Chicken Pesto Salad

Normally you can attribute the success of a dish to a particular ingredient. This however lets every ingredient share the stage. You can leave out one or more of the ingredients but each one adds its own voice to the choir.

Using my last salad post as a base, (Check it out HERE) make it a full lunch or dinner with these other amazing flavours. Grilled Chicken gives this the protein to fill you up. Pesto adds a whole new dimension to the original flavour of the salad. Then, my favourite bit, toasted cumin seeds and pine nuts. That flavour from the fennel seeds really boosts the overall outcome of this pretty healthy, quick lunch or dinner.

What do you need

1x chicken breast

1tsp cumin seeds

25g pine nuts

1 tbsp pesto

1x lemon

Handful of spinach or rocket (or both)

1x pre cooked beetroot

5 sun dried tomatoes halved

40g feta cheese

What you need to do

Bash your chicken breast between some cling film to make it nice and even, around 1 cm thick would be good. Season it with a little salt and pepper and then drizzle it with a little olive oil. Add the breast to a hot pan and cook for around 4 minutes on each side (this can obviously vary, just make sure your chicken is white all the way through and there are no pink bits left inside).Once it is cooked through remove it to a plate and leave it to rest.

While the chicken cooks away heat another small pan and add the cumin seeds and pine nuts. Toast them for around a minute. You are not trying to cook them and you don't want to burn them so keep an eye out. All this does is release the aromatic oils and smells out of them both to make them taste amazing.

In a small bowl mix the pesto and lemon juice together.

Now to plate up just toss the spinach and rocket onto a plate and scatter over the beetroot, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts and cumin seeds. Crumble the feta cheese over everything. Slice your chicken breast into strips and lay on top and drizzle over the lemon pesto.

Sun Dried Tomato, Beetroot and Feta Salad

Bored of lettuce, tomato and cucumber salads? Me too. Try this.

Beetroot, its the vegetable equivalent to Marmite. And like Marmite, I absolutely love it. Couple that with one of the best flavours in the world, sun dried tomatoes, and you have an amazing salad. Spinach and rocket make the bed, on top of that bed lay the super sexy sundried tomatoes and beautiful beetroot. Adorning the top is a scattering of fabulous feta which is by far my favourite cheese at the moment. Drizzle a little olive oil and a touch of salt and pepper and you have a salad that will knock the socks off your usual, dull, lifeless bowl of iceberg, tomato and cucumber.

New Veg on the Block, Kalettes

Is it time we replaced Brussels sprouts with something we actually like? Every year we put them onto our plate at christmas and every year they are scraped off our plate into the bin, or in our case into the dogs dinner bowl (a mistake as regrettable as adding them to our dinner in the first place). It would be a shame I know, to take away something that is so entrenched in us, it would be like taking away the decorations from the tree. Without them it’s just a tree in the living room. The same with the dinner it may as well just be another roast dinner we have every Sunday. So why not change it. Kalettes, a blend of the best bits from your ever faithful brusssel sprout and your curly leafed friend, kale, give you a fantastic alternative. Different enough to be tasty but similar enough to not be unfaithful to the traditional sprout. 


They are not genetically modified before you ask, they are a hybrid of the two created using “traditional breeding techniques” to quote their website. I don’t know what this means. Maybe they water them with wine, stick on a bit of Barry White, close the doors and let Mr White work his magic. What I do know is that they taste amazing. Sweet, nutty and milder than Brussels. They a the first new vegetable to hit the shelves in over a decade and I for one welcome them with open arms.


I am going to do a few more recipes with them which I will post. For now here is a link to the Sea bass with garlicky bacon kalettes I cooked a while ago.

Jamie’s Traybaked Chicken with Smoky Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes

Before making this I thought it was missing something, potatoes, couscous, anything. There didn’t seem to be enough food for a dinner. I’m wrong again. It was satisfying, fresh and super tasty.


Maybe I have conditioned myself that the bigger the plate of food the better, or the more satisfying. In my head your dinner should have meat, potato or some kind of carb and some token vegetables. I don’t feel I have finished my dinner until I have had all three. In the same way I don’t feel that I have had lunch unless I have had the holy trinity of lunchtime foods; sandwhich, crisps and chocolate (eaten in that order) I could eat my sandwhich and crisps and then be given a whole bucket of KFC and I will still need to eat the chocolate before my brain says “ok and now we’re done” However there is some light at the end tunnel.

Besides this dinner being basically chicken, peppers, onion and tomatoes I felt satisfied afterwards. The flavour was as much to do with the olive oil and balsamic as it was about the actual ingredients. 

This is so simple, simply cut your tomatoes and peeled onion into wedges, cut the pepper into chunks. Chuck them all into a roasting pan with the chicken thighs. Squash the unpeeled garlic cloves and throw them in as well. (Don’t worry you squeeze the garlic out of its skin afterwards) Throw in the thyme leaves and sprinkle over the paprika. Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil and one of balsamic. Season with salt and pepper and then without decorating your walls toss it all together so everything is coated. Roast it in your oven at 180C for around an hour. Dress some salad leaves once it has cooked in a little olive oil and balsamic and serve together.

This meal was from our hello fresh box. Www.hellofresh.co.uk

Herbs in watercolour

I have started doing some sketches for a new series of posts I want to start on growing herbs and vegetables. Here is my first attempt. Hopefully you can tell what they are. 

Rosemary Glazed Chicken with Purple Mash and Buttered Leeks

Succulant crispy chicken on a bed of buttered leeks, and covered in a Rosemary glaze. Served with purple potato mash.

There isn’t much to report on this this meal but there were a couple of things worth mentioning. Firstly though the chicken was pan fried skin side down a while to get that lovely crispy skin. Finished off in the oven it was juicy and tender. The leeks were lovely, cooked in butter their mild flavour almost became one with the chicken. 

Now onto the purple potato. In taste and consistency it is almost identical to a regular potato. Purple potatoes are rich in the antioxidant, anthocyanin. This flavonoid is most often found in blue, red and purple produce such as berries and pomegranates and has been shown to be great at boosting the immune system. Here we mashed ours with some spring onion and a little butter. 

For me though, the Rosemary glaze was the star of the show. It was made by melting Rosemary jelly with some remaining stock in a pan. It had such a nice flavour. I have never heard of Rosemary jelly before. When I first saw it I assumed it was just Rosemary encased in jelly and used as a way of storing and portioning the Rosemary. When cooked, the jelly melts away and you are just left with the Rosemary in your pan. This is the case, however there were other flavours captured in the jelly as well. I imagine garlic and onion powders and as it had a beautiful sweetness there must have been some sugar. I will definitley use it again I’m thinking with lamb where that sweetness will match the flavour of the meat perfectly.

Did you ever stop to taste a carrot? Not just eat it, but taste it? You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie. ~Terri Guillemets