Cheat chicken parmigiana

This is a great ‘supermarket sweep’ recipe which uses a few ingredients and a quick cheat to allow you to whip up a delicious Chicken Parmigiana in less than 30 minutes. The recipe I used was from myWaitrose magazine and therefore included only Waitrose products, but you will be able to find the ingredients below in any supermarket, large or small.

Cheat Chicken Parmigiana

Serves 2 | Prep: 5 min | Cook: 20 mins | Easy
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We served ours with pasta & boiled potatoes, but this Chicken Parmigiana would go well with everything!
You’ll need:
  • 2 breaded chicken fillets, ready to cook;
  • 350g cherry tomato and basil sauce;
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan, grated;
  • 125g ball mozzarella, shredded;
  • a few basil leaves, shredded, to serve.

Cook the chicken fillets following pack instructions in an oven dish where they will fit snugly. When almost ready, heat the tomato & basil sauce following pack instructions. Pour the tomato sauce over the chicken, spread the grated Parmesan and, finally, top with the shredded mozzarella. Grill for 5 minutes, or until the mozzarella has melted. Serve, topped with the basil leaves and with pasta, mashed or boiled potatoes or salad & crusty bread!

Recipe from myWaitrose magazine.

My Month in Food – May (Part 2)

In the second part of May, I visited one of my favourite cafes which somehow I haven’t written about before – Kelvin Pocket. I also went along to SmashBurger to try some of their new menu items. I went back to Babs for my third visit (and probably last, but you can read more on that below). I also went along to Dixie Chick, a fairly new chicken joint on Ashton Lane, which turned out to be not as exciting as I had hoped. Read on below to get the full details!

Kelvin Pocket – Kelvinbridge – Breakfast & Coffee

Kelvin Pocket is a small cafe situated by the entrance of Kelvinbridge Subway Station. It’s long been a favourite of mine, pretty much since it opened and with good reason – their delicious, smooth coffee. They also have a selection of cake on offer, some light food – soups, salads and sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. As for the interior, it’s calm, friendly and also has a good number of plants you can also buy! I love going there to work and you’d often find me going there for a coffee.

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Avocado and sriracha on cashew butter toast
  • ££: Inexpensive, breakfast dishes around £5, lunch dishes around £5-8.
  • Good for: coffee, cake, breakfast and lunch.

Smashburger – City Centre – Burgers

You might recall that I’ve already covered Smashburger in a previous post. I liked their burgers and they are certainly better than a lot of chain restaurants in Glasgow. On the back of that, Smashburger approached me and gave me a voucher to try some of their new menu options: The Triple Double Bloomer, BLT Crispy Chicken Bloomer, Mac & Cheese bites, new shakes (I had the Salted Caramel Popcorn and popping candy shake) and new drinks range, including Long Flint – think Hibiscus Gin & Tonic, Ginger & Rum Fuego and Rhubarb & Vodka Seltzer).

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The Triple Double Bloomer

I’m surprised to say this, but I actually liked their Bloomers even more than their burgers. I think the Triple Double Bloomer is my new favourite thing on their menu! It was really full of flavour and the bread (which I believe they make themselves) was very good. I also really liked the Mac & Cheese bites which I had with my burger. Finally, I should say, that the Salted Caramel Milkshake with Popcorn & Popping Candy is the first milkshake I’ve had in years and since I don’t really like milkshakes that much I didn’t think I would enjoy it. But I did and would definitely have again.

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Salted Caramel Milkshake with popcorn and popping candy

Note: Smashburger sent me a voucher to try the new menu items, so I didn’t pay for any of the food, however, all views and opinions are my own.

  • ££: Bill came to just over £30 for 2 Bloomers, 2 sides, and 2 drinks. Reasonable but slightly on the pricey side for a casual burger restaurant.
  • Good for: burgers, shakes, large groups, casual dining & for when you want something quick!

‘Babs  – City Centre –  Dinner

‘Babs is a Middle Eastern food restaurant from the crew who brought us the very much loved Bread Meats Bread. Their tag line is “Kebabs done right” and indeed they offer a wide range of posh kebabs, along fusion dishes with a middle eastern style (like their thin fries with feta for example). The restaurant is nice, staff are usually friendly but there is nothing memorable about the place, food included. I’ve been to ‘Babs three times now and really wanted to love it. However, when it comes to Middle Eastern food their offer is overpriced and just okay. The stars of the menu, the Kebabs, are really overpriced in my opinion and often come with curious combinations of middle eastern flavours which are nice in their own right, but not quite right together in some cases. On the other hand, some of the food they just didn’t get right. Like the Greek Salad, for example, which had a considerable lack of olives (there were none in mine, though they are mentioned on the menu). So far I’ve tried the lamb kebab, which is probably my favourite, and on this visit I tried the squid iskender which was also nice. What was nice about them was the quality of the meat which was cooked to perfection. However, still not worth the £10+ price tag. This perhaps reflected in the fact I’ve never seen ‘Babs full and every-time I’ve been there it has been fairly empty.

