Posted in Uncategorized, What's for Dinner Mom?

Simple Chicken

Chicken again tonight I hear you cry!!! And what is wrong with that? Nothing at all I tell you, nothing at all.  As a working mother I know how we can get stuck in a dinner rut due to time constraints and a lot of the time just plain tiredness.  Days are busy and you’re rushing around maybe buzzed up on caffeine but come 5 or 6 in the evening you’re ready to collapse and the thought of cooking a dinner can be overwhelming.  I know of a lady who when left to her own devices is quite happy for dinner to be a fresh baguette, some very good brie and some nicely chilled white wine.  Bread, cheese and wine would be heaven but plonk that on the table in front of a clatter of kids and they’ll be banging the knives and forks in a more than mutinous fashion.  Tempting as it may be to abandon ship a weekday dinner is usually dutifully and not joyfully provided.
Paprika and garlic roast chicken
So back to the chicken.  It may sound boring however it has the makings of providing some very simple and tasty dinners and that’s what we’re often after.
Sitting at my kitchen counter perusing cookbooks as I usually do over lunch at home I poured through Clodagh McKenna’s ‘Homemade’ cookbook.  It was a book that I bought for myself because I loved how lovely it looked, the beautiful layout, the sense of handcrafted design, it’s just a really good-looking book.
A roast chicken is one of the most simple meals there is to cook, simply bung it in the oven for an hour then thrown in some potatoes in their skins to bake for and additional 45 mins or so depending on size and that’s it.   Supplemented with some easy cook veg like broccoli or if you want to minimise prep. work, frozen peas will be perfectly adequate to provide a nutritious tasty and simple meal that has required zero preparation.
Roast chicken and salads
Next time you’re doing a roast chicken I recommend that you take an additional 5 minutes (max.) to try out  Clodagh McKenna’s ‘Paprika, garlic and lemon spiced chicken’ which renders a beautifully bronzed, succulent and moist chicken.
Paprika, garlic and lemon spiced chicken
You will need:
1 chicken
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon (I used the zest as well)
80ml of olive oil (I used Irish rapeseed)
1 tbsp paprika
Pre-heat the fan oven to 180C
Crush the garlic and combine with the other ingredients –  a small jug would be ideal.
Use your hands or the back of a spoon to ease up the skin on the breast of the chicken, you’re just loosening it so that you’ll be able to pour a marinade in between the skin and the breast meat.
Tilt the chicken upright in a roasting tin so you can pour half of the marinade in-between the skin and the breast and use your hands over the skin to disperse it beneath.
Place the chicken flat and pour over the remainder of the marinade and then rub all over the bird.
Roast in the pre-heated oven, time will depend on size, I generally roast a medium/large chicken for 90 mins to 2hrs.

Potato Lemon & Rocket salad
Two other recipes I tried from Clodagh’s ‘Homemade’ book were a couscous and chickpea salad and a delicious lemon and rocket new potato salad.  I’m looking forward to trying out some of her other ways with roast chicken – moroccan-spiced, indian-spiced, tarragon, white wine and garlic butter & thai-style roast chicken.  Who said chicken was boring?!
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized, What's for Dinner Mom?

Pork & Patatas Bravas – A Quick & Easy Supper

Pork & Patatas Bravas

A quick and easy supper.
Pork & Patatas Bravas
That’s what we’re after most days of the week and something tasty too and perhaps a little bit different from what we normally serve.  If you have children they may or may not have a liking for smoked food and I’m afraid that is a prerequisite for the success of this dish on your dinner table.  I don’t know how mine acquired a liking for all things smokey, achieved here  using smoked paprika and they’re also huge fans of smoked cheese – not one of my favourites.
This recipe requires very little preparation and will be on the table in the length of time it takes to roast baby potatoes, which in my oven is 25 to 30 minutes.  There is no peeling required and you can hardly call cutting up chorizo chopping so it is really, really easy.
Tray of Roasted Baby Potatoes
What makes it so delicious is the amazing ‘Bravas’ sauce which is from one of Lorraine Pascale’s cookbooks – Fast, Fresh and Easy Food – published in 2012.  Here I’m serving the sauce over the pork instead of over the potatoes as in Patatas Bravas.  I like to blitz the tomatoes in the food processor before cooking for a smoother sauce.
Pork & Patatas Bravas Close-Up

Pork & Patas Bravas

You will need:
Rapeseed Oil
500g bag Baby Potatoes
4 Pork Chops
400g tin tomatoes
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1-2tsp smoked paprika
1-2tsp caster sugar
150g chorizo ring

Get the oven on to preheat good and high to around 200 C fan oven/ Gas Mark 7.
Spill the potatoes onto a baking tray, drizzle over some rapeseed oil and use your hands to roll the potatoes around so all sides are glistening with oil.  Season with some sea salt and black pepper and put the tray of potatoes on to roast.
Heat a little oil in a large frying pan on a high heat and sear the pork chops on either side for around 2 minutes a side just to colour them nicely.  Pop the chops on a baking tray and place into the oven while you prepare the ‘Bravas’ sauce.
Blitz the tomatoes in the food processor for a smooth consistency and then place in a large sauce pan over a medium heat on the hob.
Add balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika, caster sugar, a drizzle of oil, salt and pepper to the sauce and bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for approx 10 minutes.
Remove the pork chops from the tray in the oven and add them into the saucepan of simmering sauce to cook for another 10 minutes.
Cut the chorizo sausage into bitesize chunks and add to the sauce, leave to cook and heat through for another 5 minutes.
Test the potatoes after 20/25 minutes of cooking with a knife and once the knife can slide easily to the centre they are cooked and ready to serve.
Serve the roast potatoes with some green veg such as brocoli or green beans alongside a pork chop smothered in the ‘Bravas’ sauce.
‘Til next time, Sheila.