Cheesy Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Roast New Potatoes and Veg

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Chicken eh? There is very little you can’t add to chicken to make it taste nice. Roast chicken is, of course, a mainstay in most people’s kitchens but it’s nice to mix it up a little. This was a Saturday night treat, what with being the Olympics and all.

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts
4 slices prosciutto or similar
1 garlic clove, crushed
60g strong mature cheddar
Handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt & black pepper

8 – 10 baby new potatoes, skin on
2 medium parsnips
Handful asparagus & green beans
Few tbsp butter (The real thing)
Sea salt & black pepper

Make sure you take out your chicken and prosciutto out of the fridge at least 30mins before you start cooking. The prosciutto is much easier to handle when at room temperature and the chicken will cook more evenly.  Preheat the oven to 180C fan/200C.

Mix the garlic and parsley together with some seasoning. Lay the chicken breast on the board, smooth side down, the mini-fillet side should be facing you. Gently slice through the fat part of the breast to butterfly, making sure not to cut all the way through the meat. Slice the cheese into thickish pieces and divide between the breasts. Sprinkle the garlic/parsley mix over the cheese. Lay 2 slices of the ham on the board and place your chicken breast on top. Wrap tightly ensuring there is no cheese peeking through. You have to deal with the fact that it will leak out, but it’s ok it’ll still taste lovely. Repeat with the second breast.

Roast the chicken for 30-40 mins depending on their thickness. Check them after 30mins anyway and cook for longer or rest while you sort the veg.

Rinse and dry your baby potatoes. Steam them for about 10mins, there should still be a bit of give in the flesh. Preheat some oil in a baking tray, add your potatoes, season with plenty of salt and pepper and put in the oven with the chicken. Turn regularly, making sure the skin is nice and crispy. Just before serving, stir them around in a knob of butter to coat.

Peel and cut your parsnips into julienne strips, season and toss in a little oil and butter. Spoon over some runny honey and place in the oven at the same time as the chicken. Turn and baste them regularly during the cooking time. I also had asparagus and green beans with my dinner. I steamed them for 4 and 6 mins respectively. You can do this ahead of time and then gently reheat in a spoon of butter to give them a nice glossy effect.

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Apologies for the pictures, the lighting was a bit off, or maybe it was the wine!

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Spicy Pork with Chorizo stuffed Mushrooms

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I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned my love for chorizo! I recently got the soft, cooking chorizo in a local supermarket, and while staring into the fridge the other night decided to stuff some chestnut mushrooms with it to accompany my spiced pork chop. I made a dry rub of chilli powder, onion salt, black pepper, smoked paprika and dried oregano. Massage the rub into your chop and set aside while you prepare the mushrooms.

I removed the stalks, and gently cleaned with kitchen paper. I never wash mushrooms, they absorb too much of the water. I squeezed the chorizo out of its skin and placed a thumb sized piece in each mushroom cavity. Then sprinkled on some breadcrumbs and chilli flakes. I dipped the base of each mushroom in olive oil and placed in an ovenproof dish. I cooked in a moderate oven, 170C fan, for 15-20 mins, all depends on how big your mushrooms are.

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The chorizo doesn’t lose any of its softness in the cooking and these would make an ideal canapé for a party too, as they are very moreish.

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While the mushrooms cook fry your chops. I usually only cook them for 5-6 mins if they aren’t too thick, this means you get a nice juicy chop and you avoid the dried-out effect. I served the chops and mushrooms with roasted cubed potatoes, which take about 25 mins at the same temperature as the mushrooms. This makes a nice midweek dinner, as it doesn’t take too much time. This is definitely one that will be done again.

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Pizza with Chicken, Potato & Chilli

Who doesn’t like pizza? I’m a thin base and crispy crust kinda girl. But I have a confession to make. As I’ve previously stated, on the record, I’m not good with baking goods and I include dough in that. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to make pizza dough from scratch and it’s been only ok. A couple of years ago, his good self treated himself to a bread-maker and one of the first things we made in it was pizza dough. Turned out nice too, so that recipe was a keeper. For this recipe, I let the bread-maker do the work, it kneads and proves the dough to a perfect spongy, bouncy and yeasty base. Yes, it’s a cheat but sometimes you have to accept defeat and move on.

We had roast chicken with steamed potatoes during the week and, of course, there were leftovers. Football has taken over my house, so I’m getting the kitchen to myself a lot. I was in the mood for pizza and decided to try something different, this was based on what I had to hand. The following is for one:

Pizza dough, made whatever way you want, you know what I do

1 clove garlic, left whole

Large sprig rosemary,

Quarter cup olive oil

Left over chicken breast, shredded

Cooked potato, peeled and thinly sliced

Half red chilli, thinly sliced, seeds in or out depending on your preference

Small shallot, thinly sliced

Couple tablespoons grated cheese of your choice, I only had cheddar in the fridge

While the dough was proving, I made my infused oil. Simply put the oil, garlic and rosemary into a small saucepan. Let it come to a gentle simmer, the oil should shimmer and glisten. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it sit for a couple of hours, if possible.

Meanwhile, shred your chicken and slice your chillies, shallot and potatoes. Once my bread-maker finished its business, I knocked back the dough and rolled it out into a rustic oval shape, no perfect circles here.

