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Kung pao chicken

23 Apr

kung pao chicken

I adore kung pao chicken – the hotter and more mouth numbing it is, the better I like it. However, the rest of the family don’t share my tolerance for hot food.

To make kung pao chicken the whole family can enjoy, I use a few dried chillies for base heat when cooking, remove the girls’ portions, then stir through additional fresh chillies for the grown-ups.

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Chicken soup with kneidlach

12 Apr

chicken soup with kneidlach

I leave the chicken soup with kneidlach to my mother-in-law – a marvellous cook whose chicken soup draws superlatives from anyone who has the good fortune to taste it, whose fluffy kneidlach could potentially float up from the broth in their airy pillowiness.

But faced with a chicken soupless Passover this year, I dusted off my kneidlach making skills and took one for the team…

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Chicken cacciatore

31 May

chicken cacciatore
Despite transcribing it faithfully from my mother’s spattered recipe card when I was compiling Fern’s Food, chicken cacciatore is one of those 1970s mainstay meals that I’d completely forgotten about.

Braised chicken thighs simmered slowly in a rich, garlicky tomato sauce until falling-off-the-bone tender – no surprise it was a big hit with the family.

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Sancocho de gallina

28 Jun

Sancocho de gallina is Panama’s national dish, making it an obvious choice for our World Cup 2018 cook-off.

Chicken and root vegetables are simmered to a melting tenderness, resulting in a gently flavoured, nourishing meal.

The problem is, none of us liked it much. Continue reading

Al kabsa

20 Jun

Al Kabsa

Al kabsa is made by patiently cooking meat, vegetables and rice with an array of spices in a slowly simmering stock until it reaches a flavoursome tenderness.

Widely considered to be Saudi Arabia’s national dish, al kabsa is an obvious choice to represent the Saudi team in our 2018 World Cup cook-off.

There are many varieties of al kabsa and I looked at a number of recipes. It can be made with chicken, beef, lamb, goat, camel or seafood. (Chicken seemed the obvious choice there.)

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Witches’ fingers

31 Oct

Witches fingers

Witches’ fingers are another standard item on our annual Halloween supper – along with the pumpkin soup with coconut milk, roasted pumpkin seeds and bloodsucking jellies.

I always steam a big heap of green beans to provide a nod in the direction of healthy eating (though I expect Adam and I end up eating most of them).

The original recipe is from Delicious magazine.
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Chicken fajitas

1 Sep

Chicken fajitas
Stir-fry goes Mexican… Chicken fajitas are classic mid-week fare around here.

I usually make them with strips of red pepper and onions, – courgette spears (cooked so that they retain some crispness) are a nice addition.

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Vietnamese fried chicken (VFC)

10 Jun

Vietnamese fried chicken (VFC)

I  seldom make fried chicken. Not because I don’t like it (I do), and not for health reasons either. It’s the time it takes, the mess it makes (all that spattering oil)… The end result never seemed to justify the hassle.

But that was before I encountered Vietnamese fried chicken (or VFC as we now call it) at a music festival.

Maybe I was influenced by the band that was playing (Noah and the Whale), or the unexpected blessing of sunshine, or the mellow party atmosphere, but that chicken was just about the best thing I’d ever tasted.

The moist and flavourful meat, the growing kick of chilli heat, the coating that was more crackle than crumb. Fried chicken this good was definitely worth the hassle. Continue reading

Pork, chicken and cranberry pie

29 May

Pork and chicken pie

In the excitement of last year’s Great British Bake-off,  I rashly committed to baking all of the signature bakes.

Each week, I watched with growing dread to see what overambitious baking project I’d have to tackle next. I was fine with the drizzle cakeiced biscuits and Yorkshire pudding,  and managed to turn out a passable chocolate babka.

But the thought of making Danish pastries from scratch stopped me in my tracks for months.

However, I’m nothing if not an “completer-finisher” (eventually)… Since the show ended, I’ve gone on to make lemon meringue pie and Swiss roll. And at long last… pork, chicken and cranberry pie.

Strictly speaking, I seem to recall the brief was individual meat pies, but it seemed simpler to make one large pie instead.

