Tag Archives: Chicken

Chicken Masala Curry Risotto

I have always been one for making my own spice and herb mixes and using a hit and miss approach to overall flavour. There are some tried and true combinations, of course, which we were either taught or have picked up along the way. In the last few years the old herb and spice companies have found a market in our fast and furious world and have come up trumps – some better than others. When I was young, there was Oxo stock cubes and that was about it. Oh – I know there was Bisto and other gravy makers but that was here and I wasn’t – I don’t remember Bisto in Australia.
Oxo has reinvented itself as has Knorr and Schwartz and the innovative improvements are welcome. There are some terrific commercial combinations available at the supermarket as these companies compete for this market. This makes for good news for us the consumers. I still find that I cannot help myself fiddling with the flavours as I cook. I have a vast array of spices in my spice cupboard and a great deal many herbs chopped in season (this is Scotland after all) and frozen in individual containers (thanks again, dear companies, for marketing your wares in individual containers that I can re-use when freezing my herbs).

They have done well!

They have done well!

This recipe is sort of home-grown using a base of the spice mix made by Schwartz. Added spice values are flexible. You have to continually test the dish as it is cooking and adjust the seasonings and spices to suit your particular taste. I do this all the time and wouldn’t make a good wee chef because I don’t replicate exactly from one offering to the next.

I realise that some of you will throw your hands up in horror and scream ‘Not cream and sour cream and oil and finishing butter’. However I have always eaten these foods and have been on the go enough to not have had any problem with weight or cholesterol (when checked at the chemists). So I say go for it and then go for a run, a dig in the garden, a swim or push those biceps.


125gr diced chestnut mushrooms
450gr thickly slivered chicken breast
1 Indian Mild Masala Curry Flavour Shot by Schwartz
1 tbsp hot curry powder – if you like it hot as I do
1½teasp ground paprika
150gr tomato and basil pasta sauce or 400gr chopped tomatoes – a mix of what you have in the pantry
2teasp double tomato concentrate
2 cloves squeezed garlic
1½teasp ground garam masala
½pint or so of milk
¾ cup Aborio or parboiled rice. Basmati isn’t any good for this but other long grains are okay.
Some double cream and some crème fraiche
2teasp chopped parsley
Pepper and salt to season and some butter to finish


Fry the Masala spice first

Fry the Masala spice first

Stir the Flavour Pot and pour into a large (preferably) non-stick frypan. At this point, if you like (love!) onion, use a red onion thinly sliced and cook until softened. Otherwise add the diced mushrooms and cook for 2-3mins. Add the garlic. You may need some more oil. I am using groundnut oil at the moment.

Add the tomato type mixture you have decided on and the milk. Stir and bring to a simmer. Stir in the chicken and cook on high for 3mins then lower heat and

1 lb of sliced chicken breast

1 lb of sliced chicken breast

simmer for 10mins or so. This is a good time to start tasting and adding. Add some tomato concentrate, paprika, garam masala. Start adding pepper and salt to your taste.

Start adding the rice – you will need some water to hand. Here the intensity starts. Stir the rice throughout the dish and add water when it looks as though the rice has soaked up all the liquid. Don’t let it burn. Repeat, adding water, cream and soured cream but don’t let the dish become thin. It should take about 20 mins for the rice to absorb the liquid. If aborio, it will take a bit longer.

At the end add 1teasp butter to finish, ½doz. drops of nam pla (fish sauce) – I am like Nigel Slater and believe that virtually any dish benefits for the addition of nam pla. Add the parsley and enjoy. I serve myself some leeks and either beans or peas in side dishes – for effect and texture variety and I love vegetables anyway!

The Risotto with side dishes


Stir-fried Spiced Chicken Slivers with Oriental Veges

Quick, tasty & nutritious

Quick, tasty & nutritious

I used an oriental bean stir-fry mix from Asda comprising bean sprouts, edamame beans, red peppers, shaved carrots and Chinese cabbage. I added a finely sliced mushroom and some leeks with some cut asparagus spears.

