The hen weekend certainly got off to a tasty start, with the discovery of the exceptionally trendy Yalla Yalla Beirut street food pop-up restaurant located at 186 Shoreditch High Street. There is something quite novel about discovering a little corner of London dedicated to good food for those on the move, and if that’s not enough to wet your taste buds, the sheer atmosphere of the place undoubtedly will. From the smoky smell of the chimineas to the mismatch of cushions and sunshine yellow the place is simply fun and inspiring. I’m not entirely sure why, but the pure idea of street food excites me, give me a box of noodles on a street corner any day.
Thursday is great, but it’s even greater when you’re not working Friday. That’s right; you’re getting your Miss Friday post a day early this week, I’ll be off gallivanting on my best friends hen weekend tomorrow (excited face). We are off into town (London) for a couple of days and will be, amongst other things, wine tasting and overindulging in curry. I cannot wait.
I found this recipe over at the wonderful Italian Food Forever blog written by Deborah Mele. If you’ve not checked it out yet I suggest you do. I’ve spent many a lunch hour roaming through her endless pages of delicious looking Italian recipes.
Now, Italian food is something that I’ve only recently discovered properly. It appears there really is more to it than pasta and pizza. Who knew? What I love about this recipe is that it’s absurdly simple to throw together, but then that’s the essence of Italian food all together. Chicken thighs are a favourite of mine, I’ve always preferred the brown meat over the breast, for one of two reasons really; it’s much more moist and flavourful and it’s cheaper.
The sauce that accompanies this dish is so tasty, although I added a little lemon juice to mine. In fact, I made a few adjustments to the original recipe. I used Gruyère cheese instead of Provolone as suggested. I know it’s not very Italian, but I couldn’t get Provolone and in my confusion opted for Gruyère rather than the quite obvious substitute of Mozzarella. I needed something with a good melting quality… that’s right, I really am that stupid. Although, fortunately my stupidity, on this occasion, resulted in what turned out to be a very tasty supper.
8 Large boneless and skinless chicken thighs
8 Slices prosciutto
120g Grated Gruyère
170g Fresh breadcrumbs
120g Grated parmesan
1 Large egg
60g Chopped fresh basil
60g Chopped fresh parsley
60g Toasted pine nuts
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
100ml dry white wine
100ml chicken stock
Juice from half a lemon
2 tbsp butter
60g chopped fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 200⁰C.
Use a meat hammer to pound the thighs to an even thickness. Salt and pepper each thigh, and top each thigh first with a slice of prosciutto, and then a little of the grated cheese.
Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, basil, parsley, pine nuts and enough milk to moisten, season with salt and pepper. Take a scoop of this filling and place at one end of each thigh.
Roll up firmly, and tie securely with kitchen twine. (I used cocktail sticks; I mean really, who has kitchen twine?)
In an ovenproof frying pan, heat the olive oil and butter until very hot. Brown each of the thighs well on all sides. Bake the thighs for 25 minutes or until cooked throughout. Remove the thighs from the pan, and cover to keep warm.
Deglaze the pan with the wine over high heat, scraping up all of the browned pieces. Add the chicken stock and reduce this mixture by half over high heat. Add the butter, basil and lemon and mix well then season with salt and pepper.
Serve warm with the pan juices drizzled over top.
Roast lamb; my ultimate favourite, but so often overcooked. For me, meat is always far more tasty when it’s not completely overdone and getting a nice leg, or in this case half a leg, on the bone is best, it stays perfectly succulent. To be perfectly honest, cooked just right lamb barely needs improving by stacking on flavour upon flavour, but this combination works so beautifully. The lemon provides a wonderful citrus base, offset by the bite of five cloves of garlic and the fresh mint. What’s not to love?
As far as I am concerned Sundays are for nothing more than roast dinners and red wine, followed by a game of cards in the pub. I know, hard to believe I’m only 24 right! I often have my roast in the pub, I figure that if I’ll end up there later, I may as well grab a paper and do the cross word while someone else sweats over the hot stove, and washes the dishes. But, every now and again I feel it’s time to spend a Sunday at home. And that’s exactly what I did yesterday.
So I’m not going to write a huge post about how to pull together a roast with all the trimmings. I’m guessing most of you already know how to cook a roast, and if you’re one of those who haven’t mastered it yet, you’re probably not interested anyway. It’s all in the timing. Something that’s taken me ages to perfect. I can remember when I first started making roast dinners, the meat would be done before everything else, the potatoes soggy and the vegetables a little too al dente. But alas, I persevered and can say with a great sense of British pride that I am now able to cook a bloody good roast dinner.
I probably loved this as much for the taste as I did the quickness of preparing it. Anything with that much flavour that can be rustled up in minutes is a no-brainer.
In a bowl, pour out equal parts olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 60mls of each), add five chopped garlic cloves and a packed of freshly chopped mint. Give the mixture a good stir.
Using a sharp knife cut incisions into the meat at 1cm intervals; don’t cut too deep otherwise the meat will dry out. Season the meat with salt and pepper before covering with the marinade, making sure that you allow the marinade to get right into the incisions.
Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is best). Cook when ready.