Chilli Cheese Cornbread – perfect with Chilli

My first experience of Cornbread was seeing it on Cowboy films when I was small. The bread that came in huge, cake-like slices that was enjoyed around a campfire. I always wondered what it tasted like!

Cornbread is made out of Cornmeal (Polenta). It shouldn’t be confused with cornflour or Hasa Marina (which is the type of corn used for corn tortillas. This has added lime, which makes it stick together to form a kind of dough). Cornmeal is easy enough to pick up – lots of supermarkets stock it now in the World Food section.

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Chilli Cheese Cornbread

Oven 200C, 425F, Gas 7.

125g cornmeal

70g grated strong cheese

1/2tsp baking powder

1/2tsp chilli flakes

1tsp salt

200g plain yogurt

1 egg

2tblsp melted butter

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In a large bowl mix cornmeal, grated cheese, baking powder, chilli flakes and salt – stir well to combine.

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To the bowl, add yogurt, melted butter and egg. Mix together thoroughly.

Spoon into a well greased baking tray.

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Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and risen.

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Serve warm with a big bowl of chilli, rice, sour cream and cheese!

 

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Raspberry and Strawberry Jam

This time of year, I have a brief wonderful moment when my all year round hoarding of jam jars, stops becoming a nuisance and starts becoming useful. We don’t eat huge amounts of jam, but there are some things that I can’t let go past without marking their season with a pot of something home-made – whether it’s rose petals for jam, chillies for jams, chutneys and pickles, lemons for curd, raisins for mincemeat or berries to make some lovely soft set jam. There’s something wonderful about opening a jar of rose petal jam in the depths of winter and remembering the fun we had running around in the sun looking for gorgeously scented dog rose petals or raspberry jam and remembering collecting them in the summer holidays.

Dog Roses. The petals are wonderfully scented and edible.
Dog Roses. The petals are wonderfully scented and edible.

This jam recipe is very forgiving and very, very simple to do. You can make it with any berries. If your strawberries are large, just make sure that you cut them up so that they’re roughly the same size as the berries that you’re using. You can halve the quantities, or even quarter them to make just one or two jars. This quantity made 5 jars of varying sizes.

Top tip: if any hot jam splashes on to you, don’t try to lick it off quickly. This will mean that you have scalding hot sugar sticking to your tongue or mouth. Wipe it off with a cloth or with cold water.

If you want to keep your jam any length of time, you must follow the simple instructions to sterilise your jars. Even if you think that they’re clean, they may harbour some bugs which will quickly make your precious jam go mouldy. If, on the other hand you’re thinking that  you’ll use the jam withing a couple of weeks, you can skip the sterilising process and just make sure that your jars are as clean as you can make them.

How to prepare your jam jars:

Soak the jars overnight in hot, soapy water to get rid of any remaining labels and glue. In the morning give them a good scrub inside and out. Do the same to the screw tops. Re-fill the bowl with more hot soapy water and wash them all again. Rinse the jars and lids in more hot water and leave them upside down on the draining board until they’ve dried a little. Don’t wipe them inside or out with anything. Leave them there until you’re ready to put the hot jam into them.

Jam Recipe

1kg of fruit – raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants etc in any proportions (an extra 100g or so won’t hurt)

1kg of jam sugar (you’ll find this by the normal sugar. It has pectin added to it, to make the jam set – this takes all of the guess work out of jam making!)

1-2 tblsp lemon juice (from a bottle is fine)

If you are making a jam with a lot of raspberries or blackberries, you might like to do what I do to get rid of a few of the pips. Put half of the raspberries and/or blackberries into a saucepan with 1tblsp of lemon juice. Turn the heat underneath it and mash the fruit with a potato masher. Bring to the boil and fast simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the cooked fruit into a sieve, over a bowl and then push the cooked fruit through the sieve until all that remains in the sieve is pips and a bit of mushed up fruit. Get it as dry as you can. Throw away the pips in the sieve and put the juice into a large saucepan with the rest of the un-cooked fruit, sugar and remaining lemon juice.

Put two small saucers into the freezer. Put the oven onto its lowest setting.

Bring the fruit to the boil and continue to boil fiercely for around 10 minutes.

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When the jam has been cooking for 5 minutes, put the clean jam jars upside down directly onto the racks in the oven. Leave them in there for 5 minutes.

