Crispy Chicken Goujons with Spicy Salsa

This is one of these mid week meals which takes moments to prepare, but rewards with delicious crispy chicken and tangy salsa flavours.

I wanted to keep this healthy so I oven roasted the chicken goujons instead of the usual deep fried affair. This keeps the dish much lighter but the chicken remains mouth wateringly tender and crispy.

I made a salsa as I wanted to use up the evenings harvest of heritage tomatoes and Numex Twilight and Birdseye chillies. The salsa and plain rice turned the dish from finger food into a full meal.

This was a household hit and I will definitely be making this again.

When coating chicken or any other meat in breadcrumbs I find it best to use one hand for the egg and the other hand for the dry bowls. I do each piece one at a time so that every last bit has a generous and even coating.

Roast Chicken Crispy Goujons : Last One

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Chicken Broccoli and Cashew Nut Stir Fry

This is a great Monday night meal, 15 minutes of prep and 10 minutes cooking.

By the time that the Thai Jasmine rice is ready, the chicken and cashew nut stir fry is practically ready to be served.

I like my stir fries chilli hot so added some Numex Twilight and Little Elf chilli varieties from the garden. These chillies have a bit more heat and flavour compared to your supermarket bought Birdseye chillies.

I bought the chicken breasts on the bone, which is significantly cheaper than buying prepared breasts. It only takes a moment to cut the breast bone off and to remove the skin!

Dry roasting the cashew nuts really brings out their flavour and helps to release their natural oils.

The sauce is simple, again using the Sweet soy sauce that I am ever so fond of.

I would have preferred to have used Thai Basil instead of normal basil, but with the onset of autumn, I no longer have a ready supply from the garden.

Chicken Cashew Nut and broccoli Stir Fry : Last shot

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Chicken Provencale

Following on with my autumnal and comforting meal theme, I decided it was time to cook Chicken Provençal.

I have very fond memories of this dish, with my mother making this for myself and my three brothers.

The roasted peppers, capers and black olives give a distinct Mediterranean vibe.

This meal really does not take long to prepare - and once done can be left in the oven on a low heat should you wish to serve this after a nice long walk!

Roasting the peppers really helps to intensify their flavour, as well as remove the skin from the final dish. The same can be done with the tomatoes - but frankly life is too short on a week night.

Chicken Provencale : Last one

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Chicken and Mushroom Pie

Chicken and Mushroom Pie has to be one of the all time great comfort foods.

Here in London, it is cold damp and windy. Not pleasant at all - especially with it being dark going and returning from work.

This is where comfort food excels and one reason why I love the Autumn/Winter seasons. Out with the salads and in with the hearty stews, pies and puss! The kitchen comes alive with mouth watering smells.

My Chicken Pie, is a little bit of a faff, what with cooking the ingredients separately, however, it is well worth the effort. I like my pie to come complete with the vegetables, so I parboil the broccoli, add sweetcorn and delicious butter fried golden chestnut mushrooms. The leeks, shallot and garlic add a lovely depth. The tarragon and white wine give subtle complexity to the filling.

I reckon this pie takes a good 60 minutes of preparation, so generally better for a weekend.

Saying that, I made this on a Tuesday night for my sister-in-law. I confess I was sweating by the end of it, but got it in the oven in under half an hour! Happy

This tastes even better for left overs. I personally like to serve this with homemade piccalilli.

Chicken and Mushroom Pie : And another

Chicken and Mushroom Pie : Delicious chicken mushroom pie

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How to Butcher a Chicken

A brief picture guide and tutorial in how I butcher a whole chicken.

Buying a while chicken is significantly cheaper than buying just single cuts. It also ensures that you purchase the best welfare chicken that you can source.

The other reward from a whole chicken is that you can make a decent and cheap chicken stock from the carcass.

How to Butcher a Chicken : Whole Chicken

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Chicken Yakitori

I am always making kebabs. I think the thing that most appeals is the simplicity and speed of cooking coupled with a never ending variation of flavours. For a weekday meal kebabs are perfect, as the preparation is rarely more than 10 minutes, and then you can walk away and get on with something else until ready to cook.

