Tag Archives: Cream

Creamy Tarragon & Dijon Spring Chicken

12 Jun


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!



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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!
















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.



Tuna Melt Casserole


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.


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.


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.


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


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


Salmon – the other pink meat….swimming in mushrooms

2 Aug

Well, you know what they say – A bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at the office! I wish I was out fishing instead of sitting at the office today or any day! I am sure there are a lot of folks that would agree with me on this one. As usual, the hubby asked me during the day what was for supper and “are we having something healthy again tonight?” What does that mean? Most nights we have healthy food. I suppose after last night’s curry, he feels we are on the health binge, a very tasty health binge may I add!

Tonight we are going on “operation fridge clean out binge”. Similar to many of you, I buy fresh vegetables and they seem to go off so easily! I bought a whole punnet of mushrooms for £1.50, 750g, not bad hey? Well, using most of them for tonight’s supper might be ;-p

That’s no problem, because I believe you can do a lot with mushrooms!! I also happen to know someone that will never insult mushrooms, as it is one of his favorite friends. I am sure all of you know by now how much the hubby appreciates the humble mushroom! Oh ye of little faith!

He could probably live off mushrooms if he had to! Not that I can say the same about salmon. He’s had enough of eating “pink” for some time I think. I did however give him an option that sounded quite “fishy” to him 😉  Tuna or Salmon? Don’t think there is a lot of thinking required to make that decision. Sorry guys, but we are moving into the whole “eat fish twice a week to be healthy” zone! ;-p Who reads these things anyway? I suppose I just did. Not that I believe it. This salmon we are eating was so cheap I won’t be surprised if it was farmed in the same tank as a goldfish! Enough of my gobble – lets get down to my recipe so that you can look forward to gobbling it up!

2 salmon fillets

2 handfuls of mushrooms roughly chopped

2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

Olive oil for frying

1/2  glass of dry white wine

1 teaspoon of chives fresh/dry

½ leek, roughly chopped

2 teaspoons of lemon juice

1 teaspoon of olive oil for the salmon

½ cup of cream / soya cream

Salt & pepper for seasoning

4 cups of baby spinach

2 pinches of nutmeg

2 teaspoons of lemon for your sauce

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Place your salmon on a baking tray and flavor with salt, pepper and drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil over the salmon. Now place in the oven for 15- 20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked on the outside and slightly pink on the inside.

While the salmon is in the oven, heat a frying pan and drizzle with some olive oil. Add the garlic and leeks. Fry for about 8 minutes. Now add your mushrooms and fry them until they become brown. Flavour with salt and pepper. Now, add your remaining two teaspoons of lemon juice.Ensure your pan is nice and hot and then add your white wine.

Mix through. Now add your chives and cream and mix through. Allow to simmer for 8 minutes. While this is simmering, place your spinach in a pan and season with salt and pepper and your nutmeg. Steam your spinach until it has wilted.

Remove your salmon from the oven. Place your mushrooms in the bottom of the plate with plenty of sauce.

Place your spinach on top of that and top it off with your salmon. Sprinkle some chives over your salmon and enjoy with baby potatoes, rice or some mashed potatoes. A healthy treat!

1st Date Pasta

3 Jun

yes, this sounds very funny, I know, but then again, I cant think of a time that I didn’t have a ridicilous title for my posts.I read about a girl today that has dyslexia and everyday she opens the dictionary and chooses a word. So I thought about my word for the past WEEK -Frustration: Frustration is a common emotional response to opposition. Related to anger and disappointment, it arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of individual will. The greater the obstruction, and the greater the will, the more the frustration is likely to be.

Yes, this is me ( typing it all with one hand, which might even increase the frustration),feeling uesless. So you can imagine what it must be like for that man of mine. My mother always said to me, even if you start feeling sorry for yourself, think about everything that is wonderful. I have a lot of these happy-filled bubbles 🙂

So, as I was sitting outside on my deckchair (desperate housewife-style), I looked around at my beautiful flowers, listened to the birds singing, and just the normal sounds that I have become familiar with ( Siren of a ambulance every 5 minutes ;-p)I fell instantly blessed -smelling a scent of a flower that I remember from my first date with my hubby…… the mischievous face of the fierce lion cub entering my mind, which still makes me smile. 🙂

It was a hot day, filled with the scent of flowers and our date was in Stellenbosch, in the courtyard of a beautiful restaurant. I remember when I walked in as he was waiting for me, looking up, thinking what a beautiful man, and what a terrible mistake. There and then I knew I was in love already and he was flying back to another country and my heart will be broken forever,dramaqueen!! The other part of the story was that I already looked at the menu earlier that day and decided I was having the Salmon pasta with cream, feta and roasted tomatoes. Coincidently, the hubby put the same order in for himself, so this is how the scent of a flower brought me to the memory of our first date, more so, a very similar dish that I made and never blogged about. So clearly, you know by now that this recipe is dedicated to my lovely, ever so handsome, mischievous hubby, because I still love him more that words can dare to describe,every day.

