Parma Ham Chicken stuffed with Mozzarella & Pesto

Whilst at the supermarket, my trolley of food was complimented by the friendly cashier. We got chatting and she told me of her quick go to recipe. This is it. I’ve had this loads of times, minus the mozzarella. This is for you lovely lady – love the fact that anywhere around the world people share their love of food & recipes!

first off, lay some Palma ham underneath each Chicken breast and then simply slice the top of chicken breast fillets (skin off) 3 times.

Stuff each pocket with green pesto and then add in some mozzarella. Lay some fresh Thyme across the chicken and then wrap with the ham.

Pop into a preheated oven (170•C) for about 35 minutes, until the chicken fillets are cooked through.

Whilst cooking, make up some mashed potato, add a couple of spoonfuls of mustard and plate up. Serve with your vegetable or salad of choice and enjoy!

Christmas Preparations – Week 2 – Sloe Gin

Our Christmas preparations are in full swing and we are loving it. Next up is Sloe Gin – we’re a few weeks behind in the Gin department but it should just be ready in time for Christmas Day, if not then definitely for the New Year. Fingers crossed.

Ingredients;

100ml Caster Sugar

700ml Gin

450g Sloes

Method;

Wash the sloes and remove the stalks. Prick each sloe a couple of times & freeze the batch over night.

Once frozen, place the sloes into a sterile container. Add the sugar and gin and store in a cool, dark place. Every couple of weeks, gently turn the containers to mix it all up.

Once ready (normally 3 months), use a Muslin to strain the drink and store in sterile bottles. You could also decant into smaller sterile vessels and give out as Christmas presents.

Enjoy!

Christmas Preparations – Week 1 – Yorkshire Puddings

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s never too early to start preparing for feasts that are coming our way. This week we’ve started with Yorkshire Puddings – my family go crazy over these – I’ve made a few batches and they are now in the freezer. On Christmas Day, I’ll pop them onto a tray and they’ll go straight into a hot oven for 4 minutes. This is such a time hack and removes unnecessary stress when preparing your Christmas meal.

I have tried numerous Yorkshire recipes over the years and this is my tried and tested, fail safe method.

Ingredients:

4oz plain flour

2 medium eggs

300ml milk

1/2 tsp salt

Oil

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C Fan) has Mark 7 and pour enough oil into the Yorkshire pudding tins to cover the bottoms. When the oven is ready, pop the Yorkshire tin in to heat up the oil (usually takes about 7-8 minutes).

Measure out the flour and place into a large mixing bowl. Mix in 150ml milk and beat in the 2 eggs until smooth. Season well and add the remaining milk. Transfer to a large jug.

Remove the tray from the oven and place over a medium heat on the stove. Evenly pour the batter mix into the tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes until well risen, golden and crisp. Leave in tins for a couple of minutes and then place on a wire rack. If freezing, leave to completely cool before bagging up and placing into the freezer.

Enjoy!

Easy, hearty and delish leftover Chicken Stew

Happy Autumnal Thursday lovely people. After sharing the snap of my a scrummy chicken stew dinner on Monday night a few of you have asked for the recipe, so here it is.

(Those of you who know me well will know I’m a chuck-it in kind of girl, so the measurements are down to your individual cooking style!).

  • Cooked chicken carcass (from your roast – mine was stuffed with lemons and garlic so leave any stuffing in for flavour and I also like to pour over any left over gravy for flavour too)
  • Stock pots (one chicken one vegetable)
  • Potato
  • Sweet potato
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Left over veggies (if you have roasties chop them up small they’re a great thickener)
  • Green lentils (mine were tinned) or Pearl Barley
  • Sweetcorn (canned or frozen is fine)
  • Salt & Pepper and a bay leaf to season

Method

  1. Put your chicken carcass and any gravy in a large pot. Boil the kettle and pour over enough water to mostly cover the carcass (it’s ok if some isn’t covered, they’re tricky shaped, those chickens)
  2. Add any chopped left over potatoes, parsnips or sweet potatoes at this point as they will dissolve and help to thicken the stew. Also chop the celery finely and add now too.
  3. Add salt and pepper and a bay leaf and simmer on a low heat for about two hours or until the chicken comes away from the bones easily.
  4. Leave to cool (just enough so you don’t burn the skin of your fingers) and pick out all the chicken bones and assorted bits you don’t want to eat. I like to do this with a large slotted spoon and have a big bowl ready for all the discarded bits and pieces. Make sure you check really thoroughly for small bits of bone in the stock.
  5. When you’ve been through the pot and are pretty sure that everything is edible, then you can add your stock cubes and I also add the sweet potato here so it completely disappears in to the stew (mostly to avoid the accusatory “What’s that, Mum?” from the eldest bundle of joy). If your tiny humans are a bit less fussy then pop this in at the end with the carrots.
  6. Cook for about 45 mins until the offending sweet potato has pretty much disappeared from sight and then add the potato and cook for 5-10 minutes and then add your carrots and sweet potato here. Cook for about 20 mins until almost cooked through. If at any point it’s running a little dry, add a few splashes of boiling water.
  7. Pop in your canned lentils and sweetcorn to cook. Season to taste. I also popped some chopped parsley on mine which adds a lovely freshness.
  8. Serve with a lovely wedge of buttered bread and enjoy that lovely warm hug in a bowl.

