Lemon chicken with potato wedges

This recipe is a good alternative to roast chicken, especially if you have visitors, as it looks great and is easy to double up on ingredients for more people.

Lemon chicken with potato wedges

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 50 minutes
Serves 4

426 Kcal per portion
20.5g Fat per portion of which
6.9g is saturated

Potatoes, 4 medium (about 800g) peeled and cut into wedges
Olive oil, 3 tbsp
Lemons, 2, 1 cut into 6 wedges and the other into 8 thin slices
Garlic 4 cloves, unpeeled
Thyme or oregano sprigs, handful
Chicken breasts 4, skin left on
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Nutmeg, freshly grated
Parma ham, 4 slices
Chicken stock 150ml (¼ pint)
Crème fraiche 4 tbsp

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Put a large baking tray in the oven to heat up. Add the potato wedges to a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes well, dry for a few seconds in the pan.

2 Put 2 tablespoons of oil on the hot baking sheet, add the potatoes and toss in the oil. Gently squeeze each lemon wedge over the potatoes and add them the baking tray, along with the garlic cloves and herb sprigs. Roast near the bottom of the oven for about 50 minutes, turning them after about 25 minutes and then once again to crisp and brown all over.

3 Meanwhile, put the chicken breasts in a roasting tin, rub the skin with the lemon ends then season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Arrange a slice of ham on each piece of meat, ruching it to look attractive, then put 2 lemon slices on top. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Put the chicken above the potato wedges in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, then pour the stock into the tin and cook another 20 minutes.

4 Transfer the chicken to a hot platter. Pour the roasting tin juices into a small pan, bring to the boil and reduce to about 90ml (3fl oz) then whisk in the crème fraiche to make a thin creamy sauce. Spoon some sauce onto 4 hot dinner plates and place a chicken breast on top. Serve with the lemon flavoured chips, garlic cloves  and some green vegetables.

Cook’s tips
If you want less fat in this recipe, take the skin off the chicken and  don’t add the crème fraiche to the sauce – it still takes good.

Variations
The recipe works well with chicken leg portions too – cook them for 50 minutes.

Recipe taken from Year Round Dairy Cookbook. Available for just £2.99!

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Happy Easter Holidays

I hope you have all had a lovely, relaxing Easter and not eaten too many of those tempting Easter treats!

An extra day off work today – woohoo. The perfect opportunity to show off your gardening talent (or not – it’s so easy my cat could do it!) with the following Pretty in Pink gorgeous spring basket. It takes less than an hour to do and has instant impact.

I love hyacinths and they are just starting to bloom now, so it’s definitely one for today’s to-do list, along with a visit to a nearby National Trust property – for some fun family activities. Visit the National Trust website for details of events near to you.

And for lots more easy garden projects take a look at Seasonal Garden Ideas . Enjoy!

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Pretty in Pink

Pretty-in-Pink

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Pretty in Pink

Make a pretty basket of pink hyacinths special by adding hoops of pussy willow twigs with the soft grey catkins just bursting out – a lovely display that should last for several weeks.

Pussy willow twigs are available in early spring, either in hedgerows or from florists. Pot-grown hyacinths can be found in garden centres from January through to May or even later.

Planting up a basket takes about an hour.

Plants required
Ten to twelve pink Dutch hyacinths just coming into flower.
Six to eight pussy willow twigs each about 45cm (18in) long.

Equipment required
Rustic-weave basket.
Hanging-basket liner (plastic, hessian, felt or moulded paper).
Bulb compost to fill.
Several handfuls of moss to tuck around the base of the hyacinths.
Trowel.

1 Place the liner you have chosen in the bottom of the basket, pricking holes through for drainage if needed. Fill the basket two-thirds full with bulb compost.

2 Carefully remove each hyacinth, one at a time, from their pots and plant in the basket, adding more compost and setting each one to the same depth as it was in its pot. Place them as close together as you can, so the heavy flowerheads will support each other, and firm in well.

3 Tuck moss loosely around the base of the hyacinths to cover the soil completely. Water lightly.

4 Wedge the bottom end of a pussy willow twig into the basket weave then bend it over to form a hoop. Tuck the tip of the twig securely into the basket, then repeat with the other twigs all round the basket, overlapping the twigs slightly as you go.

5 Position your basket in a sunny spot for best display. The furry grey catkins will eventually turn bright yellow as they open.

Tips
Take great care not to knock the pussy willow catkins off the twigs as you handle them – they are quite fragile. If the hyacinth stems start bending over, insert thin bamboo canes into the compost and tie the stems to them as discreetly as possible with soft string. Bring under shelter if heavy rain is threatened.

