Blackened Chicken Salad

Blackened Chicken Salad

Chicken | February 16, 2015 | By

This salad literally redefined how I thought about salad. Before this, with the exception of Chicken Caesar salad, salad was a starter or a side-dish. This salad is both filling and nutritious, and it’s incredibly easy to make.

 

Blackened Chicken Salad
Serves 2
A flavoursome, mixed salad topped with juicy blackened chicken.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
For the Chicken
  1. 2 chicken fillets
  2. 2 tbsp allspice
  3. 2 tbsp cajun mix
  4. 1 tbsp paprika
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  6. Olive oil
For the Salad
  1. Spinach or a mixture of baby leaves
  2. Handful of cherry tomatoes (halved)
  3. 1 ripe mango
  4. 1 ripe avocado
  5. 2 spring onions (chopped)
  6. 1 lime
  7. Handful of fresh mint
  8. Feta cheese
Prepare the dressing
  1. Zest and juice the lime. Chop the mint and add it to the juice. Next add a good glug of olive oil and stir or shake well to combine. This will keep in the fridge for days.
Prepare the chicken
  1. Either flatten the chicken fillets or cut into thin strips. Mix all the seasoning together and toss the chicken in it.
Make the salad
  1. Put your leaves in a large bowl and add the chopped tomatoes and spring onion. Add one third of the dressing and mix well.
  2. Chop the mango into chunks and scoop out the avocado. Add the fruit to the salad. Crumble the feta in on top. Add one third of the dressing and stir well.
  3. Fry the chicken over a medium to high heat until cooked through.
To Serve
  1. Plate the salad and top with the warm chicken strips. Divide the remaining dressing over the chicken.
Fresh Mango or Avocado?
  1. The current trend in Ireland is to sell fruit to "ripen at home". Unfortunately that means you'll need to buy your mango/avocado in advance and allow it to ripen. Alternatively Lidl have a ready to eat range and you should also be able to get fresh mangos/avocados in your local fruit and veg shop.
Salad Dressing
  1. For an extra kick add a drop of chilli oil to the dressing and add chopped coriander. An old pesto jar or jam jar makes an ideal salad shaker; simply add the ingredients and shake to mix.
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Asian Marinated Duck Breast with Noodles

Crispy Asian Duck

Duck | January 18, 2015 | By

I was always afraid to cook duck. Firstly, I wasn’t even sure I liked it as I had only previously had it in takeaways. Secondly, once I had decided to try it, I came across so many articles telling me what I could do wrong! Duck isn’t as difficult to cook as you think and, with the help of a timer, you can get it consistently right with this recipe. Be warned however that the timings are particularly important in this recipe.

Asian Duck Breast with Noodles
Serves 2
Crispy duck breast marinated in an Asian sauce served on a bed of noodles.
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Prep Time
1 hr 10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
1 hr 10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
For the Duck
  1. 2 Duck Breasts, skin on
For the Marinade
  1. 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  2. 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  3. 2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  4. 1 tbsp Honey
  5. 1 tbsp Peanut Oil
  6. 1 tbsp Chinese 5 spice (or Thai 7 spice)
  7. 1 tbsp chilli flakes
To serve
  1. Noodles of your choice
To Prepare
  1. Put all the marinade ingredients into a jar and mix well. Transfer to a small dish so you can marinade your duck in it.
  2. Cut some criss-cross slits into the duck fat, being careful not to pierce or cut the flesh. Add to the marinade and turn well to coat. Cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour. Take out of the fridge 30 mins before cooking to allow to get to room temperature. Also preheat the oven to 180ªC.
Cooking the duck
  1. Reserve the marinade in a saucepan and place the duck skin-side down into a cold, dry frying pan. Place over a medium heat. After about 9 minutes the skin will be crispy. Keep an eye on the duck as it's very easy to burn it at this stage.
  2. Remove the fillets from the pan and drain away the majority of the fat that has collected in the pan. Return the duck to the pan flesh side down and cook for 3 more minutes.
  3. Place the duck skin flesh side down on a rack and place either in the oven for 14 minutes.
  4. Remove the duck from the oven and cover with foil and allow to stand for about 8 minutes.
Sauce and Noodles
  1. Put the marinade on the hob and bring to the boil. Lower the temperature and allow to simmer. It will get a syrup-like consistency.
  2. Cook noodles according to the packet instructions. For extra flavour stir fry the noodles for one minute with a spoon of the duck fat from earlier.
To Serve
  1. Slice the duck and serve on a bed of noodles topped with the marinade sauce.
Worried about the marinade?
  1. Seriously, I've made this recipe 5 times and I've never gotten sick! The sauce is boiled and then simmered, killing off any potential bacteria in it. So don't worry!
How well done?
  1. Following this recipe exactly will give you duck cooked medium. For rare reduce the time in the oven by 2 minutes and for well done, increase it by 2 minutes.
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Chicken, Basil and Mozzarella Arrabiata

