Chicken, Cherries & Chicory (Serve 4)

This is a lovely easy, very tasty bake from Rosie Birkett’s cookbook ‘The Joyful Cook’. The cherries are a wonderful sweet addition and are complemented by the bitterness of the chicory (you could also use radicchio). It is a recipe which works year round as you can use imported cherries, as by cooking them you bring out their sweetness, alternatively you could substitute them for another fruit such as plums…Serve with green or runner beans and rice or potatoes.

4 teaspoons sea salt flakes

2 tablespoons caster sugar

½ teaspoon fennel seeds

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or chicken pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 bay leaves

15g butter

4 heads of chicory (preferably red), halved lengthways

6 shallots, skin on, halved

1 lemon, halved

150ml vermouth or dry white wine

300ml hot water

150g cherries (there is no need to stone them – just warn your guests!)

Handful fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. First of all, a few hours before cooking, grind the salt, sugar and fennel seeds using a pestle and mortar, then rub this ground ‘cure’ mixture on the flesh, but not the skin of the chicken. Chill in the fridge (you could leave it overnight) and remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking. If pushed for time just leave it in the rub whilst you prepare everything else for the dish.
  2. Gently rinse the cure from the chicken and dry it well with kitchen paper.
  3. Heat the oil in frying pan over a medium heat. Brown the chicken, skin side down for about 8-10 minutes, until the skin is crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and place skin side up in a large roasting tin on top of the bay leaves. Season with black pepper.
  4. Using the same frying pan with the fat from the chicken, add the butter and melt over a medium heat. Place the chicory, shallots and lemon halves, cut side down in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until caramelised and softening on their cut sides. Transfer these to the roasting tray cut side up, squeezing the lemon over the chicory and throwing in the spent lemon halves.
  5. Turn up the heat under the frying pan and add the vermouth (or wine), scraping up any of the crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until reduced by half, then pour into the roasting tray – avoiding the chicken as you want it to remain crisp.
  6. Finally pour in the hot water (again avoiding the chicken), cover the roasting tin with foil and place in a preheated oven, 120’c fan, for 20 minutes then take off the foil and add the cherries and chopped tarragon.
  7. Turn up the oven to 180’c fan, return the tin to the oven and roast for a further 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked, the skin is golden and there are delicious juices in the tray.
  8. Serve the chicken on plates alongside the wonderful cherries, chicory and shallots with the juices spooned over.

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.

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.

One Pot Summer Chicken with Asparagus, Peas & Lettuce (Serves 4)

This is such an easy dinner dish, all you have to do is brown the chicken pieces and cook them in a pot with some stock and lovely fresh vegetables – baby gem lettuces, asparagus and peas. I particularly love the baby gem lettuces in this dish, they are one of my favourite summer vegetables; if you haven’t cooked them on their own before, you really should try them – see my recipe here! It really doesn’t need much to accompany it, just a good glass of wine although, some steamed new potatoes wouldn’t be a bad thing!

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 small chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 baby gem lettuces, halved lengthways

400ml chicken or vegetable stock

3 thyme sprigs

250g asparagus

160g fresh or frozen peas

2 tablespoons crème fraiche

Small bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. First of all prepare your asparagus, snap off and discard the woody ends and if the tips are particularly large cut them in half lengthways. Keep to one side.
  2. Place a wide, large casserole dish with the oil over a high heat, add the chicken, skin side down, and cook on a high heat until the skin has browned. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the onion and fry for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the garlic, stir, then add the lettuce halves, cut side down, for 30 seconds. Then flip them over and add the stock and thyme and bring everything to the boil.
  4. Lower the heat to just below boiling and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the asparagus and peas and cook for a further 6-8 minutes until al dente.
  6. Check the chicken thighs are cooked through and lift out onto a plate.
  7. Stir in the crème fraiche and chopped parsley, season to taste.
  8. Return the chicken to the pan to serve at the table.

Chicken Breasts with Lemon & Capers (Serves 4)

In this recipe, chicken is complemented with the flavour of capers combined with the wonderful acidity of lemon – it really is a match made in heaven! I found it many moons ago in Antonio Carluccio’s cookbook ‘An Invitation to Italian Cooking’, which has lots of wonderful, classic Italian recipes…the page with this recipe is particularly well thumbed! I like to serve these chicken breasts with ‘Italian Style Sauté Potatoes with Garlic & Rosemary’ and ‘Fried Carrots’ (recipes below).

*If your chicken breasts are particularly large, you may find it easier to ‘butterfly’ them (you can ask your butcher to do this). You could also cut them into escalopes (see my video here). This will make them quicker to cook through, so you may want to reduce the cooking time that I have suggested.

4 chicken breasts (see note above)

Plain flour for dusting (gluten free if required)

45g butter

1 tablespoon capers

1 large lemon, juiced and zested

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Season the flour with salt and pepper and roll the chicken breasts in them, shaking off any excess flour.
  2. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, when it is hot add the chicken breasts. Fry gently on each side until they are cooked through and golden brown – about 15 minutes (see note above). Remove the chicken to a warm plate.
  3. Add the capers, grated lemon zest and lemon juice to the pan. Stir well to deglaze the pan, season with salt and pepper and pour over the chicken breasts.

Easy Baked Tarragon Chicken (Serves 4)

Tarragon is my all-time favourite herb, and the marriage between this herb and chicken is, in my opinion, heaven! This recipe is ideal midweek; once the chicken is browned on the stove you just have to cook it in the oven for 30 minutes and then finish off the gravy – how easy it that?!…You can easily leave out the cream if you prefer a lighter sauce. I like to serve this with Braised Baby Gem Lettuce – recipe here.

For the Chicken:

50g butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Small chicken jointed or 8 chicken thighs

2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely sliced

120ml white wine

Several sprigs of tarragon

For the gravy:

20g butter

Handful of tarragon leaves and parsley, chopped

Sprig of thyme (optional)

150ml double cream (optional)

  1. Melt the butter with the oil in a casserole dish, then brown the chicken on all sides.
  2. Add the onions, wine and tarragon to the dish, stir and bring to a gentle simmer, cover and place in a preheated oven, 210’c fan. Cook for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
  3. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving dish and set aside to rest.
  4. Meanwhile make the gravy. Put the pan with the chicken juices and onion on the hob, remove the tarragon sprigs, then stir in the butter and the chopped herbs and sprig of thyme, mixing well. Remove from the heat and, if using, stir in the double cream.
  5. To serve, pour the gravy over the chicken pieces.

