Tag Archives: food

Chicken Cacciatore: with Meditteranean roasted veg + rustic, skin on potatoes

19 Apr

Chicken Cacciatore

Moist, succulent and juicy chicken breast – doused in rich, peppery and olive tainted plum tomato sauce…baked till golden and bubbling, surrounded by firm, plump butter beans – delicately sprinkled with grated cheddar and served with nothing but the finest skin on wedges of the season; & herby Mediterranean veg. Fresh, fruity, colourful and tasty.

Chicken cacciatore, veg, herbs, parsley and rustic potatoes with butter beans

Chicken cacciatore, veg, herbs, parsley and rustic potatoes with butter beans

Warm and filling

Familiar yet different. Home tastes and the mountains of Italy on a British summer evening…

Dinner is served. And the sun is shining – at dinner time.

I used to be quite skeptic of the BBC good food website. Thinking it was just mass printed, recipe book style generic ingredients and instructions. But having seen the vast range of complex yet appealing and itty bitty dishes, entwined with traditional favorites…they know take up the majorityof my sidebar ‘to do’ list… This recipe itself was actually adapted from:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4251/chicken-cacciatore

It also took less than an hour so cook up, it would have been less…but Iwasn’t clumsy or anything and most certainly didn’t slash my finger with a knife whilst getting happy chopping onions thus delaying the time….so yeah, take care on this, and enjoy the recipe!

Ingredients

CHICKEN:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Milk
  • Salt to taste

SAUCE:

  • 1 x can of plum tomatoes
  • 1x can of butter beans
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 x red onion
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 Garlic gloves
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp chives
  • Fresh basil and mascarpone (optional)

 

 

  1. Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Fry 1 finely chopped onion and 2 crushed garlic cloves in  olive oil until softened but not colored  Add tomatoes and beans, season, then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until thick and glossy. Take off the heat and stir in 4 tbsp mascarpone (optional) and half a handful of basil, roughly torn.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry 6 chicken breasts on both sides until golden. Add a splash of milk (Greeks moist chicken secret) and some salt. Transfer to a baking dish and pour over the sauce. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Scatter over the remaining half handful of basil.
  3. As for the peppers and red onion, I just drizzled them in olive and dumped them in a baking dish, sprinkled with salt and paprika and baked them till brown and soft – timed to come out along with the chicken. Just a serving idea, makes the meal!

I served this with rustic baked potatoes and a little cheese for the fussy veggie phobic at the table.

This was dad’s after work reheat:

Roasted chicken cacciatore

Advertisements

The wondrous health benefits of Black Pepper

9 Feb

The wondrous health benefits of Black Pepper 

What’s recently caught my attention recently, is the sheer quantity of black pepper that just I, soley as an individual seem to consume.

Egg? I mount it on per forkful. Chicken? A sprinkling will never do. In fact, egg mayo is usually the secondary ingredient in an egg mayo sandwich at my place when black peppers around for garnish…

I mean, it’s arguably the most handy and convenient spice there is. If you completely cock up a dish but inevitably have a dinner party waiting, hastily add a sprinkle of black pepper to make it more pleasantly edible, and allow the spice to visually appeal as if you have spent hours, stirring in spice concoctions over the stove. Simples 😉

Black pepper is that magic ingredient which spice haters love. It’s spicy but it’s not, it passes by you’re lips without a second thought, as you’re just so adapted to experiencing it in the base of all foods.

Does anyone actually observe how reliant we are on black pepper? We use it in everything, and we are consuming it by the masses little by little. It’s so cheap yet useful, one of those things I think i’ going to add to my list of which ‘Humans take for granted’

So anyway, I was pretty intrigued to find out if this miraculous, powdery, blackish substance held any significant health benefits…?

Here’s a Viva Las Peanuts style briefing about qualities of black pepper you did not know before + a mini historical insight.

Enjoy. 

Black peppercorns health benefits

Black peppercorns & health benefits

Black pepper, as one of the most ancient commodities of the spice trade has the longest history of export from South Asia dating back at least 4000 years (As does ginger!)
Originating in Kerala, black pepper spread to the rest of South and Southeast Asia where it became an important spice plant; and Peppercorns have since been eagerly sought by Europeans and westerners. 

