Creamy Tarragon & Dijon Spring Chicken

12 Jun

dav

How many times have you looked in your fridge for some dinner ideas and all you see are chicken thighs, chicken fillets, chicken quarters, with no other meat whatsoever. Oh yeah, that’s definitely my fridge! As most of you might know, I cannot convince myself to buy a ready meal… I have a feeling my mom will just sense it across the waters that I popped it into the microwave! She will know, all the way from South Africa! Mothers and daughters have this strange connection, and mine definitely knows when I’m up to something!

It’s no secret that chicken is a favourite among most. In my house, THE favourite when the lion gets to decide what he wants for dinner. Lets be honest here, he actually decides what he wants for dinner every night, along with a little bit of imagination from me when I start naming a few dishes. Well,  his favourite… you guessed it,  chicken fillets. For the love of my taste buds, REALLY??

Some days, you’ve just really run out of ideas! A while back I posted a recipe for chicken fillets with tarragon and I started thinking how I could adjust it slightly for something new and fresh. It took a glass of wine, some good music and another browse in my spice cupboard and fridge, but I came up with a different take on chicken thighs with tarragon. A little bit of lemon, white wine, courgettes and that cheeky spoon of mustard! Definitely not for the faint hearted as tarragon has a very specific taste. I might even say an acquired taste for most, but don’t be afraid, why don’t you just try it?  I hope you like it!

dav

Ingredients

1 pack of chicken thighs, skin on

1 x bunch of fresh salad onions (big chives really)

half a glass of dry white wine

Juice of 1 fresh lemon

2 x medium sized or 1 large courgette, chopped to a medium size

1 x tablespoon of dried tarragon

250 ml of cream or soya cream (dairy intolerant)

1 x onion, roughly chopped

1 x bunch of fresh green asparagus, roughly chopped

1 x pack of small button mushrooms or normal mushrooms (you can chop these in half)

1 x tablespoon of olive oil

1 x pack of fine glass rice noodles (or any rice noodles)

1 x heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard

salt and black pepper to taste

dav

This is a lovely one pot dish! Get a heavy bottomed casserole / stew saucepan/pot to cook this in. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celcius.

Add your olive oil to your saucepan and start frying your onion until transluscent. Add your chicken and start frying and sealing it. Season with salt and black pepper.

dav

Once its golden,add your tarragon and start mixing through. Turn up the heat a little bit and add your white wine.

Once the white wine has started to bubble with the chicken and onion, add your cream or soya cream and lemon juice.

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Place it in the oven for 20 minutes with a lid. Remove the lid and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes, making sure your chicken is on top, allowing for a crispy skin.

Add your courgettes and asparagus and mix through the mustard as well, but make sure to add the courgettes to the side and underneath the chicken, still ensuring that when you’ve mixed it through, your chicken is still on top allowing it to stay and even become more crispy.

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Allow to cook uncovered in the oven for another 8 – 10 minutes or until your courgette is al dente. Very important, you don’t want the courgette to overcook, or it creates more water, taking the taste away from your indulging little sauce.

In the meantime, take one cube of chicken or vegetable stock and bring to boil in a saucepan. Add your glass noodles. Most of the time these only cook for about 5 – 7 minutes, so keep an eye on them.

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So, you’re done! Drain your noodles, place them on the plate, placing the chicken and veg on top and drizzling with your lovely, creamy, tarragon sauce!

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Indulging, exotic mushroom, zesty and nurturing Lumaconi pasta

11 Oct

Over the last few weeks its been one of those where you just don’t realise where the time has gone. October? That’s less than 90 days till Christmas! I have my days where I obsess about salads, veg and high protein dishes to pull me through my week at work and at the gym, but sometimes I believe you need to take some time, cook something you just really feel like enjoying, not necessarily what your body needs, but what you just WANT!

On days like these I tend to stroll lazily through the supermarket looking for something interesting, or sometimes just some veg or food I wouldn’t normally have on my weekly shopping list. I always find something that inspires me to create a new dish or even new twist on an old dish.

This week, I present to you my lumaconi.  In this case, it really IS all about the pasta!! I love it with a light, zesty sauce, and not drenched in cream. Surprisingly, I’ve received a number of compliments for this simple little dish. Today, slow down a bit, but some music on, pour yourself a beautiful glass of wine and start cooking. Take your time. Don’t rush. I believe this dish is all about the love you put into it.

