Crispy skin duck breast – weird but it works!!

9 Feb


This is a John Torode recipe. Take your duck breasts and score the skin all the way through the flesh. Season the skin (and only(!) skin) with salt and black pepper. Take a solid, heavy frying pan and turn the heat to 3/4 on your stove. Lay the duck skin down in the cold (!) pan and put over the heat and turn the heat down to 1/2. Now DO NOT touch anything. Leave it alone for good 10 minutes.

The fat under the skin will slowly melt and the skin will go brown and crispy. You should have a good 1 cm of duck fat at the bottom. When the skin starts to colour around the outside you’re ready to move on. Season the flesh side now and turn the duck breast down. Cook for 2 minutes and turn the heat to full, cooking the duck for further 1 minute. Take the pan from the heat and leave the breasts in the pan for 5 minutes.

You can keep the fat for further cooking – for example for roasted potatoes 🙂



22 Jan

Chicken Ballotine Stuffed with Cream Cheese, Garlic & Herbs

21 Jan


  • 2 chicken breast fillets, diced
  • 100 g garlic and herb cream cheese (I used boursin with sundried tomato and garlic flavour)
  • 4 large chicken thighs, boned
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 50 g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying


1. Working with one chicken thigh at a time, place between two sheets of cling film and then using a rolling pin, flatten to an even thickness. Lay out another large sheet of cling film and lay the flattened chicken thigh skin-side down in the middle of the film. Season with salt and pepper and then pipe the cream cheese along the centre of the meat. Using the cling film to help, roll the chicken up tightly, to enclose the filling and create a sausage shape. Tie the ends tightly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining thighs and mousse

2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, carefully add the chicken parcels, cover and remove the pan from the heat. Allow the chicken to poach in the pan, off the heat, for about 20 minutes. Then using a slotted spoon remove the chicken parcels from the pan, drain on kitchen paper and leave to cool slightly. Remove from the cling film and pat dry with kitchen towel.

3. Heat the oil for searing. Sear the chicken parcels, in batches, for about 5 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Transfer to a plate and drain on kitchen paper. Leave to rest for a couple of minutes and then carve into thick slices. If meat still pink, let the chicken rest in the oven for a while before serving. Arrange on warm serving plates and spoon over sauce to serve.

Cheesy Spinach Filo Triangles recipe – All recipes UK

31 Dec

Cheesy Spinach Filo Triangles recipe – All recipes UK.

Pappardelle with duck confit sauce

16 Nov

20131116_113955 (1024x576)I made some duck confit about a week ago and was debating with hubby about how to best eat it: the French way with lentils and veg or go Italian with a lovely pasta sauce. I ended up going the Italian way this time. I had a very strong image of what I wanted to achieve, but could not find a single recipe that included the taste I was going for. So I ended up inventing this recipe – and seriously – probably the best pasta sauce I’ve ever produced! So here it is:


  • 2 confit duck legs – meat taken off bone
  • Soffritto
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small glass of red wine
  • A splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Chicken stock
  • Juniper berries
  • Chervil
  • Quartered cherry tomatoes (to go in just before serving to add some freshness)

Just bring all of this to boil and let it reduce to intensify the flavours (except the fresh cherry tomatoes). Serve with fresh pappardelle or tagliatelle and sprinkle some parmesan over it.


Thai Style Chicken Noodle Soup

2 Oct

Chicken Noodle SoupMy poor little hubby was down with a cold which inspired me to create this little dish. Perfect to chase away a pesky cold and clear the airways. It’s a bowl full of goodness – and is delicious too! It’s also a good way of using up leftover roast chicken.




  • 3 spring onions chopped/sliced (whichever you prefer)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 medium hot red chilli deseeded and sliced finely (or more if you want it really spicy, not just ‘warm’)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 pint of chicken stock
  • left over chicken, shredded (equivalent to a breast and a half or so)
  • noodles (I use the medium width variety, but any would do)
  • a splash of soy sauce (to taste)
  • the zest of one lime
  • 1 whole (slightly crushed) lemon grass stick
  • a few pinches of sugar
  • salt & pepper( to taste)
  • extra water to accommodate the noodles


Just chop everything and throw into a sauce pan. Let the ingredients cook for 20-30 minutes to let the flavours blend together to a lovely broth. Add the noodles towards the end of the cooking (see instructions on pack) or cook them separately and just add them to the soup. Voila!

