Category Poultry

Duck & Watermelon Salad

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‘ve a list of recipes that just catch my eye for one reason or another that I immediately add to my ‘to cook’ list. Those reasons could be the choice of ingredients, the vibrant colours or just a mood and craving but all contribute to the creation of this list. Shamefully the list has been growing faster than it has even had a chance to be depleted this summer! However an easy Tuesday this week called for this vibrant and fuss free salad. Not much cooking here – just a lot of chopping and fancy scattering. Studded with pomegranate gems, hidden with crispy morsels of duck supported by a solid foundation of juicy watermelon bricks.

Having just this week returned from a bootcamp-esque paradise holiday in Greece filled with wake boarding, yoga, volleyball (I could go on), this recipe offered the perfect balance to continue the health kick while fantasising about being back in the turquoise oceans and white sands of my much beloved Greece.

It has been adapted by a recipe from ‘The Londoner’. Adapted with an alternate dressing more heavy on the lime and some extra hidden gems – roasted peanuts in any dish are rarely a bad thing. But what we do share is our appreciation for the hot duck – cold melon combo that is just so refreshing and de-wicious.

*[Alex and Alice – if you’re reading (which I hope you are), put this on your ‘to cook’ list too before summer is completely over!]

Serves 2

  • 1/2 large watermelon, chopped into chunks
  • 2 duck legs
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely diced
  • Bunch of mint, leaves picked and chopped
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Handful of salted, roasted peanuts
  • Handful pomegranate seeds
  • 1-2 limes, zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Season the duck and roast in a tray for an hour.
  2. While the duck is cooking, chop your watermelon into big chunks and add to a large salad bowl big enough to contain the whole salad.
  3. Add the chopped spring onions, red chilli and chopped herbs.
  4. Add the peanuts and pomegranate seeds (as many as you wish to balance the rest of the salad) and combine well.
  5. Combine the juice of 1-2 limes (depending on how juicy they are!) and the zest in a jam jar. Add almost the same measure of extra virgin olive oil, but a touch under so its more ‘limey’.
  6. Add the soy, sesame and some seasoning. Place the lid on the jam jar and shake well to combine. Taste and adjust to your liking. The last thing you want to do is add a bad dressing to your wonderful salad!
  7. When the duck is ready, quickly shred the meat and crispy skin. It cools quickly so in order to maintain the hot/cold vibe you’re trying to create here, pop it back in the oven for a final blast of heat to warm.
  8. Once hot, add the shredded duck quickly to the salad bowl and coat the salad and duck liberally in the dressing and combine well.
  9. Serve immediately!

I served mine with a nice fresh rocket and cucumber salad and some homemade coconut flatbreads. But this is still a good and healthy meal in itself. A few chunky roasted croutons would not go a miss here however. Just sayin.

Chicken Satay

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 usually feel that people fall into a love or hate category when it comes to peanut butter, the later being of rarity these days what with all the dreamy varieties and versions available. I embrace all that can be combined with it favouring the blackcurrant jam toast. However if you’ve not tried celery sticks dipped in peanut butter yet then you can thank me later for the introduction. Having mentioned the vast choice we now have for this delicious American spread, sadly I hate to admit that a cheap jar works wonders here. Save your fancy and expensive cashew, pecan and peanut blend for your sourdough toast at brunch y’all.

With no need to continue my expressive love of peanut butter, chicken satay is like a warm hug when wrapped comfortingly in the soft hand of a loveable flatbread with a crunchy, fresh salad. And this recipe really can be served in many ways as mentioned below. I prefer whole thighs rather than diced breast as they have far more flavour and texture. Served with a spoonful of the rich, spicy sauce, a zesty salad and some pillowey flatbreads. Alternatively, chop, coat and wrap the chicken and salad in the mits of a floury flatbread or flat wrap and dive in hands or face only. Use any combination of salad you like but whatever you do, coat liberally with lemon! It cuts through the rich and creamy peanut sauce welcomingly and essentially.

NOTE: If you haven’t tried making peanut butter before its really really simple provided you have a food processor! See here 

Adapted from Nigel Slater.

