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24Apr 12

Grilled Chicken Wings with a Honey and Lime Butter Sauce

Grilled Chicken WingsGrilled chicken wings with a honey and lime butter sauce makes for a crispy and zesty taste experience! (For a spicy variation, try buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce.) What a treat for a spring or summer evening for just the two of you, when you’ve got a few friends round, or for a bigger party.

If you can cook your chicken outside, that’s great!  If not, grill it like me, and it will still be super tasty.  When it comes to this kind of meal, I want to keep things as quick and simple as possible so that I can drink a cold beer, and enjoy the company I’m with, whether that’s my special other, or a whole group of friends.

Ingredients:

  • 6-12 chicken wings, skins on
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh coriander finely chopped (optional)

Steps:

  1. Scatter the chicken wings onto a baking tray and season really well with salt and pepper.  I don’t use any oil.  Grill on a relatively high heat for about 20 minutes, turning the chicken at least once during the process.  If you are cooking outside, you’ll need to turn the chicken regularly.  Grill until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the skins are crispy and golden brown.
  2. Whilst the chicken is grilling, prepare the sauce.  Melt the butter slowly in a pan, squeeze in the juice of the lime and stir in the honey.
  3. Serve the chicken on plates drizzled over with the honey & lime butter sauce. You could also top it with roughly chopped fresh coriander and a sprinkling of lime zest.  Alternatively, if you’re serving this up at a party, place the chicken wings on a large serving plate on the table along with a decorative bowl of the sauce, for dipping or spooning.  And don’t forget a few serviettes for those sticky fingers later.

Also try serving as a meal with steamed asparagus sprinkled with fresh coriander.

Duration: 10 minutes to prepare, 20 minutes to cook.  Ready in half an hour

Recipe for:  2-3 people

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20Apr 12

Easy Coq Au Vin

Coq au vinI haven’t cooked this French inspired dish for a while, and now I’m wondering why.  I want to share this easy coq au vin recipe with you. I’m ashamed to admit that it has been nestled away in my recipe drawer for some time, gathering a little dust.  I’ve just come across it, looking for a little new inspiration, and so here it is.  And I’m certainly going to get cooking it again as soon as possible now that I’ve rediscovered it. 

Chicken, mushrooms, white wine and garlic are always a winning combination, wouldn’t you say?  That reminds me – I must go looking for my chicken and mushroom pie recipe, which has also been tucked away for a while.  I think it’s time to go hunting for it, and once found, I’ll share it with all of you.

Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken thighs, with skin and bone removed
  • 112g bacon cubes
  • 6 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 220g oyster mushrooms, roughly torn
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ bottle of a decent white wine
  • Small pot of double cream or crème fraiche
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped to garnish

Steps:

  1. Using a large and high-sided pan, fry the bacon pieces in the olive oil for 5-8 minutes until they are crispy and golden brown.  Add the chopped shallots to the pan and continue to fry until they are soft, perhaps another 3-5 minutes.
  2. Chop the chicken thighs into thirds before adding them to the pan, along with the mushrooms, the wine and the bay leaves, and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring the contents of the pan up to the boil, before turning down the heat, and simmering, covered, for between 30 and 40 minutes, until the chicken and carrots are thoroughly cooked.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cream or crème fraiche.  Sprinkle over with the chopped dill.

Serve with a side of potatoes, a hunk of buttered granary bread or these grilled toast with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes.

Duration: 20 minutes to prepare, 1 hour to cook

Recipe for: 4 people

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16Apr 12

Maple Roasted Chicken

Maple Roasted ChickenRoast chicken is always delicious, even when you do nothing else with it but bung it in the oven.  This maple roasted chicken with all of its sweetness and stickiness is a true delight.  One of the best things about it is that you can throw it all together the night before, let it sit in the fridge overnight soaking up all of the flavours, and then simply bung it in the oven when you are ready to prepare it.

It’s quite rewarding to eat and a great idea for entertaining on a warm spring Sunday afternoon when your friends come round.  Share it with them, along with a few glasses of your favourite white wine.  I always serve mine up with a big mixed salad, but you could also steam up some fresh spring vegetables if you fancy an entirely warm meal.