Lemon Chicken (Serves 4)

This is a lovely light chicken dish, subtly flavoured with lemon. You can either use a jointed chicken or simply chicken thighs for this recipe. This chicken is delicious served on a bed of creamy garlic mashed potato (recipe here), however you could, of course, serve it with a potato dish of your choice. The recipe, which I have slightly tweaked to make it an easier midweek option, is from the ‘Market Kitchen Cookbook’, a book which was published over 10 years ago, but still has a couple of my family’s favourites.

1 chicken jointed into 8 pieces or 8 chicken thighs

2 tablespoons olive oil

25g butter

1 tablespoon flour (gluten free if required)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

4 tablespoons Marsala wine (or sherry)

200ml chicken stock

1 lemon, juiced

1-2 tablespoons double cream

2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

Strips of lemon zest (for decoration – optional)

  1. Season the chicken generously with salt. Add the oil to a casserole and fry the chicken pieces until they are golden brown. Remove from the casserole and place on a plate while you make the sauce.
  2. Melt the butter in the casserole, then stir in the flour, allow to cook out a little then add the mustard. Pour in the marsala wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate before stirring in the stock, lemon juice and a good grinding of black pepper. Keep stirring until smooth.
  3. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and return the chicken pieces, skin side up, to the casserole (the pan should be wide and shallow enough so that the sauce does not cover the chicken). Cook, uncovered, in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick.
  4. Remove the chicken from the casserole, add the cream and parsley to the sauce, and gently reheat.
  5. Serve the chicken sprinkled with the lemon zest with the sauce on the side. This dish is delicious with ‘Creamy Garlic Mashed Potato’ and ‘Fine Green Beans with Almonds’ (recipes here).

Gnocchi with Chicken Sauce (Serves 4)

Just when I thought I had exhausted all the pasta sauces along came this wonderful recipe! The rich chicken sauce beautifully complements the gnocchi, however I also think that it would work very well with either pappardelle or tagliatelle. You could, of course, make your own gnocchi, but these days it’s possible to buy great quality gnocchi from the supermarket, including those that are gluten free.

I found this recipe in ‘Flavours of Sicily’ by Ursula Ferrigno, a book which concentrates on Sicilian dishes – if you have never visited this beautiful island, I urge you to put it on your bucket list, you will be in ‘food heaven’!

500g potato gnocchi (gluten free if required)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

50g pancetta, cubed

4 chicken thighs, boneless and skin-on, cut into bitesize pieces

100g green pitted olives

3 bay leaves

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tablespoons tomato purée

125ml white wine

50g dried porcini mushrooms

100g chestnut mushrooms, halved if large.

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

150ml chicken stock

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

Parmesan cheese, grated to serve

  1. Firstly soak the porcini in cold water for 10 minutes, drain reserving the soaking water.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or casserole (which has a lid), add the onion and cook until golden.
  3. Add the pancetta, cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and stir fry for 10 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients except the parsley and parmesan cheese. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally – if the mixture becomes a little dry add a splash of the reserved porcini soaking water.
  5. Just as the sauce is ready, cook the gnocchi in boiling water according to the cooking instructions – they should only need 2-3 minutes.
  6. Drain the gnocchi, add to the sauce and stir in the chopped parsley, checking the seasoning. Serve with parmesan cheese.

Chicken Milanese with Spaghetti & Tomato Sauce (Serves 4)

(with a Gluten Free Option)

This is one of our family favourites! It is a recipe I found years ago, on a ‘Jamie Oliver’ phone app, the app has since been deleted, but fortunately, I made a note of the recipe!… For a gluten free option I ‘bread’ the chicken pieces in ‘Mrs Crimble’s Gluten Free Ready to Use Breadcrumbs’ which you can buy in UK supermarkets; they are a very good alternative, in fact, the Chicken Milanese in the final photo above, is made with them!

2 – 3 chicken breasts

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 small bunch of basil

½ bunch of parsley

400g tin chopped tomatoes

Plain flour for dusting (gluten free if required)

1-2 eggs

1 loaf of ciabatta

Olive oil

300g spaghetti (gluten free if required)

Sea salt and pepper

  1. Cut the crusts off of the ciabatta, tear the bread into the bowl of a food processor and process to bread crumbs adding a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Pick the leaves from the herbs, put these to one side and chop the stalks.
  3. Fry the garlic slices in a little olive oil until lightly golden, add the chopped herb stalks, fry for 30 seconds before adding the chopped tomatoes. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. For the chicken ‘Milanese’, Cut the chicken breasts into 3 lengthways, cover these slices with clingfilm and flatten to the thickness of £1 coin, by hitting with the base of a heavy saucepan (see the video of me doing this here!).
  5. Put a couple of tablespoons of flour on a plate and mix with some salt and pepper. Beat the egg(s) in a bowl big enough for dipping the chicken pieces in. Put the breadcrumbs in another bowl.
  6. Toss each chicken piece first in the flour, shaking off any excess, then dip them in the beaten egg and finally in the breadcrumbs, to coat completely.
  7. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and fry each breaded chicken piece until golden and cooked through.
  8. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
  9. To serve: roughly chop the basil and parsley leaves and stir through the cooked spaghetti. Divide the spaghetti onto plates, add a dollop of the hot tomato sauce and top with the fried chicken pieces.

Chicken, Chilli and Basil Pancake Wraps (Serves 4)

(With Gluten Free Option)

This is a great recipe for a savoury option on Shrove Tuesday, but don’t just save the recipe for ‘Pancake Day’, it really is delicious at anytime of the year! The stir-fry chicken needs to be cooked quickly so it is a good idea to have everything weighed out and prepared beside the stove, before cooking. By chargrilling the cooked pancakes you get a wonderful ‘charred flavour’!