Gently stir every so often to check nothing is sticking to the bottom. Take one of the saucers out of the freezer and carefully pour a desert spoon of the hot jam onto the saucer. Leave it for 30 seconds and then push it with your finger. If the jam wrinkles easily, it means that it will set when it’s cool in the jar. If it doesn’t wrinkle easily, leave the jam to cook for another couple of minutes and try the saucer test again.

Turn the heat off and leave the jam to cool for 5 minutes. Take the jam jars out of the oven and turn it off. In the cooling oven, put the jam jar lids and leave them there until you’ve put the jam in the jars.

Very, very carefully (hot jam is so dangerous) using a small non plastic jug or teacup, pour the hot jam into the hot jars (hot jam in cold jars will make them break) until it’s nicely filled with about a 1-2cm gap from the top. Continue until all of the jars are full. Using a tea cloth to hold the jar, screw on the warm lids firmly and leave them to cool completely.

Wild garlic & cheese scones with ‘gathered’ salad

You must try this!

I love this time of the year (when it’s not raining!). Go out for a walk and everything is bursting into life.

Foraging is in my blood, my Dad’s grandmother had Romany gypsy roots and taught him about the edible things that were safe to eat when they went for walks. My Dad passed that on to me and I love the walks I have with my own children which enable me to give them a taste of ‘living off the land’.

We went out and about today to try and gather some very simple wild food for us to enjoy when we got home (with lots of wayside snacks along the way!)

We found a huge bank of wild garlic which we started to gather, along with our first snacks to see us along the rest of our adventure.

A whole ‘field’ of wild garlic!

The smell of wild garlic is really pungent and you’d think that the leaves would taste really strongly of garlic. You’d be wrong – it’s a very mild taste. A cross between spinach and chives which you can add wherever you’d add these well known herbs would be used. Great in omelettes, quiche, pesto, dressings etc.

Wild garlic flowers are the thing that I like best about this time of the year. They are delicious! Each little white flower is a concentrated tiny bomb of garlic flavour. They taste like a cross between a fresh very sweet pea and garlic. They’re much stronger than the leaves and are quite hot. If you like watercress – you’ll love the lovely white flowers of wild garlic. Good to munch as you walk along.

The new tender leaves of the hawthorne were shiny next to the buds that had just started to form. Both the leaves and the buds are a lovely snack and part of our salad. The older leaves aren’t so good (they just taste of ‘green’). The buds have an astringent quality to them, the same as the berries when they appear.

The new leaves, buds and flowers of the hawthorne are edible

Next we found some Jack by the Hedge.

Jack by the hedge or Garlic Mustard as it’s sometimes known

This is a useful addition to a salad as the leaves bulk out the other things that you might have. It’s supposed to have a ‘garlicky’ taste, but it’s not as overtly garlic as you may think. You may pick up a hint of garlic in some of the younger leaves, but other than that it’s pretty much the same as raw spinach but a bit sweeter. The flowers on the other hand have a much punchier flavour and are quite spicy. The seed pods when they form are a great wayside snack and do have a garlic taste.

Everyone knows about Goose grass (or Cleavers and it’s also known). It’s the thing that children throw at each other because it sticks to clothing. It’s covered in tiny hairs which cause it to ‘stick’ onto anything that it touches which means that the older growth is difficult to eat raw and can get stuck in your throat, so it’s best avoided. It can be cooked as spinach which makes the hairs disappear. But if you want to eat it in a salad, just choose the very top new growth, it has a lovely fresh pea taste which is ideal in salads. I’ve heard that you can dry and grind the seeds which make a kind of coffee, but I’ve never tried that myself.

Goose Grass/Cleavers. Just pick the top new sprouting growth to eat in a salad.

We stumbled upon lots and lots of wonderful Wood Sorrel which is a magical find and normally only happens every so often to me. Today we saw it everywhere!

A patch of Wood Sorrel

It has a zingy lemon flavour which makes it a wonderful addition to salad or just as a garnish to fish or chicken. It’s a lot like sherbet and the flavour becomes apparent after giving it a good chew – you won’t notice anything if you give a couple of chews and then swallow! It’s a very ‘trendy’ wild food and something that you would definitely find it on the menu at the best Michelin starred restaurants. You should be careful not to take the whole plant. Just take what you need and leave the rest for another day. It doesn’t transfer well to other soil and it’s a shame to move it somewhere else when it’s obviously so happy where it is.

