mediterranean chicken for the season

This recipe is so simple and can be made ahead of time. The chicken pieces can marinade for no less than 30 minutes or overnight and after that it is really just about combining everything together in one tray and baking it for about an hour.
The end result is fragrant, tender meat with a crispy skin and delicious, colourful vegetables, that remind me of the Mediterranean.
I served couscous alongside and homemade chilli paste.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
8 chicken thighs
2t crushed garlic
2 lemons, juice of 1 and the other one quartered
3 rosemary stalks
3T olive oil + more for vegetables
good grind of black pepper
1t dried oregano
1 whole garlic bulb, halved
2 red onions, quartered
8 baby potatoes, quartered
200g pitted green olives
bunch fresh thyme
2-3 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
1/2C dry white wine
1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
1/2C water
salt to taste

In a large resealable bag, combine the crushed garlic, lemon juice and quarters, rosemary, olive oil, oregano & black pepper and shake to combine. Add the chicken pieces, squish it around in the bag, seal the bag and place into the fridge to marinate.

Preheat the oven to 190C.
Combine the whole garlic, red onion, potatoes, thyme & tomatoes in a large ovenproof dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil, toss and season with salt & black pepper. Add the crumbled stock cube, white wine and water.
Arrange the chicken pieces on top along with the remaining ingredients in the plastic bag.
Place the dish in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Carefully remove the dish, add the olives and bake for a further 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the skin is crispy and browned.

Serve with your choice of couscous, rice, crispy bread or salad.


creamy one pan marsala chicken

Marsala, a fortified wine that is either dry or sweet, is frequently used in cooking. One of the most popular Marsala recipes is chicken marsala, in which chicken breasts are pounded, floured and braised in a mixture of marsala, olive oil, butter, mushrooms and herbs.
Of course there are many delicious chicken marsala recipes one can try and by no means am I saying mine is the best.
I do, however, think my chicken marsala is delicious and worth giving a go if you are looking for an easy meal with a lot of flavour that doesn’t take much time to prepare.

ingredients | serves 4-6 – easy
8 chicken thighs
1t onion powder
1t garlic powder
1/2t fine salt
good grind of black pepper
olive oil
knob of butter
3/4C marsala wine
1 1/2C chicken broth / stock
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 white onion, chopped
a good bunch of fresh thyme, half of which the leaves are picked, the other half left whole
1C cream
200g button mushrooms, sliced
1T dijon mustard
bunch fresh parsley, chopped
chives, chopped (garnish)

Preheat the oven to 185C. Lightly oil the chicken thighs with olive oil and rub the onion & garlic powder into the skin. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside.
Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, ovenproof skillet. Place the thighs skin side down in the pan and brown on a moderate heat until the skin is nicely coloured and crispy. About 6 minutes.
Turn and lightly brown the other side. Set aside.
In the same pan, heat about 2 more tablespoons olive oil and a knob of butter. Sauté the onion until fragrant and glossy. About 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute.
Add the mushrooms, mustard & the thyme leaves and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are just cooked.
Pour the marsala into the pan, deglaze and cook for about 5 minutes to reduce.
Pour the broth into the pan and simmer on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened. Add the cream, gently stir and simmer for 2 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt & pepper if needed.
Nestle the chicken thighs back into the pan, skin side up.
Bake for about 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the thighs are cooked.
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and garnish with the parsley and chives.

Serve with rice, couscous or fettuccini.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x


pressure cooker lamb shank

Some foods, like shank, can take hours to cook and, frankly, I just don’t always have hours to wait for a good, healthy meal.
These beautiful, meaty shanks are from my local butcher and have been in my freezer for about three weeks. Three weeks too long!!
It took me about 20 minutes to prepare this dish and a further 40 minutes of cooking time, for tender, flavourful shanks that I served on creamy, garlicky mashed potato.
In my mind, a meal fit for kings and queens!!

ingredients | easy
2-4 large lamb shanks
5T flour
Olive oil
1T butter
1 large white onion, chopped
2T tomato paste
4 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 stalks rosemary
1/2t ground coriander
1t turmeric
1/2t ground cinnamon
2t cumin seeds, lightly crushed
2t paprika (not smoked)
2 bay leaves
1C chicken stock
1C red wine
2 leeks, sliced diagonally
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
3 celery ribs, sliced
2T brown sugar
bunch fresh parsley, garnish
zest of 1 lemon, garnish
mint leaves, garnish
1t fine salt
good grind of black pepper
2T corn flour
2T water

