I started my new job just over a week ago and I am finding the early mornings a bit of a shock to the system. That being said I’m slowly getting back into the routine of things. One thing that I can say however is that I have not missed the London commute during my time off; the tube whilst practical is not a pleasant experience in rush hour. Consequently I am forcing myself to brave the elements and cycle to work 2-3 times a week…
There was one thing that I had been missing whilst I was living in France and that was cooking/going to dinner parties. This weekend I had the flat to myself and I seized the opportunity to get friends over and spend the evening eating good food and drinking far too much wine!
We started off the evening with a very simple canapé/starter of goat’s cheese and sun blushed tomato tartlets. I used filo pastry to make them as it is beautifully light and the resulting tartlets look very pretty. On this occasion I didn’t serve the tartlets with anything, however, a simple rocket salad work well.
For the main I cooked chicken in a Mediterranean style sauce mixing a combination tomatoes, olives and feta. The resultant dish was fresh and packed full of flavour. I would recommend serving the chicken on a bed of mashed potato with steamed vegetables. It is a simple dish to make and is a great option to make if you are having lots of people over!
Mediterranean Chicken (Serves 5-6)
- 5/6 chicken breasts
- 800g chopped tomatoes
- 10-15 cherry tomatoes
- 100-125g black pitted olives
- 2 large onions (finely sliced)
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- zest of 1 lemon
- ½ glass of red wine (I used a Rioja)
- 200g feta cheese (cut into cubes)
- ½ tsp herbs of Provence
- 1 bay leaf
- 1tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- olive oil for cooking with
1. Preheat an oven to 180C fan.
2. Place the onions and garlic in a frying pan with a little oil and cook on a medium heat until they are soft.
3. Pour a little oil into a large roasting tray, add the chicken breasts and make sure they are coated with the oil and season well.
4. Add the softened onions, olives, chopped tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, wine, lemon zest, bay leaf, herbs and mix together.
5. Cover the roasting tray with tin foil and cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
6. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven. Scatter over the feta cheese and parsley and then serve with some mashed potato and the vegetables of your choice.
Goat’s cheese and sun blushed tomato tartlets
Ingredients: (makes 24)
- ½ a packet of filo pastry (cut into 2” squares)
- 250g goat’s cheese (cut into small pieces)
- 100-125g sun blushed tomatoes (cut into small pieces)
- 2tsp freshly chopped parsley
- olive oil
- black pepper
1. Preheat an oven to 170C fan.
2. Lightly grease two mince pie trays, place 2 squares of filo pastry into each of the moulds.
3. Mix together the goat’s cheese and sun blushed tomatoes in a bowl, then put a little of the mixture into the centre of the pastry.
4. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with black pepper.
5. Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden brown and the cheese has melted.
6. Remove from the oven and scatter over the chopped parsley just before serving.