Monday, 17 August 2020

Scottish Tattie (Potato) Scone BLT's

Scottish tattie scone BLT's

When you consider just how popular the BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sandwich actually is around the world, it becomes almost incredible to think that it is nearly always prepared and served up almost exactly the same way. A couple of leaves of (often limp) lettuce, topped with bacon and a couple of slices of tomato, all contained in a burger bun or similar bread roll. This is a great shame, as like so many other simple food concepts, it is very easy to vary it in an almost infinite number of ways to make it all the more exciting and tasty, while still remaining absolutely true to the core concept. This simple but delectable creation adds a Scottish tattie (potato) scone to the basic ingredients list, as well as introducing a spicy little twist to the preparation of the lettuce component. If you can't get (or make!) tattie scones, Irish potato farls are very similar.

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: 2 BLT's


4 British back bacon rashers (or 6 to 8 strips American bacon)
Vegetable oil for frying
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
2 teaspoons tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon hot chilli powder
Salt and black pepper
4 medium green lettuce leaves
1/4 small white onion
2 tattie scones
2 soft bread rolls
1 medium tomato
2 or 3 large basil leaves

Frying bacon rashers


Pour a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a large, non-stick frying pan and put the bacon on to fry for a couple of minutes or so each side over a medium heat until cooked as you like it.

Preparing spicy sauce for lettuce and onion

When the bacon is in the pan, combine the yoghurt, ketchup, chilli powder, mint and some salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Make sure it is well mixed together.

Lettuce and onion are added to spicy sauce

Wash the lettuce leaves, shake dry, roll and shred. Moderately finely dice the peeled onion quarter. Add the lettuce and onion to the spicy sauce and gently stir fold it through to ensure even coating.

Put your kitchen grill (broiler) on to preheat to its highest setting.

Frying tattie scones

When the bacon is ready, lift it to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain and fry the tattie scones for a minute each side in the same pan in the bacon fat.

Cut the rolls open and toast lightly on the cut sides under the grill/broiler.

Wash the tomato, dry and finely slice.

Spicy lettuce and onion is spooned on to roll bases

Lay the roll halves on a plate, cut sides up. Put a generous spoonful of the spicy lettuce and onion mix on the bottom half of each roll (you probably won't need the whole lot but it will keep in the fridge for a few hours).

Tattie scones are laid on spicy lettuce and onion

Take the tattie scones from the frying pan, lay them briefly on some kitchen paper to remove the excess grease and lay one on top of each lettuce bed.

Bacon rashers are laid on top of tattie scones

Place 2 bacon rashers carefully on top of each tattie scone.

Scottish tattie scone BLT's are closed over and ready to serve

Lay 2 or 3 slices of tomato on top of the bacon on each roll. Roll and shred the basil leaves before scattering over the tomato. Close the rolls over to serve.

This is but one of the endless ways in which it is possible to "spice up" the simple combination that is the BLT. Why not use your imagination to experiment a bit and see what variations on the theme you can come up with?

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Easy Roast Chicken and Potatoes

Roast chicken, roast potatoes and broccoli

Recently, I shared on this blog details of an Indian rogan josh spatchcock chicken served with turmeric and red onion rice recipe. It was mentioned to me by someone that they loved the idea of preparing a chicken in this way but without the spicy influences. For this reason, today I'm sharing a simple, straightforward recipe for roasted spatchcock chicken served with potatoes roasted in the chicken juices.

Potatoes are parboiled prior to being roasted

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 2 hours 20 min

Ready in: 2 hours 30 min

Serves: 2


  • Baby new potatoes as required
  • Salt
  • 1 medium chicken
  • Black pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 medium head of broccoli 
Chicken is spatchcocked by removing the backbone


Wash the potatoes and cut them in half but leave them unpeeled. Put them in to a pot of cold, salted water and simmer for about 15 minutes until just partly cooked. Drain and set aside to steam off, dry out and cool down. Cover until required.

Put your oven on to preheat to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.