For the Pancakes

Batter (recipe below – either with or without gluten)

1 level teaspoon vegetable stock powder (such as Marigold Swiss Vegetable Boullion)

Sesame oil for brushing

For the chicken
500g chicken breast fillets, cut into thin strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
20g red chillies, roughly chopped
A generous pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten free if required)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Large handful of basil leaves, torn

To serve
135g cucumber, cut into sticks
40g fresh coriander leaves
1 large red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced lengthways
Lime wedges

  1. Whisk the stock powder into the pancake batter until dissolved, then make the pancakes following the method for the basic pancakes, above. Set aside while you make the filling.
  2. For the chicken: Pound the garlic, chillies and salt in a mortar to make a paste. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the paste and stir-fry over a high heat for 30 seconds — be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the chicken strips and stir-fry for 2 min until just cooked through. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar, and stir-fry for a further 30 seconds then toss in the torn basil leaves. Set aside, keeping warm.
  3. Set a grill pan over a high heat. While the pan is heating, lightly brush one side of each pancake with sesame oil. Place a pancake in the pan, oiled-side down, and cook for 1 min, or until charred with stripes underneath. Flip and cook for 30 seconds more. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining pancakes.
  4. Place some of the chicken mixture on one half of a pancake. Top with some cucumber, coriander leaves, chilli and a squeeze of lime juice. Roll up and eat immediately.

Basic Pancakes (with Gluten)

110g plain flour

A pinch of salt

2 large eggs

200ml milk mixed together with 75ml water

2 tablespoons melted butter, plus extra for cooking the pancakes

  1. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl (hold the sieve up high to give the flour an ‘airing’).
  2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and break the eggs into it.
  3. Whisk the eggs into the flour, incorporating the bits from the sides.
  4. Start to add small quantities of the milk and water mixture gradually, until it has all been added and the batter is smooth.
  5. When you are ready to cook the pancakes add the 2 tablespoons of melted butter to the batter and stir well.
  6. Melt about a teaspoon of butter in a small frying pan. Swirl it around the pan and tip off any excess butter – the pan only needs a light coating.
  7. When the pan is really hot, turn down the heat to medium and add about 3 tablespoons of batter to the pan, tip it around from side to side so that the base is evenly coated. It should only take ½ -1 minute to cook, you will notice little bubbles rising under the surface. Use a palette knife (or if you’re feeling brave, toss it!) to turn the pancake over to cook the other side, then slide on to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm whilst you cook the next pancake.

(The first pancake is often ‘a tester’, so that you can determine how much batter your pan needs, so don’t be surprised if it isn’t perfect).

Basic Gluten Free Pancakes

100g gluten free plain flour (I use Doves)

A pinch of salt

2 large eggs

1½ teaspoons melted butter, plus extra for cooking the pancakes

240ml whole milk

60ml water

  1. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl (hold the sieve up high to give the flour an ‘airing’).
  2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and break the eggs into it and add the melted butter and about ¼ of the milk, whisk to combine to a thick mixture, incorporating all of the flour around the sides.
  3. Slowly whisk in the rest of the milk and the water, until the batter is smooth.
  4. Leave to sit for 20-30 minutes. Mix well again when you are ready to cook the pancakes.
  5. Melt about a teaspoon of butter in a small frying pan. Swirl it around the pan and tip off any excess butter – the pan only needs a light coating.
  6. When the pan is really hot, turn down the heat to medium and add about 3 tablespoons of batter to the pan, tip it around from side to side so that the base is evenly coated. It should only take ½ – 1 minute to cook. Use a palette knife (or if you’re feeling brave, toss it!) to turn the pancake over to cook the other side, then slide on to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm whilst you cook the next pancake.

(The first pancake is often ‘a tester’, so that you can determine how much batter your pan needs, so don’t be surprised if it isn’t perfect).

*It is important to give the batter a good mix just before using for each pancake as the flour tends to settle at the bottom.

Rotisserie-Style Roast Chicken (Serves 4-6)

This is a rather special roast chicken recipe from Rick Stein’s cookbook ‘Secret France’, it takes its inspiration from the French ‘fast food’ chicken which you often find in local French markets and ‘boucheries’. I am sure that many of you will have savoured this delicious chicken on your visits to France particularly around Paris; the chickens are slowly roasted on an outdoor rotisserie with sliced potatoes underneath to catch all the delicious roasting juices, heaven! In this recipe the chicken is similarly roasted on a bed of sliced potatoes at a low temperature for 2-2½ hours, although this may seem a long time it comes out incredibly succulent. It’s a very handsfree recipe, so can easily be made midweek, it just needs a good green salad and is also great with a beetroot and mint salad (recipe here).

1 free range chicken (about 1.7kg)

½ lemon

1 clove garlic, bashed

700g potatoes (such as Maris Piper), peeled and cut into 2cm thick slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Spice Rub:

2 teaspoons paprika

Good pinch of cayenne

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon dried thyme

40g butter, softened

  1. First of all make the spice rub by mixing all the spices and seasoning together and blending with the butter.
  2. Put the lemon half and the garlic inside the cavity of the chicken and tie up the legs.
  3. Rub the spiced butter all over the chicken.
  4. Place the sliced potatoes in a roasting tin, drizzle over the olive oil, place the chicken in the middle of the roasting tin on top of the potatoes.
  5. Roast in a preheated oven, 130’c fan, for around 2½ hours. Baste the chicken and potatoes a few times during the cooking time.
  6. Rest the chicken for about 10 minutes before carving, whilst it is resting, if I want the potatoes a little crispier, I often crank up the oven to 200’c and return them to the oven .
  7. Serve the carved chicken with the potatoes and pan juices spooned over. It is delicious with a simple green salad with a classic vinaigrette (recipe here) and a beetroot salad (recipe here).

Home-Style Chicken Curry (Serves 4)

This is a simple, very mild, curry recipe which is quite dry in consistency but very tasty – adding ginger at the end of cooking really lifts the flavour. I found this recipe in the cookbook, ‘Cook; A Year in the Kitchen with Britain’s Favourite Chefs’, this particular recipe is from Michelin starred Indian chef Atul Kochhar. I have been making it for years – it’s an easy midweek meal which also reheats well. Serve with plain white rice.

