29 Aug 2012

Chicken Pesto Parcels

Served with a few crushed new potatoes garnished with chopped chives.
After eating out on numerous occasions recently, it's always great to get back to normality and eat home cooked food.  Hubby always says he prefers my meals, but then like most men, he has learnt the art of saying the right things.........

Tasty, quick, simple with just one ready made ingredient and all cooked together in a tray.

My ready made ingredient is fresh pesto from Waitrose, it's amazing and you can even see whole pieces of pine nuts in the pesto sauce. This is one of my finds that is nearly as good as home made.  I buy a pot and pour some into an ice cube tray and freeze for a rainy day.

The slightly adapted recipe is from The New Dairy Cookbook.

Serves: 4

You will need: 2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons pesto, 25g grated mature Cheddar cheese, 4 boneless chicken breasts, 2 red and 2 yellow deseeded peppers, 4 tomatoes cut into wedges, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 15g butter

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Mix together, pesto, Cheddar and breadcrumbs.
3. Cut a pocket into each chicken breast and fill with the pesto mixture. Use cocktail sticks to close the pocket.
4. Arrange the peppers and chicken in a baking dish and drizzle over the olive oil and dot with butter.
5. Roast for 25 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are charred at the edges.
6. After serving up drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and the pan juices.

8 Aug 2012

White Cob Loaf by Paul Hollywood

Soft textured bread with a crisp crust and tender crumb.
I'm in bread making mode again. Sometimes this obsession only lasts for as long as it takes to make a loaf of bread. I really enjoy making bread in my food mixer, I can't say that I'm one for all that kneading by hand. I'm also a huge bread machine fan, simply throw everything into the bread pan and out comes either a perfect baked loaf of bread or a piece of ready-to-go dough, all ready to shape. 

I'm waiting to be sliced!

I thought the bread was a little on the salty side but maybe this is because we gave up being heavy handed with salt many, many years ago.  The instructions say to line the baking tray with silicone paper but if you do this the base of the bread won't crisp up - my preferred options are to either grease or flour the base of the baking tray, both of these methods will ensure a crisp bottom! Better still put a pizza stone in the oven to heat up and then put your baking tray on top of this, you will definitely have a cooked bottom then! I'm curious, why would you line a baking tray with silicone or baking paper when you need the base of the bread to be crisp and brown?

Everything all mixed and now ready for the first rise.

Now doubled in size and waiting to be knocked back.

The shaped dough waiting to be covered for a second rise until doubled in size.

After the second rise, I have been dusted with flour and I'm waiting to go into the oven.

I'm not great when it comes to cutting into bread dough, a very large sharp knife is required and you have to be quick and precise otherwise the bread dough will deflate.  In fact, this happened to me, that is why I am hiding the right hand third of the bread!  I was sent a fab product to sharpen my knives and I only wish I had used this prior to cutting the dough.  Great recipe from How to Bake by Paul Hollywood.