Tag Archives: lemon

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.

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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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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

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

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

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

Shrimpin business

18 Jan

AvocadosaladOr should I say “shrinking. No REAL new year’s resolution. I’m mentioning this because I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about the “I joined the gym, I’m going to lose weight”, ” I’m on a diet, I’m going to lose weight” style of conversations every year. This is just not going to work. In everything, consistency and being serious about your health is key. No crash exercises or diets.

My new year resolutions – 2 things. One is to try my utter best NOT to eat gluten. Unlike most people, I get physically ill when eating wheat, gluten or too much fibre. Its not that I don’t want to eat it, believe me, I’d just stuff my face with it all if I could, but the after effects are so bad that I have vowed to focus and just not give in. The second resolution is not to moan about how bad I feel AFTER I’ve given in. Yes. They’re naughtily tied together.

This means less carbs.. and I REFUSE to buy gluten free products, because I believe these are actually worse for you than eating gluten. Have you seen the expiry dates on those? Most of them are almost a year. You know what they say, the longer it keeps, the worse it is for you. Only fresh and healthy, that is the route.

Luckily I love seafood, and the carnivore lion man does too!! Unfortunately I always have to give him a little piece of toasted bread with some olive oil etc. to make sure that tummy of his is all filled up!!

I love having frozen seafood in the freezer. It never stays in there for too long though. In this case, I just had a pack of cooked shrimp. Many ways to make a yummy salad with those buggers, but in this case I went for a bit of retro shrimp cocktail style salad. Why did we stop making these, they’re awesome, a real classic! This is my take on shrimp cocktail.

Zesty Shrimp Cocktail

salad

Ingredients

500g frozen shrimp

handful of baby radishes

2-3 gherkins / pickles

1 curly leaf lettuce ( or your favourite lettuce)

1 pack of asparagus

1 tablespoon of butter

juice of half a lemon + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice ( for asparagus)

1 ripe avocado

1 tablespoon of tomato sauce

3 tablespoons of mayonnaise to your preference

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Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the asparagus to the pan and toss it around in the butter. Flavour with salt and black pepper. Now add the tablespoon of lemon juice. Keep on tossing the asparagus in the pan until cooked but firm ( al dente).

salad

In the meantime, boil your kettle. Place the shrimp in a colander in your basin and pour over the shrimp.

Finely chop the gherkins/pickles. Mix it in with the mayonnaise, tomato sauce and lemon juice. Flavour with salt and freshly ground pepper.

salad

Roughly chop the lettuce and slice the radishes. Cut your avocado into squares.

salad

Arrange the lettuce in your favourite salad bowl.

Now place the asparagus on top of this and sprinkle the radishes over and around. Finally top it with your shrimp mixture and avocado and voila!!

salad

If you’re like my man, you can enjoy it with a fresh crusty bread or some toast soldiers.

 

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.

35-blackberries

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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