Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Mediterranean Chicken

Mediterranean Chicken

Mediterranean Chicken

I think everyone has a ‘go to’ meal that they cook when they have people over, or if they’re feeling like cooking a safe option. And my dish is Mediterranean Chicken – no idea where I got the recipe, but it’s super easy, tastes great and is quite a convivial dish to cook if you have people round for dinner. There’s lots of chopping and a bit of a saute that you can do before your guests arrive, and then you just bung it in the oven and chop up some crusty bread to serve with it. Then open a bottle of wine and start gossiping! The flavours are classic – it’s basically chicken with Boursin cheese under the skin sat on the top of a chunky ratatouille-type thing. There’s little liquid goes into this dish so you might worry it’ll be dry. It won’t – the balsamic mingles with the juices from the tomatoes and courgettes, along with the chicken juices as it cooks.

KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 7.5/10

Mediterranean Chicken (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts with skin on
  • 115g Boursin cheese
  • 450g courgettes
  • 2 red peppers
  • 450g plum tomatoes (or regular will do)
  • 4 sticks celery
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 275g onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ciabatta or crusty bread, to serve

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190C. Loosen the skin of the chicken breasts without removing it, to make a pocket. Divide the cheese into four and stuff one quarter under the skin of each chicken breast so it forms an even-ish layer.

Cut the courgettes and peppers into similarly sized chunky pieces. Quarter the tomatoes and slice the celery sticks.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, shallow flameproof casserole. Cook the onions and garlic for 4 minutes until they’re soft and golden.

Add the courgettes, peppers and celery and cook for a further 5 mins.

Stir in the tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano and balsamic vinegar. Season well.

Place the chicken on top, drizzle over the rest of the oil and season with salt and paprika. Bake in the oven for 35-40 mins or until the chicken is golden and cooked through.

Serve with plenty of ciabatta or crusty bread.

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Chicken Pie with Leftover Roast Chicken

Chicken Pie with Leftover Roast Chicken

Chicken Pie with Leftover Roast Chicken

I’ve said before just how much a I love a roast chicken on a Sunday, but it does mean I have to think about how to use the leftovers for a midweek dinner. I usually make pasties with puff pastry, chicken, tomato and pesto but I fancied a change and ended up finding a recipe for Chicken Pie on the Good Food site. It sounded pretty simple but the end result was greater than the sum of its parts. The chicken is used alongside mushrooms, leek and bacon in an easy to make sauce. It was genuinely impressive and a really good way of using up leftovers. I will absolutely be making this again in the future.

KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 8/10

Chicken Pie (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of ready rolled puff pastry
  • Half a cooked chicken (or turkey)
  • 1 leek, chopped (or onion)
  • ½ packet of smoked streaky bacon cut into little pieces
  • ¾ oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of water (approx 240ml)
  • ½ cup milk (approx 120ml)
  • 1 oz plain flour
  • ½ oz butter and a little oil (vegetable or olive)

Method:

Chicken Pie Portion

Chicken Pie Portion

Strip carcass of chicken, cutting meat into large pieces. If you prefer you can buy uncooked boneless chicken but you would need to pre-cook it at this stage.

Saute leek (or onion), bacon and mushrooms in the butter and oil. When soft, add flour.

Add stock, stirring continuously then add the milk so that the sauce is rich and creamy. If the sauce is a little thick, add more liquid.

Add the pre-cooked chicken, and stir carefully until meat is completed coated and empty contents into a large pie dish.

Cover with pastry, making a vent in the pie top, and brush with milk.

Bake in oven on a high temperature (200C/400F/gas 6) for around 25 mins or until golden.

Tip: With the stockcube and bacon, there is no need for extra seasoning however, you could substitute some of the stock with a little leftover white wine.


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Sticky Chicken with Sesame and Chilli

Sticky Chicken with Sesame and Chilli, Katie Quinn 'What Katie Ate'

Sticky Chicken with Sesame and Chilli, Katie Quinn Davies ‘What Katie Ate’

Sometimes it’s nice to make a dinner in the middle of the week that involves little more than putting some choice ingredients into a single pan and ending up with a tasty meal. And it would seem that Katie Quinn in her book What Katie Ate (see her brilliant blog here) wholeheartedly agrees. She mentions that, whilst the ingredients list for her Sticky Chicken with Sesame and Chilli recipe looks very long, you’ll likely have the majority in the cupboard already. And I agree. This is really nice combination of flavours and it’s definitely going to go on my ‘go to midweek dinner’ recipe list! I do recommend including the garnish here – the chilli and sesame really finishes off the dish properly. It’s not just for show!