Zesty exotic mushroom, spinach & feta lumaconi

exotic mushrooms

 

Ingredients

juice and zest of 1 x lemon

1 x pack of baby spinach leaves

250g mix of fresh exotic mushrooms, very roughly chopped

1 x tablespoon of butter + 1 teaspoon of butter

1/2 x glass of dry white wine

250g of soft, greek feta cheese

3 x tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino

1/2 cup of reserved pasta water

salt & pepper to taste

exotic mushrooms

Add your butter to a heated pan and allow to melt. Gently start frying your mushrooms. Remember, if you don’t give mushrooms space, they wont brown.

exotic mushrooms

Fry your mushrooms until brown. Now remove the mushrooms from the pan and blanch your spinach in the remaining butter and mushroom juices.

mushroom & spinach

Remove the spinach and place aside. Add the teaspoon of butter and turn up the heat. Now add your mushrooms back in the pan again.

spinach and mushrooms

Add the white wine, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix through. Allow the liquid to reduce and then set aside to cool.

butter & mushrooms

Now start cooking your pasta according to the packet instructions, making sure to cook it 4 minutes less than stated on the packet.

grated lemon zest

When this is done, reserve half a cup of the pasta water, keep aside and drain your pasta.

lumaconi pasta

Add the spinach to the mushroom mixture & crumble your feta into the spinach and mushroom mixture.

lumaconi pasta

Now put it back on the heat. Add the pasta and start mixing it through gently, slowly adding the reserved pasta water.

fried mushrooms

The pasta water will mix with the feta, allowing a gentle thickened sauce.

mushroom, feta & spinach

All you need to do now is flavour it with freshly ground black pepper and a few pinches of salt.

grated parmesan

Time to dish up!

spinach, feat and lumaconi pasta

Sprinkle over the grated parmesan, take a sip of your wine and enjoy!

zesty and tangy summer chicken

4 Aug assembled chicken

From THE worst blogger in the world! I never seem to have enough time to do posts every day, not even once a week! Especially since summers in London are so short, I tend to say away from all technology, and I’m hoping this will pose as an excuse for my #noblognessdisease

asparagus

It has definitely caught up with me, since I’ve started to become a bit “low”, which is what happens when I’ve not been creative for some time.

I do hope this post will lift my spirits, and encourage your appetite!

 

mushroom

Zesty & tangy summer chicken

2 x teaspoons olive oil

season with Schwartz season all / chicken spice to taste

1 x pack of chicken thigh fillets

2 x tablespoons of capers

2 x handfuls of sliced button mushrooms

juice of a lemon

2  x handfuls of fresh oregano

2 x bunches of fresh, green asparagus

1 x red onion, finely chopped

2 x teaspoons of butter

30ml dry white wine

sprinkle of grana padano / freshly grated parmesan

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

mushroom onion

Heat the olive oil in the pan. While its heating up, season your chicken thighs with the season all / chicken spice.

mushroom asparagus

Cook the thighs about 7-10 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. You want it to become crispy on each side.

Meanwhile, while your chicken is cooking, take another pan and melt the butter in it. Add your mushrooms and gently fry them. While you’re frying them, check your chicken thighs. As soon as it has cooked crispy on both sides, add your browned mushrooms to the chicken.

asparagus and oregano

Mix through and add half of the lemon juice. Allow to simmer for a minute or two and then add the capers and white wine.

Take the remaining butter and add to the pan the mushrooms were cooked in.

asparagus and onion

Cook the asparagus with the freshly picked leaves of the oregano in the butter, season with salt and pepper and allow to grill in the pan for a few minutes. Now add the finely chopped red onion and mix.

oregano

mushroom and asparagus

After frying slightly,  add the remaining lemon juice and white wine. Allow it to simmer away slightly, but make sure the asparagus doesn’t overcook, or it will be soggy. You want it to stay firm. Sprinkle over a little bit of freshly grated parmesan, and you’ll sing!

assembled chicken

All you do now is dish it up!

assembled chicken

If you feel like it, you can always lean over to the posh side and add a cheeky poached egg on top, either one is really tasty!

assembled chicken

Spring Zucchini Fritters

11 Mar

zucchini fritters

Can you see the daffodils popping out all over.. this is a sure sign of spring! One of my favourite,most beautiful seasons! Everything is new again and then I just want to start cooking light, fresh, good-for- you meals!

It sounds a little bit different, and for those that aren’t big fans of tuna, I’ll tell you, its a whole load of protein – you wont even taste the tuna, and the best of all,its gluten free! Sometimes you just have to take a different route with vegetables and it can be very refreshing!

