Chinese Spiced Poached Chicken

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I know that twenty minutes does not sound long enough to poach such a large chicken but trust me here, as you leave the chicken in the stock it continues to cook and absorb the lovely flavours.

By cooking the chicken this way, it is prepared long before you eat and the moistness of the meat is amazing although, it doesn’t look particularly attractive!

Once you have made this stock you have the bases for many meals to come, just sieve the stock to remove the lumpy bits and then freeze. When you need it again, defrost and add all of the ingredients again to re flavour the stock, it really does get better with every use!

Leftovers the next day? Cook some noodles, top with some baby spinach, leftover chicken and pour over some hot stock.

Ingredients

2.5kg chicken

250mls gluten free soy sauce or Tamari sauce

200mls Chinese rice wine

500mls chicken stock

1 orange, rind and juice

5 spring onions, topped and tailed, cut into 5cm lengths

4 star anise

2x5cm cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon salt

Water

Method

Combine all of the ingredients, except chicken in a large stock pot.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 mins.

Fill and boil a kettle of water.

Wash the chicken and then gently loosen the skin from the breasts and legs.

Add 500 mls water to the stock pot and stir.

Gently lower the chicken into the pot, ensure the cavity is filled with the stock too.

Cover, you may need to add more water to fully immerse the chicken,  and bring the pot up to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer gently for twenty mins only. Do not remove the lid.

Turn the heat off after 20mins and leave covered with the lid for several hours.

Remove once cool enough to handle and chop into your desired serving pieces.

Cheese and Chive Scones

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One of my favourite scone recipes, these are lovely with a bowl of soup or hot out the oven with butter spread in them.

They are also a super option in the boys lunch boxes instead of a sandwich. The scones freeze well so I just pop a frozen scone into their boxes, knowing it will be defrosted by the time they get to lunch.

Makes 12-14 scones.

Ingredients

450g plain flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

110g butter, cubed

pinch of salt

150g cheese, grated

25g fresh chives, snipped

300mls buttermilk

1 egg, beaten

Method

Preheat the oven to 210degrees Centigrade. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.

Add the butter and, using your finger tips, rub the butter in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the cheese and chives and mix through.

Add the buttermilk and combine gently to form a dough.

Tip the dough onto a floured work surface, gently use your hands to flatten.

Take the cutter and cut out your scones, once there is no more space to cut, reform the dough and cut again, repeat until all of the dough is used.

Place on the baking sheet and brush with the beaten egg.

Bake for 7-10 mins until golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Smoked Fish Chowder with Sweetcorn and Potato

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I know that chicken noodle soup is renowned for its curative powers around the world, but, I think this soup is up there too, comfort and nutrients in a soothing bowl of chowder!

I was brought up with this soup being made with smoked haddock, now, I use a smoked cod that my fishmonger has, the fillets are a similar size to haddock, I just need to take the skin off.

Now the cheat for making the best stock for this soup……. Use fresh corn, remove the kernels and set aside, pop the cobs and the onion outer skin into your soup pan, top with water, bring to the boil and simmer covered for 30mins, drain and set the stock aside. This stock only needs a little seasoning to make it delicious and I love the no waste factor, once I’ve boiled the cobs, I cool them down and then they go out to the chooks for a good pecking!

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

500g smoked  cod or similar, cut into 2-3cm pieces

600 g fresh sweetcorn, about 4 ears

1 onion, finely diced

60g butter

500g potatoes, peeled and diced, 1cm

700mls stock, sweet corn or vegetable

300mls cream

500mls milk

salt and pepper

Method

In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft.

Add the potatoes to the pan and cook for 2 mins, stirring frequently.

Add the sweetcorn, stock, cream and milk.

Bring gently up to the boil and simmer for 10mins.

Add the fish and simmer for 5-7 mins. Season with salt and pepper

Chicken Chow Mein

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Once the chopping is done, this becomes a very fast dinner.

I alternate the veggies depending on what’s in the fridge or freezer, defrosted frozen peas, bak choy, spinach, edamame, pepper or capsicum.

We have a bowl of these plain noodles and the boys then choose sauce to go with them, none of which are authentic but I don’t think the noodles are either! Current sauce choices are sweet soy sauce, from Indonesia, sweet chilli sauce from Thailand and sambal olek, chilli sauce from Indonesia.

