November 23, 2022


This recipe is adapted from one of those recipe cards I picked up at Waitrose some time ago.  The original uses chicken legs but we had some skinless chicken breasts in the fridge already so I used them instead.

Waitrose recipes tend not to disappear or be hijacked so to see it on their website click here.

I cooked it in a favourite cast iron casserole dish that was given to me by my Aunty Vera donkeys years ago.  Probably in the 1980's when cast iron cookware was all the rage - if the cookery magazines were anything to go by in those days.  I suspect that my aunt bought one but was not enamoured with it, preferring her Pyrex instead!  I like it because it's actually quite small and ideal for making something for just the two of us.

Of course if you don't have a cast iron dish you can do the first part of the recipe in a frying pan on the hob and finish it off in an ovenproof dish in the oven.

The recipe was easy to make and with the grapes and wine had a slightly "weekend" appeal, yet was quick enough for a midweek meal.  The chicken was moist and delicious.  We had ours with the usual selection of weekday veg and mash.


2 chicken breasts

a splash of oil

1 large or 2 small leeks, washed and sliced, not too thickly, not too thinly

a large handful of green grapes, washed and halved

2 small sprigs fresh rosemary

1 small glass of white wine (or use chicken stock)

a squeeze of lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180° fan / gas mk 6.

Using a cast iron casserole dish* on the hob, heat the oil then fry the chicken breasts, skin side down for 10 minutes until golden brown.  Turn the chicken and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the dish and set aside.

Add the leeks to the dish with a pinch of salt and fry for 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften.

Stir in the grapes, rosemary, wine and lemon juice.  

Remove from the hob, place the chicken breasts on top and roast, uncovered, in the oven for about 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with mashed or baked potatoes and veg.

Serves 2.

*If you don't have a cast iron casserole or one that can be used on the hob, do the frying in a frying pan then transfer the leek mixture to an ovenproof dish of some kind, maybe ceramic or enamel.  Place the chicken on top as above and roast as above.

November 16, 2022

CHICKEN STIR FRY SOUP (soup maker recipe)

Our kettle in the UK died last week.  Actually the kettle still boiled water but the catch holding the lid broke and my other half declared it unfixable so we went to buy a new one.

Curiously, exactly the same thing happened to our kettle in France last month; the lid broke on that one too.  How bizarre to have both give up the ghost at the same time, for the same reason!  As it happens both kettles were at least ten years old so didn’t owe us anything.

In France we got a new decent one from a small selection at our nearest supermarket.  In the UK the choice in our local Tesco, usually quite extensive, was poor.  In fact since their recent refurb they have changed the way they display their small electricals and it’s not good.  Previously they had a top shelf with each item on display so you could pick it up and look at it, with sealed boxes of them stashed on shelves underneath for you to buy your selection.  Now, nothing is on display.  There are simply boxes of things piled on the shelves and none that you can look at, only the picture on the box to go on.  Hence there are damaged boxes of the things where people have ripped them open so they can see what they actually look like. We looked at a couple that had already been opened and gave up, eventually ordering one from Amazon.  

However, I suggested that it might be worth looking at the sale shelf, where they dump items for clearance.  They had no kettles but they did have a wok, reduced to less than £10.  I have never owned a wok in my life and have never tried making stir fries at home but my OH reckons he has.  He mentioned it in the same wistful way that he refers to all his awful 1970’s clothes that filled his wardrobe when we met and that were expunged when we got together and combined our two households in the 90’s.  The implication being that I took it to the charity shop along with his flares and skinny rib jumpers.  I can honestly say I don’t remember doing that.

Anyway, I am on a mission to lose a bit of weight* and thought a wok might help, stir fries being generally lower in calories than say sausages and chips for a midweek dinner, so we bought one.  We picked up a bag of stir fry veg, some noodles and chicken fillets, and that evening Nick made a delicious chicken stir fry, making a sauce with garlic, fresh ginger and soy sauce.

There was a good portion leftover and about a third of the pack of veg so I turned it into soup.  It was also delicious!

The soup maker makes four good portions and as there are only two of us I store the remaining half in the fridge.  Having experimented with various ways of storing it I have finally settled on using the ancient Tupperware jug that belonged to my mum.  It was found at the back of the cupboard when we cleared Dad's flat after he died and I'm pretty sure neither of them ever used it.  It was no doubt a rogue purchase from one of the Tupperware parties that Aunty Vera used to drag Mum to in the 1970's!

*There will be no cake posts for a while, sadly.  If I make it I will eat it and we have even decided not to make a Christmas cake this year, which is the first time ever in my whole life that there will not be a home made Christmas cake in the house.  


one portion of leftover chicken stir fry, including the noodles

the remaining unused stir fry veg in the pack

three small potatoes

1 carrot

1 leek

1 stick of celery


Add the stir fried chicken and veg to the machine and prepare enough veg to fill to the bottom line.

Add enough water to fill to the top line and cook on smooth setting.

Makes four generous portions.