A note of caution – trying to serve this two days in a row did not go down well with fussy eldest bundle of joy. “Why do we have to eat the same thing two days in a row? It’s not fair”). Fortunately the other two happily scoffed the rest so my eldest joy didn’t have to put up with it three days in a row. Shame.

Happy Thursday lovely people.

Tahlia x

Something For The Weekend: Beef & Guinness Stew

As the chilly air creeps in & the evenings become darker earlier, we are thinking of mouth watering stews to warm our tummies.

This gorgeous beef and Guineas stew does just that.

Let’s get started!!

Ingredients;

500g diced beef

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 celery sticks, cubed

3 large carrots, cut diagonally

1/2 a bunch of fresh rosemary & thyme

500g swede, cubed

500g squash, skin on and cut into chunks

4 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 litre beef stock

1/2 x can of Guiness

Start off by preheating the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Place a large casserole pan onto a medium heat & add 1tbsp of oil. Add the onions to pan and allow to soften for a few minutes. Stir the carrots & celery into the pan, then add the rosemary & thyme.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Stir in the beef, swede and squash. After a few minutes, add the stock and Guinness, stirring gently.

Bring up to a be gentle simmer and cover with a wet scrunched up sheet of greaseproof paper and pop into the oven for an hour.

After an hour, remove the paper and cook the stew for another hour (ish) until the meat is tender.

Next up, it’s time to make the dumplings. Mix 2oz of suet and 4oz of self raising flour together with 4tbsp of cold water. Mix in well and form into a ball. Divide into 8 dumplings (or if you prefer big dumplings, divide into 4) and roll into balls.

Place the dumplings on top of the stew and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before plating up. Serve with chunky bread and enjoy!

Hassle Free Chicken With Chilli, Lemon And Mint

Every now and again I really get stuck in a rut at meal times. As you probably know by now, I love flavour. This is something that my kids don’t always agree with me on! And who can blame them right? I don’t remember eating the type of food I try to cook for them. Our meals were always the same most week days. I always knew Tuesday would be Lasagne, Friday would be fish fingers and we’d almost always have a roast on a Sunday. Nothing wrong with that. Absolutely not. It’s just not me these days.

So anyway, here I was feeling a bit stuck. Dinner needed to be quick and tasty. My fridge was also looking a bit on the bare side. I therefore decided to get some inspiration from my recipe books, and I came across this little beauty. To make matters better, I had all of the ingredients to hand. That is always a bonus. Especially when you live in the back end of nowhere.

This recipe is lifted straight from Nigel Slaters classic guide to comfort food. It really did hit all the right notes and was so easy to make.

Ingredients:

400g Chicken fillets

1 medium sized red chilli, seeded and chopped

1tsp dried chilli powder

2 pinches of saffron

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

Handful of mint leaves (about 20)

4 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Halves of lemons to serve

Method:

Cut the chicken into finger size strips and pop into a dish. Blitz the fresh and dried Chillies, the garlic, saffron, most of the mint , olive oil and most of the lemon juice for about seconds until you have a lumpy marinade.

Spoon the marinade over the chicken strips and set aside for half an hour or so.

Next up, heat a frying pan (or you can use the grill) and lightly oil it. Add the chicken to the pan and gently fry for 4-5 minutes on each side until they are golden brown in places (make sure the chilli doesn’t burn). Season the dish with some salt and the remaining mint and lemon juice.

I served this (as suggested by Nigel Slater) with some well buttered couscous, flecked with coriander and coriander. I also added a blob of Creme Fraiche on top, which I mixed some finely chopped mint leaves into.

Bon appetite lovely people! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Salmon And Cod Laksa With Soba Noodles

Originating from maritime South East Asia, Laksa curry is a must for curry fans. It’s fragrant smells will drive you insane!

This is a really simple version that I put together on a week night. But just because it was quick (think 10 minutes) doesn’t mean it lacked in flavour! It packed the punches and hit all the right taste buds. I made up my own version of a Laksa paste, however they are readily available in the shops should this be your preference.

