Monday, September 29, 2008

Chicken Oregano

This recipe is a family favourite. The great thing about it is that you really can't mess it up. One time I made this and burned the chicken and it still came out well. Last night I made it with left over breaded chicken fingers and I have to say the reworked leftovers were better than the original dish.

Chicken Oregano
6 chicken breasts cut into 2 inch cubes
2 eggs
2 cups of breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of white wine
Juice of half a lemon
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/ 250 degrees F

Lightly beat the eggs, dip the chicken breast in the eggs and then cover with breadcrumbs. Fry the chicken on each side until it is brown but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a casserole dish. Using the same frying pan heat the remaining ingredients until they boil. Pour over the chicken in the casserole dish. Cook in oven for 30-40 minutes checking that the chicken has cooked through before serving. I serve this with whole wheat pasta and cooked vegetable.

This recipe is great on day 1 but almost better as leftovers

Active time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

September is the best month to be in New England. The days are warm and feel like summer but the nights have a nice autumnal crispness. I go to New England every year in September to see my family, have a bit of open space and celebrate my birthday. This year I saw all but one New England State on my trip! I started in Boston, drove up through New Hampshire to Maine, drove back to CT to see my parents, then took a day trip to Rhode Island. Personally I feel that the further north you go the more "New England" you get. The few days I spent in Maine were heavenly; the people are laid back, the scenery is pristine and you really feel the culture of New England.

At this time of year in New England, squashes are one of the most prevalent vegetables at the markets. Historically squash was one of the few vegetables that would store well throughout the long, cold winters so they became a stable of the settlers diets (there is a reason Americans love pumpkin!) One of my favorite squashes that is readily available in the UK is butternut squash. It has a nice sweet flavor that's good both for savory and sweet dishes. Last night I decided to make a butternut squash soup to remind me of my holiday. This soup takes a while to make but most of the time is not active so you can make this while doing something else.

Butternut Squash Soup
1 Butternut squash
1 cube of knorr vegetable bouillon cube
a handful of shallots (about 6) or 1 onion
Water (approximately 3/4 of a liter-6 cups- but it depends on how big the squash is)
1/2 cup of white wine
6 sage leaves

Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds (see recipe below for spiced seeds) place the butternut squash, cut side up, in a 200 Degrees C /400 Degrees F oven for 45 minutes or until soft. Take out of the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

Scoop the flesh of the butternut squash out of the rind. Combine the squash flesh and the shallots in a pot. Lightly fry this mixture for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable cube and enough water to cover the vegetables by about 1 inch. Simmer for 15 minutes adding more water if soup looks too thick. Add the wine and cook for 5 more minutes. Blend the soup adding the sage leaves as you blend (the wand/stick blenders work really well for this because they can just be put directly into the hot soup) Simmer for 2 more minutes and serve

Cook time: 77 minutes
Active time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Spicy Squash Seeds
The seeds of a large squash (pumpkin, butternut, spaghetti, etc)
1 tbs of spices (I like using either Caribbean spices or mild curry powder)

After the seeds have been removed from the squash put them in a colander and run water over them. Place the seeds on a foil lined baking pan and sprinkle them with spices. Mix the spices and the seeds around on the baking pan. Bake at 200 Degrees C /400 Degrees F for 20 minutes. These are great on salads or as a snack.

Cook time: 20 minutes
Active time: 5 minutes

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oven Dried Tomatoes (for Andy)

I've had a bumper crop of Tom Thumb tomatoes this year. I've made soups and salad and still have loads of tomatoes to spare. This year I decided to dry some tomatoes, but since the UK has had no sun all summer, oven drying was the way to go. The result is soft, sweet tomatoes that store well in oil and are a great taste of summer.

Oven Dried Tomatoes
Tomatoes (as many as you want/have)
a pinch of salt
Olive oil
2-3 whole cloves of Garlic

Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle the cut sides with a pinch of salt. Turn the tomatoes cut side down onto kitchen roll and allow them to drain for about 20 minutes.
Heat oven to 180 degrees C. Place the drained tomatoes with the cut side up on a wire rack. Cook in oven for approximately 2 hours.

When they are shrivelled and mostly dry pack them into a jar with the cloves of garlic, fill the jar with olive oil. The tomatoes will keep throughout the winter (if you don't eat them all in the first week!)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours

Friday, September 5, 2008

Soba Noodles with Summer Vegetables

A few months ago I tried one of Heidi Swanson's Soba noodle recipes ( and I am now a true fan of them. I never would have thought that Soba Noodles which are typically Japanese could be done in a more Italian style and still taste wonderful!

Soba noodles are great because they are high in protein, so fill you up more than most other pastas would. They are also super quick cooking, taking only about 4-5 minutes to make.

Soba Noodles with Summer Vegetables
1 portion of soba noodles (the individually wrapped bunches will feed 1 as a main)
1 handful of green beans, chopped into 1 inch peices
2 small tomatoes chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 chopped sage leaves
Goat's cheese to top (I used this wonderful Devon garlic cheese from Yellowedge)

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to boiling water then add the soba noodles to the boiling water. Put a timer on for 1 minute less than the cooking time written on the soba noodle package (Soba noodles will get very sticky if over cooked) When the timer goes off add the green beans to the the boiling water and cook for one minute more. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water.

In a frying pan heat the remaining oil and tomatoes and sage. Add the drained noodles and stir until everything is hot (about 1 minute.)

Serve with goats cheese.

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5-6 minutes