Chicken, bacon and pistachio pie

Once again, 3 months have passed since our last blog. We have been cooking up a storm but not taken time to let you know and for that, we can only apologise. Sometimes life just gets busy and typing a recipe seems less important than consuming the finished product. I digress.

For Christmas, I asked for and received ‘Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes’ and this recipe is based on the one in the book with a few ‘half-assed’ adjustments.

The book says this is ‘very easy’. I wouldn’t go that far but if you follow the steps, you can’t go too far wrong. The results are well worth the effort and this is probably the best pie I have ever made myself. We made a few adjustments from the book recipe which are highlighted in the ingredients.

Vegetable oil, for cooking (we used olive oil)
250g smoked or unsmoked bacon
400g minced chicken, leg only if possible (we phoned our butcher so he could prepare this for us)
2 onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, grated
200g button mushrooms (we have an allergy issue with button mushrooms so used fancy ones)
500ml chicken stock
1 tbsp brined green peppercorns (we couldn’t find any today so used 1 1/2 tbsp capers and a 1/2 tsp chilli flakes)
100g pistachios, roughly chopped (we used salted)
2 tbsp chopped oregano (couldn’t find fresh today so used 1tbsp dried)
1 x 250g packet of filo pastry
150g butter, melted
2 tbsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (we didn’t use a lot of salt due to the salted pistachios but make sure you taste test)

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and drizzle a little oil. Add the bacon and cook until it starts to brown. Add the minced chicken and cook, stirring occasionally until it’s golden brown.

Place a colander over a bowl and drain the meat, reserving the fat (I’m not saying our butcher is amazing (he is) but we didn’t have a lot of fat and had to add more.) pour the fat back into the pan and put over a medium low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes). Tip in the mushrooms and cooked meat. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Simmer until the sauce reduces and thickens (10-15 minutes). Turn off the heat and add the peppercorns and most of the chopped pistachios (keep some for garnish). Add the fresh oregano and season (it is really important to taste at this stage). Leave aside to cool.

Take a sheet of filo and brush with butter (don’t be shy with the butter), sprinkle with some dried oregano and put another sheet on top. Brush with butter and sprinkle with oregano. Repeat until you have 6-7 layers. Work quickly so the filo doesn’t dry up. (The jus-roll pastry we bought had 6 layers which I cut in half so I stuck to the 6 layer rule).

Pre-heat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6, 400F. Grease a 20cm diameter cast iron dish or heavy, ovenproof frying pan with some of the melted butter and then press in the layered filo. Spoon in the chicken mixture, pushing it right into the edges. Bring the edges of the filo up over the top of the filling.

Take another sheet of filo, brush with butter and sprinkle with dried oregano. Push it down on top of the filling. Repeat with another 5 layers but place on top of each other with a few creases to add texture. Brush the top layer with butter and sprinkle on the remaining pistachios. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the top is golden and the middle is hot. Serve immediately.

(We served with a very simple salad)




Optional kitchen porn:
80 yr old cast iron skillet (thanks Liz’s grandma)

Published in: on January 17, 2015 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Indonesian Beggar’s Chicken Brick

Let’s be honest! You can never have too many variations on roast chicken in your repertoire. This recipe is another chicken brick dish from the book, ‘The Best of Clay Pot Cooking’. I’m sure it would work well as a normal roast too but adjust timings appropriately. Chicken bricks always start from a cold oven.

1 chicken
1 medium onion
2 tbsp fresh coriander
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 chilli (or 2), seeded if you like it less spicy
1 anchovy fillet (or 1 tbsp fish sauce)
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Blend all the ingredients (except the chicken) to a paste. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Put the chicken on a plate and smear the inside with 1/3 of the paste. Smear the outside with the rest of the paste, cover loosely with cling film and leave in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Transfer to a soaked chicken brick and place in a cold oven. Turn on the oven to 230C, 450F, gas mark 8 and cook for 1 hour 25 minutes. Remove the chicken and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. Pour the juices into a bowl. Just before serving, skim off any fat that has risen to the top, carve the chicken and pour over the remaining pan juices.

We served with roast potatoes and carrots, along with some broccoli which was steamed with chilli and seasoned with soy sauce, mirin and sesame oil.




Optional kitchen porn:
Chicken brick

Published in: on October 5, 2014 at 7:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Along with the molecular gastronomy experiment (see previous post), we needed to cook some actual food. We decided to use a recipe from Ottolenghi’s book, ‘Plenty’. While the book is all vegetarian recipes, we used the tempura batter for chicken, prawns, sweet potatoes, aubergine (eggplant), parsnip, carrots and broccoli.

80g cornflour
80g self-raising flour
210g sparkling water
2 tsp rapeseed oil
1/4 tsp salt
Nigella seeds and chilli flakes to taste

It couldn’t get any easier than this; add all ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to a smooth runny batter.

Put more cornflour on a plate and coat the veg, chicken, prawns (or whatever else you decide to cook) with cornflour before dipping in the batter and then into hot sunflower oil.

