I’ve been crazy busy with packing these past few days. It’s the summer and I’m moving, that’s why. So here’s how I’ve been satisfying my fried chicken cravings.
With a pack of battered chicken dippers that I got from Iceland, your friendly neighbourhood frozen food store, I managed to get these babies crispy without having to heat up an entire oven. I don’t even know why I didn’t wanna use the oven but here’s an alternative to the traditional stick-it-in-the-oven trick.
Express Chicken Dippers
- Straight from the freezer and into a wok on the hob, toss the dippers in frozen.
- Turn up the heat to full whack. Put a lid on. TIP! Doing this keeps the moisture in, steaming the dippers.
- After a couple of minutes, get them out and chop them into bite-size pieces. (There is no need to perform this step; I have an obsession with cutting my food into bite-size pieces.)
- Flip them about every couple of minutes.
- Get them out once they start to brown.
- Let them cool a little before chowing down, you don’t wanna burn your tongue, like me.
Or, you can always just use the oven.
I wouldn’t call this a Mediterranean dish ‘cos it isn’t exactly one. But the combination of peppers and sage remind me of Greece. Anyway, here’s a simple recipe for a slight taste of the Great Middlelands.
Grilled Peppers & Sage Chicken Pasta
- 1 serving of long pasta
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- half a small white onion, minced
- 1 handful of sliced red peppers, inch-long
- 1 handful of sliced yellow peppers, inch-long
- 1 handful of sliced mushrooms
- 1 handful of chicken fillet, breast or drumstick meat, cubed bite-size
- half tsp of dried sage
- salt and pepper, for seasoning, to taste
- handful of spinach leaves, for colour
- Get your pasta cooking on the hob. (Remember: The Italians say the water used to cook pasta should be as salty as the Mediterranean
- Put a wok on the hob too. Turn the switch up to full whack and get the wok screaming hot. Add the oil in.
- Toss the minced white onion into the wok to flavour the oil.
- Before the onion turns brown, get the peppers to join the party. This time, let them sit still up to 2 minutes each time before tossing, until they show signs of slight charring. TIP! The trick here is that you don’t have the time to heat up an oven to specially grill your peppers. Pan-searing does the trick.
- Add mushrooms and toss.
- When the mushrooms are just about done, get everything out and put your chicken cubes in. You want to dry stir-fry them. This means you use the starchy water from the pasta, to stir-fry the meat. By adding the water in small quantities, stirring as you go along, you allow the meat to absorb all the liquid. Result: the chicken cubes are ‘dry’ yet juicy.
- Once the chicken is just done, add all the ingredients back in. And add salt, pepper and sage. Stir.
- The pasta should be just about done. Drain and add to the wok.
- Turn the heat off and add the lush green spinach leaves.
- Mix and serve.
If you haven’t heard or seen this before, you must absolutely try it out sometime. Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Fillets will knock your socks off.
Depending on how many you’d like to make, this is what you’ll need for just a humble TWO pieces. But you know you’ll definitely want more.
Two ingredients, two simple steps, for two awesome chunks of meaty goodness.
- 2 streaks of smoked bacon or pancetta.
- 2 fillets of chicken, cut into pieces two inches long
- Put a piece of chicken on one end of a streak of bacon and roll it to the other end.
- Stick it into the top rack of the oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes, flipping it at midpoint.
TIP! If you wanna be a tad more adventurous, sprinkle a dash of thyme, rosemary or basil across each streak of bacon before rolling.
Also, this goes fantastic with a potato mash and gravy. More on that next time.
It was not till I got to London last year that I started appreciating salad, especially when it’s been tossed pretty in glistening dressing. Here are the guidelines to making the Simplest Salad Dressing.
You’ll need a clear jar; something like this:
With this, you can see how much liquid you’re pouring in. Also, you’ll be able to tell what it is without having to open the jar.
Next, components: Olive oil, sour acid, salt and pepper.
The key is noting the ratio of olive oil to sour acid = 3 : 1. That is, 3 parts oil to 1 part sour acid, which can take any form, from balsamic vinegar to lemon or lime juice. Experiment with different kinds to discover which goes best with your salad. Don’t forget that pinch of salt and pepper for added flavour.
And remember, salads don’t have to be boring.
I am a complete sucker for chicken. Using hands and getting dirty somehow adds to the flavour of the food. Fried chicken is what usually gets me going, but oven baked ones are awesome too. For this, it’s best you marinade it overnight, in a bag, in the fridge.
This is for 6 pieces of Honey Baked Chicken Thigh.
- 1 generous lug of white wine
- 1 tsp of dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp of honey, or 2 if you want
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp of dark soy sauce, for colour
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 pinch of pepper
- Get your chicken into a ziplock bag.
- It doesn’t matter if the chicken portions are frozen or not, just make sure they’re not stuck to each other.
- Get all that stuff of marinade into the bag with the chicken.
- Take care to get every bit of meat covered in the marinade.
- Stick it in the fridge overnight.
- The chicken should have thawed through beautifully and at the same time, have absorbed all that sweet goodness of your marinade. Get your chicken on a tray, skin side up and cover with foil.
- In a pre-heated oven of 220°C, stick the tray in for 45 minutes.
- After the buzzer goes, remove the foil and turn the temperature down to 180°C. Leave the tray in there for another 15 minutes or so, or until the skin turns golden.
- TIP! Not sure if it’s cooked through? Poke in with a fork. If it’s cooked, the juices will run clear, not red.
- Let it rest for a couple of minutes.
- Serve, without cutlery.
Circular Microwaved Eggs
Most people probably already know this but here’s for those who don’t.
The microwave is awesome, especially when you wanna have an egg ready-to-eat in 30 seconds. It’s super round, and cooked hassle-free with a mix of hard-cooked and soft-runny texture.
What you’ll need:
- A small microwave-safe dish (above)
- An egg
- A microwave
What to do:
- Crack the egg into the dish.
- Stick it into the microwave.
- Press ’30 seconds’ and ‘Start’.
- When it’s done, use a spoon to get it out in one swift circular motion.
- If you want, add salt, or soy sauce, and pepper.
TIP! If you don’t have a small dish, use a mug! Or maybe try out it with a square dish!
Last week, I suffered heart palpitations irregularly over a period of 24 hours. It worried me BIG time, and I knew I had to turn to ‘clean’ food.
Marmite Pasta with Boiled Pork and Peas
- 1 serving of pasta
- 50g of lean pork
- 1 handful of peas
- 1 tsp of Marmite
- 1 egg
Basically, I cooked everything with water: boiled the pasta, pork and peas, and steamed the egg. I also added a bit of the pasta-cooking water to the Marmite, and drizzled generously over the dish before eating.
Clean, and very healthy. If not for me, for my heart.
(Ironic previous post: Deep-Fried Batter.)