Category Archives: Chicken

Fusilli con Pollo

Evening

I’ve been experimenting again!  Again using my gorgeous new casserole.  I’m not entirely sure where this idea came from beyond the thought process of: these are the things I have in the fridge; I haven’t had pasta for a few days; let’s try that.  It worked out really well, and I made just enough to have leftovers for a yummy pasta salad for my lunch later in the week.  Win!

I’ve not gone crazy with the photos tonight.  Lucky you!

Love love

Gemma xx

Fusilli con Pollo

1 chicken leg per person
Olive oil
Red onion
2 cloves garlic
Mushrooms
Yellow pepper
Cavolo Nero
Fresh tomatoes
Small amount of Chicken stock (I used a few home-made concentrated stock cubes which I had frozen in an ice cube tray)
Half a lemon
Fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
Teaspoon of sugar
Fusilli

  1. Procure some chicken legs.  Ours came from the whole chicken A Man attacked with his cleaver the other day.
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  2. Heat the oil in a pan.  Brown the chicken legs and remove from the pan.  Turn the heat down to low.
  3. Dice the onion and finely chop the garlic.  Fry for a few minutes.  Slice the mushrooms, pepper and cavolo nero stalks and add to the pan.  Chop the cavolo nero leaves and set aside.  Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan with the cavolo nero leaves.  Add the stock and lemon juice and stir well.  Make wells for the chicken legs and replace in the pan.  Cover the pan and cook for at least half an hour or until the chicken is cooked.
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  5. Cook the pasta until it is al dente.  Drain and set aside.
  6. Remove the chicken  from the pan, stir through some fennel seeds, salt and pepper and a teaspoon of sugar.  Add the pasta and stir well.  Replace the chicken in the pan and cover until required.

 

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Bunny Ballotine

Good evening good evening good evening.

Tonight’s dinner could be described as a little extravagant for a weeknight meal, but sod it – I’m celebrating.  Today marked my last ever shift at Morrisons and consequently the last time I will ever be required to preside over the self-scan checkouts, which easily has to be the most hateful job in the universe.  Thus I decided that I had a very good reason to cook something unusual, slightly labour-intensive and a little bit cheffy.  I was really pleased with how this turned out, and although it tipped the scales slightly in favour of being restaurant food (as far as my cooking ever does) it was really good value to make.

If you can get your butcher to bone your rabbit for you, I highly recommend it as I made something of a hash of it.  Also, this would work equally well with chicken.  You can read about my reasons for eating rabbit here.

I realise this isn’t technically a ballotine, as I didn’t stuff it with anything.  However, I decided that it was a better name than “Bunny in Bacon” which was the alternative.

Much love

Gemma xx

Bunny Ballotine

Boned rabbit pieces
Buttermilk
Salt and Pepper
4 rashers rindless streaky bacon per person
Fennel
Parsnips
Savoy Cabbage

  1. Marinade the rabbit in buttermilk seasoned with salt and pepper.  Do this overnight if possible, or for a couple of hours if not.
  2. Grease some squares of tin foil (one per ballotine).  I used some of the fat I rendered from using A Man’s dad’s bacon to cook carbonara the other day.  Lay the bacon rashers, slightly overlapping one another, on the greased foil.  Stretch the bacon slightly with your fingers to thin it out, but be careful not to break it.
  3. Lay the rabbit pieces on top of the bacon.  If you are anything like me, and end up with lots of little pieces of rabbit rather than simply boned joints, that’s OK because the bacon will keep everything together.  Wrap the bacon around the rabbit, and wrap the foil tightly around the bacon, securing the ends.

    Action shot

  4. Bring a pan of water to the boil and turn down to a simmer.  Cook the parcels for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, quarter the fennel and parsnips (Peeling if necessary) and shred the cabbage.
  5. Add the fennel and parsnips to the water for 10 minutes.  Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat as high as it will go.
  6. Remove the veg from the water, place on the hot tray and put it back in the oven to bake.  Unwrap the rabbit and keep warm on a plate.  Turn the oven down to a medium-hot temperature.
  7. After the veg has been cooking for around 10 minutes, add the rabbit to the baking tray.  Cook the cabbage and serve everything once the bacon is crispy and the fennel and parsnips have started to brown.
  8. Serve with a light gravy (preferably home made, but we had Bisto 🙂 )

Aubergine and Mushroom in Fragrant Peanut Sauce

Hi there

I went a bit nuts on the veg front when I went shopping this week – there was so much different stuff I fancied buying, so last night it seemed to make a lot of sense to have a vegetarian dinner.  What I made was a mish-mash of stuff, but actually turned out to be pretty tasty.  Despite the long list of ingredients, it was also really quick to prepare, which can only be a bonus in my book.

