Tag Archives: easy

Chicken Waldorf Salad

It’s been a long time since I contributed to my own site here and after much um-ing and ah-ing over whether or not to continue Gentle Voice or amalgamate this with my blog, here I am again, posting here. I am nothing if not indecisive. I think.

So without any more wiffle, here’s a little treat for the tastebuds: Chicken Waldorf Salad. This is an incredibly simple but oh so tasty recipe. Don’t be afraid to alter amounts of the separate ingredients because it’s a very forgiving combo of flavours and creativity is the key to good cooking I say!

Ingredients (For two people):

2 cooked chicken breasts (or equivalent meat from elsewhere on the bird), cut into bite size pieces

1 stick of celery, chopped

2 spring onions (scallions), chopped

2 oz (50g) walnut halves, roughly chopped

6 oz (175g) seedless grapes, washed and halved

3 rounded tablespoons of mayonnaise

Salt and crushed black pepper to season

Lettuce leaves (something crunchy like Cos / Romaine lettuce is good).

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl, add the mayonnaise and gently toss through to combine and coat everything. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves. Simple as …

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Cider Roast Turkey

SERVES 8 with leftovers.  PREPARATION TIME 15 minutes.   

COOK approx 4 hours for a 4.5 – 6 Kg (10-12 lb) bird.

Moderately easy recipe

Choose a free-range bird for the best flavour – they’re more expensive, but well worth it for a special occasion.  Here in the UK I’ve found KellyBronze has a good flavour.

FOR THE TURKEY

4.5 – 6kg (10-12 lb) turkey, giblets removed and kept

450g / 1lb stuffing

2 leeks, trimmed and halved

2 carrots, halved

50g / 2oz butter, softened

300ml /1/2 pint of dry cider

FOR THE GRAVY

300ml /1/2 pint dry cider

600ml / 1 pint of chicken or home made turkey giblet stock

2 tbsp quince or redcurrant jelly (cranberry jelly would also work well as an alternative if you can’t find quince or redcurrant)

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Heat the oven to 190C / 375F / Gas 5 / 170C for a fan oven (approx 365F).

Wash and dry the turkey, removing any feathers.  Pull out the giblets and the neck, then set aside.  Lift up the skin that covers the neck opening, then stuff the stuffing up and under the skin, securing it tightly underneath with a skewer or two cocktail sticks.

Weigh the stuffed turkey (you may to use bathroom scales to do this), then calculate the cooking time, allowing 40 minutes per kg (20 minutes per pound).

Put the leeks and carrots in the bottom of a roasting tin in a single layer – this makes a trivet for the turkey to sit on, keeping it out of the fat that pools in the bottom of the tray and also adding flavour to the gravy.  Take the neck from the giblets you had set aside and add to the tin (again for flavour).

Sit the turkey on top of the layer of carrots and leeks and coat the breast all over with butter.  Pour in the cider, cover with foil, then roast according to your timings.  Keep checking the tin every 20-30 minutes and if the vegetables look like they’re burning, add a splash of water or cider.

At 30 minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil and season generously with salt and pepper.

To test if the turkey is ready, pierce the thigh through its thickest part – the juices should run clear.  Take the turkey out and leave to rest, covered with a clean tea towel. 

Leaving the bird to rest is essential in order to allow the fibres of the meat to relax again and for the residual moisture to redistribute in the flesh.  You can leave the turkey to rest for up to an hour.

TO MAKE THE GRAVY

Drain the fat and juices from the tin into a jug, discarding the veg and the neck.

Place the tin over a flame then pour in the cider, scraping up the flavour filled crusty bits with a wooden spoon. 

Reduce the cider by half, then strain into a saucepan (this will save you hob space later).

You should find that by now the juices you poured out of your roasting tin into a jug will have separated out – the fat floating to the top.  Carefully tip off this excess fat, then add the remaining juices to the reduced cider and pour in the stock.  ***Reduce over a high heat for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened.  Stir in the quince jelly, taste and then season if necessary – if you’re using commercially pre-prepared stock be warned that this usually contains a lot of salt so your gravy may only require a little cracked black pepper by way of seasoning. 

Pour the gray into a serving jug or gravy boat, any resting juices that have come out of the turkey should go in now too.