For the Pounded Spices:

4 green cardamom pods

2.5 cm cinnamon stick

10-12 black peppercorns

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 cloves

Other Ingredients:

3 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 bay leaf

250g onions, sliced

½ teaspoon garlic, crushed

½ teaspoon red chilli powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

Salt to taste

100g tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon tomato purée

600g chicken breast, cut into 2.5cm dice

½ teaspoon garam marsala

2 teaspoons coriander leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped

  1. First of all pound the ‘pounded spices’ together in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the pounded spices and the bay leaf, stirring until the spices crackle and start to change colour.
  3. Add the onions and sauté until they are golden brown, then add the crushed garlic. Stir continuously, continue to cook for about 30 seconds and then add the red chilli, coriander and turmeric powders. Mix quickly without letting the spices burn. Add the salt, tomatoes and tomato purée and cook over a low heat, stirring.
  4. When the tomatoes are starting to melt to form a sauce add the chicken and cook over a low heat for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is almost cooked. Sprinkle over the garam marsala and simmer to finish cooking.
  5. Finally add the coriander and sprinkle over the ginger.
  6. Serve with white rice.

Chicken, Sausage and Apple Cider Stew (Serves 6)

This is a lovely, warming winter meal. It is also great reheated the next day for a quick lunch! You could serve this with potatoes, mashed or jackets, and some green beans (side dish recipes here).

8 chicken thighs, skinless & boneless, cut into large chunks

8 pork sausages

Olive oil

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks (about 700g)

1 large onion, chopped

20g sage leaves, chopped

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed

1 tablespoon plain flour (gluten free is required)

500ml dry cider

200ml chicken stock

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan/ casserole and brown the chicken pieces in batches, adding more oil if required.
  2. Set the chicken aside and brown the sausages in the same pan, and place aside with the chicken.
  3. If there is a lot of oil left in the pan, discard it, leaving about a tablespoon. Brown the butternut squash for about 2 minutes and set aside.
  4. Add a little more oil to the pan, add the onions and cook gently for about 5 minutes.
  5.  Add half the sage and all of the fennel seeds, cook for a further 2 minutes and then add the flour stirring, cook for a further minute or so then add the cider and stock, whisking to prevent lumps. Bring to the boil.
  6. Return the chicken, sausages and butternut squash to the pan and simmer for 15 minutes until everything is cooked through.
  7. Finally stir in the remaining sage and check the seasoning. This stew is a meal in itself, however if you’re really hungry it would be good served with potatoes, mashed or jackets and some green beans.

Halloween Chicken with Roast Beetroot & Butternut Squash Mash with Sage (Serves 4-6)

This is a delicious roast chicken recipe, the beetroot is cooked beneath the chicken and so becomes really tasty having soaked up the chicken juices. You must serve it with butternut squash mash (recipe here), as its sweetness really complements the earthy flavours of the beetroot, plus it makes the dish incredibly colourful! Despite its name, this roast chicken recipe is not just for Halloween, it is a winner throughout the colder months!

I found this recipe on Nina Parker’s website, she is the also the author of one of my favourite cookbooks, ‘Nina’s St Tropez’.

1 chicken, approx. 1.8kg

3 red onions, sliced

5 beetroot, cut into 6ths

20 garlic cloves, skins on, lightly smashed with the back of a knife

2  lemons, 1 quartered and the other juiced

Small bunch of sage

4 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Place a few of the smashed garlic cloves, the lemon quarters, and a few sage leaves in the cavity of the chicken.
  2. Put a little olive oil in a large roasting tin and place the chicken in the centre.
  3. Place the chopped beetroot, sliced red onions and the remaining garlic cloves around the chicken. Pour over the juice of the lemon, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper – mix everything around to get a good coating.
  4. Place in a preheated oven, 190’c fan, for 25 minutes then turn over the chicken, and return to the oven for a further 25 minutes.
  5. Remove the tray from the oven, stir around the vegetables – remove any that are cooked and place to one side covered with foil. Turn the chicken back over to crisp up the skin, placing in the oven for a further 15 – 25 minutes by which time both, all of the vegetables and chicken should be cooked.
  6. Serve the chicken with the roast beetroot, onions and garlic and mashed butternut squash with sage (recipe here).

Chicken Korma (Serves 4)

This is a really lovely, mild, delicately spiced curry from Marcus Wareing’s cookbook,’ Marcus at Home’. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, they are mostly spices which you’ll have in your cupboard. It is important to marinate the chicken, I like to leave mine overnight as I really do think it enhances the flavour, but you could leave it for just a couple of hours.

It is a mild curry, so if you prefer more heat serve it with some chilli flakes sprinkled over. I serve this with Steamed Aromatic Basmati Rice – another recipe from Marcus Wareing (recipe on my Side Dishes page). On the side I like mango chutney (I use the brand ‘Geeta’s’ which is available in most supermarkets) and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or crème fraiche, you could also serve it with some poppadoms!

This recipe does make more curry paste than you need, but you can keep it in the fridge for a quick meal another day.

*A tip: rather than peeling the ginger with a knife try peeling it with a teaspoon, just hold the spoon firmly near the base of its bowl and rub the concave side down the knob of ginger, scraping off the skin. Seriously you will be surprised how much easier it is! (Click here to see the video!)