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The Squid Iskender

I think this will be my last visit to ‘Babs for a while. It’s underwhelming and it lacks the simplicity and fantastic flavours which Bread Meets Bread brought.

  • ££: Kebabs range from £9 to £15, nibbles and sides £3 – £5, and mezzes (starters) – £7 – £15. Very overpriced.
  • Good for: Large groups, specialises in middle eastern food.

Dixie Chick – Ashton Lane, West End – Dinner

Dixie Chick is a fairly new addition to Ashton Lane. and I was quite excited about it’s opening because Glasgow needs more restaurants doing chicken wings well. I’m very jealous of the people of Edinburgh because they have Wings which is one of my favourite spots in Scotland. There aren’t that many restaurants which specialise on chicken and chicken wings in Glasgow, and even less good ones… So you can see why I was excited.

Dixie Chick looked to be the part. Simple menu, good number of toppings/sauces, selection of wings, chicken strips, halloumi bites and burgers and a more interesting selection of sides and loaded fries. However, the disappointments started rolling shortly after we had ordered our drinks. When we went to give our order, the waiter informed us they were out of chicken wings. What?! One of the main things you offer is not available? And you didn’t think you should mention this to the customers as we sat down? All four of us thought this was very poor. We settled on ordering chicken strips + halloumi bites and a couple of loaded fries to share. We chose a good number flavours to go with them. When they arrived the sauce was served separately to everything which surprised us. Instead of having a pleasant and appealing golden colour, both the halloumi bites and chicken strips had a slightly burned brown batter all over them. And the taste, well, very underwhelming. The halloumi was marginally better than the chicken which was quite dry. The loaded fries, on the other hand, were quite tasty and I did like the good choice of toppings. We went for the chilli & chorizo and the beetroot blue chips.

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Beetroot blue fries, halloumi bites, chicken strips.

I don’t think I’ll be coming back any time soon. Both because we all thought the service was pretty poor – mostly because you’d expect to be told that the kitchen has ran out of stuff before you start ordering. We would have left if it wasn’t for the fact our drinks had been served. And to be honest, I probably would have come back at a later time. But because they didn’t handle this so well and because the food was quite underwhelming, I’m not sure it’s worth going back to try the chicken wings either.

  • ££: Dishes range from £4 – £12, so fairly cheap.
  • Good for: quick food, casual dining, specialises in all things chicken.

I can’t wait to share Part 1 of June which should be coming out fairly soon. In the mean time, be sure to check out the first part of my May food summary.

Roast chicken with goats’ cheese and watercress stuffing

This is a great recipe to make your Sunday roast that extra bit special. Using some great Spring produce like Chantenay carrots, fennel and watercress. You can serve the chicken with the roast veg, roasties or mash and spring salad. This is a recipe I found in Olive magazine, issue April 2011, and it was really quite delicious! Unfortunately, I can’t find the recipe online to share.

Roast chicken with goats’ cheese and watercress stuffing

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Serves 4 | Prep 20 mins | Cook 1 hr and 40 mins | A bit of effort | Gluten-free

Tip: You can get ahead by stuffing the chicken a few hours and preparing the vegetables.

You’ll need:
  • 200g crumbly goats’ cheese;
  • 75g watercress, tough stalks removed, rest chopped;
  • 8 slices Italian smoked pancetta – 4 shredded, 4 left whole;
  • 1.8 kg chicken, at room temperature;
  • olive oil;
  • 250g Chantenay carrots;
  • 8 shallots, peeled;
  • 2 bulbs of fennel, trimmed and quartered;
  • 8 garlic cloves, not peeled;
  • 3 tbsp white wine;
  • 500 ml chicken stock.

Preheat the oven to 200C, fan 180C, gas 6. For the stuffing, crumble the goats’ cheese into a bowl and mix with watercress and shredded pancetta. Loosen the skin of the breast of the chicken and gently stuff both sides with the stuffing mixture. Fold the skin back over the end of the chicken.

Put the chicken into a large roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Place the four slices of pancetta over the breasts. Roast for 45 minutes – check halfway through and cover the pancetta with foil if it’s over-browning. After the 45 minutes, remove the pancetta from the chicken and set aside. Scatter the carrots, shallots, fennel and garlic in the tin and roast for a further 45 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through.

