Tag Archives: chicken

Happy Good Friday…it seems I cannot keep it simple :)


A strange day…not a particular festival day for us, but always grateful for a day off…..BBQ time I think.

I am full of cold (and grumpy..ask my boyfriend lol )..but the sun is shining and it is family dinner day.
I suggested BBQ..we will keep it simple I said….but oohhhh I cannot do simple!!!

It will just be burgers and sausages.. (no steak, chicken, prawns.) but whilst My Love is at the Big Shop..I am secretly boiling Bantam eggs (it is Easter after all). There will probably be a potato salad….Hummus….cous cous??? Brownies…maybe millionaires shortbread…hey I am not going mad I am ill ..it will be a lovely distraction..unobligated cooking makes me happy.

I can’t do simple…It is a feast for the people I love…there is no better celebration than that..I shall cherish every moment

Whatever you celebrate….have a happy one

Love and Hugs
Sky @ http://www.skybendelow.com


A taste of China…


Well you have probably grasped by now that I quite like cooking….Ok, I really like cooking (slightly obsessed even?).

I like eating even more.. one of my favourite foods has to be Chinese.

Now I obviously didn’t think this through when I moved out into the sticks. I love being in the country…we have a wonderful view and a lovely long garden, which I am going to hopefully grow some of our food in this year (dependant on the dog :S ).

However…we are miles away from a takeaway..and the one that will deliver isn’t that good to be honest. So I have been practising with my wok and steamer, and its going pretty well. I did find ingredients limited in the supermarket, so this weekend we took a trip to a wonderful Chinese supermarket in Leeds. My gosh it is fab.

They have an absolute wonderful array of all sorts of wonders. From basic ingredients (The lemongrass and bay leaves were fantastic value.) to prepared dishes such as salt and pepper spare ribs and wantons. There was every type of noodle known to man and lots of exciting seafood all at fantastic prices.

My freezer and cupboards are now back to brimming 😦 but at least it is with new exciting stuff.
The char sui marinade transformed a dish of chicken thighs. the dumplings and ribs added to my increasing waistline.
I am sure it was a lot healthier than a takeaway. It was a lot cheaper that’s for sure. and it was a lot of fun…

Tonight we are having white fish steamed with lemongrass and ginger, and prawn chow mein…

Whats not to love?

Happy eating..
Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com



a party tea…and my pjs


Arrgghh still trying to live out of the freezer. (not literally lol).

so tonight I am making what I call party tea. We have lots of bits to use up and I am too tired to think. so tired, that the minute I get in from the school run I am lighting the wood burner and putting on my PJs.

No dressing or cooking to impress tonight lol.

There will be chicken pieces and sausages. Prawns and spring rolls. Garlic bread and maybe a bit of lasagne. I will make a salad, and a fruit cocktail as well so we don’t feel too unhealthy. There might even be chips :).

It really is amazing how many times we go shopping without checking what we already have. I am a great one for just cooking what I fancy, but the whole downsizing of the cupboards and freezer are going well. I have also saved a lot of cash this week, which can only be a good thing. I am not going to pretend its been easy staying away from the aisles full of treats. but its certainly been worth it.

I might make a chocolate biscuit cake as my reward…

Happy eating

love Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com

my delicious maple chicken wings www.thesdieplate.com

my delicious maple chicken wings http://www.thesdieplate.com

Cooking can be a little like choosing a carparking space …


I think cooking is a bit like when you get to a car park, and there are loads of spaces..So you drive round deciding, which is best. Yet if there is only one spot, you just park and you’re glad of it. I am like that with dinner some nights. So much choice, I spend more time pondering than I do actually cooking and eating it.

So I am going old school. Chicken chips and peas. Crumble for pudding. Or maybe pizza and salad. A fruit cocktail for pudding. Spag bol, salad. Fresh pineapple for pudding. See it’s easy when I go simple.

I think I don’t have time to wash muddy potatoes, or chop and peel some raw veg as a snack starter. But I do, I am fooling myself. I even have time to make Pud if I rope in the troublesome two, or four, depending on which day it is and how many children we have.

So I shall start to practise what I preach. Be my own Mother I guess, now I am 40 maybe I should grow up…just a little. Don’t worry I am not going to become all conventional. I just remember a lot of happy times peeling spuds and icing the odd cake with my Grandma. Occasionally my Mother would let me make up the custard powder or a packet of quik gel (for people under 30 that is very instant jelly lol )

I am beginning to understand just how important cooking is…It is about finding the time. Nurturing my home and family, spending time together..And not over complicating life. We are so ready to gather possessions, in my case recipe books and kitchen stuff. We can’t move for dusty cds and ironing piles of clothes we don’t really wear (that might just be me ..Not you J). People tell me they don’t have time to make a shepherds pie; yet they never miss an episode of Eastenders. I think it might be time to jiggle priorities..Or at least be aware of where our time sneaks away to.

