Tag Archives: Chicken

Moroccan Chicken Gourmand Style

This dish was created after a spice cupboard clear out, spices are fabulous but 9 times out of 10 after opening a jar it goes unused until expired and I realise I need it for a dish.  Don’t you wish that dried herbs and spices came in smaller jars?

I noticed that some of my herbs and spices were getting close to their best before date so figured I would throw them together and thus Moroccan Chicken Gourmand Style was born!

While I appreciate this was not cooked in the traditional Moroccan way and it was not served with any real Moroccan ingredients other than the spices, it tasted good and surely that’s all that counts!

This recipe will serve two people, just double the quantities if feeding more.


2 chicken breasts (make 3 slits so the spices can infuse into the meat)
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Tumeric
2 Cardamon pods crushed
grating of Nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh Parsley
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 peppers (Any colour)

Place the spices in a bowl with the oil and rub all over the chicken breasts, squeeze the lemon juice over and leave in the fridge for 4 hours for the flavours to infuse into the chicken.

placed the chicken breasts on a bed of chopped peppers in a Pyrex dish or suitable baking dish and cook for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

I served the Chicken and Peppers with a Lebanese style salad of chopped parsley, onion, tomato and cucumber and Sweet potato chips

The dish took 30 minutes including preparation time.

Homestyle Nandos

homestyle Nandos

As a family we love Nandos but when 3 of you are eating adult sized meals with sides it can become quite expensive so to quench our desire for spicy chicken I started to experiment with spices and ingredients to recreate our favourite Nandos dishes at home.  I’ll admit that they don’t taste exactly the same, how could they? I don’t own the fancy kitchen equipment that Nandos does but both myself and the rest of the Gourmand clan seem to like my cheats Nandos and it costs a fraction of the price which is always a bonus.

I use chicken thighs to create my Nandos chicken as I find it has more flavour, the trick I think to get the authentic taste is to leave the chicken in a marinade overnight.

To make the marinade you will need:
2 red chillis
The juice of one large lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked Paprika
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp mild chilli powder
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp black pepper
Pop everything into a pestle and mortar and crush to release the flavours, pop into a freezer bag with the chicken and chill overnight.
Remove the chicken from the marinade before cooking and place in an ovenproof dish, cover with foil and cook for around 15 minutes, remove the foil and continue to cook for around a further 10 minutes .
The spicy rice is really tasty but not as authentic as the Nandos version because I add sweetcorn to mine to give it a bit of crunch.
To make the rice you will need:
1 chopped red pepper
1 chopped green pepper
2 spring onions sliced
1 green chilli finely diced
1/2 tin of sweetcorn
1 tbsp vegetable oil
enough cooked rice for 4 people cooked in chicken stock
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp soy sauce
Tabasco sauce to taste
Fry the peppers in the oil until softened, add the green chilli and spring onion and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the sweetcorn, rice, lime juice and soy sauce and fry until the rice is cooked through.  Add the tabasco sauce to taste.
The mash is a basic mashed potato with added butter and cream to give it a creamy taste, I find it’s always better to make it in advance and heat up just before serving.

nandos_Home Style

Stir Fried Chicken

stir fried chicken

Sometimes the most simple of dishes can offer the most flavour, I’m a firm believer that if you purchase the best ingredients you can afford, you only need a small amount of added flavour to make a delicious meal.  I purchase my chicken supreme’s from Aubrey Allen butchers in Leamington Spa, I could probably get the same amount for over 1/2 the price of I purchased from a supermarket but since moving down here I decided to make a concious effort to but the best I could afford when purchasing meat so for this reason I’m happy to use the butcher.

As a family we love all sorts of vegetables and as I had some butternut squash left over in the fridge I decided it would probably work well in a stirfry so added some spring onions, peppers, broccoli, green beans, carrot (cut into strips with a vegetable peeler), mange tout, baby sweetcorn and pak choi to the pan with a few noodles and ended up with a delicious meal for 3.

stir fry

Tefal OptiGrill Revisited

I previously posted about the Tefal OptiGrill post in this post here, I had only used it a couple of times so couldn’t do a completely thorough review of the product.

Since I wrote the post above I have used the Tefal OptiGrill to cook most of my meals, yesterday it was used to cook Breaded Chicken (Homemade) wraps and Steak Salad.



The Chicken wraps were simple to make, I cut up some chicken thighs, placed them in a bowl with some breadcrumbs and rapeseed oil mixed them around and placed on the OptiGrill for a couple of minutes until cooked.  Previously I would have cooked the chicken in the oven and would have spent ages soaking a baking tray after cooking to remove the stuck on breadcrumbs but with the Tefal Optigrill I didn’t have this problem.



