This is a recipe of my own making and is so simple – it’ll surprise you.
With a rich sauce, this dish is surprising light and is healthy too. Although it is best slow cooked for a number of hours, this recipe is a tasty bowl of comfort within an hour and a half and the prep will only steal a few minutes.
No sauteing or browning in a pan – this one pot chicken is just that.
Less dishes. Less fuss. More flavour
Ingredients (serves 3)
4x Chicken breasts
1x stick of celery
1x red onion
can of tomatoes
2x red bell peppers
2 cloves of garlic
350ml chicken stock
capers or pitted black olives
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
Chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces and lay them at the bottom of the pot with the potatoes.
Mince 2 large cloves of garlic and tear some parsley – placing both into the pot with the vegetables.
Score the chicken breasts and Lay them on top of the vegetables. Add the can of tomatoes and stock to the pot.
Season to taste with salt & pepper and add a teaspoon basil.
Cover and place pot into the hot oven. Cook for 1hr.
After 1hr. Remove pot from oven and add the capers or olives to the pot. Stir.
Place pot back into the oven and cook uncovered for 30mins.
Serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and garnished with parsley with a slice of crusty buttered bread. Dig in!
For vegetarian & vegan readers – why not try this recipe with some fried firm tofu?
If you have the time and the patience I really recommend you slow cook the dish for 3hrs. The recipe above is quick and healthy but is extremely versatile too. We not knock it up a notch with some chili flakes or replace the potatoes with lentils
Rome was exactly what I had expected. Full of life and sunshine, it is a city of hustle and bustle, of espresso shots and scooters and of incredible ancient ruins scattered across the entire city. Rome is a city for exploration, of religious devotion and most importantly for food.
When backpacking across Europe I was savvy with my money and often I bought food at shops and markets or binged on complimentary continental breakfasts supplied by the many hostels I visited – For Italy however my frugalness left me and I ate out all day everyday during my stay at this vibrant and gastronomic country!
Italian food is my absolute favorite. Where taste and comfort is at the heart of it, Italian food does away with any fuss or pretension and when made with love and fresh ingredients packed with flavour – Italian food is eccezionale!
Below are a few snaps from my trip to Rome and below that is this week’s scrap on an Italian favorite – Gnocchi. It’s surprisingly easy to make and the recipe below is fool proof, perfect for a lazy sunday afternoon whatever the weather. Admittedly I tried my first ever Gnocchi in Rome and let me tell ‘ya – I wasn’t disappointed!
I ate at a small restaurant that was a short walk away from my hostel. Tempio di Mecenate is a cosy spot where they serve good wholesome homey food. It’s good value too and is close to the enchanting Porta Magica – a magic portal in a garden which is a quiet and special find rarely surrounded by tourists. Before traveling to another dimension, I recommend having lunch at the restaurant and although it will cost you extra, sit outside in the sun – it will be worth it.
Old school Roman dining beside a garden of magic – bellissima! (…yes I’m unashamedly throwing Italian words into my post)
Although in Rome, I had Gnocchi with a rich ragu sauce. The recipe below is perfect for beginners and although it does take some time, it is incredibly simple and can be made into larger batches and stored in the freezer for future use.
This recipe ensures the Gnocchi is the centre of attention. The sauce is very light which I think compliments this starchy and substantial pasta
Ingredients (Serves two)
2 large potatoes
2 cups of flour
salt and pepper
Peel the potatoes and boil them in a pot for about 20mins (or until tender). Do not overcook them. You want the potatoes to be tender and fluffy – not too soft and mushy.
Drain the potatoes well. You want to get rid of all excess water and have the potatoes dry before mashing.
Give your potatoes a good mashing (or push them through a potato ricer – if you’re more fortunate than I & have one)
Place mashed potato on a clear work surface and top with the flour.
Grate a generous amount of the cheese and add it to the potato and flour mixture.
Sprinkle some salt on the mound and roughly give it a mix with your hands.
Create a well in the centre of the mound and add the beaten eggs.
Mix the flour, potato, cheese and egg together until it forms a dough.
