Category Archives: Cooking

Lime Poached Chicken

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Here’s a little something I cooked up on Monday (2006-07-23) night for dinner. It’s poached chicken served with rice and steamed veggies, the procedure made a good dinner for two with a pair of breasts left over for making lunch the next day. The prevalent flavours here are lime and coriander, I came up with this when wondering what to do with the large bunch of coriander I was left with after thinning out the pots on the balcony.

For a bit of organisation I’ve split the recipe up into four parts, the poached breasts, sauce, mayonnaise and rice; each stage uses outputs from earlier stages.

Poached Breasts

  • 4 Medium Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 Brown Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • Knob Of Ginger (ping-pong ball volume)
  • Two Large Handfuls of Coriander (whole plant)
  • Heaped tsp of Green Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp of Chili Powder
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander Seed
  • A Few Grinds of Pepper
  • 1 Chicken Stock Cube
  1. Throw it all in a pot!
  2. More concise: Grate rind off both limes and juice, reserve 1 tbsp of juice and rind of one lemon for later, place the rest in a pot including the lime-halves (best size pot is one large enough for the four chicken breasts to sit comfortable side-by-side). Chop up the coriander and throw it in the pot, reserving about 3 tbsp of leaves for later. Roughly grate the ginger and place it and any other herbs and spices into the pot. Put the chicken into the pot and toss with all the flavourings. Roughly chop up the onion, carrot and garlic (crush it a bit) and throw it in the pot, skin and all!
  3. Fill the pot with water until it is about ½cm higher than the chicken. Bring to the boil and then turn to a low simmer. Simmer until the chicken is done, this typically means less than 15 minutes for medium sized chicken breasts. The typical test is to stab the breast in its fleshiest part, if the juices “run clear” then the chicken wont kill you. If the sizes of your breasts vary you may want to remove the more petite ones first. Some prefer to ensure that their chicken is dead, dead, dead; they simmer it for an hour – I don’t approve, this may be the way to go if you have tough old granny chicken breasts though.
  4. The poached breasts should be placed aside, snug in a smaller container with some of the poaching juice (about 150ml say). They’ll cool a little now, beware of this in warm weather though – you may want to place in a large freezer bag and put the lot into a bath of cold water.
  5. Remove the lime shells from the breast juice (squeezing out any liquid) and place back onto the stove and bring to a boil. Boil down to half volume then turn to a simmer and put the lid back on. Simmer until the carrot chunks are done like your granny does ’em – bleached of flavour and on the brink of mush.

Lime and Coriander Mayonnaise

  • 1 tbsp of Lime Juice (left over from above)
  • Grated Rind of 1 Lime (left over from above)
  • 2 tbsp of Chopped Coriander Leaves (left over from above)
  • 4 tbsp of Good Mayonnaise (make it yourself if you have the time!)
  1. Place half the lime rind and 1 tsp of the chopped coriander into a small
  2. container.
  3. Put the rest of the lime rind and coriander into a pestle and mortar with the lime juice and grind to a paste then place it also into the small container.
  4. Put the mayonnaise into the container and mix well.
Tip: If the rice sticks to the bottom of your rice cooker like it does in ours then I suggest following this procedure: mix the rice often with a flat edged wooden scraper (be nice to your carcinogenic non-stick surface), as soon as the rice starts to stick turn off the rice cooker and leave rice covered for 15 minutes, it’ll sit and absorb the remaining moisture without turning into a large baked rice cake.

Flavoured Rice

  • 1 Cup of Basmati Rice
  • 1 tbsp of chopped coriander (left over from above)
  1. Pour the liquid from the cooled chicken breasts into your rice cooker and make up the volume to that appropriate for the amount of rice you want to cook (typically 1.5 cups total liquid for 1 cup of basmati rice).
  2. Add the rice (washed if required) and turn on the cooker.


The Sauce

  1. Take the reduced and simmered poaching liquid and push through a sieve into a bowl. Resulting liquid should be cloudy and slightly thickened. Place back into the pot, put on the stove and bring back to a simmer (at this point reduce further if you feel it is needed).
  2. Dissolve 1bsp of cornflour into water then stir into the simmering liquid.
  3. Continue to stir rapidly (with a whisk is best) until thickened.
  4. Season to taste and possibly passed through a strainer one final time (in case there are any lumps).

Beware of this sauce, I made the mistake of leaving the lime shells in for too long and it ended up quite bitter. I cut it by adding about half a cup of orange juice and a little honey – even then it was a bit too bitter to use in large amounts. Aside form the bitterness the flavour was excellent.

The Meal

  1. Dish out rice into two shallow bowls.
  2. Slice two chicken breasts into 1cm thick pieces and place onto a 1 tbsp dollop of the mayonnaise on the rice.
  3. Generously dollop with sauce (though I was more sparing with the sauce due to the bitterness mentioned above).
  4. Garnish with a crisscrossing of green mayo.
  5. I recommend serving with some steamed vegetables. I steamed the veges in a strainer in the top of the simmering poaching juice.