Zucchini, feta & tuna fritters

zucchini

Ingredients

2 x fresh chives, finely chopped

2 x medium sized zucchinis, grated

150g of greek feta, crumbled

1 x tin tuna

2 x eggs

4 x strips of bacon

salt & pepper to taste

1 x tablespoon olive oil

handful of marinated artichokes

2 x teaspoons of red pepper pesto

2 x poached eggs

zucchini

When you have grated your zucchini, flavour it with salt and black pepper and mix through. The salt will draw the water from zucchini.

zucchini

Make sure you squeeze all the water out from the zucchini, or it won’t bind properly with the remaining ingredients. While you wait for this, in the meantime, you can fry your bacon in a pan.

zucchini

When you have squeezed the water out, place the zucchini in the bowl. Add all the ingredients to the zucchini, besides the bacon, pesto & olive oil and poached eggs.

chives

Mix together thoroughly, to allow the egg to bind properly with the other ingredients. Heat your olive oil in a pan and scoop the mixture in the pan with a tablespoon.

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Cook the fritters on medium heat. These should go for about 4 minutes on each side before you turn them over.

eggs

Make sure to fully scoop them, covering the whole spatula, or they will break when you flip them over. In the meantime, cooke your poached eggs.

zucchini

To plate up, place 2 strips of bacon on each plate. Place the fritters on top of the bacon and top each fritter stack with a poached egg.

eggs

Drizzle with a little pesto, grind some black pepper and add artichokes to the side (optional)

zucchini fritters

Hope you enjoy these fresh little fritters as much as I did!

zucchini fritters

Chicken & Vegetable kebabs

16 Feb

chicken kebab

Who said you have to wait for summer before enjoying some chicken kebabs to get that barbeque spirit in the air? If you’re anything like my man, you eat a lot of chicken breast fillets. It is healthy, very low in fat and high in protein. Sometimes, I need a little change from the normal chicken fillet though.

mushrooms

Last summer the man and I really felt like some chicken kebabs on the barbeque, but those tiny ones you buy prepared in the supermarket just didn’t hit the spot.

chopped mushrooms

So I bought some stainless steel skewers, £1 for 4!! I can’t walk away from a bargain, I know!

bell pepper

After I made our own skewers, I never looked back!

green bell pepper

Now to spruce up your chicken fillets, you can make very tasty chicken kebabs that will be gobbled up in no time, and then you have the recipe already for when the long summer evenings start poking out.

peppers and onion

Its also very convenient, because once you’ve placed it in the oven, you just leave it to cook and you can get on with other wife duties, if you’re anything like me and always busy with doing washing or packing things away.

chopped red onion

Chicken & Vegetable Kebabs

chopped red onion

Ingredients

4-6 kebab skewers

3 x tablespoons bbq sauce

1 x 500g pack chicken fillets, cut into cube pieces

1 x tablespoon Nando’s medium peri-peri sauce

juice of half a lemon

1 red onion, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

2 x green bell peppers, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

2 x red bell peppers, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

1 x pack of mushrooms, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

1 x tablespoon soya sauce

1 x tablespoon olive oil

Salt & Black pepper

Place the chicken fillet cubes in a bowl.

chopped red onion

Add the bbq sauce, nando’s sauce, lemon juice and mix through thoroughly.

chicken marinade

Cover with cling film and allow to stand for about 15 – 20 minutes. Meanwhile, start cutting up your veg for the skewers.

kebab

You want to start with a piece of red onion, then chicken, then a pepper, a mushroom, and a pepper again.

kebab

Repeat this until your skewer is full, same with the others. Preheat the oven to 160 degree celcius.

When your oven is ready, place the skewers in a tray,  Drizzle the skewers evenly with olive oil and the soya sauce.

chicken kebab

Season with some salt and black pepper and pop it in to the oven for 30 minutes.

chicken kebab

If you want, you can turn it half way through, which is what I did, but if you don’t feel like it, I wouldn’t say its absolutely necessary.

chicken kebab

It all depends on your laziness factor ;-p

chicken kebab

I served the skewers with some buttery cous cous, but I’m sure it will be equally delicious with some sticky jasmine rice.

chicken kebabs

chicken kebab

Porcini Mushroom Edemame Risotto

8 Feb risotto

A perfect love affair! I’ve never met anyone that does not appreciate a good risotto. Its just always so moreish, no matter what you add to it. Its comforting, warm, creamy and it only takes 30 minutes to make! Yes, I know a lot of people tend to avoid making risotto, because they feel it takes too long and you have to “wait” for it. I don’t necessarily agree. The therapeutic part is when you stir, and that’s all you have to do. Give it the love it deserves and it will love you back three times more! Risotto is as flexible as pasta. You can add whatever you want. My favourite though, will always be a mushroom risotto. Especially with dried porcini’s it lends a slightly wild and rich, earthy taste to the dish. Whenever I have no idea what to cook and our fridge is empty from meat for a roast on a Sunday, I turn to risotto. Its always there for me in my food cupboard and it may just be the big lion’s best friend. If I have EVER seen someone eat copious amounts of risotto, that’s my man with his mouth filled to the rims! porcini

Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients

1 x pack of dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup of fresh, chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups of dry white wine

1 x teaspoon crushed garlic

2 x cups Arborio rice

1 pack of bacon, cut into small bite size pieces

1 x onion, finely chopped

60g butter

2 x tablespoons olive oil

juice of one lemon

salt & pepper to taste

1 x cup fresh soya / edamame beans

1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan

1/2 cup of chicken stock.

