Paul Bocuse’ Chicken Salad

Serves: 3

This Paul Bocuse salad is just excellent.

(Not that one would be surprised coming from one of the greatest chefs of all time!)

Such a wonderful, sophisticated flavour. Everything balances, everything is just right.

Definitely a Saturday lunch winner.

(The recipe calls for white baby onions. These ARE NOT those appalling things you can find pickling in jars. You’ll have to shop around – Harris Farm or a nice IGA – though they are out there. If you use those onions in a jar, a curse will come over your kitchen!)

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
Cos lettuce, sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 white baby onions, sliced finely
100 gm Gruyère cheese, diced
100 gm black olives, pitted and torn
3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
100gm walnut pieces
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Method

  1. Poach the chicken in water together with some celery leaves and peppercorns and then cool and slice into strips.
  2. Place the chicken, celery onion, cheese, olives, tomatoes and walnuts in a large bowl and chill.
  3. Whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss well.

Duck Pie with Pomegranate and Walnuts

Serves: 6

Wow.

On so many levels, this Middle Eastern pie is as amazing as it is unique.

Starting with the most obvious: it’s a duck pie! Duck pies are made of duck which means they are automatically amazing.

They’re also rare so this is a treat. (I’ve only typed up one other duck pie at the time of writing this one up.)

You’re cooking with Pomegranate Molasses, something I am confident you’ve never cooked with. It is also amazing.

You make a custard with the rich, reduced stock that you’ve spent the previous 2 hours infusing with saffron, walnuts and duck.

You’re shredding the moorish meat of 8 duck Marylands. The same cut you use in Duck Confit. Amazing right?!

And you’re cooking the pie in buttered filo.

This technique behind this pie is unique and definitely feels Middle Eastern.

Though the effect is awesome.

It is just beautiful and served as part of a Middle Eastern feast, this is luxury.

Not cheap, not quick, though like any duck dish, spend the time and eat like the Kings that no doubt ate this pie 400 years ago.

Ingredients

50ml olive oil, plus extra if needed
8 duck Marylands (about 2kg)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup roasted walnuts, rubbed in a cloth to remove skins, coarsely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
A pinch of saffron threads, lightly toasted and crushed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1.2 litres chicken stock
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coriander leaves, thinly sliced
9 filo pastry sheets
150gm melted clarified butter
30gm pure icing sugar, sifted with 1tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy casserole over a medium heat. Season duck and fry in two batches, skin side down first (6 – 8 minutes), then on the other side until golden (2 – 3 minutes). Drain fat leaving 2 tbsp in the casserole.
  2. Return all the duck to the casserole together with the onion, garlic, walnuts, ginger, saffron, cinnamon and cumin, stir to coat well, then adding the stock and pomegranate molasses. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer over a low heat for around 1 1/2 hours and when the duck can easily be pulled off the bone.
  3. Strain, reserving the stock and duck mixture separately. Set the duck aside to cool.
  4. Skim off the excess fat from the stock (place paper towels on the surface, then remove and discard).
  5. Coarsely shred the duck meat, discarding the skin and bones. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and reduce by two-thirds to about 400ml. Transfer half the reduced stock to a bowl and whisk in egg yolks. Return to the saucepan with the remaining reduced stock and stir over a low heat until creamy and nearly set, as you would for an egg custard (5 – 7 minutes).
  6. Stir in the parsley and coriander, season to taste and set aside to cool completely. Fold the duck meat into the cooled mixture, refrigerating if not using immediately.
  7. Lay one filo sheet on a work surface, (covering the remaining filo pastry sheets with a slightly damp tea towel) and brush with melted butter. Repeat with another filo sheet laying it on top of the first to form a cross. Repeat with another 4 sheets, laying them at varying angles to form a circle of filo.
  8. Line a 27cm-diameter deep-sided non-stick frying pan with the filo circle, pushing it into the sides. Add duck filling, spreading evenly and brush surrounding filo with melted butter. Brush remaining 3 filo sheets with butter, fold in half and place on top of filling to cover. Bring pastry sides over filo on top to enclose and brush with butter.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180c. Place the pie in the oven and bake until golden brown (30 – 35 minutes). Remove from the oven and carefully place a large plate upside-down over pie and invert onto the plate.
  10. Wipe the excess butter from the filo and sift icing sugar mixture over the pie. Place a metal skewer on a naked flame until red-hot, holding the skewer with a tea towel. Burn a trellis pattern into the filo. Serve.

Martha Stewart’s Poached-Chicken-Salad Sandwiches

Serves: 4

This is a pretty classic, Martha Stewart sandwich and one I’ve done plenty of times.

Just add a well buttered baguette – toasted if you can – butter lettuce and avocado.

