Fennel and Chicken Soup

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A fabulous combination! And a great way to use up left over chicken…oh and one of my very favourite vegetables!

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Ingredients

1 fennel bulb – trimmed and cut roughly into 3 or 4 chunks.

1 tulip shallot – or a small onion if not available

1 litre of chicken stock

A pinch of saffron

A pinch or two of smoked paprika

A clove of garlic crushed

About 100 gm left over chicken meat – no skin

A little olive oil

50 gm unsalted butter

50 ml milk – optional

METHOD

Pop the fennel chunks in a food processor with the shallot and whizz until well shredded. Heat the oil and butter in a pan and when warm add the fennel and onion. Pan fry gently for about ten minutes until the fennel becomes soft. 

Add the garlic. Stir for another minute or two. Pour in the chicken stock and add the saffron and paprika.  

Put a lid on and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Pop the chicken in the food processor and whizz until broken down. Add to the soup. 

Simmer for a further 15 minutes with the lid off.

You could now add the milk – or cream if you want to be remarkably indulgent (!)  – and simmer for another minute – then remove from the heat , and blend down gently with a stick blender.

Serve with warm crusty bread!

I promise you, this is full of fabulous flavours!

 

 

Chicken with peppers

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Pollo con peperoni – chicken at its most supreme

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Supper last night and I was in the mood for chicken…and for pasta…and I had some cream left over and a red pepper…so it had to be this dish…simple and such a refreshing change.

INGREDIENTS

400gm chicken fillet cut into strips

1 large red pepper deseeded and cut into strips

100 ml olive oil

2 small red onions peeled and thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic peels and finely chopped

Teaspoon of dried red chillies

100 ml white wine

Salt and black pepper

8 cherry tomatoes quartered

Small bunch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped

150 ml soured cream – single would be fine too

METHOD

Heat half the oil in a large deep pan – a non stick wok with a lid would be dandy – or a stainless steel casserole pan. Add the onion and fry gently over a lowish heat for about 5 minutes until soft. Remove from pan into a bowl and put to one side.

Add the remaining oil – add the chicken – raise the heat to medium and brown the chicken for around 6-8 minutes.

Return the onion to the pan with the garlic and the dried chilli.

Pour in the wine and let it reduce by half. Add the red pepper slices.

Season with salt and black pepper. After 4 minutes stir in the tomatoes. 

Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for around 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Remove the lid and stir in the cream. Add the chopped parsley and after a minute or so – serve with pasta.

A colourful southern Italian dish with more flavours than you could imagine.

Enjoy!

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Chicken Cannellini and Chorizo One Pot

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This is a perfect mid week supper – simple and satisfying with sufficient zing to warm up your engine!

 

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INGREDIENTS for 4

2 tbsp olive oil
500g chicken breast cut into chunks
4 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
Splash red wine
275g chorizo, thinly sliced
1 x 400g  can chopped tomatoes
200ml  chicken stock
1 x 400g can cannellini beans, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful chopped fresh coriander
Crusty bread or a good warm flat bread, to serve

METHOD

  1. Heat half of the  oil in a large pan. Add the chicken, grind over some black pepper, and fry, turning frequently, until lightly browned all over. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  2.  Add a little more oil to the pan, then fry the chorizo until crispy, add to the warming plate with the chicken.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, celery and chilli and cook for five minutes in the juices left over. Add a splash of red wine and simmer until reduced by half.
  4. Add the can of chopped tomatoes to the pan with the vegetables, stir and bring to the boil. Cook for five minutes, then add the stock and bring back to the boil.
  5. Add the browned chicken, the cannellini beans and the crisp chorizo and half the chopped coriander – simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through –  no lid. Season, to taste, with a tiny bit of salt if needed and a little more ground black pepper.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining chopped coriander and serve with crusty bread.

This went down well last night and was hoovered up very happily by the family.