500ml hot water

risotto Place the porcini mushrooms in a measuring jug. Pour the boiling water over the mushrooms and allow to stand. Meanwhile, add the butter and the olive oil to a wide,big pan. Gently fry the onions for until glassy. bacon Add the bacon and cook for about 5 – 8 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and mix through, making sure all the rice is glazed with the butter and olive oil. onion Pour in the white wine and mix through. When the liquid has almost been absorbed by the rice, add a little bit of the porcini mushroom liquid. lemon Stir through again. The secret to risotto is that you must keep stirring, and as soon as the liquid has been absorbed, you add some more again and keep stirring. Lemon juice Alternate your liquid with the chicken stock and the mushroom liquid. edamame beans For step by step, I borrowed a link from WikiHow to show those that might feel they’re not sure how much liquid to add at once etc. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Risotto-Rice lemon juice When you have used half of the liquid, add the mushrooms and the soaked porcini mushrooms. edamame beans Mix through and keep stirring until all the liquid has been used. edamame beans Add the edamame beans and the lemon juice and mix through. risotto Taste the risotto and season with salt and pepper. risotto Mix through the parmesan cheese.Plate up and grate over a little more parmesan cheese, and tuck in! risotto

Tuna Melt Casserole

1 Feb

You know what they say: A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it. Where in this case, I know everyone has their little special touch for their casserole. Mine? Two things, wine & cheese! Best combination, whether you use them together in food or just as is, from where I come from in SA, it is definitely a winning pair!

This was last weekend’s indulgent Sunday coach potato food. As you know, its pretty cold in London at the moment, so no one is going out. Best thing to do is have a proper lie in, coffee in hand and then when you get up start cooking a heart warming casserole! My big guy tends to have the best ideas when I ask him on a Sunday morning what he’ll like for lunch. Even if it is a very straight forward dish, I strive to make it extra yummy and extra indulgent! Lets just say there’s no shortage of cheese in this dis. It can be gluten free by using gluten free pasta, and corn flour for the béchamel sauce ( if not using cream).

For those that choose to make the béchamel sauce, you can click on this link for a step by step guide. Just before I turn off the heat, for the béchamel sauce, I add a handful of grated cheese and mix it through until melted.

onion

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-B%C3%A9chamel-Sauce

Tuna Melt Casserole

Ingredients

Rigatoni pasta ( cooked to packet instructions)

1 x onion roughly chopped

1 x handful of chopped mushrooms

1 x teaspoon of butter

1 x teaspoon of olive oil

1 x cup bacon lardons / pieces

2 x tins of chunky tuna

1 teaspoon of chopped garlic

Salt & pepper to taste

1 x cup of cream ( if not making béchamel sauce)

2x cups of mature cheddar, grated

pinch of nutmeg

2 x tomatoes, finely sliced

1 x cup of chicken soup sachet

1 x teaspoon of Italian herbs

1 x white wine

chopped mushrooms

Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Fry your onion in the pan for about 5-8 minutes and add the bacon lardons with the mushroom. Add the garlic and mix through.

chopped garlic

Add tuna and fry together for 5 minutes. In the meantime, add your pasta to boiling water and cook according to cooking instructions.

chopped mushrooms

Now add the soup sachet and mix through. Increase the heat and add the white wine. Mix through and lower the heat again. Keep mixing, as the wine will thicken due to the soup powder.

butter

If you’re using cream instead of béchamel, add it now and mix through. Add the pinch of nutmeg and mix through. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Flavour with salt and black pepper to taste.

grated cheese

If you’re using béchamel, mix the tuna, mushroom & bacon mixture into the sauce and mix through. Add this to your cooked pasta and mix through. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.

bechamel

Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta, distributing it evenly.

cooking wine

Place all the tomato slices evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle with the Italian herbs, season with salt and black pepper.

pasta

Cook in the oven under the grill until the cheese is super crispy!

pasta

To add a little extra indulgence, I’ve sliced over a little avocado for extra creaminess!

pasta

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