1st Date Pasta

2 salmon steaks

2 handfulls of cherry tomatoes

juice of 1 lemon

4 pieces of bacon cut into medium sized pieces

1/2 leek chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 block of feta cheese

handfull of fresh thyme

1 teaspoon garlic

250ml cream / soya cream


2 cups of rigatoni/penne pasta

handful of freshly grated parmesan

Place your salmon and cherry tomatoes on a baking tray. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and grind over some black pepper and salt. Put in preheated oven of 200 degrees celcius. Cook the salmon for 15 minutes and roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes. While this is cooking, heat a pan on the stove and add your garlic to the pan and pour in some olive oil. Fry your leek until soft, but stil firm and add your bacon.Fry until the bacon is almost cooked and add your lemon juice,thyme and peas.

Start boiling water for your pasta and remember to put salt in the water. When your salmon is done, rougly break it into pieces and add to your bacon mixture. Now add your cream and feta roughly broken into pieces and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Lastly, add your cherry tomatoes and mix it through gently. When your pasta is done, toss it with your salmon sauce and sprinkle with parmesan, plenty of love and enjoy!

crunchy broccoli and creamy chicken linguine

31 Jan

I confess…I was lazy, very lazy. It was one of those weekends when you have to do all the things that you don’t really want to do.. lets focus on the word “HAVE”. Clean the house, do the washing.. try and sleep late ;-p So after our paella experience, I felt like something meaty…. my husband’s home made hamburgers!! They are simply delicious! We had hamburgers with brie cheese and basil. I am sorry….. I didn’t take pictures because of two reasons: 1 – I was busy doing nothing, well, actually lying on the couch and reading and 2- I was too busy eating and enjoying the burger that I didn’t want to put it down to photograph it!! My sincere apologies!! Sunday cooking also nearly didn’t happen. We went for breakfast with my sister in law and her boyfriend. After a breakfast like that, you don’t even think about lunch. So after a few hours the tummy started to rumble again. This is what reminds me of my brother – however, I do it in a slightly “non-2 minute noodle” way.

So, back home, every sunday night, round about 7 in the evening, he would make a big bowl of 2 minute noodles, with a LOT of cheese and about a whole bottle of french salad dressing. It sounds horrible, but believe me, it is VERY tasty. So this dish I dedicate to my brother,I think this might be slightly healthier than his 2 minute noodle dish ;-p  Also, this is the perfect sunday night “pig out”, because technically it is still weekend, so you’re still allowed to be a bit naughty with your food! ;-p

1 head of broccoli

1 onion chopped

5 white button mushrooms chopped

3 pieces of chicken thigh fillets

4 slices of bacon

Chilli Oil

juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

Salt & black pepper

1  1/2 teaspoons mixed herbs

250ml Cream / soya cream

Parmesan cheese for grating

Drizzle your hot pan wit oil, add the garlic and start frying the onion until glassy. Add the mushrooms and bacon. When the bacon is almost done, add the mixed herbs. Meanwhile, start boiling the water for the pasta. Remember to season the pasta water with salt. Add the linguine to the water and toss in the broccoli for 5 minutes in the boiling water. Remove the broccoli. Now add the chicken to the mushroom, onion and bacon mixture. season with salt. When chicken is almost cooked through, pour over the lemon juice. Mix through and add the cream/ soya cream.Tip the chicken, bacon etc into the saucepan with the cooked and drained pasta and toss it gently. Transfer to a serving dish.Toss the brocolli over the pasta. Grate fresh parmesan over your pasta and enjoy!!! Njam njam!! This is comfort food, and you don’t feel too bad, because you’re eating broccoli! ;-p

drop in temperature calls for a little bit of indulging

26 Jan

So after a very busy day, another hold up on the train.. taking almost two hours to get to work again, the day started out in a similar way as it ended.. exhausting. After finally getting home, freezing and tired, I had a look in the fridge. One pack of chicken and one courgette. So I thought of  Tarragon Chicken. Most people don’t use tarragon, but I discovered it again after coming over to London. It has a strong, but distinct taste. So,this dish is dedicated to my hubby! If you want to give him heaven.. give him good food.. it makes him really happy 🙂 He loves cream, but unfortunately he is lactose intolerant, so I use soya cream. I have made this dish once, and my hubby fell in love with it – and oh how critical he is when it comes to food and cooking. So, I am sure if he loves it, you most definitely will! If you aren’t lactose intolerant.. do use cream!! The real thing is always better!! So this is fairly quick and you make it in one pan… less dishes = happiness!

Tarragon chicken with white wine & cream

1 pack of chicken, thighs or drumsticks or mixed

1 onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons of olive oil

2 teaspoons of garlic

3 teaspoons of tarragon

1 wine glass of dry white wine

salt & pepper for seasoning

1 large courgette, chopped in triangles

250 ml cream/soya cream

Heat a deep non-stick pan with one teaspoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of garlic and two teaspoons of tarragon.Fry the onion with the courgette until glassy, but still firm. Season slightly with salt. Remove from the pan.

Now add the remaining garlic,olive oil and tarragon and add the chicken to the pan to brown. Add the white wine and the onion & courgette mix. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and simmer, with lid on for 30 minutes. Remove lid and simmer for 10 minutes. This dish has a very mild, but tasty flavour. Serve with fluffy jasmine/ basmati rice or linguine. Whatever your taste buds desire!!