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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

Meal for 4 people

05Oct 12

Cinnamon Chicken over Couscous

Cinnamon Chicken over Couscous

The flavours you get from cinnamon mixed with oranges and sultanas gives this chicken dish a fresh and mildly Moroccan twist. Cinnamon chicken over couscous is healthy and light, and you won’t need to add any butter or oil to the pan.

It’s a great meal for summer and autumn evenings. Enjoy it with a glass of southern Spanish white.  If you like cooking with couscous, take a peek at this lamb with couscous and apricot salad recipe.

Cinnamon Chicken over Couscous
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Cinnamon mixed with oranges and sultanas gives this chicken dish a fresh and mildly Moroccan twist.
Ingredients
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 45g sultanas
  • 260g couscous
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 medium oranges. All of the juice and 2tbsp orange zest
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 125g green onion, cleaned and chopped
  • A large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season
  • 600ml hot vegetable stock
Instructions
  1. Put the dried couscous in a large pan and pour 400ml of boiling vegetable stock over it. Season with salt and pepper, mix in the sultanas, then cover the pan and leave to absorb the stock for around 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the cinnamon powder with the flour in a shallow bowl; dust it over the chicken breasts and season. Place a large non-stick frying pan over the heat and dry fry the breasts on both sides until cooked throughout; around 5-10 minutes on each side depending on size. Check that the chicken is thoroughly cooked before removing to a plate and covering with foil.
  3. With the frying pan back on the heat, pour in the remaining stock. Squeeze in the juice of an orange (discarding the pips) and sprinkle in the orange zest. Bring the zesty stock up to the boil and turn down to a gentle simmer for 5-10 minutes, reducing it by half, and intensifying the flavours.
  4. Peel and segment the other orange.
  5. Return the resting chicken to the stock. Add the orange pieces.
  6. Sprinkle the parsley into the couscous, stirring it in with a fork. Spoon the chicken in its sauce with the fruit over a nest of couscous.
  7. Sprinkle over with the green onions and serve.

 

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25Sep 12

Harissa Chicken and Rice Salad

Harissa Chicken and Rice SaladI absolutely adore this harissa chicken and rice salad. For me, it’s pure summer on a plate; bursting with vibrant sun-ripened colours and flavours. Think of combining refreshing cucumber, mint and lime, with the mild spice of red chilli, ginger and harissa. Afterwards, you can cool and complement all this with thick and creamy Greek yoghurt and fresh herbs.

I’m giving you the recipe for 4 people, but we sometimes double up the quantities if friends are coming round for a barbecue. It’s a complete meal in itself if you want it to be, but it also makes a great accompaniment to other marinated chargrilled meats or fish.  You could also just make the salad without the chicken, and serve it with these these ginger and coriander crab cakes.  I like to enjoy my harissa chicken and rice salad with a freezer cooled beer topped with a slice of lime.

Harissa Chicken and Rice Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Think of combining refreshing cucumber, mint and lime, with the mild spice of red chilli, ginger and harissa. Then cooling and complimenting all this with thick and creamy Greek yoghurt and fresh herbs...
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken thighs, boneless but with skins on
  • 95ml Greek yoghurt plus a couple of tablespoons to serve
  • 2 tbsp rose harissa and a little extra to serve
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 225g basmati and wild mixed rice
  • ½ cm ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ cucumber, deseeded and cut into small cubes or slices
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Small splash of soy sauce
  • The juice of 1 lime and the zest of ½ of that lime
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to season
Instructions
  1. Mix the harissa, garlic, olive oil, ginger, soy sauce, yoghurt and mint in a bowl, then add the chicken thighs, coating them all in the marinade. Set aside for at least 20 minutes to absorb the flavours.
  2. Whilst the chicken marinates, cook the rice in salted boiling water until tender, normally around 10 to 12 minutes. Drain it, then rinse it through briefly with cold water.
  3. Drain it again and put it into your salad serving bowl.
  4. Once cool, mix in the cucumber cubes, lime juice and zest, and the red chilli powder.
  5. Turn the grill onto high. Arrange the chicken on a grilling tray and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side or until cooked throughout and golden in colour. I recommend crisping up the fatty side first.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked, cut it into thickish slices and mix about half of it straight into the salad. Top the salad with the rest of the chicken and sprinkle over the fresh coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Mix a little more yoghurt and harissa together and serve in a little bowl with a teaspoon along with the salad.
Notes
Requires about 20 minutes marinating time in addition to the preparation time.

