Chicken in a Creamy Bacon and Mushroom Sauce

At the moment I’m trying to make quick and easy meals and that is why this chicken dish appealed.  I also hate to waste things and I had a pot of cream that needed to be used up from making the chocolate pots, which is why I went for such a creamy sauce.  As I don’t cook with cream very often it feels very indulgent.  Nothing is wrong with that occasionally, but if you wanted to use less cream, you could use half cream and half chicken stock.   And if you wanted more sauce, you could just add a little stock anyway.  I had some stock ready to add but there were enough juices from the chicken so I didn’t actually need it.  It’s a very easy and tasty dish  to make as it cooks in the oven and needs almost no preparation.    The bacon flavours the chicken and keeps it moist as it is cooking and as the juices go into the sauce, it also has a lovely bacony flavour.  I adapted the recipe from one on All Recipes.

Ingredients – serves 2

2 chicken breasts

2 cloves of garlic

3 rashers of bacon

Handful of mushrooms

Black pepper

100ml double cream

1/2 tsp cornflour

Chicken stock (optional)

How to Make Chicken in Creamy Bacon and Mushroom Sauce

1. Oil an ovenproof dish. Lay the chicken breasts in the dish. Cover each one with a rasher of bacon.

2. Cut the other rasher up and put the pieces around the chicken. Chop the mushrooms in half and also place around the chicken. Peel the garlic cloves but leave whole and place between the chicken breasts.  Put in the oven for 30 minutes at approx 200c.

3. Take out of the oven. Remove the chicken but keep it warm.   Add the cream to the pan juices and heat through. If necessary add a little cornflour and stir to thicken it.  Optionally add some chicken stock to make more sauce and if you do, you will need the cornflour to stop it being too thin.

4. Serve with vegetables and potatoes.

Versatile Blogger Award

How time flies.   Over a month ago Nazima at Working London Mummy nominated me for a Versatile Blogger award and until now I am ashamed to say I have not managed to write this post. Like the title of her blog indicates, Nazima is a working mother in London and also manages to find time to write an impressive food blog so she is certainly inspiration for me at the moment!  Thank you Nazima for the award.

The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this Award and link them back.
2. Say some 5 random facts about you.
3. Spread the joy by nominating other bloggers.
4. Convey the news to your fellow bloggers about their nomination.

So, what five random facts should I give?  How about 5 things that I love, apart from food.

1. I love challenging myself physically by climbing (ones you can walk up) mountains and running and am hoping to run the London marathon next year.   It’ll be my second marathon after running the Edinburgh one in 2009.

2. I love learning languages and have lived abroad in Germany and Poland.  I also speak French and Spanish.

3. I love early mornings.  I’d like to be, but I’m not a night owl.

4. I love puzzles like sudokus and occasionally like to race my husband at them.   I always win.

5. I love (well, like) trashy low-brow tv shows about dieting, even though I’ve never been on a diet and prefer to exercise weight off if necessary.

And now onto mt nominations.  There are so many wonderful blogs that I read but I have decided to choose the ones below.   I hope you enjoy them too.

1. Shu Han at Mummy, I can cook

2. Cristina at My Thin Eats

3. Angelica at Pretty little thing, waiting for The King, down in the jungle room…

4. Acorn in the Kitchen

5. Susan at Susan Eats London

Chocolate and Raspberry Pots

Today is my husband’s first father’s day and as Little Miss Spice is too young to show her appreciation I decided I would make something nice and chocolatey for him.  I chose chocolate pots as I knew they would be quick and easy and I added raspberries as they make the dessert more interesting, and slightly less rich.  Of course, you could add any other berries instead, but personally I would definitely keep the raspberries as they add a juicy but sweet sharpness that stops the chocolate from being too rich.  The basic chocolate pot recipe is adapted from this one by Matt Tebbutt.

I am linking these to this month’s tea time treats, hosted by Kate from What Kate Baked and on alternate months by Karen from Lavender and Lovage. This month the theme is berries.