I sliced a chicken breast very finely – it’s pretty easy to do when the chicken is still half frozen. The quantities don’t really matter that much – it depends on how many you are feeding. I was only feeding me and the photos show quantities for one plus some left-overs for the evening.

The spicy marinade I used was a suggestion from an fb  correspondent on a comment thread extolling the virtues of turmeric. It is part of the ginger family  – Zingiberaceae. It’s tropical and grows wild and in gardens throughout Mullumbimby where I used to live. I grew it with several other gingers for culinary purposes. All ginger plants are very easy on the eye as well.

Anyway here is the spice mix. I just shook an even amount of all three spices into a small bowl and added enough lemon juice and olive oil to make a squishy paste.

Turmeric Powder
Ground Coriander
Red Chilli Powder
Olive Oil
Lemon juice

I smothered the chicken in the marinade and left it for about an hour.

Marinating happily in spice

Marinating happily in spice

I knew the chicken would take about four minutes to cook so the vegetables have to be cut finely enough to also cook for about 4 minutes.

Heat up some sunflower oil in a wok and add the chicken at quite a high heat so that the meat browns evenly. This requires constant stirring until the chicken is cooked but not burnt. Remove and set aside.

Any vegetables you like - cut finely

Any vegetables you like – cut finely

The vegetables can be whatever you prefer. I used some of the oriental bean stir-fry mix plus mushroom, leek and asparagus. I cut the asparagus spears into three sections and covered with boiling water for about six or so minutes to soften them.

Add more oil and heat. Pour in all the vegetables and stir to coat them. Cover the pan for four minutes but stir frequently so the vegetables don’t burn. Towards the end of cooking add ½ clove minced garlic plus several drops of sesame oil and season with pepper and salt. Add back the chicken and heat through. There is not much sauce with this so if you like, add a sauce of maybe soy, chicken or vegetable stock. You can add more heat as well.

I served this with a fine egg pasta and added a real favourite of mine – Nando’s Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Peri peri marinade. Well – I use it as a sauce.


Prawns and Chicken on Fish Noodles

I have said before that I love prawns and so does the Engineer. We also like chicken and I had some cooked and sliced chicken breast that wanted to be used. The cooked prawns I had, some king and some smaller school prawns that would do nicely together on noodles.

When we go to Dundee for any reason, I always sidle into the Chinese store and check out what I need and what’s available and there is always lots available. Next time we go, I need a 2 litre bottle of Kikkoman light (table) soy. This recipe will use dark soy (Lee Kum Kee). Some time ago at this wonderful Chinese supermarket, I bought a large plastic container of 36 individually parcelled serves of dried fish flavoured noodles that have lasted me for quite some time. They are great in sweet and sour soups; egg and spring onion soups with lettuce.

I find it hard to cook without using capsicum and the colour of the fruit depends on the sort of dish I am making. I decided to use the last of my frozen chilli slices for colour and flavour.

Some fish sauce and sweet chilli sauce will be a necessity. I have these.

A visual on the ingredients

A visual on the ingredients

I will make a concoction of spring onion and sliced mushroom to add separately to this dish. It’s beginning to sound quite yummy.

So here is the ingredient list:

250gr sliced cooked chicken breast
250gr peeled cooked prawns – king or school or a mixture
1½tbsp vegetable oil
1 green chilli finely sliced – mine from the freezer already prepared
1 garlic clove finely chopped
½” ginger finely sliced
½ red capsicum sliced finely
1½tbsp Thai fish sauce
1tbsp dark soy sauce or at least 2tbsp Kikkoman table soy sauce
2 or maybe more (depends on taste) sweet chilli sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1tbsp coriander fresh chopped or dried reconstituted and a sprinkle of dried dill reconstituted. I pour boiling water over both herbs and let them soften. Fresh is better but I do live in Scotland.
As much noodles as you want – I used 2 individual parcels of dried noodles
2 or more diagonally sliced spring onions and some sliced closed cap white mushrooms.