….And the health list?

  • Okay so firstly, you may notice that, black pepper stimulates the taste buds in such a way that an alert is sent to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion. – *How cool is it that… in this way… black Pepper has been linked to improved progress among Anorexia sufferers via stimulation of tastebuds?! (Over a prolonged period, but nevertheless!)
This hydrochloric acid is necessary for the digestion of proteins and other food components in the stomach. When the body’s production of hydrochloric acid is insufficient, food may sit in the stomach for an extended period of time, leading to heartburn or indigestion, or it may pass into the intestines, where it can be used as a food source for unfriendly gut bacteria, whose activities produce gas, irritation, and/or diarrhea or constipation. 

This can be traced back to Peppers mineral composition…

The basic peppercorn is of health benefiting & essential oils such as piperine, (an amine alkaloid, which gives strong spicy pungent character to the pepper) as well as numerous monoterpenes hydrocarbons such as sabinene, pinene, terpenene, limonene, mercene which gives aromatic property to the pepper

  • It is these active principles in the pepper which can increase gut motility as well as the digestion power by increasing gastro-intestinal enzyme secretions. Piperine has also been shown to increase absorption of selenium, B-complex vitamins, beta-carotene, as well as other nutrients from food eaten alongside it.
  • Peppercorns also contain tonnes of plant derived chemical compounds that are crucially known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties (and  have actually been used since ancient times for anti-inflammatory, carminative, anti-flatulent purposes) As well as minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, iron, and magnesium. (Potassium is actually an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure) & Iron is essential for cellular respiration and blood cell production.
  • Plus, peppercorns are an excellent source of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins; and of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A. Rich in flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants like carotenes, cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lycopene, black pepper helps the body remove harmful free radicals and help protect from cancers and diseases.

And some icing on the icing?

  •  Black Pepper just barricades Congestion. It literally just eats through it all and implodes through your sinuses. (Especially if you use ¼ of a pot for a couple of eggs) Trust me. But don’t do it without a wall of pre-built spice tolerance.
  • OH, and did you know…?  The next time you have a minor cut, sprinkle black pepper on it. It will help stop the bleeding. Even more? – It’s antibacterial properties will promote healing and kill germs.

Lets say no more.

Fudgy Brownie Divinity – Recipe

5 Feb

These Brownies were just THE FUDGIEST, DIVINEST CHOCOLATIEST AND DELICIOUSEST brownies EVER! (Yes I understand these words aren’t the social norm…yet! Try them for yourself and see what you can say?!)

I ate 4 in one go…(Trust me it was a lot) I swore I wouldn’t never eat brownies again…and made them again the next week. Absolutely yummy… a favorite with friends and family! And extra benefit of these brownies is they contain ZERO butter! All vegetable/canola oil, which helps retain moisture so they actually never expire! (But consider the egg ingredient when you save them under your bed for later;))

I prefer to up the cocoa and cut the sugar for a more dense and deep chocolate taste 🙂 The white chocolate chips were just the icing on the icing. These brownies MUST be tried! They can also be vegan friendly if egg and milk substitutes are used. I bought these into school, and once word was spread I had managed to give away an entire 3 batches. Man, I should have been charging. They were popular. Consider your own verdict…

WP_20130108_010

I hope you enjoy this recipe and leave some feedback!!

Makes 1 9×9 in pan

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • As many chocolate chips/walnuts as you desire!
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan (I use greaseproof paper)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Stir in walnuts, if desired. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

I found that the brownies were worryingly fudgey and runny for about an hour after being removed. But they solidified afterwards! They taste AMAZING though, when fresh out of the oven and served with vanilla ice cream!! *Drool*

Depending on the power of your oven, check on the brownies every 2 minutes after the 20 min mark, you don’t want them to burn, but do not under cook else they will not cut!

I can swear by this recipe as being THE BEST EVER! How do you like your brownies?

Good day all!