These kebabs are Japenese inspired Yakitori. The sweet sticky marinade keeps the chicken moist and delicious. The Asian Slaw served along side works fantastically well - with a real lift provided by the toasted sesame seeds.

The recipe would work very well cooked quickly on a BBQ.

The were extras left, so they made a delicious packed lunch the following day!

Chicken Yakitori : Another Close Up

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Chicken Thai Green Curry

Hot chilli with a zingy tangy kick - that is how I like my Thai Green Curry.

I prefer to avoid the Western route of throwing lime juice into the curry, and prefer to get that citrus punch from the lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves.

Although not essential, without the Thai Basil, I think the essence of this dish is lost. It really needs that subtle aniseed flavour which is not achieved with the dry equivalent. Thank you Waitrose for stocking it!

I always cut my chicken into large chunks and essentially steam / poach it in the sauce on a low heat. I prefer it this way, as it keeps it moist and tender.

Way better than my local restaurants, and vastly superior to any shop bought paste or curry.

Thai Green Curry : Thai Green Curry

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Tom Kerridge's Fried Chicken in a Basket, 'slaw, Jerked Sweetcorn and Stuffed Potatoes

A whopping 36 hours to prepare the chicken. However, it was worth every minute. The chicken melted off the bone, and the crispy coating was divine.
It seemed strange to almost confit the chicken — but it most definitely worked! The meal was scrumptious but not quick and easy for a week night.

Crispy Chicken Meal

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Breaded Chicken with a Herby Tomato Sauce and Garlic Bread

The tomato sauce is extremely versatile. It is the same sauce that I use for my pizzas.

Now that spring is here, my Marjoram and Oregano are growing great guns. You can substitute dried if you wish. The general rule of thumb is 3 : 1 fresh to dry.

If I recall correctly, I saw this recipe, or very similar on ITV by Gina D’Acampo. The mozzarella reinforces the pizza flavours of the dish.

Mid week, this meal can be made from start to finish in 25 minutes. Start with the tomato sauce, and everything will be ready at the same time
(The garlic bread will take 30 minutes).

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Authentic Jerk Chicken with Peas and Rice

I have been lucky enough to have travelled to Jamaica several times.

The first trip was especially poignant, walking down the main strip in Negril at night. I was blown away by the smell of the various Jerk Chicken Vendors that lined the street. At night, the oil drum barbecues are lit and family secret marinades are liberally applied to chicken, pork, sweetcorn - you name it. Many evenings, we would avoid the beach restaurants and have snapper or chicken served on rice in newspaper. Truly delicious.

After many years of experimenting with Jerk marinades, this is the closest I can get to the real deal. Scotch Bonnet chillies really cannot be substituted, as they provide a fruitiness through the marinade that cannot be matched by other chilli varieties.

I like to pick a whole chicken for this dish and butcher it myself. This way I can make a chicken stock with the carcass, which is ideal for rice and peas.

There really is no substitute for the BBQ, however, you can get pretty close with patience from your oven.

Serve with Rice and Peas, Coleslaw, Jerked Sweetcorn.
(The rice is a hearty dish in its own right, so you don’t need to go crazy on sides!).

Jerk Chicken : Jerk Chicken Rice and Peas

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Soy and Honey Chicken Kebabas on a Spicy Raw Vegetable Salad

Coming home late on a Sunday Evening, there was no desire to prepare a Sunday Roast.

Instead, I used this always reliable fall back. The salad is raw and very quick to make.

The marinade takes a couple of minutes to make. The chicken is succulent and has a great caramelised and chilli hot flavour - tempered by the honey and lemon.

If you have no time, skip marinading the chicken, and grill immediately.

The same ingredients can be quickly fried in the wok as an alternative.

A healthy and cheap Chinese main, suitable as a quick evening meal.

