L (2 ½ 400ml tins) coconut milk
  • 3 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 fresh lemon grass stalks, slightly crushed
  • 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 300g mangetout, washed and with ends trimmed off

To garnish

  • 1 pack of fresh coriander, washed and roughly chopped

Steps:

First marinade the chicken

  1. Put the chicken cubes into a bowl and mix in 4 tbsp of the Thai green paste.  Cover and pop in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill.

Then make the curry sauce

  1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil, add the onion and soften for 3-5 minutes on a medium heat.
  2. Add the Thai curry paste to taste and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the chicken cubes and cook again for 5 minutes, moving the contents of the pan frequently.
  3. Add the coconut milk, the Kaffir lime leaves and the slightly crushed lemon grass.  Slowly bring the sauce up in temperature until it is simmering (be careful it doesn’t boil as this will make the chicken tough).
  4. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked, then add the fish sauce and cook on for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the mangetout and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the lemon grass stalks from the curry and serve with a portion of fragrant Thai rice, sprinkling the fresh coriander over the entire dish.

Duration: 55 minutes to prepare and cook (plus the 15 minutes chilling time)

Recipe for: 6 people

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04Apr 12

Chicken Salad with Roast Tomatoes, Almonds and Balsamic Dressing

 

Chicken Salad

This is a really tasty and healthy way to use up chicken leg meat the day after you’ve eaten a spiced roast chicken.  Chicken and avocado are always a good combination, and the softness and subtlety of the lamb’s lettuce contrasts beautifully with the peppery bite of the rocket.  Add the sweetness and spice of my roasted cherry tomatoes, along with good balsamic vinegar and a good extra virgin olive oil, and you’ll round off the dish with extra intensity and flavour.

Ingredients:

  • The meat of 2 chicken legs (from a previously roasted chicken), skin removed and pieces torn from the bones
  • 1 bag of pre-washed and ready-to-eat lamb’s lettuce mixed with rocket
  • 1 avocado, skin and stone removed, halved, then cut into thin wedges lengthwise
  • Handful of blanched whole almonds
  • 8 roasted and cooled sliced cherry tomatoes, or uncooked cherry tomatoes, each sliced into 3 rounds.  Needs oil, salt, and cumin seeds
  • A generous drizzle of good viscous balsamic vinegar
  • A generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Mayonnaise to serve

Steps:

  1. If you are going to oven roast the tomatoes (which does make them very tasty), preheat the oven to 200ºC, slice the tomatoes and place them in a baking tray, drizzled with olive oil, dusted with salt and sprinkled with cumin.  Roast them for 10 minutes, and remove from the tray to a plate for cooling.
  2. Divide the lamb’s lettuce and rocket leaves onto 2 plates, spreading them out across the whole of each plate.
  3. Arrange the torn chicken, avocado, and cherry tomatoes on top of the salad leaves.
  4. Sprinkle over the almonds, then drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil in generous spirals across the whole plate.
  5. Season with a little salt and pepper and serve with a pretty bowl of mayonnaise laid on the table.

Duration: 20 minutes preparation time.  15 minutes cooking and cooling time if you are going to roast the cherry tomatoes.

Recipe for: A light lunch or supper for 2 people

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03Apr 12

Chicken Thighs with a Chilli Chocolate Sauce

Chicken with a Chilli Chocolate SauceHave you ever tried eating chicken with a chocolate sauce? I was looking for a sauce that really used chocolate as a main ingredient, rather than one where a token piece of chocolate was thrown in, and this chicken thighs with a chilli chocolate sauce dish is what I ended up creating.  I’m sure there’s much room for improvement as I experiment with the idea of using chocolate with chicken, but I’ll share this one with you for now, so that you can try it and see what you think.  The combination of flavours is certainly unusual and could well be an acquired taste, but I enjoyed it! Not sure you will? You could also give this versatile sauce for both meats and fish a go.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken thighs, skin on
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 small red chillies, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-3 wine glasses of white wine
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 3-4 shallots, or 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp dark chocolate powder
  • 2-4 tsp good balsamic vinegar, according to your taste
  • 1 tbsp soft dark sugar
  • 1 tbsp sweet natural yoghurt

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC and roast the chicken thighs for around 40-45 minutes or until they are cooked throughout.  As always, check this using a skewer to the thigh to ensure that the juices run clear.
  2. Halfway through the chicken’s roasting time, begin to make the sauce.  Heat the oil and fry the shallots with the cloves and cinnamon in a shallow-based pan on a medium heat until the onions are really soft.
  3. Add the minced garlic and fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Add the white wine, the chocolate powder, the brown sugar and the balsamic vinegar and bring up the heat until the sauce is very close to the boiling point.  Reduce the heat immediately and simmer the mixture to a viscous reduction over about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the yoghurt and stir it in.  Scoop out a little of the sauce onto a teaspoon, let it cool a little and taste it.  Add more yoghurt or sugar to taste if necessary.
  6. Remove the skin from the roast chicken, and drizzle the chocolate sauce over the hot chicken to serve.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Duration: 15 minutes to prepare, 45 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 2 servings

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29Mar 12

Yellow Thai Chicken Curry

Yellow Thai Chicken CurryThere are such good authentic curry pastes now that my original desire to create them from scratch has rather ebbed away over the years.  Yellow Thai chicken curry works really well with potatoes, and I use chicken thighs because they tend to be more succulent than chicken breast.  The result of all of the combined ingredients is colourful and aromatic.