Serves 4

Chicken Satay

  • 4-8 chicken thighs, de-bonded (allow for 1-2 each depending on starter/main serving size)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Thumb ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass paste
  • 1 large red chilli, chopped finely
  • 1-2 limes
  • 125ml crunchy peanut butter
  • 250ml water
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Sunflower or light, flavourless oil.

Salad & Sides

  • 1 cucumber, chopped into batons
  • 4 little gems lettuce, leaves picked
  • Handful radishes, sliced finely
  • Bunch spring onions, sliced as preferred
  • 1 lemon
  • Handful coriander, chopped
  • Flatbreads (homemade, see here)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and begin with the chicken. Heat a hot frying pan with a tbsp of sunflower oil on a high heat. Fry the chicken skin side down until crispy and golden. Turn the thighs over and seal on the other side. Remove from the pan and place in a baking tray. Finish cooking in the oven for about 15-20 minutes while you make the sauce.
  2. Using the same pan, reduce the heat and soften the chopped onion for about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli and lemongrass and fry for just a few minutes being careful not to burn it – the garlic in particular.
  3. Next add the peanut butter and stir well and continuously to combine with the aromats. Reduce the heat to a low and add half the water. Stir to combine.
  4. The sauce will bubble and thicken as you do this so add the rest of the water when needed, a whisk is useful here.
  5. Keep on a very low heat to warm through, adding a splash more water if you require a thinner consistency.
  6. Add the salad ingredients to a large bowl and squeeze over a generous squeeze of lemon and seasoning.
  7. By now the chicken should have finished cooking, remove from the oven and set aside to rest for a moment while you put the final touches to the sauce.
  8. Add the juice of 1 large lime. Taste – if it needs more to cut through the richness then add another squeeze. Add a handful of the coriander and stir to combine saving the remaining herbs for serving.
  9. Serving is up to you – I prefer to place the thighs gently in the sauce to ensure the skin you worked hard to crisp up remains crispy and then serve the whole dish on the table for people to help themselves from – thighs and sauce scattered with the leftover coriander. Alternatively, you can chop the chicken pieces into bite sized chucks and stir thoughout the sauce to coat entirely and serve in your flatbreads/lettuce leaves like a wrap.

Harissa Chicken With Orange Herb Barley Salad

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ts safe to say I’m a fan of Greece. The food, the weather, the glassy wakeboard inviting waters and the calming pace of life. I’ve even been partial to the odd Greek wine! I visit every year for my dose of Vitamin D and halloumi and to brush up on my water sports. But I’ll focus on the food for the time being. After experimenting with a unassuming pack of Odysea’s deliciously authentic Saganaki cheese last year it was time to venture into their range a bit more with my appreciation of Greece and the Med. Being the good natured Greek loving company that they are I arrived home one Friday evening after work to a box of delightful goodies to sample and experiment with!

And sample I did.

This recipe is adapted from a Bill Granger combination I once saw and with all the right flavours from Odysea (with the odd ‘forage in the pantry’ twist) it was the perfect foundation for my med inspired dish to help prolong the recent spring sun. The roasted oranges add a really unusual touch here along with the gentle spicing which are a perfect match with Odysea’s punchy, creamy and crumbly feta cheese. Heaps of mint, dill and lemon juice bring it all to life and sooth the post harissa spice! One to give a go on a sunny but still brisk Spring evening.

