Sunday, 15 July 2018

Chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella and green olive tapenade wrapped in Parma ham

Chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella and green olive tapenade wrapped in Parma ham
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 6 slices Parma ham
  • Handful of grated mozzarella
  • 3 tsp of tapenade
  • Cracked black pepper

With a sharp knife, put a slit through the side of each chicken breast, careful not to go all the way through, you want to make a pocket in which to stuff your filling.  In a small bowl combine the mozzarella and tapenade and the stuff half of the mixture into each of the pockets in the chicken breasts.  Place 3 slices of Parma ham onto a chopping board, overlapping each slice slightly, place the chicken on top and pull up the sides of the ham so it wraps the chicken and then repeat with the second breast.  Place the chicken breasts into a small oven proof dish, you want them to be quite snug, this minimises any leakage of the stuffing mix during cooking.  Place the dish into a preheated oven (180 degrees) and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (no pink bits!).  

I served this dish with a nice fresh rainbow salad, perfect for eating outside with a nice chilled glass of rose.  There are a number of different tapenades available, obviously you can make your own but for this one I went for the lemon, coriander and green olive tapenade, for that extra hit of flavour.  The Parma ham whilst keeping the stuffing in the chicken it also serves to keep the chicken breast nice and moist.  Enjoy!

Monday, 9 July 2018

Garlic, basil chicken with a tomato, chilli and butter sauce

Garlic, basil chicken with a tomato, chilli and butter sauce

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Handful of fresh basil, cut into ribbons
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 6 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 55g of salted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of cling film and give them a good bashing with a rolling pin or the base of a heavy pan, basically we need to flatten them somewhat in order that they cook quicker.  Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, season the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper and fry in the hot oil for around 15 minutes or until cooked through, you want to get some good colour on each side of the breast.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow the oil to cool slightly, otherwise if the oil is too hot when you add the tomatoes they will spit all over the place!  Place the pan back onto your hob on a lowish heat, add the chilli and garlic and fry for a few minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes.  Increase the heat slightly, season with salt and pepper and give everything a good stir.  You want to get the tomatoes bubbling as we need to reduce them down somewhat in order to get a chunky sauce, this should take around ten or 15 minutes.  Once the sauce is at the desired consistency add the butter, return the chicken breasts to the pan and add the chopped basil and stir through, cooking for a further couple of minutes.
I served this dish on a bed of spaghetti and also a bed of courghetti spaghetti, as the other half is watching his carbs!  With this dish you can leave out the chilli if you don't like a kick or add more if you like a big kick!  I think next time I would add some chopped olives to the dish to give it an extra texture and that briney olive taste, but on the whole a good dish which we both enjoyed, I might also bread the chicken as well with my lemon, Parmesan breadcrumbs, watch this space.
Garlic, basil chicken with a tomato, chilli and butter sauce on a bed of courghetti spaghetti

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Chicken flatbreads with chorizo and avocado

Chicken flatbreads with chorizo and avocado
  • 2 flatbreads
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Half red onion, finely sliced
  • Pepper, finely sliced
  • Handful of rocket 
  • Handful of chorizo
  • 1 avocado, stone removed and sliced into segments
  • Two tbsp ranch dressing
  • Drizzle of vinaigrette 
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

Place the chicken breasts into a small dish and grind some black pepper over the top, cook in the oven at 180 degrees for around 20-30 minutes until cooked through.  Whilst the chicken is cooking, heat a small frying pan and add the chorizo, no oil is required as plenty will be released from the chorizo, cook for a few minutes each side until crisp.  Remove the chicken from the oven and set aside, place the flatbreads onto a baking tray and place in the oven for a few minutes until warmed through.  

Shred the chicken breasts using two forks.  Pour the ranch dressing onto each of the flatbreads and spread evenly across them using the back of a spoon.  Top with the chicken, chorizo, pepper, red onion and avocado.  Place a handful of rocket over the top and drizzle over some vinaigrette.

