Stunningly Simple …

I’m a huge fan of Nigel Slater, not least because his recipes are delicious and they ALWAYS work! This chicken recipe was taken from ‘eat‘, a perfectly pocket sized recipe book. The chicken is flattened and then liberally sprinkled with salt, the zest of lemons and limes and some chilli flakes. The grill is then used to quickly cook the chicken without it drying out. I served ours with boiled rice and steamed broccoli – for a more decadent meal next time, I think I’ll cook the rice in coconut milk:

 

To follow we had  vanilla cupcakes. I made these for my son and his school football team as the dessert at their ‘Sportsman’s Dinner’. They were topped with fudge cubes and chocolate coated popping candy!!

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Cheerful Chicken and a Tricky Trifle …

Yesterday, my parents and my parents-in-law came for our annual triple birthday lunch, both of my children and I have birthdays around September/October and we’ve got in to the habit of hosting a lunch to celebrate all three in one go. I decided to try a new bread recipe – Ficelles with Truffle Oil. These were incredibly easy and satisfying to make, first in my mixer with a dough hook, they then rise a phenomenal amount, they are then cut into strips and left for a second proving. The smell of the truffle oil was amazing, it filled the kitchen. Alongside the ficelles, I served one of my family’s favourites, Lemon Chicken with Herbed Rice. The combination of paprika and flour coated chicken, drizzled with a lemon, soy, olive oil and balsamic vinegar was a winner. To follow, we had a choice of Beetroot and Chocolate Cake and/or Trifle. It’s been a long time since I made a trifle and chose to make all the components from scratch. Vanilla cupcakes were used for the base layer, soaked in sherry, these were followed by raspberry jelly – I used frozen raspberries and leaf gelatine both of which worked a treat. Now for the ‘tricky’ part – the custard. I’ve made vanilla custard before and have never had an issue with curdling. Yesterday however, I did have such an issue. When my second batch curdled, I was convinced I’d have to resort to my tin of ‘Bird’s Custard Powder’ – I decided to look to Google to help me out and after sieving, blitzing, adding a tiny amount of cornflour (custard made without starch is particulally prone to curdling apparently) and gently re-heating, I had a custard that I could use on my trifle. As custards go, it wasn’t the most solid but the taste was definitely there. Our trifle was topped with lightly whipped cream and caramel-chocolate chunks. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food:

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My mum, who’s blog is here: www.leadupthegardenpath.com asked me yesterday about collaging photos, it reminded me that I can do this too, hence my photos of our food from yesterday. If you get the chance, take a look at her blog, she is after all where I get my sense of creativity from!

Retro Chick(en) …

Coronation Chicken is a real blast from the past, a true ’70s dish and one that I’d not made for many years. It was a meal that my aunt served us when we stayed with her in France recently, my boys absolutely loved it, it was definitely a meal that they wanted me to prepare once we arrived back home.
I served it with some cold boiled potatoes and some lettuce, it went down a storm:

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My boys will be having the leftovers tonight with some freshly baked Focaccia bread.

Bread, Chicken Noodles & Chocolate …

This title is a summary of our food this weekend. We had the bread yesterday for tea, it was really tasty and was great fun to make as it contained both bacon and grated cheese :

Bacon & Cheese BreadTwo of these loaves were eaten almost straight from the oven, we had another warmed through for our breakfast this morning and will probably have the last one at some point tomorrow.

Today, friends came for lunch and we had Chicken & Coconut Noodles followed by Chocolate Lava Cakes. The noodles were the highlight of our main meal, they were cooked as normal, then a ginger and coconut sauce that had been made yesterday, was added to them and warmed through whilst the chicken, chillies, ginger, onions and red pepper were stir fried:

Chicken & Coconut NoodlesThis was served with salad and spicy dressing:

Salad & Spicy DressingDessert was Chocolate Lava Cakes. I’ve always shied away from these as they have appeared quite tricky to master. Ensuring the outside of the cakes are cooked whilst the middle is still runny was a bit of a challenge, but I think I just about succeeded:

Chocolate Lava CakeThese were served with raspberries and home made vanilla ice cream. I couldn’t get a decent photo of the inside of the cakes as I’d put them in bowls – next time I’ll serve them on plates just so I can get a shot of the runny insides!!

 

 

 

Mighty Pasta …

I loved planning this meal, my parents came for lunch today and they had to get involved with the prep too. I made some pasta and decided to ‘shape’ it myself. What I hadn’t really thought through was the fact that each shape would have to be individually made. Cue family pasta making, we ended up with quite a good system going, me on the pasta machine, rolling the sheets and then cutting them in to squares, boys and husband on folding and shaping. We managed to get most of them done before my parents arrived – I was then busy making drinks so my Dad took over cutting the pasta sheets. I’m so glad they helped me, I’d have been there all day otherwise. I cooked chicken with a white wine sauce, leeks and mushrooms and steamed broccoli and green beans. The pasta itself only took 3 minutes to cook, we called it ‘Mighty Pasta’ because it was shaped like a Bishop’s Mitre …

I’ll certainly be roping the guys in to help next time I decide to make pasta myself.

 

Spring Chicken …

we are lucky enough to be having the most amazing March weather at the moment. It’s warm enough to eat outside – to spend most of the day outdoors in fact. There were 8 of us for lunch today and it was lovely to all be sitting around the table in the garden. As an affirmation that Spring has truly sprung, I made us a chicken dish, originally called ‘Summer-in-Winter Chicken’ but I’ve renamed it Spring Chicken!

It is simply chicken, fried in a little olive oil, with pesto and crème fraîche added, followed by plenty of halved cherry tomatoes. I served it with a green salad, dressed with olive oil and some rice cooked with saffron. I made the pesto myself and in fact it didn’t have any pine nuts in it at all so probably shouldn’t be called pesto. I mixed lots of finely chopped fresh basil with some olive oil and chopped porcini mushrooms and was really happy with the result ❀