Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Chicken Challenge #4

For day four of the challenge, I made Mary Berry's Greek Chicken Salad. I went to the cinema today to see The Great Gatsby, and it was quite nice to have a little potter round the kitchen putting it together when I got back. The salad itself was chicken mixed in a Greek-style dressing, served with a warm pitta. I really love warm pittas, the smell, the taste, the texture... they are just so good. A simple dish, but it was really good, nice and light for a warm and sunny afternoon.

The dressing: natural yoghurt, mint, parsley, lemon juice, spring onion, a pinch of sugar and seasoning.



Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Craft is Coming...

I know I said I would do a post about craft today... And I kind of am as this post is about craft... But anyway. I am not going to tell you about what I was going to today- yet! There is a good reason though. Without giving too much away, it is something I made very carefully, and something that I really want to showcase in the best light possible. I can't do that today, but all will be revealed by the end of this week, I promise! I'm sure those of you who have done craft projects before and that are very proud of them will understand what I'm saying. If you don't... Well, you'll just have to be as patient as the rest of them! :)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Chicken Challenge #3

Day three has arrived, and I'm pleased to say this one was just as successful as the last two. I did a Sam Stern recipe tonight; Thai-Style Chicken Salad. It really proved that salads can be filling! I got to use rice noodles as well, which I was looking forward to as I have never used them before. They were a success, I have to say. Along with the chicken and noodles were beansprouts, a red onion, a red pepper, spring onions, coriander and the dressing. The dressing was what I would call a fairly standard Thai dressing (fish sauce, caster sugar, lime juice, rice wine vinegar), but it was really nice, and the salad wouldn't have been quite the same without it. The recipe also wanted a red chilli, but as I can only seem to get them in packs, I used my red chilli paste, like always. If I buy the packs, they don't get used and just end up going off... and I hate waste!

 Like I mentioned, it was extremely filling, which would usually be good, but I haven't been hungry all day since I had a really filling breakfast. But I powered through because it was so nice, and just about managed to finish it. I loved the colours of it as well, really nice vibrant when it's such a dull and windy day outside!

The main ingredients

I have this again for tea tomorrow, so there will be no new Chicken Challenge. Don't fret though, you can read always read about days one and two to keep yourself amused. There will also be a craft post coming appearing, something which I haven't done for a while... so plenty to keep you going until Wednesday!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Chicken Challenge #2

I know it is only the second day, but I am really enjoying this challenge! Read about how it started in Chicken Challenge #1. It is probably because I have had two extremely successful meals so far. Let me tell you about the second.

First let me tell you how I came to have the recipe. When I was last at home, my mum was clearing out the paper recipes that she'd collected from magazines over the years. One of the things on the castoff pile was a collection of sandwich recipes... I love a good sandwich. So I took it. There were several chicken sandwiches on there, but I picked this one as I was already buying one of the ingredients for another dish. That ingredient was pesto, and I really, really like pesto. So it had to be done! It was essentially an assembly job, which went like this.

I mixed the mayo with a little bit of the pesto, and spread that on one slice of bread. On the other slice went the rest of the pesto. On the first bit of bread I piled (literally, piled), leftover chicken, parmesan and rocket. And there should have been two tomatoes, but I forgot them! Then I topped it with the other piece of bread. I decided to use the crusts, because they are thicker than the other pieces, and slightly concave, so I thought it would hold the filling better. That is the only thing I don't like about some sandwiches; that all the filling falls out. Considering how well stacked it was, it stayed together surprisingly well, perhaps due to the double 'glue' of pesto and pesto-mayo on both pieces of bread. Anyway, I don't care how it stayed together. All I know was that it was divine. Definitely a recipe to write up!
Let the leftovers begin!

The base stone; pesto and mayo (although it does look a lit like mashed avocado...)

The end product... sandwich-ery at it's finest.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Chicken Challenge #1

My dad said to me a while ago that if I roasted a chicken, it would last me a whole week. This week, I have finally got round to testing that theory! Every day this week, bar one, I will be having a different chicken dish, and I will see if it does indeed last the whole week. I can't wait.

Of course, the first dish had to be a roast dinner. One of my (many) number one dishes... The accompaniments were mixed veg, stuffing, mashed potato and gravy. Instead of using the cooking instructions on the packet, I used... my mum. She is the best cook I know, and I'm glad I did what she said! The chicken turned out really moist and juicy and, well, perfect.