Wood Sorrel

We headed home to feast on our bounty, discussing what to do with it all on the journey. We came up with Wild Garlic scones with cheese. We happened to have some feta that needed using up and the pairing was genius!

Wild Garlic Scones with Feta 

In a food processor (or large bowl) add 150g plain flour and 50g wholemeal flour (or any combination of the two, making up 200g), 2 tsp mustard powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and 2tsp baking powder.

Add 50g soft butter and whizz until it disappears or rub in. If using a food processor, empty the whizzed mixture into a large bowl.

Chop 150 – 200g cheese (your choice, I used 120g feta and 50g strong cheddar) cut into 1cm cubes. Add the cheese to the large bowl and stir around.

Add around 10-15 leaves of wild garlic (washed, dried and cut into strips) to the bowl and stir around. You can add more wild garlic if you want to, but don’t overdo it. I also added the flowers from around 5 stems, just to intensify the garlic flavour.

In a jug/mug/bowl whisk 1 large egg and 2tblsp plain yogurt and stir into the dry mixture. You need to make a slightly sticky dough so you may need to use upto another 2 tbslp plain yogurt. Add it 1 tblsp at a time so that the dough doesn’t get too wet.

Tip out onto a well floured surface and roll out to about 2-3 cm thick.

Rolled out dough

Cut into rounds with a glass or cutter, or pat the dough into circles if you prefer. The dough will make around 8-12 depending on the size of cutter.

Bake in a hot oven 210C or 190C fan, Gas 7 for around 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Wild Garlic and Cheese scones
Wild Garlic and Cheese scones

The only thing left to do is to assemble the salad, making sure to add lots of the lovely white wild garlic flowers for extra punch! A drizzle of olive oil and your favourite vinegar (we used some dandelion vinegar made a couple of weeks ago!) and you’re in heaven!

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Savoury Steamed Cake — Dhokla

I’m always on the look out for something savoury and spicy to eat for breakfast and this fits the bill perfectly. It’s a Gujarati snack and Gujarati snacks are the best, in my opinion! They always seem to capture the best in crunchy, sweet, salty, hot and spicy and go exceptionally well with a nice cup of tea (or cold beer!) A lot of Gujarati snacks are deep fried, but this one is steamed and made of lentils – it’s pretty much a health food!

Gujarati’s are very proud of their Dhokla, like British people are proud of their Victoria sandwiches. Everyone who makes Dhokla will have their own ‘special’ twist to make it the best. I’ve tried lots of them and they all do differ – some are light and fluffy, some are dense and chewy, some are fiery hot, some are just savoury. All of them were delicious – it’s tangy and savoury all at the same time. You have to let go of the fact that it looks like the top layer of a Victoria Sandwich with a coconut topping and embrace the fact that when you bite into it, it’s savoury, spicy and nothing like a sweet cake! The more you make Dhokla, the more you can experiment.

Dhokla is best served freshly made, or possibly eaten the next day. Store any leftovers in an air tight container and if eating the next day, make sure that you blast it in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm it through and make it soft again before you serve it.

There are a couple of different ingredients which you may have to get, but none of them are expensive. You’ll probably need to go to your nearest Indian grocery store to find them though.

Different thing #1

Asafoetida (aka ‘hing’). This is a powdered resin from a plant that comes from Afghanistan. Some people think it has an unpleasant smell.  I totally disagree – it is pungent, but I think it smells similar to a truffle with a deep, savoury, garlicky smell. This is the flavour it imparts – just a small amount makes you think that a dish has garlic in it, even when it hasn’t. It’s used extensively in Jain cooking who avoid garlic and onions in their cooking because it arouses passion! It’s sold in little yellow pots and costs around a pound.

Different thing #2

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Eno (a medicine!) Those of a ‘certain age’ will remember being given this as children when you had an upset tummy. Although it seems very strange to be putting medicine in your cooking, don’t worry. The ingredients in Enos are just good old bicarbonate of soda and citric acid which gives it a lemony flavour, along with the scary sounding ‘anhydrous sodium carbonate’, which is a common food agent which just stops powdery things stop clumping together. The acid and bicarb are in the perfect quantities to give your dhokla a bit of a fruity tang along with a raising agent to make it fluffy. It’s also handy to keep in for upset tummies! The only place you seem to be able to buy this now, is in Indian grocery stores. I’ve tried various chemists and they only stock Andrews which isn’t the same as it has a proper ‘medicine’ ingredient in it that shouldn’t be used for cooking! If you really can’t find it, you can use plain old bicarbonate of soda and a squeeze of lemon juice, instead.

