31st January & I hope you’re keeping well. Time is nigh to celebrate with Recipe No. 1 of 2020. Welcome to the real beginning of the New Year because January was complete and utter drudge now wasn’t it? I’ve been expanding my repertoire of Slow Cooker recipes and have worked on perfecting this Chinese one, it was good before, and now it’s better. Next I have to work on the Chicken Curry one as it’s been constructively critiqued as a little bland and a little watery!
First up are the photos and then if you’d like to try it out the ingredients and method are below.
Chinese Chicken, Peppers & Black Bean Sauce.
You will need:
1kg chicken breast – cut into chunks
3 red chillies
2 peppers (i used 1 red, 1 green)
2 tins black beans
1 tsp cornflour
4 tbsp grated ginger or ginger puree
2 tbsp garlic puree or 3 crushed garlic cloves
12 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp golden syrup
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar or red/white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chilli flakes
peanuts & spring onion to garnish
suggest boiled rice to serve Method:
Place chicken chunks in the base of the Slow Cooker
Next add in chopped onion chunks, 3 finely chopped red chillies, 2 sliced peppers
Drain the black beans and add these next
In a jug mix together the 1 tsp cornflour and 100ml cold water
Into the jug add the remaining ingredients : ginger, garlic, soy sauce, golden syrup, vinegar, chilli flakes
Cook on high in the slow cooker for 4 hours
Chop up spring onion and scatter on top along with peanuts before serving with some boiled rice.
Sunday morning, he took two of the lads to football training and I jumped out of bed knowing that food had to be got for their return and a decent dinner made as the twin girls had a football match later in the afternoon. No ordinary football match – a Senior County Final and a replay at that – so woe betide me if there were no food. Off I went, fitting in a yoga class and then a flit through the supermarket. On my return however they were back and my hero of a husband was already cleaning the kitchen with Niall having cooked for them all. They had polished off scrambled eggs and black pudding and there was no panic for me to cook. I didn’t mention that I had stopped off for a scone and a cappuccino in between the yoga and the shopping did I? It’s an official habit of mine now, a scone with Irish butter and a cappuccino. It’s usually accompanied by a catch up on my Instagram Feed and those stories can be very distracting!
This lack of time pressure made my foray into the kitchen so much more enjoyable. It is so much nicer to cook when you yourself are not starving and the masses are not persistently inquiring as to the nature of the dish and ‘when will it be ready?’
I had intended on a quick cook dish though and proceeded with my plan. Oven was preheated, vegetables quickly chopped and then topped in a large baking dish with some berbere dusted chicken mini fillets.
Is Berbere new to you? It is to me. A recently discovered (by me!) Ethiopian origin spice blend similar to Ras El Hanout but with a really gentle warmth. I found it on the shelves of my local Dunnes Stores and have been using it for the past week or so and it’s going down well with everyone.
The Berbere baked chicken was accompanied by harissa spiced couscous with a little coriander mixed through and a good dollop of natural yoghurt spiked with lemon juice and topped with a sprinkling of Berbere for colour.
Baked Berbere Chicken: You will need:
A few baby potatoes
1 red pepper
1 red onion
Olive oil or rapeseed oil
Mini chicken fillets 400-700g (judge by how many you want to feed!)
Berbere spice blend
Serve with couscous made with tsp harissa paste and some coriander
Natural yoghurt spiked with lemon juice and dusted with berbere. Method:
Preheat the fan oven to 200C
Microwave the baby potatoes for 5 to 10 mins until easy to cut through
Cube the aubergine and courgette
Deseed and slice the red pepper
Peel and slice the red onion
Scatter the vegetables in the base of a large baking dish
Slice the par-cooked baby potatoes and scatter on top
Drizzle some oil over the vegetables and then mix them around
Place the chicken mini fillets on top of the chopped vegetables, drizzle with some oil and dust with berbere.
Cook in the hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through – turning the chicken over midway through cooking and dusting with a little more berbere.
Sweet & Sticky Chicken Stir-Fry Recipe number 2 of 12 before Christmas means we’re another week closer! BTs, M&S, Boots et al are all very upfront in their homage to the festive season. Walls are being cleared, the sun holiday aisle is being swept away and before you know it we’ll be out there buying a plethora of 3 for 2 gifts without the faintest idea of who any of it all is for.
I’ve already bought a couple of baubles. Being a fan of all things timeless and classic our main Christmas tree is always festooned in a combination of red & gold so each year I just buy a couple of more bits to add to the collection.
As I write this it is 6.15pm and I am where I do much of my writing, in the car at the side of the pitch while the kids are at a training session. It’s still bright. In a few more weeks I’ll be chasing the brightest streetlamp. It’s a strangely humid and moist day with a greyed sky that had been filled with a blazing autumn sunshine earlier this morning. Ah, here comes the rain, now we’ve had a bit of everything. I hope tomorrow starts off golden again and that we can enjoy a few more weeks of watching the trees try on hues of red, gold, yellow and burnished browns until stripping off completely. The leaf-blowers will be out in earnest then but for now there’s still the odd optimist patiently pushing a droning lawnmower accompanied by the neighbourhood canine chorus.
Sticking to the theme of autumnal hues this deliciously sweet and sticky chicken bright with orange juice, dark with soy will be brought quickly to your table. As mangetout are just going out of season you could substitute with sliced courgette which is delicious slightly undercooked and plentiful at the moment.