To make this gluten free, I use rice noodles and gluten free soy sauce. For my vegetarian option, I omit the chicken and add a couple of extra vegetable varieties. the marinade for the chicken then gets used after the garlic is browned with the vegetables being added to the pan.

Ingredients

250g dry egg noodles

600g chicken breast, very finely sliced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, finely sliced

150g ham, finely shredded

1 large carrot, finely julienned

150g broccoli florets

3 spring onions, finely sliced

Method

Cook  the noodles as per instructions, set aside.

Place the thinly sliced chicken,  soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine or sherry in a bowl, combine and set aside.

Prepare the vegetables,  I cut the carrots to matchstick size and break the broccoli into mini florets. I also slice the spring onions at an angle.

Heat a large frying pan or wok over a high heat, add the chicken and its marinade, stir fry for 2 minutes.

Remove and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil, stir fry the garlic for 20seconds.

Add the ham, carrot, broccoli and spring onions, stir fry for 1 minute.

Add the cooked noodles and chicken, with any juices, and stir fry for 2 mins.

Drizzle a little more sesame oil over if you want and serve.

Easy Roast Turkey with Pesto and Prosciutto

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One of the best ways to cook turkey I think!

By opening up the breast you are creating a larger surface area to flavour with the pesto and prosciutto, and it really is easy to tie back up but, a spare pair of hands can be helpful!

As the meat cooks, wonderful juices with sediment will form on the base of the pan, use these to then baste the meat, they will give it a fantastic flavour.

I use my home made pesto, recipe in the blog, as I always have a few jars in the fridge.

Leftovers are super in sandwiches and salads.

Serves 8-10.

Ingredients

2kg turkey breast

170g basil pesto

12 slices prosciutto

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180degrees Centigrade.

Take the turkey breast and lay it on your chopping board.

Take a very sharp knife and cut the flesh, just above the skin, as if it were a book being opened. Don’t cut it all the way through.

Now, cut again, though the lower thick section,  to create a third page, the breast should now be in one long thin piece.

Spread the pesto over the inside and then cover with prosciutto.

Roll the turkey so the skin is uppermost.

Take long pieces of string and tie lengthwise at 1cm intervals. Rub the skin with the olive oil.

Place in an oven proof dish and bake for 45 mins, remove from the oven and baste, roast for a further 30 mins, basting regularly.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, cover lightly with tin foil and allow to rest for 30mins.

Remove the string and carve into thick slices.

 

 

Banana and Coconut Muffins

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The boys are all back at school now after the long summer holidays so I am back to baking for the lunch boxes.

These are gluten and dairy free and I  just top them off with a little brown sugar and cinnamon.

Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients

3 large bananas

1 egg

100g buckwheat flour

50g desiccated coconut

60g tapioca/arrowroot flour

1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

75g icing sugar

100mls sunflower oil

50g brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

Preheat the oven to 180degrees Centigrade. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside.

In a food processor, process the bananas and eggs.

Add the buckwheat, tapioca, coconut, baking powder, bicarb, icing sugar and oil, process again.

Pour the batter into the prepared paper cases, around 2/3 full.

Top with the brown sugar mix.

Bake for 18-20 mins, allow to cool on a wire rack.

Fresh Ceviche

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I absolutely love ceviche, amazingly fresh with flavours that blend so well, I don’t think that there is a better way to serve the freshest of fish.

The lime juice works to “cook” the fish so I like to eat it within 15mins of adding the juice because I slice the fish thinly, if you have thicker slices or even diced or cubed, you can leave it a little longer.

I have used a red snapper for this, it works well with any light white fish, salmon and tuna. the fish has to be as fresh as possible, this is the same idea as sashimi so quality is key.

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

800g fish fillets

3 limes

few coriander leaves

salt and pepper

Method

Take a fish fillet and with a very sharp knife, slice finely down towards the tail end, as if you were slicing smoked salmon.

Lay carefully on your serving plate and repeat, working up the fillet.

Continue with each fillet.

Squeeze the limes over the fish, sprinkle with coriander leaves and season.

Serve within 15mins of the juice being added.