Ingredients for the Laksa paste;

4-6 small dried red chillies

1tsp ground coriander

1/2tsp paprika

1/2tsp cumin

1/2tsp turmeric

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1tsp lemongrass paste

3-4 cm piece of ginger, shredded

2 cloves of garlic

1tbsp sesame oil

Ingredients for the Curry;

500g Salmon & Cod fillets, skin off and cut into chunks

200g Coconut milk

1 1/2 pints of Vegetable stock

1tbsp olive pil

1 onion, finely sliced

200g green beans, trimmed and cut into quarters

225g shredded white cabbage

3 tbsp Laksa paste

Handful of frozen sweet corn

2 bundles of dried soba noodles

1 spring onion, sliced diagonally

1 lime, halved

Method for Laksa paste;

Pop everything into a mixer and blitz for a few seconds into a smooth (ish) paste.

Method for Laksa Curry;

Warm up a large saucepan and add the olive oil. Gently fry the onion and cabbage for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add the Laksa paste and cook for 2 minutes.

Next up, add the coconut milk, stock and green beans and season well. Bring up to the boil and then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the fish chunks and gently stir the mixture.

Leave to cook for about 4 – 5 or until the fish is opaque to their centre.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to boil and add in the soba noodles.

Cook for 4 minutes and drain and return to the pan.

Once the fish is cooked, stir in the curry. Serve out into large bowls and garnish with sliced spring onions and halves of limes.

Squash And Vegetable Soup

It’s that time of year when everywhere you look, pumpkins and squashes adorned the shelves in shops.

If you’re looking for something to do with them other than carving out ghoulish faces or pumpkin pie, look no further!

This delicious soup is hands down the tastiest thing I make at this time of year, and to make matters even better, my kids eat it! Surely that’s worthy of a parent point?!

Ingredients (serves 4 with plenty for seconds);

1kg Squash or pumpkin

2 carrots, cubed

2 large potatoes, skin on cubed

2 small onions, sliced

2 cloves of Garlic (or more, depending on taste buds)

2 pints of Vegetable stock

Sprigs of Rosemary & Sage

Seasoning

3 slices of brown bread

1tbsp olive oil

Method;

Start off by quartering the squash and carefully cut off the skin. Cut into large chunks, deseed and chuck them into a large saucepan.

Next, add the remaining vegetables and crushed garlic. Remove the herb leaves from the stalks and roughly tear up and pop on top of the vegetables.

Cover the ingredients with 2 pints of vegetable stock and bring up to boil on a medium heat.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook for about 35/40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The next part is up to you and depends on your preference. You can eat the soup nice and Chunky as it is, or you can pulse it with a handheld blender for a few seconds. I chose the latter as my kids like their soups nice and smooth.

While the soup is cooling down, roughly chop up 3 slices of bread (crusts off) to make some croutons and place a large frying pan onto a low heat to warm up. Add a splash of olive oil and add the cubed bread.

Gently fry until the croutons are nice and crisp on each side, it should only take a couple of minutes.

Now serve up the soup and pop some crispy croutons on top.

Peruvian Inspired Sweet Potato And Chicken Soup

This earthy Peruvian inspired soup is my own interpretation of a Jamie Oliver recipe. I’m a bit of a maverick when it comes to following recipes, often straying heavily. However, the core herbs and spices are the same, I just adapted some of the vegetables with what I had to hand. I must say, this is a very tasty soup indeed!

Ingredients;

1 large red onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

2 mixed colour peppers

3 potatoes

2 small sweet potatoes

1kg chicken thighs, skin off

Olive oil

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp coriander leaves

Pinch of ground cloves

1.5l of Vegetable stock

2 limes, halved

100g Couscous

1 bunch of fresh coriander

Method;

Prep all of the veg and once done, place a large casserole pan on a medium – high heat to warm up. Put the chicken and 1tbsp of olive oil in the pan and stir well. Brown off the chicken.

Next up, tip in the herbs and spices stirring regularly. Stir in all of the prepped veg and cook for 15 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring the mixture up to boiling point. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.

Put the limes in and pour in the couscous. Cook for a final 15 minutes until the couscous is cooked through. Remove from the heat. Season well and stir in the chopped fresh coriander.

Bon appetite!

Chicken Lollipop Dippers

If you are looking for something a little bit different for the kids, look no further than this Jamie Oliver recipe. My children love these lollipops and the little dip that went with it. What’s more, it was super easy, quick and hassle free.

Ingredients;

2 skinless chicken fillets

Olive oil

Seasoning

4 tbsp natural yogurt

2 tsps tomatoes paste

4 Lollipop sticks, soaked in water

Method;

Start off by cutting the chicken fillets into chunks and use a sharp knife to make a deep slit into the bottom of each piece of chicken.

Rub oil into each chunk and season well. Insert a lollipop stick into each slit and gently warm up a frying pan on a low – medium heat.

Place the chicken lollipops into the frying pan for 7 minutes on each side, until golden.

Whilst the chicken is cooking, mix the yogurt and tomato paste together in a bowl, seasoning to taste.

When everything is ready, plate up with your sides of choice and enjoy!

Bon appetite!