how to
Season the shanks with salt & pepper and dust with the flour.
Turn the pressure cooker to saute mode. Heat about 3 tablespoons olive oil and brown the shanks all over until beautifully caramelised. Set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the uncleaned bowl of the pressure cooker and a knob of butter. Sauté the onion until translucent. About 3 minutes.
Add the tomato paste & sugar, stir and cook for about a minute. Add the coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin & paprika, stir and cook until fragrant. About a minute.
Pour the wine into the pot to deglaze and reduce by half. Add the carrots, celery & leeks, stir to combine and cook for about 3 minutes on a gentle simmer.
Nestle the shanks in the vegetable mixture and top with the quartered tomatoes, rosemary and bay leaves.
Add the salt, black pepper and bay leaves and pour the stock around the shanks into the pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Switch saute mode off.
Place the lid on the cooker, seal the vent and turn the pressure cooking time to 40 minutes, on normal mode.
Cook for the set time with a natural pressure release.
Carefully remove the lid.
To thicken the sauce, mix the corn flour with the water to a paste. Switch to sauté mode.
Pour the corn flour mixture into the pot, stir and gently simmer until the sauce has thickened.

Garnish with chopped parsley, mint leaves and lemon zest.





pork & pear casserole

Another one pan wonder with beautiful, fresh flavours that is perfect for your family dinner table. Pork and pear make a delicious combination in an earthy sauce, packed with vegetables. I use cider in this recipe, which can be replaced with more stock.
Best served with creamy mashed potato.

This is a dish you will return to again and again.

ingredients | easy | serves 4
8 pork sausages / bangers
olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed or sliced
2 carrots, peeled & sliced diagonally
5 celery ribs, sliced diagonally
2T tomato paste
2 ripe tomatoes, quartered
2T flour
300ml chicken stock
15 sage leaves, plus extra for garnish
1T dijon mustard
2 large pears, cored & sliced
knob of butter
1 savanna cider
large bunch thyme, leaves picked
1T sugar
lots of black pepper
zest of 1 lemon
salt to taste

how to
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and brown the pork sausages all over. Set aside.
In the same skillet, without wiping it clean, add a large knob of butter and cook the pear slices until tender. About 8 – 10 minutes.
Set aside.
Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and sauté the onion until glossy and fragrant. Add the tomato paste, sugar & mustard and cook for 2 minutes. Add the carrots & celery, stir to coat and cook for about a minute.
Add the flour, stir and cook for 1 minute. Pour the cider and the stock into the skillet. Stir, bring to a light boil and cook, while stirring, until reduced and thickened. About 8 minutes.
Add the quartered tomato, garlic, sage & thyme, stir and cook for a further 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
Add the pork sausages to the mixture and place the skillet in the preheated oven.
Bake for about 25 minutes.
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and add the cooked pear. Place the skillet back into the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Garnish with the extra sage leaves & lemon zest and serve with creamy, buttery mash.




any occasion asparagus & leek risotto

This is another toothsome vegetarian meal, perfect for meat-free Mondays or really, any occasion. Risotto, a special kind of Italian rice that can easily absorb a fair amount of liquid without become mushy, is cooked with broth until it reaches a beautifully creamy consistency.
Some of the main ingredients used when cooking risotto are onion, white wine, parmesan, butter and broth.
Although it seems like quite a lengthy process, it really does not take much time to cook. Risotto simply needs a little patience and good fresh ingredients, to make it a mind-blowing meal.

ingredients | serves 4 | a little effort
1 medium sized white onion, finely chopped
2t crushed garlic
1C white wine
3C chicken or vegetable stock
3 leeks, sliced diagonally
200-300g fresh asparagus, sliced with tips left whole
1C risotto rice
juice & zest of 1 lemon
3T butter
1C cream, full fat
bunch fresh thyme, stalks removed
1C finely grated parmesan cheese + extra for garnish
bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
2T olive oil
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
creme fraiche, optional (garnish)
chopped chives, optional (garnish)

instructions
Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Submerge the sliced asparagus and tips into the boiling water and cook for about 1 minute. (This is called blanche). Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and dunk it into iced water. Leave to cool for 1 minute, remove and set aside.
Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot. Add the chopped onion & garlic and cook until glossy. Add the sliced leeks, stir to coat and cook for about 3 minutes.
Tip the risotto rice into the pot and stir to coat. Mix the wine and stock and pour a ladle full into the rice mixture. Cook on a low simmer until mostly evaporated before adding another ladle of the stock & wine mixture.
Repeat this process until you have used all of the stock mixture. Add the blanched asparagus, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and thyme, combine and cook for about 2 minutes while stirring.
Add the cream, lemon juice, zest and parmesan, combine and cook for about 5 minutes, while stirring, until thickened and the cheese has melted into the sauce.
Taste and season with salt & black pepper.
Stir the parsley through the mixture.

Garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche, shavings of parmesan and chopped chives and serve with a side salad or roasted vegetables.