13/02/2006

Marinated Chicken

(serves about 3-4)

approx 450g (1lb) boneless chicken, cubed
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Method:
Mix the sauce ingredients to make a marinade. Put the chicken pieces in a bowl or dish and pour the marinade over it, then refrigerate. This should ideally be for about six hours, turning every hour or so to re-coat, but it still works if you forget to do this earlier in the day, and only leave it for half an hour or so!

To serve, either cook directly in the oven, covered, for about 30-40 minutes at a fairly high temperature, or remove from the marinade and barbecue or grill (US: broil), turning frequently. You can heat the marinade in a small pan, or in the microwave, and serve over the meat. Do ensure that you cook this thoroughly, so that it boils, as it has been used to marinade raw poultry!

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This recipe can be used with skinless boneless chicken or turkey breast, and also works well with chicken kebabs, which you can sometimes buy ready-threaded on skewers. The amount of meat to use depends on family appetite and preference: we find that about 400-500g of raw meat is right for 3-4 people, but it's better to cook too much the first time, and freeze anything left over, than to have too little.

If you leave (or thread) your meat onto kebab skewers, this is easy to serve in warmed pittas with mixed salad and coleslaw. Alternatively serve with any kind of potatoes and vegetables. We like this with oven-cooked potato wedges, corn and french beans.

If you have a vegetarian in the family, you could serve something like halloumi cheese fried in olive oil at the same time, paticularly if you are eating this as a quick meal with pitta bread and salad.

Note: a 'cup' measure is 8 fluid ounces. You may be able to buy sets of American measuring cups to make this easier, or use a jug with measurements. Alternatively you could just guess, using an ordinary cup or mug. The exact quantities do not matter and can be adjusted to taste.

09/02/2006

Pineapple Chocolate Fudge Pie

(serves 3-4)

Base:
100g digestive biscuits (US: graham crackers), crumbled
25g coconut (optional)
75g butter or margarine, melted

Filling:
100g butter or margarine
75g soft brown sugar
150g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
25g cocoa powder
225g can pineapple slices or chunks
50ml milk, approx


Method:
Make the base by mixing crumbs (and coconut if used) into melted butter, and pressing into a greased 20cm/8 inch flan dish or pie plate. Cook at 190C/Gas 5 for 5 minutes, and remove from oven.

Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar, then stir in all the dry ingredients alternatively with milk and the juice from the pineapple. Arrange the pineapple pieces in the crumb base, then spoon the topping over them. Cook for about 30 minutes at 170C/Gas 4, until the top is firm to touch. The inside should still be slightly gooey but not sufficiently that it will collapse.

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Here's a close-up showing how it looks after a few pieces have been cut, showing the softer inside:

We sometimes make this dessert for a special occasion, and serve with thick yogurt or ice cream. It works well if you double all quantities, to serve six to eight people; use a 28-30cm round flan dish if you do so.

To convert to imperial measurements, treat 25g as approximately 1 ounce (or a little under). To make it suitable for dairy-free eating, use soya milk instead of ordinary milk, and dairy-free spreads such as Pure soya or Flora dairy-free instead of butter.