Recipe: Quick and simple chicken and tomato supper

Chicken in a tomato sauce
If you don’t have the time to cook a full hunter style chicken, this makes an acceptable simple alternative that’s still packed with the goodness of tomatoes and mushrooms.

I’ve posted the full recipe at my Farmer’s Choice page here.

Chicken with potatoes, rosemary and garlic #multifrychallenge

“Well that was simple enough even for me. Delicious as well.”

Not-fried chicken

There you have it! That’s what passes for a positive review in my house.

The meal was indeed simple to produce. I was a bit sceptical about putting all the ingredients in raw with no preperation at all – no browning of the chicken, no chopping of the herbs or garlic and also no oil.
The recipe from the De’Longhi Multifry Challenge app just advised to add them all to the cooker dish (no paddle) and switch it on for 50mins, stirring a couple of times.

But the results and response speak for themselves. The chicken was succulent, very much like fried chicken in fact. The potatoes roasted and the rosemary managed to scatter itself around the dish somehow….Served with a very lightly dressed green salad.

Chicken curry as part of the #multifrychallenge

Tonight’s meal moved things on a bit with this week long challenge – a chicken curry. First thing to note from the recipe I used from the app provided is that it contains many fewer ingredients that I’d normally use for a curry – no individual spices, garlic, ginger or chillies.
photo (1)

And the method is a bit different from the standard browning of the meat, creating a roux etc. It all started with sauteing the onion and carrot on its own before adding pieces of floured chicken.

Just as I was about to add the chicken pieces, something occurred to me – no instructions about the addition of the curry powder. I’m guessing these recipes haven’t been roadtested much to date and these sort of details are easily missed so I went back to the flour dredging stage and added the curry powder there.

After the meat and the veg, the stock, cream and milk where added and all set to cook up for 20mins while the basmati rice cooked on the hob.
The verdict: The chicken was beautifully cooked – very tender and moist but again, like yesterday, the sauce was a bit dry. I’m thinking this could be as much to do with the roadtesting of the recipes and am going to add extra liquid for future dishes. The dish cooks fast and hot and the paddle function prevents anything from sticking or burning. Personally, I thought it was too mild and think some more aromatics and spices would pep up the recipe in future.

Recipe: Japanese-style chicken stew

Japanese style chicken stew
Japanese style chicken stew

I came up with this simple one-pot recipe that’s inspired by the clean tastes of Japanese cookery and uses surprisingly few ingredients for such a big flavour. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Japanese or Chinese food store then there are broth products available although I used an well-known basic consume powder from a major supermarket which worked just fine and gave the dish the slightly glutinous texture you’d expect.

It’s an easy and complete meal with no need for accompaniments – check out the ingredients and step-by-step instructions on my page at Farmer’s Choice here.

Recipe: Paprika and pesto chicken and squash lasagne

chickenlasagneFor my latest recipe over at Farmer’s Choice, I’ve been experimenting with aromatics, this time of year seems to lend itself to them some how as we speed towards Christmas.

The lasagne turned out to be a full-on flavour from using both paprika and pesto and helps use up some of those seasonal squash that’s so abundant just now.

Get the recipe here – I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear how you get on.

Glazed roast chicken to liven up Sunday

Tesco’s been doing some research among its customers to find out what’s cooking at home and people’s attitudes towards food.

The supermarket carried out a survey of 2,000 parents and quizzed them about such things as their level of passion for cooking and how often a microwave was used for the main family meal.

And among the findings they also identified favourite meals and came up with this top five list for Manchester meals which show a pretty traditional, and it could be said, unadventurous, selection:

  • Roast dinner (14%)
  • Spaghetti bolognaise (8%)
  • Pizza (8%)
  • Lasgne (7%)
  • BBQ chicken/cottage pie (5%)

So as part of its Love Every Mouthful campaign, they’ve come up with this recipe for a different sort of roast chicken and asked me to try it out. Could this oriental inspired glazed chicken tempt you into trying something different?

Glazed roast chicken

Glazed roast chicken with lemon roast potatoes and broccoli

61/2 tbsp clear honey
5tbsp soy sauce
small piece of grated ginger
9 crushed garlic cloves
5 tbsp rice wine
1 chicken
2lb halved charlotte pots
2 thinly sliced lemons
1tbsp olive oil
200g tenderstem broccoli

It’s simple enough to do. Put the honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and ricewine in a pan and bring to the boil for 5 mins. It should go thick and sticky but I have to admit mine remained quite runny so I think I’d add some extra honey next time.

Coat the chicken with the half the glaze and stick it in an oven pre-heated to 190c.

30 mins before then end of the cooking time (which will depend on how big your bird is), remove from the oven to add the final half of the glaze and add the lemons and potatoes tossed in oil to the oven for the final cooking.

Verdict: The glaze kept the bird very moist and succulent. The flavours were delicate and makes for an extra zing to the Sunday roast with the potatoes also lighter than your standard roasties.

Tescos is hoping people will share their resulting creations on social media using the hashtag #loveeverymouthful and so you might well find other recipes popping up across Twitter and Instagram.

Recreating the Chicken Parmo experience at home

It’s a brave food blogger who takes on a modern regional classic! I was interested to see this recipe to create the Teesside favourite of chicken parmo for a dining-in audience. The WWfoodie offers the full ingredients and methods for this ‘fakeaway’ along with the helpful accompanying serving suggestion:

“Serve your Parmesan with oven chips and a sharp little salad of cherry tomatoes dressed in balsamic vinegar.”