One thing that the Tefal Optigrill cooks extremely well is steak, all kinds of steak.  The steak used for the salad above was flat iron steak which was actually sold at the butchers for use on a barbecue but I figured it would work just as well on the OptiGrill.  Once cooked the steak was buttery soft and melted in the mouth.

I’m definitely an OptiGrill convert and can’t wait to cook my next meal in it this evening which will be a boneless leg of lamb.

Tefal OptiGrill

Yesterday I was at hospital being fitted with a cast on my right hand after fracturing a bone in my right wrist, as I’m the cook in our household I was very worried about how I was going to feed my family (It’s amazing how many things require both hands in the kitchen).  I received delivery of one of Tefal’s new products this morning, the Optigrill which Tefal claim is like having a professional grill chef at home.  Every Tefal product I own takes the strain and stress out of cooking and I had high hopes for this product.



The OptiGrill has six cooking programmes for meat, fish, bacon, chicken, burgers and sausages plus a manual option.

The unique colour changing LED screen on the handle is used to check cooking progress, this reveals how your food is cooking and allows you to see exactly when the food is done.  When cooking steak the light is yellow for rare, orange for medium and red for well done.  The OptiGrill will also beep at each cooking stage so you don’t need to stand over the device.


The heating up colour is pale lilac, it takes around 4-7 mins for the grill to heat up

lilac light

Once the grill is hot enough the light will change to pale blue.

yellow light

The green light indicates cooking is in progress

Red light

The red light indicates cooking is complete

raw chicken Chicken

peri-peri Chicken

I cooked Peri-Peri Chicken thighs for Mini Gourmand which she thought were well cooked, juicy and delicious

panini steak

Mr Gourmand and I had Flat iron steak pannini with salad, the steak was cooked medium, placed in the paninni with some cheese and popped back in the OptiGrill to brown the bun.

grill plate

The cooking surface is very large and is coated with Tefal’s superb non-stick coating, the cooking plate has a 7″ inclination for easy fat release.

The OptiGrill sears food at high temperatures which locks in flavour and juice.  Food is left with appetising grill pan markings, as we eat with our eyes this can only be a good thing.  No oil is necessary when using the OptiGrill which makes it perfect for low fat family cooking.

We don’t have a garden which means we can’t have barbecues, I really miss barbecued food in the summer but after using the Optigrill I’m so please I can now enjoy grilled food without my hair and clothes smelling of smoke.

I can’t wait to give this product a proper road test, I have some great ideas for kebabs, fish, burgers, boneless spatchcock chicken, sandwiches, vegetables and chicken tikka.

RRP £129.99 Visit www.tefal.co.uk for stockists.

tefal Innovation Panelist

*Disclaimer – I am a Tefal Innovation Panellist and received this product for review purposes, all thoughts are my own and this post is honest and impartial*

What’s For Dinner Tonight?

Those clever people at Schwartz have developed a new 2 in 1 range which takes the hassle out of cooking, who wants to spend hours midweek preparing rubs and herb mixes when you can prepare a dish in less than 10 mins?

We were sent two packets from the 2 in 1 range, Mediterranean Chicken Pasta and Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken.  The new 2 in 1 range offers easy to use recipe mix sachets in one handy pack: One sachet flavours the main dish while the other contains a seasoning for a side dish or topping.

cheesy pasta

The Mediterranean Chicken Pasta and Cheesy Crumb Topping has a blend of herbs and spices which includes: Paprika, Turmeric, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Parsley, Oregano, Basil and Cayenne Pepper.

The dish takes approx 10 mins to prepare and 4 mins to grill until browned.


The pasta was a delicious alternative to our usual pasta bake recipe, I don’t usually use chicken in pasta recipes but it turned out to be a very filling meal.  Vegetarians could omit the chicken and use a variety of vegetables like courgette and aubergine with the yellow pepper.  Mini Gourmand loved the crispy crumb topping and thought it was a lot more interesting than just grated cheese.

roast chicken

The Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken with Crispy Roast Potatoes are exactly what they say on the packet.  Some delicious flavours are used including Rosemary, Garlic, Paprika, Parsley, Nutmeg, Chilli, Marjoram, Cumin and Oregano.

The dish takes seconds to prepare and based on my size chicken took just over an hour to cook.


The family enjoyed this dish the most out of the two.  The rub for the chicken added a great flavour and the seasoning for the roast potatoes was subtle but delicious.

I was really worried about serving the two dishes to Mr Gourmand as he is very anti packet food, I watched his face closely while he tasted the dishes to get an idea of what he thought of the food.  He admitted that although he isn’t a fan of packet mixes, the Schwartz 2 in 1 sachets really were delicious.