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Different thing #3

Moong dal (lentils). These are Mung beans which have had their green husks taken off and split into two. They’re tiny and don’t need to be cooked in this recipe before you use them.

The topping (this is known as the Tarka or Tadka) for the Dhokla is optional, but it’s just not the same without it. It only takes 1tblsp oil to spread over the whole cake and you can use whichever oil you want. Although to be authentic, it should be a fairly flavourless oil such as sunflower/vegetable/rapeseed/groundnut. Feel free just to scatter the topping without the oil, if you’re on a strict healthy diet, although remember that this feeds at least 5 people.

HOW TO MAKE DHOKLA

1 cup of moong dal

1-5 green chillies (depends how much heat you like!)

1tsp finely grated ginger

1 heaped tsp sugar

3tblsp plain yogurt

1tblsp oil

A good pinch of asafoetida (aka hing) (you can buy asafoetida on our Ebay shop here)

1/2tsp turmeric (optional)

1-2tsp salt (to taste)

1 large tsp Eno or bicarbonate of soda

For the topping: (if you don’t have any of these, leave them out or buy them here Sally & Stef Spices)

1tsp mustard seed

1tsp sesame seed

1/2 – 1 finely chopped green chilli

1tblsp coriander chopped

Pinch of asafoetida

1tblsp lemon juice

1tsp desiccated coconut

1-2 tblsp oil

Soak the moong dal in enough cold water to come 5cm above the dal. Soak for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

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Drain the dal and put them in a food processor along with the roughly chopped green chillies (I use 3 or 4 depending on how hot they are). Blend until the mixture is smooth. You can add a splash of water if needed to make the processing easier.

Put the mixture into a bowl and add the ginger, sugar, yogurt, 1tblsp oil, asafoetida, turmeric (if using) and salt. Taste for salt and heat. Add more of either if necessary. You can add a little more yogurt or a little sifted chickpea flour (if you have any) to adjust the batter if you need to. It should be thicker than pancake batter, but not as thick as cake mixture. Mix thoroughly. You can now cover with clingfilm and leave this somewhere cool overnight if you want to cook it fresh for breakfast or use it straight away. There’s no need to refrigerate as it will start to ferment slightly which improves the flavour.

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Leave the mixture to one side while you prepare to cook the Dhokla. Very lightly grease a Victoria Sandwich tin and find a saucepan that it will fit inside of. Practice this bit before you have hot water in the saucepan. If you have a steamer that the tin will fit inside of, even better – it doesn’t have to be a round tin. If using a saucepan, put something like a metal cookie cutter in the middle of the saucepan so that the sandwich tin won’t be sitting on the bottom of the pan. Fold some tin foil into a long strip so that you can put it under the sandwich tin and to use as handles hanging over the edge of the saucepan, to help you lift it in and out of boiling water without hurting yourself. You’ll need boiling water to cook the Dhokla, so practice how much water you need to put in, enough to cover the metal cookie cutter. Wrap the lid in a clean tea towel so that any condensation is absorbed and won’t fall onto the dhokla.

Put the amount of water that you practiced with (plus a splash more, you don’t want the pan to boil dry), into the saucepan and let it simmer while you get everything ready.

Stir the mixture once more and then add the Eno or bicarb. Stir thoroughly, but be quick. Pour the now bubbly mixture into the sandwich tin with the folded tin foil underneath. Using the foil, gently lower the tin onto the cookie cutter. Let the ends of the foil strip hang over the side of the saucepan and cover with the wrapped up lid (make sure the tea towel that the lid is wrapped in has the ends piled on top of the lid, well away from the heat source so it doesn’t catch fire!).

While the dhokla is cooking prepare the topping. Collect all of the ingredients together and have them ready.

Keep the pan simmering and covered (don’t peep) for 18-20 minutes until the dhokla is risen and spongy when you gently press it.

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Using a toothpick, prick the dhokla all over ready for the Tadka to sink in – this will keep it moist.

In a small saucepan, heat 1-2 tblsp oil and add the mustard seeds and when they start popping add the sesame seeds, asafoetida and chilli, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and pour over the dhokla making sure that everything is evenly spread out.

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Cut into 3cm slices across the pan and then turn the pan a quarter way round and do the same again making diamond shapes.