 

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30Jul 12

Chinese-Style Lemon Chicken

Lemon ChickenA Chinese-style lemon chicken dish that you can make at home.  Serve it with plain boiled rice or a medley of yummy veggies. For more Chinese chicken recipes, why not try this hot and spicy chicken with almonds?

Ingredients:

  • 475g chicken breasts, boneless
  • 2 tsp dry cornflour, and 1 tsp cornflour mixed with water
  • 1 egg white
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • 245ml groundnut oil
  • The juice and zest of 4 lemons
  • 90ml chicken stock
  • A generous dash of dry sherry
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • A slug of sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, skin removed and finely sliced
  • 1 bunch spring onions, very finely sliced
  • 1 fresh red chilli pepper, finely sliced
  • 1cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and shredded
  • Salt and pepper to season

Steps:

  1. Make the chicken coating by mixing the egg white, dry cornflour, and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into strips and stir them into the mixture, coating them well all over, and leave to one side for 25 minutes.
  3. Whilst the chicken is resting, juice and zest the lemons and prepare the remaining ingredients.
  4. Put a large wok on a high heat, and once very hot, add the groundnut oil and heat until it begins to smoke.  Take it off the heat and add the chicken, moving it about to prevent it from sticking, and stir-frying until it becomes white all over.  Remove the chicken, and drain off the oil – be careful as the oil may be extremely hot, so drain it over a heat-proof bowl.  Leave the chicken to one side.  Let the cooking oil cool, discard it, and then clean out the wok with kitchen paper.
  5. To make the lemony sauce, add the following to the wok: lemon juice and zest, chicken stock, soy, dry sherry, sugar, garlic, ginger and chilli.  Bring the mixture up to the boil and then stir in the cornflour and water mix.  Turn the heat down to a simmer for 20 seconds, adding the chicken pieces and half of the spring onions.  Move the chicken pieces about to coat them all over and ensure that they are thoroughly heated.

Duration: 25 to prepare, 15 to 30 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 4 servings

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27Jul 12

Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar SaladI’ll confess that being a food lover and staying consistently slim have occasionally been a hard combination for me to successfully achieve. I’m always looking for ways to enjoy a rich and varied diet whilst trying to keep to, or get back to, my ideal weight. There have been some seasons where I’ve relied quite heavily on the delights of chicken caesar salad as a stock lunch because it’s lightish, healthyish and very, very tasty.

It makes a good staple during these times with plenty of crunchy romaine lettuce, which I sometimes mix with spinach leaves for extra iron. And when I need to, I just go easy on the dressing, or swap it for a lower calorie version, and choose a leaner bacon. You can also try this lamb’s lettuce salad with serrano ham and apricots for a light and healthy lunch.

Chicken Caesar salad was said to have been invented in a moment of kitchen sparseness, on a very busy day in his restaurant when lack of supplies got Caesar Cardini’s creativity flowing – making the best of what was left in the cupboards. Something I love to do myself.