I am not particularly opinionating I know..that’s not a real word :/ ), just muttering as usual, and reassessing how my life is passing by.

However your evening turns out, I hope its fun.

Good wishes and love from Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com

Whatever I have for Dinner I intend to watch the sun go down with a glass of vino…and take time to appreciate all the loveliness in my life

I hate long, long lists of ingredients…



I hate long, long lists of ingredients….

I have to say, as you are probably aware, most of the time I love cooking. I must say though I like to keep things small in effort, big in taste.

I am no Nigella swanning round the kitchen with an aura of calm. I confess I do wear my heels when cooking as it makes the worktops easier to reach. I occasionally remember to wear an apron (after ruining a very nice white top with a pasta sauce 🙂 ) . But that is as far as it goes..There is often washing up in the sink…flour dusting the table and homework on the go. As I frequently tell my children…I am one woman with one pair of hands…I never aspired to be perfect.

Anyway back on the subject…. I am big on flavours but low on patience, I always love to make a roast at the weekend. This week it was a chicken. I will be honest I used to buy the corn fed free-range birds. (I keep chickens so these things matter to me.) But I have been so damned disappointed in them lately that I cannot justify the £8 plus for a small chicken. I paid £5 for a semi happy bird in sainsburys and decided to cook it in a pot.

I have only recently fallen in love with coronation Chicken after tasting a well-made version at a farm shop. It had a smooth sauce that coated succulent slices of meat. (I have to say I am not a massive sultana fan though) So after flicking through my mountain of under used cookbooks I adapted an old Good Housekeeping recipe and came up with this.

When I was making it I cursed at the amount of faffing for the sauce. I swore I wouldn’t make it again….until I tasted it.

Suddenly it was worth the effort. The chicken is wonderfully moist. (And I got two good portions of stock from the cooking liquid, which I stuck in the freezer.) The sauce was quite frankly delicious…

I thought it could get no better…until yesterday when I used the leftovers as a pancake filling..Oh my…I guess sometimes it’s worth the effort.

The recipe should be on my recipe pages…Well Worth it Coronation Chicken

Let me know if you try it. and what you think

Happy Eating and lots of love

Sky @ http://www.skybendelow.com

You can never own too many dishes 🙂

Get Yourself Some Balls!


Get yourself some balls!

I will eat most things. But I do like to know what it is that I am putting into my mouth. I am not a lover of mystery meats or processed foods. However I do love meatballs, burgers and sausages.
They can be wonderful delights. Ultimate comfort foods.
A well-constructed sausage in a soft roll topped with fried onions and a splosh of ketchup, is a simple feast that is guaranteed to please everyone in our household.
A moist burger made from rump steak or chicken thighs, or pork or lamb for that matter, is such a simple thing to prepare if you are lucky enough to own a food processor. (If not ask a friendly butcher to mince it for you.) Simply mixed with seasonings, possibly an egg and some breadcrumbs to make our mixture go even further. Cooked in a hot pan or under the grill and served on a toasted bun.maybe with melted cheese or good quality mayo is another favourite tea. And if we make these things ourselves they are actually massively healthier than the pre made often frozen offerings.
And Meatballs…a dish of succulent meaty balls, drowning in a delicious sauce or gravy then nestled on a bed of pasta or mashed potato…if that is not foodie heaven. I don’t know what is.

Check out the new recipe, which is hopefully on the recipe page. (I’m still getting to grips with all this technology :S )

Happy Munching

Love Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com

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is it all in the timing??


Timing is not my strongpoint,

I often eat delicious dinners at midnight. They are never planned this way of course, but when a new recipe is in progress I kind of go with the flow.

I always underestimate the time taken to make a risotto, (so my partner claims anyway lol ) I say dinner will be at 9, but then a friend calls for a chat, or a cheeky monkey that cant sleep decides to tug my apron and heart strings. Last night I was just disorganised and forgot to factor in the sautéing of the onions, then 40 minutes for the rice.

It was one of those recipes that started out with my saying “we have left over roast chicken, what kind of meal do you fancy?” (Lucky for me he didn’t say steak and chips.)

Risotto was the choice and it kind of evolved from there. I do usually put Parmesan in this lovely soothing dish, but I also had some prawns loitering in the freezer, so instead we tried something new.

Try it; it was pretty damn tasty…however long it takes to cook.

Happy Cooking

Sky @ thesideplate.com

all things rice

As usual, its still a work in progress, so here’s a vague recipe.

