Tag Archives: Chicken

What’s Cooking – Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup

What's Cooking - Chicken  & Sweetcorn Soup

I believe I am not the only person in the world who exhibits a particular behaviour when entering a restaurant for a repeat experience. The vast majority of people evidently do exactly the same. On an earlier visit you have a dish from the menu and it turns out to be a smash hit in flavour town and you gastronomically fall in love. Henceforth for time eternal every time you visit that restaurant you end up ordering that dish again in the hope of capturing that moment of true love, sure you may look through the menu, even hum and ha but in the end you will opt for that hope, again.

One such dish for me is served at our local Chinese restaurant, it is their sweetcorn and chicken soup, it is divine, thick, creamy and full of flavour, simply put it is heavenly and thus an inevitable starter no matter whatever else I intend to order. So as I am one of those “foodies” that truly believes that whatever I taste I can make it better myself at home as anything cooked at home has those missing essential ingredients that are rarely if ever found at a restaurant, being passion and love.

So you can imagine how I was fired up the other night when flicking through my cookbooks the other night looking for inspiration when I came across a recipe for my favourite soup, to the kitchen!

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 Chicken (with giblets if possible)
  • 1 Tin of creamed sweetcorn
  • 3 Fresh corn on the cobs
  • Couple of onions, carrots and celery stalks
  • 1 tsp of whole peppercorns
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley stalks (save leaves for latter)
  • Couple of bay leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken stock or water

Method:

Turn your oven on to 200C

Peel and wash your fresh corn on the cobs and then pat dry with some kitchen roll. Place on a baking tray and drizzle the olive oil over them. Give them a good rub all over to make sure the oil covers them full. Sprinkle some salt over them and pop into the oven for 20 minutes or until looking golden. Remove and allow cooling.

Whilst you corn is cooking wash and quarter you chicken and pop into a large pot. Roughly chop your carrots, onion and celery and throw them in the pot. Next our spices, so add the peppercorns, parsley and bay leaves. Finally add enough chicken stock or water to just submerge the contents of your pot and a good pinch of a nice salt crystal.

Bring to the boil and then gently simmer for an hour. Turn of the heat and leave to cool for half an hour. With some tongs gently extract the chicken form the pot and place into a bowl to drain a bit, the rest of the contents we need to sieve to remove the veggies and herbs we no longer require.

Remove the skin from the chicken and discard (unless you own a hound) and then remove all the meat and shred it into small strips and place back into the draining bowl.

With a sharp knife cut the corns from the cobs and place into a bowl.

Place the stock that is now free from any bits back into you large pot and bring back to the boil. Add one tin of creamed sweetcorn. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the bowl of chicken and any juices collected and carry on cooking for a couple more minutes. Finally add the bowl of roasted corn you have made earlier and season to taste.

Simmer for a couple of minutes and then serve and enjoy the subtle blend of flavours carried over your taste buds by a wonderfully rich chicken stock, bliss.

What's Cooking – Chicken  and Sweetcorn Soup

Now western food tastes would dictate that we should have something to go with this soup, now being a Chinese dish it is usually served on its own or as part of a larger meal. Myself I must admit to liking a nice fresh multigrain roll with lashings of butter as a partner or if you wanted to build on the corn theme of the dish some warm butter chunks of American corn bread works amazingly well! It’s like a ‘Merican and Far East Fusion thing, and it’s a marriage.

What's Cooking - Chicken  and Sweetcorn SoupWhat's Cooking – Chicken  & Sweetcorn Soup

Have you ever found a bizarre fusion of different cultural foods?

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What’s Cooking – 45 Minutes Roast Chicken

What’s Cooking – 45 Minutes Roast Chicken

First, let me start with an apology – I hadn’t planned on sharing this recipe, hence the lack of more pictures, but as it came out so delicious, I really wanted to tell you all about it.

The recipe for a 45 minute Roast Chicken is loosely based on the “Roast Chicken” from “On the Table in 30 minutes – One Pot” by Paraggon books. I say loosely, as I got the main idea from the book but then to make it work for me I had to change both the ingredients and the method to get it done.

So, let’s start with the ingredients:

  • 6 skinned chicken thighs
  • 500g of baby potatoes
  • 250g Brussels sprouts
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 2tbsp of multigrain mustard
  • 2tbsp of honey
  • 1tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 0,5tsp chilli pepper
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 1tbsp dry oregano
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat your oven to 240C.