Sit the chicken broad end down on a chopping board and carefully cut down either side of the backbone with a cleaver or very sharp and robust knife. Remove the bone and discard. Weigh the bird to establish cooking time of 20 minutes per pound and 20 minutes over.

Chicken fully prepared for oven roasting

Lightly oil a deep roasting tray. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on the flesh side and lay on the tray flesh side down. Season the top of the bird liberally with salt only and place the tray in to the oven for the allotted cooking period. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.

Spatchcock roast chicken must be left to rest

Take the chicken from the oven (but don't turn the oven off) and pierce the thickest part of each thigh with a skewer to ensure the juices run clear. If not, cook for 10 more minutes before testing again. Carefully lift to a large plate, cover with foil and leave to rest.

Pour another 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil in to the hot tray and add the cooled potatoes. Turn them around carefully in the oil and roast for 20 minutes, stirring carefully again half way through.

Chop the broccoli in to even sized florets and add to a pot of simmering, salted water for 5 minutes.

Roast potatoes are drained on kitchen paper

Take the potatoes from the oven and lift to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain. Cut the legs from the chicken and slice off the breast fillets. Drain the broccoli and serve a leg portion and breast portion of the chicken along with half the potatoes and half the broccoli per person.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Rogan Josh Roast Chicken with Rice

Rogan josh roast chicken with spicy turmeric and onion rice

Roast chicken is a hugely popular dish worldwide and perhaps even the most favourite meal of millions. While simplicity is often the best option in cooking, it is possible to spice up the simple roast chicken in many different ways to give it a little edge or even a twist of variety. This is one such method which sees the spatchcocked chicken liberally coated with rogan josh cooking sauce before it is roasted to perfection in the oven and served with tasty turmeric and onion rice.

Prep time: 15 minutes (plus marinating time for chicken)
Cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes (approximately, depending upon size of chicken)
Ready in: 2 hours 45 minutes (plus marinating time for chicken)
Serves: 2 large portions with chicken leftovers


1 large whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds)
1 pound jar of rogan josh cooking sauce
Vegetable oil for greasing roasting tray
6 ounces brown rice (or as desired)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro
1/4 small red onion
Black pepper
Skin is firstly loosened on whole chicken


Spoon 1/3 of the rogan josh cooking sauce in to a small bowl, cover and set aside for later use. Pour a little vegetable oil in to what will be your cooking tray and use some scrunched up kitchen paper to spread it around to create a thin film coating.

Make sure you know the weight of your chicken, weighing it if necessary. It is easiest if you loosen the skin on the chicken before you start the spatchcock process. Take your time doing this if you have never done it before as it is vitally important not to tear the skin. For this reason, make sure your fingernails are very well trimmed when undertaking this task. Simply start at the neck end of the breasts and carefully slide your flattened hand under the skin, gently easing it firstly free of the breasts then the upper thighs and legs. The skin should appear loose when you are finished but still largely and very much in place.

Backbone is cut from whole chicken

Sit the chicken upright on its beam end on a chopping board, breasts facing away from you. Take a Chinese cleaver or extremely robust and sharp chef's knife and cut down either side of the back bone (it is about an inch wide). Remove the backbone and discard, before opening up the chicken and laying it flat on your chopping board.

Rogan josh sauce is liberally spread over opened chicken cavity

Spoon half the remaining rogan josh sauce (1/3 of the jar) over the opened up chicken cavity area and smooth it over the entire surface. Wipe your hands and lift the chicken on to the roasting tray, breasts side up.

Rogan josh chicken is ready for oven roasting

Lift the skin at the neck end of the chicken and spoon in the remaining rogan josh sauce, using either a flat spoon or your hand again to gently and evenly ease it all the way back over the breasts, the upper thighs and as much of the legs as you can easily reach. Cover the chicken with some foil and leave to marinate at room temperature for at least a couple of hours (longer is better).

Put your oven on to preheat to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6 and season the chicken skin all over with salt. This will help it to crisp up during cooking. When the oven is heated, cook the chicken for 20 minutes per pound and 20 minutes over.

