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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

Recipes with chicken

11May 12

Chicken and Avocado Baguette with Pesto Mayonnaise

Chicken and Avocado BaguetteHere’s a delicious sandwich to enjoy at home or out on a picnicChicken and avocado baguette with pesto mayonnaise makes for a simple lunch bursting with flavour.  Chicken is full of protein and is relatively low in fat.  If you are looking for an overall low-fat option, substitute your mayonnaise for a low-calorie version and either leave out the olive oil altogether, or use very little.

Avocado is said to be one of the human super foods.  It contains many different types of nutrients, including potassium, fibre, folic acid, B-vitamins and vitamins E, C and K, amongst other things.  There are more than 80 varieties of avocado, and it is also known as the alligator pear because of the texture of the variety called Haas, which can be used to make baked avocados.  Some avocados have a really smooth skin though, like the Florida variety.

It has been scientifically proven that the antioxidants beta-carotene and lycopene are more effectively absorbed with the help of the monounsaturated fat that is abundant in the avocado.

Ingredients:

  • White baguette
  • 2 chicken breasts (from a previously roasted chicken), sliced through the middle lengthwise
  • 1 avocado, skin and stone removed, and cut into 1 cm slices
  • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 tsp pesto
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • A few fresh basil leaves

Steps:

  1. Cut the baguette into quarters and slit open with a sharp knife.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise with the pesto in a bowl.
  3. Open up the baguette pieces and drizzle a little olive oil over both inner sides.
  4. Spread the pesto mayonnaise generously onto both inner sides of the baguette.
  5. Fill with the sliced chicken breasts and top with the avocado, finishing off with a twist of black pepper and a few basil leaves.
  6. Enjoy your baguettes straight away or wrap them in tin foil and take them with you on a picnic.  Don’t forget to keep them in a cool bag whilst you’re travelling or walking before you sit down to eat them.

Duration: 10 minutes to prepare. No cooking time.

Recipe for: 4

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08May 12

Chicken Fricassee

Chicken Fricassee 

Chicken fricassee is a bright and colourful dish which combines the meat with a mix of vegetables which are roasted together in a stock.

You can thicken the sauce into a white gravy at the end of the roasting time with cream if you wish, but here is the light version for you.  It’s a great meal for a Sunday to share with family or friends.  Enjoy it with a light and fruity red wine, or a crisp dry, herby white. (For a vegetarian version, try this lentil fricassee.)

Ingredients:

  • 4kg chicken pieces; breasts and legs, skins on, boned
  • 6 cloves garlic whole and with skins left on
  • 90ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 225g shallots, with skins left on and cut into halves
  • 300g courgettes, cut in half lengthwise and then into chunky strips
  • 200g cauliflower, cubed
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into medium-size rounds
  • 900ml chicken stock
  • 10 whole mixed colour peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Salt flakes and fresh ground pepper to season

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. In a large heavy-based frying pan, heat half of the oil on a medium to high heat, and brown the chicken pieces all over as you seal in the juices.  This only takes a few minutes on each side, until the chicken is golden brown.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and put the chicken in a large roasting tray, along with the rosemary, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves.
  4. Now return the frying pan to the heat, add the remaining oil and sauté the chopped vegetables until golden brown on all sides.  Mix them in with the chicken on the roasting tray.
  5. Back to the frying pan now!  Give it a little wipe with a piece of kitchen paper to remove any browned pieces of meat and vegetables, and then pour in the chicken stock.  Bring the liquid up to the boil, season it with salt and pepper and pour it over the chicken and vegetables in the roasting tray.
  6. Roast the fricassee in the oven for between 40 minutes and an hour, or until all of the chicken pieces are cooked throughout.

Duration: 25 minutes to prepare, 40 – 60 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 6 people

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03May 12

Warm Chicken Salad with Garlic and Tomato Bread

Warm Chicken Salad with Garlic & Tomato BreadThis recipe assumes that you have already roasted your chicken (try this spiced roast chicken recipe) and are ready to make up the salad, and the garlic & tomato bread. Sometimes, if I’m pushed for time, I cook the tomato and garlic mixture in the microwave for a few minutes – this is one of the very few times you’ll ever hear a microwave go ping in my house, in fact!

