Piri piri chicken

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Most of us, including myself love a dish that can be thrown together easily, take not much time but come out bursting with flavour. Who wouldn’t? Plus even better, one you can throw on the BBQ too?

As I’m writing this today and looking outside to how lovely a day it is. The Sun is shining, the birds are tweeting and all you want to do is come home to not much at all and sit in the garden with a nice chilled glass of something. Dare I say not really wanting to even think much about dinner.

I thought I would share this recipe as a couple of weeks back on a Sunday evening this is what I “threw together” not expecting much but turned out to be now a favourite in our household. We ate the lot…not in one go of course! * Sarcasm maybe*

This is great to do as the marinade can be done the night before or just a few hours before. I only did mine for an hour first time and worked perfectly.

Tonight or in the near future cook this recipe. Don’t reach for the ready meal or the telephone to order. Fire that BBQ up and cook this to go along side potatoes, rice, salads and coleslaw. I did homemade chips and homemade coleslaw the first time. It went down a treat. I can guarantee , it will be a sure winner indeed.

 

Ingredients : 

Serves up to 4

  • Chicken pieces such as thighs and drumsticks ( I had nine altogether )
  • 2-3 cloves  of garlic ( depending on size ) finely chopped
  • A good sprig of fresh oregano finely chopped. If you can’t get fresh use dried but fresh is so much better in this case.
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1/2 a green chilli pepper and 1/2 red chilli pepper, seeds included, chopped finely. If you want it more hot, use more. Less, use less!
  • A good spritz of lemon.
  • 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper to season.

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Method:

  •  Place the chicken and all ingredients into a bowl or large freezer bag. Mix all together and make sure all the spices are coating the chicken.
  • Allow the chicken to marinate for a couple of hours or overnight.
  • Pre heat your oven to 180c when you are ready to cook and then place in the oven for about for 15-20 minutes or when your chicken is thoroughly cooked through.
  • In between though, baste your chicken with the juices half way through and at the end.
  • Serve with a side of your choice and a glass of something and enjoy!

 

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Chicken, red wine casserole with parmentier potatoes and local king cabbage

 

 

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Even with how many recipes I develop on a day to day basis, it still begins to amaze me when a dish turns out fantastically especially when you were just using the odd thing up in your cupboards and fridge.

It was last month on a Sunday and I said to my partner I was going to do a bit of a fridge/cupboard raid for dinner. I called it a chasseur at the time just because it was cooked in red wine but I’ve decided to call it a casserole as it was cooked the same way.

This recipe blew my mind with how the red wine tasted in it. The wine I use isn’t too expensive but one of which we love in our house. A South African Stellenbosch.

Earlier on in the day we had been to our local garden centre to actually look for another blueberry plant to help with pollination. We did get one. However when we first turned up, they had these huge King cabbages for sale at only 40p! As you can see by the picture below, it had these vivid green and purple tones that were just mesmerising. I knew it would taste nice and would stretch to lots of meals for us.

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This was the sort of meal that for an occasion, date night maybe or a Sunday that you are fed up of the same roast, this a great alternative and so easy to cook. It somehow feels a little extra special but still comforting and warming at its best.

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts ( Or 1 per person )
  • 4-5 chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
  • a knob of unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped/sliced however you like
  • 1 large leek sliced
  • 1/2 celery stick chopped
  • 3/4 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • a sprig of thyme
  • a good handful of chervil, if you can’t get use a little parsley and tarragon
  • 250ml red wine ( I used a South African Stellenbosch )
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree, may need to use a little more
  • Chicken stock, Use a 1/4 gel pot or homemade. You need enough to create a lovely sauce. I used about 300ml of water. Add more if need be.
  • salt and cracked black pepper to season

Parmentier Potatoes:

  • 6/7 medium sized potatoes, I use marfona Peeled and chopped into squares
  • A handful of rosemary
  • 3-4 garlic cloves crushed
  • Plain flour for dusting
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil

 

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Method:

  •  Preheat your oven to 190c

 

  • In a heavy bottomed casserole dish, seal off the chicken breasts in some rapeseed oil.

 

  •  Take out your chicken once starting to colour and pop aside. Then in the same pan add a little more oil and a knob of unsalted butter and fry off your onions until starting to soften.

 

  •  Add in your carrots and celery and stir. Then add all other ingredients . Pop the lid on and place in the oven for about 45 mins-hour.

 

  • In the mean time you can prepare and cook your potatoes. Blanch the potatoes in boiling water for 3-4 mins.

 

  •  Drain and sprinkle your flour over the potatoes coating them.