For the Marinade:

500g skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed into 2.5cm pieces

100ml groundnut or olive oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated (see tip above)

Freshly ground black pepper

For the Curry Paste:

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon garam marsala

Pinch of flaked sea salt

1 garlic clove, crushed

1cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (see note above)

50g ground almonds

For the Curry Sauce:

2 tablespoons groundnut oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 celery stick, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 cinnamon stick

4 cardamom pods, crushed

100ml white wine

400ml tin coconut milk

1 tablespoon fish sauce

Small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra sprigs to serve

Plain Greek yogurt or crème frâiche to serve

Mango chutney to serve

  1. First marinate your chicken for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight – see note above). Place the chicken in a bowl with 100ml oil, garlic, ginger and few turns of freshly ground black pepper, mix well. Cover and place in the fridge.
  2. To make the paste, simply pound the spices together in a pestle and mortar with a good pinch of flaked sea salt, the garlic and ginger. Once combined add 100ml of water and stir in the ground almonds.
  3. To make the curry sauce, heat a large saucepan over a moderate heat with 2 tablespoons of groundnut oil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, cinnamon and cardamom and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft but not coloured.
  4. Stir in about 4 tablespoons of the curry paste and cook for a couple of minutes to allow the spice flavours to come out. (The remaining sauce can be kept in the fridge for another day).
  5. Pour in the wine, let it bubble to reduce down. Slowly add the coconut milk, stirring. Finally add the fish sauce, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the carrot is tender.
  6. Meanwhile heat a dry frying pan over a high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off the excess oil, add to the hot pan and quickly brown the chicken pieces all over – do this in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan.
  7. Add the browned chicken pieces to the sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  8. Season to taste, remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods, sprinkle with the chopped coriander.
  9. Serve with Steamed Aromatic Basmati Rice (recipe below), a dollop of yogurt (or crème frâiche), mango chutney and more chopped coriander. If you want extra heat sprinkle over some chilli flakes.

Chicken with Cider (Poulet au Cidre) (Serves 4)

This is a classic dish from Normandy and Brittany, the apple growing regions of France. The sauce, with the apples, is perfect for an autumnal evening meal. This recipe is taken from a  French recipe book I have had for many years, ‘The Food of France’. This dish is delicious with Concetta’s potatoes (recipe here) and green beans.

8 chicken thighs, skin on

2 dessert apples, such as granny smith

Juice of ½ lemon

60g butter

½ onion, finely chopped

½ celery stick, chopped

10g plain flour (gluten free if required)

80ml Calvados or brandy

375ml cider

100ml créme frâiche

  1. Peel and core the apples. Finely chop one half of one apple and cut the rest into 12 wedges. Toss in the lemon juice (this will stop it browning).
  2. Heat half the butter in a large frying pan and brown the chicken thighs, skin side down. Turn over and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken. Pour away any fat and heat 20g more of the butter in the same pan. Add the celery, onion and chopped apple. Fry over a moderate heat for 5 minutes until softened but not browned.
  4. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour, stir, then add the calvados (or brandy). Gradually add the cider, stirring.
  5. Bring to the boil, return the chicken to the pan, cover, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook gently for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (make a cut on the underside of the thigh beside the bone to check).
  6. Meanwhile heat the remaining butter in a small frying pan and fry the apple wedges over a moderate heat until browned on each side, and tender.
  7. Remove the chicken from the pan, keep warm. Skim off any excess fat from the sauce. Add the créme frâiche, bring back to the boil, and boil gently for 3-4 minutes until the sauce it slightly thickened – enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Check the seasoning.
  8. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken with the apple wedges on the side. I like to serve this with Green Beans and Concetta’s potatoes (recipe here).

Chicken & Pea Traybake (Serves 4)

This is a great, quick midweek meal, and because it is so easy to cook I am also sharing it on my MenuMistress @Uni page. I found this recipe in Nigella Lawson’s ‘At My Table’ cookbook, a great book full of tasty recipes which are also very straight forward in that very special ‘Nigella’ way. The peas and leeks are cooked underneath the chicken thighs, so soak up all their delicious juices while the leeks become beautifully caramelised. The original recipe called for dill, however, I prefer tarragon so I use this, but you could, of course, use dill if you prefer!

8 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in

900g frozen petit pois

400g leeks, cut into 3cm slices

2 fat cloves garlic, crushed

4 tablespoons dry white vermouth or white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons sea salt flakes

Small bunch of tarragon, roughly chopped (or dill – see note above)

  1. Place the peas in large roasting pan, large enough to give space between the thighs. Add the leeks, garlic, vermouth (or wine), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and most of the tarragon. Mix everything together.
  2. Arrange the chicken thighs on top, skin side up, then drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Roast in a preheated oven, 180’c fan, for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and give the peas a stir, so that any on top are mixed into the liquid and are not drying out too much. Don’t worry about the leeks, as you want the bits peeking out to caramelise.
  5. Put back in the oven for a further 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through with a golden and crisp skin.
  6. Scatter over the remaining tarragon and serve with some simply steamed new potatoes!

Chicken Escalopes with Lemon Sauce – ‘Pollo al Limone’

A classic Italian recipe, often made with veal escalopes as well as chicken. One of my staple dishes, as it is really easy to ‘whip’ up. It’s delicious with baby roast potatoes (recipe here), but more often than not I serve it with plain white rice as when I make this I’m normally in a hurry and rice is quick and simple to make – also I like the way it mops up the lemon sauce!

By marinating the escalopes in the lemon juice for 30 minutes before cooking it tenderises the meat, you will notice the difference, but if I’m in a hurry I must admit that I often omit this part.

I normally cut my chicken breasts into three or four pieces, lengthways, and then flatten them out into escalopes by covering them with clingfilm and hitting with the base of a saucepan – not the most elegant way but it works! Alternatively you could ask your butcher to do it for you. Because you are flattening out the breasts, I find that they go a long way, so rather than 4 chicken breasts for 4 people you could get away with less depending on how hungry you are. If you haven’t any white wine to hand you could use all chicken stock, but the addition of wine does enhance the overall flavour.

*Watch the video here of how to make escalopes out of a chicken breast!

*To watch the video of this sauce being made click here!

3-4 chicken breasts (see note above)

8 tablespoons of lemon juice, plus a little more to taste (about 2 lemons)

40g butter

150ml dry white wine

150ml chicken stock (or 300ml if not using white wine – see note above)

1 teaspoon softened butter

2 teaspoons flour(gluten free if required)

1 lemon thinly sliced to serve (optional)

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into 3 lengthways, cover these slices with clingfilm and flatten by hitting with the base of a heavy saucepan (see the video of me doing this here!).
  2. Sprinkle the escalopes with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and leave aside for 30 minutes. Then dry with a piece of kitchen roll and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the escalopes, fry on each side over a fairly high heat, until they are evenly browned. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  4. Pour the remaining lemon juice and the wine and stock into the pan and bring to the boil. Boil for about 3-4 minutes, until the liquid it reduced slightly.
  5. Meanwhile mix the softened butter with the flour to create a paste – a ‘Beurre Manié’.
  6. Add the butter paste (Beurre Manié) to the sauce, mixing well until the sauce is smooth (I often use a whisk for this). It will thicken the sauce. At this point check the seasoning, you may want to add a little more lemon juice, I sometimes add an extra knob of butter at this point – just go with your taste buds!
  7. Return the escalopes to the pan to reheat, sprinkle over the chopped parsley.
  8. Serve the escalopes with the sauce and the sliced lemon for decoration, and either baby roast potatoes (recipe here) or on a bed of white rice.