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts
1 small yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp raisins
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
Baguette, halved lengthways, toasted and buttered
Butter lettuce pieces
Avocado

Method

  1. In a pot, cover chicken breast and yellow onion with water by 2cm; season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over a high-heat; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the pit from the heat and let stand, covered for 12 – 14 minutes until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the water and let cool completely.
  3. Shred the chicken, then mix with walnuts, raisins, celery, red onion, mayonnaise, yogurt and tarragon.
  4. Assemble the sandwiches with the toasted baguette, chicken mixture, lettuce and avocado.

Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Serves: 6 – 8

We are still on the homemade ice cream train and after a very successful strawberry ice cream with a side of balsamic strawberries, we are much closer to a favourite I used to make when I was a kid.

(My parents also had an ice cream machine.)

Maple and walnut.

(I used to make honey and walnut.)

It is a sweet ice cream though that is the point: the boys of course, absolutely love it.

Serve it however and with whatever you want. This is the American dream.

Ingredients

1 ½ cup walnut halves
¾ cup maple syrup
1 ⅓ cup heavy cream
1 ¼ cup whole milk
5 large egg yolks, beaten
¼ salt

Method

  1. Over a medium heat, toast the walnuts in a fry pan, stirring and toasting for about 5 minutes until they are fragrant and turning golden. Set aside to cool and chop.
  2. Put the maple syrup in a large saucepan and bring to a boil and then simmer until reduced to ½ cup: 8 – 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cream, milk and salt to the pan and stir.
  4. Drizzle a cup of the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Add another cup and then return to the saucepan and continue to cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Do not boil.
  5. Strain through a fine mesh into a bowl and cover with glad wrap. Refrigerate until completely cold.
  6. Process the chilled mixture according to your machine’s instructions and add the walnuts during the last minutes of churning.
  7. Enjoy.

Creamy Tarragon Chicken Salad

Creamy Tarragon Chicken Salad

Serves: 8

You want a healthy, tasty chicken salad right?

Who doesn’t?

It is one of my top searches for a weeknight meal or a Saturday lunch.

You want your back covered?

Nat’s got it!

With this awesome, super healthy, utterly moorish number: something I would make en-masse and ready to serve as a lunch or a snack all week.

240 calories per serve. 240!

Nat and this salad are genius.

Ingredients

1kg chicken breast
1 cup chicken stock
⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
⅔ cup reduced-fat sour cream
½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 tbsp dried tarragon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 ½ cups celery, diced
1 ½ cups, red seedless grapes, halved

Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 230c.
    2. Arrange the chicken in a baking dish in a single layer and pour the stock around the chicken. Bake until cooked through, around 30 – 35 minutes. Allow to cool enough to handle and then cube the meat.
    3. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts on a baking sheet until slightly golden; around 6 minutes. Allow to cool.
    4. Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, tarragon, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the celery, grapes and the cooled chicken and walnuts. Stir to coat and refrigerate until chilled.
  • Serve on a bed of salad: lettuce, tomato, avocado, diced red onion, cucumber, whatever!

Energy Muffins

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Tasty, filling… energy.

Energy Muffins

Serves: 15 – 18

There are muffins and then there are these muffins: energy muffins.

I found them in Delicious Magazine.

They’re dense, they’re soft, they’re incredibly tasty. And they’re really filling. Have one at 10 and you won’t need lunch until 2.

Read the ingredient list and you’ll know where the energy comes from.

You should whip up a batch for the week.

Seriously good.

Ingredients

1 ¼ cups caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sultanas
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup, grated apple
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Icing sugar, to dust

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Use paper cases to line the muffin pans or grease muffin pans.
  2. Sift sugar, flour, cinnamon and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sultanas, carrot, apple, coconut and walnuts.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and fold until just combined; do not overmix.
  4. Spoon into muffin pans and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

Warmed Red Cabbage Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Goats Cheese

Warmed Red Cabbage Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Goats Cheese

Serves: 6

This is a really great salad.

Really, really great.

The melting goat cheese, the toasted walnuts, the apple, the balsamic vinegar. It’s warm, crunchy, rich and sweet.

This is a real treat.

Serve with lamb koftas, beef or chicken kebabs, BBQed pork tenderloin.

Ingredients

1 small head, red cabbage, cored and sliced into strips
1 small apple, cored and sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 – 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
200gm goats cheese
½ cup walnuts, toasted
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. In a frypan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the garlic and cook until fragrant though not browned. Add the onion and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and cook for a minute.
  2. Add cabbage and stir well; cook for 5 minutes or so until slightly wilted and softened though still bright coloured.
  3. Add apple, walnuts, season and stir well. Add the goats cheese and stir to gently incorporate. Taste for seasoning and add additional balsamic vinegar if it needs some acidity.
  4. Serve immediately.