Chicken Caesar Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Said to have been invented in a moment of kitchen sparseness, on a very busy day in his restaurant when lack of supplies got Caesar Cardini’s creativity flowing...
Ingredients
  • 5 skinless chicken breasts
  • A couple of pinches of mixed dried Italian herbs
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 195g streaky smokey bacon
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped in half
  • 3 slices of thick white or brown bread
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Romaine or Cos lettuce heads, washed and thickly chopped into ribbons
  • 2 large ripe avocado pears, stones and skin removed, and sliced
  • 8 tbsp ready to use Caesar salad dressing
  • A handful of fresh basil
  • A pinch of cumin seeds
  • Salt and pepper to season
Instructions
  1. Turn the grill on to high. Make a slash in the chicken breasts, season well with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the mixed herbs. Place under the preheated grill for around 15 minutes, or until cooked throughout. After 5 minutes of grilling, add the bacon slices, sprinkle over with the cumin seeds and cook until crispy.
  2. Slice the chicken diagonally across the width and chop up the bacon. Wrap them in foil and place to one side.
  3. Toast the bread under the grill; rub well with the garlic, adding a little minced garlic to the top if you like a bit of extra bite. Drizzle over the olive oil and either leave whole or chop or tear the bread into rough croutons.
  4. Divide the lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, bacon and chicken across 4 shallow serving bowls and top with the croutons, some dressing and the fresh basil. Season again with salt and pepper if you wish.

 

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24Jul 12

Chicken Marinated in Herbs and Garlic with Roasted Red Peppers

Chicken with herbs and roasted red peppersHere is a simple recipe bursting with flavour.  Chicken marinated in herbs and garlic with roasted red peppers is quick and easy to prepare, so don’t let the long name fool you! You can be getting on with other jobs whilst the peppers are roasting in the oven – and before you fry the chicken.

If you are quite hungry, you can accompany the chicken with oven-roasted peppers and pine nut couscous.

Ingredients:

To marinate the chicken:

  • 4 thin chicken fillets
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped

For the roasted red peppers:

  • 4-6 small to medium red bell peppers, whole
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • A couple of pinches of dried parsley
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Garlic powder to taste

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Place the peppers drizzled with oil onto a roasting tray, sprinkle over with the herbs, and season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Roast the peppers in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on their size.
  4. Whilst the peppers are roasting, place the chicken fillets into a bowl, cover with the oil, stir in the garlic and the fresh parsley.  Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for 20-25 minutes.  For extra flavour and softness, marinate the night before.
  5. About 15 minutes before serving, take the chicken out of the fridge, and in a large frying pan, spoon in the oil from the marinade.  Heat the oil on high, testing that the oil is ready for the chicken by dropping a bread crumb in.  If the crumb sizzles, the oil is ready!  Fry the chicken with the rest of the marinade, making sure that each piece of chicken fully touches the bottom of the pan.  First seal the chicken on a high heat for a few minutes on each side, then turn the heat down to medium and continue to fry until the chicken is cooked throughout, about 10 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the fillets.
  6. Present the whole peppers with the chicken on a plate.  Serve with fresh granary bread or rocket leaves drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Recipe for: 4 main courses

Duration:15 minutes to prepare (some of this is done during the peppers’ roasting time) and 45 minutes to 1 hour cooking time.

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18Jul 12

Warm Coronation Chicken

Warm Coronation ChickenCoronation Chicken is normally eaten cold. However, it’s also delicious served warm with rice.  Here’s one that I often cook in the spring and the summer.  Sometimes I make extra quantity; eat some hot, then store some in the fridge for a picnic.

The invention of the dish is accredited to a florist called Constance Spry and a chef called Rosemary Hume, who prepared the combination of cold chicken and a creamy curry sauce for the Queen’s coronation in 1953.  There are many variations of the dish, including this warm coronation chicken.

You can also use leftover chicken from previous recipes such as this sweetheart chicken curry with fragrant rice to use as a coronation chicken alternative.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled into long, thin slices
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 2-3 tsp curry powder of your choice
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 295ml mayonnaise
  • 160ml natural yoghurt or crème fraîche
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Handful of flaked almonds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Steps:

  1. In a large saucepan, add the whole chicken breasts, the onion, carrot and bay leaves.  Cover the ingredients with water and season well with salt and pepper.  Bring the water up to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Remove the pan from the heat and place the chicken breasts onto a plate to cool down.
  2. In a shallow-based frying pan, heat the oil and fry the shallots on a low to medium heat for 3-4 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the curry powder to the onions, some of the chicken stock that you have just made, including the carrots.  Then stir in the lemon juice and the tomato purée.  Cook at a simmer for around 10 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened.
  4. Slice the cooked chicken breasts into 1.5cm pieces.
  5. In a separate bowl, add the yoghurt or crème fraîche along with the mayonnaise, stirring them together before adding them to the frying pan.  Taste the sauce, and if necessary, add some extra seasoning.
  6. Place the chicken pieces into the frying pan and coat them all over with the sauce. Add the flaked almonds.  Turn off the heat and sprinkle all over with the fresh coriander.
  7. Serve with plain boiled rice.

Duration: preparation and cooking time less than an hour
Recipe for: 4 people

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16Jul 12

Nutritious Chicken Nuggets

Nutritious Chicken Nuggets
Home-made nutritious chicken nuggets use unprocessed meat, less salt and more natural ingredients than the ones you get in most restaurants and frozen sections of the supermarket. They are very quick to make and taste good, leaving the kids with happy tums and the mums with happy minds!

Let’s face it – children just love chicken nuggets; and the ones they fill their tummies with are not always the healthiest. I know for my part, that I cringe a little inside when my daughter picks nuggets off a menu.  ‘If only she’d pick the soup, or something with vegetables, or something at least vaguely healthy,’ I think, and I worry about it. So I’m always looking for ways to create healthier alternatives at home. Making these give me some peace of mind knowing that at least my little one is getting a healthier version of the much loved chicken nugget.

If you can find organic chicken breasts, that’s fantastic. We make these at least once a month now and serve them with home-made chips and peas. For a grown up meal that you could eat with your children try this roast chicken with home-made chips. If your’e looking to introduce your children to slightly more adventurous foods, try this mild vegetable curry.

Nutritious Chicken Nuggets
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Home-made nutritious chicken nuggets use unprocessed meat, less salt and more natural ingredients than the ones you get in most restaurants and frozen sections of the supermarket.
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breast fillets, skinless
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 eggs
  • A little salt and fresh ground black pepper to season.
  • A little olive oil to fry
Instructions
  1. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them together.
  2. Add in the cornflour, a twist of pepper and a pinch of salt.
  3. Cut the chicken breasts into nugget size pieces, about 4-5cm long.
  4. Put the chicken pieces into the bowl with the egg mix and coat them thoroughly.
  5. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken nuggets on a medium heat for around 8-15 minutes (depending on their size) until they are cooked throughout and turn golden brown.

 

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09Jul 12

Hot and Zingy Chicken and Rice

Hot and Zingy Chicken and Rice
Here’s a one pot Chinese chicken dish that’s fast to prepare and is full of wonderful oriental flavours. It’s a great mid-week meal which is simply yet beautifully presented; with finely sliced spring onion and plenty of coriander sprinkled over hot and zingy chicken and rice. Sometimes I substitute the ginger for fresh, finely sliced lemongrass to give this dish more of a Thai twist. It is one of our staple recipes that comes out every couple of months.

We had the family over to stay this weekend, and we cooked this dish because it is so tasty, and you can prepare it quickly in the kitchen; leaving more time to catch up with loved ones that you haven’t seen for a while. It was the first time my husband’s parents made the 4 hour drive to come and stay under our roof, and a special time was had by all.  For another spicy chicken dish, try this chicken tikka masala.

Hot and Zingy Chicken and Rice
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Here’s a one pot Chinese chicken dish that’s fast to prepare and is full of wonderful oriental flavours.
Ingredients
  • 1.5L hot chicken stock
  • 2 long green chillies, finely sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 12 thin slices of fresh ginger root
  • 600g jasmine rice
  • 8 chicken thigh fillets
  • 8 spring onions, finely chopped or cut into long shreds
  • 2 handfuls fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Soy Sauce to serve
Instructions
  1. Pour the stock into a deep-sided frying pan.
  2. Add the chilli, garlic and ginger and bring the stock up to the boil.
  3. Add the rice, stirring once to separate it out evenly in the pan.
  4. Bring the stock back up to the boil and then add the chicken thighs.
  5. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and tender; and the stock has been absorbed into the rice.
  6. Sprinkle over the coriander and the finely sliced spring onions; spoon into bowls and serve with soy sauce.
  7. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

 

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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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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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