 

 

Simple Sunday pleasures…

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Nothing fancy today – just good honest fresh ingredients. An organic chicken stuffed with a quartered lime, coriander, spring onions chopped and a knob of butter – placed on a bed of thinly sliced shallots and olive oil. The breast and legs smeared with a Thai red curry paste called Gang Ped and popped in a preheated oven at 220c for 30 minutes then reduced to 180 for another 30 minutes. The paste produces a succulent, slightly smoky jus that is fabulous poured over the veg and meat at the end.

I saved it with roast potato and sweet potato chips and steamed buttered kale that had a waft or two of black pepper and sea salt over it.

That was it – and it was good.

A sprout is for life…not just Christmas

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Sprout, Pepper and Chicken Stir Fry

I want to extol the virtues of this marvellous vegetable (oft maligned unfairly) over the coming months, starting with this simple stir fry. The health benefits of greens are all publicised and out there on the web for you to check out – and sprouts come right near the top of the pops when it comes to all they have to offer to protect your body and keep it healthy.

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Ingredients for 4

600 gm of noodles – I used a ready to wok variety

12 sprouts, tailed, outer layer removed

1 long red pepper

3 chicken breast fillets

Bunch of spring onions, topped and tailed and finely sliced

For the sauce – 

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons sake (rice wine) – or dry sherry 

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

2 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoon soy sauce

Or you could just use, as i did last night – as I was in a hurry (!) a shop bought 125 gm sachet of oyster and spring onion sauce

Vegetable oil – or you could if you wish use sesame seed oil

Method

Deseed and thinly slice the red pepper into match stick lengths. Finely slice the sprouts. Slice the chicken into thin pieces.

Heat the oil in your wok. When nice and hot add the sprouts and red peppers and stir fry for about two minutes until the peppers start to go soft.

Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and put to one side. If necessary add a little more oil then pan fry the chicken on  high heat until cooked through – it will only take a few minutes. Then tip in the peppers and sprouts and cook together for a further minute or two.

If making your own sauce, now add the spring onions and fry for a minute, then add the other ingredients and mix well as you continue to cook for a minute then add the noodles. (If using a ready made sauce sachet, add the noodles first then add the sauce mix). Either way, I like to mix it all round then lower the heat and pop a lid on, letting it all steam together nicely for a minute or so whilst the noodles cook. 

Serve on warm plates with bowls of sweet chilli sauce, plum sauce or hot sauce on the side – depending on your mood!

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The sprouts go so well in this dish and they will make you want to add them to lots more dishes!

Don’t just forget them until next December!

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Chicken and Chestnut Mushroom Casserole…

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A wonderfully warming winter casserole courtesy of Italy and the mighty Gino D’acampo.. This is a dish to lift the spirits – simply and satisfyingly. No cogitation needed – just get on with it! I had some of the sauce left at that end which made the base of a fabulous soup the next evening.

Serves 6

Olive oil

6 medium skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 onion peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peelt and finely chopped

2 celery sticks finely chopped

200 gm chestnut mushrooms chopped roughly

150 ml Italian white wine

400gm tin of chopped tomatoes

100 ml passata

200 ml hot chicken stock

Tsp of sugar

1 tbsp of oregano

So, preheat the oven to 180c. Heat the several good splashes of olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat and fry the chicken breasts for 8 minutes until they are brown all over. Do not move them around. Remove with a slotted spoon and set to none side.

Add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms to the casserole and fry for 10 minutes over a gentle heat stirring now and then.

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Add the wine, stock, tinned toms and passata plus the sugar and oregano. Return the chicken to the dish along with any juices. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and pop in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. It look good if you can transfer it all at the end onto a large serving platter and bring to the table.

Serve with lots of crusty bread  and bonhomie!

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Summer Time Chicken Supper

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Pan Seared Chicken with Honey Dressed Salad and

a Radish & Lime Yoghurt Sauce

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This is a healthy, filling and unbelievably tasty supper for a warm summer evening – and no carbs!

I served it last night for the first time and the plates came back cleaner than they went out!