This is a light batter and as we don’t have a deep fat fryer, we use our wok to deep fry. I can’t emphasise enough that hot oil is dangerous and should not be left unattended at any time. It is burny to the touch and fingers should never be put into the oil to see if it has reached cooking temperature.

Please be careful and don’t be an idiot.

If you follow the instructions, you should end up with some delicious lightly battered food. We served ours with soy sauce foam but you don’t have to be that fancy (I’d recommend you aren’t). We also cooked some sushi rice which went very well.


Optional kitchen porn:
Deep fat fryer or wok

Published in: on August 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Molecular Gastronomy with Jody and Gary

I’m not quite sure where to go with this. We have cooked many things in many different ways. We have tried new things and as the blog says, ‘we’ll cook anything once’. We’ve cooked with Jody and Gary on a few occasions and we always have a good time. The drink and conversation flows freely and we work we’ll together in the kitchen. We will definitely cook with them again.

That said, I think I can honestly say that we won’t be rushing back to molecular gastronomy. My sister bought me a kit over a year ago and it has taken until now to open it. It came with all the required chemicals and pipettes, syringes and slotted spoon. A lovely idea and we were looking forward to the experience.

Usually we will give you the recipes we use so you can try them yourself but unless you have agar-agar, calcium lactate, sodium alginate and soy lecithin in your pantry, it would be completely pointless. If you do, please feel free to get in touch and I’ll happily send you the recipes. Instead, please see pictures of what we made and don’t concern yourself with the unending faffery that went into the end product.

Having said all that, it was great fun and not an experience we will forget. We started with some tomatoes stuffed with red wine vinegar pearls and goats cheese. These were delicious.


After a complete mojito bubble failure, we made spherical tzatziki. These were not a failure but were slimey and disgusting and ruined some great tzatziki which Jody had made.


We made tempura and served it with soy sauce foam (I’ll blog this next with the tempura recipe) and then finished off with some yoghurt served with fruit spaghetti. Again, this was delicious but it took us over 15 minutes to make 6 spaghetti strings.


Overall, an enjoyable time never to be repeated.

Non-optional kitchen porn:
Molecular gastronomy kit

Published in: on August 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Steve’s Chilli & Jack Daniels Marinated Steak

This is so easy, I’m almost embarrassed to post it. It does help that we have a local producer who makes amazing chilli jam but any chilli jam will probably do.

1kg slice rump steak (halved)
1 tbsp chilli jam
50-100ml Jack Daniels (or whatever you have…don’t be fussy)
Lots of fresh ground pepper

Put chilli jam and pepper in a freezer bag. Add alcoholic drink of choice. Mix well so chilli jam is no longer jam like and a smooth marinade is made. If it is still too thick, add more of your alcoholic beverage of choice and repeat. If it is too thin, add more alcoholic beverage of choice and repeat. It can’t be too thin and what harm can it do.

Add steak and mix well so meat is completely covered in marinade. Leave at room temperature for a few hours, turning the steaks at regular intervals. For best results, cook on a barbecue or grill (all meat tastes better cooked outside). Serve with whatever you like. We had asparagus.




Optional kitchen porn:

Published in: on June 14, 2014 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

An Indian cooking lesson with Sheel

Today we spent the whole afternoon cooking an Indian meal with the beautiful, talented, Sheel Patel. I couldn’t possibly put the recipes up in full for two different reasons. One, the recipes include secret ingredients for garam masala which even Sheel doesn’t have access to (it was mixed in India and brought back by Sheel’s mum). Second, nothing is measured and everything is done by look and then taste. We made three different dishes, all of which included a home made adhu murju (combination of chilli, garlic and ginger). 20140531-203707-74227194.jpg Lamb kebabs were first. This was made with lamb mince, adhu murju, salt, cumin, coriander and a small onion (blitzed), garam masala, red chilli powder, an egg and turmeric. Mixed together, rolled into kebabs and cooked on the barbecue. Served with raita. 20140531-204424-74664401.jpg 20140531-204424-74664244.jpg We then made jeera chicken. Jeera is Indian for cumin. We used 8 chicken drumsticks (slashed) with 2 chicken breasts (in small cubes) which was marinaded for a few hours in a mixture of adhu murju, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, cumin powder, salt, small onion, rapeseed oil and lemon juice added at the end. After marinating, this was cooked in a wok over a fairly low heat, moving it continuously until the chicken was cooked. Served over rice cooked with a small bit of butter and cumin seeds. 20140531-205133-75093029.jpg 20140531-205133-75093191.jpg 20140531-205133-75093352.jpg The last dish was dahl. This is Indian lentils (which according to Sheel are actually mung beans), onion, tomato, adhu murju, curry leaves, cumin seeds and turmeric. The lentils were cooked in a lot of water with a sprinkling of turmeric for about 40-45 minutes until they split. Then, in a separate pan, the onions were fried, then the adhu murju, curry leaves, tomatoes and cumin seeds were added and cooked for a couple of minutes. This mix was then stirred into the cooked lentil and water mix. Served in a bowl (like a thick soup) as a side dish. 20140531-210324-75804583.jpg Optional kitchen porn: Sheel bought us a spice tin (dabbau) which is very cool. 20140531-210441-75881279.jpg

Published in: on May 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Golden Chicken and Ginger in a Brick

Our latest kitchen porn is a chicken brick and we christened it tonight. Having never heard of a chicken brick until a few months ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Having made this recipe, I would recommend everyone gets one. A full meal cooked in one pot with very little preparation and an extremely moist, tender chicken at the end of it. Brilliant.

