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‘Dinner Menu’ Category

  1. Balsamic Chicken

    November 6, 2006 by Lisa

    Sadly not terribly photogenic, so there’s no piccie, but was it quick, easy and delicious.


    • 4 skinless chicken breast fillets
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • salt and pepper

    Pound chicken breasts to about 1/4-inch thickness. Dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Cook the chicken until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove chicken to a platter and keep warm. Add vinegar, broth and garlic to the frying pan and cook over a medium-high heat for about 5 to 10 minutes until the sauce is reduced. Stir in the butter to finish. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.

  2. Plum Chicken

    October 22, 2006 by Lisa


    • 3 large plums (8 oz or so), pitted
    • 1 tblsp butter
    • 1/2 small chopped onion
    • 1/4 cup (scant) brown sugar
    • 2 tblsp sweet chili sauce
    • 1 tblsp soy sauce
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 3 skinless chicken breasts

    Puree the plums in a blender or food processor. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onions and cook until soft. Stir in the plums, sugar, chili sauce, lemon juice and soy sauce and cook uncovered until slightly thickened. Place the chicken breasts in an oven pan, lightly salt and pepper them and cover with 1/4 of the sauce.

    Cook in a hot oven for 15 minutes, turn the chicken over and add another 1/4 of the sauce. Cook another 15 minutes or until cooked through. 5 minutes before the end, add the rest of the sauce.

  3. Pasta e Fagioli

    June 17, 2006 by Lisa

    (AKA Pasta Fazool)

    Not really a summer recipe, but a great one for when you have nothing fresh in the house. Wonderfully filling and lovely. Used dried beans if you like, but soak overnight first.

    • 2 cans pulses (any sort: kidney, cannellini, flageolets or haricot)
    • 125g cubed panchetta or chopped bacon
    • 2 tblsp olive oil
    • 1 shallot or a 1/4 – 1/2 an onion, chopped
    • 1 carton or a can of chopped tomatoes
    • stock cube (any sort)
    • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
    • large handful of chopped herbs – oregano, rosemary, marjoran and thyme are nice
    • 200gms small pasta, like Conchigliette (tiny shell pasta)
    • Salt and pepper

    In a large saucepan, fry the pancetta and shallot or onion in the olive oil until the onion is soft. Drain about half the water from the beans and add to the pan with the chopped tomatoes and the stock cube and boiling water. Add the chopped herbs and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour or more or until the beans are tender. Longer is better as some beans can remain hard. Watch it carefully as the water can easily cook away and you run the risk of burning the soup. Add additional water if required. 15 minutes before the end, add the pasta (and a little more water if necessary).

    When the pasta is cooked, serve with crusty bread or polenta as desired. I like to make a double batch of soft polenta to serve the first time, then let it harden and slice and grill it for the next day’s serving. The second day is always the best.

  4. Enchiladas de Pollo en Inglaterra

    June 13, 2006 by Lisa

    A rather time-consuming, fattening and messy proposition, but nice, nevertheless. “En Inglaterra” refers to ingredients you can get here easily. The corn tortillas from the grocery here are not really acceptable to me. Too… icky. Buy proper white corn tortillas at Mexgrocer online. Delicious.

    Mexican food is not always spicy and this recipe is very mild with a creamy sauce.

    Anyway, for the chicken, place 4 chicken thighs in a covered oven dish and add a couple of tablespoons olive oil, a good couple tablespoons of powdered cumin, some dried oregano and a splash or two of tabasco. Plop in a 200C oven for a while – between 40 mintes and an hour – until cooked through and falling off the bone. Shred the chicken and set aside. Keep the oily chickeny grease as you’ll need it later.


    Enchilada Sauce:

    • 2 Ramiro (large long red) Peppers
    • 1 tblsp Oregano
    • 1 tblsp Ground Cumin
    • 1 cup Chicken stock
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 chopped shallot (or 1/4 of an onion. I like shallots as I don’t use a lot of onion and they keep well).
    • scant 1/4 cup of the reserved chicken grease
    • 1/4 cup cream or milk
    • 1/2 tube of tomato paste

    Roast the peppers in the oven until fragrant and slightly blistered. Remove from oven and let cool. Scrape the seeds from the peppers and put in a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend well. Pour into a largish saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes.

    For the Enchiladas

    • The chicken
    • The Sauce
    • 250gm cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
    • Soured Cream, avocado, sliced olives and cilantro (coriander) for garnish
    • 6-8 corn tortillas

    Place the rest of the chicken grease in a small frying pan and heat. You could use a cooking oil, but I like the flavour of the chicken grease. Fry a tortilla in the oil until just softened, then dip in the enchilada sauce, then transfer to a rectangular oven dish. Add a couple of tablespoons of chicken and a handful of cheese to the middle of the tortilla and roll it up gently. Repeat for the remainder of the tortillas until the pan is filled. Cover with the remaining sauce, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and some olives. Bake in a 200C oven for 30-40 minutes until heated through.

    Serve with the condiments, mexican rice and refried beans).


  5. Lamb, red wine and rosemary casserole with herby potato stacks and braised red cabbage

    February 17, 2006 by Lisa

    Brilliant. No changes required to this recipe: lamb, red wine and rosemary casserole with herby potato stacks and braised red cabbage.

