Recipe: Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich

Sometimes you need something a bit trashy to munch on to get you through the day. There’s nothing classy about this and it’s really a crime to call it a recipe. It’s more of a suggestion on some things to put together in a baguette for the ultimate sandwich experience. Make. Apply to face. Thank me later.

Serves 1

What you need:

  • 1 mini baguette or half a white baton
  • butter
  • mayonnaise
  • lettuce leaves
  • cucumber slices
  • tomato slices
  • cheddar cheese
  • 4 Southern fried chicken goujons, fresh from the oven
  • sweet chilli sauce

What you do:

  1. Cut the baguette in half. Spread both halves with butter then apply as much mayonnaise as you want to the bottom half. Top this with a handful of lettuce leaves and 3-4 slices each of cucumber and tomato.
  2. Next, add some slices of cheddar cheese, I used 4 thick slices.
  3. Top this all off with the chicken goujons, add some sweet chilli sauce on top and then sandwich with the other half of the bread.

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GET IN MA BELLY!

 

Recipe Review: Rick Stein’s Lamb Kleftiko

I love Greece and I love Greek food. As I can’t afford a holiday to Greece this year I thought I would bring a little Greek sunshine into my own dreary kitchen. Rick Stein’s ‘From Venice to Istanbul’ is a bible of recipes from, as the name would suggest, Venice to Istanbul. There are Italian pasta dishes, Turkish kebabs and lots of wonderful dishes inspired by his travels around Greece. With each turn of the page my mouth waters even more. Even the simplest of dishes from these regions look and sound delicious and lamb kleftiko is no exception. With only a few ingredients and minimal preparation it’s great for feeding dinner guests and tastes sublime.

Here’s my take on Rick’s recipe, which is actually exactly the same apart from the alterations for it to feed four. It was perfect.

Start the recipe by peeling 750g of waxy potatoes and cutting them into wedges. Slice a red pepper into strips and roughly chop 3 large tomatoes. Tip all of the veggies into a casserole dish and season well with salt and pepper.

Take half a leg of lamb and sit this on top of the vegetable base, then pour over the juice of 1 lemon and 60ml of extra virgin olive oil. Halve a bulb of garlic and chuck that in too. Sprinkle over 1 tbsp of dried oregano and then add 150ml of water. Put on a tight fitting lid and whack it in the oven for 2.5-3 hours at 190°c.

When the lamb is falling off the bone it’s done. Check the juices, adding a bit more water if too dry or reducing them down in a pan if too watery. Crumble over 100g of feta cheese and pop the dish back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. I left the lid off to get a little bit of colour going on.

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The finished dish looks beautifully rustic and filled the whole house with the aroma of garlic, lemon and tomatoes. I served it alongside a Greek salad and some homemade tzatziki. Yum!

 

 

 

Recipe: My Famous Lime Cheesecake

I’m putting myself out there here: This is the best cheesecake ever. Big-headed? Me? Don’t be silly!

No really, this has a buttery biscuit base and is topped with the most creamy mixture bursting with sweet and zesty citrus flavour. It’s my mum’s favourite and I think mine too. Plus, it’s so quick and easy to make, the hardest part is resisting it whilst it chills in the fridge overnight.

Serves 8. Or at least it should, but never goes that far in my house.

What you need:

  • 200g digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 350g full fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 115g caster sugar
  • zest and juice of half a lemon
  • zest and juice of 3 limes
  • 175ml double cream

What you do:

  1. Mix together the crushed biscuits with the melted butter and spices until you have what resembles wet sand, then push it into the bottom of a springform tin. Leave this in the fridge to chill whilst you make the filling.
  2. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together along with the zest and juice from the citrus fruits until the mixture is smooth and creamy. This won’t happen if your cream cheese is too cold so plan ahead!
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until it reaches a soft peak consistency then add this to the cream cheese mixture and fold in thoroughly.
  4. Pour and scrape this mixture on top of your biscuit base and flatten and smooth it with a spatula or pallet knife then chill in the fridge, ideally overnight or at least for a few hours. When ready, devour with glee.

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Recipe: Greek Salad

So you don’t really need a recipe for a Greek salad. The ingredients, if the recipe remains true to it’s heritage, should always be the same. That is tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion and feta cheese, along with a dressing rich in olive oil. In my opinion it’s best served at room temperature or just under rather than straight from the fridge and makes a wonderful side dish to grilled or roast lamb. This is the way I make mine.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 350g good tomatoes, chopped into chunky pieces
  • A chunk of cucumber about 6 inches long, halved lengthways and cut into strips
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely sliced
  • a handful of pitted black olives
  • 200g feta cheese, broken into chunks
  • a sprinkling of dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of your prepared vegetables.
  2. Add in the feta cheese and sprinkle over the oregano.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, the vinegar and the salt and pepper until combined. When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad, give it a good toss and take it proudly to the table.