Generously brush the base with your infused oil, let it get really oily and shiny, just make sure you don’t take it right to the edge, you want a crunchy crust. Scatter over your toppings, then lightly brush with more of the oil and season with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt flakes. Grate over your cheese. Place on a preheated floured baking tray, and into a very hot oven for approx 10 to 20mins. It really depends on how hot and good your oven is.

 

Eat with a green salad, or like I did, on its own, straight from the oven. It really was delicious and made a nice change from a tomato sauce based run-of-the-mill pizza and, of course, was a great way to use up my leftovers.

Another Baking Adventure – Red Velvet Cupcakes

I haven’t been able to blog recently, but here I am back and bursting to cook!! Since I began trying to bake a few weeks back, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of Red velvet cakes. But being a fraidy cat, I  decided that the cupcake version might be the best avenue for me. I chose the Odlums Recipe as it was the most straightforward and didn’t require buttermilk, which I didn’t have in the fridge. I also used Flora light instead of real butter in the recipe.

The mixture comes out as a very runny batter and I will admit, that I found it slightly frightening. I convinced myself that I had fecked it up and a disaster was imminent. After the required 20mins the cupcakes came out fluffy and moist. But, and here’s the big but, they had very little flavour. In fact, me and himself found them very tasteless indeed.

Don’t get me wrong, the texture was amazing, they were light and spongy as I imagine they should be. They were just a bit meh! I topped them with a shop-bought marshmallow crème, mixed with a little red colouring, and this added a little flavour and sweetness. But shouldn’t cupcakes be tasty without the need for a fancy hat? Back to the mixing bowl, I think.

BBQ Time

It appears that summer has arrived. It is cooler today but the weekend was amazing. Thursday night we discovered that our BBQ had rusted pretty badly over the damp rainy winter. A conversation with a friend pointed us in the direction of a new BBQ that her Brazilian husband swears by. BBQ is a mainstay of Brazilian cooking, so he should know what he’s talking about. I must get some recipes off them!

We bought this BBQ:

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I left it to himself to assemble, fairly straight forward and stress free, though a minor injury was incurred. Instructions were followed and the work was completed. We have owned both types of BBQ and I have to say that I really prefer the charcoal one. Cooking over a gas BBQ feels like cooking over my ordinary gas hob, there’s definitely something special about the flavour imparted by the coals. I just wish there wasn’t such a palaver about getting the blasted coals lighting.

Early on Saturday afternoon, I got to marinating and preparation. I use the plastic takeaway cartons for this, they have a cover and thus you can shake the life out of them. Our BBQ was fairly meat heavy. I chopped two chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

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One breast I mixed with a dry rub of
large pinches of chilli powder, chilli flakes, paprika, ground coriander, garlic salt
small pinches of ground ginger, ground cumin, ground cinnamon
Freshly ground black pepper
Teaspoon of oil
All mixed well and let to sit for a few hours.

The second breast I coated with 2tbsp Frank’s Hot Sauce, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1tbsp honey and a sprig of rosemary. Mix well, and again let sit for a few hours.

You skewer these up, add peppers if you want, to either of them. They only take less than 10mins over the hot coals. We didn’t finish these skewers and they were lovely in a salad the next day.

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I also made a firm favourite in this house, chorizo, veg and rosemary skewers with lashings of crunchy sea salt. Chorizo is best off the BBQ, I’m sure I must have mentioned that I love chorizo at this stage.

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We also had simple striploin steaks and corn on the cob. The corn get so sweet over the coals and you must smother them in butter, it’s a rule I believe.

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The BBQ itself worked out well and is really easy to clean, well that’s what himself said!

Carrot Cupcakes

Well, I baked again and it wasn’t a disaster, can you believe it? I know I can’t. I’ve discovered the bit I like best about baking, it is the calm and peace that surrounds it. Everything has to be organised in advance and ready ago. It can’t be spontaneous because the eggs must be at room temperature, everything must be weighed out and your pan or cases must be ready to go for batter droppage. So for a little while you get the world to yourself and in my case, a chance to pray that your buns come out nice and fluffy.

I used Marian Keyes’ Carrot Cupcake recipe from her new book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saved-Cake-Marian-Keyes/dp/071815889X This is a brilliant book for someone like me, a complete baking novice. It is written in an informal friendly way. The introduction itself, is one of the most inspiring intros I’ve ever read to any book. Marian’s honesty is part of her appeal and you have to admire her for it.  I also discovered we have something in common – I don’t like walnuts that much either, so I left them out of the recipe. I decorated them with an orange frosting and some sparkly stars to girlify them up.

 

Delicious Chicken

Being an avid blog, Twitter and Instagram reader, there was one recipe that has come up more than others. It was this:  http://www.likemamusedtobake.com/2011/06/28/soy-garlic-chicken/ and what a treat it is too. It takes as long to prepare as you want it to, by that I mean you can marinade for a while or bung it straight in the oven. I had time, so I was able to let it sit for a little while.

The end result was delicious and so so moreish. There was even enough leftovers to bring to work the next day for lunch.

I made some coleslaw and homemade oven chips to go with it. It’s a dish I can imagine cooking over and over again.