I am also linking this to Sweet as Sugar Cookies for Sweets for a Saturday.

Ingredients – Makes 4

150g  double cream

100g dark chocolate

50ml milk

25g icing sugar

1 egg yolk

Raspberries (approx 8 per pot)

How to Make Chocolate Raspberry Pots

1. Chop the chocolate and put in a bowl.  Heat the cream and when bubbles appear, take it off the heat and pour it on top of the cream.  Stir to melt the chocolate and combine with the cream.

2. In another bowl combine the milk, icing sugar and egg yolk.  Pour this into the bowl with the cream and chocolate and stir to combine.

3. Put some raspberries into the bottom of four ramekins.  Pour the chocolate mixture on top.  Put in the fridge for at least 6 hours to set.   Serve with extra raspberries.

Mediterranean Meatballs

For the past seven weeks I haven’t had time to cook anything new or blogworthy and as a result the blog has been completely neglected. So, it was a shock (although it shouldn’t have been) when I received my Secret Recipe Club assignment and I realized I was going to have to cook something new from another blog and somehow find time to write about it – all before 11 June.  Before I had the baby I hadn’t quite realized how little time there would be left for blogging and how full my brain would be of baby things that there would be almost no space left to think about food.  Although I would like to, I just don’t seem to be able to think about food any more so in some senses the SRC has been a good way of getting back into blogging as it has focused me on one blog, Thru the Bugs on my Windshield, and forced me to find a recipe I wanted to cook and then given me a deadline in which to do it.  Without it, I doubt I would be writing this right now and I wouldn’t have discovered a delicious new dish.  Thru the Bugs on my Windshield is written by Suzanne, who is the group B SRC host.  She does a fantastic job each month and has a wonderful blog with beautiful pictures as well.  Lots of her more recent posts are her own Secret Recipe Club assignments so I searched for a recipe that was her own and soon Mai’s Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce stood out.  Mai is what Suzanne’s grandchildren call her and I can imagine they love this recipe.  I have to admit I made a few changes, mainly due to lack of time and organisation.  I didn’t have fresh parsley or dried basil so the herbs are not exactly the same and I used chorizo instead of hot Italian sausage. I also didn’t bother to properly convert the quantities into metric and so guessed all the amounts. Even so, I’m sure the result was fairly similar and it tasted fantastic. I loved the chorizo in the meatballs and the depth of flavour in the sauce.   Usually I am lazy and don’t cook my tomato sauces for as long as recipes state, but this time I did (well, longer than normal anyway) and I could tell that it really made a difference to the richness of the sauce.   As I made a few changes, have a look at Suzanne’s blog for the original recipe.   My version is below.

I am also linking this to Food of the Month Club hosted by Leslie of La Cocina de Leslie.  The food this month is ground (minced) beef.

Ingredients for Meatballs

300g minced beef

Approx 8cm chorizo, diced into small cubes

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 onion,finely diced

1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

1 egg, beaten

Generous grind of black pepper

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried sage

1 tsp dried parsley

Ingredients for Sauce

400g  can chopped tomatoes

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 onion,diced

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Black pepper

1/2 tsp sugar

100ml beef stock

2 bay leaves

Freshly grated parmesan (to serve)

How to Make Mediterranean Meatballs

1. First make the sauce.  Put a little olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onion till softened.  Add the garlic.  Cook for a couple of minutes then add the tomatoes and all the other ingredients.  Simmer very gently for at least an hour.

2. To make the meatballs put all the ingredients into a bowl. Mix together with your hands and then form into meatballs.

3. Heat a little oil in a frying pan.  Add the meatballs.  Cook for five minutes then turn. Cook for another five minutes.

4. Transfer the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Stir so the sauce coats all the meatballs.  Continue to cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Serve with pasta and grated parmesan.

Click below to see what other SCR participants have made.