Wash and peel (if needed) your baby potatoes and cut them into halves.

Chop the veggies into your desired size – I tried to make the carrots the same size as my potatoes and everything else was chopped into thick slices.

De-skin your chicken.

Prepare 100ml of chicken stock (stock cube, fresh or best of all make your own); then add to it: mustard, honey, wine vinegar, chilli pepper and crushed garlic plus a little bit of salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large heavy pan (I used my go to cast iron one). Toss in the onions and potatoes and fry them for 2-3 minutes; then add the carrots and courgettes. After a further 2-3 minutes, add all the remaining veggies – in my case peppers and Brussels sprouts. Fry them all for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Remove the veggies from the pan and place in a casserole dish, which will be suitable to go to the oven and will hold all the veggies plus the chicken.

Reheat your frying pan with some additional olive oil and start on the chicken. Please your chicken in the pan, add a generous amount of salt and pepper and fry on one side until lightly browned. Turn them over and add your earlier prepared “sauce” plus sprinkle all over with your oregano. Fry for a minute or two, and then transfer the chicken and all the sauce into the casserole dish.

Place in the oven and allow it to cook for 30 minutes.

After this time you will have one amazing dinner ready to be served.

What’s Cooking - 45 Minutes Roast Chicken

Just in case you are wondering how on earth I’ve managed to take a 30min recipe and turn it into a 45min one, I will explain… The original recipe calls for the whole dinner to be cooked in one pan (who would have thought it given the title of the book) and I simply do not own a cast iron pan to take this volume of food in one go, so I started to prepare it using two separate dishes, then decided that was a rubbish idea and just used my biggest pot I owned. Unfortunately as my decision was so late in the game I had not warmed my new pot up like I had with my two smaller pots. Therefore as my food was going from the frying pan to the cold casserole dish I needed to add some extra time to allow everything to heat up again, hence the longer cooking time. Anyway as it turned out I was saved and it worked perfectly… the chicken was falling off the bone and my veggies had still kept their shape and where just right.

Happy cooking!

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Three Quick Lunches with Cherry Tree Farm

My Three Quick Lunches with Cherry Tree Farm

When it comes to food, we would all love to eat fresh, healthy, home cooked meals, but too many of us struggle to find the time for it. Home cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be time consuming. It also doesn’t have to be at a master chef level to be enjoyable. You can create a nice meal with virtually no skills and in a very short period of time. All you need is a spoonful of willingness, a smidgeon of time and a dash of imagination.

Cherry Tree Farm offered to send me a selection of their products, so I can come up with some quick and easy meal options using theirs 100% British, cooked and ready to eat meats. For this moment there is a choice of 7 lovely poultry products to pick from:

  • American Fried Chicken
  • Roast Chicken
  • Roast Chicken Chunks
  • Tikka Chicken Chunks
  • Hickory Smoked Turkey
  • Roast Turkey
  • Turkey Ham

There are a lot of dishes ready cooked meats can be used for. Today, I would love to share with you my best three lunch options. They are all quick and extremely easy to prepare; and of course taste delicious.

The Humble Sandwich - Cherry Tree Farm

The Humble Sandwich

Difficulty level: extremely easy

Skills required: none

Ready in: 2 minutes

Ingredients:

The Humble Sandwich Cherry Tree Farm

Some might say that this sandwich is a boring option… me… I love a good sandwich. Just like with any dish, it is all about the ingredients. If you have fresh, good quality ingredients, you don’t really have to do a lot more to it… let the food speak for itself.

A simple meat sandwich made with a good quality roll or bread, spread with some real butter and of course a tasty slice of meat can be extremely satisfying. And the best part is… you do not need to have any cooking skills to make it. Even if you are not so handy with a sharp knife you can prepare it… just tear your roll apart… see, no knife skills needed.

Finger Food Platter - Cherry Tree Farm

Finger Food Platter

Difficulty level: easy

Skills required: chopping with a sharp knife

Ready in: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

Finger Food Platter Cherry Tree Farm

As long as you can use the knife, you can make it. Preparation time will depend on your cutting / chopping speed but I would judge that five minutes would be more than enough time even for the most careful chopper out there.

Food platters can look lovely and are therefore very inviting. They are especially fun f you have some company joining you for lunch. Use toothpicks to move food over if you like clean hands…or feel free to dig in with your fingers… after all it is a finger food.

