Tag Archives: dinner

Creamy Tarragon & Dijon Spring Chicken

12 Jun

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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!

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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.

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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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zesty and tangy summer chicken

4 Aug

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

Cheeky lamb pie

25 Jan

pie

Most of us have this notion that we cook a leg of lamb for Christmas or Easter. NOT my man with his rumbling tummy!! He tends to come home with a huge piece of meat, and then stares at me with a cheeky smile. In this case, you’ve guessed what it is! He also has a way of putting in his order at the right time too!!

Our friends Franco & Sonia moved back to London from Spain, so I cooked a Sunday roast with this leg of lamb. ( recipe on the blog) Is it strange that they don’t eat as much as we do? We might eat a little too much! I won’t comment further, because we then had a fair amount of meat left. The ultimate – when you can make a pie from venison, lamb or a good cut of beef roast. My oh my!!!!

This doesn’t occur, ever! A very cheeky dish and most people will say its a waste of good meat to use lamb in a pie, but I can tell you, no wastage there!! Try it for yourself and we’ll see.

mushrooms

Ingredients

1 dish of lamb leftovers ( mine was about 2 big handfuls of lamb)

1 x teaspoon of olive oil

2 x handfuls of mushrooms, chopped

1 x onion, roughly chopped

3/4 cup of red wine

1 1/2 teaspoons corn flour

1 x pack of all butter pastry

1 x egg

3 pinches of all purpose flour

salt & pepper to taste

mushrooms

Add olive oil to the pan. Fry the chopped onions until glassy. Add the mushrooms and fry until light brown. Now add  your lamb and start mixing through. After 5 – 7 minutes, add the corn flour.

onion & mushrooms

Mix through, ensuring it coats the mushrooms and  meat. Now add the red wine. Along with the heat and the corn flour,  it will now start to thicken the red wine into a tasty gravy.

Cook this on a low heat, until thickened. Put aside and allow to cool.

diced lamb

Take a little bit of butter or non-stick cooking spray and spray a 30cm square Pyrex dish or any dish of a similar size.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Sprinkle the flour on a kitchen top surface and swish it around a little bit to give you an area where you’ll be rolling out your puff pastry. Now get your rolling pin and start rolling!!!

puff pastry

I usually place one piece of pastry in the bottom of the dish, then I dish in the pie filling. Beat the egg and get yourself a little basting brush. Brush the edges on the bottom half of the pastry. Place the other half on top and gently squeeze the edges together. If you have any pastry left, cut little forms with cookie cutters and place it on top.

rolling pin

Brush your whole pie with the egg.

beaten egg

Last step : take a sharp knife and make a tiny hole in the middle of the pie or use an adorable pie bird!

lamb pie

Bake in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes or until golden brown. The final step is to remove it from the oven and look at the hungry buggers’ faces, waiting for the very first piece of that pie and then decide who you’ll give it to first!

lamb pie

Buttering up with a butternut soup

18 Jan

butternut

London is in its typical winter mood. Icy cold, a bite in the wind that you cant shake off and that ongoing darkness. This will be something that our friends happily forgot when they moved back from Spain to London. True to my style, I wasn’t too happy to go outside today, seeing its weekend and all and its freezing!!!

butternut pieces

Glancing at my little vegetable stand, I had two butternuts peeking at me. Butternut soup? When last did we have that?! Well, needless to say, I just had to mention “butternut”t to the big old lion and he was sold!  I can’t say the same for my friend Franco. When I mentioned it, he half-heartedly pulled a face and mentioned that it is not really one of his favourites. I can tell you one thing, he ended up asking for seconds. I didn’t even manage to photograph the soup, it was finished before I got the chance to do so. New things DO happen daily in London! Just ask my new soup fan!

whole vegetables

Butternut, orange and coconut soup

2 butternuts, peeled and roughly chopped

Teaspoon olive oil

2 red onions, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

250ml coconut cream or coconut milk

500ml chicken stock

juice of half an orange

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

salt & pepper to taste

red onion, vegetables, butternut soup

Gently fry the onions in the olive oil until soft and sweet. Add the butternut, salt, pepper and cumin. Mix through for about 5 minutes while it cooks and infuses with the onions.

chopped vegetables

Add the chicken stock. Allow to boil until the butternut is nice and soft.

coconut cream and stock

Now, add your coconut cream and mix through.

crushed garlic

Finally, add your orange juice, mix through. Blend till smooth with stick blender or blender.

cumin

soup

Serve with a squiggle of fresh cream drizzled in the soup and some warm, crusty bread.

soup

It’s Pimm’s a clock.. giving the British a bit of a shock..

5 Aug

I think most of us know by now that the Brits are well known for their drinking habits.. and not necessarily their eating habits or great food!  In this case, they might feel a little bit sensitive about using their world famous Pimms in a crispy duck dish! Some of them might say that I’m “well right cheeky” for even attempting it.

If there is one thing about the British that is a guarantee ( which I hope will make this dish a selling point ) – they love fruit!  In all forms. Dried fruit, fresh fruit, fruit with chocolate, fruit as dessert, fruit as a treat, fruit & biscuits… they will have fruit with almost anything possible, even hot chocolate! So basically, this is almost like Forest Gump and Bubba with their little “shrimpin” business.

Joining in on the whole “cook only what is in season” craze, I have jumped on the bandwagon too!  If you can buy 2 punnets of blackberries for £2 –  no1, you have to buy it, it’s cheap!!  No2,  if your family,  or my (now) increased – appetite- non- stop – eating (always hungry) husband does NOT eat fruit, you have to get creative! And so we come round to the duck.. which seems to be in season for quite some time.. as it is unbelievably affordable.. and always makes me feel “well noble”!

Duck is a very fatty poultry, but exquisite when all the fattiness and crispy skin is combined with something sweet, spicy and acidic to cut through it. So, the 3 main musketeers for this recipe is Duck, Blackberries & Blackberry & Elder flower Pimms.

Crispy duck with blackberries  & Pimms

3 x duck legs

1 punnet of blackberries ( about 2 handfuls)

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

Salt & pepper to taste

75ml blackberry & elderflower Pimms ( any blackberry liqueur if you don’t have Pimms)

4 x small wedges of lemon

Make sure your duck legs are room temperature. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Tip: The key to this dish is also to have a heavy based, shallow frying pan that can be used on the hob and in the oven.

lemon

Season your duck legs with freshly ground pepper and salt and rub it into the meat. Now, heat your frying pan. It needs to be nice and hot, similar to frying a steak. When the pan is hot, place the duck legs skin (fat) side down. You want it to fry till the skin is nice, crispy and brown.

When the skin is crispy, sprinkle the cumin seeds over the duck, before turning it over (skin side facing up)  to cook the other side of the legs. Be careful, the heat will make the cumin seeds shoot around like little popcorn kernels. As soon as you’ve turned it around, add the Pimms, making sure that you don’t pour it over the crispy skin. Pour it around the duck. The top, crispy side of the skin should be “Pimms free”.

Now, take some of the blackberries and place them around the duck in any available space. I usually place a few around the duck and then use the rest as a cushion for the duck to lie on, placing them underneath the duck.

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Take the lemon wedges and place the skin side up around the duck. Place in the oven for 45mins. Tip: Do not cover with a lid or foil, because you want the skin to stay crispy.

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I usually serve this with a tomato, mozzarella & basil salad, and some creamy mash with the sweet and zesty sauce cutting through the creamy mash.  You can also serve it with fresh , crusty bread and dip the bread in the blackberry and duck sauce, or even serve with some plain, simple and delicious jasmine or basmati rice. Enjoy!

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