***If you prefer a thicker gravy, mix 1 tsp cornflour with a splash of cold water, then add to the gravy, stirring constantly until smooth and glossy.

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This recipe has been slightly adapted from one  that appeared in the December 2007 Christmas edition of BBC Good Food magazine.  All photos from the same article.

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Citrus Chicken with Chilli New Potatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

For the citrus chicken

  • 4 chicken breast fillets
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest only
  • 1 lime, juice and zest only
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small bunch coriander, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the chilli new potatoes

  • 1kg new potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli paste, or 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 bag mixed green salad leaves, to serve

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Method

 

1. For the citrus chicken: lay the chicken fillets between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and use a rolling pin or meat mallet to flatten them out to about 5mm thick.

2. In a large, shallow dish, mix together the lemon and lime juice and zest, olive oil, coriander and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Add the chicken fillets and coat thoroughly in the marinade then cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

4. For the chilli new potatoes: parboil the potatoes in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 7-10 minutes. Drain well then cover with a clean, dry tea-towel to absorb any excess moisture. Set aside to cool slightly then cut into diagonal slices.

5. Melt the butter and oil together in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chilli and the potato slices and fry for 10 minutes, turning halfway, until crisp and golden-brown.

6. To cook the chicken, preheat a griddle pan over a high heat (you could also cook the chicken over the hot coals of a barbecue).

7. Place the chicken fillets on the griddle pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until charred on the outside and cooked through.

8. Serve the citrus chicken with the chilli new potatoes and green salad alongside.

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Super-quick chocolate cake

I was sent this recipe by email, source unknown, so unfortunately I can’t attribute it.  It was labelled ‘The most dangerous cake recipe in the world’.  Why? Because it’s so quick and easy that you are only ever 5 minutes away from chocolate cake.  I haven’t tried this yet but I plan to – soon!

2 tablespoons cocoa

4 tablespoons of flour

4 tablespoons of sugar

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)

A small splash of vanilla extract and your favourite tipple

1 large coffee mug

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choccake1 Add the dry ingredients to your largest mug and mix well.  Add the egg and mix thoroughly.  Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.  Add the chocolate chips if using, vanilla extract and a drop or two of your favourite tipple, then mix again.

 

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high).  The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed!

choccake3Allow to cool a little and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT!  (This can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).  If you’re feeling very, very naughty, cover liberally in Bailey’s Irish Cream.

 

Without any of the whipping and creaming associated with sponge cakes I’m intrigued to know what this is actually like.  If you try it, please let me know how it turned out – it certainly looks delicious!

choccake4

 

 

 

 

 

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Steak au Poivre

peppercornsNot the standard Steak au Poivre with five different types of peppercorns, cream etc.  It’s the steak with pepper, butter and brandy.  Delightful in its simplicity, easy to prepare, but never skimp on the steak.  I like a good Angus sirloin – for me, anything less is false economy.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 Angus sirloin steaks, at room temperature (have them out of the fridge a good 15 minutes before you need them)

2 tablespoons of black peppercorns

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil

1-1/2 oz (about 30g) unsalted butter

2 good slugs of Cognac***

***I have never used cheap wine, brandy etc. in cooking as the point is that the alcohol is burned off, leaving you with just the flavour.  (I have been known to use Remy Martin in this dish and, not surprisingly, it has been an instant favourite with guests)!

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Crush the peppercorns coarsely in a pestle and mortar.  Tip the pepper into a fine sieve and shake well until all  remains of powder have been dispersed. (This is important because the excess powder will cause the steaks to be far too hot).  Press the peppercorns into both sides of the steak with your fingers, pressing well with the heel of your hand.   Only now season with salt because salting first will not allow the pepper to stick to the meat.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan until hot.  Put in the steaks and fry on one side thoroughly, but not on full heat, until a good, thick crust has formed.  Add the butter and allow to colour to nut brown.  Turn the steaks over and finish cooking to your taste.  Try to resist turning too often – the aim is to produce a good crusty coating on each surface.  Baste with the buttery juices as you go. 

Remove the steaks to hot plates, add the Cognac to the pan and whisk together with the butter.  Don’t worry about any little deposits of meat from the pan being incorporated – this is absolutely the best thing to do.  ‘De-glazing’ the pan like this adds oodles of delicious flavour. It also doesn’t matter if the brandy ignites, but the alcohol must be boiled off.