My one piece of advice would be: don’t forget to put the rice on.  We ended up having disappointing cous cous, because it’s quicker to cook than rice.  Tonight we’re having the leftovers with added chicken and rice.  Or at least, that’s the plan.

Much love

Gemma xx

Aubergine and Mushroom in Fragrant Peanut Sauce

Y’know, imagine rice instead of cous cous…

Aubergine
Mushrooms
Leek
Red pepper
Root ginger
1-2 cloves garlic
Lemongrass
Kaffir lime leaves
Cumin
Ground coriander
Ground ginger
Toasted sesame oil
Crunchy peanut butter
Coconut milk
Some kind of sweetener – honey, brown sugar or agave syrup
Soy sauce
Fish sauce (omit if vegetarian)
Nuts (I used soy nuts)

  1. Chop all the veg into chunky pieces and place in a bowl.  Peel the root ginger and garlic, grate on a microplane and add to the veg.  Bruise the lemongrass, chop finely and add to the veg.  Crumble in a couple of kaffir lime leaves, and sprinkle on a generous amount of cumin, coriander and ginger.  Add a couple of spoons of sesame oil and stir really well to ensure everything is evenly distributed.  Leave to marinade for a couple of hours.
  2. Heat a wok until it is really hot.  Throw the veg into the pan and immediately turn down to a medium/low temperature.  Stir fry for several minutes, until the aubergine is cooked in the middle.  Cover the wok.
  3. In the marinade bowl, stir together a couple of heaped spoons of peanut butter with enough coconut milk to form a fairly thick sauce consistency.  Add a teaspoon of your preferred sweetener and a good dash each of soy and fish sauce.
  4. Add the sauce to the veg and stir well.  Once hot, adjust the sauce as required by adding more soy sauce, fish sauce or sugar.  Cook for a few minutes for the sauce to reduce slightly.
  5. Stir through the nuts at the last minute, and serve on a bed of rice.

Thai Green Curry

Why hello there, long time no see.

I must apologise – over the past couple of weeks I’ve been most unadventurous in the kitchen.  Dinners have consisted of either leftover freezer food or easy easy things which may be tasty but are definitely not blogworthy (spag bol anyone?!).  I have been occupying myself out of the kitchen (shock!), primarily with the assistance of sewing (preceded by incredibly necessary maintenance on my very very pretty but 50-year-old sewing machine), knitting, attempting to crochet and origami.  All with end goals in sight, I swear!  As a result I’ve been neglecting you – I’m very sorry for that.

Today has been gorgeous, and I wanted something fragrant and delicious for dinner.  I haven’t cooked thai food for ages, and the fact that we had to go food shopping anyway seemed like a perfect excuse to make a green curry.  It takes a while to make the paste, but it’s totally worth it.  This one’s almost soupy, the way I like it, but if you prefer a thicker sauce then you don’t have to add as much liquid as I do.  You can also make the paste in a food processor, but I find chopping and grinding it to be quite cathartic (although I did enlist the assistance of A Man when my arm got tired!).

Having never been to Thailand, I’ve no clue whether this is anywhere close to authentic, but it really hit the nail on the head for me.  Definitely what I needed to eat tonight!  You can change up the ingredients to use fish, prawns or veggies if you like.  If you’re making a vegetarian version, just use soy sauce instead of fish sauce.

Both A Man and I have been cooking with a lot of garlic recently, partially because we both love garlic, but also because one of the souvenirs he brought back from our recent holiday in France was a grappe of garlic from the Rennes food market.  The bulbs are really big, less harsh-tasting than supermarket stuff and frankly damned tasty.

Yes, we really did go to France and bring back garlic.  So shoot us.

