Lemon Chicken with Fresh Coriander

Got this recipe from the Telegraph – no pictures but wanted to record it as a favorite!

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • 20g fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fresh green chilli, stalk removed, then finely chopped (deseed if you prefer it less hot)
  • The juice of 1½ lemons
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked from their stems, washed, dried and finely chopped

Directions:

Put the ginger in the food processor with two to three tablespoons of water and blend to a paste.

Put the garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper in a pestle and mortar and pound together.

Season the chicken pieces well all over with salt and pepper. Heat a drizzle of the olive oil in a shallow, heavy-based pan, add the chicken pieces and brown them on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl.

Put the garlic and spice mixture into the still-hot pan (you may need to add a little more oil) and stir to release their flavours. Add the ginger and chopped chilli and stir-fry for a minute or so.

Add the chicken pieces and any juices that have been released, then add eight tablespoons of water and the lemon juice. Stir, then turn up the heat and bring to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat right down to a gentle simmer.

Cook for 15 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove the lid and scatter the chopped coriander over the top. Serve with spiced basmati rice.

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Crepes

The Italian and I made crepes recently, another favorite meal we often reserve for times when guests are in town. This time the occasion arose when a very close friend of mine from university came to London to visit from New York. The Italian uses his mother’s recipe which again is approximate in its measurements so I’ve done my best to quantify the ingredients. We enjoy both savory and sweet crepes and get creative with the toppings each time. I’ve included some of our favorites below following the recipe. Enjoy!

Basic Crepe Recipe

Makes about 9 crepes

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
4 large eggs (5 small)
3 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T sugar
Pinch of salt

Directions:

Combine flour, sugar, salt, eggs and butter. Slowly add in the flour, mixing with a hand mixer or blender until the batter is smooth and slightly bubbly on top.

Let batter sit 15 minutes at room temperature. (Can be refridgerated for up to one day in airtight container; whisk before using).

Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium. Lightly coat with butter. Add 1/3 cup of the batter and swirl to cover the bottom of the skillet. Cooking about 2 minutes until the underside of the crepe is golden brown.

Loosen edges of the crepe with a spatula, then slide over onto the other side with your fingertips (or flip in the air if a master crepe-maker!). Cook 1 more minute. Slide crepe off the skillet and onto plate.

Repeat to make additional crepes.

Serve crepes warm with a variety of different toppings.

Topping suggestions:

Savory:

Prosciutto, Brie cheese, and Rocket (Arugula)

Mushrooms sauteed with garlic and parsley, Sauteed spinach, Cheddar cheese

Goats cheese and Sweet potato (baked in oven with olive oil and salt)

Ham, Cheddar/Emmenthal cheese, and Fried egg

Broccoli and Cheddar

Goat cheese with grilled mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and truffle oil

Sweet:

Nutella

Nutella and banana/raspberry/strawberry

Lemon and sugar/cinnamon

Jam

Butter and honey

Can top sweet crepes with powdered sugar

Or….get creative! Anything goes when topping your own homemade crepe!

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Sweet potato and goat cheese

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Mushroom and spinach

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Prosciutto, mushroom, and Brie

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Spinach and mushroom on one side, prosciutto and Brie on the other

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Nutella and raspberry

Risotto Zucchine e Gamberetti (Shrimp and Zucchini Risotto)

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Ingredients:

(For 4 people)

– 320 g risotto rice
– 200 g shelled shrimp
– 2 zucchini
– 1 onion
– 1/2 white wine
– 2 litres vegetable broth
– olive oil
– salt
– pepper

Directions:

Fry chopped onion in a pot with 2 T olive oil. Cut the zucchini into thin slices and add to the pot.

Add the rice and 1/2 cup of white wine, along with salt and pepper to taste.

After the wine evaporates, little by little add the vegetable broth, allowing the first amount to become absorbed into the rice before adding the next.

After ten minutes add a pinch of saffron and mix until the rice turns yellow. Add a bit more broth and then put in the shrimp.

Continue cooking and adding the broth when needed for another ten minutes. Finished when the rice is plump. Taste to make sure it is cooked through.

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Lentils Braised in Red Wine

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This is a really great recipe that I discovered on a blog called Big Girls Small Kitchen. The blog has a lot of other nice recipes I’d like to try, but I’ll get to that later 🙂 I came across this one as I was looking for a recipe involving lentils, which I had just bought for the first time and didn’t know how to prepare.

I absolutely love lentil soup (especially Lebanese-style), and don’t even get me started on the health benefits of the legume! Lentils help to lower cholesterol, are a good source of minerals,  B-vitamins, and protein, and have virtually no fat. Not only that, but a whole cup of cooked lentils has only 250 calories! They are definitely a food I’d like to incorporate more into my everyday cooking!

So, while feeling bold at the grocery store I grabbed a nice box of green lentils that looked both intimidating and delicious. After doing some recipe searching, I realised cooking lentils isn’t as hard as it would seem, even for a novice, and this recipe was a great place to start!

