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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

Recipes with cumin seeds

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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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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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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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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30Mar 12

Roast Chicken and Cherry Tomato Sandwich

Roast Chicken and Cherry Tomato BaguetteThis very same sandwich reminds me of the time that we trogged down to the river by the old church with our little girl, a picnic hamper, a chequered blanket, and about 8 teddy bears all with rumbling tummies.  We packed the juice, the cava, and the cubes of home-made Spanish omelette which our daughter loves. In our pack we also carried little empty plastic pots, but in our daughter’s eyes, they were all full of honey for the bears.  We spread out the blanket under the shade of an old weeping willow, propped up the teddies and laid out the food.  It was right by the spot where we had walked a few years before on a Winter’s day, thinking about whether to buy the cottage.  It had snowed that day as we walked by the river, and no doubt the romance of the moment was part of our decision to move there.  But on this sunny Summer’s day, we filled the teddies’ tummies full of invisible honey, and we munched on roast chicken and cherry tomato sandwiches made just like this…

Ingredients:

  • A generous drizzle of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cumin seeds
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, each cut into 3 slices
  • 2/3 white baguette
  • 2 roast chicken legs, skin removed and pieces torn from the bone (saved from a previously roasted chicken)
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • Rocket leaves (Arugula)

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Lay the cherry tomato slices on a small baking tray (I use a loaf tin), sprinkle on a pinch of salt, drizzle all over with olive oil and shake over the cumin seeds.  Roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Whilst the tomatoes are cooking, cut the baguette into thirds, and then cut two of these pieces in half for the sandwiches. You can store the remaining third for a different occasion.
  4. Fill the baguettes with the mayonnaise, the torn chicken leg meat, the oven roasted tomatoes, and top off with rocket.
  5. Enjoy straight away, or if you’re going to take them on your picnic, allow the tomatoes to cool before putting them in the baguette. Once the sandwiches are made, wrap them in tin foil and pop them in your hamper.  If it’s going to be a while before you eat them, and it’s a hot day, be sure to pack them in a cool bag.

Duration:10 minutes preparation time and 10 minutes cooking time (plus cooling time when appropriate)

Recipe for: 2 generously-filled baguette sandwiches

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