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Eat while it’s warm!

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Popcorn is dead – long live Sev!

We’re always looking for something to munch on Saturday nights – dinner is prepared and cooked at a leisurely pace in between glasses of wine, while we all catch up on what’s been happening to us all during the week. The evening usually ends up with us all of the sofa, watching a film or something on TV, with a big bowl of home made sweet or salty popcorn.

On Friday, we ventured into the new snack territory of Sev and now we’re all convinced that no other snack will ever do! (Although, we did have to turn the volume up quite a bit, so that we could hear what was going on over loud crunching!) We’d eaten Sev before, you can buy it in bags from Asian shops, but it hadn’t really made a huge impression on me. I was talking snacks with my Gujarati friend (Gujarati’s are experts in the savoury snack field, to my way of thinking) who said that I should try a freshly cooked batch of Sev, instead of popcorn. She promised that there’d be no going back once I’d tried it.  I did some recipe research and decided to give it a go. It’s one of those recipes that you can barely believe: can 2 spuds and some chickpea flour really taste that good?

It was so supremely wonderful, that I have to share the recipe with everyone so that you can all see what I mean! It’s spicy (or not, if you don’t like spicy things), crunchy potato, salty – everything you want in a savoury snack!

Ok, it’s not exactly a health food – but it’s gluten free, suitable for vegans and kids love it too. I fried it in rapeseed oil, to try and convince myself that we were all getting lots of essential fatty acids in a fun way! It will also last for at least a couple of weeks if you put it in an air proof container (and hide it), although I haven’t tried this out as there’s never any left over!

You can only make this snack if you have either a special sev making machine or (which you can pick up from an asian store for a few quid) a potato ricer (which you can pick up at Morrisons for £4).

A potato ricer is like a huge garlic press which you use in the same way, but with cooked potatoes, making them completely lump free for mash, gnocchi etc. The potato that it produces looks like grains of rice. You can put the ‘riced’ potato straight on top of Cottage/Shepherds/Fish Pie with a few blobs of butter and some cheese over the top of it before baking in the oven, to make the topping extra crunchy. Everyone needs a potato ricer in their lives.

You’ll also need to buy a bag of Chickpea flour (also known as Gram flour). You can buy a small bag in Asian shops for around 70p. Normal flour can’t be substituted.

You will need:

2 medium sized potatoes

A big bag of gram flour

Big pinch of turmeric

1 tbsp lemon/lime juice

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 – 1 tsp chilli powder (or cayenne pepper)

Sev

Boil the potatoes in their skins until cooked through. Peel them while they’re still hot so that the skins come off easily – I hold them with a fork so I don’t burn my fingers! While they’re still hot, put each one through the potato ricer and leave in a bowl to cool completely.

When the potato has cooled, gauge roughly how many cups of potato you’ve got by patting it into any cup/mug you have to hand, so that you know how much Gram flour to add. You’re going to need roughly half to three quarters of the potato that you’ve measured, of flour. I had 2 small mugs of potato and so I used 1 mug and a bit more of chickpea flour. Don’t worry about being exact.

Put the potato back in the bowl and add the turmeric, lemon/lime juice, sugar, salt (you may need a little more, taste it at the end), and chilli powder (or cayenne pepper), you can use paprika if you don’t like heat, or don’t put either in.

Get your hand in there and mix everything together really well.

Still using your hand, put half a mug of chickpea flour into the potato mixture and combine it thoroughly. Continue to add flour until you have a dough that isn’t too sticky. The amount you use will depend on how much moisture was in your cooked potato. At this point, taste a bit of the dough, it should taste savoury/salty. Add more salt if you think you need to and more chilli powder if you want to turn the heat up. If adding salt and chilli powder now, you’ll need to knead the dough thoroughly to combine it.

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Heat some oil in a wok/deep medium sized pan over a medium heat. You’ll need around 5cm oil. When you can put a cube of bread in the oil and it takes around 30 seconds to turn golden, the heat is right.

Put a large satsuma sized piece of the dough into the potato ricer and hold it over the hot oil. BE CAREFUL AROUND HOT OIL. Press the handle of the ricer down over the hot oil, so that the bottom of the strands of dough start to fall into the oil. Keep a knife handy, so that you can scrape the strands off, as they’ll cling to the ricer.