Chicken, Basil and Mozzarella Arrabiata

Chicken, Pasta | January 4, 2015 | By

Arrabiata is Italian for “angry”. Nothing like some midweek angry chicken right? This is a simple but intense dish. The recipe uses poached chicken but of course if you prefer to fry or bake it, that will work too. This will also work well with yesterday’s leftover chicken. 

 

Chicken, Basil and Mozzarella Arrabiata
Serves 2
Succulent poached chicken in an arrabiata sauce with mozzarella and basil.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
For the sauce
  1. 1 tin of chopped tomato
  2. 1 small tin of tomato puree
  3. Handful of cherry tomatoes (optional)
  4. Half an onion
  5. 3 cloves of garlic
  6. 1 fresh chopped chilli (or 1 tsp of chilli paste or flakes)
  7. Handful of fresh basil (or 2tbsp dried basil)
  8. Mini mozzarella balls or a ball of mozzarella chopped
  9. Olive oil
  10. Glug of red wine (optional)
For the chicken
  1. 2 chicken fillets
  2. 3 bay leaves
  3. 1 clove of garlic
  4. Squirt of lemon juice
To serve
  1. Pasta (fresh is the best but any type will do)
  2. Garlic bread
  3. Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  4. OPTIONAL- Red wine, sugar, cherry tomatoes,
To Prepare
  1. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add some sea salt, cracked black pepper, a peeled whole clove of garlic and the lemon juice and bay leaves. Turn down to a medium heat.
  2. Boil another pan of water with sea salt for the pasta.
  3. Finely chop the garlic, onion and chilli.
Poaching the chicken
  1. Place the chicken fillets in the flavoured water and turn to a low heat (about 2 on the hob). Cook at that temperature with the lid on for about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to stand with the lid on for 15 more minutes.
Making the sauce
  1. While the chicken is cooking, fry the garlic and onion in the olive oil over a medium high heat until soft. Add the chilli and cook for 1 more minute.
  2. Add the tin of tomatoes and tomato puree. Mix well, then season and add the basil. Add the red wine at this stage also if using. Bring to the boil then turn the heat to low. Once the chicken is ready tear it into shreds and add to the sauce. This will be fine until the rest is ready, just stir it occasionally.
Cooking the pasta
  1. Prepare the pasta as per the instructions on the pack. This is usually about 10 - 12 minutes for regular pasta and about 5 minutes for fresh pasta. If you're also making garlic bread, put it in the oven now!
To serve
  1. Add the mozzarella to the sauce and mix well. Serve the pasta immediately with the sauce and garlic bread.
Too hot?
  1. If you underestimated the heat of the chilli then add a spoon of sugar to calm the heat. The mozzarella will also help take the edge off the sauce.
Not hot enough?
  1. Ramp up the heat by adding extra chilli and garlic.
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Chicken Kievs with Mediterranean Wedges

chicKiev750

Chicken, Main Course | December 6, 2014 | By

This recipe takes a little more effort that the others but it is delicious. The garlic in the kievs really complements the garlic on the potatoes. A recipe for when you want to impress someone.
 