Not that I eat the skin, but look how crispy and golden it is.


Friday, 17 May 2013

Freestyle Friday #12 and some Excellent Extras

Hello, and welcome to Freestyle Friday #12! It's good to be back. To be honest, I didn't really have much leftover this week, so it really was a challenge. I suppose that's good, because it shows I'm not being wasteful, but still...

I did however have three eggs, and you can do a lot with eggs. The only other things I had that were truely 'leftover' were a piece of sweet potato from my Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato some mackerel from last nights tea, which I actually ate for lunch (more about that later.) Sooo, potato and eggs. One thing springs to mind. Frittata! I know I have been having them a lot lately, but they are just so good! (Othe recent frittatas include ham and spinach.) All I really did was slice the potato as thinly as I could, and then while that was cooking a little in the pan, I dealt with the eggs. All I did was whisk them! After adding seasoning of course. I also added a little turmeric. You know, because. It tasted ok, it dramatically changed the colour though, just look at the photos!

Slightly orange...

Very orange!

I took a photo in the pan, because I couldn't find my pastry brush to spread the oil evenly, so wasn't sure how well it would come out!

Not totally spot on, but pretty good I 'd say.
Now, rewind a few hours to lunch. I made a sandwich with the mackerel. On one slice of bread I spread some mango chutney, on the other slice I spread some curry paste. It may sound strange, but trust me, it was really good! A fabulous combination of smoky, sweet and spicy. Delicious, and really filling.
And now rewing a few more hours to yesterday's tea. I made Pasta with mackerel, Marsala and pine nuts; a recipe from Nigellisima, Nigella's Italian cookbook. You may be asking why it didn't get it's own post, and the only reason is, I just could not get a good photo of it! The kitchen was very steamy, and with the combination of not brilliant lighting, it just wasn't happening. However, it was so nice I had to mention it. Along with the aforementioned ingredients there were also sultanas, capers and onion. Again, a mix of salty and sweet. The pine nuts were toasted, and I love the taste of toasted nuts. Dried fruit and nuts, this dish was made for me!
Sadly, the best picture of the lot.
I'm starting a new challenge tomorrow, so be sure to check back tomorrow evening, when all will be revealed...

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A Choice Chicken Dish

The recipe I cooked for my tea tonight was exactly what it said on the tin- well, on the page. It is called 'Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes'. Which it was. The only other main ingredient was a red pepper!

The recipe said for the chicken to marinated for half an hour if you have time... I had all day, so mine ended up being marinated for six and a half hours! The longer the marinating time the better, I think. Even though the chicken thighs were supposed to have skin on, I took the skin off mine. I don't think it affected the dish at all, the meat was very tender and soft, and hadn't dried out at all. After I had smooshed the thighs around in the marinade a bit, I left them what would have been skin side down, which probably helped a lot. When I was eating the chicken, I noticed a very very slight smokiness, which was rather nice even though I wasn't expecting it. I think it was due to the combination of the marinade ingredients, which were mustard, soy sauce and honey... a delicious combination.

I initially wasn't sure how big to cut the potatoes, as they were just supposed to be 'chunks'. But then I thought, the cooking time is only twenty minutes, so they must be pretty small to go soft in that time... listen to your recipe, people ;)

Doesn't look like much, but give it time...


Browning one side...
...and the other!

Very yummy, and very filling.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Frittata Fun

Hello! I know I have been a bit rubbish with posting recently, but I have been at home for three weeks so have been doing lots of fun things... My mum and I made a lot of good food, including Marble Cupcakes, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Banana Cinnamon Muffins and Double Chocolate Cookies to name but a few. We had some very very good meals as well. But no photos sadly, so you will have to imagine them all!

My first tea back was a ham frittata, from Nigella Lawson's Kitchen... I know I said I would have the spinach and the ham one next time... I will definitely do it at some point, I just have so many recipes I want to try!

You would make this as you would a normal frittata, but I would say to check the saltiness of your ham before seasoning. I had some of my ham in a sandwhich at lunch, so I knew it was quite salty. I only added a teeny pinch of salt because of this as I didn't want it to be too salty!

Bottom set, just need to grill the top...

There are four or five different frittatas in Nigella's 'Frittata Party', this is the secon one I have tried. The first one was Great Green Eggs. Two successes- not that Nigella ever lets me down!