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Perfect for an alfresco summer lunch!

Recipe: Naughty Watermelon Slushie

‘Why is it naughty?’ I hear you ask. Well, this isn’t your everyday slushie, oh no, for this one has booze in it. It’s time to deny the kids and have some fun yourselves. Pull out a deck chair, relax in the garden as the sun sets and wind down your weekend in style.

Serves 1

What you need:

  • About 8 cubes of frozen watermelon
  • 1 tbsp sugar syrup
  • 1 shot of Malibu or other alcohol of choice

What you do:

  1. Sling the ingredients into a blender and whizz up until you have a thick, icy slush. Pour into a cocktail glass, chuck in a straw and enjoy.

How easy was that?

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Recipe: Chicken Tikka Salad

Sometimes you just want something light for dinner, especially when the weather is so warm, but the thought of a salad can be depressing. This is where you need to up your game and inject some funky flavours and textures into your salad to make it exciting and exotic. This is a great weeknight recipe as it can be ready in around 15 minutes and is easy to eat in front of the TV should you want to.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bitesized pieces
  • 3 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1 tbsp tikka seasoning
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp mint sauce
  • 1 pepper, cut into bitesized pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 handfuls of mixed salad leaves
  • a few slices of cucumber
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 ready to eat poppadoms

What you do:

  1. Put your chicken breasts into a bowl along with one tablespoon of yogurt, a good squeeze of lemon, the garlic, the tikka seasoning and some salt. Stir well and leave this to marinate for as long as you have. 10 minutes is better than nothing but overnight is best.
  2. Mix together the remaining two tablespoons of yogurt with another squeeze of lemon, the mint sauce and some salt and leave this to one side to drizzle on the salad later.
  3. Heat up the oil in a frying pan and add in the pepper and onions, tossing regularly and cooking until they start to char. Remove these from the pan and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, cook the chicken pieces, turning regularly and scraping any marinade from the pan to coat the chicken. Let the chicken catch slightly to give a lovely flavour.
  5. To assemble, put 2 handfuls of salad leaves into each waiting bowl then top with some cucumber. Sprinkle over the warm peppers and onions then add the chicken slices. Drizzle over some of the mint yogurt sauce then top with a crushed poppadom each and a sprinkling of spring onion before finishing with a little more sauce if you like.

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Enjoy!

Recipe Review: Gordon Ramsay’s Bread and Butter Pudding

I haven’t stopped going on about this since I made it. And ate the whole thing. Yes, just me, a spoon and a smile permanently fixed on my face as I devoured the whole scrummy lot along with some cold double cream. Even then it wasn’t enough. It still isn’t enough and I’m waiting for my next opportunity to make another batch.

Gordon’s recipe uses sliced pain au chocolat but I don’t like chocolate with dried fruit and I just wanted to be hit with cinnamon, sugar and creaminess without nuggets of chocolate getting in my way. Never though I’d say that! Nigella has an amazing recipe for chocolate chip bread pudding that I will go to for when I want such a thing.

I’ve adapted Gordon’s recipe quite a bit so what follows is my version. You can find his original in his Ultimate Cookery Course book.

Serves 4 generously (or 1, if you’re me)

What you need:

  • 12 thin slices of brioche bread
  • 50g soft butter
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 2 small handfuls of sultanas
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 60ml double cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

What you do:

  1. Cut your brioche slices into half diagonally to make triangles and generously butter one side of each triangle. Pile the bread into a bowl and leave to one side.
  2. Grease a pie dish (big enough to hold all the bread tightly) and sprinkle over one tablespoon of the demerara sugar and one tablespoon of the ground cinnamon.
  3. Next, make the custard by whisking together the milk, cream, eggs, vanilla, one tablespoon of the sugar and a little more cinnamon. Now pour half of this into the bowl where your bread is sitting and allow it to sit for a minute or two.
  4. To compile your pudding, lay slices of the bread with their pointy corners sticking up out of the dish and sprinkle in some sultanas as you go, pushing the bread together. When all the bread is used up, pour on the rest of the custard mixture, making sure it gets into all the crevices. Sprinkle over the remaining cinnamon and last two tablespoons of demerara sugar then bake in an oven set to 180°c for 35-40 minutes until set and golden. Leave to rest for a little while before eating unless you have a fire resistant mouth.

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Bread and Butter pudding should have a crunchy sugary top and be rich, creamy and luxurious beneath with lots of flavour from the spice and fruit. This delivers in every possible way. It may not be the prettiest pudding in the world but some of the ugliest things can be delicious. Just writing this up makes me want to get into the kitchen and get me some bread and butter pudding on the go. Enjoy!