 

For the Radish Sauce

6 radishes topped & tailed & sliced thinly
1 red onion finely diced
200ml Greek or any good natural yoghurt
Juice of a fresh lime
Salt and black pepper

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Green salad leaves of your choice – I like something peppery – rocket, lamb’s lettuce, water cress plus beet leaves or radicchio – tis up to you!

 4 chicken breasts, each sliced into about 4

A little ground coriander

For the dressing

6 tbsps of olive oil
2 tbsps red wine or raspberry vinegar
A large tbsp of runny honey
A dash of salt and black pepper

Mix together in a serving bowl all the ingredients for the radish sauce Pop in the fridge.

Make the dressing and pop to one side.

Coat your slices of chicken in the coriander and a little pepper and salt.
On a hot griddle, sear the chicken pieces turning constantly until they are cooked through and then remove from the heat.

Plate up the salad, add 3 or 4 slices of chicken on each, then drizzle over the honey dressing.

Spoon a couple of servings of the luscious radish sauce on the side and serve.

 

This is a sure fire winner. Simple, taste bud pleasing, inexpensive and good for you!

All purpose red pepper cream sauce…

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All purpose red pepper cream sauce...

This is a classic standby of mine…you can have it over chicken, pork, fish, or just simply over a good bowl of fresh pasta. This is a red pepper chopped and pan fried with a chopped clove of garlic in olive oil until the red pepper starts to brown a little. Then add a sprinkle or two of rosemary and a grind of black pepper and sea salt. Add a slice or two of prosciutto cut torn into pieces. Fry for about 30 seconds more. The peppers should be soft. Add a small pot of fresh single cream. Heat through for another minute or two, then pour over the dish of your choice…
marvellous, cheap and simple.

Simple Early Summer Sunday Roast…

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Simple Early Summer Sunday Roast...

Hey! No frills here. Nothing fancy. Just blending good quality ingredients that capture early summer sun whilst clinging onto typical English Sunday roast values. First, take a really well sourced organic chicken – stuff it with 6 or 7 garlic cloves, half a lemon and a fair drizzling of olive oil. Rub the skin with oil, then sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and dried crushed chilli seeds.
Then finish off with a swirl or two of balsamic vinegar. Pop in a preheated oven at 220c for 20 minutes. Then turn down to 190c for a further 40 minutes. Boil about 4 or 5 new potatoes halved per person for last twenty minutes of chicken time. Arrange on a large platter a mix to your taste of salad greens plus 12 tasty baby tomatoes halved. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a dash of sea salt. Once the chicken is ready, take the meat off the breast and the legs and arrange on the platter. I also made my own sage stuffing balls, and added them once they had cooled a little. Add another swirl of olive oil, and serve with the jus from the chicken.

This is such a wonderfully tasty Sunday dish, that dispenses with the usual heaviness of an English Sunday roast, and feels light, summery and full of promise. Easy, adaptable and fun.

Oh, and simple!

Chicken Pepper Wrap with Cumin Crisps

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Chicken Pepper Wrap with Cumin Crisps

Speedy supper tonight. 4 left over chicken thighs, cut into thin strips, 3 red pepper halves that had been marinated the previous day with olive oil, garlic, baby tomatoes and basil for a light lunch and had been thankfully left over – cut into strips too and pan fried with two spring onions sliced thinly. Once they had attained a sparkly, gleaming brightness, I pushed them to one side of the pan and added the chicken and pan fried it until it was browning a little. I then stirred it all together and added some fresh coriander. This was now in a state of extreme bliss.

5 or 6 Majorcan new potatoes were sliced thinly – not peeled – and pan fried in hot olive oil with a generous sprinkling of cumin and rock salt.

Just as the chicken was about to be served I ground over some lemon thyme salt. I added a portion of the chicken pepper mix to a wrap, plus some of the fabulous juices along with a few baby salad leaves and some cumin crisps on the side.

Instant satisfaction.

P.S. Dear Mr Jagger – if you still cannot get any of the aforementioned abstract noun – please try these wraps.