Yet again another light and tasty dish, perfect for summer.  I put the ranch dressing onto the base of the flatbread otherwise it may be a bit dry, obviously you can put any dressing or relish you like onto the flatbread, likewise you can add any type of seasoning or marinade to the chicken to pep it up a bit.  What flavour combos would you like to try?

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Full English Flatbread

Full English Flatbread
  • 2 flatbreads
  • 2 eggs
  • Tin of beans
  • Large handful of sliced mushrooms
  • Handful of rocket leaves
  • 2 hash browns
  • Pack of fire and smoke sweet BBQ medallions 
  • One tomato, sliced
  • Few glugs of Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Couple slice of salted butter
  • 6 slices of black pudding
  • Splash of white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Place the hash browns and black pudding onto a foil lined tray and cook for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a good splash of white wine vinegar. Keep the pan at a rolling boil whilst you continue with the cooking.  Melt the butter in a pan and add the sliced mushrooms, after a couple of minutes grind over some black pepper and and a few splashes of the Worcestershire sauce, cook until the liquid thickens and the mushrooms take on a dark glossy colour.  

After cooking the hash browns and black pudding for 10 minutes add the bacon and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the bacon is cooked through. At this stage drop the eggs into the boiling water and cook for three minutes, remove from the water using a slotted spoon and set aside.  On a separate lined oven tray place the flatbreads and coat with the beans and place into the oven for 5-10 minutes until the beans are warmed through.  Top the flatbreads with the bacon, drained mushrooms, sliced tomato, hash brown and egg and a sprinkle of rocket, sit back and enjoy.

This is a bit of a different take on a full English and boy did we enjoy it.  Somehow it doesn't seem quite as naughty when plated up like this, especially with the rocket, hey, anything green instantly makes it feel healthy, ok, that's what I tell myself!  Hope you enjoy, let me know what you think...

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Green olive, coriander and lemon chicken flatbreads

Green olive, coriander and lemon chicken flatbreads

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Jar of green olive, coriander and lemon tapenade (got mine from Waitrose)
  • Handful of pea shoots
  • Half red pepper finely sliced
  • Couple handfuls of grated mozzarella 
  • 2 flatbreads
  • Jar of artichoke hearts 
  • Rapeseed vinaigrette 

Place your chicken breasts in an oven proof dish, score each breast and smear a couple of tablespoons of the tapenade over the breasts so they get a good coating, cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for around 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Whilst the chicken is cooking, place each flatbread onto an oven tray, spread the remaining tapenade evenly over each flatbread and sprinkle over the grated cheese.

Once the chicken has cooked, drain any excess juices and shred the chicken using two forks.  Spread the chicken over each of the flatbreads, top with the sliced peppers, the artichoke hearts and return to the oven for 10 minutes.  Plate up each flatbread and top with the pea shoots and a drizzle of your favourite dressing.

This is a taste of summer for sure.  We both loved this, the tapenade had plenty of flavour, I am gutted to have finished the dish, I could eat another one!   Definitely will be making this time and time again, it was amazing, go on, give it a try, you won't be disappointed.  

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Chipotle chicken tacos with pineapple salsa

Chipotle chicken tacos with pineapple salsa

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Kankun chipotle marinade
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Handful of finely chopped coriander
  • 150g fresh pineapple chunks cut into small cubes
  • Half a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 radish's cut into thin slices 
  • 1 baby gem lettuce, shredded 
  • Handful of grated cheese
  • Pack of taco shells

Place the chicken breasts into an oven proof dish, score the chicken and coat with a couple tablespoons of the chipotle marinade, I prefer Kankun sauce but there other other sauces available, cover and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and cook the chicken for around 20 minutes or until cooked through.  Whilst the chicken is cooking, combine the pineapple, coriander, chilli, lime juice and red onion, mixing everything together thoroughly.

Once the chicken is cooked drain off any juices and shred the chicken using two forks.  Heat the tacos in the oven for around 3-4 minutes, this amount of chicken should be enough for 12 tacos that you usually get in a pack.