KB rating 7.5/10 PR rating 8/10

Sticky Chicken with Sesame and Chilli (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1kg chicken drumsticks and wings
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250ml tomato ketchup
  • 140g wholegrain mustard
  • 120g runny honey
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Handful each sesame seeds and finely sliced long green chilli, to garnish
  • Steamed basmati rice, to serve

Method:

Start by removing the skin from the drumsticks. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin all the way around the circumference of the drumstick at the narrowest point of the leg (just above the knuckle bone). Slip your fingers under the skin to loosen it, then pull it up and off the flesh and over the other end of the bone. There will still be skin on the knuckle bone at the end, but don’t worry about this. The main aim is to get the skin off the fleshy part of the leg. Don’t bother skinning the wings – life is too short. Place the skinned drumsticks and wings in a roasting tin and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 160C fan, 180C, gas mark 6.

Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook for 5 mins. Add the garlic and cook for a further 5 mins. Reduce the heat to low and add the ketchup, mustard, honey, sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar. Stir together thoroughly, then increase the heat to medium and simmer for 5 mins. Pour the sauce evenly over the chicken in the roasting tin.

Transfer the tin to the oven and cook, basting often for 1¼ – 1½ hours or until the chicken is cooked through and sticky on the outside. Garnish with a scattering of sesame seeds and green chilli, and serve with basmati rice.


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Slow-Roast Beef with a Pepper and Rosemary Crust and Guinness Onions

Slow-Roast Beef with a Pepper & Rosemary Crust, Delicious Magazine January 2014

Slow-Roast Beef with a Pepper & Rosemary Crust, Delicious Magazine January 2014

The other Sunday I wanted to do a proper roast dinner, and I tend to play it safe and do a roast chicken. I’d like to think that’s a speciality of mine. But I read this recipe in the January 2014 edition of Delicious Magazine for Slow-Roast Beef with a Pepper and Rosemary Crust and Guinness Onions. The fact it was slow-roasted appealed to me and I thought that, despite this being quite a large cut of meat for 2 people, topside is quite a lean joint and it’d do for leftovers. Which it did! Brilliant on sandwiches, and brilliant as leftovers with the leftover Dauphinoise potatoes I made.

The beef itself was fantastic – probably the best beef dish I’ve ever cooked. And I will definitely be cooking the beef again. I bought a meat thermometer recently, and highly recommend getting one if you want to avoid the gamble of when to take the joint out of the oven. I also bought an oven thermometer (given an unfortunate incident with slow roast pulled pork that got incinerated – turns out the oven in this new house runs 30 degrees hotter than it says!). The reason I mention both of these things is not to show off. But to prove to you that I cooked everything to the right temperature. So you can imagine my disappointment that the onions were raw and practically inedible. I seriously cannot get my head around how they can possible cook and go ‘sticky’ as the recipe suggests at such a low, slow cooking temperature. And you can’t really turn the oven up, otherwise the beef will not cook correctly.

My advice – cook this beef immediately, but don’t bother with the onions if you’re going to follow the recipe verbatim below. I’m trying to think of way of perhaps pre-sauteeing the onions to send them on their way, before putting them under the beef joint and getting the lovely cooking juices to add to the Guinness and making a gravy.

Finally, we like our beef rare – hence the pinkness in the picture! But apparently topside is best served rare to medium-rare, and slow cooking will always keep it pink. Just a pointer, in case you like your meat well done (in which case, I am judging you)!

KB rating 9.5/10 PR rating 9.5/10 (based on the beef which is SO good, and not the onions)

 

Slow-Roast Beef with a Pepper & Rosemary Crust and Guinness Onions (serves 10)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5kg rolled British topside beef joint
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for rubbing
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 4-6 red onions, cut into wedges (see comments above re: onions!)
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves separated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400ml Guinness
  • 300ml beef stock, hot

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Season the beef and rub it with oil, then put it in a roasting tin and roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, pound the pepper, salt, rosemary and olive oil in a pestle and mortar to a coarse paste.