Pour over the steaks.  Serve with chips (French fries) and salad.

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Sausages with salami and lentils

Le CreusetThis is a hearty, comforting and full-of-flavour rustic meal – perfect for cold winter nights.  Easy to make, and the ingredients won’t burn a hole in your pocket.  What more could you ask?

Sausages with salami and lentils

Serves 4  / Prep: 20 mins  / Cooking time: 45 mins

Ingredients:

2 onions – peel, cut in half then cut each half into four or five pieces, cutting from root to tip

2 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves

200g salami (or chorizo), in one piece

8 fat sausages (about 1 kg)

500g chopped / crushed tomatoes or tomato passata

150g green or brown lentils

500ml water

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (= about a tablespoon of fresh leaves or a teaspoon of dried)***

Crushed black pepper

***Rosemary is a herb that I love and goes very well with pork so I tend to put in a little more than this.  The amount I’ve noted above is a suggestion that won’t be overpowering – add more next time if, like me, you feel you’d prefer it.

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Method:

Put the oil in a heavy-based casserole and brown the sausages.  You want them to colour on the outside; they will do most of their cooking once they are in the sauce.  Remove and set aside.

Add the onion slices to the pan and let them cook over a moderate heat until tender.

Meanwhile, peel the garlic, slice it thinly and add it to the onions.  You’ll need to stir them regularly so that the garlic doesn’t burn.

Peel the thin skin from the salami and cut the inside into fat matchsticks.  Add this to the softening onions and leave for a couple of minutes, during which time the salami will darken slightly.

Tip the crushed tomatoes (or passata) into the onions, add the washed lentils and stir in 500ml water.  Bring to the boil.  Tuck the sausages into the casserole, together with the sprigs of rosemary.

Cover the pot with a lid and leave to simmer gently for about half an hour, until the lentils are tender.  Stir the lentils and seaso0n with black pepper.  You may find it needs little or no salt.

(This is one of those very forgiving dishes where timing is not crucial.  You can leave this very gently bubbling on the stove for a little longer – just keep the pot covered and keep an eye on it to be sure that it isn’t drying out).

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Slow cooked root vegetable soup

This is honestly one of the tastiest soups I have ever eaten with the added bonus that it is low in fat. The slow cooking of the vegetables intensifies their flavour and fills the kitchen with the most wonderful aroma.  Soup in all its varieties is a good and cheap way of getting the family to take in more health-giving vegetables and I defy anyone not to like this one.  Make a meal of it on a cold Winter’s night with some crusty bread and some cheese.

This is from the doyenne of home cooking here in the U.K. – Delia Smith.

Slow cooked root vegetable soup

Serves 6

Vegetable quantities are prepared weights

8oz (225g) peeled carrots, cut into 2 inch (5cm) lengths

8oz (225g) peeled celeriac (celery root), cut into 2 inch (5cm) pieces

8 oz (225g) trimmed and washed leeks, halved and cut into 2 inch / 5 cm lengths

8 oz (225g) peeled swede (rutabaga / yellow turnip), cut into 2 inch (5cm) lengths

1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2-1/2 pints (1.5 litres) stock, made with Marigold Swiss Bouillon vegetable powder

3 bay leaves

Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper

To serve (optional): 6 teaspoons of fat free Greek yogurt and a few fresh chives

You will also need a large, lidded flame-proof casserole (capacity of 6 pints or 3.5 litres)

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Pre-heat the oven to 275F / 140C / gas mark 1 

This is such a simple soup to make once you have all your ingredients peeled, cut and prepared. All you do is place everything in the casserole and bring it up to a gentle simmer, then put the lid on.  Transfer the casserole to the lowest part of the oven and leave it there for 3 hours, by which time the vegetables will be meltingly tender and sweet and the aroma emanating from your kitchen just divine!

Remove the bay leaves and process or liquidise the soup in several batches to a puree.  (I find a hand blender is brilliant for things like this).

Gently re-heat and serve in soup bowls with a teaspoon of Greek yogurt swirled into each and garnished with fresh chopped chives.

(This recipe can be found on-line at deliaonline.com and is also printed in her book ‘How to Cook, Book Two, The Delia Collection’, Delia Smith, ISBN  056338431X)

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