Chicken Kievs with Mediterranean Wedges
Serves 2
Delicious garlicky kievs served with lightly herbed potato wedges
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
For the Kievs
  1. 2 large chicken fillets
  2. 2 slices of smoked streaky bacon
  3. 1 large egg
  4. Breadcrumbs
  5. 2 tbsp of plain flour
  6. 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  7. Handful of parsley, lightly chopped
  8. Chunk of butter (at room temperature)
  9. Sprinkle of cayenne pepper and black pepper
  10. Sunflower Oil
  11. 1 lemon
For the Wedges
  1. 3 large potatoes (or more if you're hungry), peeling and chopped into wedges
  2. Olive oil
  3. Handful of freshly chopped parsley
  4. I tbsp of oregano
  5. 1/2 tbsp each of chilli flakes and basil
  6. 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  7. Knob of butter
  8. Grated parmesan
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
You will also need
  1. Greaseproof paper
  2. A handful of toothpicks
To Prepare
  1. First make the garlic butter by mashing the garlic and the parley along with a sprinkle of black pepper and cayenne pepper. If your butter isn't salted (i.e. it's not Irish butter) add some salt too. Roll the mixture in clingfilm and put in the fridge to cool. Preheat the oven to 180º.
  2. Fry the rashers over a medium heat until crispy then drain on some kitchen paper.
For the Wedges
  1. Put the wedges in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place in the oven on greaseproof paper and bake for 30 mins.
For the Chicken
  1. Start this step when the wedges have been on for about 15 mins. Slice into the thickest part of the chicken breast with a sharp knife to make a pocket. Stuff in some of the garlic butter we made earlier along with some broken up pieces of the crispy bacon. Seal the pocket with a toothpick or two.
  2. Heat a frying pan with about 3cm of sunflower oil. Arrange three plates for breading the fillets, one with the flour, the next with the egg and the last with the breadcrumbs. Lightly season the flour plate with salt and pepper and a small bit of parmesan. Coat your stuffed fillets in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Ensure the oil is sizzling hot then add the breaded fillets. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Be careful, they burn quickly!
  3. Remove the fillets from the oil and place in the oven on some greaseproof paper. Bake for 12 minutes.
Finish the wedges
  1. Melt the knob of butter in a frying pan and add the herbs for the wedges. Remove the wedges from the oven and toss in this butter mixture. Place back on the greaseproof paper, sprinkling the wedges with parmesan. Return to the oven until the chicken is cooked through.
To serve
  1. Squeeze some lemon juice over the chicken kiev and the wedges. Add a lemon wedge to the plate and serve immediately.
Big date night?
  1. Reduce the amount of garlic in both the kievs and the potatoes if you're not sure your date likes garlic! Serve with a glass of ice cold white wine.
No lemon?
  1. Substitute in a lime, it'll work just as well!
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Best Scrambled Eggs

Best Scrambled eggs

Breakfast | November 22, 2014 | By

It’s easy to say “Best scrambled eggs in the world” and I’m well aware how easy it is to disagree with that! Growing up I hate scrambled eggs, they were always too wet served on some soggy bread. These scrambled eggs are the best I’ve ever eaten. 

Best Scrambled Eggs
Serves 2
The easiest way to make delicious scrambled eggs
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
For the Eggs
  1. 4 eggs (add an extra 2 for each additional person)
  2. A knob of butter
  3. Salt and Pepper
  4. Handful of freshly chopped chives (optional)
  5. 3 tablespoons of double cream (optional)
To Serve
  1. Smoked Rainbow Trout or Smoked Salmon
  2. Fresh Croissant per person
You will also need
  1. A non-stick saucepan
  2. A small frying pan
To Prepare
  1. Leave the salmon/trout out of the fridge.
  2. Cut each croissant in half and place in a dry, un-oiled frying pan with the insides facing down over a low heat. Remove once have become nicely toasted. Be aware that they burn easily!
For the Eggs
  1. Melt about 3/4s of the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Crack the eggs directly into the saucepan, stirring furiously until they start to come together. When they have started to become a little bit more solid, but still quite runny, remove from the heat.
  3. Add the remaining butter. Season well with salt and pepper and add the chives and cream if using. Stir well and return to the heat. Continue to stir furiously until the eggs are cooked.
To Serve
  1. Add the croissant and eggs to the plates then drape the fish onto the plate too.
Special Occasion?
  1. Serve the breakfast along side a glass of chilled Prosecco.
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Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Main Course, Pasta | October 19, 2014 | By

I love carbonara, it’s my favourite Italian dish. Unfortunately, most places load it with cream and it becomes much too heavy and sickly. This carbonara recipe brings it back to basics, it’s much healthier for you and tasty to boot! This is also quite an economical dish, as if it couldn’t get any better! 