Chicken and Rice Salad - Cherry Tree Farm

Chicken and Rice Salad

Difficulty level: easy

Skills required: chopping with a sharp knife, cooking rice

Ready in: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Chicken and Rice Salad Cherry Tree Farm

Now, we have reached a “level 3” lunch recipe – cutting and cooking skills required. Actually, this isn’t necessary true. If you don’t know how to cook rice or want to save some time, cheat a little and use a packed, almost ready to eat rice, which you just microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Anyways, all you have to do in order to create this lovely light salad is to chop all the other ingredients, mix them well with a good spoonful of mayonnaise and flavour to taste.

I actually cut the cheese with a knife, but you might prefer the grated option. The main difference is in the taste – cheese cut into cubes will give you less but bigger chunks, meaning once you bite into it, you will taste mainly cheese; the grated option on the other hand will give you more cheese all over your salad making in general your salad taste slightly more cheesy 😉

If you have the time and are feeling brave – add some chopped boiled egg into it or a small tin of garden peas.

I like this type of salad mainly because it is rice based; it is perfect for packed lunches and keeping in the fridge for when you can’t be bothered to make anything, it will serve you well as self standing meal.

Three Quick Lunches with Cherry Tree Farm

So, there you have it… my three quick and easy lunches.

Now, it is your turn… what’s your quick and easy favourite lunch idea?

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Cooking with Gousto – Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous

Lately I have been cooking with the wonderful people from Gousto. Today I would like to share with you their recipe for Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous. Yes you may start drooling….

This is a truly delightful dish bursting with flavours from the earthy cumin to the bright zing of the orange in the couscous (a new discovery for us, but from now it will be a regular feature as couscous goes so well with the orange!).

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous Recipe

This lovely Moroccan recipe (as stated below) will serve 2 and it should take you no longer than 25 minutes to complete… unless you like us are taking 100s of pictures during the process or spending extra 15 minutes on separating your oranges into perfect segments 🙂

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breast fillets, skinned and boned
  • 2 oranges
  • 2tbs honey
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 spring onion
  • 120g couscous
  • 10g fresh mint
  • 1tsp of ground cumin
  • ½ chicken stock cube
  • 200ml of boiling water
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C.

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous - chicken preparation

Butterfly the chicken breast and lay out flat on a worktop board. Cover with some cling film and then with a rolling pin or meat tenderiser flatten out the chicken till it is around 1cm thick at most.

Sprinkle over the cumin and drizzle with some olive oil and massage into the chicken.

Add salt and pepper to taste and place in a roasting tray and pop into the oven for 10-15 minutes until cooked.

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous - couscous preparation

Boil a kettle and measure out 200ml of water. Use this water to dissolve half of the chicken stock cube and then add it into your couscous, give it a quick stir, then cover and set aside for a good 10 minutes.

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous - orange preparation

Now for the fiddly part, take your oranges and cut of the top and bottom so they can stand up straight. Cut the skin into sections from top to bottom to help with peeling. Once you have skinned the oranges you now need to remove all the pith. There are two reasons for this, firstly the pith is bitter and so we don’t want it spoiling our dinner and secondly we need to see the segments of the orange for the next step.

With the sharpest knife you own cut the oranges on either side of the membrane of each orange segment. This is best done over a large bowl so you can collect all the juice drops, we will need them later. Remove all the segments and set aside, throw away the core.

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous - dressing preparation

Add the honey and the saffron to the orange juice and give a good stir to help release the colour and flavour from the saffron as well as mixing in the honey.

If your chicken is finished then remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes.

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous - herbs

Fine chop your mint and spring onion and set aside.

Cut you chicken into slices and coat with half of the orange-honey-saffron dressing.

Add the orange segments, mint, spring onion and the remaining saffron dressing to the couscous and mix well; then fluff up with a fork.

If you would like you can dress the couscous with a drizzle of olive oil and then season to taste.

To serve just lay the chicken to the side of the couscous salad.

Enjoy!

Cooking with Gousto – Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous

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What’s Cooking – Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

I love tomatoes, especially the home grow kind – fresh, sweet, full of aroma… There are so many dishes they can be used for and Fresh Tomato Soup is one of the meals I enjoy the most.