Love love

Gemma xx

Thai Green Curry

Unveiling the curry 🙂

For the Paste
Root Ginger – about 2 cm
Fresh Galangal – about cm
Shallots – 2 or 3
Spring Onions – 3 or 4
Finger Chillis – 2-4
Garlic Cloves – about 5 fat cloves
Lemongrass – 1 or 2 stalks
Kaffir Lime Leaves – about 5
Zest of 1 lime
Pinch of course salt
A little vegetable oil

For the Curry
Chicken, prawns or whatever you fancy.  I used chicken thigh fillets, chopped into chunky pieces
Red onion, chopped
Butternut squash, chopped into thin slices
Carrot, chopped
Mushroom, sliced
Courgette, sliced
Sugarsnap peas
250ml coconut cream.  Not coconut milk, because the stock dilutes it somewhat.
250ml stock.  I used homemade chicken stock
Fish sauce/soy sauce
Coriander.  Fresh and chopped for preference, but I had to use some prepared coriander from a jar 😦
Juice of 1/2 lime

  1. Peel and grate the ginger and galangal with a microplane grater.  Squeeze the juice from any fibrous gunk and discard the fibrous bit.
  2. Finely chop the remaining paste vegetables and spices.  Use 2 chillis to start with – you will be able to add more later if necessary.
  3. Grind all of the paste ingredients together until it’s fairly homogeneous, although lumps are OK.
  4. Heat a little vegetable oil in a wok.  If using chicken, brown it all over and then remove from the pan.  Fry the paste ingredients for 3-5 minutes on a low heat, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the onion, squash and carrot to the paste and stir fry for 2 minutes.  Add the mushroom and courgette and fry for a couple of more minutes.  Stir through the coconut and stock and add the chicken/prawns etc to the sauce.  Turn down to a medium-low temperature, cover the wok and cook for 5 minutes or until the meat has just cooked through.
  6. Add the sugarsnaps, a few drops of fish sauce/soy sauce, a heaped teaspoon of coriander and the lime juice.  Stir well and taste the sauce.  Season further with fish sauce if necessary.  If you feel like it needs some more heat, chop up another chilli and fry for a minute or so in a separate pan.  Add to the sauce and taste again.  Remember, you can always add more chilli but you can’t take it away!  It’s taken me a long time to learn this 🙂
  7. Serve with rice noodles and crackers.  And spoons.  Definitely spoons – you don’t want to miss out on all that juicy deliciousness.

Hot and Sour Noodles

Hiya

The weather is crappy.  It’s miserable and windy and rubbish.  But it’s June and we shouldn’t have to be eating beef stew.  These noodles in their spicy broth makes life seem much much better 🙂  It’s just the right combination of light (so you don’t feel like you’re made entirely out of dumpling) yet spicy (so you don’t feel like you’ve been short-changed out of a decent meal on a miserable day).  It’s also incredibly quick, easy, and pretty good for you too.  I needed to use up the leftovers from our Garlic Lemon Chicken, but it would be great with just veg or tofu.  The advantage of using the chicken is that it had rather cunningly been flavoured with the right kind of things, and when I stripped the carcass down I squeezed the limes which had been in the cavity all over the meat.  Clever girl.  You can also use uncooked chicken, which poaches in the broth like in the Chicken and Sweetcorn soup I made a couple of months ago.

Love love

Gemma xx

Hot and Sour Noodles

Stock (I used ham stock, but chicken or vegetable would be just as good)
Juice of 1 lime
Garlic clove, finely sliced
Galangal, finely sliced
Half an onion
Half a courgette
Carrot
Red pepper
Tinned sweetcorn
Chicken or tofu (optional)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 red chilli, finely diced
Soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
Egg noodles

  1. Slice your veg into fairly fine strips.  Cut the chicken or tofu into chunks and set aside.
  2. Warm through the stock, sesame oil, lime juice, garlic and galangal.  Add the veg and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the chilli a little at a time, stirring through and tasting.  It is very easy to over-spice so try not to overdo it.  Dissolve the sugar into the soup and season with soy sauce if necessary (I didn’t need to as ham stock is very salty anyway).  Mine wasn’t quite sour enough so I added some cider vinegar as I didn’t have any more lime juice.
  4. Add the chicken or tofu, if using.  Simmer until cooked or warmed through as necessary.
  5. Break some noodles into the soup and simmer until cooked.  Serve immediately.