Knead it only until it becomes well formed. It should be a little sticky but not too much. NOTE: If a little flour is needed add some but be careful – too much flour will make the pasta hard.
Shape the dough into one large rectangular shape making sure it is even in height, about 2cm thick.
Cut dough into rectangular strips about 10cm long.
Roll each strip into a sausage shape making sure it is even.
Cut the sausage shape into 2cm pieces and use a fork to indent the gnocchi pieces with ridges.
FOR THE SAUCE: As the fresh gnocchi takes only 4mins to cook. Leave the pasta aside and dice an onion and some garlic.
In a hot pan saute the onion and garlic with some butter and in a separate pan toast the pine nuts until golden.
In a pot of boiling salted water add the gnocchi and cook for 4mins ( you will know when the pasta is done as the gnocchi will float to the top)
Drain the gnocchi and toss it into the pan. Mix the gnocchi in the buttery sauce gently and tear some basil leaves adding the herb & a little more butter to the pan. Add the toasted pine nuts to the pan with the squeezed juice of about half a lemon also. Stir gently. Season with salt if needed (bare in mind the cheese & butter is salty) & a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
Serve in warm bowls with grated Parmesan on top, a sprig of basil & a final sprinkling of nuts. A drizzle of olive oil wouldn’t go amiss either!
NOTE: Gnocchi can be kept in the freezer for future use. Just pack the pieces in a zip bag with a little dusting of flour (to prevent them sticking) and defrost them the night before you need them
This is comfort food in a bowl and although it uses simple ingredients -it doesn’t skimp on flavour. It may take some time and attention but gnocchi isn’t as daunting as you’d think – give it ago.
Expect more posts on my Italian adventures. I have tonnes of photos, tips and recipes I want to share. This was only a little taste of Rome, there’s plenty more to come – so look out for more on the scrapbook
Spanish sausage & red pepper sauce – an Addict’s recipe
This is a quick scrap which is simple to make, packed with flavour and is perfect if there are many mouths to feed as it can be cooked in one big pot. It goes brilliantly with couscous or rice and peas and is a cracking good dish with minimum effort.
Spanish sausage or sausages
2 garlic cloves
3 red bell peppers
2 tablespoons of red pepper relish or salsa
can of chopped tomatos
salt and black pepper
Pre-heat an oven to 180c
Chop the bell peppers in half, removing seeds and stalk. Lightly coat peppers in olive oil and salt and pepper on a tray. Place tray into oven for 10-15mins (or until peppers are lightly chared).
Whilst peppers roast in the oven. Dice an onion and the garlic and add it to a heated pan with olive oil. Saute.
Chop the sausages into bite sized pieces and add them to the pan.
When the meat has browned on its sides, add the chopped tomatos and turn down the heat of the pan. Simmer.
Remove peppers from oven and place them into a heat-proof blender. Bliz.
Pour pureed bell peppers into simmering pan. Add the spices and relish/salsa. Stir
Turn up the heat and let sauce bubble once more and thicken.
Roughly chop parsley and garnish dish
Serve with warm couscous or rice.
This dish is great comfort food and is delicious as is but it can be knocked up a notch with some pitted black olives, a final sprinkling of chili flakes and a dollop of sour cream. Chorizo works brilliantly here but any Spanish sausage or bangers in the fridge will do too!
Christmas is on its way and there’s nothing better than having a hot bowl of soup while snuggled on the sofa near a roaring fire. This is a quick recipe perfect for cold winter nights. It’s so easy to make and will have you warmed up in no time as the winds continue to howl outside.
With very few ingredients – This recipe is as healthy as it is fuss-free. All it takes is a little prep and either a heatproof blender or a handheld blender which will blitz the vegetables in no time.
2x Butternut squash
1x large onion
350ml of vegetable or chicken stock
tablespoon of honey
tablespoon of french mustard
Juice of half a lemon
salt & pepper
Chop the butternut squash into chunks. No need to peel the hard outer skin, just scoop out the seeds.
Place the chunks of squash in a baking tray and massage the olive oil generously so that the chunks are coated.
sprinkle a few cumin seeds onto the chunks of squash
Place tray into a heated oven for 30mins at 200 degrees.
Dice a large onion and a large clove of garlic.