Serves 4

  • 2 small oranges
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ‘Odysea Wild Thyme & Fragrant Honey’
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g pearl barely or spelt
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 200g ‘Odysea Greek Feta‘, crumbled in large chunks
  • Large handful mint leaves
  • Small handful dill, finely chopped
  • 2 small poussin (or 4 joints of chicken e.g. chicken legs, thighs etc)
  • 4-6 tbsp of ‘Odysea Harissa spread‘ or 2 tbsp harissa paste
  •  2 large garlic cloves
  • Salad to serve – I used a crisp mix of chicory, little gems and watercress dressed in some lemon and extra virgin olive oil (Odysea of course)
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Marinade the poussin in the harissa, seasoning well and then add 1 pealed, gently crushed garlic clove to each cavity and set aside.Jess - Harissa Chicken5
  3. Slice the oranges thinly and place on a lined baking tray evenly spread. Grind the fennel, cumin and chilli flakes in a pestle and mortar and then add the honey and olive oil and mix well. Coat the oranges slices in the mixture.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, keeping an eye on them until they begin to caramelise and char. This time with vary depending on how juicy the oranges are. Leave to cool slightly.
  5. Cook the barely or spelt according to the packet instructions until tender then drain well and leave to cool to room temperature.
  6. Meanwhile, turn the oven down to 190°C and place the poussin on a lined baking tray. Bake for around 40 minutes until tender and the juices run clear. Set aside to rest while you finish the salad.
  7. Add the warm oranges slices to the drained grains.
  8. Stir in the juice of the lemon, plenty of salt and pepper and the chopped dill.
  9. Scatter in the crumbled feta, the grated carrot and stir to combine.
  10. Finally, roughly chop the mint at the last minute and add to the grains and stir.
  11. Loosen with a little more lemon or a splash of extra virgin olive oil if needed
  12. Carve your rested poussin in half and serve half each alongside the grain and green salad, scattered with extra mint if you like

NOTES: This would also be lovely with a side of warm pillowy flatbreads, dipped into a cleansing and fresh lime and coriander yoghurt or tzatziki.

For a wine match I would suggest a fresh Chenin Blanc or the slightly aromatic taste of  Viognier.

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Moroccan Chicken and Green Bulgar Wheat

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recent adventure to the Moroccan Atlas Mountains can only (and easily) be described as the time of my life and the best birthday I’ve ever experienced. A timelessly long relaxing weekend perched secludedly on the crumbly edge of the Atlas Mountains in the Ourika Valley in the heart of the National Park. Nestled high above the local Berber village I felt more than privileged to be there and in wonderful company. Basking in the golden sun, trekking through the local valley, wholeheartedly absorbing the culture and contagiously relaxing in the peaceful vibe of the Kasbah Bab Ourika. How many bedrooms can you watch the sun rise while gazing at snow caped mountains before enjoying a humble breakfast on a warm terracotta terrace? Kasbah Bab Ourika really is a special place. Saturated in charm, authenticity and the smell of fire and leather. And mint tea…lots of mint tea.

On arrival we were welcomed by the local Berber staff by the hydrating delights of said fresh mint tea. With only 26 rooms and more staff than guests, not once did we feel the infringing presence of the other holiday makers. We wondered the lavender filled gardens, bathed by the pool and drank tea until the sun went down. Or at least until an acceptable time arrived to sip on a cocktail or two.

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The view from our bedroom balcony was breath taking. An inspiring place to cleanse the soul so what better way to start my birthday than a yoga practice and some ‘sun’ salutations at sunrise.

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My birthday ticked casually by starting with a stimulating 12km trek through the undulating local National Park, an indulgent foodie buffet lunch served in the sun washed terrace before unwinding with a Moroccan massage in the lavender filled gardens.


Chickpeas

Buffet

Ice cream

Only then did the heavens open and cool the hot parched ground. Naturally we retired to the leather filled bar with a crisp class of bubbly by a soothing fire in our dinner finery.

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The peace and tranquility was broken only momentarily by a crazy and amazing venture into Marakesh! What a place. The flavours and familiar smells of the ingredients I have accustomed myself to using were 100 times stronger and more intense in this vibrant city making my reluctant return to the English supermarkets even more disappointing. The mint seemed fresher and the spices seemed stronger. Inspiration for my favourite cuisine could not be ignored on return home. Cucumber martinis to cool us down before tackling the vibrant market as the sun went down

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Tagine

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After having commitedly devoured the tender delights of tagine every night I felt an alternative recipe in order. Taking inspiration from the African bliss I enjoyed this weekends meal. Clean, fresh, flavoursome and delicious. Moroccan spiced chicken with green herby bulghar wheat and sharp lime yoghurt.

