An old recipe I copied down from a magazine in the late 1980’s when I first got married was for the very ‘exotic’ Chicken a la King. We thought we were so sophisticated when we sat down to our meal in our first house and it’s something we’ve enjoyed eating every so often since then. My apologies for not being able to give credit to the original recipe writer, but it’s been with me for over 25 years on a scrappy piece of paper. I’ve changed it slightly as I really don’t like mushrooms, so they’re no longer in my own version of this recipe, but please feel free to ‘add the fungus’ if you so wish!
4 Chicken breasts, skinned
1 Onion, diced
100g Mushroom, sliced (not on my plate!)
60ml cold Water
20ml Tomato purée
Black Pepper to taste
250ml Chicken stock
1tsp dried Basil
2 Tomatoes, skinned & sliced
150ml Single cream
1/2 Green Pepper, sliced
1/2 Red Pepper, sliced
1. Heat the oven to 180C.
2. Heat the butter & oil in a frying pan.
3. Fry the chicken on both sides until golden.
4. Remove the chicken breasts to a casserole dish and set to one side.
5. Fry the onions and mushrooms (if using) until softened, but not coloured.
6. Mix the cornflour and water together until smooth.
7. To the pan, add the tomato purée, black pepper, stock and cornflour/water and bring to the boil, continuously stirring until thickened, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
8. Add the basil, sliced tomatoes, cream and sliced peppers and stir through.
9. Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts and cover with the lid.
10. Place your casserole dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
It’s incredibly easy to make your own tomato sauce pizza topping and then, using any leftover, stir it into your pasta or spruce it up with mince to made a base for your bolognese sauce to go with your spaghetti. This is how easy it is:
45ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1.25ml (¼tsp) Chilli flakes
2 x400g tins of chopped Tomatoes
2.5ml (½tsp) Sugar
Splash red wine (if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it!)
Basil stalks, chopped
1. In a large saucepan, heat your oil and cook your onions for 10 minutes until transparent and soft.
2. Add the crushed garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes until cooked, but not brown.
3. Add the chilli flakes, chopped tomatoes, sugar and wine.
4. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer then taste and season as required.
5. Add the basil stalks.
6. Cover and simmer for 1 hour until thick.
7. Blitz until smooth.
*Use to top your pizza dough, or transfer into a clean Kilner jar and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
*To make your bolognese sauce, brown mince, and onion and garlic then stir through the sauce and heat until piping hot.
For as long as I remember, mum always lovingly made us a Sunday roast dinner with home made Yorkshire puddings. Though I always make mine by eye and estimate my quantities, just the way mum taught me all those years ago, in order to publish a recipe for you, I’ve had to translate my ‘eye’ into measurable quantities, so here goes!
30ml Oil (vegetable, rapeseed or olive oil – you choose your favourite)
125g Plain flour
½ medium Onion, chopped
1. Heat your oven to 240˚C.
2. Pour your oil into a 25cm/10″ square Pyrex dish and put it into your oven to heat up.
3. In a bowl, add the flour, eggs, milk and salt.
4. Beat or whisk until smooth and lump free. The consistency you’re looking for is that of single cream.
5. Stir in your chopped onion and set to one side to rest.
6. When the surface of your oil is shimmering, but not smoking, reduce the oven temperature to 220˚C and give your batter a quick stir.
7. Quickly remove the dish from the oven, but keep the oven door open for as short a time as possible. It’s ESSENTIAL to keep as much heat into the oven as is possible.
8. Pour the batter into the dish. It should sizzle as it hits the hot oil.
9. Swirl the batter around and up all sides of the dish. This will help it start to rise up the dish as it cooks.
10. Quickly open the oven and place your dish straight back in, closing the door before the heat escapes, then DO NOT open the door until it’s cooked.
11. Stand back and watch your Yorkshire Pudding cook. You can see when it’s cooked as it’ll be risen into golden crowns and be an amazing golden brown colour.
* I always cook my Yorkshire Pudding in a Pyrex dish as you can guarantee that it’ll get wonderfully hot ready for your batter to go straight in and then it also won’t stick.
* Have your oven door open for the shortest time possible. Don’t open it, take out your dish and leave it open whilst you pour your batter into it and then return it to the oven. It’s essential that you keep that oven HOT so it starts to cook the instant that it goes in.
* Reserve a couple of tablespoons of your Yorkshire Pudding batter to transform your meat juices into the most incredible tasting gravy by following yesterday’s recipe.