Rogan josh roast chicken is removed from the oven

Take the chicken from the oven and stick a skewer in to the thickest part of the thigh. The juices should run clear, with no traces of blood. If not, cook for 15 more minutes and test again. If all is OK, set it aside for 30 minutes to rest.

Wash the rice through a sieve under running cold water. Bring a large pot of water, seasoned with plenty salt and the ground turmeric to a rolling boil. Add the rice, stir well and bring back to a modest simmer for 20 minutes (or per the pack instructions), stirring occasionally. Drain well at your sink through the sieve and leave for a few minutes to steam off and dry out.

Cut the leg portions from the chicken and cut each in half to separate the drumsticks from the thighs. Pop the wings free from the main body of the bird. Carefully slice the two breast fillets free from the body and set the carcass, wings and drumsticks aside for later picking/consumption, refrigerating when cool. Lay each breast fillet flat on the chopping board and slice across the way in to 3 or 4 pieces.

Pour the reserved rogan josh sauce in to a small saucepan and heat on a low setting, stirring occasionally, until simmering hot.

Onion and coriander are added to turmeric rice

Return the rice to the empty pot. Slice the onion as thinly as you can and separate in to strands before adding to the rice along with the chopped coriander (cilantro) and some black pepper. Stir to combine. Divide between two serving plates and lay a chicken thigh and breast portions alongside each rice bed. Spoon the heated sauce over the breast meat to serve.

Rogan josh roast chicken portions are plated with turmeric rice

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Roast Chicken Thighs with Chilli Sauce

Roast chicken thighs served on a bed of spicy spinach sauce

It is probably more commonly lunch which is comprised of fridge leftovers but this dinner recipe was devised using principal ingredients which all constituted leftover but uncooked items in my fridge. It's amazing what you can often come up with using such items if you just put a little bit of thought and imagination in to it.

Prep time: 25 minutes (includes oven heating time and chicken resting time)
Cook time: 40 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves: 1


2 medium to large chicken thighs (skin on)
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil
3/4 medium red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
3 plum tomatoes in tomato juice (1/2 of a 14 ounce can)
2 generous handfuls baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro

Oven ready chicken thighs


Put your oven on to preheat to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.

Season the chicken thighs on the underside with salt and pepper and lay them skin sides up in a suitable casserole dish. Season the skin liberally with salt only. This well help it crisp up and colour during cooking. When the oven is heated, place the dish (without the lid!) in to the oven for 35/40 minutes.

Onion, garlic and chilli powder ready for sauteing

Pour 2 or 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a large saucepan. Slice the onion, peel and finely slice the garlic cloves and add them to the pan with the chilli powder. Put the pan on to a medium heat and saute for a few minutes until the onion is just softened.

Plum tomatoes are added to spiced onions

Pour the tomatoes in to the softened spiced onions and season with salt and pepper. Stir well with a wooden spoon, using the spoon to break up the tomatoes as much as you can. Bring to a simmer for an initial 10 minutes.

Spinach is added to spicy tomato sauce

Wash the spinach leaves under running cold water and shake dry. Add them to the spicy sauce and carefully stir/fold them through. They will quickly wilt and combine with the sauce. Cover and continue to simmer gently while the chicken thighs complete cooking, stirring occasionally.

Coriander is added to spinach sauce

Just before the chicken thighs are due to come out of the oven, stir the coriander leaf in to the sauce, simmer for another couple of minutes only, then remove from the heat and set aside, still covered, to cool slightly and for the flavours of the herb to infuse in to the sauce.

Roast chicken thighs

Take the chicken thighs from the oven and pierce with a fork to ensure the juices run clear. If not, cook for 5 more minutes and test again. If they are ready, cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Spicy spinach sauce bed for chicken thighs

Spoon the sauce in to the middle of a deep serving plate and spread it out to form a bed for the rested chicken thighs.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Seared Swordfish Steak with Spicy Veg

Seared swordfish steak is served on a bed of spicy stir fried potatoes and peppers

Swordfish is something that is becoming more popular in our supermarkets in recent times. It is very similar to tuna in many ways and should largely be cooked in the same way. That means that, above all, it must not be overcooked or it will be dry, tasteless and extremely unappetising. This recipe sees the swordfish loin fillet steak seared in a very hot pan, leaving it nice and pink in the middle, before it is served as part of a very tasty dinner indeed with stir fried peppers and potatoes.

