Herby Chicken Bites

A sure fire week-day favourite. They only take 10 minutes to prepare, and then cook once marinaded.

These herby chicken bites combine a delicious Italian freshness with crispy succulent chicken.

I served these as standalone nibbles, but they would be equally good for a main meal.

Herby Chicken Bites : Close Up

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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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Herb Crust Rack of Lamb

It may be miserable and autumnal outside, but there is something comforting about having a spring dish for dinner.

The combination of the cheesy aubergine and delicious crusty lamb followed by a blast of mouth watering and delicious salsa verde is amazing.

I like my lamb a nice medium rare, but adjust the cooking times accordingly.

I served this dish to guests, half a rack per person.

I also served a bowl of steamed new potatoes, sprinkled with mint, along with the remaining salsa verde and a quick mint sauce.

Herb crusted rack of lamb : Close up

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Sweet and Spicy Prawns

It is great to have a couple of super quick recipes in your culinary arsenal.

This is one of my favourite - a chilli hot and sweet spicy tomato sauce, served on a bed of rice and topped with delicious marinaded tiger prawns. For this recipe, I used frozen raw prawns, meaning that the whole meal for two came in at less than £5.

The sugar in the sauce emphasises the tomato and brings out the natural sweetness of the prawns.

This sauce works equally well with chicken, but will take a little longer to cook than the prawns.

Definitely a mid week life saver recipe!

Sweet and Spicy Prawns : Close Up 2

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Tomato Salsa

A lovely zingy, spicy tomato salsa. Tastes great as a side to most summery dishes!

Originally served with the
Lamb Koftas.

Tomato Salsa

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Herby Butter

Herb butter is a store cupboard essential.

Pull the butter out of the freezer and slice of a little and add to boiled new potatoes or other seasonal vegetables. The herbs and lemon will really lift the vegetables to a whole new dimension.

I use the herb butter for my
garlic bread, as well as my stuffing for chicken Kiev.

It takes minutes to make and stores for months in the freezer.

Try it at home today!

Herb Butter : Pull from the Freezer when Needed

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Sole Meuniere

There is a rule in skydiving, that whenever you experience a first or even mutter the word; whether a new canopy, new aeroplane, new discipline of jump - then you must buy a case of beer at the end of the day.

I really like this rule, as it brings people of different levels and groups together at the end of a fun packed day to chat and relax over a drink or two. It also marks a stepping stone in your skydiving career.

You may wonder what relevance this has to Sole Meuniere. Well, all I can says is parallel’s exist - let me explain. My “first” experience of this dish was as a young teenager on holiday in France with my family. As I have mentioned previously, every summer we would go away for 2-3 weeks doing the Eurocamp thing - OK, I am probably showing my age!

Anyway, I digress. Like the first time I ordered Trout Almodine (Trout with Almonds) or Les Ailes de Raie (Skate Wings), I can still recall with vivid recollection the first mouthful of each dish and exact ambience and setting within the restaurant. It is like being back in the old ramparts of Marseilles, Leon, Reimes experiencing the dish for the first time. (Eating out was a rare and memorable occasion). What is similar between the two events is the way it sticks in the mind, the passing of an event - first time eating a flat fish, first wing suit jump etc. All shine as moments in life that we never forget. To this day, I remember my Mother explaining how there were four fillets, and to work from the centre out. (Needless to say, I still recall a mouth full of bones as I scavenged every last morsel of fish from the slightly mangled remains!).

I love the lemon zingy, salty, nutty buerre noisette sauce that harmonises so well with the delicate flavours of the lemon sole.

I served this with some simple wilted spinach and some lightly crushed new potatoes. A wonderful spring/summer evening dish.

Being a gym freak, the quantity of butter in this dish is quite breathtaking. However, once in a while, a few extra hours in the gym are totally worthwhile! It would be criminal to not pamper such a delicious fish!

Those who are observant will see *blush* I slightly burned the shallot - watch out for the residual heat of the pan when you add them!

Sole Meuniere : 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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Humus is a great side dish for BBQs, buffets or just served on its own with some delicious homemade flatbread.

This is a very quick recipe, dispensing with the need to soak chickpeas 24 hours before you want to eat them. Occasionally, I have been known to be sufficiently organised to plan ahead and get the preparation done. However, it is rare, so I fallback on cooked, canned chickpeas.

I think this recipe tastes pretty damn good - definitely better than the bland supermarket versions. (I concede that there are some fabulous delicatessen variations of humus about these days that are extremely good.)

The humus was originally served with Chicken Shish Taouk. The garlicky humus worked beautifully with the zingy moist coated chicken.

Humus : Close Up”><br /></a></span><span style=

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Pork Souvlaki, Roasted Peppers, Tzatziki wrapped in Flatbread

I was flicking through the most recent edition of the Waitrose magazine when I saw a recipe for Pork Souvlaki. Now, I did not fancy pork mince, and so have gone off and done my own thing, using a nice lean cut of pork chump, chopped into nice large chunks. Chump is a delicate, non working piece of the pork, so needs to be cooked quickly, as there is so little fat.

Souvlaki is a fast food that can be purchased all over Greece. I became particularly enamoured by the chicken Souvlaki and pork versions, especially after a couple of drinks, celebrating a hard day sailing

These, I am sure would be even more fantastic on the BBQ. However, this is the UK, and a BBQ is a rare and special occasion - especially when you are away every weekend skydiving!

The Souvlaki are served on homemade flatbreads, with Tzatziki, Roasted Peppers, Diced Vegetable Salad and Plain Steam Rice. A true Greek feast!

The great thing about this dish is that it can all be prepared in advance, with only the kebabs needing attention when you are ready to serve.

A healthy, cheap and delicious dinner. We had left overs that were used for pack lunch the next day. By all accounts the flavours were even better cold! *Yum*

Pork Souvlaki : Close Up” width=

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Roasted Romana Pepper Salad

The sweet roast pepper flavour coupled with a delicate hint of fresh herbs and olive oil never fails to impress guests, whenever I serve this as an accompaniment. It particularly works well with Lamb Koftas, as well the Pork Souvlaki.

I prefer to blacken the pepper in the oven as opposed to using the direct flame from the hob. This is mainly because, the last time I used the hob, the pepper got super hot and exploded! It literally splattered every wall in the kitchen!! As such, I prefer to use the oven!!

Roasted Romano Pepper Salad : Mix Well

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