As promised and fully anticipated I have decided to foray into food blogging. There is one thing that can unite all people and that is food, especially good food. For those who follow my Instagram you may see my documenting of pasta, curries and risottos that I make on a daily basis. Cooking for me is where my creativity is fully unleashed, I am more daring, willing to try new things. Moreover, cooking and sharing good food is a pleasurable experience as there is no satisfaction greater than making a meal for friends and family and it is met with smiles, praise, clean plates and licked lips. My cooking style takes after my mother, I simply cannot follow a recipe without changing it, and I do things by feel and smell not by measurements and increments, something that prevented me from starting to food blog as food blogging is to instruct and teach, and you can’t teach how to feel or how to prepare things according to taste. However, as I am food blogging I am forcing myself to record every movement, every sprinkle and every temperature change.
My journey into cooking was one that came with age, my earliest food memories are eating my mum’s veggie chilli, or as I called it when I was little ‘mince and rice’. As young tastebuds go this needed to be pretty plain, have no heat and also be slathered with melted cheese, it also needed to have peas in (as I have got older I no longer add peas to my chilli but will have it as a side.).
My earliest cooking memory was when I first became of age when I had to make lunch and dinners for myself. When I was little I had no interest in cooking savoury food only baking cakes, so I never watched my mum make dinner, as you can imagine once I was thrust into this world on my own I had little clue what to do. I remember vividly trying to cook pasta in the microwave as I didn’t understand how the hob worked or that you had to boil the kettle first (I know!) and I also remember not knowing how the oven worked properly so I served my friends once semi frozen pizza which they won’t let me forget about till this day.
I also think my attitude to cooking is one of proving myself, that I am capable and can face the world. During sixth form was when I really started to take an interest in cooking, but was still met with a million errors and small mistakes. Then when I went to university, this love for food and making good food blossomed into to this passion that I serve you today. Unfortunately, as is the case with the world of food, it’s really hard to say that any of these recipes are truly original as they are influenced by recipes I have read, things I have thrown together randomly and watching what people cook and eat around me. I would say that my target audience is mass, and perhaps students! So if you are students yourselves and want easy meals that won’t break the bank but will taste good and more importantly feel good and nourishing to eat then please keep an eye on my posts 😊 However, I hope they inspire you and please let me know if you do make any of these recipes, you can tag me on Instagram or just send me a message letting me know what you think (whether you know me as a friend, not very well but you do know who I am, or if you don’t know me at all!). I always take on board criticism and am willing to try new things so here you go my first recipe:
Lemon and Thyme Chicken Bake:
I am starting off with something fairly easy, not much technique or expensive ingredients required, I literally shop at Aldi or Lidl every week so rest assured these recipes won’t be too poncey and I will let you know if they are!
My Lemon and Thyme Chicken Bake flourished whilst I was at university and has become for me a Sunday night staple, this recipe is ideal for those who want the homely connotations of roast dinners without the faff of different elements and complicated timings, plus it’s all literally cooked in one roasting tray so you can just bung it in the oven and go put on a film whilst you wait for it to cook! I serve this with garlic, parsley and chilli peas which is included in this recipe but not needed!
Serves 2 People
Time takes to make: Prep 20 mins
Time in the oven – 45 mins to 1 hour
2 Chicken Legs or 4 Chicken Thighs skin on and on the bone (I personally get these cuts of meat because they are cheaper and I prefer the taste of dark meat, however chicken breast also works well if that is what you would prefer!) When documenting this recipe I used chicken thighs because I couldn’t find any chicken legs in Aldi but they equally work as well!
4-5 potatoes (depending on the size of the potatoes)
Half a Courgette
A large handful of cherry tomatoes
1 sweet pepper (red, yellow or orange)
50g of Feta
1 red or white onion
2 cloves of garlic
A few sprigs of thyme
45g of butter
2tsp of Oregano
1tsp of Paprika
Salt, Pepper and Olive Oil for seasoning.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Boil the kettle and wash and peel the potatoes and cut them into ‘good sized’ chunks, by good sized I mean chunky, perhaps quarters if a medium potato, halves if a small potato and sixths of a big potato.
- Put the potatoes in a salted pan of the boiling water and leave to boil as you prepare the rest of the meal, they should be slightly cooked when they are finished.
- Cut up the veg: Dice the onion into big chunks, cut the courgette into chunky cylinders, and the peppers into good sized chunks aswell (I am repeating the word chunky a lot but I don’t care because I think it’s a universal food term that people will understand what I mean). Only slightly slice the tomato as in slice it half way down the middle so the tomato doesn’t completely separate. Roughly chop the garlic.
- Place the veg and mix it around in fairly large roasting tin, season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Quarter the lemon and squeeze a wedge over the vegetables.
- Prepare the Chicken – This is going to get messy so be prepared to wash your hands lots of times in this process. Rub the butter between your fingers to warm it and then massage the chicken with the butter (kind of gross but the butter makes it so much tastier – to be honest the more butter the better!) Then season with lots of salt and pepper, juice from another wedge of lemon, 1tsp of Oregano and a few sprigs of thyme.
- Place the chicken in the pan with the veg, then take the potatoes off the hob and drain. Put the hot potatoes back in the pan, add salt, pepper, another wedge of butter, the paprika and another 1tsp of Oregano, shake the pan around so the edges of the potatoes fluff up.
- Add the potatoes to the pan and readjust things to make sure everything cooks evenly, put the two remaining lemon wedges on the side of the pan to cook in the dish, cube the feta and sprinkle over the pan. Then sprinkle the rest of the thyme all over the pan.
- Put in the preheated oven and check every 30 minutes, the more full the pan the longer it will take to cook. If you probe the chicken at 45 minutes and its not over the temp of 75 degrees then its not cooked. Yet if you are like me and don’t have a probe then I just slightly cut into the chicken to check if the meat is white, yet due to it being on the bone the meat can tend to look slightly pink even when its cooked and safe to eat!
Garlic, Chilli, Parsley Peas:
If you do choose to make the side of peas, then make this during the last 10 minutes of the chicken being cooked.
2 portion sizes of peas (this is totally by feel)
A third of a packet of parsley roughly chopped
Chilli flakes (again totally by feel)
A spoonful of butter
1 garlic clove minced
- Add the frozen peas to a saucepan and add the butter, let the peas cook in the butter, add the minced garlic and chilli flakes.
- Once the peas are cooked, stir in the chopped parsley and let it wilt.
Add to the side of the dish and hey presto you have made a delectable meal that will honestly make your insides feel warm and fuzzy.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this and I hope you will enjoy my future blog posts too!! I have wanted to do this for awhile so I hope you appreciate and have a go making this.
a HUGE thank you to my partner in crime for taking the photos and editing them, check out his talented skills here
Lots of love, Molly x