The foody bits for this dish

The foody bits for this dish

How to do this:

I put my onions and mushrooms into a small dish with P&S and some butter and microwaved for 1 maybe 1½min on high. That’s for me. The Engineer doesn’t do onions.

Boil some water and submerge the noodles. Leave them to soften and absorb the water, about 3 – 4 mins. Drain and refresh with cold water.

Heat the oil in your very favourite frying pan or wok, add the garlic, ginger, chilli and capsicum. Cook over a fairly high heat for 3 mins.

Add chicken, prawns, all the sauces and noodles. Stir briskly until all is heated and then add the lime juice. Drain the herbs and add to the dish.
Serve in bowls and, for me, add the onion compote.

Here it is in a gorgeous bowl I found. Mushroom and spring onion compote on top.

Here it is in a gorgeous bowl I found. Mushroom and spring onion compote on top.

Balmoral Chicken with A Whisky Sauce

We have a marvellous butcher down at the Glamis Centre and WW likes his Lorne sausage from there. So last time I was there I saw these wrapped chicken pieces. They are called Balmoral Chicken and, of course, are Scottish in origin.

Basically it’s a chicken breast sliced lengthways to make a pocket. Then you hand roll some fresh haggis into a sausage shape and stuff it inside the pocket and cover the edge with the flaps of chicken. Wrap the breasts in back bacon – depending on the size of the breast three slices per breast should be ample. Brush with butter and season. I used a sprinkling of salt then a spice mix from Kania called Puszta.

Raw Balmoral Chicken

This is definitely a one wrapped Balmoral per serve. The ones I bought from the butcher were large so any leftover meat can be sliced when cold and used for sandwiches.

Now wrap the chicken in foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for about 35mins. After 20mins, open the foil parcels so the bacon can crisp up.

I think it may be traditional to serve this with clapshot which is potatoes with turnip mashed with butter, seasoned and garnished with chopped chives.

However I boiled some baby potatoes and some carrot and steamed some new beans. I also had two filled mushrooms that I put into the oven for 15mins on the same baking tray as the chicken after the foil came off. A little butter on the filling keeps it soft until the breadcrumbs turn brown.

Vegetables ready to cook

Instead of making gravy, I decided on a whisky sauce with some chicken stock and double cream. Adding a good dollop of Dijon mustard to the sauce adds to its flavour immensely.


So this is the Whisky Sauce:
250ml chicken stock
2 tbsp whisky
100ml double cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Knob of butter

Mix the stock and whisky in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the mixture by half and add the mustard and cream. Keep stirring. Add the butter which will thicken the sauce. I must tell you that the only whisky I had in the house was a Glenmorangie, hahaha. But we won’t tell anyone.

You could also make a white sauce with mustard and a hefty slug of white wine. Keep the chicken stock though, the flavour is good.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and mushrooms; add a dollop of butter to the cooked vegetables and serve it all up with a garnish of parsley.

Balmoral Chicken served

Chicken Pies x 2 versions

WW likes food unadulterated with onions and too many flavours, so these days, I often make two different variations on a theme. And this is a case in point.

I had seven boned chicken thighs in the fridge and decided that they might do well in a pie. I sliced them into largish slices and fried them in some oil. I finished up the assorted mushrooms also in the fridge; sliced them fairly thickly and fried them separately. Then added chicken and mushrooms together and then left to settle.

Chicken & Mushrooms with spices & lemon

I like bacon and onions, garlic and ginger plus mixed vegetables whereas WW preferred the idea of chicken and mushrooms in a lemon flavoured white sauce in a puff pastry bedded and lidded pie.

So let the cooking begin!

Chicken thighs sliced thickly. I had seven of them.
As many mushrooms as you like also sliced thickly. I had a mixture of chestnut, baby button and field mushrooms.
Some ground cumin and turmeric with S&P to taste. I add a little chicken stock powder as well.