Serves 2

  • 60g bulgar wheat
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 25g currants, soaked in boiling water/orange juice for 20 minutes
  • 50g pistachios, chopped
  • Large handful each of dill, parsley, basil and mint
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 chicken supremes/chicken breasts
  • 2 heaped tsp Ras el Hanout
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 50g yoghurt
  • 1 large lime
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Marinade your chicken in the Ras El Hanout, salt and pepper and a few tbsp’s of rapeseed oil in a large bowl for at least 30 minutes.
  2. When ready to cook, heat a frying pan over a high heat and drizzle with some more oil. Sear the chicken on the skin side to get a really crispy and golden skin for up to 5 minutes. Once crisp, turn and seal on the flesh side for 1 minute. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until tender and cooked. Leave to rest for 5 minutes and keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile make the bulgar wheat salad. Simmer the wheat in boiling water (about 5 x as much water as wheat) for about 10 minutes or so or until tender and soft. Drain well and fluff with a fork. Keep warm in the pan with a lid on.
  4. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion until soft and translucent. Add the ground cumin for the final few minutes to cook out. Add these to the warm wheat.
  5. Combine the green herbs in a food processor (or finely chop). Add seasoning, the juice from the lemon and a little oil to loosen if needed. Scrap the herby mixture into the bulgar wheat and stir well.
  6. Check the seasoning of the wheat before adding the currants (drained) and the chopped nuts.
  7. Combine the yoghurt with the lime juice and some salt and pepper.
  8. When the chicken is cooked and rested, slice in half on the diagonal.
  9. Spoon a ring of yoghurt onto your serving plate and fill the centre with a generous helping of green bulgar wheat salad. Top with the sliced chicken and scatter over any remaining herbs.
  10. Enjoy!
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Thai Green Chicken Curry (and paste)

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 am always so hugely disappointed when I click on the recipe link for a Thai Green Curry from a fellow blogger only to find the words….’add 2 tbsp of curry paste? Pastes vary from kitchen to kitchen and especially from supermarket to supermarket. Being a believer in ‘cooking from scratch’ not only does it taste more than a thousand times fresher but you actually know wants going into it. Who knows what goes into those jars in Waitrose….?

So with a free evening ahead and a hungry pair of stomaches to feed, I knocked out a fresh and fiery paste from scratch and devoured what I have hailed ‘The Best Thai Green Curry Recipe’. Courtesy and thanks to Bill Granger naturally with a few ‘forage in the pantry’ amendments. The entire recipe from start to end takes no more than 1 hour full round especially with a food processor so don’t be put off by the extra effort of making your own paste. It will be well worth it I guarantee.

NOTE: This paste recipe makes more than enough for the below curry. Perfect for popping the rest in a sealed tupperware in the freezer for a quick healthy meal when you have less time.

Serves 3

Curry Paste

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp light-flavoured oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • Handful of chopped coriander stems
  • 3cm knob of ginger, chopped
  • 4 green chillies, deseeded, chopped

Curry

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp green-curry paste
  • 125ml chicken/vegetable stock
  • 300ml coconut milk (full fat)
  • 2-3 large kaffir lime leaves, torn, (or 3 strips lime peel)
  • 3 chicken-breast fillets, cut into chunks
  • 200g baby sweetcorn
  • 100g green beans
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice,
  • To serve: Steamed brown rice, torn basil, chopped spring onions, chopped coriander, lime wedges
  1. Start by making the paste. Heat a dry frying pan until hot and toast the coriander and cumin seeds for a few minutes until fragrant. Crush in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Add to the bowl of the food processor along with the rest of the ingredients and blend to a coarse paste. Place in a tupperware container with a lid.
  3. For the curry, heat the coconut oil on a medium heat in a large saucepan or wok and fry the 3 tbsp of curry paste for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the stock, coconut milk and lime leaf and simmer for 5-8 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  6. Finally add the corn and beans (or any vegetable of choice), the caster sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and simmer gently for another 5 minutes or so until cooked.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning with fish sauce or lime juice or sugar to sweeten.
  8. Serve topped on some brown rice and scattered with some fragrant torn basil and sliced spring onions.

Roast Poussin, Creamy Leeks and Smoked Salt Fried Gnocchi

I’m no pasta lover (sorry Italy…and Nigella) but I am an occasional fried gnocchi lover. OK I may have been a tad patriotic on the cooking method but it turns out that fried gnocchi are a bit like mini roast potatoes. Bitesized. Dangerous. But delicious. After a continuous dose of Thai and Asian inspired dishes recently, followed by a delicious and flavour packed trip to Morocco, I fancied a bit more of a classic this evening. French poussin and mustardy creamy leeks were a delicious and comforting contrast to my ‘Englishly’ cooked Italian potato dumplings. Crispy and golden and seasoned with smoked salt.

