Week Forty Four

If you read my last blog, you will know that I was planning a week’s holiday in Suffolk and that I was thinking of easy menus which I could cook whilst away. I had a wonderful break, and if I’m totally honest, I was far lazier than I had imagined I would be, and so I did very little cooking! I have returned still very much in ‘holiday mode’ – and why ever not?…it is the summer after all! Anyway, I’m sure I’m not alone with this relaxed approach, so this week I thought I would once again share some ridiculously easy recipes!

Menu One is ‘Salmon with Lime Mayonnaise served with Crushed Potatoes, Coriander & Lime’, I literally call this a ‘cheats’ recipe as it uses shop-bought mayonnaise which you flavour with lime and coriander – it’s not only easy but very tasty! To enhance the flavours you should serve it with crushed new potatoes flavoured with coriander and lime – they are wonderful together. Menu Two is ‘Spatchcock Chicken with Garlic Cream Sauce’. Spatchcocking a chicken enables it to roast quicker and it’s a lot easier to carve, making it an easy weekday roast. In this recipe by Nigella Lawson, it is served with a garlic cream sauce which is incredibly good. It is delicious served with rice to mop up the sauce or likewise steamed potatoes are great crushed into it, either way, serve a good crisp salad on the side. Finally, Menu Three is ‘Chicken, Leek and Tarragon Gratin’, this is a great midweek dish. You can either use leftover cooked chicken or quickly poach a couple of chicken breasts to add to the sauce. All it needs is peas or green beans on the side.

There you go, three very easy meals to make your week…Enjoy!

(To read my Suffolk restaurant reviews go to my ‘Eating Out’ page – you will see that they offered a wonderful excuse for my laziness in the kitchen!…)

A Vegetarian Note(!)…

Oh dear!…not only am I being very lazy right now, but I have also broken my New Year’s resolution!… At the beginning of 2021, I had promised to share a vegetarian recipe every time I posted a new blog, but unfortunately with this blog, I have failed!… Actually, I have done so on purpose, as I thought that Menu Mistress’s vegetarian recipe ‘tab’ was becoming rather full, so instead of bombarding you with too many vegetarian recipes, I have now decided to give you the occasional reprieve, thus giving you the chance to savour them!…

Menu One

Salmon with Lime & Coriander Mayonnaise served with Crushed Potatoes, Coriander & Lime (Serves 4)

This is what I call a ‘cheats’ recipe as it is so simple ! It uses shop bought mayonnaise which you flavour with lime and coriander – it’s not only easy but very tasty! Serve it with Crushed Potatoes with Coriander and Lime (recipe below) – they are wonderful together!

4 salmon fillets, skinless, approx. 150g each

2 tablespoons olive oil

15g butter

100g mayonnaise (I used Hellmanns)

1 small handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Zest of 1 lime, plus extra for sprinkling

Juice of ½ lime

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. First make the lime and coriander mayonnaise, put the mayonnaise in a bowl with the coriander and lime zest, gradually stir in the lime juice to taste – you might not need all of it. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine.
  2. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat the oil and butter together in a frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter starts to froth, add the salmon, cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until they are lightly golden and just cooked.
  3. Put the salmon on four plates and top with a spoonful of mayonnaise and sprinkle over the extra grated lime zest.
  4. Serve immediately with Crushed Potatoes with Coriander & Lime (recipe below)

Crushed Potatoes with Coriander & Lime (Serves 4)

These are particularly good with fish dishes or roast chicken.

400g new potatoes

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 small handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Boil the potatoes for 8-10 minutes until just done. Drain and crush lightly with a fork.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, then add the lime juice, the zest and the coriander, gently mix. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.

Menu Two

Spatchcock Chicken with Garlic Cream Sauce (Serves 4 – 6)

This is the perfect quick midweek roast!…Spatchcock chicken simply means that the chicken is laid out flat by removing its backbone, it enables the chicken to roast quicker and it’s a lot easier to carve. In this recipe by Nigella Lawson, it is served with a garlic cream sauce which is incredibly good. It is delicious served with rice to mop up the sauce or likewise steamed potatoes are great crushed into it! (Check out my other recipe for Spatchcock Chicken with Rosemary, Garlic and Chilli here)

If you get your chicken from your butcher, ask him to spatchcock it for you, alternatively it is very easy to do yourself…

How to Spatchcock a Chicken:

On the backside of the chicken, using a pair of strong kitchen scissors, cut along either side of the back bone to remove it, then flip the chicken over and press down very firmly on its breast bones, it will give a satisfying crack as it flattens! Some people like to insert skewers to help keep the chicken flat during cooking but in my experience they make no difference, so I prefer not to use them as they make it more difficult to carve the bird.

Click here to watch the video on me spatchcocking a chicken on my Instagram Page!

For the chicken:

1 Chicken (approx. 1.5kg)

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes, plus more for sprinkling

2 fat cloves garlic, crushed

30g butter, softened

75ml dry white vermouth or white wine

75ml of water

For the sauce:

300ml double cream

4 fat cloves garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of sea salt flakes over the inside of the chicken and rub over the 2 cloves of crushed garlic. Leave for 30 minutes or so at room temperature.
  2. For the sauce, pour the cream into a small saucepan, add the 4 cloves of crushed garlic and a good grinding of black pepper. Stir well and bring just to the boil, then lower the temperature and allow it to simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid or foil, leave to one side whilst you cook the chicken.
  3. Turn the chicken the right side up and place in a roasting tin, smear the soft butter all over the skin and sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon of sea salt flakes.
  4. Combine the vermouth (or wine) with the water and pour into the tin around the chicken, place in the oven, 200’c fan, for about 45 minutes until the skin is golden and crisp and the meat is cooked through.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a carving board to rest for 10 minutes. Pour the pan juices into the saucepan with the cream. Bring the cream sauce to just under the boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Taste for seasoning and add most of the parsley and chives.
  6. Cut up the chicken and arrange on a platter. Pour over a little sauce and sprinkle with the remaining herbs. Serve at the table with the remaining sauce in a jug.

Menu Three

Chicken, Leek and Tarragon Gratin (Serves 3-4)

Such a good way to use up leftover cooked chicken but so delicious that it’s worth cooking a couple of chicken breasts to simply make it! Serve with peas or green beans.

*if you haven’t any leftover chicken simply add 2 chicken breasts to a pan of boiling water, remove from the heat and leave to poach for about 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

800g potatoes (such as maris piper)

400g leeks

4 spring onions

30g butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon plain flour (gluten free if required)

200ml white wine

400ml milk

400g cooked chicken (see note above)

A large bunch of fresh tarragon, leaves chopped

  1. Peel and boil the potatoes, drain and allow to cool before thinly slicing.
  2. Quarter the leeks lengthways, then hold them together and slice them across into small pieces. Chop the spring onions.
  3. Melt the butter with a tablespoon of oil in a deep frying pan, stir in the leeks and spring onions, cook over a medium heat until soft and patched with gold. Sprinkle over the flour, stirring until it has been absorbed, increase the heat a little and add the wine, stirring until thick, then stir in the milk. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Tear the chicken into bite-size pieces and stir through the leek sauce along with the chopped tarragon. Pour into a baking dish and arrange the sliced potatoes , overlapping, over the top. Brush with olive oil.
  5. Bake in the oven, 200’c fan, for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes a golden and crisp.

2 thoughts on “Week Forty Four

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