There is however a huge difference between home grown tomatoes and the ones you can buy in a supermarket. If you want to make a truly tasty tomato soup you simply can’t buy the cheap range ingredients. Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to suggest that value or so called salad tomatoes aren’t good for anything, but they aren’t for sure good enough for a tomato soup. In order to get the flavours you need to splash on a higher end of veggie section, or even better hunt your local farmer down (yes, I know this might not be so easy at this time of the year… My apologies, it took my ages to get around to actually writing this recipe down and the tomato season is over).

So, let’s start with the ingredients:

  • 500g of chicken – we used chicken thighs, which are actually perfect for the soup
  • 300g of smoked pork belly
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 large leek
  • ½ large celery; the root end (so called ugly part), not the nice stalks
  • 1kg of ripe, good quality tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • Good handful of chopped basil
  • 1tbs of pepper corns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 100g of wild rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for frying

Method:

Wash and peel all root vegetables – carrots, parsnips, celery and leeks – place them into a large cooking pot, add chicken, pork belly and a pinch of salt, pepper corns and bay leaves then fill with water about 2-3cm lower than a rim of the pot.

2. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Fire-up the cooker and let it cook for at least a couple of hours.

In a second pot start cooking your rice. The rice doesn’t have to be hot when your soup is served so it can be cooked well in advance. Make sure that your rice isn’t overcooked in fact it is better slightly undercooked. You really don’t want to have sticky rice in your soup. Oh, and don’t forget to add a bit of salt to your water.

Now would be a good time to start working on our tomatoes. Wash them well and place in a large bowl. Boil a kettle of water and pour hot water over your tomatoes and let stand for 30sec or so, this will allow you to remove the skins without any problems. Skin the tomatoes and chop into 1cm cubes.

3. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Chop the onion and prepare a good handful of fresh basil.

Take a large frying pan; add a bit of olive oil and start with frying your onions. Fry them until soft but still light in colour (don’t let them change the colour). Add the tomatoes and basil and fry on a low heat for around 10 minutes.

4. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Once done, pop all of the mixture into your soup. Let it all boil again and cook for further 30 minutes.

Now is a messy part. We have to remove all the meat from our soup and all other large chunks. You can use a sieve to do it or just use spoon with holes and fish out all the necessary ingredients.

Put the pork belly aside for the moment.

De-skin, peel and chop your chicken meat.

Cut all the root vegetables you want back in your soup into smaller chunks. (You can chop the veggies up at the start of the cook but I use big size veggies as sometimes I have to discard some of them like the celery in order for family members to actually try the soup, and I don’t want to lose any of the flavours by missing them out completely).

5. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Pop your veggies and chicken back to the pot and use a food blender to turn your soup into a cream.

Add fresh ground pepper and stir well.

Chop your pork belly up into small bite sized cubes.

My Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild RiceFresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice.

Serve the soup in a bowl with the small pork belly chunks and a spoonful of the earlier cooked rice.

Enjoy!

my Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice.Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits, Basil  and Wild Rice

Link up your recipe of the week

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What’s Cooking – Quick and Easy Chicken Wraps

What’s Cooking – Quick and Easy Chicken Wraps

In general wraps can be as easy or as difficult meal as you want it to be. Normally we would prepare homemade salsa and guacamole to go with it as well as a lot of fried veggies like onions and peppers making it more like a Fajita, but not this time…

…This time we were not in the mood for a long cooking session and all we wanted was some quick and easy meal which would be healthy and tasty and yet be done within minutes. As we had a few chicken breasts in the fridge and some wraps in the pantry the choice was pretty obvious… chicken wraps it is…

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts or as many as you want / need; we normally use 1 large chicken breast per person
  • Some ready to eat wraps
  • 1 gem lettuce
  • ½ large cucumber
  • Few ripe tomatoes
  • Few tbsp of mayonnaise
  • Seasoning to taste

Method:

Wash, dry and chop your chicken breast into small pieces either being cube like or long thinner strips – the choice is up to you as long as the pieces aren’t too big.

Add spices of your choice, we used a Cock Flavoured Seasoning (no, I did not misspell it) and a bit of Hoisin Sauce and fried on a preheated pan for 10 minutes or so until tender and slightly brown. Remember to toss them over regularly so your chicken cooks evenly.

Whilst frying your meat, you will have time to prepare your other bits and pieces.

Slice the lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes into desired chunks – we like thick tomatoes slices and long thin cucumber sticks 🙂

Once your meat is cooked, all is left to do, is to put your wrap together.

