Chicken stew with fennel and olives

What I had on hand…..I though fennel and olives sounded weird, but it tasted good.

Not so much soup as soupy.


  • 4 pieces of chicken, not breast, free range/organic if you can afford it
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, discard the coarse outer layer. Dice the rest.
  • a few carrots, peeled and diced
  • a few zucchinis washed and diced
  • potatoes peeled and diced, I used some kipflers
  • a large onion peeled and chopped finely
  • a few cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • white wine
  • olives: I used good quality black olives, stone them
  • ghee or some other frying substitute


  • fry the onion until soft, add the garlic and stir a few times
  • add maybe a cup of dry white wine and burn off the alcohol
  • add everything else and water to cover

We had three meals from this, two with chicken and one with the vegetables left in the stock. It was more or less soupy with the chicken, we had fresh bread with it. When we were down to the vegetables, I added slightly underdone short pasta, covered the pan while the pasta soaked up some of the stock. Served with spoons, parmesan and salt/pepper to taste.

This got a yum rating from us.

Spicy Baked Chicken Masaledar Murghi

This is a Madhur Jaffrey dish. It’s really nice at room temperature, so it makes great picnic food and also a convenient dish to cook ahead and then serve.

I wrote this in 2012:

I’ve made this many times in my life, always on a BBQ until this week. A wood or coal fire is obviously best. Use thin cuts of meat: chicken ribs if you are in Australia, maybe the stick bit of the wing in other places which don’t seem to do the ‘rib’, more’s the pity; boneless thigh cut into small chunks and put on skewers

In Geneva I can not get the cuts I would prefer to use: boneless thigh doesn’t seem to exist and as for the rib, forget it. Not to mention being BBQless. In an electric oven, I suggest thighs – I found them more successful than the drumstick, maybe because they permit more even cooking. I covered them with foil at a point where I wanted to cook them a bit more without having them burn. Not perfect by any means, but it worked.

2020 update: you can also do this in a covered pan on top of a hotplate. Make it more liquidy to begin with and dry out towards the end.

Spicy Baked Chicken Masaledar Murghi
Oven: 210C
Preparation: 30 mins
Marinating: 3 hours
Cooking: 60 mins


  • 1.5 kgs chicken pieces
  • 6 tblsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 3 tblsps veg oil
  • 1 tblsp cumin
  • 1 ” paprika
  • 1 ” tumeric
  • 1 1/2 teasp cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teasp black pepper1. Mix all ingredients less chicken and oil in bowl.2. Rub well over chicken pieces pushing into flaps and into slits along drumsticks.

    3. Spread on baking tray, set aside for 3 hours.

    4. Brush top of chicken with oil. Bake in preheated oven for 30 mins each side, baste occasionally.

If I don’t have cayenne, I combine hot paprika and mild. I

If cooking in a frying pan, I put oil/ghee down first and then add the chicken in all its basting paste.

Chicken with tomato and rosemary sauce Pollo in Potacchio

Chicken with tomato and rosemary sauce Pollo in Potacchio


1 chicken cut into pieces. You can also buy pieces if you prefer, to avoid those breasts.
half a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
60g butter
150ml white wine
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the potacchio sauce

1 small onion or 3 shallots
half a dozen rosemary sprigs each 5” long or so
rind of an unwaxed lemon: use a potato peeler to take the rind off, taking care to avoid the white pith
perhaps 1 dried chilli
3 tbsp olive oil
450g fresh tomatoes peeled* and coarsely chopped or a couple of cans drained and coarsely chopped

*peeling fresh tomatoes is a cinch. Boil a pan of water, drop them in for maybe half a minute, run under cold water, the skin should come off easily. DON’T use fresh tomatoes on principle, use them because they are good tomatoes. Mostly fresh tomatoes are still of a mind-bogglingly bad quality and using canned will be much better. But there are bad canned tomatoes too.


Wash and dry the chicken pieces and rub with the lemon half. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan. When the butter foam begins to subside put in the chicken pieces and fry on all sides until they are nicely browned. Add the wine, bring to the boil and boil for one minute. Turn the heat down and throw in the onion and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. Chop very finely together the onion or shallots, rosemary needles, the rind of the lemon and the chilli. Put the oil in a frying pan and when it is hot add the chopped ingredients. Saute gently for 5 minutes or so and then add the tomatoes and a little salt. Cook over lively heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Now that the potacchio is done, scoop it into the saute pan with the chicken and mix it with all the lovely cooking juices at the bottom of the pan. Let the whole thing cook together for at least another quarter of an hour so that the chicken will insaporire – take on the flavour of the sauce. How long to continue cooking for, depends on how you like your chicken; I prefer it to be close to falling off the bone.