 

  •  Place a baking/roasting tray in the oven with a little rapeseed oil in it. Once hot pop the potatoes onto it ( it should sizzle ) with the herbs and garlic and place in the oven for about 15 minutes or when crispy, golden brown.

 

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  • Once the casserole and potatoes are done. Best way to cook this cabbage is boil your water first and then once rapidly boiling plunge into the hot water. It will only need about 4-5 minutes cooking maximum and will stay vivid green.

 

  •  Once the cabbage is cooked, serve all together and enjoy.

 

 

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Sausage, veg & mashed potato bake

 

 

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Crispy mash top

 

I have just come in from being in the garden ( yes, sowing already )!  And even though we had glorious sunshine this morning in Leicestershire, it now has turned somewhat dull, and cloudy with a nip in the air still, due to the changing of seasons.

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Looking “Spring – like” in my garden. That is my rocket that has gone to flower in the background.

 

I’m starting off the week with a recipe that I have made twice now in our household and both times we have gone back for seconds, in fact one house guest actually had thirds!

We had this yesterday for our Sunday dinner as I had currently bought some reduced pork sausages and my leeks were only 21p too, bargain. The first time I made it was on a Friday night when a friend of ours stayed for the weekend. I wouldn’t have normally cooked something like this on a Friday but I’m glad I didn’t do my first choice, which was a fish pie…as it turns out, he wasn’t keen on fish! I was meant to write about it then, but it went down so good that muggins here forgot to take photographs.

This dish is great for a family midweek meal. By all means, if you don’t want the wine in it, take it out. It’s such a frugal recipe that will stretch far for portions and has lots of hidden veg inside too. I have used frozen peas and sweetcorn in this so for families who have the frozen mixture with carrots in also, use that if you like.

What a  great way to make sausage and mash that little bit more special. A real, rustic bake that you will have your family wanting more.

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Not the greatest photo, I admit, but I can assure you, this is comfort at its best.

Ingredients:

( Serves up to 6 people or 4 very generous portions )

  •  1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  •  1 pack of 8 British pork sausages ( not with a lot of herbs )
  •  2 onions sliced
  •  1 leek sliced
  •  A good splash of red wine ( I used a French full bodied ) about 125ml * Optional *
  •  1 tbsp tomato puree
  •  dash of Worcester sauce
  •  1/2 tbsp of Damson jam or any thing such as red current jelly to a similar taste
  •  Fresh herbs ( small sprig of each ) rosemary, thyme and sage
  •  handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn ( defrosted and drained )
  •  1/2 pork stock cube
  •  2 tbsp of chicken gravy or pork ( good quality )
  •  Salt and cracked black pepper to season ( may not need salt )

Mashed potato topping 

  • 8 good sized potatoes ( I use Marfona from a local farm )
  •  2 good knobs of unsalted butter
  •  1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  •  dash of double cream ( 100 ml )
  •  Salt and cracked black pepper to season if needed.

 

Method:

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Pretty self explanatory really…some sausages cut up!

 

  •  Boil your potatoes. Mash with the other ingredients or use a potato ricer like I did, then add in the ingredients.

 

  • Preheat your oven to 180c

 

  • Fry off your sausages until starting to turn golden brown.

 

  • Cut your sausages into 3 and place into your chosen oven proof dish.

 

  • Fry your onion until starting to soften and turn colour. Add in the red wine, tomato puree, Worcester sauce, Jam or jelly, stock and gravy and stir together. Add 300ml of water or until consistency is correct for a thick sauce. Taste to see if you need anything else more.

 

  • Add in your leeks and herbs. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Adding water if need be. Pour the gravy mixture over the sausages.

 

  • Scatter your peas and sweetcorn over. Cover with the mash and fork the top to create lots of crispy bits.

 

  • Pop in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with green veg such as cabbage, Spring greens or broccoli.

 

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Layering up

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That crispy top again. You’ll fight for this corner/ end bits! 

Pork and prawn crispy spring rolls

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It’s Chinese New year this weekend, the year of the Rooster and what better way to celebrate the coming of a new Spring with these lovely Spring rolls. They also are meant to represent wealth by looking like “Gold bars”.

I started to create these recipes by using one wrapper per spring roll which they do work like that, however will either break or go a little soggy after a short period of time. So because I have done smaller sized ones, I simply doubled up on the wrappers and they work wonders!

If you are celebrating the Chinese new year or want to be involved these are incredibly so simple to make.

If you wanted to do a vegetarian version, simply leave out the prawns and pork (obviously) and then add in maybe some beansprouts and chestnut mushrooms.