2kg chicken
1 x small butternut squash
450g new potatoes
2 x large carrots
1 x large onion
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger
2 x sticks of cinnamon
3 x cloves of garlic
3tbsp runny honey
1 x orange

Soak the chicken brick in a sink of water for 15 minutes.
Peel and roughly chop the onion. Peel and cut the carrots and butternut squash into large chunks.
Zest half the orange.
Peel and chop the ginger then pound the ginger and honey to a paste in a pestle and mortar.
Put the cloves of garlic, cinnamon sticks and orange zest in the cavity of the chicken, rub the honey and ginger paste over the chicken and grind over a little black pepper.
When your chicken brick has soaked, put the chopped onions in the base, the chicken on top of them and scatter the vegetables around the edge.
Put the lid on, place in a cold oven and turn the temperature to 230C/450F/gasmark 8. Cook for 2 hours.
Pour off the juices for gravy and serve. If you want an even crispier chicken skin you can remove the lid and vegetables for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.



Kitchen porn (not optional):
Chicken brick

Published in: on March 23, 2014 at 9:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Banana Ketchup

There isn’t much to say about this. We picked a bottle up in St. Lucia last year. Try it. It’s really good.


Published in: on March 4, 2014 at 9:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chocolate Hedgehog

It’s quite amazing what you can do when you’ve one good chocolate cake recipe. This is another one from my youth (too many years ago to mention) and although similar to the igloo, this one made many birthday appearances instead of Christmases.

Why did I make this? In a previous employment role, four people had birthdays within 5 days. To celebrate every year, even though we don’t work together any more, we get together for a baked potato party. We cook the potatoes and everyone brings a filling (chilli, cheese, tuna, etc). This year, as the party falls on our good friend Jemma’s (see Spicery blog with Jemma) actual birthday, I said I would make her a cake. I’m nice like that (and a sucker for punishment). :-)

6oz margarine
6oz caster sugar
4 eggs
6oz self raising flour
3oz Cadbury’s drinking chocolate
Cadbury’s chocolate buttons

12oz Cadbury’s drinking chocolate
4 tbsp boiling water
12oz icing sugar
4oz butter

Cream marg and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each one. Add the flour and drinking chocolate and mix slowly. Add to a greased and lined oven proof bowl and hollow out centre slightly. Bake at 170C, 325F, gas 3 for approx 1 1/2 hours. Keep checking with skewer after 1 1/4 hours until cooked. Turn out onto cooling rack and leave to cool.

When cool, cut in half, place icing in middle to make a sandwich and place off centre on plate. Cover the whole cake with icing and add extra icing to one side to make snout. Mark the snout gently with a fork. Stick chocolate buttons all over cake in lines. Use Smarties for nose and eyes.

Happy Birthday Jemma. X Hope you like it.




Optional kitchen porn:
Kitchenaid mixer

Published in: on February 1, 2014 at 9:02 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Honey-roasted chicken

I know it’s Burns’ night but we did not cook haggis, neeps and tatties. Sorry! This is the first recipe we’ve tried from our latest cookbook, The Incredible Spice Men. We loved the TV series and this recipe didn’t disappoint. I’ve lost count of the number of roast chicken recipes we’ve blogged (feel free to go back and count them all) but who doesn’t like roast chicken (apart from vegetarians, vegans and weird people)? :-)

This recipe is really easy and doesn’t take much longer than a normal roast chicken.

1.2kg (2lb 10oz) chicken
6 tbsp honey
50g fresh root ginger (chopped)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Mix all the ingredients, except the chicken, in a blender or mini food processor to make the marinade. Place the chicken in a dish and pat dry with kitchen paper. Rub the marinade over the chicken and leave in the fridge for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, gas mark 4.
Put the chicken in a roasting tin and pour over the marinade or baste (the thickness of the marinade will depend in the thickness of your honey).
Cook the chicken for 1 hour, basting every 10 minutes. If your marinade is quite thick, you might need to cover the chicken with foil to stop the honey burning but ours was a very runny marinade so basting worked a treat.
The book has a roast potato accompaniment which looked amazing but after the last weeks extravagances (see previous two posts), we served with a roast beetroot and butternut squash couscous salad. Delicious.




Published in: on January 25, 2014 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 165 other followers