Chicken with Mushrooms, Chickpeas & Tarragon Oil (Serves 4)

This simple recipe is cooked in one pan, the chickpea ‘stew’ is cooked under the chicken thighs so catches all of  their beautiful juices. I found this recipe in Nina Parker’s cookbook ‘Nina St Tropez’, a favourite book of mine. The tarragon oil it also a great dressing for salads, particularly with chicken and avocado.

3 tablespoons olive oil

8 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in

3 banana shallots, thinly sliced

400g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

400g chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size

2 star anise

3 cloves garlic, sliced

Bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked

Sea salt and black pepper

For the Tarragon Oil

¾ teaspoon chopped garlic

6 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

12 tablespoons olive oil

6 teaspoons cider vinegar

6 teaspoons lemon juice

¾ teaspoon sugar

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish (with a lid). Season the chicken thighs and place in the hot pan, skin side down. Cook for about 6 minutes until golden.
  2. Remove from the pan and add the shallots, stir and cook for a minute or two, then add the mushrooms cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Now add the chickpeas and the star anise, stir well before finally adding the garlic and thyme, stir again.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up, on top of the chickpea mixture. Cover with a lid, turn down the heat to barely simmering and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until any liquid has been absorbed by the chickpeas and mushroom mixture. Check the thighs are cooked (make a cut on the underside of the thigh beside the bone to check).
  6. Meanwhile make the tarragon oil by pounding the garlic with a little salt in a mortar and pestle, then add the remaining ingredients, mixing well.
  7. Remove the star anise from the chicken and chickpeas, and  serve with tarragon oil.

Tarragon Pot Roast Chicken (Serves 4)

This is probably one of my all-time favourite chicken recipes – have I sold it to you?!… Seriously, it is very good and is super easy; the sauce is created from the delicious juices which are caught under the chicken in the pot. Tarragon and chicken are, of course, a classic combination, so you honestly can’t go wrong with this recipe! I serve it with Garlic Green Beans, which are amazing – try them – and also with either Concetta’s Potatoes or Roast Potatoes .

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon

1 garlic clove, crushed

50g unsalted butter, softened

1 x 1.6-1.8 kg chicken

2 teaspoons oil

150ml chicken stock

30ml white wine

1 tablespoon plain flour (gluten free if required)

1 heaped tablespoon tarragon leaves, roughly chopped

150ml double cream

  1. Mix together half the butter with the 2 tablespoons of chopped tarragon and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and place inside the cavity of the chicken, then tie the legs together.
  2. Heat the remaining butter and the oil in a large casserole dish, and brown the chicken all over.
  3. Add the wine and chicken stock. Cover the casserole and place in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
  4. Remove the chicken to rest in a warm place, making sure that you drain any juices from it back into the pan.
  5. Skim a tablespoon of the surface fat from the cooking liquid and put it in a small bowl. Skim off any remaining fat and discard.
  6. Add the flour to the reserved fat and mix to a smooth paste.
  7. Whisk the paste into the cooking liquid over a moderate heat until the sauce boils and thickens.
  8. Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan and add the heaped tablespoon of chopped tarragon leaves, simmer for 2 minutes and then add the cream, reheating without boiling. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Carve the chicken, serve with the sauce spooned over and with Garlic Green Beans, Concetta’s potatoes or Roast potatoes (Click here for recipes).

Leek and Chicken Risotto (Serves 4-6)

This is a fantastic recipe for using up leftover chicken. It is a lovely unctuous, satisfying supper dish. The recipe originally called for twice as much cheese but I really think that it overpowered the flavours of the dish so I have halved the amount and suggested that you sprinkle over more cheese at the table. As I like this risotto to be more substantial, I have doubled the amount of chicken the recipe originally called for –  but feel free to reduce or increase the amount to taste (and depending on the amount of leftover chicken you have!). This recipe is taken from Rachel Allen’s cookbook ‘Recipes From My Mother’, as the name suggests it contains lots of homely recipes.

1.5 litres chicken stock

25g unsalted butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium leek, chopped

500g risotto rice, such as Carnaroli or Arborio

75ml dry white wine

40g Parmesan Cheese, finely grated plus more to serve (see note above)

2-3 generous handfuls of leftover roast chicken, chopped (see note above)

Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste

2 tablespoons of parsley

1-2 teaspoons chopped thyme

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to keep it at a gentle simmer.
  2. Meanwhile melt the butter and oil in a large pan – I like to use a deep frying/sauté pan. Add the leeks and season with salt and pepper, cover and sweat gently until soft (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the rice, stirring to coat it in the oil. Then add the wine, turn up the heat and let it bubble to evaporate (about 2 minutes).
  4. Lower the heat and now add a ladle of the hot stock, stirring continuously until it has evaporated. Continue to add ladle after ladle in the same manner until the rice is cooked and it has a creamy consistency. It should take around 16-18 minutes.
  5. When you are happy with the texture (the rice should be al dente, retaining a little bite), stir in the cheese, chicken, parsley, thyme and some lemon juice to taste. Check the seasoning and serve with more cheese sprinkled over according to your individual tastes.