Remove the beef from the tin, then coat it with the paste. Turn the oven down to 100C/80C fan/gas ¼. Put the onions, mushrooms, garlic cloves and bay leaves in a tin, then put the beef joint on a roasting rack on top. Pour the Guinness and half the stock into the tin, then return to the oven and cook for 1.5-2 hours, adding more stock if the vegetables look like they’re drying out (see above comments – the Guinness didn’t even heat up let alone evaporate! But I’m leaving this recipe exactly as listed so you can make your own choices, or in case I messed up somehow)!

Portion Slow-Roast BeefOnce the beef is cooked to your liking (a thermometer pushed into the middle should read around 55C for rare, 65C for medium), remove from the oven, transfer to a board and rest somewhere warm for 30 minutes wrapped loosely in foil. Strain the onion mixture from the tin. Keep the onions warm and pour the juices into a saucepan.

Heat the juices until bubbling. If you want more gravy, add the rest of the stock along with more Guinness if you fancy. Slice the meat thinly, then serve with the onions and a splash of gravy.


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Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli

Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli, 'What Katie Ate'

Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli, ‘What Katie Ate’

The only good thing about the weather here in the UK at the moment is the opportunity to indulge in comfort food. Macaroni and cheese is a wonderful combination at the best of times, but the addition of chilli and salami just tipped me over the edge! I actually had been up for making mac n cheese since I had something very similar at Pizza Express recently that had Nduja sausage melted into it. God, it was good. So I was hoping I could recreate the chilli, meaty kick by following this Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli recipe in ‘What Katie Ate’ by Katie Quinn Davies – buy the book here.

When I made this I was a little concerned that the creamy sauce seemed very thin, but it did end up working out as it should – so don’t be afraid. I also recommend getting salami from the deli counter so it’s in one piece and you can cut it up into good sized chunks (rather than spindly little slices), and definitely roast the tomatoes as per the recipe. The sweetness that they add to this dish was a perfect addition! And the recipe says it serves 6 – and it’s a pretty whopping portion size, so it’s certainly a great dish to cook for a crowd.

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 9/10

Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 250g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g macaroni
  • 250g salami, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 60g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • Large handful of grated Parmesan, plus extra for topping and to serve
  • Large handful grated pecorino, plus extra for topping
  • Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 0.5 – 1tsp dried chilli flakes (to taste)
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp white truffle oil (optional) – I didn’t bother
  • 80ml white wine
  • Handful basil leaves, torn
  • Crusty bread rolls and a green salad, to serve

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160C fan, 180C, gas mark 4.

Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut-side up. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then roast for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside, then increase the oven temperature to 180C fan, 200C, gas mark 6.

Half-fill a large saucepan with salted water, add a glug of olive oil and bring to a rolling boil over a high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 minutes until just al dente (the pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so don’t overcook at this point). Drain and rinse under cold water, then transfer to a large heavy-based casserole dish. Add another glug of oil and stir to coat the macaroni evenly, then add the salami and roast tomatoes. Stir again and season with a little salt and lots of pepper, then set aside.

Portion of Macaroni Bake

Portion of Macaroni Bake

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, then cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat a little, then gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened and is smooth and creamy. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the Parmesan, pecorino, nutmeg, dried chilli flakes, cream and truffle oil (if using), and season with a little more pepper. Mix together well, then pour over the macaroni mixture in the casserole dish, along with the white wine, and toss to coat well. Stir through the basil leaves, then scatter a generous amount of extra Parmesan and pecorino over the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbling, golden brown and crispy (if you like, place the dish under a hot grill for a minute or two to get an even crispier topping).

Serve piping hot with extra grated Parmesan, crusty rolls and a green salad on the side.