Note
Reuse your rustic basket for a summer display by planting with nasturtiums or begonias.

Aftercare
By its very nature this is a temporary display. When the hyacinth flowers have withered, stop watering and allow the foliage to turn brown. Then remove the bulbs from the basket, clean them carefully and store in a dry, dark place until autumn, when you can plant them out in the garden. Discard the pussy willow twigs when the catkins have flowered.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas

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Easter Celebrations

Whoop whoop, we have a lovely long weekend to look forward to with some scrumptious celebrations!

I love Easter, with spring in the air; the mix of lovely pastel colours; the children’s excitement; and some quality family time. The countdown to the big event is on.

Here are some ideas you might like to try:

• Make Easter cards. These are so simple – ribbon interwoven (my current craft obsession) and taped to a piece of card, attached to a card blank with an egg sticker in the centre.

• Make marbled eggs. Isaac and I had great fun experimenting with colours and patterns. These can hang from ribbon on a few twigs, taking centre-stage on the dining table. For details see How to decorate Easter eggs

• If time allows, make some flowery bunting for one dining room wall – see How to make bunting flags

• Create an easy Easter egg hunt (let’s hope the bunny comes!) with a single word treasure hunt that children of all ages can enjoy.

• Buy a few pastel coloured flowers, cut the stems short and fill your favourite teacups with them to make the table extra-pretty.

So, get creative everyone, but most of all enjoy the long weekend. Let’s hope we get lots of sunshine!

And finally, cook a traditional free-range roast chicken with all the trimmings followed by a slab of this gorgeous Simnel cake. The 11 marzipan balls on the top represent the apostles, minus Judas.

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Become a fan of Dairy Diary on Facebook

Yes, you can now become a fan of Dairy Diary on Facebook.

The Dairy Diary fan page is the perfect place to discuss all things Dairy Diary , enter competitions and discover special offers exclusive to fans.

Need to know something? Well, simply start your own discussion.

Have something to say? Comment on other fans discussions.

Don’t forget you can keep up to date with Twitter too.

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Celebrate the start of spring

We have been blessed with some glorious sunny days recently and hurray, it was the official start of spring on Saturday.

It’s always a cause for celebration with the days getting longer, the weather warming up – very welcome after such a harsh winter – and lambs frolicking in the fields. Herald the start of spring with a splash of colour next to your front door. Not only will it cheer you every time you get home but it will please those who pass by or come to visit too.

Pansy and Tulip Basket

Elegant apricot yellow tulips, early flowering mixed pansies and dramatic trailing variegated ivy make a stylish combination in this unusual – and delightful – late spring hanging basket.

Pansy and Tulip BasketPlant in early spring for mid to late spring flowering.
Can be completed in about an hour.

Plants you need
20 bulbs of Tulipa batalinii ‘Apricot Jewel’ in pots.
Mixed pansies – here there are six different coloured varieties.
Four pots of trailing variegated ivy (Hedera helix).

Equipment you need
Hanging basket with hook and chain.
Hanging basket liner (plastic, hessian, felt or moulded paper).
Potting compost.
Trowel.

1 Line your hanging basket to prevent the compost falling out, then add a layer of compost at the bottom.

2 Position the four ivy plants first, setting them at equal distances around the edge of the basket, firming them into the compost at the bottom and feeding the foliage through the holes in the side. Add more compost around and on top of the ivy.

3 Next position the tulip bulbs, spacing them as evenly as possible but setting them in at least two distinct layers around the basket, adding more compost and firming in as you go.

4 Finally put in the pansies. Tuck these in as close together as possible, pushing the foliage through the side holes and firming the soil all around the rootballs. Finish by planting pansies across the top and centre of the basket covering all the bare compost – but leaving the centre slightly lower than the sides to make watering easier.

5 Water thoroughly with a fine rose. Then hang the basket in its final position, making sure that the hanging bracket or eye is secure and can take the considerable weight of the basket.

Tips
To maintain the good appearance of the display and to keep the plants flowering as long as possible, deadhead frequently. This will encourage new flowers to form. Don’t allow the pansies to set seed. Regularly remove any dead or discoloured leaves from the ivy.

Note
Leaving at least 2.5-5cm (1-2in) of space above the compost in the basket assists with water retention.

Aftercare
Hanging baskets and window boxes contain a lot of plants for the amount of soil in their container, so feed regularly throughout the growing/flowering season with a liquid fertiliser or with fertiliser spikes inserted into the compost at planting time. Water frequently to ensure the plants don’t dry out – especially, if the basket is hanging in a sheltered position where rain can’t reach too easily.

Tulip and Pansy Basket is taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas.

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