Pot Roast Chicken with Figs (Serves 4-6)

I  love pot roasting chicken as once in the oven it just looks after itself. It is less fatty and messy to cook than a traditional roast, plus the juices caught in the bottom of the pot create a lovely sauce and the chicken comes out perfectly moist! This recipe with the figs is rather luxurious, and naturally very tasty. Any leftover figs are great the next day cold (and sticky!) with prosciutto or other cold meats – what a beautiful lunch!! I found this recipe in Diana Henry’s wonderful cookbook ‘A Bird in the Hand’, which concentrates purely on chicken recipes – it is a very comforting cookbook. I like to serve this dish with either Perfect Roast Potatoes or Concetta’s Potatoes (recipes here)

1½ tablespoons olive oil

1.8kg chicken

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons Armagnac

125ml dry white wine

125ml chicken stock

4 sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

12 -18 figs, stalks snipped, halved

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

20g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, heat the oil in a large casserole dish (with a lid) and brown the chicken all over.
  2. Pour off most of the fat and fry the onion until soft and golden.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the Armagnac, scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove all the sticky bits, then add the wine, stock, thyme and bay leaf. Season with black pepper.
  4. Return the chicken and any juices that have run out of it. Cover, put in a preheated oven, 180’c fan, for 70 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another 20 minutes. Baste every so often
  5. Remove the Chicken from the pan and keep warm. Skim off the fat from the cooking juices and strain into a frying pan. Boil to reduce them, until they become slightly syrupy.
  6. Reduce the heat and add the figs, vinegar and honey. Cook for about 4 minutes.
  7. Remove the figs with a slotted spoon and whisk in the cubed butter to make a rich and shiny sauce.
  8. Serve the Chicken, either whole or jointed, on a warm platter with the figs surrounding it and the sauce in a jug on the side

Carnival Chicken Rice with Plantain (Serves 4 – 6)

A subtly spiced dish, if you want a little more heat, you could serve it with a chilli sauce – I recommend the Encona Original Pepper Sauce which is readily available in supermarkets. The plantain is an important addition to this dish so don’t omit it, as it lifts the whole dish, the plantain must be ripe; it should have a dull yellow colour with patches of black, if you can’t find it in your local supermarket you should be able to buy it from a Indian/African grocery store. This is a recipe that I have ‘tweaked’ from Diana Henry’s ‘A Bird in the Hand’.

200g white long grain rice

Olive oil

250g tomatoes, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, chopped

4 spring onions, chopped

2 red chillies, halved and finely sliced

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

3 ripe plantain, peeled and sliced (see note about plantain – above)

3 limes

Sea salt and black pepper

Hot pepper sauce – optional (see note above)

  1. First cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet.
  2. Meanwhile in a frying pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the tomatoes for about five minutes, then add the garlic, spring onions, chillies, oregano and cumin. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  3. Wipe clean the frying pan and heat another 2 tablespoons of oil, season the chicken thighs and fry on both sides until cooked – a total of about 9 minutes. Once cooked cut into strips and keep warm.
  4. In the same frying pan heat enough olive oil to cover the base of the pan to shallow fry the plantain. Cook the slices on each side until golden brown – it will take about 5 minutes in total. Remove and drain on kitchen roll. Sprinkle with salt and a little juice from one of the limes.
  5. Finally, add the rice, chicken and tomato mixture to a clean frying pan and gently heat through. Stir through the chopped coriander, and about 2 tablespoons of lime juice, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve the chicken rice with the sliced plantain, the remaining limes, quartered and, if desired, some hot pepper sauce on the side.

Spiced Chicken breast with Sweet Potato Mash (Serves 4)

I must admit that before tasting this recipe I had never truly liked sweet potato, but the lime and coriander in this dish cut the sweetness of the potato, it really is delicious. So if you aren’t a lover of sweet potato please try this recipe – you will be converted! This subtly spiced chicken dish is very easy to make, making it a perfect midweek dinner.

4 boneless, skin on chicken breasts

1 kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 level teaspoon coriander seeds

1 level teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

2 level teaspoons ground paprika

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons groundnut oil

75g unsalted butter

1 bunch of coriander, chopped – keep a few sprigs back for decoration

Lime wedges, to serve

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Place the sweet potato in a steamer, sprinkle with salt and steam for about 20 minutes until cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, place the coriander, cumin and fenugreek seeds in a small frying pan and ‘dry-roast’ for about  1 minute until they smell aromatic. Finely grind in a mortar and pestle. Add the garlic, ginger, paprika, 1 tablespoon of lime juice and the oil, mix to a paste.
  3. Make 2-3 cuts about 5mm deep in each chicken breast. Rub each breast all over with the paste.
  4. Place the chicken breasts on a baking tray in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 25 minutes until cooked through.
  5. When the sweet potatoes are cooked through, place in a bowl and mash, adding the butter, remaining lime juice and plenty of black pepper. Stir through the chopped coriander.
  6. Pile the mash in the centre of 4 plates, top with the a chicken breast and garnish with the coriander sprigs and serve with lime wedges.

Chicken Breasts with Cucumber, Dill and Mustard (Serves 4)

I must admit that I had not come across cucumber cooked in a sauce before finding this recipe in a magazine, but it was a revelation, you must try it! It really adds a special dimension to a simple chicken breast recipe. I like to serve it with simple, fine green beans and with ‘Concetta’s Potatoes’, these are named after our Italian friend (and chef), who gave me the recipe many years ago; they are sliced baked potatoes with garlic, rosemary and sage, alternatively steamed new potatoes go very well with this dish.

40g unsalted butter

4 skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon flour (use gluten free flour if required)

100ml dry, white vermouth

600ml chicken stock

1 cucumber

175g créme fraiche

2 teaspoons grain mustard

Juice of half a lemon

A small bunch dill, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Melt 25g of butter in a frying pan. Lightly brown the chicken breasts, season and sprinkle over the flour, cook for a minute and then add the vermouth, reduce by two-thirds.
  2. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to simmer gently. Cover and cook for about 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through
  3. Whilst the chicken is cooking, peel the cucumber, cut it in half and deseed, then cut into slices the thickness of a pound coin.
  4. Fry the cucumber slices in the remaining butter. Cook quickly until they are just tender – not floppy – and tinged with gold in places. Remove to a plate.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan, keep warm. Boil the remaining liquid until it is reduced by half and starting to look slightly syrupy. Add the crème fraiche, mustard and half the lemon juice. Cook until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of single cream.
  6. Return the chicken to the pan along with the cucumber and the chopped dill. Taste to adjust the seasoning – perhaps a dash more of lemon juice or mustard.
  7. Serve with ‘Concetta’s potatoes’ or steamed new potatoes and green fine beans.