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Asian chicken noodle soup

19 Apr

Asian chicken noodle soup is less of a recipe than an idea.

When I find myself with a pot of chicken stock in the fridge (from making chicken tinga tacos, perhaps), one of my favourite things to do with it is to make what we call Asian chicken noodle soup.

Stock simmered with Asian aromatics is ladled over freshly cooked noodles, shredded chicken and thinly sliced vegetables, then garnished with fresh herbs. Continue reading

Kuku paka

19 Jan

Kuku paka

Kuku paka – Kenyan chicken and potato curry – is both simple and delicious. Mildly spiced and creamy, my girls both love it.

Unlike many curries, the chicken are cooked separately – which keeps the flavours and textures distinct– and folded into the coconut curry sauce just before serving.

(Which is similar to chicken tikka masala, now I think of it.) Continue reading

Chicken tinga tacos

2 Dec

chicken tinga tacos

Chicken tinga tacos – fun to say, fun to eat… And a great leftover to use in packed lunches throughout the week.

Another bonus of making chicken tinga is the delicious stock that results from poaching the chicken. Sometimes I freeze it, but more often it gets added to soups or risotto over the following days.

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Roasted chicken with clementines and arak

12 Nov

Chicken with clementines, fennel and ouzo

If I had to pick my all-time favourite cookbook, Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem would be a strong contender. Every recipe I have made from it – and I’ve made a good number – has been a winner.

And if I had to pick an all-time favourite recipe from the Jerusalem cookbook, I’d choose his recipe for roasted chicken with clementines and arak.

I’ve made this dish any number of times – with chicken thighs and chicken breasts; with clementines, satsumas, and once with navel oranges; with arak, ouzo or Pernod.

I’ve skipped the marinating stage on occasion, and once accidently roasted the chicken for more than two hours. Nothing I’ve done has made a dent in its deliciousness.

Serve with steamed basmati rice, bulghur wheat or couscous. Continue reading

Chicken and pea risotto

23 Aug

Chicken and pea risotto
Chicken and pea risotto is a nice, simple supper for a summer’s evening and uses ingredients I nearly always have to hand.

I started by simmering the chicken breasts in stock I then used to make the risotto, but it’s also a good way to use up leftover roast chicken. Continue reading

Chicken tikka masala

5 Jul

Chicken tikka masala

Chicken tikka masala is one of Britain’s favourite dishes. Believed to be a local adaptation of India’s butter chicken, chicken tikka masala is such a part of the British culinary fabric, it goes by the acronym CTM.

Usually eaten in restaurants, or as a takeaway, I had never actually made chicken tikka masala myself. Continue reading

Chicken paprikash

26 Jun

Chicken paprikash

When I was a kid, we had a skipping song that included the lines, “Goulash, paprikash, one, two, three! Noodle, strudel, touch your knees! Rigatoni, macaroni…”

I can’t recall the rest, but I know that I hadn’t the foggiest idea what paprikash was back then – and until today had never made it. Continue reading

Schnitzel

18 Jun

Schnitzel

Schnitzel was on the menu pretty regularly when the girls were small. Kids generally love breaded food, and it was a safe dinner option for playdates. (I once made a little girl cry by serving her a bowl of chickpea pasta soup…)

While veal is the traditional schnitzel cut in Austria, I’ve never used it myself. Chicken, turkey, or pork – they’ve all been pounded flat, dipped in egg, and rolled in crumbs and shallow-fried round here. Continue reading

Chicken marsala

8 Jun

chicken-marsala

With a mushroom hater in the family, chicken marsala had fallen out of my repetoire. I’m glad I gave it another try, because it’s a simple and delicious mid-week meal, and proved to be a big hit all round. (According to Lyra, “the mushrooms are easy to see and avoid.”) Continue reading

Salad olivieh

18 May

Salad olivieh

I’ve made salad olivieh before, but this version is a knock-out. The roasted fennel and mustard seeds add lovely warmth to the dressing, and the Greek yogurt makes it less cloying than dressings made with mayonnaise. Continue reading

Chicken tortilla soup

28 Apr

Chicken tortilla soup

There are so many versions of chicken tortilla soup – some light and lime-fragrant with bits of chicken and tiny squares of tortilla like some sort of Mexican miso soup.

