I loved watching Mary Berry’s cookery programs on TV recently – she’s my kind of cook – non-egocentric, sensible and precise, yet fun. I learned some great tips from her too.
My favourite tip is so simple I can’t believe I have never used it before. When measuring out tablespoons of something, such as flour, soft cheese or mayo, leave a gap between each in the bowl so if you are interrupted by children/phone/doorbell, you can come back and see instantly how many you have added.
I liked to see what equipment she uses
as well – I have my favourite gadgets at
home but it’s always good to get
recommendations from the experts.
I’ve since read about Delia’s favourite gadgets, and Jamie’s too (though he is far more cavalier than I am in the kitchen). And after all this research (and years of practise) here’s my definitive list:
In the drawer
Lemon squeezer & zester
This is the lemon squeezer I used as a child when I baked with my mum. I managed to ‘procure’ it when I left home and I still love it. It fits perfectly on top of a measuring jug and captures the pips while you squeeze. I bought the lemon zester myself and it’s so handy, I often add lemon, lime or orange zest to fish dishes and bakes too.
Wooden spoon, box grater, potato
masher & a spaghetti spoon
Knives & scissors
As with pans, buy the best you can and keep knives sharp with a knife sharpener. I only actually use three. A long serrated knife for bread, a smaller knife for fine chopping and a large sharp knife for bigger veg, such as squash and potatoes. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago <link to previous blog> I like to ‘chop’ with my kitchen scissors as I find it much easier for herbs, meats and pizza.
My personal favourite is an Oxo Good Grips peeler – it works a treat.
In the cupboard
Buy the best you can afford and they will last a very long time. My favourite pan is a large lidded frying pan also known as the ‘magic pan’ and was bought for me by my mum one Christmas around 10 years’ ago – it’s still going strong. I also have a pan with a steamer on top, which was a wedding present almost 15 years’ ago and has been used almost every day since.
Mine are really cheap – I bought them because I like the pattern and they work!
Two measuring jugs, a sieve, a colander and a pair of tongs. All cheap and cheerful but they do the job.
I like to keep these to a minimum as I don’t like worktop clutter and I have made purchases in the past that just gather dust. I use a hand-held whisk/mixer all the time for bakes and a stick blender for soups and sauces. I do also have a food processor for pastry and other bits and bobs but it’s not used as often.
I’m hopeless at finely chopping an onion and so I bought one of these clever little Rotomac gadgets that quickly chop at the pull (or five) of a handle. No power needed, just a quick wash afterwards and, even-better, no drippy eyes.
And making use of the Rotomac and lemon zester in this gorgeous recipe from Fantastic Food for Less.
Rich Lemon Chicken
Calories 238 per portion
Fat 10g (2.8g sat) per portion
- Olive or sunflower oil 1 tbsp
- Chicken thighs 1kg (2¼lb) or 6, skinned, boned, meat cut into chunks
- Onion 1, peeled and chopped
- Lemon 1, grated zest and juice
- Chicken stock 300ml (½ pint)
- Fresh thyme sprigs 2, or ½ tsp dried
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Egg yolks 2
- Parsley or chives small bunch, finely chopped
- Cooked macaroni or small pasta shapes to serve (optional)Instructions
- Heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the cubed chicken. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Push the chicken to one side of the pan, then add the onion and fry for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the lemon zest and juice, then the stock, thyme and a little salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, stirring, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Scoop the chicken out of the pan with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Beat the egg yolks together in a bowl, then gradually beat in the hot stock and onions until smooth.
- Return the sauce to the pan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until it has lightly thickened. Return the chicken to the pan and stir in the chopped herbs. Serve with cooked pasta, if using.
Cook’s tips Be careful not to overheat the sauce at the end when thickening with the egg yolks; if it boils, they will curdle. If you are short of time, you may prefer to use 600g (1lb 5oz) of ready-diced chicken thigh meat, chicken breast mini fillets or turkey breast slices.
A Dairy Cookbook recipe.
#recipes #chicken #greek