Chicken in butter, wine and thyme sauce

This is yet another Pinterest find (you can follow me here) and was one of the tastiest things we have eaten for a while, despite swapping spinach for mixed greens as the shopping fairy failed again. The spinach would have worked really well and I’ll be trying this one again soon.
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Pasta carbonara

Reading a post the other day made me hungry. Really hungry. I haven’t had cabonara for ages, I’m not a big pasta fan but bacon in a dish always helps. Having read the excellent foodboozeandreviews spaghetti carbonara recipe, I decided that we were having it for tea the next day. To make a quick dish take longer and to add complication, I decided to make my own pasta as well.

It is actually really fairly simple to make your own pasta, especially if you have a pasta maker to roll the dough with. I definitely prefer the taste but for time and ease, dried pasta is more than sufficient.

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Basil and Garlic Butter Chicken

This is another Pinterest inspired recipe (you can follow me here) and was really tasty. Small Person and the Other Half had seconds so it definitely goes in the ‘try again’ pile. I served this with mixed roast veg but when I do try this again it will be with home made pasta. There are a number of tweaks I’ve thought about and I’ll list these at the end of the post. You can find the original recipe here.

Ingredients:

4 small chicken breasts
1 tblsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Splash of white wine
6 tomatoes, diced
50g butter
Fresh basil, chopped (I used a pack of Co-Op fresh herbs)

First of all the chicken, it is always good to cover the chicken with cling film and beat it to an even thickness when it’s being pan fried and this was no exception. Fry in the olive oil over a medium heat until browned on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan and keep somewhere warm.
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Add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan and scrap any bits of chicken up along the way. Add the garlic and fry lightly for two minutes before turning down the heat and adding the tomatoes. They need to be cooked until they are breaking down to make the sauce, this took about twenty minutes. Now stir in the butter until all combined then add the chicken back in. Also add half your fresh basil, stir and heat the chicken through for 5 minutes or so. Once ready to serve stir in the rest of the basil.
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This was delicious but, due to the fresh tomatoes, not quite as quick as I hoped. One speedy tweak might be to use tinned tomatoes (plus a little sugar or syrup) instead of fresh.

Other tweaks I thought about:

Frying bacon or pancetta with the chicken
Adding finely sliced onions before the garlic
Dredging the chicken in flour before frying
Adding a dash of balsamic vinegar at the end (before the fresh basil)
Trying a mix of fresh and sun-roasted tomatoes
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Let me know in the comments if you have any other ideas or to let me know what you think of my tweak ideas.

Very very garlicky lamb steaks

Lamb isn’t cheap, we had a 30oz rump beef steak between us recently for the same cost as three lamb steaks. This is why we don’t eat lamb at home all that often. It’s a shame for two reasons, firstly I absolutely love it and two, my taste in red wine seems to be an ideal match. However I decided we were having garlic lamb chops so sent the Other Half out to buy lamb chops, thyme or rosemary and potatoes for mash. I got thyme and rosemary, lamb steaks not chops and potatoes. Bless.

This is adapted from a recipe on epicurious. Ingredients are:

Lamb chops (or steaks!)
6 garlic cloves
3 sprigs rosemary
Glug of olive oil
1tsp salt

To start with, peel the garlic and strip the rosemary leaves, throw into a blender, add salt and a good helping of olive oil. A glug is however much you think you need and for me seems to equate to roughly 1 and a half tablespoons. Blend until you have a paste like mixture.

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Spread this mixture over the lamb chops (or steaks) and leave them to make friends for about an hour. You can start prepping any side dishes during this time, we had a buttery/creamy mash so the Other Half peeled potatoes whilst I wrote up a blog post on the previous night’s food. This done, the oven is pre-heated to Gas Mark 5 and when heated the lamb took roughly 25 minutes, check after 20 and don’t forget that cooking times will vary depending on the size of the chop(steak). Potatoes boiled whilst the lamb was cooking, and some frozen peas were the final accompliment. Well, they were supposed to be until I saw how much juice had come of the lamb and decided to make gravy.

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I love ‘proper’ gravy, there’s nothing wrong with gravy granules if thats what you like but I tend to find I can taste the salt in made up gravy now and making gravy yourself isn’t difficult. I poured the meat juices into a pan, heated them up, added a tablespoon of flour (I use 00 flour) and mix until you have a paste. Whisk in a good glug (more than a tablespoon!) of red wine and then add stock. Simmer for 10 minutes to make sure there is no alcohol or flour taste. Et voila, home made gravy.

What would I change about this recipe? Probably less rosemary as it almost overpowered the lamb, so I think I’d stick to 1-2 sprigs in future and possibly even reduce to 4 garlic cloves. Bear in mind some of the ones I used were quite small so its probably the equivalent of 4 good size cloves anyway. There’s no danger of vampires coming near me or the Other Half today!
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And what about the wine? I had this Cabernet Sauvignon from Naked Wines. It was perfectly nice, and did complement the lamb, but this has been in my ‘keep’ rack for two years and I’d expected it to develop and wow me a bit more than it did.

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