Others so packed with meat and beans and peppers and tortilla strips that you could do the perform a Mexican hat dance on the surface. Continue reading

Harissa chicken with bulghur wheat pilaf

10 Mar

Harissa chicken with bulgur wheat pilaf

I much prefer cooking bone-in, skin-on chicken and seldom buy chicken breasts. Too often they turn out dry and tasteless – and cost more as well.

But when I find myself with a packet of chicken breasts, this harissa chicken is a good way to go. The meat turns out tender and juicy, and is delicious served with the nutty, chewy bulghur wheat pilaf.

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Chicken, cannellini beans and kale

30 Nov

chicken-cannellini-kale

Chicken, cannellini beans and kale is not the catchiest of names – more of a list of ingredients really. Which makes sense for a dish whose elements remain proudly distinct while combining in a deeply satisfying way.

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Dhania chicken (green coriander chicken)

12 Oct

Green coriander chicken

Dhania chicken might be one of the best chicken dishes I have ever eaten. Needless to say, I’m not in the estimated 10% of people for whom coriander (or cilantro) tastes like soap.

You’ll know who you are… and whether this dish is for you. Continue reading

Chicken tikka with coriander raita

3 Sep

chicken-tikka

This oven-baked chicken tikka is dead easy to make. The most time consuming bit is threading the pieces of chicken onto the skewers. It also works really well with chunks of paneer.

The recipe is an adaptation of Meera Sodha’s version in her Made in India cookbook.
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Muamba de galina (Angolan chicken stew) with funge

26 Jul

Muamba de galina

Muamba de galina is a flavoursome chicken and vegetable stew from Angola, and another foray into the world of African cuisine.

This rich and spicy dish is traditionally served with corn funge – a stiff porridge similar to polenta. Deliberately unseasoned, funge provides a starchy foil for the rich, spicy stew. Continue reading

Chicken soup with rice

28 Jun

Chicken soup with rice

“I told you once, I told you twice, all seasons of the year are nice for eating chicken soup with rice!” Maurice Sendak

From the moment I first read Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup With Rice to Nova, she was after me to make it for her supper.

More often than not, I opted for this Asian-inspired version, that uses  the cooking liquid left after making crystal chicken.  Continue reading

Chicken and tofu

26 Jun

Chicken and tofu
I’ve been making this classic Chinese dish for years – sometimes using prawns instead of chicken, or a  veggie version with just tofu and mushrooms  – and it’s always delicious. Continue reading

Crystal chicken

4 Jun

Crystal chicken

This is one of the simplest, tastiest and useful ways to cook chicken that I know. Crystal chicken is a meal in its own right, or perfect for adding to salads, sandwiches, stirfries and other dishes. I also make an Asian-flavoured chicken rice soup from the cooking liquid. Continue reading

Ca ri ga (Vietnamese chicken curry)

19 May

Vietnamese chicken curry (cari ga)

Cari ga, or Vietnamese chicken curry, is almost a chicken stew. With its familiar vegetable trio of carrot, potato and onion, it’s hearty enough to serve on its own, with maybe a hunk of baguette to soak up the sauce. Continue reading

Balinese chicken skewers

5 May

Balinese chicken skewers

I can’t recall where I found this recipe for Balinese chicken skewers, and never having been to Bali I can’t vouch for its authenticity. But I can confirm that it’s dead easy, extremely tasty, and a great hit with the girls. Lyra has already requested it for her birthday dinner (next March). Continue reading

Chicken satay sandwich

7 Mar

Chicken satay sandwich

Crispy, juicy pieces of chicken coated in spicy peanut sauce and stuffed in a bread roll or hunk of baguette, this chicken-satay sandwich makes a very satisfying dinner served with a heap of Asian slaw.

With meals like this, I always bring the elements to the table so each person can assemble their sandwich the way they like it.