 * * * * * *

This is from Anna del Conte’s The Classic Food of Northern Italy I imagine it is one of those cookbooks nobody buys because it’s written by a middle-aged woman and has few pictures. What a shame. It is a splendid book, as you will see from my recipes here which are scattered with her thoughts.

Accompany it with mashed potato or lemon risotto.

Chicken in Red Wine

I’ve been the recipient of many a dish of this as it’s one of Manny’s regular offerings. It’s a relatively time-consuming affair, you flour the chicken, fry it, separately fry a whole lot of shallots, eventually the whole thing comes together and meanwhile he serves it with vegetables done in the oven with rosemary and garlic, which also takes a while. Lots of chopping.

However, he’s too busy all the time to cook now. Hence this extremely pared down, low effort version by me.


  • chicken pieces as you please – NOT breasts!!
  • red wine
  • onions finely chopped
  • garlic finely chopped
  • ghee (or butter, or olive oil, or other oil as you prefer or have available)


I used thighs, drumsticks and wings. Wings will add to the thickening of the sauce, though my sauce is runny. For 2 x drumsticks, 2 times thighs and 5 wings I used about a third of a bottle of wine. Jacobs Creek, readily available in Geneva.

Heat a wide pan, add the ghee and when hot add the onions. Fry until quite soft, don’t burn. Add garlic towards the end. Throw in the chicken pieces and brown, turning. Now the red wine, bring to a bubbling boil, let it reduce a bit, cover the pan, turn to a simmer. You can turn the pieces a few times and/or baste, as the liquid won’t cover the chicken.

It made such an excellent lunch, it’s hard to believe that it will probably be even better tonight for left-overs.

Vegetables: in the olden days when Manny cooked this, we had potatoes, carrots and maybe brussel sprouts in garlic, rosemary and olive oil, done in the oven on a tray. Divinely good,  makes a meal on its own. I boiled baby potatoes and topped and stemmed green beans which were steamed and then quickly sauted at the finish in butter in which I’d toasted almond slivers. Needless to say, mash is perfect.

Options: I think a very simple risotto – garlic, parsley, lemon, chicken stock if you have it – is a great on-the-side for this. But having some cooked Jasmine rice in the fridge, I fried finely chopped garlic in a little butter (non-stick pan), added the cooked rice, and then the parsley. The juice of half a lemon was stirred through just before serving. Almost as good and much less work.

Tips: hard to overdo the onion in this. You want to fry them until they are soft without browning. This will have a thickening the sauce effect, along the lines of how Indian sauces are done. The original dish in our house had whole shallots fried separately and then added. I think that again, finely chopping shallots and then frying them until very soft before adding the wine, will be better from a melding into the sauce point of view. And shallots cook much more quickly than onions, useful to know if you are in a hurry.

The moral of the story being sometimes shortcuts work.






Chicken noodle soup

Toss in water the following:

  • 1 kg of chicken wings
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • several sticks of celery chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • a few peppercorns and perhaps a bayleaf
  • chicken feet if available

You can obviously change these quantities to taste. I always make lots and freeze in batches.

Bring to the boil.

After several hours turn off and take the chicken out. When cool enough to handle, bone the chicken and now, this depends. I usually buy extra chicken and after it is cooked save it for another venture (you can freeze it). At any rate put some or all of the chicken back in the soup. This includes the skin, which is the best part.

You have to use chicken wings. They have all the nicely bad things that make stock a gelatinous yumminess.

You may fry in olive oil or ghee the vegetables before adding chicken and water. Since they are being cooked a long time in a fatty stock that isn’t particularly necessary.
And if at all possible, do this: add chicken feet to the stock. Afterwards I discard these, as opposed to the wing meat and they look really scary in the pot – hands trying to get out – but they notably add to the richness of the stock.

Serving: separately cook some sort of noodles. I use risoni or orzo, shaped like rice, but pasta. Add to the soup when they are near to cooked and finish them off there. Chopped up parsley on top. Bread or toast.