*This post is an entry for BritMums ‘What’s for Dinner Tonight?’ sponsored by Schwartz.  Sign up to get your own sample at www.schwartz.co.uk/2in1freepack *

Wofun – Leamington Spa

If any of my readers remember my fondness for quick, easy, and delicious chinese cafe food from my days in Newcastle, then this post should bring back some memories. We loved the China Town Express in Newcastle upon Tyne, and actually preferred it over more conventional (and expensive!) chinese restaurants, so when we moved down to Leamington Spa my radar was on the lookout for somewhere that could fill the void left by the aforementioned chinese cafe. Then one saturday morning the thud of the letterbox signalled the arrival of a new batch of takeaway leaflets; Usually this results in the traditional ‘throwing in the bin’ routine, but one leaflet caught my eye more than the rest, and that was a menu for a place in Leamington called Wofun. This menu was small and interesting, with limited meals, noodles, and sauces, but combinations could be made to create the perfect meal….and all at a perfect price! We decided to visit this restaurant rather than order takeaway and were pleasantly surprised by a light and airy venue with helpful staff.  


I started with the Crispy Chicken and what a choice that was – I would have paid twice the price for this crispy meaty wonder which was lovely and light and a nice fresh salad on the side to compliment a very tasty starter, yum!


Mr Gourmand started with the Pork Cutlet, and boy was he happy with his choice. Again the coating was lovely and light and to be honest, the pictures say it all. A very filling and quite amazingly priced starter.


Mini Gourmand picked the wontons which myself and Mr Gourmand guessed she would. This little girl has a real soft spot for crispy wontons and the speed that she gobbled them up is testament to how much she enjoyed these little crispy wonders! So three good choices then, now for the mains!


Mini Gourmand decided to have the Roast Duck with teryaki sauce. Just look at this one. I cant believe there could be a reader out there who doesn’t look at this and have to fetch a napkin because they are drooling! I’m writing this and actually looking at the clock in the bottom right of the screen to see if there is time to pop out to grab a takeaway myself. There was so much beautiful succulent duck and the crispy skin and soft noodles were a perfect combination.


Mr Gourmand went for the Mixed Meat mixing dish with a light and delicate sauce. A delicious combo of pork, chicken and just look at the size of those king prawns! Mr Gourmand went for a boiled rice which he thinks is always the best choice with chinese food. Personally I like fried rice, but, his choice!


I have eaten the Beef with ho fun noodles on a few occasions and sampling this dish at a new venue was a great test – I am rarely disappointed with a dish like this and once again I am happy to say it came up trumps. The beef was very delicately seasoned with a delicious sauce and a great choice with those lovely thick noodles…checked the time again, no, mustn’t, one last check, no surely I can’t. maybe tomorrow if I behave myself!

Wofun can be found at 21 Regent Grove, Town Centre, Leamington Spa CV32 4NN

Porridge Pot – Warwick


The Gourmand family had not been out for Sunday dinner for a long time and after much research and consideration we decided to try out the Porridge Pot in Warwick. At first we were unsure of our choice as it sits very close to a Holiday Inn which made me think it may have been a hotel restaurant – nothing wrong with a hotel restaurant mind you, it just wasn’t what we wanted on this particular Sunday!

Once we walked through the door though we felt immediately at ease, the interior was large and airy and created a very relaxing feel – you know when somewhere is loud with bustle and people moving round and background music, but quiet enough that you can still talk and be heard by the person at the other end of the table? Well that was how it felt. The atmosphere was really enjoyable and the huge windows and open ceiling worked together really well.

We decided that a carvery was a good choice although Mr Gourmand stupidly asked for something else to begin with, something non Sunday dinner like, which he would instantly regret when my food arrived; Thankfully for his sake what he ordered was not available so he stumped for the Sunday dinner carvery as well!

prawn cocktail

I decided that a prawn cocktail (£4.55) was the order of the day for a starter. It’s really dangerous ordering starters when you don’t know how big the main course is going to be, but what the heck we all did anyway. Prawn cocktails very rarely fail to impress and this didn’t disappoint. Good size with a tasty sauce and brown bread on the side. Delicious.

chicken strips

Mr Gourmand and Mini Gourmand opted to share a Sesame Teriyaki chicken skewers with dressed seasonal leaves and a sticky and oriental dipping sauce (£4.75). Three skewers, two eaters, and one very tasty dish could only lead to an argument…..so i stepped in and ate the third! Yum. The teriyaki sauce was sticky and perfect alongside the chicken skewers. I may get this myself next time, but only if the prawn cocktail has sold out.

porridge pot

Carvery dinner time (£8.95). The choice of meat was brilliant. You could have beef, turkey, chicken, pork, meat pie, and gammon; all of which came with little extras suck as pork crackling, mini sausages, and stuffing. The chef was very helpful and offered great portion sizes, perhaps not great for the diet but hey ho, we don’t go out for Sunday dinner that often. The veg was out of this world. You had the choice of different types of potatoes, carrots, broccoli, you name it. They also had nice touches such as leek and different types of gravy. I will definitely be going back here for the Sunday dinner alone!

