Tag Archives: chicken

Chicken Dinner- as seen on Facebook :)

You know when you are scrolling aimlessly through Facebook and you see all these little cooking videos.  Well one of them recently caught my eye. And although if I’d waited a few months for the tomatoes to be really fully in season, it might have been better, it was still pretty good.  And pretty simple.  As with everything, the ingredients are key.

Good Chicken- preferably organic, but definitely free range if not

Good Tomatoes- preferably in season

Fresh Basil

Nice fresh mozzarella

Baked Chicken with Fresh Herbs, Tomatoes and Mozzarella


Good Quality Chicken Breasts

Tomatoes, sliced

Basil Leaves


Olive Oil

Tin of tomatoes

Seasoning- salt, pepper,


Tomato Puree

Jen's Kitchen- as seen on Facebook

Tomatoes, Basil and Cheese

Method: Pre heat the oven to 180oC.  Slice the chicken breast almost all the way through with a sharp knife, at the thickest point, to make a pocket for the filling. Add a decent amount of tomatoes, and cheese, with some basil leaves to this pocket.   Season well, and place in a well oiled oven proof dish.  Use a dish that will fit all your chicken breast snugly, as they keep together better like this.   Tuesday 05 April 071

Repeat for all the other chicken breasts.  Put in the oven for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile make the passata.

Tuesday 05 April 072Add some olive oil to a pan.  Heat until nearly smoking, add the tin of tomatoes, and a tablespoon of tomato puree. Simmer for approximately ten minutes until thickened slightly.  At this stage season well, and add a pinch of sugar.  Remove from the heat and either whizz until smooth, or use as it is. Remove the chicken breasts from the oven and spoon over some of the passata, and some more torn up cheese.  Put back in the oven for another 20 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked through.  

I like to serve this with a green salad and something nice in a glass, but seeing it’s Monday an all, some Adam’s ale might fit the bill.  

Chicken Dinner- as seen on Facebook

Chicken Dinner- as seen on Facebook

Will I try other recipes from Facebook? Of course, will I serve them to friends without trying them first- don’t think so.  Sure half the fun is trying them out anyway!


Homemade Chicken Goujons Recipe

Chicken Goujons or “nuggets”, are a firm favourite whatever age you are.  Technically speaking a goujon should be deep fried, but I’m saving those extra calories for my bi-annual doughnut fix.  My recipe is so simple to make, and delicious to eat.  A fabulously quick, and reasonably healthy dinner when a smidgeon of treat is in order.

The basic Chicken Goujon recipe is:

Good Quality Chicken fillets, I usually allow one one person, sliced into thin strips.

Chicken Goujons

Chicken Goujon Prep

A packet of ritz crackers, crushed into crumbs.       


Chicken Goujons

Buttermilk, or some runny plain yoghurt.  Into which I toss the chicken strips, seasoning with some salt and pepper.  This gets covered and put in the fridge until just before I need to bake them.  For something different – add some smoked paprika at this stage, just a teaspoon.

Chicken Goujons  

About 30 mins before serving, I dip the chicken strips into the cracker crumbs in batches, shaking off the excess every time.  Then put them on a tray rubbed with some garlic infused olive oil.

  Chicken Goujons

These get baked in a hot oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown (er!) and crispy.  Serve them straight away with some flavoured mayonnaise.  Pesto mayonnaise is the favourite in our house at the moment!

Chicken Goujons

Chicken Goujons with chunky mashed potato and pesto mayonnaise

The chicken here is the most important bit- try to buy the best you can afford, and allow at least one chicken breast per person, they will be gobbled up in no time.

My Best Paella Recipe

Risotto is a firm favourite of mine.  Paella is now coming in as a close second.  It’s really a great family dish in our house, not least as I put everything everyone likes in it.  Chicken and chorizo for the youngest, mussels and prawns for the eldest.  And me? Well it normally comes will a cold glass of wine!