Large mug of paella rice (I would normally use Arborio, but its hiding somewhere at the back of the cupboard, and It was already 9pm)

Large mug of leftover roast chicken

Cup of raw king prawns

Cup of frozen peas

An onion finely chopped

½ bottle of dry white wine

250ml chicken stock

25g unsalted butter

I tsp of preserved lemon (lemon juice may work?)

½ tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp white pepper

Fried Parma ham to serve.

Sauté the onion in the butter until soft but not browned,
Add the rice and cook for 5 mins, stirring to coat the grains.

Add the white pepper and paprika and give it a good stir.

Pour in a quarter of the stock and stir until absorbed into the rice.

Add the rest of the butter and the lemon and another quarter of the stock

(You should technically keep stirring, but I do generally find time to keep nipping into the lounge to annoy my boyfriend with inane chatter)

Once this is absorbed add the rest of the stock and the chicken and cook for about 10 mins.

Once the rice has absorbed all the stock and has been cooking for about 35 mins, throw in the prawns and the peas.

It will be ready, when the prawns are pink and the rice is just soft.

I topped it with a bit of fried Parma ham, because I was feeling fancy.

How’s that for Timing (ish)



Piggy in the middle…

So here I am trying to pretend to be an organised person (anyone that has seen my paperwork that needs filing will tell you different). And I did say yesterday I intend to cook smarter so that I am not always thinking about the next meal. So today’s delights will be slow roast pork, slow roast chicken, (will let you know how that works out) and a vegetable casserole.

I am going to blow the dust of my electric steamer to prepare the unpopular 5 a day. I haven’t used it for far too long, as I tend to put stuff in the back of the cupboard, and the recesses of my mind. But it really is a fabulous piece of kit. Anything that looks after itself whilst it cooks is always a bonus when you have kids. Plus it saves loads of washing up (which my partner will tell you “is not my strong point.”)

It’s going to be a tight squeeze in the oven. But I will put the casserole at the bottom to slowly work its magic…. for the chicken I am using thighs and drumsticks so they only take up a trays depth of space…and of course my beautiful joint of pork will be…. the piggy in the middle.

Warmest wishes & as always, thank you for reading

Sky @ thesideplate.com

cook books
roasting tins

New year….New recipes


New Year…New recipes

To say my son is  a fussy eater would be an understatement. But like most kids he will gobble down chicken nuggets and chips without a word of complaint. Oh my, how it drives me crazy the amount of lovingly prepared food he will refuse to even try…if I were offering up boiled sheep’s brains with spaghetti I could understand. But I generally save that for the grown ups menu (only joking honey don’t worry).

So with the New Year and good habits in mind I am trying to revamp the chicken nugget, and so far its not going to bad…..he tried one, my daughter and I wolfed the rest, they were delicious. They are still a work in progress, I aim to get him to eat two next time, but hey at least he tried.

The recipe is below if you would like to give them a try. They are also delicious with sweet and sour sauce and rice for a healthy quick “takeaway”.

Happy eating
Sky @ thesideplate.com



8 chicken thighs, trimmed (and bashed out flat if you are feeling that way out)
1 tub of butter milk or natural yoghurt
1 tsp of garlic granules
½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper (I use white because they cant see it – sneaky mummy!)
1 small packet of panko breadcrumbs

Mix the seasonings into the buttermilk then place in a dish with the chicken and leave to marinate. The longer the better 24 hours is ideal.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and dip into the breadcrumbs…..if you are gentle they should stick.

Shallow fry the chicken in two batches until the breadcrumbs look golden, then remove and place on a baking try. Pop in the oven for 20 mins on about 220..Like I say its still a work in progress.

Serve hot with homemade oven chips.

Roast chicken for one..


Family are a funny thing…and when I have a table full I adore feeding them. Even the fussy buggers..But there are odd occasions as a single parent, that you find yourself on your own on Sunday. And Sunday is my day. I am never happier than when there is a roast in the oven. A glass of wine for the cook. And if I can persuade them a few tweenies helping with the veg and pudding. But today is one of those alone days. So I am catching up on the chores and my writing…but still, I cannot put a roast in. Today it is a chicken. I would usually smother a Sunday bird in butter and bacon, we would be eating it hot so don’t need to consider leftovers with our lot. But butter in cold leftovers tends to go a bit grainy, so not good for my Monday sandwiches. My bird today has been lovely placed in a pot with whatever I could find…an onion, two cloves of garlic, half a withering chilli, a lemon…and because I was feeling generous a glass of wine. I’ve topped it up with water and introduced it to the oven where it can enjoy its bath for an hour and half. My lovely bird will feed me today and maybe a few days more converted to a toastie, salad or croquettes if I am feeling brave, very brave.

Sunday greetings from Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com