Seasonal Scrumptiousness

A Couple of weeks ago, Friday 13th of June to be precise, Ben Jackson at BBC Radio Leicester popped over to my house to do another Fab Food Friday recipe.
  My Kitchen Garden was an array of  fresh herbs and the start of seasonal vegetables, so what a lovely way to pop into the garden and see what we could salvage.
  I decided to do a dish that Families or anyone could get involved in the making of these little beauties. I chose to do Chicken Goujons but made them more exciting with the use of all the herbs that went in there. One in particular that I feel makes this recipe stand out is the lemon verbena. If you like growing herbs, please go and get some now as its fab! 

  I find it really hard sometimes when I hear families say they don’t have time to make these because in the same time I made them, it would take longer to open a frozen packet job  *cringes*  and cook them in the oven. Children AND Adults will love making these.
  This is a Great Dish for this time of year. Its Seasonal, Zingy, Vibrant and using up herbs and vegetables from the Garden. 
  Lots of Sport going on at the moment, So just the Goujons alone with that dressing and an Ice cold beer is great when having your mates round. This certainly has gone down a storm for my Friends and Family already. 

Just click on this link to hear Ben and myself preparing, cooking and more importantly EATING this recipe

Herby Chicken Goujons with Seasonal Salad and a Ranch Style dressing:


Here is a photo AFTER we dived in there!

Ingredients:

Chicken:

–  1 x 460g pack of Skinless Chicken Thigh Fillets
(6 Thighs will make approximately 20 Goujons)
–  2 slices of stale bread (I used Sourdough)
–  A Handful of a selection of fresh herbs;
         -Lemon Verbena
         -Lemon Thyme
         -Sage
         -Rosemary
         -Oregano
–  1 1/2 spring onion (only green parts)
–  Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper to season.
– 2-3 eggs whisked
–  3 Tbsp of Plain Flour
–  Tbsp of Rapeseed oil or any oil of your choice

Salad:

–  Jersey Royal Potatoes or New if you can’t get
–  Fresh fine British Asparagus (still in season now),Blanched and chopped into inch and a half pieces.
– A selection of Salad Leaves such (I used a “Living Salad”) Spinach, Watercress, curly etc would all work fine also.
–  A Handful of Fresh Broad Beans
–  A handful of fresh Radishes Sliced
–  Fresh Peas podded, could always use Frozen if need be
–  Edible flowers to decorate:
    – Borage
    – Sage
    – Rosemary

Ranch Style dressing:

–  2 Tbsp of Greek style Natural Yoghurt
–  2 Tbsp of Mayonnaise 
–  1 Tbsp of cider Vinegar or White wine vinegar
–  2 Tbsp of Finely grated parmesan cheese


Method:

–  Preheat your oven to 180-190c 
– Cook your Jersey Royal potatoes for about 15 mins
– Whilst they are cooking away, pop your herbs, bread, Spring Onions and seasoning into a Hand Blender or Processor and Blitz
–  Take 3 bowls, Place whisked eggs in 1, Flour in the other and your breadcrumb mixture in the 3rd.
–  Slice your chicken thighs into 3-4 pieces per thigh (long strips)
–  With one hand place the chicken into the flour, then egg, then Breadcrumbs. Repeat the process and put all onto a plate.
–  Heat up a frying Pan with a drizzle of your oil. Fry off the Goujons for a minute or 2 until starting to colour, then turn over and repeat.
–  Pop into the Oven on a baking tray for approximately 12 minutes
–  Drain off your Potatoes and Blanch your asparagus in boiling hot water for no more than 1 minute.
– Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process
–  Make up your dressing by mixing all ingredients together
–  Arrange your salad “rustically” with the added Peas, Broad beans and Radishes. Place the Goujons on top, drizzle with the dressing and decorate with the edible flowers! Done!








St George’s day, 450 years of Shakespeare and the start of the British Asparagus Season





I was on my own yesterday for St George’s Day (Well me and Drake the Cat should I say),  So I wasn’t sure wether I was going to do something Patriotic or not? I should though! ( I thought to myself), being English! 

   Last year I made a Hearty Beef Pie dish but I couldn’t possibly attempt to eat that all to oneself and I believe most of my friends were busy doing something or other.
  It was wonderful to see also the fact that we were celebrating 450 Years of William Shakespeare! I actually felt rather guilty that I had hardly read any of his work and shock Horror…never seen a play. I did feel quite disappointed in myself and began to scour through “Kindle” to see what I could buy and to my astonishment, some of his most famous work was free! Brilliant! I would have preferred a “real book”  of course! but this was convenient for me. 

   Earlier that morning I had already made some homemade Wild Garlic and Fennel seed bread along with some Pesto, just to start using up the vast amount I already had of Wild Garlic in the fridge. So I had a rather nice looking loaf which would be ready to slice by lunchtime.  Whilst pottering about at this time I was listening to BBC Radio Leicester, Rupal Rajani was on and asking people what makes us predominately “English”? or rather, what springs to mind when you think of the English? It then came to me, what my dish would be for St George’s day.  A Ploughman’s Lunch, with a couple of Modern ingredients added for my taste.  I then imagined Shakespeare ripping some bread and Cheese apart with a big Glug of Ale. I’m not sure wether he would have liked the ingredients of Bread, Chutney and cheese (The basics of a Ploughman’s).  But I do know that since the first mention of this dish in “Pierce the Ploughman’s Creed” (c.1394) of Bread, Cheese and Ale it is still a great Lunch for any Worker now. Something so simple yet hearty and stable.  Shame our Patriot St George couldn’t have experienced it back then after Slaying the Dragon! 
  Here’s my version of this great Pub Lunch that I had in My Kitchen diner instead.




My Ploughman’s Lunch with Homemade Wild Garlic and Fennel Seed Bread:

Bread Ingredients:

–  500g of Crusty Wholemeal bread mix consisted of Wholemeal flour, Chickpea Flour and the Dry yeast. (I used this because it needed using up and I wanted Wholemeal flour for this, not White Flour) 
–  A big Handful of Wild Garlic leaves finely chopped.
–  340 ml of lukewarm water.
–  Salt and Pepper.
–  Sprinkle of Fennel Seeds for on top of loaf.


This is the first time I have used a Packet Bread mix and I was pleasantly surprised.  I still had to knead the dough and do all I would have anyway so that still made it fun.  Here is the process to the packet instructions.


Here as you can see I have Kneaded the dough and placed in a greased Loaf tin, covered with a wet Tea Towel and placed in my airing cupboard for 15 mins.

 After 15 Mins I took out the dough, folded and kneaded it again with the Wild Garlic in and let it rise for another 30 mins in the airing cupboard.

 Placed the Fennel Seeds on top and into a preheated oven at 220c for approx 30-40 minutes.

                                                               

As you can see regarding the rest of my Lunch, it consisted of Boiling an English Egg, blanching some English Asparagus, placing some lovely English Ham onto the plate. Popping my Local Tomato Chutney into a Ramekin.  Chopping My English Spring Onion, Slicing my English Cheese, picking my Home grown Salad leaves and Pouring My English Ale! … I think you get the Gist now!