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Transfer the chicken to a board and the vegetables to a dish. Turn off the over reheat the crispy pancetta in the warm oven while you make the gravy. Discard the excess fat from the tin and then place the tin over direct heat on the hob. Pour in the white wine and stock, and stir in the honey. Bubble for 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Sieve the gravy and check the seasoning. Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables, crispy pancetta and gravy.

I served it with these delicious courgettes with cheesy crumbs.

Original recipe Olive magazine, issue April 2011.

Piri-Piri Chicken with Tomato & Pepper Rice

If you love Nando’s, chicken and or a bit of zing and spice in your food, then this recipe is for you. I found this in an old BBC Good Food magazine (March 2013) and it is a real find.  I’ve changed the shop-bought Piri-piri in the original recipe, with a homemade one that I used from a Hairy Bikers recipe. It only requires a few ingredients and it’s really easy to make, however if you want to save yourself a bit of time you can always use shop bought one.

Piri-Piri Chicken with Tomato & Pepper Rice

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Tip: If you have leftover cooked rice, you can use it instead of the rice in the recipe.

Serves 4 | Prep 15 minutes + 1hr to 24hr marinating | Cook 45 minutes | Easy | Gluten-Free

For the Piri-Piri marinade, you’ll need: (or you can use 6 tbsp from a bottle of mild, medium or hot Piri-Piri sauce instead)

  • 4 large red chillies, deseeded;
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, deseeded;
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved;
  • 20g bunch parsley with the stalkes;
  • 2 lemons, juices (about 65 ml);
  • 2 tbsp while wine vinegar;
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika;
  • 1 tsp oregano;
  • 1 tsp caster sugar;
  • 2 tsp flaked sea salt.

For the chicken & rice:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice OR 250g cooked rice;
  • 4 chicken drumsticks & 4 chicken thighs;
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil;
  • 2 peppers, finely diced;
  • 1 onion, finely diced;
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree;
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika.

First, make the marinade. Put all the marinade ingredients into a blender and blitz until everything is finely chopped and mixed well together. If you don’t have a blender, chop the chillies, garlic and herbs very finely and mix well with the rest of the ingredients.

Marinade the chicken. Slash each piece of chicken 3 times to the marinade can really flavour the meat. Rub the marinade all over the chicken and leave in a fridge to mariante for at least 1 hr and up to 24 hrs. The longer the better!

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6. Arrange the chicken skin side up in a roasting tin and spoon over the marinade on top of it. Cook for 30 minutes, then increase the heat to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7 and cook for about 15 minutes until the skin has crisped up and the chicken has cooked through.

Meanwhile, make the rice. If you are using leftover rice you can skip until the next step. Cook 1/2 cup of rice according to pack instructions while the chicken is cooking. Once cooked, keep warm until the chicken is in the final 15 minutes of cooking. When you have increased the heat of the chicken, heat up the oil in a large enough frying pan and the onion and peppers. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the tomato puree and the smoked paprika and stir well. Add the rice and break up any lumps of rice with your spoon and make sure all grains are well covered. Cook until piping hot.

Simply serve the chicken and rice together. You can also add some salad, if you’d like.

Original recipes: Piri-piri marinade from The Hairy Bikers and the Chicken and Rice from BBC Good Food, March 2013.

~Em

Simple chicken & veg soup

There is nothing better than a warming soup on a cold day. This soup requires only a few ingredients and it’s a lovely winter warmer. Not to mention how quick and easy it is to make! Takes about 30 minutes to make and it’s perfect to take for an office lunch as well as eating at home. Serve with croutons and some crème fraîche for added deliciousness.

Simple chicken & veg soup

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Serves 4 | Prep 10 minutes | Cooks 20-30 minutes | Easy | Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 250g chicken breast, cut into chunks;
  • olive oil;
  • 1 onion, chopped;
  • 400g courgettes, chopped;
  • 400g carrots, chopped;
  • 1l – 1.5l chicken stock (if making GF, make sure you use GF stock);
  • 2-3 whole peppercorns;
  • chopped parsley and spring onions to serve.

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Brown the chicken slightly for a few minutes. Spoon the chicken out of the pan. Add a little more olive oil and cook the onion until softened and slightly browned. Add the courgettes and carrots to the pan and cook with the onion for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the chicken, the chicken stalk and enough water to fill the pan. Add the whole peppercorns and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. When ready, put the soup in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Serve with croutons, some crème fraîche, chopped spring onions and parsley.