Take one wrap (warm or cold, the choice is yours) and add a thin layer of mayonnaise on top of it (if you aren’t a huge fun of pure mayo you can always make a burger type sauce by mixing 1/3 mayo, 1/3 ketchup and 1/3 mustard) or better still a swirl of sour cream.

Place your lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and the meat in the middle of the wrap, leaving few centimetres at the bottom free of any filling. The key thing here is to use only a little food as it is all too easy to overstuff your wrap so that folding and eating become major challenges.

Fold the bottom part of the wrap up, and then fold both sides in covering all the earlier placed filling. If your wrap doesn’t want to stay together, use a wooden toothpick to keep it in place (just remember to remove it before you get carried away eating it please).

Eat and enjoy.

It is that simple!

What’s Cooking - Quick and Easy Chicken Wraps

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What’s Cooking – Quick and Easy Chicken Tandoori

Quick and Easy Chicken Tandoori

Slow cooking is great and we all know it but sometimes we all have a need for a quick meal. Last week I received some lovely marinades from Ambu Tree. I was keeping them for a weekend BBQ but on Wednesday we found ourselves without any dinner. A quick rummage through the fridge and cupboards gave me an idea for a meal – we were about to have chicken tandoori.

Ingredients:

  • 750g chicken breast
  • 1 Ambu Tree Mild Tandoori Marinade
  • 1 pepper (optional)
  • 1 onion (optional)
  • 4-5 mushrooms (optional)
  • Olive oil for frying

What’s Cooking  Quick and Easy Chicken Tandoori

Method:

Cut the chicken into desired size of cubes. Mix well with a pot of Ambu Tree marinade. Fry on medium heat pan for about 10-15 minutes. Dinner served!

Optional if you have more time and feeling more adventurous chop the veggies– chop peppers, onions plus a few mushrooms in half and place them in a baking tray. Add a small drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Once they are cool to touch slice them into smaller pieces and add few minutes before your chicken is done. These roasted vegetables will add a totally different dimension to your meal.

Quick and Easy Chicken Tandoori from AmbuTree

This Chicken Tandoori is perfect for serving with rice as a part of a dinner or you can pair it with a nice toasted bagel just like we did for something lighter and more snack-like. It will also make a perfect sandwich or baked potato filler.

Normally we do not use readymade marinades. Mark likes to mix all the herbs and spices on his own but Ambu Tree are not just your standard marinades. They are natural and healthy; suitable for vegetarians and vegans, free from gluten and diary. Where else would you find a tandoori marinade which is diary free? Ambu Tree marinades come in the form of a thick paste and are made from freshly roasted and ground spices. They are packed with flavour. 100g pot will serve 4-6 people. When used on 750g of chicken breast it was thickly covered. I would say it would marinade a 1kg bag of meat without any problems. Priced at £3.85 per pot they will not break anyone’s bank and will enhance your dining experience. So, if you are not feeling like messing about with spices and don’t have a whole day for cooking, I would highly recommend giving Ambu Tree marinades a try. For this moment you can pick from: Mild Tandoori, Spicy Tandoori or Chinese Five Spices.

Happy Cooking!

my Quick and Easy Chicken Tandoori

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

Weekly Photo Challenge Summer Lovin’

Challenge set by The Daily Post

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Pets and raw meet

Last night at dinner time Mark was making some homemade chicken kievs (that where delicious I must add), anyway we had a little bit of raw chicken breast left, what to do with it? My thinking was “What a great treat, let’s give it to the dogs”. Mark agreed as dogs are supposed to eat raw meat, as they would in the wild. To my surprise Bunk wasn’t very interested. He sniffed it and licked it but that was it, he just looked at me as if to say “Any chance you could roast that for me, maybe a bit of garlic or just some herbs…”. As for Lilly she didn’t even come close to it, looking like we were trying to poison her!

I really thought it was weird. It was fresh, good quality chicken breast. Ok, it was raw but I never heard about Cordon Bleu dog restaurants and master chefs or even fussy pooches Lilly is a Labrador they would eat their back leg if they go more than a couple of hours without something to eat… I thought they will enjoy it, how wrong was I?

Nothing lost; we gave it to the cats and they “hoovered” it in no time

Nothing lost; we gave it to the cats and they “hoovered” it in no time

Do your pets eat raw meat?

I don’t think we have ever tried to give them anything raw before; I just want to know, was it chicken they did not like or the fact it was raw? Or are they just a pair of spoiled brats….

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