Spaghetti Carbonara
Serves 2
A traditional carbonara recipe with eggs, bacon and parmesan. Cream optional.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
For the pasta
  1. 2 large eggs
  2. Half a packet of streaky bacon (smoked or unsmoked)
  3. 160g spaghetti (or any other pasta of your choice)
  4. 1 small onion
  5. 3 cloves of garlic
  6. Dash of white wine
  7. 1/2 block of parmesan grated
  8. Glug of olive oil
  9. Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  10. 50ml of cream (optional)
To serve (optional)
  1. Kerrygold garlic bread
  2. Chilled white wine
You will also need
  1. Kitchen paper for blotting the bacon
To Prepare
  1. Finely chop the onions and the garlic.
  2. Grate the parmesan.
  3. Beat the eggs.
  4. Boil a saucepan of salted water.
  5. Preheat the over to 200 C.
Pasta
  1. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Place the garlic bread in the oven.
  2. Fry the bacon with a drizzle of olive oil until starting to colour (about 5 minutes). Remove the bacon and drain on some kitchen paper.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the same frying pan. Add a little more olive oil if required. Fry over a medium to high heat until it starts to smell delicious.
  4. Add a good dash of white wine and turn up the heat. Fry for 1 minute then add the bacon. Remove from the heat.
  5. At this stage the pasta should be done. Drain it and add it to the frying pan. Mix well to coat the pasta. Place over a medium heat.
  6. Add the eggs and most of the parmesan , stirring furiously. Add the cream now if you're using it.
  7. Once the egg begins to set, remove from the heat. Add pepper to taste.
To serve
  1. Serve the pasta with garlic bread and the remaining parmesan sprinkled over.
  2. Serve with a glass of chilled white wine if the mood takes you!
What kind of wine?
  1. Generally if you will just be using the wine for cooking it's ok to get a cheap and cheerful bottle. Of course if you prefer to get a more expensive bottle to accompany the dinner and use a dash from it for the cooking, that's OK too!
Not a big fan of white wine?
  1. If you like to use white wine in your cooking, but you feel it's a waste as you wouldn't drink the rest of the bottle, simply freeze leftover wine in an ice-cube tray.
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Mole Mole Chicken

Mole Mole Chicken

Chicken, Main Course | October 18, 2014 | By

Mole sauce is thick, spicy Mexican sauce with chocolate undertones. The rich taste of the dark chocolate, combined with the heat of the dish, make this an impressive and unforgettable meal. This recipe is for a quick mole sauce and the level of heat can be adjusted to taste. Following the recipe exactly will give you a medium spicy dish. 

Mole Mole Chicken
Serves 2
A spicy Mexican sauce with undertones of chocolate.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
For the dish
  1. Glug of vegetable oil
  2. 2 chicken fillets
  3. 1 onion
  4. 2 cloves of garlic
  5. 1 green chili
  6. 1/2 a lemon or 1 lime
  7. 1 tbsp hot chilli flakes
  8. 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  9. 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  10. 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  11. 1/2 tbsp paprika
  12. 120ml chicken stock
  13. 120ml water
  14. Small tin of tomato puree (roughly 150g)
  15. Handful of toasted almond slices
  16. Handful of dark chocolate chips
  17. Salt and pepper to taste
To Serve
  1. Rice
  2. 2 Spring Onions
You will also need
  1. Hand blender
Preparation
  1. Finely chop the onion, garlic, chili and spring onions.
  2. Boil the kettle with enough water for the rice and the stock.
  3. If the almond flakes aren't toasted, toast lightly over a low heat.
  4. Combine the spices in a small bowl.
Mole Sauce
  1. Fry the onions and garlic with the oil over a medium heat for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the almond flakes and the spices. Stir well to combine and cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Stir in the chili, chicken stock, tomato puree and the chocolate chips.
  4. Turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. The sauce should thicken slightly.
  5. Transfer to a small saucepan and add 120ml water. Blend until smooth.
  6. Remove a small amount of the sauce to coat the chicken and put the rest on the hob at a low heat.
Rice
  1. Prepare the rice as per the instructions on the bag. This usually takes 10 - 15 minutes.
Chicken
  1. Butterfly the chicken breasts and cover with the mole sauce.
  2. Fry with a little oil over a medium to high heat for about 4 minutes on each side.
  3. Ensure chicken is cooked thoroughly before serving.
To serve
  1. Add the rice and the chicken to the plates.
  2. Squeeze over the lemon or lime juice.
  3. Add the mole sauce and sprinkle with the spring onions.
Like it hotter?
  1. Add an extra clove of garlic and an extra hot chili to the sauce. Increase the amount of chili flakes and cayenne pepper.
Like it milder?
  1. Don't add a chili to the sauce at all. Use only a 1/4 spoon of chili flakes and cayenne pepper.
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