Chicken Quesadilla Recipe


I watch a lot of cooking tv. I’m not a huge fan of the ‘reality’ programs but pretty much anything else I’ll watch – no matter how old school the production values (the really quite awful Four Burners and a Grill) or how much the chef irritates me (er, no names, because that would be just mean).

The other morning we were watching Good Chef Bad Chef. This is one show that irritates me because it kind of ‘works’ under the assumption that the chef using the meat, cream, butter and salt is the ‘bad’ chef, while the nutritionist, whose food is predominantly vegetarian (she uses a lot of seafood) and who uses dairy alternatives, is the ‘good’ chef. Andy always grumpily points out that Adrian usually looks a lot healthier than Janella …

Philosophical issues aside, lots of the food that Adrian Richardson cooks on this show looks really good. On Saturday morning he cooked quesadillas with a prawn filling. Show over, Andy says “we should have quesadillas for dinner”. Wow, I thought, that is going to be one serious pain in the butt to put together.

As we have prawns coming for Christmas, we didn’t want to do seafood so we opted for chicken. I found a recipe on taste which we used as a rough guide.

We began with one onion, finely chopped and sautéed in the wok. We added just one clove of garlic and then half a red capsicum finely chopped.

I finely (super super finely) sliced one chicken breast and the meat was tossed with some ground cumin and ground coriander. The meat was added to the wok and quickly fried.

While the meat was cooking I made a variation on the avocado cream in the taste recipe: half an avocado mashed, mixed with a couple of tablespoons of natural yoghurt and then seasoned.

I also made a quick salsa: one tomato, quartered, deseeded and finely diced (deseeding, while wasteful, does make it a LOT easier to dice the flesh), a quarter of a red onion finely chopped, some chopped coriander, and a good squeeze of lime juice. The following evening I made some more salsa, which I jazzed up with some finely sliced jalapeño peppers and some finely chopped red capsicum. If you use the juice from the peppers you don’t need the lime juice.

To wrap up the quesadillas, we heated a non stick pan, gave it a very light spray with some oil and popped in a wrap. Andy topped half the wrap with some of the chicken mix and a good handful of grated cheddar. Fold the wrap in half and you can add a second wrap to the pan. When the wraps start to become golden, flip them over (not as hard as it sounds if you’re careful). Just pay attention to the heat of the pan as you want the cheese to melt but not at the expense of burning the wrap.


Serve piping hot with the avocado cream and salsa.

With two of us on the case, this meal took less than 30 minutes to put together. With just the one chicken breast used it’s very economical and it’s also pretty healthy (look at all those vegetables!). Without a doubt it’s something we’ll be making again … especially as we reckon we could manage it on the BBQ during summer!

Lemon Chicken Recipe


Sorry for the awful photo!  That’s what happens when you’re super hungry …

This is an absurdly easy (and quick to put together) roast chicken dinner recipe that was inspired by two recipes I found on The Good Food Channel’s website. The first, Mark Sargent’s lemon and herb roast chicken and the other, Rachel Allen’s leek and fennel roast chicken.

Naturally, my version of things doesn’t follow the script too closely and I wonder if I should really call it pot roast chicken … but no matter.

Preheat your oven to 200°C fan. In a roasting dish, which has a lid (this is quite important!), splosh a little light olive oil and arrange some chicken portions. I got the butcher to joint a chicken for us (by far the easiest way to buy chicken on the bone) and, for the two of us, I used the 2 drumsticks and the 2 thigh portions. You could buy marylands and halve them yourself.

Add 4 halved small new potatoes, 1 leek, cut into 1cm segments, 1 lemon or lime cut into quarters (we have an excess of limes to use thanks to my parents’ lime tree!) and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.

Sprinkle a little extra olive oil on top, cover with the lid (or tin foil) and place in the hot oven.

After about 20 minutes, give the meat and vegetables a bit of a poke and return to the oven for another 10 or so minutes, until the potatoes and chicken are cooked (that is, until you stick a knife into the thickest part of a chicken joint and the juices run clear – no blood!). The amount of time you actually need will depend on the size of the chicken joints, how tightly packed everything is in your roasting dish and, of course, how hot your oven actually is.

When the chicken is cooked, remove the lime quarters and thyme sprigs and return to the oven without the lid to crisp up the skin on the chicken. If you are not also trying to warm plates, you could pop things under the grill for a few moments.

Do try not to use too much olive oil because you want to be able to use the pan juices as an immediate gravy (rather than an oil slick!).

Serve on hot plates, with steamed vegetables.

No effort at all!

Chettinad Fried Chicken


There is a restaurant review in the works but today I’m running short of time so here is an excellent chicken recipe that you might find useful over the long break. This is an Indian recipe (Chettinad is a region in Tamil Nadu, in southern India) but it’s a really welcome change to a big saucy curry. It stands on its own perfectly well, but if you are putting together a curry extravaganza, then this is a pleasant contrast to sauce rich dishes. It’s also fab because it doesn’t require 3000 different spices, carefully roasted and ground.

I got this recipe from my mum and I’m pretty sure it did originally come out of a cookbook – I’m sure she’ll let us all know which one!

Begin by taking about 1kg of chicken (I use skinned thigh fillets cut into large cubes) and rub it with about 1 tsp of salt and a generous sprinkle of turmeric. Set aside.

Prepare some salted water – 3 tbsp of water with ¼ tsp of salt. Ensure the salt dissolves in the water.

Heat some peanut (or other flavourless oil) in a wok and ½ tsp of mustard seeds, ½ tsp of fennel seeds, and 5 whole dried hot red chillis. Keep the chillis whole – this does keep the heat of the dish under control. If you have it, also add 1-2 tablespoons of skinned urad dahl. If you don’t have it – don’t bother seeking it out. You could also add some curry leaves.

When the spices are crackling and starting to darken add a finely chopped onion and cook until brown (that’s brown – not burnt – don’t get impatient and whack the heat up!).

Add the chicken to the onion and stir fry, sprinkling on some salted water as you go. Keep adding the water. You want to have used up all the water by the time you finish cooking BUT you must sprinkle the water in, so you don’t end up stewing your meat.

It’s best if you can cook the chicken all in one batch but realistically that might not happen. Just be aware that the longer you have the heat on the chillis the more likely they are to start breaking down and the hotter the finished product will become. If you do want to keep some of this dish mild then reserve some cooked chicken from the first batch.

When the chicken is cooked and the salted water is used up, remove the chicken (and onion and spices, of course) from the wok and serve. You don’t need to serve straight away – this dish is perfect to prepare in advance. Once cooked, put everything into an oven proof dish, cover with tin foil and reheat (with the tin foil on) when you are ready to serve.

Best eaten with pappadums, raita, naan … and don’t worry about having too much – there’s very rarely any left over!