Lemon-poached chicken with lots of roasted garlic

This is a Tom Kine recipe from rural France. Don’t be put off by the quantity of garlic – when roasted, it becomes very sweet and loses it’s pungency. A great way to eat – just roll up your sleeves and dig in! This dish can be made with a whole chicken in much the same way, but you will need more wine and stock and will have to cook the meat for longer.

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Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
Chicken thighs, drumsticks and chicken breasts, skin on (enough for four people)
20 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 glass dry white wine
Zest of 2 lemons, juice of 1 lemon
Sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
17 fl oz chicken stock
1 French baguette
20 flat parsley leaves

Heat a heavy-bottomed casserole pan over a medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and the chicken pieces, skin-side down, to cover the bottom of the pan. If the chicken won’t fit in one layer, you will have to cook it in two batches. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Add the garlic cloves. Tip off any excess oil, add the wine to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until reduced.

Add the lemon zest and juice, thyme and bay leaves. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the stock. Cover the pan with a lid and turn down the heat. Gently simmer for 20 minutes.

After this time, check to see that the chicken is cooked by inserting a small sharp knife into the chicken flesh, just by the bone. If the juice runs clear then the meat is done. If the juice is still pink then cook for a little more time.

Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish. Roughly chop the parsley and scatter over the top.

Cut the French bread into slices and toast them.

Place the slices of toast in a bowl alongside the chicken. Let each person squeeze the soft garlic out of its papery skin on to the pieces of toast, which can then be used to soak up the juice.

Roasted shrimp with garlic and herb sauce

Mark Bittman’s recipes are terrific and often really light and simple. This one is so easy and tasty especially with great bread to mop up the sauce. You cannot put in too much garlic in this recipe.

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6 cloves garlic, peeled
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 cup parsley, leaves and thin stems
2 pounds shrimp, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
4 dried chilies or a few pinches of crushed red chili flakes, or to taste
⅓ cup stock (shrimp, fish or chicken) or white wine or water

Nutritional Information


Heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine garlic and oil in a small food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Add scallions and parsley and pulse until mixture is minced. Toss with shrimp, salt, pepper and chilies.
Put shrimp in a large roasting pan. Add liquid and place pan in oven. Roast, stirring once, until mixture is bubbly and hot, and shrimp all pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve.

Slow roasted garlic and lemon chicken

There is nothing nicer than throwing everything into a roasting pan and watching it caramelize slowly, turning each ingredient into a mouthful of sweetness. The beauty of this dish is that the lemon turns sweet and incredibly tender and you can pop the chunks straight into your mouth, skin, pith and all! Thanks to the irrepressible Nigella Lawson.

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Serves 4 but can easily be augmented

1 chicken (approx 4½lbs) cut into 10 pieces
A bulb of garlic separated into unpeeled cloves
2 unwaxed lemons (preferably thin-skinned) cut into chunky eighths
1 handful fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup white wine
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Put the chicken pieces into a roasting tin and add the garlic cloves, lemon chunks and the thyme; just roughly pull the leaves off the stalks, leaving some intact for strewing over later. Add the oil and using your hands mix everything together, then spread the mixture out, making sure all the chicken pieces are skin side up.
Sprinkle over the white wine and grind on some pepper, then cover tightly with foil and put in the oven to cook, at flavor-intensifyingly low heat, for 2 hours.
Remove the foil from the roasting tin, and turn up the oven to 400ºF. Cook the uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes, by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelize at the edges.

I like to serve this as it is, straight from the roasting tin: so just strew over some thyme sprigs, warm some lovely bread and make a quick green salad and Bob’s your uncle!

Asian slow cooker bone broth

As one gets older one needs to retain as much calcium as possible, and I have been reading that in most Asian countries they have a version of this broth that they eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner and add noodles, vegetables or anything else to it, depending on what takes their fancy. It is loaded with calcium from the bones for your bones and is incredibly tasty and light.


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The slow cooker can be bubbling away slowly for several days with this and you just have to remember to top up the water level and add ginger, garlic, scallion and lemon grass if you have it.