Chicken and Chorizo Paella


2 cloves of garlic

1 onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

70 g chorizo, peeled and diced

Chicken Thighs

olive oil

1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

1 red or yellow pepper

1 tablespoon tomato purée

chicken stock

300 g paella rice

100 g frozen peas

200 g frozen peeled cooked prawns and/ or mussels

1 lemon


Put a lug of oil into a large lidded shallow casserole or paella pan on a medium heat.  I usually whizz the onion, carrot and garlic in the Nutribullet,
Paellaand then add this, the chorizo, chicken and paprika, and fry for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Deseed and chop the pepper next, then add to the pan for a further 5 minutes. Paella

Stir through the tomato purée, then add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes so it starts to suck up all that lovely flavour. Pour in 750ml of hot chicken stock and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Pop the lid on and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly from the outside in and from the inside out, and adding a splash of water if needed. Stir in the peas and seafood, replace the lid, and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until hot through. Season to perfection, then chop some herbs, scatter them over the paella, and serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over.



Although it is not the best picture, believe me it tastes divine!

Tracking of the chicken- crossing the road

There’s a lot of talk here in Ireland, especially since the horse meat scandal (lucky escape there Missy).  And traceability has become the buzz word.

But we now LIKE to know where our food comes from, accurately, and in that regard legislation probably needs to catch up.  So I was disappointed to recently eat in a restaurant who’s philosophy is wholly behind local, and as far as possible organic, yet no mention of it anywhere.

A friend had been to this restaurant and had told me about it, so we decided to try it.  And were, to be honest, disappointed.  I had to ask one of the owners about the food, as there was nothing anywhere, in the menus, or on blackboards in the restaurant about the organic/ local policy.

Darina drummed into us, find your unique selling point, be it an amazing local supplier, or a special dish.  And SHOUT about it.  Make sure everyone knows.  Put the supplier names on the menus.  Tell everyone!

Now I understand the traceability can be taken to extremes-

But I LIKE to know where the beef came from, and the wine.  And I think it’s not too much to ask for it to be either visible in the restaurant or on the menus.  And, no I don’t mind that it’s not organic if it’s local.  I’d far prefer to have carrots from a local farmer then from a different country, just because they are organic.

Clear labelling of food we purchase is also an issue for me.  A quote from my guru Michael Pollan “Don’t eat anything that your Great Grandmother won;t recognise as food”, rings true, but I think we need to bring it a step further.  Don’t eat anything whose ingredients you can’t pronounce!

I think origin labelling for all produce should be compulsory, did you know that the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found 20% of fish sold in Ireland  were not as labelled?

Enough Ranting!

Gary Larson's Chicken Cartoon

Gary Larson’s Chicken Cartoon




Life’s too short not to eat dessert first

And if you can’t…. then may eat something wrapped in pastry.  But in moderation. Mostly.

729 layers of pastry

729 layers of pastry

Puff pastry making isn’t for the faint of heart, or strictly speaking even for those with a weak heart, as the amount of butter in it, well, I’d better not tell you.

Sausage rolls ready for chilling

Sausage rolls ready for chilling

Sausage rolls are a failing of mine.  Love them, but only now and then, as I fully realise how bad they are for me!  But as I was making a batch of puff pastry to hone my Ballymaloe skills, I felt it was a good idea to use some of the puff to make a few nibbles.  That, and Nigel had bought me some sausage meat.

Sausage Rolls ready for eating

Sausage Rolls ready for eating

The next puff pastry item on the agenda was a chicken and ham pie.  I had boiled a ham, and had cooked chicken left over, so I very gently cooked some diced shallots in butter, then made a roux and added milk and then cream to make a rich sauce, to which I added the chopped cooked meat.

Pre-topping Chicken and ham pie

Pre-topping Chicken and ham pie

This then simply went into a dish and was covered in pastry.  And it went down a treat!  and it was gone before the photo got taken.

So what to do with the scraps? Why palmiers of course.  We had made these in class with our left over pastry so I thought it was fitting at home too.  One important thing to note is that normally with scraps of pastry they can be simply worked together and then re-rolled, but with puff pastry, and flaky pastry you need to keep the layers, so the scraps need to be stacked and then rolled out carefully again, you can fold, and then re-fold if necessary.

Some were a little more "caramelised" than others!

Some were a little more “caramelised” than others!

Palmiers are also called palm leaf cookies, elephant ear cookies, french hearts, shoe-soles or glasses, Schweineohren (in German), Palmeritas (in Spanish).  Palmier is the French word for palm tree, and the pastry gets its name from its resemblance to a palm leaf. It is crispy and flaky with tastes of butter and caramelized sugar. It can also be savoury. Although it is not documented who first came up with the recipe of Palmier, but many believe it is invented in the beginning of the 20th century France, suggested by the French name and its recipe.