Thai curriesred, green and yellow were traditionally made from similar ingredients but with each featuring its colour-corresponding chilli, and with each chilli providing different tastes and properties.  Over time the ingredients have evolved to further accentuate the colour aspect of the dishes.  The Indian spice turmeric helps to give yellow curry its beautiful golden colour.

Although coriander is more characteristic of Thai green chicken curry, I like to add it to my yellow curry too because quite simply, it adds colour, and is totally delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 10 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless and cut into chunks
  • 6 shallots (or 1 large onion) peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced lengthwise into fairly thin strips
  • 100g (1/4 tub) Cock Brand Yellow Thai curry paste
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 235ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into smallish chunks
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Steps:

  1. Heat the oil and fry the chicken in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat for 7-8 minutes, until the surface is golden brown all over.
  2. Add the shallots and the yellow pepper and continue to fry for 3-4 minutes on a medium heat, until softened.
  3. Add the curry powder and the yellow curry paste, stirring in well so that the chicken is coated in the paste.  Cook like this for a few minutes.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk, the chicken stock and the fish sauce, stir, and bring the mixture up to a very gentle boil.
  5. Add the potatoes, turn down the heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the chicken and potatoes are thoroughly cooked and tender.  Stir the curry occasionally during cooking.
  6. Squeeze in the lime juice, stir in the sugar and the coriander, and serve with fragrant rice.

Duration: 45 minutes

Recipe for 5-6 people

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28Mar 12

Chicken Stir-Fry with Ginger and Cashew Nuts

Chicken Stir-Fry with Ginger and Cashew NutsI recommend using chicken thighs for my chicken stir-fry as this part of the fowl is generally tenderer than the breastStir-frys are renowned for being speedy to cook and healthy to eat.  As long as the vegetables are piping hot throughout, they taste great when they hold on to some of their crunchSesame oil adds a subtle nuttiness, and ginger gives a little zing to this recipe.

In this recipe, I recommend ginger and cashew nuts. However, there are a million flavour combinations. Another particular favourite of mine is a honey and garlic chicken stir-fry.

Ginger was first cultivated in South Asia.  It is used as a delicacy, a medicine and a spice, and is from the same plant family as cardamon, turmeric and galangalCashew nuts are a good source of protein and iron, amongst other nutrients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 chicken thighs, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into thin slices
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ pack of beansprouts
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • Handful of cashew nuts, whole

Steps:

  1. Heat the oils on a high heat, in a wok if you have one, or in a large frying pan if not, and cook the chicken with the garlic until both are golden brown all over – around 5 to 7 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.
  2. Throw in the yellow pepper and the ginger, and continue to fry for a few more minutes.
  3. Splash in the soy sauce, add the beansprouts and the chicken stock, and keep stir-frying over a medium to high heat for another 3-4 minutes.
  4. Once you are sure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked and that the vegetables are piping hot throughout, sprinkle in the cashew nuts, cook for another minute then remove from the heat.
  5. Serve alongside rice or noodles.

Duration: Less than 30 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 2 people

Note: Remember that small children can have trouble swallowing nuts. When making this dish for them, cut the cashews into small pieces.

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14Feb 12

Chicken and Pear Burgers

Chicken and Pear BurgersChicken and Pear Burgers are succulent and flavoursome with a hint of sweetness that really works.  In fact, this is a great recipe for the whole family – you can make nice big chunky burgers for the grown-ups and mini ones for the kids; even toddlers seem to love them as a tasty finger food.  If you buy chicken that has not been pre-frozen, you can make these in batches and freeze some for those nights when you’re too tired to cook up a meal from scratch.  They are yummy served with a carrot, chickpea and orange salad or in burger buns with lettuce and mayonnaise.  This recipe gives you a healthy, low-fat, traditional burger alternative.  If you don’t have any pears in the house, or if you fancy a change, use a Granny Smith apple to give the burgers their sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large Conference pear, peeled and grated
  • 2 chicken breasts, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs, dried will also work well
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Steps:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion until soft.
  2. Put the chicken, onion, fresh parsley and breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl, crumble in the stock cube, squeeze the grated pear over the sink to remove excess moisture and add to the mixing bowl.  Stir well.  Note: If you can’t find chicken mince, you will need to whizz the ingredients in a food processor for a few seconds.
  3. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Form the burgers with your hands and coat them in flour on both sides.
  5. Shallow fry in oil for 8-10 minutes or until they are cooked throughout, turning the burgers halfway through cooking.  If you decide to make some mini finger-food burgers for your toddlers, reduce the cooking time to 4-5 minutes, but always ensure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked before serving.

Serve alongside a large mixed salad, or pop the burgers in buns with lettuce and mayonnaise.

Duration: 45 minutes

Recipe for: 6 people

 

 

 

 

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