Tuesday, 6 December 2011



-grilled chicken salad with pitta
Serves: 2
Cooking time: 45 mins

3 tbsp lemon juice
5-6 tbsp olive oil
Small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
A pinch of dried oregano or herbes de provence
1 large or 2 smaller chicken breasts, ideally free range
A handful of asparagus spears (optional)
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Iceberg or little gem lettuce
A whole piece of parmesan
2 or 3 wholewheat pitta breads

Put 2 tbsp of lemon juice and 2 tbsp of olive oil in a shallow dish, add the garlic and oregano, salt and pepper and whisk with a fork. Cut the chicken breasts into strips, add them to the marinade and leave for at least half an hour. Meanwhile wash and dry the lettuce, make up a dressing with the remaining tbsp of lemon juice and 3-4 tbsp olive oil, then season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Now make the pitta crisps. Put a couple of wholewheat pitta breads in a toaster for 30 seconds until puffed up, then carefully split them down the middle. Cut each half into 4-5 triangles. Heat a thin layer of sunflower or vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the pitta pieces until crisp, turning halfway through. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and lay on kitchen paper to cool. While they're cooling, shave some parmesan with a cheese slicer or vegetable peeler. Microwave or steam the asparagus for a couple of minutes, and refresh under cold water. Heat the grill until it's really hot then cook the chicken strips and asparagus until nicely charred. Arrange some lettuce on a couple of plates and top with the chicken and asparagus, the pan juices and a little of the dressing. Break the pitta crisps roughly over the top and sprinkle with the parmesan shavings.

Serves: 1
Cooking time: 15 mins

200g cherry tomatoes, or 2 medium-to-large ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
8-10 large fresh basil leaves or 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
100-125g dried spaghetti or linguine
50g feta or goat's cheese
Salt, freshly ground black pepper, sugar and vinegar to taste

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for the time recommended on the pack. While the pasta is cooking, de-stalk and roughly chop the tomatoes. Put them in a bowl with the olive oil, then tear up the basil or parsley leaves and add them too. Season the tomatoes with salt, pepper, a few drops of vinegar plus a little sugar if they're not quite ripe and mix well. Drain the pasta and return to the pan then tip over the sauce. Stir well and leave to rest while you crumble the cheese. Tip the pasta on to a large dish and scatter the cheese on top.

Spanish style chicken
Serves: 4-6
Cooking time: 45 mins

1kg chicken thighs, each cut into two
8-10 whole cloves (about a head) of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
50ml fino sherry or dry montilla
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Heat the oil gently in a large frying pan or wok and fry a couple of the garlic cloves in the oil until they start to colour. Lift out the garlic and set aside. Season the chicken pieces with plenty of salt then fry them in the garlic oil until the skin starts to brown. Keep turning them so they don't stick (you may need to do this in two batches). When all the chicken is browned chuck in the rest of the garlic, the rosemary and the wine or sherry and bubble fiercely until the liquid has been absorbed. Turn into a large baking or roasting dish and cook for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is crispy and golden brown, turning a couple of times and adding extra wine or water if necessary. Serve with salad or oven-baked chips.


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