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 35 min
Serves: 1 person


Peppers and garlic ready for stir frying

1 baking type and size potato
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1 large red chilli pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika/pimenton
Black pepper
Vegetable oil
6 ounce swordfish loin steak


Stir frying seasoned peppers and garlic

Wash the potato but don't peel it and chop it in to 1 inch chunks. Put the chunks in to a pot of cold, salted water and bring the water up to a simmer for about twenty minutes or until the potato pieces are just softened. Drain through a colander at your sink and briefly set aside to steam off, dry out and partly cool.

Seed the bell pepper halves and chop in to 1/4 inch strips. Cut off and discard the chilli top before slicing thinly in to discs. Peel and thiny slice the garlic cloves.

Bring a couple of tablespoons of oil up to a high heat in a small, non-stick frying pan and fry the peepers and garlic for two or three minutes, seasoned with salt, pepper and the smoked paprika/pimenton.

Swordfish steak is laid in hot frying pan

Add some oil to a similar pan and bring it up to a very high heat. Season the swordfish steak on both sides with salt and pepper and lay it in the pan to fry for around one and a half minutes on its first side.

Boiled potatoes are added to stir fried peppers

Add the potatoes to the pan with the peppers and continue to stir fry.

Swordfish is turned in the pan to fry on second side

Turn the swordfish steak to fry for a similar length of time on its second side.

Stir fried veg bed for swordfish

Use a slotted spoon to lay the peppers and potatoes in the base of a deep serving plate before laying the swordfish fillet on top.

Enjoying seared swordfish with stir fried veg

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Roast Duck Breast with Spicy Peppers

Roasted and sliced duck breast on spicy peppers bed with turmeric boiled potatoes

This is a very simple dish and incredibly tasty as it sees the peppers stir fried in the roasting juices of the duck breast before they are served with turmeric and tarragon buttered potatoes. It can very easily be made in larger quantities, without requiring the use of extra pots and pans.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes
Serves: 1 person


Bell pepper halves and chilli pepper

7 or 8 baby potatoes, as desired
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 medium duck breast fillet (skin on)
Black pepper
1/2 each of red, green and yellow bell peppers
1 large red chilli pepper
1/2 small white onion
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon


Turmeric and salt seasoned potatoes

Start by putting your oven on to preheat to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.

Wash but don't peel the potatoes and cut each one in half. Add to a pot with the ground turmeric and some salt. Pour in enough cold water to ensure the potatoes are comfortably covered and put the pot on a high heat until the water starts to boil. Reduce the heat to achieve a gentle to moderate simmer for twenty minutes.

Browning skin side of duck breast

Lay the duck breast flesh side down on a chopping board and use a very sharp knife to score through the skin but not in to the flesh in a criss-cross fashion. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Take an ovenproof frying pan or skillet (do make sure this is the case as it is absolutely vital) and lay the duck breast fillet in to the cold pan, skin side down. Put the pan on to a low heat until you can see the fat starting to escape the duck. Only at this point should you increase the heat to high and fry the duck in this way for two further minutes. Turn the duck over and fry for two minutes on the flesh side, simply to seal.

Duck breast ready for the oven

When the duck breast is sealed, place the pan in to your hot oven for ten minutes.

Butter and tarragon are added to turmeric potatoes

Drain the potatoes through a colander at your sink and return them to the empty pot. Allow them to steam off and dry out for a couple of minutes before adding a little bit of butter and the dried tarragon. Swirl the pot slowly and gently to evenly coat all the potatoes.

Roasted duck breast is allowed to rest

Remember to wear an ovenproof glove as you take the pan from the oven and lift the duck breast with a spatula to a small plate to rest. Sit the pan back on the hob and turn on the heat.