Add chopped onion & garlic to a pot with some melted butter or a little olive oil. Saute.
Take the cooked squash out from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. Scoop the squash away from the skin. After being baked, the skin can peel away easily.
Add the squash to the pot
Add the stock and stir
Add a tablespoon of the honey, mustard and dried oregano. Stir
Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon in the pot and stir well
Blend the stock and vegetables until smooth.
Serve the soup with a dollop of cream cheese or sour cream and a few diced chives.
This soup is so easy to make and is healthy too. Serve the soup with some crusty buttered bread, sit back and dig in.
Here’s a recipe for a quick and tasty salad dressing. It can be stirred up in no time and is great with steak. Three simple ingredients simply mixed together – this dressing has a nice kick to it. Give it a go.
Extra virgin olive oil
light soy sauce
It’s really that simple. Depending on how much salad is needed, add a teaspoon of the mustard to about 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and soy sauce. mix and blend the dressing together and dress the leaves immediately before serving.
Simple yet deliciously effective.
Another tip which I use all the time to elevate home made sauces is red pepper relish. I add a heaped tablespoon of this stuff into tomato pasta sauces or into chicken casseroles baked in the oven. The red pepper relish I usually use comes from Lidl – it’s great value and has a nice smokey flavour perfect for pasta sauces with ham or bacon. It’s also great simply spread on crusty bread with cheese.
It’s a great kitchen cheat – that will give your sauces the needed depth & tang. As the best sauces are left to cook and boil down for hours – a tablespoon of relish stirred through a can of chopped tomatoes and some basil, substitutes for time and acts as a flavourful thickener too.
Although tomato puree brings out a deeper flavour, the relish does its job and more – giving dishes a little spice.
It’s worth a try!
On my trip to Galway city, in the Latin quarter, over weekends there is a food and stall market along the many street encircling a small church close to the quays. There I bought for 10 euro a Provencail garlic grater. It comes with a rubber tube (see photo below) which makes peeling garlic husks in a matter of seconds possible. The garlic clove sits inside whilst you roll the tube quickly between your hands.
The actual grater then is the painted plate with many groves on it. Holding the garlic between your thumb and index finger – you simply rub the garlic in circular movements along the plate. In a matter of minutes you have minced garlic pulp which you can toss into your dishes or pan. The small handled brush is used to collect any pulp still clinging to the plate & the plate itself is dishwasher proof – though a blitz under the tap will do too.
I’m really impressed by this kitchen gadget – so I thought I’d share it here in the scrapbook. The grater can be used to grate almost anything, from carrot, nuteg, most nuts, chocolate, lemons, apple and pears – it’s a nice find.
This is a quick recipe for a tasty meal packed with flavour. Unlike a Chinese takeway this home cooked scrap will have your tummy thanking you. Quick and easy – like all my recipes, this is a great warming dish perfect for cold autumn nights. Add as much spice as desired and you’re good to go.
The recipe below uses few ingredients but feel free to pack in more of your favourite veggies and of course use quorn or tofu as an alternative to chicken.
Vegetarian tip: Use rice wine vinegar too instead of Oyster sauce.
Seriously this meal is whipped up in minutes, just prep first and have all your veg chopped and ready to go.
cooked chicken breast
cooked brown rice
peanut or coconut oil
toasted sesame oil (optional)
Chop the chicken/tofu into bite sized pieces
Dice the garlic, ginger & chop the veg.
In a bowl, scramble an egg and leave aside for later.
Heat a pan or wok with some peanut oil or coconut oil.
Add the diced ginger, garlic and some chili flakes. Stir
Add the spring onion and mangetout (and other desired veg). Stir.
Add the rice and stir the wok, making sure to keep everything moving on high heat.
Add the osyster sauce, spices and soy sauce.
Add the egg and quickly mix/stir the rice and vegetables together making sure the egg coats as much of the rice as possible.
Serve immediately in warm bowls with a final drizzle of sesame oil
The toasted sesame oil is optional but if you have it at hand use it as it adds a brilliant nutty flavour to the dish. The recipe is extremely simple and versatile but packed with flavour. It’s one of my favourites