Mushroom “Orzotto”

24 Sep

OrzottoThis is a version of a River Cottage recipe, which is dead easy and yummy! It’s using the Greek rice shaped pasta, orzo, instead of rice. Great veggie option to rustle up if you’ve just been told your newly-acquired friend who is due over for lunch in an hour is a devout vegetarian. Obviously don’t use chicken stock or parmesan. Recipe works (almost) as well without it.



  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
  • A knob of butter
  • 500g mushrooms (see above), cleaned, trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 150g orzo pasta
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • A few sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • About 75ml dry white wine
  • About 50ml crème fraĂ®che
  • I chicken or vegetable stock cube (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A good handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to serve
  • Grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top



Put a large pan of well-salted water on to boil, so that you’re ready to
cook the pasta while the sauce is coming together.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and half the butter in a large frying pan
over a medium-high heat. Add half the mushrooms and cook briskly,
stirring often, until all the liquid released has evaporated and the
mushrooms are starting to caramelise. Transfer to a dish and repeat
with the rest of the oil, butter and mushrooms. (Cooking in two batches
like this avoids overcrowding the pan and ensures the mushrooms do
not stew.)

When the second batch of mushrooms are nearly cooked, add the
pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook until al dente.

Return the first lot of mushrooms to the frying pan. Add the garlic,
thyme and balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.
Add the wine and cook until there is almost no liquid left. Add the
cream or crème fraîche, reduce the heat a little and stir until it is just
about simmering. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta as soon as it is cooked, add to the mushroom mixture
and toss well. Serve scattered with lots of chopped parsley.

Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar and Lemon (Ottolenghi)

11 Aug


1 large free-range chicken, divied into quarters
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sumac
1 lemon, thinly sliced
200ml chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons za’atar
20g butter
50g pine nuts
4 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley


  1. In a large bowl, Mix the chicken, garlic, spices, olive oil, onions, stock, lemon, salt and pepper. Leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/Gas Mark 6. Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a baking tray large enough to accommodate all the chicken pieces lying flat and spaced apart. They should be skin-side up. Sprinkle za’atar over the chicken and onions and put the tray in the oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is coloured and just cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile melt the butter in a small frying pan, add the pine nuts and a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they turn golden. Transfer them to plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the fat.
  4. Transfer the hot chicken and onions to a serving plate and finish with the chopped parsley, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil. You can sprinkle on more za’atar and sumac if you like.

Recipe from Ottolenghi – The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

Slow cooked pulled pork

11 Jul
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (4-1/2- to 5-pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder, twine or netting removed
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce (optional)
  1. Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the casserole dish and pour in the stock or broth.
  2. Combine the sugar, chili powder, measured salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  3. Pat the pork dry with paper towels.
  4. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions and garlic.
  5. Bring to boil on the cooker.
  6. Cover and place in the oven at a low heat (gas mark 2).
  7. Cook until the pork is fork tender, about 2-3 hours minimum.
  8. Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Set the strained liquid aside.
  9. If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat.
  10. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce, if using, and mix to combine.
  11. Taste and season with salt as needed.

Serve with coleslaw and buttery corn on the cob. Yum!

FlambĂ©ed chicken with asparagus

12 May

DSC_0056 DSC_0059Hubby and I have decided to cook together at least a couple of times a month. We have also recently bought a Spiralo to allow us to make better use of gluts of vegetables during allotment season (mainly thinking courgettes!). We are also at the moment drowning in asparagus and searched for a recipe that included this + something that would let us use our new toy. So here’s the result! Served with twice fried potato in the shape of thick spaghetti to add a bit of crunch. Yum!


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp seasoned plain flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • knob of butter
  • 4 shallots , finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp brandy or Cognac
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 16 asparagus spears , halved
  • 4 rounded tbsp crème fraĂ®che
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon


  1. Dust the chicken with the flour.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a large, wide pan with a lid, add the chicken, then fry on all sides until nicely browned.
  3. Add the shallots, then fry for about 2 mins until they start to soften, but not colour.
  4. Pour in the brandy, carefully ignite, then stand well back until the flames have died down.
  5. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil.
  6. Reduce heat, cover, then cook for 15 mins until the chicken is just tender.
  7. Add the asparagus to the sauce.
  8. Cover, then cook for 5 mins more until tender.
  9. Stir in the crème fraîche and tarragon and warm through.
  10. Season to taste.