Honey & mustard glazed chicken thighs with chunky parnips

This is a quick, & tasty, wintery dish which makes for a lovely Friday night dinner while it’s dark and cold outside. Don’t know why, it just is. Don’t be stingy with the parsnips, no matter how many you make, they’ll get eaten. Trust me.

Serves 4-5
Preparation time: 10 mins plus marinating time (30 mins)
Cooking time: 40 mins

2 packs (approx 1kg) chicken thighs
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp coarse-grain mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into wedges

Place the chicken thighs in a shallow dish. To make the marinate whisk together the oil, honey, mustard, vinegar, thyme and seasoning. Pour over the chicken and turn gently to coat. Cover the dish and chill for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.

Preheat the oven to 190C, gas mark 5. Cook the parsnips in a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.

Add the parsnips to the chicken, then toss to coast in the marinade. Transfer to a roasting tin in a single layer. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning once during cooking, until the parsnips are golden and cooked through and the chicken is cooked through with no pink meat, with juices running clear. Serve with greens of your choice… with ginger beer or vintage cider.

Nutrition 569 kcals/31.3g protein/23.8 carbohydrate/15.9 sugars/38.7 fat/8.4g saturated fat/5.5g fibre/0.6g salt per serving

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Summer dinner

It started with the idea of a dinner on a terrace or garden in occasionally warm weather this spring and ended as a delicious dinner inside. The menu was positively spring-like:

Fresh cucumber, pea & mint soup, griddle herby lemon chicken with jersey royal potatoes with butter & parsley, and a side of stir-fried courgettes with ginger and chilli. Served with white wine, of course.

Fresh cucumber, pea & mint soup

Serves 4
Nutrition: 305kcal/25g carbohydrate/5.3g sugars/19.8g fat/12.8g saturated fat/2.5g salt per serving

1 fresh cucumber, medium to large, peeled and diced
25g butter
1 small onion, chopped
300g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
250g podded fresh peas or frozen peas
2 sprigs fresh mint, plus shredded mint for garnishing
4 tbsp creme fraiche
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch of paprika

Wash the cucumber and cut off 5cm to reserve for the garnish. Cube the rest. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the onion, cucumber and potato and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes stirring. Add the stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for 12-15 minutes until the potato is almost tender.

Add the peas and whole mint springs to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes until the peas are tender. Remove the mint sprigs and add 6-8 ice cubes to the pan and stir until melted. Blend or process until smooth, then chill. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche in each bowl and a scattering of shredded mint, diced cucumber and sprinkle of paprika.

Griddled herby lemon chicken

Serves 4
5 minutes preparation
1 hour marinating time
15 minutes cooking time

1 unwaxed lemon, plus extra lemon wedges to serve
100g natural yoghurt
15g pack fresh oregano (I used lovage from my garden)
20g pack fresh flat leafed parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
4 British free range skinless chicken breast fillets

Grate the lemon zest and squeeze the juice, then place both in a blender with the yoghurt, oregano, parsley, garlic, olive oil and seasoning. Whizz until smooth. Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish and poor over the marinade. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least an hour, turning once.

Heat a ridged griddle or non-stick frying pan. I used a flat non-stick pan as was making a mess of it on the griddled one. Cook for 6-7 minutes each side, turning once until golden and cooked through with no pink meat (this is important). Serve with extra lemon wedges, new potatoes and a green salad or a lightly stir-fried greens.

With the last piece of chicken in the pan almost done, I added the marinade and cooked it well, served it as a top up sauce with the meal.

Jersey royal new potatoes with butter and chopped parsley

600g new potatoes
15g butter
15g parsley, chopped

Cover the potatoes with cold water in a pot, bring to boil, simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Add butter and parsley, let stand for 2 minutes before serving.

Stir-fried courgettes with ginger and chilli

1 courgette per person
half-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced, then chopped very finely
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced, then chopped
1 fresh red or green chilli, very thinly sliced
1 tsp groundnut oil
soy sauce
cut courgettes in about four portions, then cut each portion in half. Place each cut section face down on a cutting board and slice very thinly into fine little strips, about 2mm thick.

In a wok or frying pan, heat up groundnut oil. When it is hot (but not too hot), throw in the chopped garlic, and stir fry for about a minute. Before it takes colour, throw in the ginger, followed by the courgette-strips and the chilli. Stir fry until the courgettes begin to go translucent. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil, if you’ve got any, then serve.

Chicken with garlic and cider

This is a wonderful impromptu dish I made for my mother when looking at what ingredients I had at hand. From my trusted source of ocado recipes.

Don’t be put off by the large quantity of garlic, as the flavour will mellow in the cooking. Good with boiled new potatoes and green beans.