Peppers and onion are stir fried in duck fat

Seed and slice the bell pepper halves to around a quarter inch thickness. Cut the top off the chilli and discard before slicing it in to thin discs. Lay the peeled onion half flat on a chopping board and slice across the way that each slice can then be separated in to strands. Add the lot to the frying pan with the duck fat, season with some salt and black pepper, turn up the heat and stir fry for two minutes - remembering that the pan handle will still be hot!

Arrange the potatoes on either side of a square serving plate before carefully slicing the duck breast across the way in to 5 or 6 pieces and laying them on top of the peppers.

Stir fried peppers and turmeric potatoes are arranged on serving plate

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Chicken Schnitzel with Mustard Mash

Chicken schnitzel served on a bed of mustard mash with peas

The world in which we live is now sadly a very different place to what it was when I unfortunately got out of the habit of posting to this blog what is incredibly now more than one year ago. The sudden arrival of the coronavirus that leads to the onset of Covid-19 has now not only caused a catastrophic number of deaths around the globe, it has led to monumental lifestyle changes for our planet's population, destined to last to one extent or another for what is likely to be a very long time. Just one of the many effects of these lifestyle changes is that many people are now having to cook family meals at home on a regular basis where they rarely if ever did so back in normal times. For principally this reason among others, I decided that it may be a good idea to revive the blog to help many more people wondering just what they can have for dinner on any given night of the week.

I am starting off with a tasty but fairly simple and straightforward recipe for chicken schnitzel (as opposed to the more popular veal or turkey) which can be made in almost any home setting with a minimum of utensils and ingredients.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes
Serves: 1 adult portion


2 medium sized baking type potatoes (floury/starchy)
1 fairly large, skinless chicken breast fillet
Black pepper
2 tablespoons plain/all purpose flour
1 egg
3 tablespoons golden breadcrumbs
2 or 3 tablespoons vegetable/sunflower oil for frying
1 cup frozen garden peas
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard (or mustard of choice)
Malt vinegar


Start by peeling the potatoes and chopping them to around one and a half inch chunks. Add them to a pot of cold, lightly salted water and put the pot on to a high heat until the water starts to boil. At this stage, reduce the heat to achieve a moderate simmer for about twenty minutes or until the potatoes are just softened.

Stretch come clingfilm over a chopping board and lay the chicken fillet in the centre. Season with a little salt and pepper and stretch a similarly sized sheet over the top. Use a rolling pin or similar to gently pound the chicken to a thickness of around a quarter inch. Do remember that it is not a tough piece of steak and too much pressure will cause it to break apart and be ruined for your purpose. 
Chicken breast is flattened between two sheets of clingfilm

Scatter the flour over one small plate and the breadcrumbs over another. Break the egg in to a flat bottomed bowl and beat lightly with a fork until the white and yolk are combined. Pat the chicken fillet firstly in the flour on both sides before dipping it in the egg (making sure it is fully coated) and patting it on both sides in the breadcrumbs.
Chicken fillet is breadcrumbed for frying

When the potatoes have been simmering for about ten minutes, pour some cooking oil in to a small, non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat. Lay the breaded chicken in the pan and fry for five to seven minutes each side until cooked.
Breaded chicken fillet is added to hot frying pan

When the potatoes are softened, drain them through a colander at your sink then return them to the empty pot and allow them to steam off for a few minutes to dry out while you bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the peas to simmer for three minutes. Mash the potatoes with a hand-masher and stir the mustard through the mash with a spoon.

Wholegrain mustard is added to mashed potato

Drain the peas through a colander and season in the colander with salt, pepper and malt vinegar. This allows you to shake the colander gently to evenly disperse the seasonings.

Peas are seasoned after being drained

Spoon the mustard mash in to the centre of a deep serving plate and spoon the peas around it before laying the chicken schnitzel on top for service.

Peas are arranged around mustard mash bed

Thank you for reading today's recipe and I hope you like it enough to give it a try. I hope you do stay well and manage to return to read more ideas for dinner at home - for one or for the family - in the very near future.