I don’t normally deep fry a lot of food so this recipe is a true treat. It makes a great starter to a meal or just simply a great snack for other times of the year.

Here is a link where you can hear me on BBC Radio Leicester with Ben Jackson and simply going through how to make them for you! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04qz7r3

Ingredients:

( Serves approximately 24 spring rolls )

Filling:

  • 250g Pork Mince chopped/bashed down again with a meat cleaver or strong knife.
  • Half a bag of 225g Frozen king prawns ( defrosted ) and then chopped as fine as you can get them. – These are still great flavour to fresh but cheaper in price.
  • 1/2 227g tin of water chestnuts chopped
  • 1-2 carrots depending on size, into strips using a veg peeler.
  • 2-3 leaves of Chinese cabbage/lettuce or you could use pak choi shredded.
  • 2-3 spring onions finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 thumbnail size amounts of fresh ginger grated
  • 1 tsp of Chinese five spice ( I used Spice Kitchen’s blend )
  • a handful of fresh coriander chopped
  • a good pinch of caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce.

– 1 packet of spring roll wrappers/pastry, defrosted. ( I used 250g weight ones but any other size, you can cut them down.

– 1ltr bottle of vegetable oil or groundnut oil.

– 2 tbsp of cornflour mixed with a little water for your “Glue”

– A wok to deep fry in!

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Method:

  • Place a damp towel over your spring roll pastry to keep them moist.
  • Put all ingredients for the filling into a mixing bowl and mix through.
  • Heat your oil in the wok. Pop in a piece of bread to see when it is ready for deep frying.
  • Onto a plate take two of your wrappers and place the square into a diamond shape, so as a corner is facing you.
  • Take a tablespoon of your mixture and place it in the centre of your parcel, making a rectangular shape.
  • Fold the corner into the middle which is nearest to you, then fold in the outer corners to the centre of the spring roll. A bit like an envelope.Tuck in and roll to the centre. Place some of your cornflour mixture around the top corner to form a ” glue” and roll into your spring roll.
  • Pop into hot oil and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Take out with a slotted spoon and drain onto kitchen paper.
  • Simply serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.

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Double cheddar cheese and chive quiche with chive flowers

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Pies, tart’s and quiches are never perfect looking when I make them. I like the rustic look when I make them for the household, cliche I know but it looks homemade then.

The thing is I am not actually a great quiche lover, well I have to say, I don’t really like most shop bought ones, they have to be really good quality and then you find that the price is quite shocking for a small pastry case filled with egg. So believe it or not, when it comes to this time of year through the asparagus season and just before Wimbledon, I always fancy a quiche!
They are quite good when you think about it as you can use produce up including eggs, milk, cream. Any veg you have or when you come to the end of a packet of bacon or sliced ham and not quite sure what to do with that last slice. However for this recipe I had an abundance of beautiful chives that had flowered and I wanted to showcase how tasty eating the flowers are. What a perfect recipe to do for my regular slot on BBC radio Leicester with Ben Jackson. You can hear the recording of myself and Ben HERE
Whatever occasion you may have coming up wether it be a friend coming round for a cuppa, an alternative tea or even a picnic. A quiche can be a winner.

National picnic week falls from the 11th-19th June 2016, one of my favourite National weeks.

 

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Ingredients:

Pastry:

250g plain flour
150g Stork margarine chopped into cubes
a good pinch of sea salt
a pinch of caster sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp cold milk

Filling:

4 eggs
125ml double cream
100ml milk
a handful of chives chopped into 1.5cm length
sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
75g welsh slate cheddar grated
75g mature cheddar grated
( You can use any cheddar you like as long as they are different to each other but give a bit of a punch in flavour)

Method:

Place the flour in a heap onto your work surface and make a well. Add in your butter, pop an egg on top, add your salt and sugar and then start to mix in together with your fingertips.

 

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Once the dough starts coming together add your milk. Bring the pastry together to form a ball, then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge until using.

 

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Preheat your oven to 190c. On a floured surface.Roll out your pastry to 2mm thickness. Line your chosen tin with the pastry and then with baking parchment and “Blind bake” with baking beans/lentils or rice for 15 mins.

After 15 minutes reduce take out your baking beans and then cook for a further 5 minutes.

Whisk your eggs, cream, milk and seasoning together in a jug. Add a layer of cheese, then custard mix, then chives, repeat again to fill your pastry case.

 

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Place in the oven for 30-40 mins.

 

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* Once cooked all the way through and golden on top, add your picked chive flowers, place on a cooling wrack to cool before slicing. Or as I did, place in the fridge overnight, then eat.

 

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