Soy and Honey Chicken : Another close up

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Peri Peri Chicken with a Fresh Salad

I have visited Portugal a number of times, mainly on unsuccessful skydiving trips. Who would have thought that having Europe’s largest on-shore wind farm nearby would indicate winds would stop play on a daily basis?! As a result, we have stumbled through the back roads of smalls towns such as Alvor, eating at local restaurants that catch the eye. Many times, if we were not eating the catch of the day, then we would opt for the National Dish - Peri Peri chicken.

The marinade is a fiery red colour, and is almost as hot to taste. Unfortunately, I could not get hold of the correct chillies to make this authentically, so was forced to substitute some scotch bonnets and red thai chillies to give a hot fruity taste. The peri peri chilli pepper is a little hotter than a red thai chilli and has a more punchy flavour.

The basis of most peri peri recipes is red pepper, chilli, oil, paprika and citrus. A number of people that I asked about the recipe came up with an assortment of family-secret additional flavours. The one that most stood out to me was a glass of whisky.

I have searched on the internet, and there seems to be numerous schools of thought on the use of whisky. Some flame the whisky when making the marinade, and others blitz all the ingredients together.

For this attempt, I chose to keep the marinade raw.

This recipe is ideal for a BBQ - the smoky flavour would really help to lift the dish and make it authentic. However, cooking on a Monday evening - the oven is far more convenient. I cooked the chicken on low for 45 minutes and then gave it a blast under the grill to caramelise the top.

The chicken was delicious and moist, the marinade hot and spicy and the meal a great success - bringing back fond memories of warm evenings in the Med.

Peri Peri Chicken Salad and Chips

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Chicken Kiev, Oven Chips and Crunchy Vegetables

I have very fond memories of Chicken Kiev from my childhood.

I remember my mother sewing up chicken breasts with needle and thread for dinner parties. Not being much cop at sewing, nor having the patience required to thread a needle - I can assure you, my recipe is a lot less faff! This recipe involves wrapping flattened chicken around a large ball of cold
herby butter. The shape and the butter filling is held inside by freezing the breasts prior to bread crumbing and cooking.

Every time I cut into a chicken Kiev, the sense of anticipation whether the garlic butter will ooze out is almost unbearable.

Fresh, light, zingy and tasty - a wonderful through-back to an 1970’s favourite.

I served this with
oven chips and some very lightly cooked julienned seasonal vegetables.

Chicken Kiev : Close Up

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Chicken Shish Taouk

Chicken Shish Taouk was one of the few dishes I would order from a takeaway.

Alas, Elias our local Lebanese shut down, and so I was forced to try and recreate the dish at home.

I love the moist chicken combined with the garlic humus. The yoghurt helps to protect the chicken and keep it succulent.

The key is to keep basting the kebabs as much as possible.

If they are looking dry - place them in a large pot and cover for 6-10 minutes - to allow the steam to moisten them up.

This is delicious as a wrap with Greek Salad and humus.

Even better on a charcoal barbecue!

Chicken Taouk : Taouk CloseUp” width=

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How to Make : Chicken Stock

I prefer to buy a whole chicken as opposed to breasts or thighs. See the chicken butchery guide here : coming soon.

Not only are the individual portions cheaper by butchering the chicken yourself, but you also get the carcass.

Whether you roast the chicken for Sunday roast, or simply butcher it for its component pieces, ensure that you save the carcass.

Chicken stock is so simple to make and costs next to nothing - except time. So many recipes require a little stock - and it is so convenient to pull out a couple of frozen ice cubes. (My ice cubes are about 25 ml, defrosted - helps to know!! Happy).

Time and again in my recipes you will see floating frozen chicken stock. It melts perfectly and adds just the same punch as the fresh stock.

Infinitely better than any cube. So much nicer than the wishy washy supermarket imitations.

If you wish for a clear stock, then do not roast the chicken bones - otherwise the same method needs to be followed.

Vary the herbs depending on what is in season / have in larder.

Chicken Stock : Decant” width=

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