  6. Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Mint Sauce

    January 30, 2006 by Lisa

    • 6 lambchops
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 2-3 tablespoons chopped rosemary
    • 3 tablespoons mint jelly
    • clove garlic
    • tablespoon flour
    • 1 1/2 cups lamb broth (from a cube or stock)

    Grind garlic and rosemary in a pestle with the oil. Spread it on the top of the chops and cook them in a little olive oil for about 7 minutes a side. Remove from pan and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the flour and cook a couple of minutes. Add the broth and the mint jelly and cook over low heat until slightly thickened. Pour over chops.

  7. Pomegranate and Balsamic Glazed Chicken

    January 10, 2006 by Lisa

    Adapted from a recipe at

    • 3/4 cup pomegranate and cranberry juice. I used half of each because I didn’t have a full cup of pomegranate juice
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 5 small carrots cut into bitesized chunks
    • 1 chopped shallot (I cater for those who are not fond of onions)
    • olive oil
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (less if the balsamic is very rich)
    • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • fresh pomegranate seeds as garnish

    Brown the chicken with the carrots and shallot in oil until the carrots are tender. Stir frequently. Add the chicken broth to the pan and cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Transfer chicken and carrots to another dish and cover and keep warm.
    Pour out all but 1/3 cup of chicken cooking liquid in the skillet. Stir in pomegranate juice, balsamic, cornstarch, brown sugar and oregano. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Serve the sauce over chicken and carrots and garnish with reserved pomegranate seeds.

    Note: to extract pomegranate seeds, score the fruit and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate underwater to free the seeds. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl.

  8. Cocido de Puerco

    December 20, 2005 by Lisa

    Very simple, very cheap Mexican stew. A family favourite. Serves 4 or more.


    • shoulder of pork (you can also use a large hamhock, ‘though, of course it will be considerably saltier and won’t take as long to cook)
    • 3 or 4 large potatoes quartered
    • half of a large head of white cabbage, quartered
    • 3 large carrots cut into large chunks
    • 4 small ears of corn (as in, 4 half ears)
    • generous amounts of cumin, oregano (about 2 tablespoons or more of each)
    • salt, pepper, fresh coriander and slices of lime for garnish

    Brown the pork in oil in a large pot on the stove. Cover with water, add the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and cook at a low heat for 2 to 2.5 hours, adding water if needed. When the meat is tender and separates easily, add the potatoes, cabbage and carrots and cook until tender (about 20 minutes). Add the corn for the last 5 or 10 minutes.

    And that’s it. Serve with fresh coriander and lime, tortillas and mexican style rice.

  9. Classic Meatloaf

    October 30, 2005 by Lisa

    Yeah, OK – meatloaf is stupidly easy, but I’ve messed it up in the past by not using enough meat (yes, really) or crackers. Consider this my personal aide memoire.


    • 800g pack of mince
    • 2 whole eggs
    • 1/2 chopped onion or 3 chopped shallots
    • 10 Jacobs crackers, crushed finely
    • salt, pepper and any other spices deemed appropriate. Oregano or rosemary next time, perhaps?

    For the top:

    Heat in a small saucepan:

    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • good squeeze of American mustard or 1 tsp powdered mustard
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • dash of worchester sauce

    Mix the meatloaf ingredients well and press into a loafpan. Cover the top with the sauce and place in a 175 degree oven for about an hour. Must be served with mash and brown gravy and the leftovers chilled and sliced for sandwiches. There’s no point if you don’t make enough for sandwiches the next day!

    This version makes 3 suppers and 3 sandwiches. Sandwiches should be served on thick white bloomer with mayonnaise. All vitally important. :)

    I saw another recipe that used sausage as well, which could be rather nice. Will try this next time.

  10. Southern Stir Fry

    October 7, 2005 by Lisa

    I haven’t enjoyed a meal like this in ages. This is a fairly traditional southern US meal. It’s actually cooked in 2 skillets, both with lids! This served three to bursting, though I think I’d double the juice and cornstarch next time for more sauce.

    • 2 large baking potatoes chopped into cubes
    • 1 head of baby cabbage, sliced thinly
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 2 rashers of bacon, chopped
    • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 cooking apple, sliced thinly
    • 1 cup apple juice (or mixed apple and orange or whatever – I only had ‘exotic’ – it was lovely)
    • 1 tablespoon malt or apple vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • Salt and pepper

    Cook half the chopped onion and bacon in a few tablespoons of oil in a hot skillet until soft and browned. Add the potatoes and cabbage, reduce heat and cook for around 30 to 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Season to taste (though a good generous few twists of freshly ground pepper is highly recommended).

    In the other skillet, cook the other half of the chopped onion and apple in oil. Once the onion is browned, remove onion and apple to a bowl and add the chicken breasts and a couple more spoonfuls of oil and cook about 4 minutes until brown on each side. Add the applejuice and vinegar and reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook about 10 minutes until cooked through.

    Remove the chicken to a plate. Mix the cornstarch and a tablespoon of cold juice until smooth. Add to the hot juice and cook until thick. Add reserved onion and apple slices and heat through. Serve on top of the chicken breasts.

    Sauteed or boiled spinach or greens would be the thing in, say Tennessee, but a green salad was lovely as well.