Ok, before you read on I must apologise my eyes were too big for my belly, but luckily I was not alone. Mini Gourmand and me decided to hit the puddings with a crumble and custard and Eton mess, oh dear. The rest of the day was a blur as we lay at home holding our overfilled tummies!


eton mess

Frankie and Benny’s – Leamington Spa

Frankie & Benny’s is a Gourmand family favourite which combines the best of popular American food with traditional Italian dishes.

Lunch menus are available Monday – Friday, 11am until 5pm, you get 3 menus to choose from the main menu, lunch value menu and the specials menu. The lunch menu has over 30 dishes to choose from, 1 course will cost you £5.95, 2 courses £8.25 and 3 courses £9.25

The Specials Menu is available all day Sunday – Friday, and 2 courses costs £10.95 or you can get 3 courses for £13.20.


Frankie and Benny’s needs no introduction, it provides good value and very tasty food which is prepared consistently well, no matter where in the country you go. Lets get straight to it, I can’t resist the Warm dough sticks and dips, they are delicious and have a great texture and springy consistency. Everytime I order them they have a really familiar and homely oven baked taste which makes my mouth water with anticipation.


Mr Gourmand goes through strange phases of thinking he should eat more healthy, so if there is a salad on the menu, more often than not he orders one. On this occasion he went for the mozzarella and tomato salad platter which comes with a light creamy mozzarella, sliced beef tomato, marinated olives and warm garlic dough balls. This was served with fresh watercress, olive oil and seasoned with cracked black pepper. I’m not sure how healthy this is, but he feels less guilty by ordering it so at least its good in his mind. He enjoyed it very much and again as a testament to the quality and consistency provided by Frankie and Benny’s, has ordered this on a few occasions and never been let down.


For a main course I went for the tried and tested crispy chicken burger, with fries and coleslaw. Although this is simple combination, it really can’t be beaten for taste and value, and always hits the mark. The crispy chicken is succulent without being too dry, and the chips and coleslaw provide a nice fallback in between burger bites. If I was being very critical I think chips should be either an american fry, or homemade thick cut chip, but it’s not the end of the world, I still eat them!

chicken salad

Mr Gourmand really was pushing the healthy side of the menu on this day and went for a Caesar Salad with crispy baby gem lettuce leaves, anchovy fillets and tomato, and drizzled with Frankie and Benny’s own caesar dressing, all topped of with Grana Padano. Really nice, very crispy and fresh salad with a gorgeous dressing, and the mixture of soft salad, chicken, crispy croutons and anchovies is so good that I may even order this one myself next time we return!

garlic bread

Ok ok, call us greedy but what can I say, the table next to us received their garlic bread just as the waitress took back our menus, Mr Gourmand couldn’t resist, our order was read back with the addition of a garlic bread side, it just looked and smelled so good. Guess what, it tasted a s good as it looked, yum.

The Jug and Jester – Leamington Spa

A couple of weeks ago Grandma Gourmand was visiting and offered to babysit while myself and Mr Gourmand went out for dinner so we decided to sample another couple of dishes from the new Wetherspoons menu.

You can read about our previous visit here.


As myself and Mr Gourmand were feeling particulary peckish as well as relieved to get a few hours on our own, we thought we would go for a favourite shared starter which was the Nachos doused in salsa, sour creme, and guacamole alongside jalapenos and a healthy sprinkling of cheese. Wetherspoons states the number of calories, which for this meal was 1437 Calories, which added additional guilt to the experience! As always this was delicious and simple, albeit quite large and a bit of a struggle for even two of us to finish.


I decided to go for a main course  of Southern-fried-style Chicken Strips with coleslaw and chips which was juicy and tasty and all for 1058 Calories. Although this meal wasn’t visually outstanding, it satisfied where it counts which was the taste! My only slight gripe was that I didn’t think the Tennessee sauce suited the chicken. The coleslaw however was really nice with a light flavour that added much needed texture to the dry chicken.


Mr Gourmand decided to go healthy and went for the Superfood wholewheat pesto pasta, with chicken (770 cal) which consisted of wholewheat pasta, nut free pesto, mixed peppers, cherry tomatoes, butternut squash, soya beans, broccoli, sugar snap peas, red onion and sun-dried tomatoes. He really enjoyed it and thought the option of adding chicken gave it the extra oomph which may have been missing without it. His plate was finished, licked clean, and ready to be put back on the rack before I had even finished half of what I ordered!

*Disclaimer* We were provided with Weatherspoons vouchers to use during our visit, this has not affected our opinion of the brand and as always our review is honest and impartial*