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It is tremendously simple to make and the whole house will fill with the smell of the broth as the slow cooker gives forth it’s wonderful goodness. I have a 6 qt slow cooker, so I can fit in 4 to 5 lbs of bones.
If you use pork or chicken bones, you don’t have to roast them, but if you use beef bones, you may want to roast them at 350 F for 30 to 45 mins so the broth will be richer. Remove any marrow from the beef bones before you put them into the slow cooker or the broth will be cloudy and somewhat mushy!


4 to 5 lbs organic chicken or pork on the bone. (For pork I use the spare ribs. For chicken, use wings and feet.)
Two good sized 2 inch chunks of fresh ginger, cut in half and peeled
2 stalks lemongrass (optional) peeled, halved and bruised
6 scallions,white and green parts, halved then tied with kitchen twine
1 head of garlic halved horizontally.

Put the meat in the slow cooker, add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and scallions then fill the slow cooker up to within 1 inch of the rim with cold water. Put the lid on.
Turn the slow cooker on high for about 1 1/2 hours so it bubbles and gives off scum. Open the lid and skin off the scum at this point.
Put the lid back on and turn it to low and cook for about 8 hours. You may want to skim again during the cooking process.
After 8 hours, ladle out the liquid, put into containers and let cool until the liquid is cool enough to put into the fridge. Top up the slow cooker with more water and turn on for another 8 hours, repeating the process.

You can scrape off any fat from the refrigerated liquid and add fresh chopped scallions, chopped cilantro, some red chilli, some noodles or anything else you fancy and you have the most wonderful meal that is very low calorie and incredibly good for you.

Gooey baked fontina cheese with herbs

This is divine and all you need is some great fresh bread and red wine. I could polish this off all by myself. As always the Barefoot Contessa does it again! This is not for the faint-hearted though!

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1 1/2 pounds Italian Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind removed and 1-inch-diced
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 crusty French baguette

Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.

Distribute the cubes of Fontina evenly in a 12-inch cast-iron pan. Drizzle on the olive oil. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.

Serve the baked Fontina family-style right out of the oven in the cast-iron pan with crusty chunks of bread for everyone to dip. Mmmmm

Soy braised chicken thighs with star anise and orange peel

I love braising, especially now the colder weather is here.
I also love this time of year when we start putting the fire on in the kitchen and making lots of comforting, rich braises and soups. This combination is divine with the pungent Asian flavors. All you need is plain boiled rice.

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Serves 4

2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, plus more if needed
2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp chicken stock
8 bone-in chicken thighs
3 tbsp peanut oil, divided use
3 scallions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 dried small red chile
3 short strips orange zest removed with a vegetable peeler
1 whole star anise
2 tsp cornstarch

Heat the oven to 325 F
In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar and 1/4 cup stock or water. Stir to mix and set aside.
Season the chicken pieces well with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large ovenproof skillet or other heavy-lidded braising pot over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add half of the chicken pieces, skin side down, and sear without disturbing, until the skin is crisp and bronzed, about 7 minutes. Turn the pieces carefully to avoid tearing the skin and brown the other side, about 7 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a large plate to catch the juices. Cook the remaining chicken the same way.

While the chicken is browning, coarsely chop the scallions separating the white and green parts. Set them aside.
Discard all the fat from the pan and return the pan to medium heat. Add the remaining tbsp of oil, then add the white part of the scallions, garlic, ginger and chile. Stir and cook just until you can smell the garlic and ginger, about 30 seconds. Pour in the reserved soy mixture and stir to combine. Add the orange zest and star anise.

Set the chicken thighs in the pan and add any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Cover the pan with parchment paper, pressing down so the paper nearly touches the chicken and the edges extend about an inch over the sides of the pan. Cover with a secure lid and place the pan in the lower part of the oven.
After 15 minutes, turn the chicken pieces with tongs and check to be sure there’s at least 1/4 inch of liquid in the pan. If not, add a few tablespoons of stock. Replace the parchment and lid and return the pan to the oven until the chicken is fork tender and pulling away from the bone, about 20 more minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a serving platter without crowding the pieces and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Remove the star anise and orange peel from the pan. Set the pan over medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Skin off any surface fat.Add the scallion greens.