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Keep the heat at medium, making sure that the oil is bubbling gently around the cooking sev (like in the picture). After a minute, turn the sev over to cook the other side. Fry for another 1-2 minutes until the Sev is light golden and crisp. It will crisp up more when you take it out of the oil. Don’t let it get too dark in colour.

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Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the cooked Sev and leave to drain on kitchen paper while you cook the rest in different batches until all of the dough is used up. Obviously at this point, the cook’s perk is to have the first taste (just don’t eat it all before anyone else gets to taste it).

I had some raw peanuts to use up, so I fried some of those at the end too, to add to the mixture.

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To make it look authentically Indian, make cones out of newspaper and stuff each one full of sev to hand out to everyone.

Enjoy! You. Are going to be SO popular.

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Chilli and Garlic slow roast chicken

Every winter, I fall in love all over again with my slow cooker. Walking in after a tough day at work, I’m greeted by the olfactory equivalent of a big hug. It’s like someone has got in before me and started cooking, leaving me just to put the kettle on and sit down with the paper for half an hour before I start on the side dishes.

Slow cooking is as old as cooking itself. It’s origins are from when fires used to be kept alive 24 hours a day not only for cooking, but for warmth and protection. Beans and pulses collected and dried during late summer, were put into a cauldron over a fire with water (or beer!) and herbs and left to bubble away all day. Sometimes this soup would be flavoured with a small piece of gammon or some bacon fat being lowered into it which was also left to cook – this was our early soup, known as pottage and was devoured by hungry people as their main meal of the day. Slow cooked meat was cooked on the embers of a fire from the day before – a hole was dug and lined with bricks and all of the embers were put on the bricks. The meat was wrapped in large leaves and put on top of the bricks and then the dry soil/sand was put on top of the meat and left all day to cook underground. A lot of hassle for slow cooked meat! Hurrah for slow cookers!

The best tasting meats take a long time to cook, making them release their natural fats, flavours and juices – melting away any fat which flavours the meat, basting as it goes ensuring that the whole joint is flavoured as it makes its lazy way out. The resulting meat falls apart and is definitely not for carving – rustic meals rule!

I like to add a bit more to our roast chickens to make the meat super tasty for left overs during the week and I like to use butter to emulate the fat that would melt through a fatty cut of meat. This week we’re having Chilli & Garlic chicken because everything tastes better with chilli!

Take a couple of cloves of garlic, around 50g – 100g butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1-2 cloves garlic crushed, 1tsp fresh ground pepper and 1 or more tsp Aleppo chilli flakes (turkish chillies are semi dried and flaked without seeds or membrane, making a sweet semi hot chilli flake, substitue with normal chilli flakes if you can’t find them but use less as they will be hotter).

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Blast the butter in the microwave to soften and mash the other ingredients into it.

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Using your hands (or a spoon if you’re squeamish) paste the flavoured butter inside the cavity of the chicken, making sure you cover all areas, reaching in as far as you can. If you have a lemon, cut it in half and squeeze half of it inside the chicken then place both halves of the lemon inside the cavity along with the top leaves of some leeks if you have them, or some parsley stalks or the outer peelings of onion skin (not the papery part). You can use an onion that has started to go a little soft if you need to use it up, or some dried out spring onions! Or you can just leave it at the flavoured butter. There is no right or wrong. Place a piece of silicon paper in the base of the slow cooker and smear any leftover butter from your hands or spoon onto it.

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Place the chicken breast side down onto the paper in the slow cooker. The paper is there to protect the chicken from the base of the slow cooker – you could use a couple of celery sticks if you prefer to lift it away from the base.

Tuck another piece of silicon paper around the chicken – this creates another seal, apart from the lid which will keep all of the precious flavoured steam underneath.

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Cook for 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Half way through cooking you can turn the chicken the right way up, so that the meat underneath is flavoured too.

When your chicken is cooked, baste it well with the juices at the bottom of the pot and lift it carefully into a heated dish.

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Pour the juices from the pot into a casserole dish and add some peeled new potatoes. Toss them around. Put the lid on and cook them in a hot oven 200C for around 30 minutes. Take the lid off and gently turn them over. Cook them for another 20 minutes (or until done) with the lid off. These won’t be crispy roast potatoes because they are a super tasty version of fondant potatoes – waxy and deeply savoury, which instead of being cooked in butter and stock are cooked in butter and chicken juices. Believe me, they’re delicious!

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Enjoy with veg of your choice, or just with crusty bread!