Serves 2

  • 250g gnocchi
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp smoked salt (optional)
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 250ml single cream
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • Handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 x poussin
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt and pepper
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  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place your poussin on a baking tray and smother the skin and legs with about 30g of the butter and season well.
  2. Place in the centre of the oven and roast for about 40-45minutes until cooked. Baste with the juices a few times during cooking.
  3. Once cooked, leave to rest before serving.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter with a splash of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Slice the leeks in halve vertically and slice into chunks. Gently and slowly soften the leeks for about 15 minutes of so until really soft. Add the garlic and cook out for another few minutes.
  5. While the leeks are softening and the poussin is cooking, cook the gnocchi. Boil in salted water for 2 minutes and then drain well. Leave to dry out a little for a few minutes.
  6. Heat a frying pan on a high heat and add the sunflower oil. Fry the cooked gnocchi with the smoked salt in the oil until crispy and golden. Keep warm.
  7. When the poussin is nearly cooked and ready, turn the heat up a little with the leeks and add the cream. Simmer a little to thicken.
  8. Season well and add the mustard and all but a handful of parsley and stir thoroughly. Keep warm while you carve the poussin.
  9. Remove the meat from the oven or from where it has been resting. Carve off the breast and wings.
  10. Serve the creamy leeks in a warmed serving bowl and top with the poussin. Scatter round some fried gnocchi and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.
  11. Drizzle with a dash of lemon infused or plain extra virgin olive oil and serve!
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WINE: This dish being creamy and weighty is delicious served with a classic wine pairing. Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc with some oak ageing and some natural acidity. Try this Mulderbosch, 2013 Faithful Hound White from Stellenbosch available at Armit Wines.

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Spiced Spatchcocked Quail and Beetroot Barely Risotto

Pearl barely has become my new favourite alternative to Aborio rice for use in a risotto. Ok its not ‘authentic’ Italian but it has a delicious nutty taste, a beautiful texture that goes deliciously with earthy beetroot and is packed full or nutrients. This dish is delicious served with lemony dressed rocket, some tender spice roasted poussin and a gooey quail egg. But remove the meat and its a vegetarians dream. Serve this to your meat hating buddies in place of the stereotyped mushroom risotto or quiche and you’ll be in their good books.

Serves 2

  • 1 x spatchcocked poussin or 2 small quail. Alternatively use chicken legs or breast
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp spice mix (see here)
  • 120g pearl barely
  • 1 pint hot chicken stock
  • 125ml red wine
  • 1 small red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
  • 1 sprig thyme, leaves picked
  • 200g cooked beetroot, pureed in a food processor (save a piece and cut into cubes for texture if you like)
  • Handful finely grated parmesan
  • 1 knob butter
  • ½ lemon
  • Rocket leaves to serve
  • 2-4 quail eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Season the bird. Coat in the dry spices and 1 tbsp olive oil and use your hands to rub the mixture into the meat.
  2. Place on a lined baking tray and roast at a high heat for about 40 minutes for a spatchcocked poussin/quail. Baste with the juice twice during cooking. Once ready, remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before carving to serve.
  3. Meanwhile while the meat is cooking, make the risotto. Heat half a knob of butter with a small splash of oil in a saucepan. Very gently sweat the red onion in the butter for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a few more minutes. Season
  4. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the pearl barely. Toast in the pan with the onion stirring all the time. Next add the wine and simmer off until reduced.
  5. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and add the hot stock, ladle by ladle, adding more only after each addition has been absorbed. Continue for about 25minutes or so until the pearl barley is tender. Keep adding stock until the barley is cooked but don’t drown the mixture especially towards the end of the cooking time or it will be too runny.
  6. When the barley is cooked, stir through the beetroot puree and cubed beetroot and taste and season again. Bring back up to the heat to warm through.
  7. Add the grated cheese, another knob of butter and a generous squeeze of lemon juice and remove form the heat. Place the lid on top and leave it sit and rest while you see to the quail eggs.
  8. To cook the quails eggs to a soft boil, simmer them in a briskly boiling pan of water for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and then plunge into cold water. When cool enough to handle, remove the shells.
  9. To serve, spoon a generous spoonful of risotto into a warmed bowl. Top with a handful of rocket dressed with plenty of lemon juice and seasoning.
  10. Carve the bird as required removing the legs and the breast meat. Place on top of the rocket. Slice your eggs in half at the last moment and finish the dish with their runny yolk centres and a good grinding of fresh black pepper.
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Hoisin Chicken