Bonus: as mentioned, by putting in extra wings, you end up with both richer stock and chicken meat for other exercises. The wing meat/skin is really robust, can’t be overcooked, is happy to be frozen when cooked. So, you can divide up some of the boned meat into small quantities to do things with like add to a salad or throw it into Japanese soup noodles, to name a couple of things I do with it.


Honey Mustard Chicken Wings

Belinda Jeffery’s 100 favourite recipes is a book well used in my kitchen. It doesn’t all work, but I’m always willing to give her ideas a shot and more often than not they get the thumbs up.

A couple of weeks ago I wanted to bake marinated wings and tried these. It’s hard to decide to make them because the recipe sits next to one she calls ‘the simplest and best sticky chicken wings’. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to bypass it on the basis of missing a critical ingredient. So there I was making the less than best….but still good.


  • chicken wings
  • 3/4 cup clear runny honey
  • 1/2 a cup of Dijon mustard
  • 2.5 tblsps dry white wine
  • 2.5 tablsps olive oil
  • 2 tblsps red wine vinegar
  • 1 tblesp finely chopped fresh ginger (optional)
  • salt to taste


Mix the ingredients, and let marinate for a few hours or overnight. Heat oven to 200C, place wings and the marinade in a roasting tray, spread out. Baste during cooking, they will take an hour.

Jeffrey cooks these with kumara. We had them with a soba noodle salad and a cold spinach-sesame dish.

Belinda J chicken wing marinade

Soy sauce chicken heaven

Soy sauce chicken heaven

Yes, it’s true. I lived with a Chinese chef for six years, at the end of which I could cook…this dish. That might not sound like much, but wait until you see how happy it makes everybody and then you will understand that at least I picked the right dish.

Chicken wings – one to two kgs depending on how many you are cooking for and how big your frying pan is. I get the butcher to chop off those rather useless tips, leaving the two meatier parts, still joined together.

Broccoli, peel the stem and then chop the lot.

Oh, and if you can possibly get away with it, chicken livers, to be added with the broccoli. It is the most fabulous addition.

The sauce ingredients:

Good quality dark Chinese soy – this is so important. Supermarket soy just doesn’t cut it at all. You will have a different thing at the end.
Sesame oil
Star of anise

After you have set rice boiling do this:

Heat a large frying pan, add the chicken wings and stir-fry to brown a little. No oil is needed. Sprinkle in a generous quantity of the soy, at least a couple of tablespoons, I’d say, though the brand and size of your finished dish will determine this. Add the sesame oil, sugar, star of anise and stir vigorously, stll on a fairly high temperature, but don’t burn the sauce. Add water as soon as you feel it is necessary. When the dish is boiling vigorously, turn heat down, but keep it at a strong simmer. Check now and then to add water if necessary. You want the chicken sort of covered to begin with but a concentrated sauce at the end.

Turn the chicken at least once so that it gets that lovely soy brownness to it all over.

When the chicken is cooked, maybe half an hour – it is wings, so you can’t overcook them and you want them sufficiently cooked that they come away from the bone without a struggle, the bone should slip out of the meat – add the broccoli (and liver, I hope). It can sort of steam on top (mix in the liver). You might have to bring everything back to the boil again as this will cool it down, having the broccoli added. Stir the broccoli in as it cooks. When it is done to your likeness – it is nice ‘overcooked’ by Chinese standards, if that is what your guests will prefer – take off the heat.

Turn into a large serving bowl with a ladle for the sauce. Rice is in a separate bowl, or even in the saucepan at the table. Keep it hot.

Make sure each guest has a finger bowl and serviettes. A small Chinese bowl will do. There are two ways to make this. One is to use tea: a little tea at the bottom of each bowl and boiling water on top. The other is boiling water to which lemon juice is added.

A bowl for bones, there are plenty of them!

Good Chinese tea – it is worth paying through the nose for.

You’d think silence is a neutral thing but it isn’t. The worst silence I’ve experienced was that of a house of some drug addict friends of mine. You had only to walk in the door to feel the dis-ease of the silence. The silence of blissful eating is the thing I think of as being the exact opposite of this. It is such a compliment, that silence which takes over when you put good food on the table. It means more than any comment would.

This is one of those everyday, as opposed to restaurant style, Chinese dishes. There are a million variations, this is just the one I learnt.

Chicken, lentils and vegetable stew

This was a ‘it’s in the cupboard’ recipe. It’s cheap and makes enough for 6 serves.