BaaBaaEggplant Baa Eggplant

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

BaaBaa Eggplant – Dinner is served
After picking up some beautiful vegies from the Portobello Road markets I decided to turn some of them into dinner. The nice plump aubergines (eggplants) looked just perfect for a good stuffing, and our herbs have got to the point where they would be of some use. On returning home we wandered out to the shops; discovering that the local M&S has the completely retarded Saturday closing time of 18:00 we continued on to good old Tesco which is open until the rather more sensible hour of 22:00. Initially my intention was to get some pork mince for the stuffing, but on seeing some excellent looking “organic” lamb mince I changed the plan a little. When I cook nothing is ever really laid out neatly in advance – the food just sort of evolves through the cooking process into whatever comes out the other end. By the end of the process these are the ingredients that would have contributed to the final meal:

  • 400g lean, medium-grind lamb mince
  • 1 large aubergine (eggplant)
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 2 medium sweet red peppers (capsicum)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • ½ tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander seed
  • 500g tinned chopped tomato
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • (Or 500g of a good plain pasta sauce to replace both of the above)
  • ½ tbsp of honey
  • 100ml of sweet mead (or a girlie-wine, such as verdhello)
  • A light textured natural yogurt
  • Cheese (cheddar/tasty for more flavour or mozzarella)

And the process to go from all of that to dinner:

  1. Put garlic, sage, rosemary, cinnamom and pepper into a mortar and grind to a rough paste. Massage this paste through the lamb mince, cover and put in the fridge.
  2. Slice the aubergine in half lengthwise, cut (angled inwards) a boundary about ½ an inch from the edge then score the internal space. Hollow out the eggplant halves with a spoon leaving a shell about ½ an inch thick. Salt shells and innards and leave to drain in a colander (cut side down for shells). Let them have a good 20 to 30 minutes to drain.
  3. Finely dice the red pepper (roughly 3mm cubes) and the brown onion.
  4. Place the cumin and cardamom seeds into a dry saucepan and toast until aromatic, then put in the chili and coriander powders and toast for a little longer until slightly discoloured. Sprinkle toasted spiced over the chopped red pepper.
  5. Rinse and then pat dry the aubergine shells and innards. Lightly oil shells and place under grill, slightly brown both sides (okay, so you can’t really “brown” the skin – crisp it up a little) while continuing with the following steps. Chop the innards to roughly 5mm cubes.
  6. Place a little oil into the saucepan previously used to toast the spices, heat oil then fry chopped onion until translucent. Take lamb and crumble into the saucepan, add chopped eggplant and continue to fry until lamb browns. Add the mead and honey and keep on heat until most liquid evaporated. Now throw in the chopped aubergine innards and tomato (tinned+paste or pasta sauce). Continue to cook, the consistency should and think and chunky – be careful not to add too much tomato and thus make it too runny.
  7. Take the browned aubergine halves and place cut-side-up into an oven pan (it may help to secure them in position with some lightly rolled aluminium foil. Generously pack the halves with the lamb mixture, heaping as much above the eggplant as seems safe. If, as in my case, you have too much lamb mixture take the second red pepper, halve, clean, put into pan and fill just like the aubergine halves. Still got some leftover? Try to pack it in – else take a spoon and enjoy it.
  8. Lightly coat with natural yogurt and generously sprinkle with grated cheese.
  9. Place into oven preheated to about 200°C and bake until looks good and smells great (cheese on top should have just started to brown).
  10. EAT! We enjoyed this drizzled with natural yogurt and served on a bed of basmati rice and a glass of metheglin.

Half of this recipe was enough for a large dinner for two, with half left in the fridge for dinner some other night (also good cold for lunch).

Pink Salmon Cous Cous

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Cous cous is the ultimate low latency feed. This is a “wet” cous cous recipe.


  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 x 200g tin of pink salmon
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups cous cous
  • good extra virgin olive oil

Put everything except for the cous cous into a saucepan and bring to the boil, let simmer for a couple of minutes. Ensure that the salmon is broken up to the desired degree and that the stock cube is entirely dissolved (if one was better prepared 3 cups of stock rather than water would remove the need for a stock cube).

Turn heat to very low and tip in the cous cous. Stir until cous cous is entirely wet.

Put lid on saucepan and leave to stand for five minutes.

Remove lid and drizzle about 2 tbsp of olive oil over the cous cous then fluff the cous cous with a fork.

Serve drizzled with a little olive oil.

This recipe made me a nice bowl of cous cous for my dinner as well as two packs for lunches.

Dinner and packed lunches in 10 minutes flat!

Cottage Cheese and Avocado Dip

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

I just knocked together a dip I’m quite happy with, just using some stuff I had lying around:

  • 1 x Avocado
  • Cottage Cheese (equal volume to avocado flesh)
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds (crushed, coarse)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic (well crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
  • grind or two of pepper

Throw it all in a bowl together and crush to desired consistency. I think I’d prefer it with a squeeze of lemon juice, no lemons on hand though.

Goes down well with celery sticks and some wholemeal pocket breads (almost stale in my case) toasted to crispyness and split.