Easy and quick Italian style chicken burgers

Earlier this week, I found myself needing a quick to make meal for when I come back from work. As I always go to the gym after work, I prefer to have something that takes no more than 30 minutes from prep to table. As I was looking for ideas, I stumbled upon this BBCGoodFood recipe which I’ve adapted slightly. The original recipe also includes polenta chips to go with the burgers, but I served them with some fresh salad on the side.

More sandwiches and burgers on Food Notes: Steak Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries, Bacon, avocado and chimichurri sandwich.

Italian style chicken burgers

Chicken Burger 2

Serves 4 | Prep 5 mins | Cook 15 mins
Easy

You’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil;
  • 2 chicken breasts;
  • 25g dried breadcrumbs;
  • 25g parmesan;
  • 125g ball mozzarella;
  • 4 cook at home ciabatta buns;
  • 2-3 tbsp pesto;
  • sundried tomatoes, salad leaves, roasted red peppers, to serve.

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut each chicken breast in half making four thinner fillets, then rub all over with oil and season. Spread the breadcrumbs and Parmesan out on a plate, mix well, then dip in the chicken to coat.

Place the chicken on a baking sheet and cook for 10-12 mins until just crisp and cooked through. Meanwhile, cook the ciabatta buns as per pack instructions (usually around 8 mins). Place a mozzarella slice on top and return to the oven until starting to melt. Pile the burgers onto the buns with some salad leaves, sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper and a dollop of pesto. Serve with a fresh side salad.

Adapted recipe from a BBC Good Food, available online here.

Quick spinach, sweet potato and coconut stew + bonus Korma Paste recipe

This is a super easy recipe from Waitrose magazine which is perfect for a quick meal this winter. It’s warming, filling and not at all heavy. I love the amount of vegetables inside! It makes for a fantastic meal for two (though the original recipe says it is for four) and it’s vegan and gluten-free! I made my own Korma curry paste for this (recipe at the end) but you can also use a ready made one if you are in a rush.

Quick spinach, sweet potato and coconut stew

Serves 2 | Prep 10 minutes | Cook 35 minutes
Easy | Vegan | Gluten and Dairy Free

Sweet potato stew

You’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil;
  • 1 onion, finely chopped;
  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced, plus extra to garnish;
  • 3 tbsp korma curry paste (For a homemade recipe see below);
  • 1 red Romano Pepper, deseeded and chopped;
  • 2 medium Sweet Potatoes, peeled and diced into 1.5cm pieces;
  • 400ml can coconut milk;
  • 115g pack baby spinach;
  • 1 lime, juice, plus extra wedges to serve;
  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander, to serve.

Heat the oil in a wide saucepan set over a medium heat. Add the onion and stir-fry for 5-6 minutes until softened. Stir in the chilli, curry paste, Romano pepper and sweet potato, then add the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.

Stir through the spinach and cook for 3-4 minutes, until just wilted. Remove from the heat, squeeze over the lime juice; season. Serve with cooked basmati rice, the chopped coriander sprinkled over and the lime wedges alongside.

Original recipe from Waitrose Magazine October 2018, available online here.


 

Korma Paste

This makes more than you need for the recipe above but you can store it in an air tight container for a few weeks.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cloves garlic;
  • 5 cm piece of ginger;
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper;
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala;
  • 2 tablespoons groundnut oil;
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree;
  • 2 fresh green chillies;
  • 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut;
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds;
  • ½ a bunch fresh coriander , (15g);
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds , for toasting;
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds , for toasting;

First peel the garlic and ginger. Put a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the spices for toasting to the dry pan. Lightly toast them for a few minutes until golden brown and smelling delicious, then remove the pan from the heat.

Add the toasted spices to a pestle and mortar and grind until fine, or put them into a food processor and whiz to a powder. Either way, when you’ve ground them whiz the toasted spices in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and ½ a teaspoon of sea salt until you have a smooth paste.

Recipe from Jaime Oliver, available online here.

‘Cures anything’ Chicken Soup

It’s the season of sore throats and runny noses. I’ve already had a cold twice, and so has my other half and my immediate remedy (or more likely comfort food) is a sturdy chicken soup.

In Bulgaria, every grandmother will tell you that the best cure for cold is the mighty Chicken soup. My grandmother used to always make it with chicken thighs or drumsticks because the bones made the stock even more delicious. So, this how I’ve started making my chicken soup – always with meat on the bone and never using chicken breast. It takes a little longer to cook but it’s well worth it in the end. I can’t really claim this to be a Bulgarian recipe as Chicken Soup isn’t particularly unique anywhere… But this is how we cook it in Bulgaria.