5 chicken wings
2 sticks of celery diced
2 carrots peeled and diced
1-2 onions peeled and diced
several cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped
tin of tomatoes, crushed if not already
a cup of red lentils, washed and picked over if necessary
water or stock of some sort
ghee (or oil for frying)
some sweet paprika (I used 1 teasp)
some roasted and ground cumin (I used 1 teasp)
some chilli powder (I grind mine and it’s superhot, so I didn’t use much)
salt and pepper to taste.


Fry onions until softening, add celery, carrots and then after a few minutes the garlic. Keep stirring. Low enough heat that nothing burns, especially the garlic. Add the paprika, cumin and chilli powder to taste. Next the tomatoes, perhaps two cups of water and the lentils. Stir thoroughly to make sure the lentils aren’t clumped together, bring to the boil and simmer, covered. I’d say quite a strong simmer, but less than brisk. Stir from time to time and add more water as may be necessary. I wanted something thicker than a dahl, which is why I started with only 2 cups of water. I added a bit more water at some point.

Cook all this for a couple of hours. Then debone the chicken and return to the pot.

Leave for a day.

Good with rice, with mash, stirred into pasta. Obviously one could vary this to make it more Indian-like or more European….I would be curious to see what happens if you use green lentils or chickpeas, if it comes to that.

If you want this meatier – it is a small amount of chicken, 5 wings, you can add more chicken. Maybe later in the cooking process, since wings appreciate long cooking the most.

Poached chicken salad

Personally, I’d rather chew my own arm off than eat chicken breasts that other people have cooked. It is almost never the appropriate cut of chicken to use, tasteless with a bad texture.

But. IF you cook it properly. Maybe…

So, you must poach the chicken extremely lightly, to just undercooked…it will finish cooking as it cools. Something like a little water – maybe an inch, no more – in the pan with a dash of soy and sesame oil and a slice of ginger. Bring to a gentle simmer, add the breasts, cover pan and simmer for maybe a couple of minutes before turning so that the top is now in the liquid. Another couple of minutes and let it sit and cool in this liquid.


Destem baby leaf spinach.

Mix the chicken and spinach with this divine dressing:

Plain yoghurt
Some sort of jam – peach, maybe apricot. It can be that crappy French jam which proudly announces it has no sugar in it. I mean honestly. Jam is ALL sugar. You bought this accidentally, or someone ignorant gave it to you…it’s dreadful stuff on its own, but perfectly useful in this dish.
Good quality white wine vinegar
Green tomato chutney – this I make myself and I will post the recipe.

Fresh bread on the side.

A perfect summer lunch.

Everyday Chicken in a Fried Onion Sauce: a Madhur Jaffrey recipe

Aren’t everybody’s favourite foods the ones you can eat every day? I love this one, one of the first I ever tried from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking.

She would be the first to say that in all Indian cooking use meat with bones, it makes all the difference. In this case get a mixture of drumsticks, thighs and wings. Don’t bother skinning the wings, but do skin the rest. I ask the butcher to cut off the wing tips, leaving the meaty other parts.

Everyday Chicken in a Fried Onion Sauce

Serves 4-6
1 kg chicken pieces, skinned, on pain of death not breasts, anything but.
4 medium onions peeled
1 ½ inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic peeled
7 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
1 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
1 Tbsp ground cumin seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ – ½ tsp cayenne pepper
4 Tbsp plain yogurt
2 ½ cup water
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped (canned tomatoes may be substituted)
2 tsp salt
½ tsp garam masala
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander

  • Coarsely chop 2 onions. Cut remaining onions into halves lengthwise and in very thin slices.

  • Put chopped onions, ginger and garlic in a food processor. Blend until a paste.

  • Heat oil in large pot over medium flame. When hot, put in sliced onions. Stir and fry until they are a deep, reddish brown color. Remove onions with a slotted spoon, squeezing out as much oil as possible to leave in pot. Set onions aside.

  • Remove pot from flame. Put in the blended paste (avert eyes), place back on medium heat, stir and fry until browned (3-4 minutes). Add coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne; stir once. Add 1 Tbsp of yogurt. Stir for 30 seconds until incorporated. Add remaining yogurt 1 Tbsp at a time. Add chicken pieces and stir to cover (1 min).

  • Pour in water, tomatoes and salt. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn to low heat and cook for 20 minutes. Sprinkle in the garam masala and fried onions. Cook uncovered on medium heat for 10 minutes (until sauce reduces and thickens).