Fry the meat and add the seasonings towards the end and add a very good splash of lemon juice.

Fry the mushrooms in a little oil and add a tbsp water to keep them moist.

When cooked add the two ingredients together and cool. Then lift out with a slotted spoon and place in a holding dish. Reserve the cooking liquid. Add 2 good tbsps of Nando’s Lemon and Herb Marinade and mix well. Pour into a gravy jug to add to the white sauce later.

½ red capsicum sliced thinly.
2 med. cibouli onions sliced lengthwise and sliced to a moderate width.
Some bacon – as much as you like cut finely, I always keep some bacon pieces for this sort of use.
Whatever vegetables you love sliced finely. I had carrots, corn kernels and peas.
Some powdered garlic and ginger.
Dried dill, dried parsley flakes.

Sir-fried veges ready to mix with chicken

Stir fry the vegetable mixture and bacon with seasonings and a little of the reserved liquid. Let rest until cool. Add enough of the chicken and mushroom mixture to fill a smallish pie dish. The rest of the chicken and mushroom mix will go into another pie dish as is.

Make a roux using about 30gm butter. Melt and stir in a rounded tbsp of plain flour, some S&P with a touch of chicken stock powder. Use milk to start the sauce then use the reserved liquid together with more added milk to make a good thickish sauce. It should taste nicely lemony.

Fresh Puff pastry ready rolled and chilled. About 250gm. Roll out to increase size for the pastry needed. I always have some left over at the end.

WW opted for a pastry base for his pie so I cooked that and cooled everything down. Filled both pie dishes with the two different mixtures and poured over the white – well yellowish and lemony – sauce and used a beaten egg to seal the pastry tops onto the pastry base and, in the other case, to the pie dish itself. Created decorative pastry bits and cut some vents to allow for escaping steam, brushed the pastry with the rest of the egg and put the pies in the oven at 200°C.

I forgot to take a photo until we had consumed half the pies – hahaha. So here are the other halves.

The pies less eaten:-)

Tagliatelle, Chicken, Bacon, Mushroom & Broad Beans

I had some tagliatelle in the fridge looking a wee bit forlorn as it contemplated a possible ultimate fate. So I thought that I would make something with chicken. You know how these things develop. 

Some bacon pieces were on a higher fridge shelf and some fresh mushrooms were nestled by the last of the parmesan cheese. I could grate that over the top. There was some double cream (ho hum to weight gain). I could undertake a quick, invigorating and mild weight loss programme by walking the mile to the corner store to buy some low fat crème fraiche.  Oh! how virtuous of me. So I did that and felt virtuous.

I had skinless chicken breasts (oh I am good!) and broad beans in the freezer together with some frozen petit pois. It is winter after all.

I checked out 8 internet recipes and cobbled this one together. I enjoy cobbling recipes and adding this and that depending on my sense of taste and what I actually have in my larder, freezer and fridge.

In the event the tagliatelle was very tasty. Even the hunter gatherer liked it and he professes a dislike for broad beans. But he hadn’t tasted this before! A glass of Chardonnay cleansed the palette between mouthfuls.

So this was my ingredient list:

4 chicken breasts or thighs thinly sliced lengthways. I used skinless but there is no need to. Ahem, chicken skin has a terrific taste.
50g chopped bacon. I buy bacon pieces by the kilo and divide into 5 packets. I keep one in the fridge and the rest in the freezer for when I run out.
6 medium mushrooms thinly sliced. I had closed cup white medium sized mushrooms. No reason why you wouldn’t use chestnut mushrooms – the added colour would be worth it.
1 tsp olive oil – probably a little more.
300g tagliatelle. Mine was fresh and needing to be used. I liked that the colour of the broad beans and peas would stand out against the creamy pasta.
175g frozen broad beans cooked and peeled
1 cup frozen peas cooked. I used petit pois – so sweet – why use any other?
85g reduced-fat crème fraîche
juice 1 lemon or bottled lemon juice. I am not fussy on this score.
4 tbsp parmesan powdered and 2 tbsp fresh parmesan finely grated
small handful flat parsley, chopped

I didn’t use any onion or garlic – unusual for me – because I wanted the lemon to be the only strength in back flavour. The parmesan sat on top of the dish and rightly so. The crème fraiche added to the slight tartness and the parsley  just adds that something. Don’t use too much bacon in case it over powers the chicken. Mushrooms make me smile.