Serves 4

Total time required 50 mins

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

15 Garlic Cloves, unpeeled

1 pinch Salt

1 pinch Black Pepper, freshly ground

2 tbsp Olive Oil

30g Butter, unsalted

4 Chicken Breasts, skin on

1 Bay Leaf

450ml Dry Cider

200ml Apple Juice

200ml Double Cream

1 tbsp Thyme, leaves

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Cook the whole, unpeeled garlic cloves in a pan of boiling salted water for 4 minutes. Drain, cool slightly, then peel and set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in the casserole. When sizzling, add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook for 4–5 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Turn the chicken over and add the garlic cloves, bay leaf, cider, and apple juice. Cover and transfer to the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Lift the chicken out of the pan. Remove half the garlic cloves and discard. Bring the remaining juices up to the boil. Crush the garlic into the juices with a fork, then boil until reduced and thickened slightly.

Add the cream, season to taste with salt and pepper, and simmer for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the sauce and baste with the juices; add the thyme leaves and serve immediately.

Chicken with fennel and thyme

A brilliantly simple chicken recipe. Fennel and thyme make for a deliciously refreshing change and the result is rather Italian.

Serves 6
Ready in about 40 minutes

Ingredients
4 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
20g bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
200g smoked lardons or pancetta pieces
2 fennel bulbs, each cut into 12 wedges
1 red onion, sliced into 12 wedges
300ml dry white wine

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil into a non-stick roasting tin. Add the garlic, thyme, 1 tablespoon sea salt and 2 teaspoons ground black pepper and mix. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Scatter with the lardons or pancetta, add the fennel and onion, and drizzle with the remaining oil. Cook for 15 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 230°C/fan210°C/gas 8.

2. Pour the wine into the tin and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken is golden and the vegetables tender. Serve with the Lemon-dressed tagliatelle.

Nutritional Information per serving:
371kcals
17.7g fat (5g saturated)
41.6g protein
3g carbs
2.2g sugar
1.9g salt

Buffalo wings

On my trips to New York, I finally decided to taste and test as many as I could. In one week, I must have tried 2 or 3 places and I was pleasantly surprised by the heat and amount of meat this bar food has.

I managed to get large amounts of chicken wings from my local butchers – the first time I didn’t realise that each wing counted by the butcher is actually two pieces on the table. You need to snip off the wing tips at the first joint and then the remaining piece in two again approximately at the joint. So ordering 15 wings, let’s say for 3 people, turns into 10 pieces each, enough for a main course with bread to soak up the sauce, blue cheese dip and celery. And beer!

Ingredients:
serves 3

15 whole chicken wings

1/2 bottle of buffalo wing sauce (I use Wing Time Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce from my local Partriges. It is powerfully hot and we were feeling it! So for most I’d recommend the medium even mild versions).
bunch of celery sticks
blue cheese dip (recipe below)

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I usually add a lot more cheese than this. Last time I made this I used some old Stilton that was too cultured to be eaten straight and the sauce was good enough to bottle and sell, as one of my guests kept saying!)
salt and pepper

I prefer to grill the wings, there is plenty of fat in the chicken skins, no need to add more artery clogging material. I heat the grill to medium/high. Baste the wings with sauce – keep enough aside to keep basting it every time you turn them. (Also, remember that as the sauce has been in contact with raw chicken make sure you use it only for cooking and never as additional sauce afterwards.)

Grill the wings for 20-25 mins in 5 minutes intervals, turning them over and basting them with more sauce. It’s a lot of turning but it’s worth it.

Chicken tikka masala revisited

Since I first blogged about my attempts at Indian cooking, this chicken tikka masala has become a favourite. I made it again, third time, last Saturday. I ventured to make Saag Paneer as a side dish and served it with wonderful basmati rice with star anise and cardamom (recipe is in the same post as the chicken tikka masala).

IMG_7718 by alecmuffett IMG_7724 by alecmuffett IMG_7726 by alecmuffett IMG_7731 by alecmuffett IMG_7734 by alecmuffett IMG_7735 by alecmuffett IMG_7736 by alecmuffett IMG_7740 by alecmuffett IMG_7741 by alecmuffett IMG_7744 by alecmuffett

Next I am going to try Korma and Jalfrezi dishes. If successful I’ll cook an Indian feast for friends, where we shall have all of them!

Quick chicken stir-fry with peppers, water chesnuts and onion

This is truly one of the improvised quick dishes. I was going to make chicken with okra Louisiana style but discovered that the okra has gone bad. So I had to regroup and stir-fry was the easiest (and fastest) option:

Ingredients:
Takes 10-15 mins (if you are fast chopper!)

groundnut oil
2 chicken breasts diced
2 garlic cloves
1 inch chunk of fresh ginger finally chopped
1 fresh green chilli finely chopped, use whole, do not deseed if you want a bit of kick
1 medium sized red onion chopped into slices so they retain shape and crispness
1 bell pepper cut into square pieces
1 can of water chestnuts
handful of cashews
packet of Amoy Teryiaki sauce

In a wok heat 1-2 tbsp of oil, fry the garlic, chilli and ginger. Throw in the cashews so they fry in the oil before everything else goes in. Add the chicken and fry for 3-4 mins depending on the size of the cubes. Add the water chestnuts cook for a minute, then add the pepper and onion and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the sauce, turn down the heat and stir for about a minute. Serve immediately.