 

Bill Granger has inspired yet another comfortingly Asian and finger licking dish for this weekends menu. Perhaps its the chilly and wintery weather that has blanketed London recently? The defeated gloom and pessimism only English winter can bring to the weather beaten faces of a us resentful Brits caused me to find myself reaching again for my colourful sunny copy of Bill Granger’s ‘Everyday Asian’. Cooked to inspire some colour and sunshine into the tail end of January. Today the weather was mediocre and after a day of chilly London adventure, I returned home to a warm tasty and sticky bowl of hoisin chicken and rice.

Serves 4

Hoisin Chicken

  • At least 8 piece of chicken (a mix between thighs and drumsticks)
  • 100ml hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp five spice powder
  • Garnish – sesame seeds, sliced spring onions, lime wedges, chopped fresh coriander

Broccoli

  • 1 large broccoli
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  1. Start with the chicken. Mix the marinade ingredients in a large baking dish and add the chicken pieces. Coat well. Leave to marinade for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roast the chicken for 35 minutes until cooked and glazed.
  3. Meanwhile, cook your rice if you are having this as a side dish.
  4. Mix together the dressing ingredients and lightly boil the broccoli just before the chicken is ready. Drain and leave to dry out a little. While still warm, toss with the dressing.
  5. Serve the chicken with rice (if you wish) and the broccoli. Scatter over sesame seeds, sliced spring onions and chopped coriander and any extra sticky glaze if you like!

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Chicken Gyozas

 

 

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These bitesized morsels are one of my boyfriends favourites. But how could I possibly be outdone and beaten by Wagamamas on any culinary level!? As a passionate cook and foodie how could I let it rest that there was a dish out there he’d rather order in over cooking! Challenge raised and accepted, out came my surface level competitve and perfectionists nature. So, this weekend I attempted to make my first chicken gyozas – aka Japanese dumplings if you’re a Japanese or Wagamama newbie. I’d never really had these before so the idea seemed daunting, with thoughts of specialised steamers or equipment. But I can’t lie….these could not have been easier to recreate at home! I’ll admit they are a little fiddly to assemble but with 2 or 3 under your belt they’re easy. The only draw back is the time consuming assembly as after the first 5 or 6 you begin to get bored with the repetitive nature. With my boyfriend away this weekend I thought I’d practice them alone – a wise move if I had any hope of winning (my own?) challenge. However, now I know they are a success an extra pair of hands for the assembly wouldn’t go amiss! But I stress now that once made the cooking couldn’t be easier. Fried then steamed in a matter of minutes! Fast food that is totally fresh, hot and steamed to order. You can even make them in advance and cook within 10 minutes for any hungry guests.

Recipe adapted (with good reason) from ‘The Hairy Bikers’. (Makes about 30!?)

Gyoza Skin

  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g strong bread flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 200ml boiling water

Chicken Filling

  • 500g minced chicken
  • 1/3 white cabbage, shredded
  • Large knob ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onions (green parts)
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • Pinch sugar
  • Sunflower oil for frying

Dipping sauce

  • 6 tbsp soya sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Squeeze lime juice
  • Dash chilli oil
  1. Combine and taste. Adjust as necessary

Assembly

  1. Start with the dough. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and then gradually pour in the water using a knife to mix it. Keep mixing until it comes together to form a dough.
  2. Form the dough into a ball using your hands then wrap in clng film and rest and cool in the fridge for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and use your hands to squeeze the ingredients together.
  4. When ready to assemble remove the dough from the fridge. Chop in half to make it easier to handle and roll the dough as thinly as you can on a flowered surface. Use a 10cm cutter to cut rounds of the dough.
  5. Place a tsp of chicken mixture into the middle then use a dash of water to wet the circumference of the dough circle with your finger.
  6. Make the next bit as professional as you like. I made mine look more like mini pasties but as long as the filling remains locked in, it doesnt matter what they look like!
  7. Start by folding the dough over the filling so you form a half moon shape like a mini cornish pasty. Pinch together the middle so it sticks and do the same with the other sides. Pleat the edges however you like so it is tightly sealed. Place on a flowered tray while you make the rest.
  8. Repeat this with the remaining mixture until you have a tray of gyozas (about 30 depending on size).