‘Cures anything’ Chicken Soup

Serves 4 | Prep 10 minutes | Cook 40-60 minutes
Easy | Gluten-free | Dairy-free

Chicken Soup 2

You’ll need:

  • 4 Chicken thighs or drumsticks (Or a mix of the two);
  • 1 onion, peeled;
  • 2 bay leaves;
  • 1 sprig of thyme;
  • 6 whole peppercorns;
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped;
  • 1 carrot, peeled roughly chopped.

Halve the chicken thighs (if using) following the bone. Put everything apart from the potatoes and carrot in a large saucepan and fill with water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots. Season.

Cook for another 30-50 minutes until the chicken has cooked through (check it regularly after the 30 minute mark). When the chicken has cooked through, take it out of the pan, carefully chop roughly or shred and discard the bones. Return to the pan. Serve hot, with crusty bread on the side.

Chorizo Jam and Avocado Toast with poached egg

Last weekend I tried Eat 17’s chorizo jam. I’ve curiously walked past it in shops before (as well as bacon jams and the sort… I was sceptical at first – sweet, salty, spicy – could be really good or the opposite, I thought. And does chorizo really need anything to change it up? Well, as it turns out I’m a fan! The combination of sweet and savoury with a hint of spice does work really well, and it’s a fantastic topper for avocado toast. If you love an avocado toast but are looking for ideas how to change it up, try the recipe below.

Chorizo Jam and Avocado Toast with poached egg

Serves up to 4 | Prep 5 minutes | Cook 6 minutes | Easy

avo-chorizo-jam-toast-11

Ingredients list below per person so you can tailor to the amount of people you are making it for.

You’ll need:

  • One jar of Eat 17 Chorizo Jam (one jar will serve up to 4 people);
  • 1/2 an avocado per person;
  • 1 slice sourdough per person;
  • 1 egg per person;
  • sliced chilli, chopped coriander or hot sauce to serve.

Boil a medium pan of water adding salt a a tablespoon of vinegar once simmering. Break each egg into a small cup. Whirl the water and drop a maximum of two eggs per time in the simmering water. Simmer the eggs for 3 minutes. Take them out to and put in the other two eggs if making more than two toasts.

Meanwhile, toast the sourdough. Slice each avocado 1/2 thinly and place on the sourdough. Spread the chorizo jam over the avocado, top each toast with a poached egg, some fresh chillies (if you like it hot), chopped coriander and a dash of hot sauce, to your liking.

 

 

Spaghetti Carbonara

One of the most popular pasta recipes out there and certainly a favourite at home, Spaghetti Carbonara is a staple in the Italian diet and probably almost every Italian restaurant everywhere in the world. Consisting of only a couple of ingredients, it takes about 15 minutes to cook. Though simple to make, I would say that if you want a great tasting dish you should definitely have great quality ingredients – and believe me when I say that great quality pancetta, eggs, pecorino and parmesan make this dish. Also, NEVER order or eat Carbonara that’s made with anything but those few ingredients, garlic and some seasoning. You sometimes will see people claiming to be serving authentic Carbonara that contains, for example, cream – well… it’s anything but authentic. Feel free to check this with anyone from Italy…

Spaghetti Carbonara

Serves 4 | Prep 5 minutes | Cook 15 minutes | Easy

20180823_1645597829425023921848858.jpg

You’ll need:
  • 25g unsalted butter;
  • 100g pancetta, diced;
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed;
  • 300g spaghetti;
  • 40g parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated;
  • 40g pecorino, freshly grated;
  • 2 eggs, beaten.

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted, boiling water, until al dente (as per pack instructions).

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large pan. Add the pancetta and whole garlic clove and cook for 5 minutes, or until the garlic turns brown. Remove the garlic. Cook the pancetta for 5 minutes more. While the pasta and pancetta are cooking, add ½ the grated cheeses to the beaten eggs, season with black pepper.

When the pasta is ready, drain and reserve a couple of tablespoons from the pasta water. Add the pasta to the pancetta and mix well, turn the heat off.. Mix a couple the pasta water with the eggs, adding one spoon at a time. This method ensures that the eggs will not scramble when you add them to the pasta. Pour the eggs, mixing well immediately so that it coats the pasta. You’ll have to be quick as you don’t want the egg to start to scramble. Mix a couple of tablespoons cooking water to make a sleek sauce. You can add the garlic back in, if you wish. Add the remaining cheese, mix again, and serve at once.

Though I cook this pretty much by heart, this is the base recipe I usually use and it’s from myWaitrose magazine. You’ll notice that I’ve changed the method a little bit, mainly to suit my style of cooking. Original recipe available here.