Thursday, April 6, 2017

Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Rice

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC),  is cooking from a new selected chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall starting this month, until September. I love watching his shows on TV, River-Cottage, his life on his farm with fresh veggies, herbs and fruits, organic-raised chickens, fresh milk and meat from the cows he raised, and other wonderful fresh produce around his farm like wild mushrooms! All the food and breads he made in his kitchen always look so, so, good! So I am looking forward to cook with Hugh along with my other friends at IHCC. Anyone is welcome to join us, just hop along to IHCC for more details.

To welcome Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall into our kitchen, we can cook any of his recipes. There are many which I am so tempted to make, but I'll start with a one pot meal, Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Rice. I love one pot meal, especially when it has rice it it! 

The chicken parts are cooked three times. Firstly, they are to be browned in a skillet, then roast for 20 minutes, then roast again, this time together with the rice until both the chicken and the rice are cooked. This may sound like a lot of work, but really there isn't much work at all. Recipe states that 125gm of arborio rice to serve 6, which I thought was way too little rice! It is slightly more than half a cup, how could this amount feed 6 people? I increased the rice to about 450gm to feed 4, since this is a meal all on its own.

The rest of the ingredients I pretty much followed the same amount except that I did not use the white wine. I do have a bottle of white wine, but I was struggling to open the bottle! After almost ten minutes, and getting impatient by then, I put that bottle aside and replace with chicken stock instead. Increase the stock accordingly if more arborio rice is used. The recipe says to prebaked the chicken first, while the rice stir-fried with the other ingredients as per the recipe instructions. The rice is then tipped into the chicken dish, taking care that not a grain of rice is left on the chicken, as it might not be fully cooked. I have however reversed the other way round. I stir-fry the rice briefly in a oven-safe saucepot, add the stock, let it come to a boil, then place the pre-roasted chicken on the rice, scatter the olive and baked uncovered until both the chicken and the rice are cooked, about 30 minutes. Remove pot from the oven, put the lid on and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Delicious one pot meal. Love the tender, juicy chicken and the tasty delicious rice. I scattered chopped fresh coriander leaves as I did not have any thyme. Works deliciously with the coriander. I chopped a generous amount of chopped fresh coriander, place the bowl at the table so that everyone can help themselves how much they want, cos in my house, we love fresh coriander, perfect garnish with rice meals like this! 

Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Rice
(source from
Serves 6
1 tbsp olive oil
1 chicken, jointed into 6 pieces (or 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken portions)
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
125gm risotto rice, such as arborio (I use about  450gm)
150ml dry white rice (omitted)
1 tbsp tomato puree
400gm tinned tomatoes, crushed
500ml chicken stock (add more stock if more rice is used)
about 150gm black or green olives (optional)
a litte fresh thyme, to finish

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Put a large frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the oil. Season the chicken pieces well, and in two batches, brown in the hot pan. Transfer to a large oven dish, skin side up, and when all the chicken is browned, roast it for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, turn the heat right down under the frying pan. If need be, pour off any excess fat (you want only one to two tablespoons of fat left in the pan). Add the onions and sweat gently for 10 minutes, until soft, then add the garlic and oregano, and cook for a few minutes more.
Stir in the rice for a minute or two, then add the wine and increase the heat so it is bubbling. Simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring, until  the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the tomato puree, then add the tinned tomatoes and stock, and bring back to a boil. Season to taste.
All this should fill the chicken's initial 20 minutes' cooking. Tip the rice mix into the chicken dish, making sure no grains are left on top of the meat, where they won't cook. Scatter in the olives, if using, and roast for 30 minutes longer, by which time the rice should be swollen and tender. Leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, check the seasoning, scatter with thyme and serve.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
Welcome Hugh!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Green Beans with Snail Butter

It's Cook the Book Fridays, and this week's selected recipe from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz is Green Beans With Snail Butter (Haricots Verts Au Beurre D'Escargot). As David says in the book, "Don't worry, there are no snails in beurre d'escargot,  the name refers to butter mixed with a copious amount of garlic that is used for baking snails."

This is an easy dish with simple ingredients, yet so delicious. 

The green beans I bought were young, tender and very sweet. I removed the pointed ends of the beans, as we always eat them that way. David has left the green beans whole but I have snapped them in two, easier to eat that way! 

One thing I did not follow was to steam the green beans. Instead of steaming, I microwaved them with some sprinkling of water for 3 minutes on high. To cook the green beans, melt butter in a large skillet, add the garlic and cook until they begin to brown, stir in the parsley (I've used fresh coriander leaves), salt and black pepper. Add the green beans and stir until the beans are completely cooked and coated with the garlicky butter. 

One thing I have forgotten to add is the lemon juice! Only noticed the lemon sitting on my kitchen counter when I was clearing up after dinner! Oops... but even without the lemon juice, this dish is still delicious!

All my favourite ingredients in this stir-fry dish ; sweet green beans, garlic, coriander leaves. I could finish a plate all on its own, no kidding!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rustic Cabbage Soup

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), we are saying goodbye to Heidi Swanson. We have cooked from her recipes for the  past six months, and it is time we move on to another chosen chef. I have not been cooking with Heidi's recipes as much as I wanted to, but I can always cook with her on our Potluck weeks. To say "Bon Voyage Heidi!", I've made her Rustic Cabbage Soup.

This soup is very easy to cook and do not take much time at all. Shredded cabbage, potatoes, white beans, onions and garlic are the ingredients used for this soup. For the stock, I've used Rapunzel vegetable stock bouillon. I've used canned butter beans. Heidi serves the soup with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese as the topping, of which I've omitted, preferring to eat it just as it is.

I made this soup for lunch, and it was a satisfying and lovely lunch. It is not often I had soup for lunch, and I would not mind making this again. 

Rustic Cabbage Soup
(source from
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
a big pinch of salt
1/2 pound potatoes, skin on, cut 1/4-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups stock
1-1/2 cup white beans, precooked or canned (drained)
1/2 medium cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons

more good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Warm the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and potatoes. Cover and cook until they are a bit tender and starting to brown a bit, about 5 minutes - it's o.k to uncover to stir a couple times. Stir in the garlic and onions and cook for another minute or two. Add the stock and the beans and bring the pot to a simmer. Stir in the cabbage and cook for a couple more minutes, until the cabbage softens up a bit. Now adjust the seasoning - getting the seasoning right is important or your soup will taste flat and uninteresting. Taste and add more salt if needed, the amount of salt you will need to add will depend on how salty your stock is.
Serve drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a generous dusting of cheese.


Out of the nine Heidi recipes which I've made, the most favourite has got to be this Kale Rice Bowl.

I love everything in this bowl!

To see what the other lovely ladies have made  to say Bon Voyage Heidi! please stop by IHCC. Starting from April, our new featured chef will be Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. You are welcome to join us! 


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