Autumn is here and what’s not to love. Lovely sunny days, crisp fresh evenings, the gorgeous colours all around us and this rich, warming Burgundy chicken casserole served with a dollop of buttery mash and a glass of red wine.
This rather delectable Chicken Casserole ticks all the boxes for a warm and comforting Autumnal meal. I could go on and on about the gorgeous aroma, the delicious sauce and the juicy, fall off the bone chicken but it’s probably much easier to just say that it’s been a firm family favourite for at least the past 20 years and never fails to please.
The other day, my hubby and I were reminiscing about our earlier days in South Africa and in particular about all the lovely food that we had available. At one point he almost started drooling when he started to tell me about a little place in Joburg called Wachenheimers. This, according to him was where you got the best hot beef on rye sandwiches – ever! He even had me Google the restaurant to see if it was still open.
The pictures on Google were definitely tempting so I thought I would have a go at making my own hot beef sandwich and I have to say the results were delicious. Why oh why is Pastrami not used more in this country – it is so tasty? To top it all I tried one of the new pickles from English Provender. They have brought out a range of four Proper Pickles – Traditional Proper Pickle (Chunky); Traditional Proper Pickle (Finely Chopped); Pickled Onion Proper Pickle or Beetroot Proper Pickle which are available from Waitrose or Asda. Normally I’m wary of buying pickles because I don’t like big chunks of vegetables but when I saw the finely chopped pickle I was sold.
As you can see in the picture above the different root vegetables have been very finely chopped and are encased in the most delicious and tangy blend of spices to make a wonderful accompaniment to any sandwich.
Another first for me were the kale chips. I’ve seen them in so many of the latest cook books and magazines but just never got round to trying them until now. Let’s just say I have them with everything now. Baked until crispy and tossed with a pinch of rock salt – you can’t stop eating them.
I would highly recommend giving this tasty sandwich a go. There is nothing complicated about it – just a combination of great tasting ingredients. Warning – make plenty and don’t be shy with the filling.
Drizzle the kale with olive oil and use your hands to toss until the kale is fully covered in oil.
Place the kale on a baking tray making sure it is not overcrowded.
Bake in the oven until the leaves are nice and crispy - about 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and toss with a pinch of rock salt.
Turn your oven off. Place pastrami slices into the oven to warm up. You want it just warm not hot.
Set to one side.
Place a knob of butter in a frying pan and heat until melted.
Place the slices of sour dough bread into the pan and press down lightly until you have some nice colour and crispy edges. You don't want to toast the bread just give it a bit of extra flavour and crunch.
Remove from pan and set on serving platter.
Layer the warm pastrami on the untoasted sides of the bread.
Spoon a generous amount of Proper Pickle on your sandwich.
Add the kale chips to your sandwich or serve as a side dish.
One of the things I love about cooking is the presentation of the finished article. I’m quite happy pottering away in the kitchen working on the finishing touches but with two young kids it’s become less and less about good looking food and more about speed and shortcuts. This mushroom & cheese tart looks very rustic but is the perfect quick tart. A couple of minutes to fry some mushrooms and onions, mix up some eggs, cheese and herbs. Unwrap some ready made puff pastry. Throw it all together and into the oven and by the time you’ve cleaned everything up you have a delicious tasting tart. Perfect to take on a picnic, a light lunch with a mixed salad or even as a starter.
Blossom on the trees, fresh green leaves making an appearance, pinks, purples, gorgeous yellows, warmer weather, longer days, lighter days ….
Well, that’s the theory. I’m still in hibernation – hesitant to switch off the heating, peering out my windows through the toxic smog which has descended upon London, jackets, scarves and gloves still at the ready and still craving warm, hearty food.
And let me tell you these curried lamb shanks are just what the doctor ordered. Slow cooked lamb in a spicy tomato based sauce until the meat is so tender it falls off the bone. Served over a bowl of rice with a generous helping of naan bread on the side to mop up all that lovely sauce.
Well it’s taken me a while to get back into blogging again and I have done so on one condition – I had to join Slimming World.
You see, for every recipe on this blog, I make and test it three times. Now my hubby doesn’t eat desserts or cakes and I don’t want to be giving them to my kids every other day so ….. Well you guessed it. I was eating my fair share and giving the rest away to my hubby’s co-workers. Not the ideal way to live a healthy lifestyle.
So Slimming World it is for the foreseeable future and hopefully more healthy meals on the blog with the occasional treat (or two).
This recipe for a one pot chicken chilli is a delicious family dinner and so tasty. It is one of those meals that gets the juices flowing as it simmers away on the stove top. It is hard to resist and that comes from someone who had to resist while taking these photos.
I love using spices when I am watching the calories and one of my most pinned recipes is my chickpea and spinach curry so I thought this chicken chilli would be a good one to share with you.
I have stated that each portion is equivalent to 2 Syns and that is because I choose to use olive oil to fry the onions and peppers. I just find it easier than trying to use the low calorie spray. I do use it for browning the chicken though.
If you have more success with the Fry Light oil then you could leave out the olive oil and use the low cal spray and the chicken chilli would be completely Syn free.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
1. The reason the preparation time is so long on this recipe is because I use chicken thighs which tend to have quite a bit of fat on them. I take the time to trim this all off but if you wanted to save some time you could use chicken breasts which are much leaner. You would however compromise on the taste and tenderness of the meat.
2. I would try and get as much colour on the chicken in the browning process because chicken thighs can look a bit dull and grey if you leave this process out.
3. I have stated 300ml of chicken stock (I use 1 stock cube) but this will depend on the pan you use, if you use gas or electricity and how fast your simmer rate is. If the sauce looks too dry towards the end of cooking time – add more water. If there is too much liquid – take the lid off and simmer for a couple more minutes until you get the correct consistency.
4. How spicy do you like it? This is a difficult one to put down in a recipe because there are so many different varieties of chillies out there. I use a medium strength chilli but if you’re not sure then try with one less and add more the next time you make it.