Garlic Lemon Chicken

Evening

Happy bank holiday!  I was at work today and yesterday, something made far more grossly unfair by the fact that A Man was off work and I would have preferred to have spent time with him than with members of the public.  *sigh*

He cooked my tea yesterday (toad in the hole) and tonight (roast chicken as below).  A summery way to cook, in order to try and ignore the crappy weather outside.  Feeling full up and content now.

Love love

Gemma xx

Garlic Lemon Chicken

Whole chicken
Butter
Garlic cloves, sliced
Salt
Herbs
Lime, halved
Lemon sauce as for Prawny Thing
Potatoes, Carrots and Courgette

  1. Mix the sliced garlic with the softened butter and lots of salt and dried herbs of your choice.  Separate the skin from the chicken and spread the butter underneath it, ensuring the breasts are well coated.  Place the lime in the cavity of the chicken.  Roast for around an hour and a half in a medium-hot oven.
  2. Scrub the veg as necessary.  Cut the potatoes into 2-4 pieces, depending on size.  Parboil for 5-10 minutes, then roast with the chicken for an hour.
  3. Top and tail the carrots and slice lengthways.  Roast with the chicken and potatoes for around 50 minutes.
  4. Chop the courgette into chunks.  Roast for around 30-40 minutes.
  5. Make up the lemon sauce as per the instructions for Prawny Thing and serve poured over the chicken and veg.  Lovely!

Chicken and Ham Pasties

Hullo!

Today has been a day of frustration.  Since yesterday afternoon, I have spent about 7 hours pinning and hemming a dress which still isn’t finished, and have consequently done very little else.  I needed some comfort food, and that’s just what I made.

I bought a cheap cooked chicken yesterday, which was good for very little because it was so dried out!  But in these pasties the meat is enveloped in thick, creamy sauce so it doesn’t matter so much.  The meat almost disintegrated into tiny strips, which it probably wouldn’t have done if it was more moist.  I used this Jamie Oliver recipe for leftover turkey, changing a couple of bits.  I didn’t have any leeks, which was a shame as I love leeks.  But as I had plenty of other veg to have with it I don’t think it really mattered.  I had gammon and ham stock in the freezer from when I made quiche and leftover chestnuts from the venison stew were also put to good use.  As I had enough pastry and filling to make 4 pasties, I froze the other two in separate freezer bags for another day.

Love love

Gemma xx

Chicken and Ham Pasties

A Man pointed out that there had been no veg prep involved here at all. The carrots and spuds were kept whole and boiled for a couple of minutes, and the marrow was such a baby that I didn't bother to peel or seed it - just chopped it into chunks and microwaved it. I love lazy veg! Apologies for the unfocused photo. It didn't look that bad on the camera!

Leftover roast chicken, cut into chunks
Gammon or bacon, cut into chunks
Olive oil and butter
Plain flour
Milk
Good quality stock
Puff pastry
Sage
Chestnuts, crumbled into small pieces
Egg, beaten

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan until the butter has melted and fry the gammon or bacon for a few minutes until cooked and starting to brown.  Add the chicken and stir well.
  2. Add a lot of flour to the pan and stir well until all of the moisture has been soaked up.  Add milk to the roux a little at a time until you have a thick sauce.  Add stock and milk as required to create a thick gravy.
  3. Drain the chicken-ham mix in a colander so that there is only a small amount of gravy on the meat.  Stir freshly ground black pepper through the meat and set aside.  If you are making the pasties in advance, allow this to cool completely before continuing.
  4. Roll the pastry out on a well-floured surface until very thin.  Sprinkle one half of it with sage and chestnuts, fold the other half of the pastry over and roll it again gently.  Cut the pastry into squares.
  5. Spoon the mixture evenly over one-half of each of the pastry squares, leaving a gap at the edge of each.  Brush the edge with beaten egg, fold the pastry over and seal.  Transfer (gently!) to a baking tray and brush the top with beaten egg.
  6. Bake at 180OC/350OF/Gas mark 4 until the pastry is cooked through and golden brown.  Reheat the gravy which was set aside, and serve with your favourite veg.  We had new potatoes, Roasted marrow and baby carrots.