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Pan roasted chicken breast with a porcini and herb sauce

Chicken and mushrooms are a great classic combination. This recipe gets an extra kick of mushroom by using the water that the porcini were rehydrated in as it will have some great flavour. I like to keep the skin on the chicken breasts for extra flavour and texture, nothing beats tasty chicken skin. It's a one pan dish here, so not much washing up when you finish. 

2 chicken breasts (skin on)
2 cloves garlic roughly crushed
100ml dry white wine
10g butter
10g fresh mixed herbs ( I used chives and parsley) 
5 sprigs of thyme
1 Sprig of rosemary
10g unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying
10g porcini soaked in 100ml hot water for about 1 hour

Strain the porcini and keep the water they were rehydrated in, taking care when straining to avoid any grit at the bottom
Roughly chop up the porcini and place to one side
In a pan sear the chicken breasts in a little oil for 1 minute per side to get a nice even brown colour
Add 50ml wine, the chopped porcini, 50ml of the water from the porcini, rosemary, thyme and garlic to the pan and place in the oven at 190c for 20-25 mins or until the chicken reaches 65c core temp
For those of you cooking this on the BBQ, set it up indirect at 200c and cook as instructed above, ensure you use a cast iron pan
Remove the chicken from the pan, cover and leave to rest in a warm spot
Remove the garlic, rosemary and thyme from the pan and discard
Place the pan back on the hob
Add the remaining wine and porcini water, bring to the boil briefly for 30 seconds
Turn off the heat, add the butter and herbs and whisk through
Season to taste with the salt and pepper before serving

Whiskey, chocolate and pecan fudge

Whiskey and chocolate will work well together but it's all about matching the right chocolate with the right whiskey. You need to look at the flavour profiles of each. For this recipe I used a 55% cacao chocolate which worked well with Teeling Small Batch whiskey. The small batch has a rich sweetness to it as it has been matured in rum casks, it is also a light bodied whiskey so doesn't overpower the chocolate. Pecan nuts have a lovely rich sweetness to them which rounds out the recipe. 
It's best to leave the fudge for a day or so after making it (if you can resist the temptation) to let the flavours mellow.

310g chocolate beads
1 can condensed milk
100g pecan nuts roughly broken up
90ml Teeling Small batch whiskey
3g maldon sea salt
50g icing sugar
baking parchment to line a baking dish

Line a baking dish with the parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with half of the icing sugar
Put the chocolate and the whiskey into a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water, ensure the bowl doesn't touch the water, 
Stir until the chocolate has completely melted
Add the condensed milk to the bowl and keep stirring until it starts to thicken
Take the bowl off the heat and add the salt and pecans and stir through
Pour into the lined baking dish and smooth out
Allow to cool slightly before placing in the fridge to set for 6 hours or overnight preferably
When set sprinkle with the rest of the icing sugar and cut into cubes

Cider baked Camembert with garlic

I've been cooking variations of this dish for years. Camembert and cider are a great natural pairing, especially if you can find a good Normandy cider to serve with this. If you cannot get hold of a French cider then a good off dry English, Irish or Dutch cider will do just as well.

1 small Camembert (preferably one in a wooden box, it makes it easier to bake the Camembert in)
1 clove garlic crushed
50ml cider
5g freshly chopped chives
Salt and pepper
Baguette or crusty bread of your choice for dipping

Set your BBQ up for indirect cooking at 180c OR
Pre heat the oven to 170c (fan) or 180c normal
Remove any paper packaging from the camembert and place back in the box
Sprinkle over the garlic and pour the cider over 
Season lightly with salt and pepper
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the camembert is nice and soft
Sprinkle over the chives and enjoy!


Hutspot is a traditional dish from the city of Leiden that dates back to 1574. This dish is traditionally eaten around the 3rd of October which is a festival in Leiden called Leidens Ontzet which celebrates the freedom of the city of Leiden from the Spanish. It originated during the siege of Leiden due to a shortage of supplies and became a dish of necessity. The dish comprises of onions, carrots and potatoes mixed together, given that potatoes weren't that popular in Europe when it originated, it would have been made with parsnips.. It is traditionally served with meat, either smoked sausage or klapstuk a Dutch cut of beef which benefits from slow cooking. I thought it about time that I showcased a dish from the city I now live in here in the Netherlands. 

