Cook-Along Friday Recipe Shed

#RecipeShed – Lemon Chicken & Pasta

The Recipe Shed challenge for the week was Chicken.  There’s nothing finer than taking a fresh roast chicken out of the shopping bag and simply devouring it.  Bread and butter optional.  However, if you can wait a little while, this takes that cooked chicken and turns it into something the whole family enjoys.  And it does it quickly.


  • Chicken, 1.  Pre-roasted.  You can either roast it yourself (Beerroaster optional) or get it from the supermarket.  I love the convenience of grabbing a roast chicken while shopping.  1 chicken does for at least 8 people as long as it’s a decent size.
  • Lemon.  1 or 2 depending on how lemony you want the end dish.
  • Pasta.  Enough to serve however many people you want to feed.  We usually use twirls but shells, twists, whatever shape you fancy.
  • Wholegrain mustard
  • Chicken stock (cubes, jelly things, whatever).  1 pint for 6 people.
  • Double cream, small pot.  You can use single cream, you just add it later in the dish.
  • Plain flour, a few tablespoons
  • Oil

Right.  In true 30 minute meal style, get your preparations done first:

  • Boil a kettle – you’re going to need water for the pasta and for the chicken stock.
  • Make 1 pint of chicken stock
  • Remove all the meat from the bones of the chicken and tear it into bite-sized pieces.  Eat the skin and make sure to do some quality control on the chicken meat.
Preparations done (that was tricky).
  1. Get the pan for the pasta on and up to heat, add the pasta.  Everything else will be done in the 11 minutes it takes to cook the pasta.
  2. Juice and zest the lemons into the chicken stock, add a generous tablespoon of the grain mustard.
  3. In a second, fairly large, pan, heat the oil and add the flour, stirring until it’s all combined.
  4. Add the stock mix to the oil & flour, stirring constantly.  Keep adding until you’ve got all the stock in and the sauce is thickening.  If it gets too thick, add more stock.  If it’s too runny, add more flour.  You’re aiming for something the consistency of yoghurt.
  5. Cook this for a minute or two, then add the chicken meat and (if you’re using double cream) the cream.  Stir until it’s all warmed through.
  6. Turn down the heat and wait for the pasta to cook.
  7. Once the pasta is finished, drain it.  If you’re using single cream, add this to the chicken mix and stir it through.
  8. Add the drained pasta to the pan of chicken mix and stir everything.  If your chicken pan isn’t big enough, empty the pasta into a large serving bowl and put the chicken on top of that.
  9. Serve – bowls, forks, spoons.
20 minutes max from start to finish, shorter if you’ve done the chicken the day before and you’ve got a jug of stock from the last pressure-cooked bird in the fridge.
There’s more chicken goodness over at the Recipe Shed, so head there and enjoy!
Cook-Along Friday Recipe Shed

#RecipeShed – Slovakian Goose and/or duck

Our family was lucky enough to have a wonderful Slovakian au pair for a couple of years.  When we visited her family out in Slovakia, they prepared a wonderful roast goose and duck dish.  Now, whilst this isn’t as simple as Keith’s roast duck, it is not complicated…


  • Goose or duck – cut into portions skin on.  Split breasts into 2 pieces.
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Cabbage
  • Fresh bread


  1. Salt all the portions generously and leave for a minimum of 12 hours.  This draws out a lot of the water within the meat.
  2. Wash thoroughly
  3. Oven to 150°C
  4. Place the portions into a baking tray/roasting tin, skin side up
  5. Sprinkle of salt, generous grate of pepper, tear the rosemary over the pieces
  6. Cover with foil (or use a roasting tin with a lid)
  7. Bake for 1 1/2 hours
  8. After 1 1/2 hours, remove the foil and jack the heat up to 250°C
  9. Shred the cabbage and cook in whatever way you most like – we steam ours over a pan of boiling water then add a generous knob of butter
  10. Cut the bread into thick slices
  11. By this time the skin should be nice and crispy so it’s time to serve
  12. Collect the fat that’s come from the bird portions into a serving jug – not only does this taste excellent when drizzled over the fresh bread but it’s a good start to making lovely gravy and (if you separate off the white layer at the top, using it to fry bacon and eggs in) it’s a fine dripping to go on toast.
  13. Enjoy.  Pleasantries like knives and forks are strictly optional, especially if you pick a leg/wing piece!
If you happen to be able to lay your hands on a bottle of Becherovka, so much the better.
Now, head over to the Recipe Shed for more inspiration.
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Cook-Along Friday Recipe Shed

#CookalongFriday – Cheat’s Risotto, serves 6(ish)

Everyone knows risottos are difficult to cook, time-consuming, need you to slave over the stove adding just a little stock and letting it absorb into the rice before you add the next few mil.  Bollards, Ron. Bollards.  When you’re cooking for kids you don’t have time to do difficult, time-consuming and slaving over the stove. You need quick, simple, fire-and-forget cooking.  So, cheat!

No photos this week – risotto really isn’t camera-friendly!


  • 300g risotto rice. Worth getting the right stuff as long-grain just doesn’t cut the mustard here.
  • Roast chicken.  Half a breast’s worth
  • Ham. A couple of slices of. The thin-cut stuff for kids sandwiches is perfect.
  • Leek or onion. 2 leeks or 1 large onion, cut into fairly thin slices
  • Butter. Some.  Not a lot.
  • Chicken (or veg) stock. 2 pints


  1. Put a large saucepan onto a medium heat, add the butter and fry the leek/onion for a couple of minutes.  Enough to start to soften it.
  2. Add in the ham, give it a good stir, fry for another couple of minutes.
  3. Add the rice, give it a good stir, fry for a couple of minutes (there’s a pattern here)
  4. This is where I differ from the traditional risotto…  Add all the stock and stir.  Turn the heat down a notch or 2.  Put the lid on.
  5. Put 20 minutes on a timer and go do something with the kids. Or if they’re at school, clean a couple of bathrooms.  Whenever you pop back into the kitchen because you’ve forgotten something, give it all a stir.
  6. When the 20 minutes are up, add the chicken and stir again.  Season to taste.  Let it cook for another 5 minutes and you’re done.

Okay, so it’s not the most authentic or traditional recipe, but it’s a winner with my crowd.  On a good day I can comfortably use the entire pack of rice (500g), scale up the leek and meat, use a really big pan and make a stack of baby dinners as well.  Usual response to this is by the time I’ve finished serving all 7 of us, at least 1 of the kids has already finished bowl 1 and is asking for seconds.  And thirds.

All credit for this shortcut to the recipe goes to my wife who misread a risotto recipe. We’ve not bothered to correct it since.  But all credit to those who do these things properly. You’re an inspiration to the rest of us.  And speaking of chefs who do things properly, head across to Reluctant Housedad and see what he’s got on offer today.

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