Cooking

  1. When ready to cook, heat a large frying pan that can hold a fitted lid or a shallow saucepan with a tbsp or two of sunflower oil until hot.
  2. Fill the pan with as many gyozas as will fit in one layer placing them on thier flat base side for about 2 minutes until golden brown and a crust has formed. Make sure they don’t stick by giving them a shake now and again.
  3. Once a crusty golden base has formed, add 200ml of water to the pan and immediately fit with a lid. This will bubble up and steam up nicely so turn the heat down to a medium high or healthy simmer. Give them a shake to release any that are in danger of getting stuck to the bottom and then steam for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately once removed from the pan and scatter with fresh chopped coriander and the dipping suace.
  6. Chopsticks for the experienced…..

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BBQ Chicken, Lime Slaw, Cheesy Polenta Chips

 

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I love American food but it can be pretty big and diabetes inducing at times. But it can be done in a more refined way. Who doesn’t love the taste of spicy, sticky BBQ sauce lathered chicken. And as if not enough, a cooling, creamy and sharp tangy lime slaw is as welcome here as an ice cream in the Sahara.Tempted by spicy sweet potato chips I went for an alternative (like my demeanour) and a more health conscious unbeatable crunchy cheesy polenta chip. They were awesome. Girls, this is not date food mind (well first date food) I think there was more sauce on my face, hands, table and elbows (yes elbows…!) than on the chicken. Made to be devoured in the most unclassy fashion with a beer on a windy rainy October.

NOTE: This BBQ sauce recipe is very much like this one here. Use either!

Serves 2

Chicken

  • 2 chicken legs, jointed into thigh and drumstick is you like
  • ½ tsp cumin seed
  • ½ tsp fennel seed
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • Zest and juice of ½ orange
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 75ml ketchup
  • Sprig of thyme and rosemary
  1. Crush the cumin and fennel together in a pestle and morta with the rosemary and thyme.
  2. Add to a bowl with the rest of the marinade ingredients and add the chicken.
  3. Leave in the fridge to marinade for about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the chicken in a dish and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. After this time, turn the heat up and remove the foil. Cook for about 10 more minutes until the skin and topping is crispy and the chicken is cook through. I popped mine under the grill at this point too to get a really sticky crispy coating.

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Slaw (pretty much open to any crunchy raw vegetables. I used a mix of the below)

  • 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
  • Handful of sugar snap peas, sliced thinly
  • ½ small cabbage
  • 1 small carrot, sliced thinly, grated or julienned
  • Bunch mint, chopped
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper
  • Zest of 1 lime, juice of half
  1. Mix the vegetable together in a bowl
  2. Add the herbs and the lime zest
  3. Add the mayo, yoghurt some good seasoning and the lime juice together in a mug and stir well.
  4. Use as much as necessary to coat the vegetables.

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Polenta Chips

  • 100g fast cook polenta, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 400ml (half water half milk)
  • ½ small chilli, chopped
  • Handful coriander, chopped
  • Large handful grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Oil/line a shallow soup bowl or baking tray that will hold the polenta and create about 2cm thickness.
  2. Heat the milk and water in a saucepan until it just comes to the simmer.
  3. Season the polenta well and add to the hot liquid in a thin stress stirring all the time. Keep stirring and it should begin to thicken very quickly and bubble. Keep stirring for a few minutes before adding the cheese, coriander and chilli. Keep stirring until it is thick like custard or porridge. Remove from the heat.
  4. Pour into the greased bowl.tray and smooth out to the thickness of 2cm. Chill quickly and leave to set for about 20 minutes.
  5. When cooled and set, turn onto a chopping board and cut into chip sized chunks. Dust with excess polenta
  6. Fry in a hot pan in a little oil until golden brown and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with flaky maldon salt.

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