Mediterranean chicken for kids

Here’s a quick recipe for some mini chicken fillets marinaded with Mediterranean flavours which so far has gone down well with our two fussy eaters.   We marinade enough to prepare over a few days by either pan frying it or baking it in the oven and serve it on its own with fries or as a filler for a wrap.   Our son loved the marinade to the point he actually enjoyed eating it on its own (we though it was amusing).  We’ve also found that by involving the kids in the preparation of a meal they seem more likely to enjoy it when it’s cooked.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 500 gm mini chicken fillets
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • Handful fresh parsley chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Normally 12-14 fillets depending on size

How do I make it?

Place the minced garlic and chopped onion in a mixing bowl.  Add the Italian seasoning, sumac, salt and pepper and give it a good mix.  Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice, mix and finally add the chopped parsley.   Place the chicken fillets in the marinade and refrigerate for an hour or more.   Heat a non stick pan and cook the fillets on both sides till they are done.   We make the same marinade for ourselves but add a teaspoon of crushed red chillies for a spice hit.   Hope your little ones enjoy it as much as ours do.

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Roast chicken and root vegetable – Indian style

We had a lovely roast for lunch a few days back with enough left over to make spicy chicken Vietnamese summer rolls last night.   Both of us like our food spicy and this was an opportunity to try something different with a traditional roast.  End result is a succulent bird with a bit of an Indian kick to it.  We used traditional vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnip and swede) for the roast and added garlic, button onions and green chillies from the garden and Indianized it further by adding a dollop of ghee and roasted cumin seeds before cooking in the oven.

 

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 medium chicken washed and patted dry
  • Wet marinade
    • Handful of fresh coriander
    • Handful of fresh mint
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1″ piece of ginger
    • 4-5 green chillies (increase/reduce to taste) – we used the Apache chillies from our garden which was fairly pungent
    • Salt to taste

Put all the ingredients into a blender and puree to a fine paste.

  • Dry marinade
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 tsp black peppercorns
    • 1 tsp fennel seeds

Roast all the ingredients over a medium heat for a few minutes.  Grind to a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar.

  • 100 gms butter
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Season the chicken with a bit of salt and then rub in the wet marinade all over the bird.  Remember to rub some in the cavity and lift the skin above the breast and rub in some marinade.   Next sprinkle the dry marinade over the chicken till you have an even coat.   Cut the lemon in half and place inside the cavity.   Cut the butter into pieces and place under the skin above the breasts, on the legs and wings.  Place the bird on greased baking pan in a 200 degree pre-heated oven and cook for an hour or till chicken is cooked.   Periodically remove from oven and baste the chicken with the melted butter and juices.   Half way through the cooking process put your root vegetables in and fifteen minutes before the chicken is done add the boiled potatoes.  Sunday roast done!

 

Mexican night

In the legendary words of Hannibal Smith “I love it when a plan comes together”.  Dinner tonight was inspired by Mexican flavours and the discovery of an amazing marinade for our chicken and fish barbecues.  Anna had some left over pickled chipotle peppers in the fridge and I decided to try it out in a marinade for some cod fillets.  The corn salad that accompanied the fish was an experiment to avoid wasting some unripened heritage tomatoes that fell off the vine when moving pots.  End result is one kick ass marinade (literally not for the faint hearted – I didn’t realise chipotle peppers packed that much of a punch) and a fresh corn salad with green tomato salsa as the dressing.  What made making the salsa most enjoyable was having our little son in tow in the kitchen with his plastic knife (courtesy of his Dubai aunt).  He wanted to help out and I must say he makes one helluva sous chef.

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Chipotle Fish

What do I need to make it?

  • 4 cod fillets (tends to take on different flavours well)
  • 5-6 pickled chipotle peppers
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced finely
  • 1 tbsp Manuka honey
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • Handful chopped coriander
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it.?

Place peppers in a blender and puree to a fine paste.  Then add the remaining ingredients and give it a good stir.   Clean and pat dry the fish fillets and coat both sides with the marinade and refrigerate for a couple of hours.   Take the fish out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature before baking in a pre-heated 200 degree Centigrade oven for 20-25 minutes (the last five minutes switch the oven to grill to char the top of the fish).  Serve with fresh tomato salsa and corn salad.

Corn salad

What do I need to make it?

  • 3 ears of fresh corn – roast on open flame
  • 3 small heritage tomatoes finely chopped
  • 2 small shallots finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 Apache green chillies (use jalapenos or any other fiery green variety) – picke fresh from our garden
  • Juice of a lime
  • Handful of chopped coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

First roast the corn, then shuck it and keep aside.   Mix all the salsa ingredients in a bowl and then add the corn to the mix.

Chinese style pan fried fish

We’ve been pretty quiet for the last week and have not had time to  put pen to paper or keys to computer in this case 🙂  A couple of nights back I pulled together a wicked marinade which works incredibly well with either salmon or trout.  There are a few cupboard essentials that help bring out amazing Chinese flavour to dishes – rice wine vinegar, Shaohsing wine (rice wine), good quality soya sauce and toasted sesame oil.  Here’s a recipe that has worked well on the hob and now waiting with bated breath for good weather to try it on the barbecue.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 fillets of salmon or trout
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1″ ginger skinned and grated
  • 1 red bird’s eye chili chopped finely
  • 2 tsp dark soya sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • dash of black pepper
  • pinch of salt (optional)

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Wash and pat dry the fish fillets.  Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and place fish fillets in and ensure that the marinade is covering the fillets evenly.  Keep refrigerated for an hour minimum and allow the fish to get to room temperature before cooking.  Heat pan  in high and place fillets with marinade skin side down and cook for 6-8 minutes before gently turning over and cooking till done.  Serve with egg fried rice or salad of your choice. On this occasion I made a simple red pear and baby leaves salad and dressed it  with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

A little taste of Jamaica

To celebrate our weekly indulgence in rice and Shiv’s return I decided to make a Jamaican inspired meal of jerk chicken with black bean rice.  Whilst the process might appear laborious it is actually quite straight forward and easy to make.

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Jerk Chicken

What do I need to make it?

  • 4 chicken thighs with bone

Marinade I

  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1/2 lime
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Marinade II

  • Bunch of spring onions chopped
  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers deseeded
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp clove powder
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp all spice powder
  • 6 tbsp dark rum
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

How do I make it?

Mix all marinade I ingredients and rub chicken thighs with marinade and keep aside.  Place all marinade II ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a coarse paste.  Heat a griddle pan and brown chicken thighs on both sides before placing them in the second marinade.  Pre heat oven to 200 degrees centigrade.  Place chicken thighs and second marinade (ensure the thighs are full coated with the marinade) in a baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes till chicken is done.  Serve hot with black bean rice.

 

Black bean rice

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 1/2 cups long grain rice washed
  • 1 cup cooked black beans (soak overnight and pressure cook if using dried variety)
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 4 sprigs of spring onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 hot red chili pepper chopped
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt & pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat pan and add butter to it.  Add garlic and onion and saute for a couple of minutes.  Add cinnamon, baby leaves and dried thyme and stir.  Add spring onion, carrot and peppers and saute for another five minutes.  Add the washed and drained rice with the black beans and adjust seasoning and stir for a few minutes before adding the vegetable stock and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and then reduce flame and cover the pan and cook till all the liquid has been absorbed.  Serve hot with jerk chicken.