In each taco place some lettuce at the bottom and top with some cheese followed by the chicken.  Lastly place a couple slices of the radish on top of the chicken and a spoonful of the pineapple salsa.  I have to say the salsa really made this dish, if you prefer a bit of heat, leave the seeds in the chilli!  Yet another quick and easy recipe, great to eat outside whilst you enjoy the lovely weather.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Easy Crispy Chicken

Easy Crispy Chicken
  • 150g white bread (about 4 slices)
  • 4 tsp dried oregano 
  • Couple pinches of sea salt
  • 25g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 4 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt
  • 1-2 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees (200 fan).  Place the bread on a large baking tray lined with baking parchment and toast until pale golden brown.  Leave to cool, then remove the crust and discard, and tear into large pieces.

Put the bread into a food processor and blitz into crumbs.  Tip these into a large bowl and toss with the oregano, salt, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese and season with lots of black pepper.  Place the flour and yoghurt onto separate plates and firstly coat each breast in the flour (shaking off any excess) and then dip into the yoghurt and then press into the breadcrumb mix and ensure the whole breast gets a good thickish crust all over.

Transfer the chicken to the lined baking tray and bake for around 25-30 minutes until crisp and golden and cooked through.

I served this with a green salad and coleslaw and it went down well, definitely something for those warmer nights, might do a cheeky portion of chips next time!

Recipe adapted from the Hairy Dieters Cook Book.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Chicken and vegetable satay noodles

Chicken and vegetable satay noodles
  • 200g mini chicken fillets
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 100ml boiling hot chicken stock
  • 100g sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 50g frozen sweetcorn
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 200g fresh egg noodles
  • 1 tbsp cashew nuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander

Put the chicken in a bowl, add the soy sauce and cornflour and mix well to coat.  Cover and set aside for a few moments.

Melt the oil in a non-stick frying pan or wok, add the spring onions and stir-fry for a I ute or until softened.  Add the peanut butter, chilli sauce, coconut milk and stock and stir until combined.  Bring to a simmer n add the marinated chicken and poach for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through.

Add the sugar snap peas and simmer for another 2 minutes or until nearly tender, then add the frozen peas and sweetcorn.  Return to the boil, stirring the lime juice and season well.

Stir in the noodles and heat for 1-2 minutes or until hot through.  Serve in a bowl topped with the cashews and coriander.

This recipe serves one and is taken from The Fat Loss Plan by Joe Wicks, naturally you can adjust the ingredients depending on how many you are cooking for.

This is definitely as good as take out food and so quick and simple to make.  This is one of those recipes you can add so many other ingredients to, bok choy, fresh chillies, broccoli, the list goes on, basically anything you have in the fridge!

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Lunch for 18!

Me prepping the lunch for 18 in my favourite apron!
One of the wonderful things about the internet is that it gives you the opportunity to come into contact with some amazingly talented people, one such person is Helen Dyne, a glass artist with an extraordinary talent.  I first spotted some of Helen’s creations on facebook, followed her page, got talking and I am very happy to now call her my friend. 

For the last couple of years Helen has held glass workshops at her home and has asked me to cater for the lunch which I jumped at the chance at doing.  The first time it was very much a learning curve, it is never quite the same cooking in a strange kitchen and never assume that people will have the same equipment as you!  I still can’t believe you didn’t have a microwave Helen!  

Second time around I was more prepared despite the fact I was to be cooking for 18, two of whom were vegetarians.  Given the numbers I thought the best option was to make up two curries, a chicken tikka masala and a chickpea and spinach curry - recipes below.

As a man of leisure, it gave me the opportunity to make both curries the day before which certainly saved any stresses on the day.  I also made up a batch of cucumber raita and decided to make my tomato, onion and coriander chutney on the day as it doesn’t really keep too well overnight and looses its vibrant colour.

I have to say everything went to plan, literally other than making up the tomato chutney I only had to heat up the curries and make some rice to go with it, couldn’t be simpler. 

