Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Chicken baked with lemon and mascarpone

I have a feeling my posts over the holiday are going to be few and far between. I'm not going to be at home very much and cooking may have to take a back seat. I liked the simplicity of this meal the other evening from Olive Magazine. I used chicken thighs instead of chicken legs and just put the mascarpone cheese on top of the thighs as they were skinless. 

Serves 4
4 tbsp mascarpone
1 lemon zested
4 chicken legs or a couple of packs of chicken thighs
250g cherry tomatoes
chicken stock or white wine a splash
a few basil leaves shredded
buttered orzo or salad to serve

Heat the oven to 190ºC. Mix the mascarpone and lemon zest and season well. Ease the skin away from the chicken legs and push the mascarpone underneath. Put in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 30 mins, then add the cherry tomatoes and a splash of wine or stock and keep baking for another 20-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Scatter over the basil and serve with buttered orzo and the pan juices.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Giant prawns and chorizo salad

It was my birthday yesterday and given the beautiful sunny weather I was happy to cook lunch and stay at home and celebrate. I called in at Aldi and picked up a pack of frozen, giant butterflied prawns, some chorizo and a packet of rocket. I couldn't have enjoyed lunch more. I fried the prawns and chorizo in some olive oil, then added a few chilli flakes, the prawns were coated in the wonderful chorizo flavour. Serve with some crusty bread and salad. A great lunch or starter, for the wonderful summer we are having.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Spaghetti with anchovies and tuna

The plates were scraped clean last night after this simple store cupboard pasta meal. I haven't cooked this for so long, there is something about warm tuna that doesn't always appeal to me, but last night I really enjoyed this. This recipe is stuck in my recipe book and comes from BBC Food Recipes.

Serves 4
350g spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
250g canned tuna
50ml white wine
4 anchovy fillets
2 cloves of garlic
2 tomatoes diced (I didn't have these to add)
50g capers, rinsed and drained
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
10 basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water for 8 minutes until al dente. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and fry over the gentle heat for 3 minutes. Add the anchovy fillets and cook very gently until almost melting. Increase the heat and add the tuna. Toss for a few minutes then add the the white wine and let it bubble for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Stir in the capers and tomatoes.
Drain the pasta, reserving 2-3 tbsp of the cooking water. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, mix in the basil leaves and olive oil and season to taste. Add a little of the cooking water if the pasta seems too dry, then serve. 

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Salmon with a lemon pepper crust

If you lack confidence in the cooking department, this one is for you. I don't think anything could go wrong. Tonight I followed this recipe from the Good Food website , though I didn't have the asparagus to add to it. It was lovely, really lovely. 

Serves 4

400g pack asparagus
1 tbsp olive oil
4 salmon fillets, about 140g each, skinned
2 lemons
50g butter, melted
6 tbsp coarse breadcrumbs
1 tbsp coarsely ground or crushed peppercorns
small bunch chives, chopped to serve

Heat oven to 200ºC. Cook the asparagus in a pan of boiling salted water for 1 min, drain, then run under the cold tap for a few secs. Drain again, toss in olive oil and spread out to a single layer in a large ovenproof roasting tin. Check the salmon for pin-bones, then arrange on top of the asparagus.
To make the crust, finely grate the zest of 1 lemon, then add this to the butter, breadcrumbs and pepper, and sprinkle liberally over the salmon. Cut the lemons into wedges. Nestle two-thirds of the wedges around the fish, then squeeze the juice from the remainder directly over the fish.
Roast fish for 12-15 mins or until it is just cooked through, it should be opaque and firm. Sprinkle with chives, then serve immediately with buttered new potatoes.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Championship Chicken

I am naming this meal after the wonderful Wimbledon final today. A totally gripping game and a brilliant and well deserved win for Andy Murray. This meal took minutes to prepare once the game had finished, and was on the table 30 minutes later.

Serves 2 - 3
1 pack of boneless chicken thighs
a large dollop of honey
dark soy sauce
juice of half a lime
a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes

Heat the oven to 190ºC. Place the chicken thighs in a roasting dish. Add a good dash of soy sauce, the honey and the lime juice to the chicken and mix together so that the chicken is well coated. Sprinkle on the chilli flakes. Then roast in the oven for approx 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is bubbling and sticky. Serve with rice and green vegetables. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


It must be 20 years since I last made this well known Italian dessert. I couldn't cut into it for the photo to show the filling as I was taking it to a friends house for dinner. In the middle is a mixture of cream and chopped nuts, then an extra addition of chocolate, cream and nuts in the very centre. Looking at different recipes for Zuccotto it is suggested that the whole dessert can be frozen and just left to come up to room temperature before serving, so the centre is more like an ice cream. I followed a recipe that I have had stuck in my personal recipe book which is accompanied by a little drawing for guidance (see below). I obviously made it in a dish that was way too small as I had a huge amount of cream left over.

Serves 8
100g Almonds
100g Hazelnuts
400g Madeira cake, cut into slices
Orange juice
1 pint of double cream
100g Icing sugar
100g Dark chocolate, melted

Roast the nuts until lightly browned and then chop in a processor. Put to one side.
Grease a 4 pint pudding dish, line with cling film. Use ⅔ of the cake to the line the entire dish making sure there are no spaces. Pour the liqueurs into the cake and refrigerate while you do the next stage. Whip the cream, icing sugar and then add the nuts. Keep some of the cream back to mix with the chocolate.  Fold the melted chocolate in with the remaing cream. Make a well in the centre of the cream and add the chocolate cream. Place the rest of the cake on top of the cream mixture. Press down and refrigerate for six hours. Then tip out onto a serving dish and sprinkle with cocoa powder. Keep chilled or in the freezer until ready to serve.