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Asparagus, Leek and New Potato Chowder

Asparagus, Leek and New Potato Chowder, A Soup for Every Day

Asparagus, Leek and New Potato Chowder, A Soup for Every Day

I mentioned previously that due to the lack of fridge space (and the complete absence of a freezer), we’re having to shop every few days for food rather than once a fortnight like we’re used to. So the other day I noticed I had a lot of potatoes left over, and decided to buy some leeks so that they could be used up in a Leek and Potato soup. And then, by the time I actually got around to making the soup, the potatoes had gone green (and I’ve read they’re poisonous like that). So I then had some leeks that needed using up… I felt this might go on for some time, but then I saw a recipe in a great book called ‘A Soup for Every Day’ by the New Covent Garden Food Co for Asparagus, Leek and New Potato Chowder. You can buy this here and it’s currently a fiver on Amazon. I had all the ingredients apart from asparagus which I picked up for the purpose. However, I only picked up 100g and the recipe (I realised after the fact) needs 500g. But I have to say, this recipe was brilliant and I didn’t really feel that more asparagus would’ve added much. One thing I will say, though, is that the recipe says it serves 4 and I found this only yielded 2 decent portions.

I had expected this soup to be tasty but I was so surprised how deep the flavours were for something made in about half an hour. Really, really full of flavour, and if I’d have been served this in a restaurant I would have been really pleased!

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8/10.

Asparagus, Leek and New Potato Chowder (serves 4 – but see note above)

Ingredients:

  • 25g butter
  • 1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
  • 250g new potatoes, halved
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 500g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths
  • Half teaspoon of tarragon, finely chopped
  • 150ml single cream
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Method:

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the leek, then cook for 5 mins until soft.

Add the potatoes and stock, and then bring to the boil. Cover, then simmer gently for 15 mins until the potatoes are almost tender.

Stir in the asparagus and tarragon, then cook for a further 3-5 minutes until the asparagus is al dente.

Remove one-third of the soup and blend until smooth.

Return the blended soup to the pan, stir in the cream and parsley, then season to taste. Reheat gently for 3 minutes and serve.


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Sausage, Apple and Potato One-Pan Roast

Sausage, Apple and Potato One-Pan Roast, Delicious Magazine January 2014

Sausage, Apple and Potato One-Pan Roast, Delicious Magazine January 2014

One of the downsides of my new kitchen is that there is only space for a tiny fridge, and no freezer. This will be rectified in the longer term when we convert the garage to a kitchen, but for now it means that we’re having to plan meals like students! Deciding each day what we’ll eat and picking up the relevant ingredients on the way home! However, I have to say I’m quite enjoying the new way! Last night I knew we had quite a lot of potatoes to get through, so I flicked through Delicious Magazine and saw the recipe for Sausage, Apple and Potato One-Pan Roast. Usually I’d have skipped over it, but because of the potato bombardment I thought it’d be a nice, easy midweek dinner. My concern was mainly around the dryness of the recipe – with only a bit of butter to aid the roasting, there really isn’t any moisture added to the dish. I was fully expecting to knock up an emergency batch of gravy (via granules of course!), but this dish was brilliant as it was. Really, really easy to make – melt butter, pour over ingredients and roast. The apple reduces down and adds a little bit of moisture, and the serving suggestion states to serve as it is, with a bit of English or Dijon mustard. I fully support that!

The one thing I would say about this recipe is that the quality of the sausages is really important. The recipe itself suggests free-range sausages, and I would definitely recommend paying a bit more for good bangers!

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 7.5/10.

Sausage, Apple and Potato One-Pan Roast (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 8 free-range pork sausages
  • 3 large baking potatoes (or about 900g potatoes), unpeeled and chopped into 3cm chunks
  • 2-3 braeburn apples, cored and sliced into wedges
  • 20g unsalted butter, melted
  • A few fresh thyme sprigs
  • 10-12 fresh sage leaves

Method:

Heat the oven to 210C/fan 190C/Gas 6.5. In a large roasting tin, toss the sausages, potato chunks and apple wedges with the melted butter and a generous amount of salt an freshly ground black pepper. Make sure everything is coated in the butter and has enough room in the tin to go golden.

Roast in the top third of the oven for 35 minutes, adding the thyme sprigs and sage leaves after the first 20 minutes and turning everything over at the same time. When the sausages, potatoes and apples are golden and caramelised, serve straight away making sure everyone gets a few crispy sage leaves. Serve with English or Dijon mustard.