This was looking good before the tagliatelle

I have an induction hob and I am not sure about it; it is new and I have only been using it for a year. Steaming rice is not good on induction hobs. That may be colouring a jaundiced view from me. It is certainly easy to keep clean and the heat is instantaneous and it is more likely that I am still acclimatising to it.

Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add oil. Add the chicken and seasoning and cook, turning until browned, about 8-10mins. Add chopped bacon and sliced mushrooms and stir until cooked and coated with the oil and seasoning.

 Put the tagliatelle in a large pot with salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 100ml of the cooking water and drain the tagliatelle.

Add the cooked tagliatelle, broad beans and petit pois to the pan containing the chicken mixture. Add the crème fraîche, lemon juice, 4 tbsp Parmesan and the reserved cooking water. Heat gently, season to taste, then stir in the parsley. Serve sprinkled with the remaining Parmesan and a liberal amount of olive oil. Grind some black pepper over the dish.

Warm and tasty with a palette cleanser

Potato and Chicken Bake

Those Maris Pipers again. I am using them but not as quickly as I would like. I have some chicken thighs that look so juicy that the thought of baking them in a casserole lying on a bed of sliced potatoes and smothered in a sauce and vegetable mix with some bacon then topped with more sliced potatoes and some cheese to finish, sounds very yummy.

So here we go:

Enough peeled and thinly (less than 1 cm) sliced potatoes to cover the bottom of a heavy based casserole dish. Another lot for the top layer – say 4 largish potatoes for each layer
3 chicken thighs. I unrolled, de-boned and then cut them – I ended up with 9 pieces enough for 2-3 people
Several sprigs of rosemary, some chopped finely, the others for garnishing
Thyme and tarragon ½teasp each
½ Leek and ½ ciboule finely chopped
½ yellow and ½ red capsicum sliced
2 Bacon rashers or the equivalent of bacon pieces – doesn’t matter because it is chopped
8 –10 chestnut mushrooms or mix of button and chestnut mushrooms thickly sliced on the round.
100ml White wine and 200ml chicken stock
Frozen peas or fresh if you have them. About a cup.

Heat some oil and fry the chopped bacon and the chicken pieces until browned on both sides.

Put a layer of potato slices into an oiled casserole dish. Add the sautéed meat.

First potato layer & bacon/chicken layer

Saute leek and ciboule with garlic and pepper and salt in a saucepan. When cooled a little, add some chicken stock and whisk until smooth. Return to the saucepan, add the remainder of the chicken stock and the white wine. Heat and add the peas. Bring to boil and remove from heat.
Add dried thyme and tarragon and mix. Set aside to cool a little.

Chicken stock & white wine sauce

Saute the sliced mushrooms and capsicum in some oil and butter for flavour. Sprinkle with some finely chopped rosemary.

Sautéed Capsicum & Mushrooms

Layer the capsicum and mushroom over the chicken mix and lightly salt and pepper.

Pour over the stock/peas mix and then layer the second lot of potato slices on top. Dot with small pieces of butter and some rosemary sprigs. Dust with salt and white pepper and drizzle a bit of olive oil.

Cover with foil and bake, middle oven for 50mins. Remove the foil and cook another 30mins until the potatoes have browned. Just before the last 10mins add mature grated cheese on top of the potatoes.

There are so many variations on herbs and vegetables that will make this sort of dish a new experience every time you make it. I served it with some steamed baby french beans and bok choi.