We eat warm chicken salad with garlic & tomato bread at home straight after roasting the chicken: removing the breasts and the wings to use, then storing the legs in the fridge to eat the next day, and the carcass to make a stock.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, roasted, skin removed and sliced into thick diagonal strips
  • 2 chicken wings, roasted with skin left on
  • ½ an iceberg lettuce, washed and cut into large or fine shreds
  • 1 avocado pear
  • 1 wild cucumber or ½ standard cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • Olive oil and a good balsamic vinegar to dress
  • 1 tbsp green pesto
  • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 wholemeal baguette
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of cumin powder
  • A very generous slug of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

Steps:

  1. Towards the end of your chicken roasting and resting time, make the garlic and tomato bread.  Cut the tomatoes into small cubes and soften them on a medium heat in a saucepan, along with a little oil, the garlic, the fresh and ground cumin and some salt and pepper to season.  (If I do this stage in the microwave, I don’t add any of the olive oil until the very end when the mixture is soft and cooked.  The benefits of adding the oil at the end are significant; you don’t degrade the oil so it remains vibrantly full of nutrients.)  Softening the tomatoes on the hob will take between 5-10 minutes.  Once soft, mash them with a fork, slug and stir in a good amount of olive oil and leave in the pan to rest.
  2. Cut the baguette in half lengthwise and grill it or pop it in the toaster until crisp.
  3. Stir the pesto and mayonnaise together in a bowl.
  4. When ready to serve, arrange the chicken, the lettuce and cucumber on plates.  Add the dry, toasted baguette to the plate and spoon over with the tomato and oil mixture, being very generous with how much you add.  Add a dollop of your pesto mayonnaise to the side of the plate, and drizzle the entire dish with a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Duration: 20 minutes to prepare (with ready-cooked chicken)

Recipe for: 2 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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26Apr 12

Basic Roast Chicken

Basic Roast ChickenThe smell of roast chicken wafting through the house on a Sunday when everyone is together but beetling away on their own thing, is one of my true pleasures.  Perhaps it’s because it throws me back to comforting childhood memories or perhaps it’s just the new memories we are creating. Either way, it’s a good feeling.  I can begin to smell that delicious scent now, as I’m doing a basic roast chicken whilst I write this blog.  Once you have roasted your chicken, and if you don’t eat it all in one go, there are so many yummy dishes you can create with the leftovers, such as chicken wraps or sandwiches.  Keep any leftovers wrapped up in the fridge for a couple of days.

There are so many different recipes for a roasting chicken: different herbs, spices, stuffings, and preparation methods.  I want to share the way I do a basic roast chicken with you.  When I know that I am not going to have lots of time to prepare my roast, I buy one ready-made from the butchers or the supermarket, so that I can simply pop it on the tray, cover it with my choice of spices and roast away.  If you can find an organic chicken, that’s even better.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, bought ready to roast
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • A few pinches of salt flakes
  • A couple of pinches of ground paprika
  • A few pinches of ground cumin

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Lay the chicken on a roasting tray.  Rub over with the salt flakes; drizzle over with the olive oil; and sprinkle over with the cumin and the paprika.  Then wash your hands really well.
  3. Loosely cover the chicken with aluminium foil and roast it in the oven for 30 minutes before removing the foil and roasting at a lower temperature of 160-180ºC for another 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the size of the bird.  Always check the label for weights and cooking times and ensure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked before serving.  To check that the chicken is cooked throughout, you can pierce the thigh meat with a sharp knife or skewer.  The juices will run clear when the chicken is cooked.
  4. Once done, turn the oven off and leave the bird in to rest in the cooling heat for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven, carve and serve.

Duration: 10 minutes preparation time, 1-2 hours cooking time.

Recipe for: 4 servings

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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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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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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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