Chicken with Red Grapes and Marsala

I you can’t find chicken supremes, simply use bone-in breast or thighs. It’s really all about the lovely sauce.

4 tbs. Marsala
4 tbs. chicken stock
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbs. olive oil
2 chicken supremes
20 red grapes
1 tbs. fresh thyme leaves

Heat the oven to 400°F. Mix the Marsala, chicken stock and mustard in a little jug.

Heat the oil in a sturdy skillet or shallow casserole that will fit the chicken snuggly and will go in the oven. Season the chicken and cook, skin-side down for 5 minutes, or until golden. Turn the chicken over and add the Marsala mixture. Bring to a bubble, then drop in the grapes and transfer to the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin crisp.

Transfer the chicken to two shallow bowls or dinner plates. Put the pan over a high heat and bubble for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauces has reduced and thickened. Pour over the chicken and serve.

Serves 2

Lamb Kofta with Garlic Sauce

These zesty zeppelins are like Eastern Mediterranean meatballs and are served in warm pita breads with chopped tomatoes and shredded lettuce.

For the kofta:

1 lb. ground lamb
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. sea salt flakes
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. white pepper
3 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 tbs. chopped fresh mint
2 tbs. olive oil

For the sauce:

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. sea salt flakes
1 tsp. dried mint

To serve:

chopped tomatoes
shredded iceberg lettuce
pita breads

To make the kofta, tip everything but the oil into a large bowl. Gently, but thoroughly mix together, then form into 10 oblong shapes. Place on a lined baking sheet and chill at least 30 minutes.

For the sauce, stir everything together and set aside.

When ready to cook, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet and fry the kofta for 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Serve with the sauce, tomatoes, lettuce and pita breads.

Spiced Almonds

There is something irresistibly moreish about these almonds. They are a combination of crunch and kick.

1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1 tsp. honey
finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. sea salt flakes
2 1/2 cups almonds

Heat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl mix together the spices, oil, honey, lime zest and salt. Set aside.

Scatter the almonds on a lined baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes. Quickly tip the hot almonds into the bowl and stir briskly until the nuts are lightly and evenly coated. Sprinkle with a little more sea salt to taste. Transfer back to the baking sheet to cool. Store in an air-tight jar or tin.

Serves 4

 

Criss-Cross Potatoes

Here is a fun and attractive way to serve potatoes.

4 baking potatoes
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. fine sea salt

Heat the oven to 425°F. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Cut a diamond pattern of grooves into the top of each side, slicing not more than 1/8″ or so.

Put the cut-side up potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tender and golden.

Serves 4 – 8

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pots

If you like a gooey chocolate chip cookies, then you will be ever so thankful for this recipe. Using ramekins gives just the right goo-to-crust ratio. Nigella recommends serving them with cream or creme fraîche.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
8 tbs. soft butter, plus more for greasing the ramekins
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanila extract or paste
1 extra large egg
3/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350°F and lightly butter 6 x 3 1/2″ ramekins. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Using an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter with the sugar until you have a creamy mixture. Add the vanilla and egg, then fold in the flour mixture and the chocolate chips. Divide between the ramekins and smooth the tops using an off-set spatula.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes. They will be quite gooey inside and golden brown on the top and around the edges. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

Dark and Sumptuous Chocolate Cake

Although the frosting here is divine, for a less rich, but still wonderful cake, leave off the frosting and dust with powdered sugar.

For the frosting:
1/4 cup cold water
5 tbs. coconut butter (this is not the same as coconut oil)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tbs. unsweetened chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), chopped

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cup hot water, from a recently boiled kettle
6 tbs. coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

Heat the oven to 350°F, then start with the frosting. Put all the frosting ingredients except the chopped chocolate in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to a boil. Once everything is dissolved, turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Swirl the pan to melt the chocolate, then whisk into a dark, glossy frosting. Set aside to cool.

Line the bottom of a 8″ springform pan with parchment paper. Put the flour, baking soda, espresso powder and cocoa in a bowl and fork to mix. Combine the sugar, hot water, coconut oil and vinegar and stir to melt. Add to the dry ingredients, then pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean apart from a few crumbs. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool in the pan.

Back to the frosting, give it a good stir to check the consistency. It should be runny enough to cover the cake but thick enough to stay mostly on the top. Unmold the cooled cake and place on a serving plate. Pour the frosting over the top. At this point you can decorate the cake with edible rose petals, chopped pistachios, etc.. Leave to stand for 30 minutes before slicing.

A Riff on a Caesar Salad

The classic salad is deconstructed here – and all the better for it! Top with a fried egg for the ultimate experience!

1 romaine heart
2 tbs. regular olive oil
1 garlic clove, grated or crushed
4 anchovy fillets (the kind packed in oil), finely chopped
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, plus lemon to serve
Parmesan cheese shavings

Heat the oven to 425°F. Cut the lettuce in half lengthways and lay both halves cut-side up in a baking dish lined with foil. Stir together the oil, garlic and anchovies, then spoon over the lettuce. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice, then cook for another 5 minutes.

Transfer to a plate and shave Parmesan on top.

Serves 2

 

Crunchy Chicken Cutlets

These deliciously, thin chicken cutlets are coated with cornflakes for a wonderful crunch and are seasoned with a hint of cinnamon and paprika. They are a jot to make and if you cannot find cutlets, simply pound two boneless, skinless chicken breasts to about 1/2″.

2 chicken cutlets or escalopes
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg
3 cups crushed cornflakes
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tbs. vegetable oil
arugula and cherry tomatoes, to serve

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator so that it is not ice cold when you cook it.

In a shallow dish, combine the mustard and the garlic. Whisk in the cinnamon and egg. Put the chicken in, turn it over and leave to sit while you prepare the crumbs.

In another shallow dish, toss the cornflakes with the paprika and season. Add the chicken and dredge thickly with the crumbs.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based skillet and fry the chicken for 3 minutes per side, or until crisp and cooked through. Arrange the arugula and tomatoes onto a plate and top with the chicken to serve.

Serves 2

 

Rice Bowl with Ginger, Radish and Avocado

Using short grain brown rice is the key here – it’s nubbly and nutty!

3/4 cup short grain brown rice
1 cup cold water
2″ piece of ginger, peeled
4-6 radishes
1 1/2 tbs. tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. organic raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame
3-4 tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1 small ripe avocado, sliced or in chunks

Put the rice and water in a heavy-based saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil. Once it’s bubbling, clamp on the lid, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Then turn off the heat, leaving the lid on, and let stand for a further 5 minutes by which time the rice will be cooked, but still nutty, and at the water will be absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, use a vegetable peeler to shave the ginger into very thin strips. Cut the radishes into quarters or eights lengthways, depending on their size.

When the rice is cooked, spoon into a mixing bowl and add the tamarin or soy sauce and the apple cider vinegar. Use a fork to combine, then fork in the ginger shavings, radishes and seeds. Fork in most of the cilantro.

Divide between 2 bowls and top with avocado and the remaining cilantro.

Serves 2

Thai Steamed Clams

The robust zing of Thai red curry paste and the delicate sweetness of coconut water combine to make a richly flavored, but light broth in which to steam the tender clams.

2 lbs. clams
2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tsp. lime juice
handful of Thai basil leaves or coriander

Tip the clams into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes, then drain and discard any that remain open.

Spoon the curry paste into a wok, then mix in the coconut water and lime juice. Turn on the heat and when the mixture comes to a bubble, tip in the clams and cover with a lid. Cook for 5 minutes, shaking from time to time, until the clams have opened. Discard any that remain closed.

Tip into a large bowl and scatter over the Thai basil leaves or coriander.

Serves 2-4