At time of publishing as opposed to writing I am back at home it’s 8pm dark & wet and I am not inclined towards prose having just brought in the drowned washing optimistically hung out to dry this warm autumnal morn!
Sweet & Sticky Chicken Stir-Fry Sweetened with orange juice, this is quick and easy to prepare and ready in 20 minutes. I love it with brown rice or noodles.
Serves 4 You will need: 4 skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp coconut or rapeseed oil
Half head of broccoli
3 spring onions
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
Juice of 2 oranges
2 tsp cornflour
Handful of cashew nuts
cooked brown rice or noodles, to serve Method: Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and cook the chicken for 4 minutes on a high heat.
While the chicken is cooking, break the broccoli into small florets, rinse the mangetout and rinse and chop the spring onions.
Add 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce to the chicken, then add the broccoli, mangetout and spring onions and cook for 3 minutes.
Juice the oranges and mix with the cornflour and the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce in a small bowl. Add this to the chicken and cook for 1 minute, stirring well. If you would prefer a saucier mix, add a little water. Finally, sprinkle in the cashew nuts and cook for 1 minute. Serve with rice or noodles.
Til next time, Sheila
Oh how I do love a blog post that writes itself. This one doesn’t even require a recipe just a little bit of direction.
Firstly get yourself into a SuperValu Supermarket and then buy yourself a jar of Elbow Lane Smokehouse Sauce along with some chicken breasts on the bone.
Secondly whack your oven onto high, toss the chicken breasts into your favourite roasting tray/pan and slather all over with the Elbow Lane Smokehouse Sauce.
Lastly roast until deliciously golden and then enjoy.
Here’s what the sauce looks like in the shops:
Disclaimer:The events portrayed in this blog post are all true. I did cook this chicken, really I did. The names are real names of real supermarkets and real products. Nobody got hurt in this production and the chicken was delicious. really it was. There are other stockists of the Elbow Lane Smokehouse Sauce besides SuperValu but I’m not going to mention them all but here’s the link if you want to find out more.
To wrap it up : this is not an #ad and nothing was #free
Being an Irish woman I just love potatoes. What’s that got to do with Jerk Chicken you might ask? Well recently on twitter I started following this account called @TastyPotatoes and they are sharing the most delicious looking potato based dishes, dishes that scream ‘comfort’ and ‘eat me.’ One that I just had to try was their Jerk Potato & Black Bean Curry. I reproduced it as best as I could using a can of black eye beans and chickpeas instead of two tins of black beans as they are simply not stocked in Irish supermarkets. as at time of writing I had never found them in an Irish supermarket. Since writing the blogpost I’ve been told that black beans are available in SuperValu and indeed have verified this in my local branch. For the Jerk Potato & Black Bean Curry Recipe just click on this link to Tasty Potatoes.
Maybe I’m wrong on that score and If you know of any other Irish supermarkets that sells them please let me know as that’s where I do most of my food shopping.
Jerk seasoning was easily available in the supermarket and one that I hadn’t ever used before.
Not being of a vegetarian persuasion I chose to accompany the Jerk Potato & Black Bean Curry with Jerk Chicken Drumsticks. Chicken drumsticks are under-utilised in cooking and recipes and thus incredibly cheap.
Jerk Chicken Drumsticks You will need:
Sour cream & coriander to serve (optional) Method:
Heat the oven to 200C
Place the chicken drumsticks on a baking tray, drizzle with oil, dust generously with jerk seasoning and cook in the hot oven for 20 to 30 minutes until golden in colour and cooked through.
Serve with sour cream & coriander.
‘Til next time, Sheila
Quick and filling yet fresh and light for a pasta dish this is perfect summer dining. Just accompany with something chilled, crisp and white for the grown ups. What made this dish quick was the use of pre-cooked chicken fillets that had been left over from the previous night’s dinner but as that’s a somewhat unusual occurrence you could use some chopped up cooked ham or crisp up some bacon instead. The pesto used was rather special being an experiment in using rampant lettuce from the garden rather than shop bought basil. (Recipe for lettuce pesto will be posted next week). In the meantime I hope you’re making the most of the summer wherever you are. While the weather is against us here in Ireland there is the salvation of wonderful restaurants and coffee shops dotted everywhere that may lighten your wallet but will brighten up your day. Personal favourites this week have been Paradise Crepe Restaurant, Newman’s West & L’Escale, all in Schull, West Cork. Today we’ll be checking out fair-day in Bantry so I may have to accidentally trip over something on the pavement and fall in the door of the The Stuffed Olive. It will have to be done in such a way that I lose the kids first though but the fair should be good for that. Fusilli Summer Chicken
Serves 4 You will need:
350g fusilli pasta
200g frozen garden peas
3 cooked breasts of chicken (alternatively use sliced up cooked ham or cook up some rashers)
1 spring onion
5 tbsp pesto
parmesan to garnish Method:
Boil a large saucepan of water and put the pasta on to cook according to pack.
Boil a small saucepan of water and put the peas on to cook.
Slice up the cooked chicken and add to the pasta about a minute from the end of cooking time to heat it up.
Drain the cooked pasta & chicken. Drain the peas.
Combine together in a serving bowl and stir through chopped spring onion and the pesto to lightly coat everything.
Serve with shavings of parmesan and extra pesto on the side.
‘Til next time, Sheila.