These are a few of my favourite things…

Today we watched (hungrily) as Rachel demo’d how to cook Roast Chicken.  And it got me thinking. What Is my favourite food? Roast chicken would be up there for a number of reasons.  Firstly it is something that you would rarely get in a restaurant, therefore is going to be part of a home cooked meal.  Also it’s a classic, and best with all the trimmings.  I couldn’t really say what my absolute favourite food of all time is, but if I had to chose a last meal, some really good chips and chocolate fondant with cream would be on the menu ( not on the same course obviously) So you see even on my last meal I wouldn’t be able to choose just one thing.

To be honest, the frittata, and French omelette I made today wouldn’t make the top 20, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed them.  Mushroom soup (lots of knife work on the mushrooms) was VERY tasty, and would be in the top 3 of soup favourites.  The number one spot there goes to my mum in laws roasted red pepper soup, of which I wish I could have one more bowl.

Mushroom Frittata, with a rocket and tomato garnish

Mushroom Frittata, with a rocket and tomato garnish

Mushroom soup and my Brown Bread

Mushroom soup and my Brown Bread

Favourite Flowers?

At this time of year, snowdrops and daffodils.

Favourite City?

London, or maybe New York, or wait… Rome?

Favourite Poem?

This is a hard one, the Robert Frost poem I wrote about recently, is my all time favourite poem, but this poem is right up there,

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

W. B. Yeats, 1865 – 1939
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

And a hard one- Favourite song?

Couldn’t possibly say.  Depends on my mood, and what’s playing on the radio.  But Raspberry Beret (Prince), Don’t want to close my eyes (Aerosmith), Wuthering Heights (Albert Niland), Birds of the High Arctic (David Gray), Let it Go (Idina Menzel), A Thousand Years (Christina Perri), Just give me a reason (Pink), Layla  acoustic version (Eric Clapton), Roxanne (Sting)… actually the list is endless. And yes, any song by Robbie Williams is also included!  Oh and anything by Queen, especially those written  for soundtracks.

Favourite TV series?

Currently Banshee, and Grey’s Anatomy- but over the years- Sapphire and Steel (really showing my age!), Hart to Hart, Star Trek- all except DS9, and my favourite- new generation), and MacGyver of course!

Favourite Film?

Actually I think we’ll have to leave it here, as really as anyone who knows me will attest, there are too many to mention, but up there will be…

The Shawshank Redemption



Con Air ( I know, I know…)

Pretty Women


Independence Day

but the one that’s absolutely guaranteed to have me in tears… Toy Story 3!!!


Back to School Cooking

Lots of people write about school lunches and “back to school” cooking, but here I plan to give you an idea of my weeks cooking.  Now that the kids are both Day -boarders, I don’t pick them up until 17.30 every day except wednesday. Thankfully I don’t need to supply gargantuan boxes of sandwiches as they get a 3 course “lunch” in school.  But they are still absolutely starving by the time they get home.  Especially as most days they either have music or dance after I collect them, meaning we don’t get home until 19.30.


Which means dinner has to be either very quick, or alternatively I have to be organised and have it in a preset oven ready for when we collapse in the door.

Tonight is an easy one; Roast chicken, our own baked potatoes, and roasted carrot and parsnips.  I always like to have some green in the meal, so it will be salad.

Vegetables a plenty

Vegetables a plenty

Last night was not too bad either as I had roast loin of pork, with left over mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.

If I don’t get a chance to put anything on in advance pasta is usually the option.  Carbonara is a very definite favourite of us all, and really only takes 10 minutes.  But chicken in my really quick sauce is a favourite too, but needs a little forethought. http://www.jenskitchen.ie/grease-lightnin-dinner/

Lightening Quick but ultra TastyLike all of these blogs, I think for me, the most important thing is to have a plan.  Even if it is just to get a take away.  And I don’t feel guilty that I’m not slaving away over the stove for 4 hours before we all sit down to eat, we do plenty of cooking together in the kitchen at the weekend.  And that’s what we really enjoy, cooking and eating together, especially with the extended family.

Party Time!

Party Time!