Category Archives: Herbs

Herby Chicken.

Tarragon-Chicken-(5081)

Chicken by itself can be quite tasteless, but if cooked well and packed with other ingredients it is always a hit. I prefer to buy chicken pieces on the bone, or a whole chicken, because these have more flavour and don’t get dry easily, or rather the risk is lessened. However for this chicken and tarragon dish I found on Nigella Kitchen (which I am rediscovering) she uses whole chicken breasts. So I followed her advice, with some variations, and the result was good. If you like delicate recipes or if you want to feel like you’re in a French bistro, and it’s a special occasion you will love this. But for those who like their food to be punchy, then this might not be for you. J is a case in point as he didn’t like it that much. He didn’t say so directly mind you; he just said it needs something more, whatever that was! He could be right btw! Now if you want to try this with less cream you can do so by using half the cream with 3oml of white vermouth. I would leave it as is and serve it with green beans and rice. Serves 4.

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 160ml white wine
  • 1 teaspoon course salt, crushed
  • 120ml double cream
  • pepper, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons dried tarragon (to complete the sauce)

In a shallow pan heat the oil well and add the spring onions, garlic and tarragon. Stir well and let them cook for a bit keeping an eye, or two eyes on them to avoid burning.

Place the chicken breasts (curve side down) into the pan and cook them for around 5 minutes. The onions could start to turn brown on you, so if this happens scrape them with your wooden spoon and put them on the chicken. Once you tackled this, turn the chicken on the other side and add the wine.

Add the salt, cover the pan, turn the heat down and let everything simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. To check this you can cut the thickest part with a knife, but if the juices run clear then they are done. If need be leave them to cook for another 5 minutes. Don’t cook them for too long or they will turn stringy.

Take the chicken pieces out of the pan onto a warm serving dish. Boil the liquid in the pan, add the cream, stir, add the remaining tarragon and some pepper and stir once more. Pour this over the chicken, and serve with green beans and some rice, as this is more delicate in flavour than potatoes.

Enjoy!

Rob x

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Rosemary Cake

Rosemary-Loaf-(5055)

I love herbs. They bring so much taste, zest and greenness in the kitchen especially during the dullest of months. They are generally used in cooking I know, but I was really intrigued when I was flipping through Nigella’s books and found a recipe for a cake with rosemary. And incidentally, after making this I realised that it is quite a popular dessert too. I do have a confession though: rosemary is not one of my favourites. I cannot pinpoint exactly why; maybe because of it’s sometimes soapy taste and woody texture, or it could be simply because of it’s pointy shape. But there’s an endless list of savoury stuff using this particular herb, and you can be as creative as you want. It is great with chicken, though lately I don’t bother with it and use sage or tarragon instead, which works great for me.

Now I must say here that this cake was not very popular among those who had a taste. The cake itself was fine, but the rosemary bit was not to everyone’s liking. I was not surprised, but I loved not only the taste, but the aromatic smell wafting through my kitchen while it was in the oven. So even if I scared you off at the start (really…I didn’t mean to) I would recommend you give this a go. You could always serve it with some raw fruit, or a fruit compote if it’s not your cup of tea when eaten on it’s own. So here’s the recipe, taken from Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess with minor variations. You need a loaf tin for this.

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 210g self-raising flour
  • 90g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, chopped but not too much
  • 60ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar, set aside for sprinkling the top

Preheat your oven to 170ºC/around 350ºF/Gas Mark 3, and line a tin loaf with some butter and baking paper.

Cream the sugar and softened butter till everything is pale and light. Beat in the eggs slowly, preferably one by one, alternating with one spoon of flour.

Add the vanilla extract, then all the remaining flour. Now it’s time to add the rosemary.
To give the batter a slightly more liquidy consistency add the 4 tablespoons of milk and mix till it’s combined with the batter.

Pour your mixture into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of caster sugar on top. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until a knife comes out clean.

This cake will keep well for several days if stored in an airtight container. Like all Madeira mixtures it is ideal for tea-time. Enjoy!

Rob x