Put the cornstarch in a small bowl. Add the remaining tbsp of stock and whisk briefly to combine and smooth out any lumps. Pour the mixture into the simmering liquid, stirring to incorporate it evenly.
The liquid will immediately thicken to a glossy sauce the consistency of maple syrup. Pour any juices the chicken has released into the sauce and simmer for another minute.
taste for soy sauce and vinegar. The sauce should be salty,but not too much. If it’s too salty another splash of vinegar will balance this out
Spoon the sauce over the chicken and stir

60 second aioli (garlic mayonnaise) to die for

This is the most wonderful garlic aioli, and all you need is a platter of crudites (raw vegetables) and bread and you have a fabulous starter for a crowd.
It is highly recommended to purchase a stick blender like this one;

Then all you need is;
3 large whole cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
4 eggs, at room temp
2 to 2 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 to 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Get a tall glass jar and put in the garlic halves and the 4 whole eggs.
Now, add your stick blender and sit it on the bottom of the jar, over the ingredients and turn on.

Very gradually, add the olive oil in a steady stream, keeping the stick blender on all the time.

You will end up with a gorgeous thick garlic mayonnaise. Now put in the lemon juice a tsp sat a time, sprinkle in a little salt, blend with the stick blender, and taste until it’s the perfect flavor for you!

Sticky chicken with sherry, almonds & dates

Tender, sticky roasted whole chicken legs coated in a lip-smacking glaze. Also ideal for feeding a crowd

Serves 8
3 tbsp olive oil
8 whole chicken legs (including the thigh)
2 large onions, chopped
15 garlic cloves, left whole in their skins
1 heaped tsp ground cumin (I roast mine)
8 fl oz (or 1 cup) sherry, like Manzanilla or Oloroso
zest and juice of 1 large lemon, plus extra zest to serve
3 oz whole blanched almonds, (I used Marcona) roughly chopped
12 large soft dates, like Medjool, pitted and chopped
2 oz pack flat -leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 400 F
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan.
Season the chicken then brown it on all sides.
Remove the chicken, place it in a large baking dish then set aside.
Add the remaining oil, onions and garlic to the pan and season.
Fry for 10 minutes until glden.
Stir in the cumin, sherry, lemon juice and zest. Bring to the boil then add the almonds, dates and half the parsley.
Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover with foil, then roast for 1 hour until tender, taking the foil off after 15 minutes of cooking.
Spoon the liquid over the chicken a couple of times during the roasting.
Serve piled up on a large platter with the sauce poured over, the garlic cloves, remaining parsley and some extra lemon zest.
This is lovely served with a nice, tasty quinoa or couscous dish


Creamy ginger soy sauce

This is a great dressing for a fresh salad or as a sauce for your favorite Asian cuisine featuring meat, fish or chicken. It’s also divine as a dipping sauce for vegetables or shrimp.
Really easy to make and so exotic!

3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t like too spicy)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup good quality mayonnaise

In a small bowl, combine and thoroughly mix the white wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, sugar, minced fresh ginger, cayenne pepper and black pepper.
Gradually whisk in the mayonnaise until completely blended.


Simple roast chicken with rosemary, garlic and lemon

A great weekday meal, full of flavor and all you need is a simple salad and some good bread to mop up those juices.
A good tip- Never buy a chicken over 3.5 lbs in weight , as you will lose the flavor and texture in the bigger ones. If necessary, buy 2 chickens if you are feeding a crowd.

Serves 4
1 (3.5 lb) chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
10 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 lemon, peel removed, pith and pulp chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toss the chicken pieces with oil, rosemary, lemon juice, garlic, lemon and salt and pepper in bowl.
Marinate for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 475 F.
Arrange the chicken in a 9″ by 13″ baking dish; add remaining marinade.
Roast, flipping once, until cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes.