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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

Recipes with bacon

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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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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