  Luckily Helen has a rather large kitchen with a central aisle from which I was able to plate up comfortably.  Thankfully I had made a large batch of the vegetarian option as despite the fact one of the vegetarian guests not turning up, the whole lot was hungrily devoured along with the chicken option, they both seemed to be a resounding hit along with the dips and poppadum’s.

Many thanks once again Helen for having the trust in me to pull this off, I loved it.  It was great to see you and the rest of the gang and hopefully I will get to do it again some time. 

Feedback from the day:

 "Spending the day with dear friends Helen Dyne and Chris, on her fabulous glass making day, being fed by the very talented food guru Mark Popkiewicz just doesn’t get much better ......... some beautiful pieces of work completed and straight into the kilns for the kiln fairies to do their job xxx"

"Thanks Helen for a great day, loved it; really enjoyed making my angel, delicious lunch and great to catch up. I'd like a place on the next one please"

I definitely suggest that you check out Helens facebook page, you will be amazed at what she can do with glass, a genuine real talent.

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Tikka Masala
  • 4 skinless, chicken breasts
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • a thumb sized piece of fresh root ginger
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander
  • vegetable oil
  • a knob of butter
  • 1/2 a 283g jar of pataks tikka masala curry paste
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 * 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 1 * 400ml tin of coconut milk

Slice the chicken breasts lengthways into 2cm thick strips.

Peel, halve and finely slice the onions. Finely slice the chilli. Peel and finely slice the ginger. Pick the coriander leaves and put to one side, then finely chop the stalks.

Put a large casserole type pan on a medium to high heat and add a couple of lugs of oil and the butter.

Add the onions, chilli, ginger and coriander stalks and cook for 10 minutes until softened and golden.

Add the curry paste and the chicken strips. Stir well to coat everything with the paste and season with salt and pepper.

Add the tomatoes and the coconut milk. Fill one fo the empty cans with water, pour into the pan and stir again.

Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.

Check the curry regularly to make sure it's not drying out and more water if necessary.

When the meat is tender and cooked taste and season if necessary.  This recipe should feed 6 comfortably.  

Chickpea & Spinach Curry

  • 1 tblsp ghee or sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 tsps. curry powder
  • 2 tsps. garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tin (380g) chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tin (390g) chopped tomatoes
  • 4 medium sized (300g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 400 - 500ml vegetable stock
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100g fresh spinach

Heat the ghee/oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until softened.
Add all the spices and cook for a further 1 minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, potatoes, salt and about half of the vegetable stock. Stir well and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked adding more stock as needed.
Add the spinach and cook for a further couple of minutes or until the spinach has wilted.

Recipe courtesy of

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Parmesan & lemon zest breaded chicken lettuce wraps

Parmesan & lemon zest breaded chicken lettuce wraps
  • 2 chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into strips (you should get about 12)
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 2 tbs grated Parmesan
  • Handful of flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • Small dish of golden breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 pepper finely sliced
  • 2 spring onions cut into thin ribbons
  • Romain lettuce
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Couple handfuls of grated cheese
  • Tablespoon of diced jalapeño pepper
  • Rapeseed oil
Mix the lemon zest and grated parmesan into the bowl of breadcrumbs.  Coat each chicken strip in the flour, shake off the excess and then dip into the beaten egg mix and then lastly the bowl of breadcrumbs, ensuring all of the chicken is coated.

Heat enough oil in a large frying pan to shallow fry the chicken.  Cook for around 15 minutes until the breadcrumbs are nice and crispy and the chicken is cooked through.  Separate the lettuce leaves and cut off the stem part at the end.  Sprinkle some of the grated cheese onto each of the leaves and top with two pieces of chicken (this will give you 6 wraps).  Drizzle some salsa over the top of the chicken and then place some of the sliced pepper and spring onion onto each wrap along with some of the diced jalapeño pepper.  Lastly dollop some guacamole on top, pick up and get stuck in!

Usually fajitas are a Saturday night given in our household, however hubs is watching the carbs hence the switch to lettuce leaves which I have to say made this dish even more tasty.  I opted for Romain lettuce as they are bigger than baby gems and obviously you need to pack that bad boy with the fajita goodness!