Enjoy 😉

Testing out the Thai red curry kit

I got round to trying out the Thai Curry Kit which was offered to myself and readers of this blog recently.

And it worked out pretty well.

The resulting meal was fresh, tasty and quick to prepare. I served it with some stir-fry veg and jasmine rice

Following the instructions on the packet, it took the 15 mins they suggested it would.

A couple of things to note. I don’t like my curry red hot so I only used the suggested 2/3 of the packet of paste which was given a two chili rating. I found it quite mild and would definitely use the entire sachet next time.

I’ve never used powdered coconut before and probably added too much water.

Verdict: I’d use this again, I thought the generous serving of herbs and the small amounts of those sometimes difficult to get ingredients such as fish sauce made for an easy to achieve Thai dish. Next time, the massaman mix….

@Red Onion, Glasgow

Interesting to see that this family restaurant has been voted into the shortlist of this year’s Glasgow Restaurant Awards by online users of Here’s what I found when I visited a couple of months ago……….

I generally to find menus with a bit of everything a bit of a worry. Curries with Italian or Chinese with burgers. Does it mean the venue is suffering an identity crisis? Or is it simply trying to cater for all tastes?

This restaurant from chef/patron, John Quigley offers all of the above but actually seems to manage to keep a coherent sense of belonging with the styling being as much about hearty fayre as any particular cuisine.

Our choice of starters epitomises what I’m getting at – tempura prawns with dipping sauce and then chicken liver parfait with oatcakes.

Of the two, the liver was probably the best bet. The prawns were succulent but tempura’s light as gossamer batter doesn’t travel easily out of a Japanese restaurant and this attempt did have something of the chip shop about it.

Again a choice between more exotic and traditional for the main courses but here the quality of the produce and the high standards of the cooking were more evident.

Well presented

My main of  slow cooked lamb korma with roti. Fell apart , soft delicious. Beautifully presented. This was the sort of a dish that graces a glossy magazine, not that my hastily arranged snap does it justice. It was one of those dishes that qualifies as memorable in my taste directory.

His duck with sweet potato was well-cooked and, well, sweet with crispy onions complementing.
Unfortunately, desert of frozen raspberries with hot white chocolate sauce was a disappointing failure and, based on the strength of this one experience only (which to be fair isn’t the ideal situation to base anything much on),  any repeat visit will lead to avoidance the deserts and sticking with the desert wine.

The promised hot white chocolate wasn’t… hot, and the frozen raspberries not….. frozen so it all ended up being luke warm gloopy mess, the texture of which could be found on the pavement outside takeaways up and down the country on a Sunday morning. With added sugar.

Not hot, not frozen

Despite the puds, overall we enjoyed the food and the bustling city centre atmosphere complete with some of Scotland’s most energetic waiting staff running up and down three flights of stairs to our mezzanine seating area.

Verdict: Thoughtful and well cooked meat dishes on a convivial atmosphere.

Red Onion Restaurant is at  257 West Campbell Street, Glasgow, G2 4TT – TEL: 0141 221 6000 EMAIL:

Learning to cook Chinese @SweetMandarin

Sweet and sour chicken. That’s the most popular dish at the northern quarter’s Sweet Mandarin restaurant and so it also featured as part of the cookery school I attended today.
At first it struck me as odd that this above all other dishes would be a restaurant favourite. I’d always thought (wrongly it transpired) it was an Anglo-invention, the chicken tikka masala of Chinese cookery.
Our teacher, the restaurateur Lisa Tse soon put me right and explained that the dish’s origins are very much true to traditional cooking, the balance of the seven necessary flavours being an essential element of Chinese food.
So it was time to get hands-on and practical making not only the sweet ‘n’ sour but also chow mein, fried rice, beef in blackbean sauce and chicken with ginger. (You can get an idea of what’s entailed with the short video clip below).
In just a few hours the four of us had without any previous experience (apart from several confesions of failed fried rice!) managed to produce each of the dishes to an edible standard. And eat them we did!
So much was learned so quickly but here’s a few discoveries;
• Surprisingly few ingredients are used.
• Sweet and sour sauce is made with the addition of tomato ketchup.
• Marinading the chicken in a little water, salt and potato starch before it’s added to a stir-fry retains the moisture and stops it becoming rubbery.
• The white part of the spring onion isn’t used but all the leaves are.
• Oyster sauce, potato starch, Shao Shing wine and sesame oil are essential store cupboard ingredients.
I’ve posted Lisa’s sweet and sour chicken recipe here.
As well as being a thoroughly enjoyable morning, the cookery school also provides the opportunity for us amateur cooks to get a bit of an idea of how a professional kitchen operates.
The small size of the working spaces, the fiercesome flames from the wok stations and the frightening looking cleavers all de-mystified under Lisa’s watchful eye.
But she has taken a lot of effort to research the dishes to ensure students can create them at home and that the professional equipment isn’t required – trying electric and gas appliances in different locations to replicate the experience before passing it on.
It’s a well-thought out course, delivered in a friendly way with plenty of knowledge handed on – all I need to do now is get the wok out and get started.

This morning’s lessons were also tweeted on the micro-blogging platform Twitter in first for a UK restaurant. Recap @sweetmandarin.
Sweet Mandarin Cookery School is held at the restaurant in Copperas Street. See the website for more details.