1 large onion finely chopped
1 large carrot sliced
500g potatoes peeled and halved
50g butter
20ml oil for frying
Salt and pepper 

Cook the onions for 10 - 15 minutes until soft and glossy in the oil on a low heat
Remove from the pan and place to one side
Place the potatoes in the pan, adding enough water to cover them cook for 10 minutes, after 5 minutes of cooking has elapsed add the carrots
Check that both the carrots and potatoes are cooked through at the end of the cooking time, the carrots should have a little bite and the a knife should go through the potatoes easily
Strain the potatoes and carrots and remove to a plate with the onions
In the pot place the butter and allow to melt on a low heat
Place the potatoes, carrots and onions in the pan and using a potato masher, start to break them down, you want a rustic mash
Season to taste with the salt and pepper

Goat kofte

First recipe for goatober 2020!
I like to pair my goat with spices as they work so well together. The spices in this kofte recipe have elements that bring out a sweetness in the meat and lift the dish. 
500g goat fillet finely minced
2g cinnamon
5g cumin seeds
2g turmeric
2g coriander seeds
5g smoked hot paprika flakes
5g paprika
2g ginger powder
30g onion grated
2 cloves garlic grated
10g pork or lamb fat
3g celery salt
Pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together, and leave for a few hours or preferably overnight to allow the flavours to come together
Before cooking fry off a small piece to check the seasoning, if it needs more salt then add some
If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them for a few hours in water before you put them on the BBQ, otherwise they will burn 
To make the koftes, make sure your hands are cold, it makes it easier to form the shapes on the skewer
Take a small amount of the mix, form a ball and then put a skewer through the ball and then start to form a sausage shape around the skewer, it takes a bit of practice to get it right
Once you've made the koftes, place back in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow them to firm up
Set your barbecue up for indirect grilling at 200c
Cook for 2 minutes each side getting a nice char on the koftes

Pea and courgette risotto

Risotto is one dish that can be adapted no matter what time of year it is. This dish has a lovely freshness to it with the herbs and vegetables. A comfort dish for a rainy day making the most of the courgette season. Frozen peas, I find work better but if you can get fresh when in season, then make the most of them. 
250g risotto rice (my preference is arborio)
70g parmesan grated
20g unsalted butter
2 shallots finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
750ml vegetable stock
10g finely chopped parsely
10g Finely chopped chives
10g Finely chopped basil
150g courgette finely diced into cubes
100g frozen peas
Salt and pepper to season
30ml oil for frying
100ml vermouth

In a frying pan fry off the courgette dice in 10ml of oil until nicely browned, place on a plate with kitchen paper
In a pan keep the stock on a low heat as you will need it warm when you add it to the risotto
In another medium sized pan on a low heat fry off the shallots and garlic in 20ml of the oil until soft
Turn the heat up high and add the vermouth, after 1 minute turn the heat down to a medium heat
Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat in the residual liquid
Start to add the stock a ladleful at a time and keep stirring until the rice has absorbed each ladle before adding another
After 15 mins, take some of the rice and test for doneness, it should be soft with a little bite but not too much and not leave a chalky sensation in your mouth
If it is still a little chalky or too al dente, then continue to cook until you get the right texture
5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the peas, courgettes and herbs and stir through
Turn the heat down and add the parmesan and butter, stirring through for another couple of minutes
Season and serve

Grilled Oysters Rockefeller style

 This recipe certainly brings back memories of growing up in the West of Ireland, a region well known for it's seafood and especially it's oysters. Oysters are a symbol these days of luxury, though it wasn't the case in the past, as they were cheap and easily available. I have memories of my father bringing back a car bootful of oysters after work. He was a cash a carry manager and often local hoteliers or restaurant owners would give him local oysters that they had excess of from local fishermen. I've got into grilling my oysters on the BBQ and like to add flavoured butters or herbs, just enough so they don't detract from the wonderful oysters themselves. It's also a great lazy way of "shucking" them, sometimes I put them on the grill on a lowish heat and they open up quite nicely. 

12 oysters
100g butter
30g flat leaf parsley
30g fresh chives finely chopped
50g spring onion green part 
100g panko breadcrumbs

Whizz the butter herbs and spring onions up into a paste in a food processor
Roll into a cylindrical shape and wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to firm up

Set the BBQ for direct cooking at 200c
Open the oysters, pour out the excess juice and place a half teaspoon of butter in each oyster over the meat
Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs until you have a light coating on top
Place on the grill and cook for 5 - 8 minutes until the butter has melted and the breadcrumbs start to brown slightly
You can also cook these under the grill if you don't want to BBQ, keep an eye on them as you don't want the oyster to dry out too much or the breadcrumbs to burn, so 5 minutes should be fine