Lentils Braised in Red Wine

Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1 1/2 cups lentils (green or red)
2 cups red wine
Salt
1 bay leaf
100 grams (3 ounces) fresh spinach

Directions:

In a large saucepan heat 1.5 T olive oil and cook  onion, carrot, and celery over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 3-4 whole cloves garlic. Add the lentils, wine, 2 ½ cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt,  and the bay leaf.

Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover partially, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.

Before serving, add the fresh spinach and stir to let the leaves wilt. Taste for salt, adding more as needed. Remove the bay leaf.

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Pan-Seared Chicken with Mustard Sauce

I got this recipe from my mom and absolutely love it. It is a perfect mix of spicy mustard and cream sauce served with healthy chicken and vegetables. The Italian and I have made it quite a few times, usually using chicken breasts as the recipe calls for. This time I’m trying it with chicken thighs for a slight change, so the pictures may not perfectly reflect what is written in the recipe but I think a little experimentation is only a good thing!

Pan-Seared Chicken with Mustard Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/3 c dry white wine
  • 1/3 c chicken broth
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 2 T Dijon Mustard
  • Fresh basil

Directions:

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap slightly pound with a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy pan (or rolling pin) to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a large frying pan over med-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until opaque throughout, 8-10 minutes.  Transfer to a plate, cover with aluminum foil.  Do not discard remaining pan drippings.

Sauce – Stir 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds into the pan drippings and cook over med-high heat, stirring, for about 15 seconds.  If needed cover with a pan cover as mustard seed may jump out of the pan from the heat.

Add 1/3 cup dry white wine and 1/3 cup chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until slightly reduced, approx 3 minutes.

Stir in 1/4 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard.  Cook for 1 minute to blend the flavors.

Slice chicken and return the chicken and any juices from the plate to the pan and simmer over medium heat, about 2 minutes.

Also add the green beans to a corner of the pan to absorb sauce.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, add in fresh basil.

Serve and drizzle sauce over chicken and green beans. Can also serve with rice or crusty bread.

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Simmering the sauce

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Add in the chicken

Roast Chicken with Sumac and Za’atar

I have some za’atar left over from my time living in Lebanon, and recently I’ve been thinking of different uses for it. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern mix of herbs usually including ground dried thyme, oregano, and marjoram, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, salt, and sometimes other spices. When I lived in Beirut I used to love to eat it by dipping my Lebanese bread in olive oil and then dipping that into the za’atar. It gave the bread a slightly spicy, tangy crunch of herbs. A big bag of za’atar was one of several things I took back with me when I left Lebanon, and I still have quite a bit of the spice mixture leftover.

This recipe by Ottolenghi seemed like a perfect new use for my za’atar. It also called for some sumac, which I luckily had lying around leftover from a trip to Turkey. However, both spices can likely be found in the international food isle of a grocery store. The recipe turned out fabulously – the chicken was moist and spicy and had a Middle Eastern tang. I added aubergine and peppers to the original recipe, which also blended quite well with the dish.

ImageZa’atar – the famous Middle Eastern herb blend

Roast Chicken with Sumac and Za’atar

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Ingredients:

  • Four chicken breasts
  • 1 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 eggplant (aubergine), sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced or chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar
  • 20g butter
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 4 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Directions:

Combine the ingredients from the chicken to the za’atar in a large bowl. If possible let it marinade overnight in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 400 F (200C). Place the chicken and marinade into a large baking tray. Put the chicken pieces flat on tray about an inch apart. Bake for about 40 minutes or until chicken and vegetables are cooked.

While chicken is cooking, melt butter in small frying pan. Add the pine nuts and a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat until they turn golden. Transfer to a plat lined with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

When the chicken is done, transfer it and the vegetables to a plate and top with the pine nuts and parsley. Sprinkle more za’atar and sumac to taste.

Polpette al Sugo (Meatballs in Sauce)

In Italy, meatballs are a dish that stands on its own – they are not tainted with pasta as in the classically American “spaghetti and meatballs”. They are served as a secondo, or a second course which is usually a meat course that follows the primo, typically a pasta dish. The Italian and I made meatballs the other day and had a lot of fun making this hands-on food.  They were also quite tasty and I didn’t even miss the pasta!

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Ingredients:

Minced beef – 500 grams

Bread – two slices

Salt and Pepper to taste

Parsley – 2 tsp

Garlic – 3 cloves

Nutmeg – 1/4 tsp

Eggs – 3

Parmesan cheese – 1/2 cup grated

Fresh basil – 3-4 leaves

Canned tomato sauce – 1 can

Onion – 1

Olive oil – 1 Tablespoon

Directions:

Chop the slices of bread (or use pre-made bread crumbs) into squares. Place the minced beef in a mixing bowl and add the bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Knead the mixture with your hands and then let it sit for an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce. In a frying pan, simmer the oil, garlic and chopped onion until the onion becomes translucent. Add the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Let this simmer until the sauce reduces.

Begin to form the meatballs by taking about 2 Tablespoons of the meat mixture and shaping it into a ball with the palm of hands.

When the tomato sauce has reduced, add the meatballs to the pan and simmer for about 20-30 minutes on low heat. Add the basil leaves about five minutes before removing from heat.

When the meatballs are cooked through, remove from the flame. Serve hot.

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