Ingredients:

  • 18 chicken wings or thighs, with bone and skin
  • 200ml apple juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 7 garlic cloves, in their skins
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon powder

Steps:

  1. Place the chicken thighs into a large dish.  Drizzle over the maple syrup, pour over the apple juice, the oil, the soy sauce, garlic and cinnamon powder and stir until all of the chicken pieces are covered.  Cover the dish and put it into the fridge to marinate overnight.
  2. When you are ready to cook the chicken, take the dish out of the oven and let sit at room temperature whilst you preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  3. If you have not used an oven-proof dish to marinate the chicken, you will need to transfer the chicken, along with the marinade into one now, or into a roasting tray.  Turn the chicken pieces so that the skin is at the top.
  4. Roast the chicken in the oven for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and has turned a deep sticky brown.

Serve alongside a big bowl of mixed salad and with fresh buttered bread. You could also wash it down with this kirsch and lemoncello Tanqueray presse that has a hint of maple that would complement the meal.

Duration: 15 minutes to prepare, overnight to marinate, up to 1 ½ hours to cook

Recipe for: Serves 6

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11Apr 12

Basic Chicken Stock

Basic Chicken StockIt feels very satisfying to cook with your own home-made chicken stock, instead of crumbling in a stock cube.  Yes, it does take time and effort, so make enough to freeze it in portions; then you can store it for several weeks in the freezer, or keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days.  You could make this basic chicken stock once a month to tide you through until you make it up again. (For one of many recipes with chicken stock, try this chicken and corn chowder.)

Ingredients:

  • 2.5kg chicken backs, wings and necks
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 3cm pieces
  • 3 celery sticks, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 2 medium onions, peeled, cut in half, then each half into 4 pieces
  • 1 bay leaf, dried
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, whole
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Steps:

  1. You will need an 8 litre capacity pan or stock pot.  Start by frying the onions in the olive oil on a medium heat in the pot until they are beautifully soft and golden.  Between 5 and 10 minutes should be enough.
  2. Add all of the chicken pieces and fill the pan with water until the chicken is over-covered by about 3cm.  Add the salt, and then bring the water up to the boil, keeping the heat at medium. Using a ladle, regularly skim off the fat and any scum that rise to the surface.
  3. Once the water reaches the boil, add the celery, carrots, bay leaf and peppercorns, and reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer.  Cook like this for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, skimming the surface of the stock regularly.
  4. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place these over a large bowl.  Strain the stock through the sieve lining and discard the solids that gather in the cloth.
  5. Separate off the stock that you wish to use immediately, skim the fat off the surface and incorporate it into the recipe of your choice.  To store any stock that you will not be using straight away, let it cool completely.  You can speed up this process by setting the bowl of stock in an ice water bath.  Once completely cooled, separate and store the stock in freezer-proof containers, or in an airtight container in the fridge.  Let the stock set in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours to allow the fat to accumulate at the top.  Skim the fat off before use.  Do the same for frozen stock: allow it to defrost in the fridge until the fat rises to the surface, and then skim it off.

Duration: 15 minutes to prepare.  Up to 2 ½ hours to cook.

Recipe for: About 2.5 litres of stock

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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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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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23Mar 12

Hearty Chicken Soup

Hearty chicken soup

Maybe you roasted a chicken the day before and now you fancy a hearty soup?  This recipe makes perfect use of those roast chicken left-overs.  It’s simple to make and is a true winter warmer.  Winter celery adds a distinctive flavour to the dish.  Once you’ve cooked it a couple of times, you could create a variation if you fancy it by swapping the carrot for parsnip or butternut squash, or by swapping the fresh parsley for fresh coriander.  A chicken and corn chowder is also a tasty option. You don’t need to use a blender for this recipe either, just remember to chop the vegetables nice and fine and enjoy the texture of the torn chicken pieces. I often enjoy a glass of Guinness with my Hearty chicken soup for richness of flavour and relaxation.  Chicken is packed full of protein, and did you know that it’s also a good source of selenium?  Ladies and Gents, this is a simple chicken soup for the soul!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, washed and chopped into little cubes
  • 3 medium celery sticks, washed and finely sliced
  • 60g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 1.2 litres chicken stock
  • 500g cooked, skinless chicken, hand torn into fairly fine shreds
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to taste

Steps:

  1. Take a large heavy-based saucepan and place on medium heat, adding the butter, onions, carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add the flour to the pan, stir it in, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the chicken stock and stirring the contents constantly, bring the liquid to the boil.  Reduce the heat, season with salt and black pepper and simmer the soup mixture for 10-12 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Place the cooked chicken into the soup and continue to cook until the chicken is piping hot throughout.
  5. Sprinkle and stir in the parsley, and serve in bowls with baguette or hunks of granary bread on the side.

Recipe for: 4 people

Duration: 1 hour

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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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