Spatchcock Chicken with Rosemary, Garlic and Chilli (Serves 4-6)

Spatchcock Chicken is a great way to roast a chicken – it enables the chicken to cook quicker and is a lot easier to carve. The rosemary, garlic and chilli oil in this recipe, is a particular favourite of mine, it is a tasty and a very simple way of seasoning the chicken. A great accompaniment to this chicken is the Cantaloupe, Artichoke and Walnut Salad which you can find 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!

1 x 1.8 – 2.25kg chicken

1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes

For the marinade:

1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary (about 3 sprigs)

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 20 grinds of a pepper grinder)

½ teaspoon chilli flakes

Juice of half a lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Firstly make the marinade by combining all the ingredients together.
  2. Cover the chicken all over with the marinade – I use a brush to do this.
  3. Place it breast side up, flattened out, in a roasting tin. Sprinkle over with the sea salt flakes.
  4. Place in a preheated oven, 180’c fan, for 45-50 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken.

Tarragon Chicken Pie (Serves 4)

This is an absolute favourite in our house and one which Felix insists that I cook when he is back from university! It is a recipe that I picked up from a magazine years ago and have tweaked over the years.

I’m gluten free, so unfortunately these days I can’t eat the pastry, but the filling is a treat in itself. I usually serve this with buttered new potatoes. I use ‘Jus Rol, Ready Rolled Puff Pastry’, they have started to make a gluten free puff pastry, I haven’t tried it, but I have heard mixed reviews so for the moment I will continue to be an unselfish ‘head cook’ and stick to the normal pastry that both Nick and Felix love! I prefer to use fresh chicken stock, but you could use a stock cube.

320g pack of ready rolled puff pastry (see note above)

1 tablespoon olive oil

15g butter

3 spring onions, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

75g diced pancetta

500g chicken breast, cut into bite size cubes

225ml chicken stock (see note above)

250g frozen peas

8-10 sprigs of tarragon

3 slices of Prosciutto ham, each slice rolled and cut into 2cm pieces/ribbons

2 tablespoons of double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of milk (for a glaze)

  1. First of all, take the pastry out of the fridge as it needs at least 20 minutes to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven 200’c fan.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan, add the spring onions, shallots and pancetta, fry for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and fry for another 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken stock and peas, bring to a simmer, and add the chopped leaves of 6-7 of the sprigs of tarragon. Cook for 5 minutes until the peas are tender.
  5. Stir in the prosciutto and the cream, pour into a pie dish. Sprinkle over the chopped leaves of the remaining tarragon.
  6. For the pastry top, gently lay out the pastry. Cut it into a circular shape to top the pie dish. I find that by cutting strips of the remaining pastry, pressing them around the rim of the pie dish and then topping with the pastry top, helps the pastry rise – see photo. I also cut out a few leaves for decoration, but obviously, this doesn’t affect the flavour so if you’re in a hurry I’d leave this out! Lightly score the pastry with a criss-cross pattern to help it rise and make sure you cut out a deep cross in the centre to allow the steam to escape during cooking. Brush over with the egg and milk glaze.
  7. Place in the preheated oven, bake for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Serve with new potatoes.

Chargrilled Lemon & Thyme Chicken (Serves 4)

It is important to marinate the chicken before cooking it as it really does improve the flavour – overnight would be the best option. I prefer to cook the chicken on a griddle pan as it gives a lovely crispy, chargrill effect however if you don’t have one, a regular frying pan works. I would serve this dish with baby roast potatoes and a salad with a lemon dressing – you can find these recipes on my Recipes Pages. On the day you’re eating it, start by cooking the baby roast potatoes and preparing the salad/dressing, then 10-15 minutes before the potatoes are ready, cook the meat. This recipe is from Diana Henry’s ‘ Pure, Simple Cooking’.

8 boneless chicken thighs, skin on (if you buy from a butcher ask him to bone them for you)

60ml olive oil

chopped leaves from about 10 generous sprigs of thyme

sea salt and black pepper

juice of 1 lemon

lemon wedges to serve

  1. Flatten out the chicken thighs and make some slits on them. Rub with the olive oil and pat on the thyme leaves. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours.
  2. Heat a griddle pan (or a frying pan) until it is really hot. Season the chicken and put on the pan, skin side down. Let it sizzle for about 2 minutes then lower the temperature and continue to cook until the thighs are cooked through – turning half way through, so that both sides are well browned.
  3. Pour over the lemon juice and serve immediately with the baby roast potatoes and the green salad dressed with the lemon vinaigrette.

Lemon and Chilli Chicken (Serves 4)

Lemon and Chilli Chicken

This is a recipe that I came across years ago in a magazine, despite having chilli in it, it is not a spicy dish, as there is also honey in the marinade; I use orange blossom honey as it has a delicate floral flavour, great for a summer dish, but you could use any runny honey. The key to this dish is remembering to marinate it 24hours beforehand as it really makes a difference, other than that this dish sorts itself out  – just pop it in the oven and serve with a large salad (and if you are really hungry some potatoes or rice).

8 chicken thighs

4 lemons

12 unskinned garlic cloves

2 small red chillies, seeded and chopped

3 tablespoons of orange blossom honey (see note above)

4 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Halve the lemons and squeeze out the juice, reserving the squeezed lemon halves.
  2. Skin and crush two of the garlic cloves, mix them with the lemon juice, chillies, the honey and seasoning. Stir well and pour over the chicken, pack the lemon halves around the chicken. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight (see note above), turning once or twice.
  3. When you are ready to cook the chicken, turn the chicken pieces skin side up and scatter over the remaining garlic cloves(unskinned), keep the lemons packed around the chicken pieces.
  4. Place in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for about 45mins until cooked through and well browned.
  5. Scatter over the parsley; serve with the lovely pan juices and the garlic cloves which will now be beautifully soft, ready to be popped out of their skins! (you can use the lemon halves for decoration).