I use chicken thighs, which I find more flavoursome, but chicken breasts would work fine too. The original recipe is from Nigel Slater’s Real Food. Continue reading

Chicken suya

10 Feb

Chicken suya

During our World Cup cook-off last summer, Nigeria was deliciously represented by beef suya. These proved such a hit with the whole family that Nigeria easily topped Group F in the first stage of the tournament, blew past France (salade niçoise, chocolate mousse), and obliterated Mexico (fish tacos) in the quarter-finals, before falling before Colombia’s unstoppable barras de limón.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be given a bag of authentic suya powder from a Nigerian friend and chef. I decided to try chicken suya this time, which proved to be every bit as tasty as the beef version. Continue reading

Tandoori chicken

29 Jan

Tandoori chicken

I’ll often order tandoori chicken in Indian restaurants, but had never made it at home until recently. I wasn’t confident that my oven was up to the task, but it turned out beautifully. You do need to plan ahead, as the chicken should marinate for a day or so.

While you can easily buy tandoori masala (spice mix) at the supermarket, I made my own using the inspiring bag of spices my good friend Mary recently brought me from the Manama souks. I based my masala on this recipe from The Tiffin Box websiteContinue reading

Chicken with Szechuan pepper and star anise

7 Dec

chinese chicken

I love to cook, and am happy to make my own bread, stock, ice cream, sushi or whatever. So long as the effort justifies the end result, I consider it time well spent.

But I equally love it when a only small amount of effort is needed to produce something delicious. Along with Barbados cream, Grasmere gingerbread, and sardine pesto, chicken with Szechuan pepper and star anise is one of those recipes. Continue reading

Chicken machboos

10 Oct

Chicken machboos

Some close friends of ours moved to Bahrain last year. Having never visited the Middle East (Turkey is the closest I’ve come), I know embarrassingly little about the countries in that region. For example, I did not know that Bahrain was a kingdom. I did not know that it was an island. And I did not know anything about Bahraini food.
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Warm chicken and runner bean salad

22 Sep

Warm chicken and runner bean salad

I was given a wonderful bag of produce from my friend Rachel’s allotment for my birthday last week. Courgettes, tomatillos, piquillo peppers, nasturtium flowers, electric daisies (which make your mouth tingle in a slightly alarming fashion), squash, French and runner beans –  a generous sampling of their bountiful harvest.

Whenever I find myself with runner beans, this salad is the first thing I make. I love the vibrant colours and contrasting tastes and textures – crunchy croutons, tender chicken, just crisp beans, juicy tomatoes – high summer eating at its finest. Continue reading

Turmeric chicken

13 Aug

Turmeric chicken

This turmeric chicken dish was one of the first recipes I made when our new cooker was installed. I was so used to our almost fifty-year-old gas hob (recently condemned by the gas man)  that I’d long adapted my cooking to its idiosyncracies. What a treat to cook on a hob that is actually level! To reduce a sauce in five minutes instead of fifteen!

This dish would be delicious whatever you cook it on. I served it with steamed couscous tossed with chopped herbs and feta cheese. The original recipe comes from the Five and Spice website, who adapted it from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia. So I’ll cite them both – to give credit where credit is due. Continue reading

Yakitori

4 Aug

Yakitori

The smell of grilling yakitori takes me straight back to Tokyo, and late nights spent in izakaya bars with friends and colleagues. Plate after plate of skewers would arrive – not always identifiable, always delicious. But however many I’d eat, it never seemed enough to absorb the amount of sake I managed to drink…

I usually make my yakitori with chicken thighs, but breast meat works too – especially if you allow a bit of time to marinate the meat before grilling. Continue reading

Goi ga (Vietnamese chicken salad)

18 Jul

goi ga

Goi ga – Vietnamese chicken and cabbage salad – features pretty regularly around here, especially in the summer. Both girls eat it happily, as long as I don’t make it too hot. Learning from experience, I now add about half the chilli when I prepare the salad, and keep the rest aside for Adam and I to add at the table.

I grow Vietnamese coriander (also called Vietnamese mint) in the summer, so added a few leaves with the regular mint. The dressing is closely based on Nigella Lawson’s recipe in Nigella Bites. Continue reading

Chicken karaage

6 Jul

chicken karaage

Chicken wings Japanese-style – what’s not to like? Continue reading