Friday, 25 January 2013

Attempt #35: Tender & crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes

As I was trying to assemble the ingredients for this recipe, it seemed like déjà-vu that I have attempted this before. Then I realized why it feels like déjà-vu.... most of Jamie’s recipe calls for either lemon, tomatoes or basil.

The result:

It was definitely tasty. However, it taste like the previous attempts or recipes as they are all baked in lemon, basil and/ or tomatoes as well. J

      4 higher-welfare chicken legs, jointed
      sea salt
      freshly ground black pepper
      1 big bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
      2 big handfuls red and yellow cherry tomatoes and ripe plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes halved, plum tomatoes quartered
      1 whole bulb garlic, broken into cloves
      1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
      olive oil
      410 g tinned cannellini beans, drained, optional
      2 handfuls new potatoes, scrubbed, optional

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Season your chicken pieces all over and put them into a snug-fitting pan in one layer. Throw in all the basil leaves and stalks, then chuck in your tomatoes. Scatter the garlic cloves into the pan with the chopped chilli and drizzle over some olive oil. Mix around a bit, pushing the tomatoes underneath. Place in the oven for 1½ hours, turning the tomatoes halfway through, until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat falls off the bone.

If you fancy, you can add some drained cannellini beans or some sliced new potatoes to the pan and cook them with the chicken. Or you can serve the chicken with some simple mashed potato. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins before serving. You could even make it part of a pasta dish – remove the chicken meat from the bone and shred it, then toss into a bowl of linguini or spaghetti and serve at once.

Attempt #34: Tomato, basil & prosciutto omelette

This turned out really bad. Point in case – photo below shows the result of my attempt with this recipe vs Jamie’s.

 My attempt:
Jamie's rendition:

Biggest mistake I suspected was that I did not pre-heat my grill to the highest which was 240C. Instead, I was only using at 200C.

Should you want to attempt this, recipe as below:


  • 4 slices quality prosciutto
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 1 handful different coloured small tomatoes, halved and quartered
  • 1 small handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped, optional
  • olive oil, for drizzling, optional

Preheat your grill to high. Heat a small, non-stick frying pan until medium hot. Dry fry the prosciutto until crisp. Remove to a plate, keep warm, and put the pan back on the heat.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a small bowl and season with sea salt and pepper. Pour into the hot pan and, using a fork, mix the eggs around to cook a little. Scatter the tomatoes on the top, remove the pan from the heat and place under the hot grill, about 6–7cm away. Continue to cook until the eggs are just cooked and the tomatoes are warmed through.

To serve, place the prosciutto on top, sprinkle over the basil and chilli, if using. Season with black pepper and finish with a drizzle of olive oil, if you like.

Attempt #33: Stir-fried corn with chilli, ginger, garlic & parsley

Most people love sweetcorn – even most kids! It is probably that wonderful bright yellow that makes it so sweetly appealing.

I find that this recipe makes a good side dish especially if we are in a hurry.

The result:

As usual, I omitted the chilli and this time the ginger too as I wanted to make it kids-friendly. I did swap the ginger with some bittersweet orange zest recommended by Jamie as well.  It was certainly a fresh perspective on how something as simple as corn kernels can be cooked besides cooking them with butter. J
The parsley did give the dish color but it was not a big hit with the kids. For convenience, I used the frozen and pre-packed corn kernels bought from the grocer. Hence, the corn was not as sweet as I hoped it should be.

corn kernels
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon chopped chilli
1 handful chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons low-salt

One of the things I love to do is to stir-fry the corn kernels in a hot wok or frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of chopped ginger, a teaspoon of chopped chilli, a handful of chopped fresh parsley and a couple of tablespoons of low-salt soy sauce. You can vary the flavours with different herbs, but this is a good base to start with.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Attempt #32: Roast chicken & Pesto

If you ever come across days where you need to whip something up with common ingredients available in our kitchen, this would be one of those amazing recipes to know.

The result: Although the cooking time will take almost an hour, the preparation takes merely 10 minutes to put together. Healthy dinner for a weekday night. :)

Ingredients that you need :
·         chicken (whole or whole thigh)
·         Sea salt, Black Pepper (for seasoning)
       1 bulb garlic, peeled and crushed
       1 large orange
       a few sprigs fresh thyme
       extra virgin olive oil
       Pesto sauce from the jar
Optional: Some freshly grated Parmesan cheese (to mix into the Pesto sauce)


Preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6, then stuff your chicken with the1 garlic bulb or place the garlic in between the chicken thighs and thyme. Zest the orange and then squeeze the juice of the orange over the chicken. Place the orange peel / skin in between the chicken.

Then, rub the outside of the chicken with lots of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then rub with olive oil and roast for 1 to 1½ hours (depending on the size and weight of the chicken). To see if it's properly cooked, pierce a thigh with the tip of a knife and check that the juices run clear. If they don't, continue cooking and check again.

Scoop out a tablespoon of the Pesto sauce from the jar. Add the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. If the pesto looks stiff, moisten it with olive oil.

Serve the chicken in portions – hot or cold – on a big plate with the pesto in a bowl next to it or over the chicken.