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Archive for the ‘chicken or poultry dishes’ Category

08-mexican-pittasMy friend N. taught me how to make these, and for some reason they strike me as the kind of thing that’s ideal to make for a get-together with friends. In particular, I like making them for those completely casual, last-minute get-togethers with people with whom you feel comfortable enough to sit in front of the telly for hours & hours, nibbling on these pitas & gossiping. They’re not a ‘dinner-party’ meal, if you see what I mean, and they depend on improvisation, imagination and a good appetite08-nadias-mexican-pittas!

You can use anything really to fill them. The basis is flour tortillas which you put on a hot frying pan, fill up with whatever you want, and let cook for a bit (not too long). Just make sure the cheese is melted before you take them out. Then you just fold them & eat! What we used the night we had them was:

–chicken pieces, which we had fried up in a little oil beforehand

–strips of red, green & yellow peppers, cooked down a bit but not too much: you want to retain a bit of crunchiness

–grated cheddar cheese

–mushrooms, sliced & fried a bit

–a bit of paprika. And if you’re bold & like your food hot (as my friend N. does) you can use all sorts of chili-spices; either fresh chili pieces or ground chili powder, or even tabasco if you prefer that.

–some sweetcorn kernels

…and we served them with some thick greek yoghurt & some mayo for whoever wanted it.

You could also use a combination of:

–different pieces of meat in cubes, e.g. beef, pork, lamb

–some tomato paste or even fresh pieces of tomato, if you fancy that (but then I wouldn’t cook those, I would just add them fresh at the end)

–and of course various different cheeses (use your imagination)

This dish doesn’t really apply to any of my blog-goals, but who cares, it was so delicious & simple to make that I thought I’d write about it anyway! I call them ‘Greek Mexican’ tortillas for the straightforward reason that we who made them are Greek (!!). As for the mexican bit, well…tortillas are used, making them kind of inspired-by-mexican-cuisine, but they’re not really mexican in any real or authentic way!

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When I was a child, if anyone asked me ‘what’s your favourite food’ I would invariably answer ‘chicken with potatoes in the oven’. This is the food that my mother would cook for me when she wanted to please me- e.g. when I had done well at an exam, when I had my birthday, etc. It always made me so happy and ‘at home’ eating chicken with potatoes in the oven… This is not such an original choice, I know. And this recipe is far from an original dish, but since we make it & eat it so often at home, I couldn’t leave it out of my blog. After all, this blog- among other things- is meant as a kind of diary of what I cook at home in the normal course of events. So it’s definitely not just what I cook when friends come for dinner, in which case I sometimes try to be a bit ‘original’ (which is always a misguided idea!)

The method I use is a combination of the Greek way of roasting chicken- mainly, adding lots of lemon, and roasting the potatoes in the same pan as the chicken- and Nigella Lawson’s version of ‘basic roast chicken’. The Greek method- or at least the method used at my home back in Greece- results in the chicken-y and lemon-y juices infusing and flavouring the potatoes. Nigella’s way makes sure the chicken comes out perfectly cooked, without giving you a headache thinking ‘how long should I cook it for’.

As those of you who follow this blog may know, I’m in the process of cooking all recipes from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to eat’… so roasting this chicken ticks off one more recipe from that list. But this is a bit of a fraud, first, because I’ve followed Nigella’s guidelines (mainly, how much time it takes for the chicken to roast) countless times. So making this is definitely not a first. And second, because I never follow her further suggestions, which include adding roasted garlics & shallots to the chicken pan.

In the end, here is how I always do this:

  • I smear some salt, black pepper & extra virgin olive oil onto the chicken, and place it in a large pyrex dish (you can also use a roasting pan, of course)
  • I peel & cut up the potatoes in small cubes & place them in the same pan, around the chicken
  • I put a whole lemon, cut up in 2-3 pieces, up the chicken’s bottom
  • I then add salt, pepper, more olive oil & lots of lemon juice (according to taste) to the potatoes & mix them up. I also add quite bit of dried oregano, and nowadays, some dried thyme too
  • My partner likes to add a bit of water too, so that the potatoes don’t stick

I then follow these guidelines concerning time, taken from Nigella’s book. They always work perfectly, and the chicken comes out moist & succulent:

  • Cook in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celcius (gas mark 6)
  • Give the food 20 minutes per 500 gr. (of chicken), plus 30 minutes
  • I cook the chicken breast-side down, which Nigella suggests for the first hour. But I leave it like that all along. It makes the meat- especially the breast- really moist & tasty.

That’s it! Ahhh… make sure though, as a basic first step, that your chicken is a good quality one!

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Picture by Ernest Von Rosen, www.amgmedia.comI’ve been living in London for many years now, and one thing I always meant to do- but had never got around to, until now- was have a traditional afternoon tea somewhere special with my friend A. It was high time to do this, firstly because my list gave me inspiration to try out new things… but secondly, because in about two months my baby will be born and I’ll have to say goodbye (at least for a while) to plans such as having leisurely afternoon teas.

After looking at the places that Time-Out London suggest as the best for afternoon tea, A. and I selected the Wolseley cafe and restaurant. Very central. Very elegant. Very unlike any place we would normally visit. Very posh. Oooohh, it was such fun going there, I actually felt a bit like I was playing an upper-class character in a play.

The tea itself was what you would expect, following the rules of the classic British afternoon tea. One tray of immaculate crustless finger sandwiches- ham & mustard, cucumber, smoked salmon, egg, cream cheese. One tray of fruit scones with clotted cream & strawberry jam. One tray of selected miniature pastries. Everything was delicious and wonderfully presented, but I didn’t take any pictures because I was too embarrassed! I thought it would be a bit out of place to take pictures in such a place…

All in all, a highly recommended place for a once-in-a-while special occasion afternoon tea. Make sure though that you skip lunch and maybe even skip dinner afterwards- this tea really fills you up before you know it (I think it’s mainly the scones that do it).

One day after our posh extravaganza, my partner & I settled down to eat our supper. Very everyday, very cook-without-a-recipe, very unposh. And, I think, very Greek. It’s the kind of thing we used to cook at home in Greece without thinking twice (and we still do here in London).

Ingredients:

  • some chicken breasts (in our case, they were skinless, because that’s what was sitting around in our freezer. But I suppose they’d be fine- maybe even better- with the skin on)
  • juice from 2-3 lemons
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • some extra virgin olive oil
  • a tsp of dijon mustard
  • a tsp of runny honey
  • some oregano
  • some thyme
  • salt & pepper

Method:

  • Prepare a marinade with the oil, lemon, lemon zest, oregano, thyme, mustard, honey, salt & pepper
  • Put the chicken in a bowl, mixed up with the marinade, cover with cling film, and leave all day in the fridge
  • When you’re ready to prepare, heat up the oven to about 180 degrees celcius, and also heat up a griddle pan
  • Take out the chicken from the marinade with a slotted spoon and grill it on a fierce flame, making sure both sides are brownish-reddish
  • When all the chicken is ready, put it in a pyrex pan, add the marinade & put in the oven. At some point, make sure you turn the chicken so that both sides are equally cooked. All in all, the chicken will cook in about 15 minutes, but this is not a precise science!

We had this with fresh tagliatelle & some freshly grated Parmesan, but rice would be equally nice. So… which do you think I preferred: the posh afternoon tea, or the unposh weekday chicken & pasta?

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