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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

Recipes with olive oil

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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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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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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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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