For 12 you will need:
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Half-teaspoon bicarbonate soda
2 tablespoons best quality cocoa
175g caster sugar
150g chocolate chips - plus more for sprinkling later
90ml vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6
How to do it:
Fill a 12-bun muffin tray with paper cases.
Weigh out the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a measuring jug.
Mix both together, you will have a runny batter. Now spoon into the muffin cases.
Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top then cook for 20 minutes or until the muffins are risen and springy.
Nigella Lawson was on the tele the other night, she was making ‘Pollo Alla Cacciatora’ (Hunter’s Chicken). I’ve never made it before, and last night I felt the need to have a go at it. However, I looked into several versions of this recipe on the net and also looked at Jamie Oliver’s version he has in his book 'Jamie's Italy'.
Nigella’s sounded good and I like the fact that she added a can of cannellini beans to it. But as the recipe was from her ‘Nigella Express’ book it was therefore, was made very quickly. Obviously, this is the point of the book and programme, Nigella Express. Please don’t get me wrong, she makes loads of great recipes and I am a fan of her ‘Quick Chilli’ since I made it.
But I wanted the chicken to take on all the lovely flavours and I can’t see how it could taste as nice as it could do when it takes (in her own words) under half an hour to be on the table. Jamie Oliver’s recipe sounded better, as in the fact that it took an hour and a half in the oven.
So, with that said and if you’re still awake and reading this, I’ll get on with my version!
For the marinade: 500g skinless and boneless chicken – cut into big cubes. I used 350g breast and also added 2 boneless thighs.
Mix together the following:4 bay leaves A glug of extra virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic – chopped finely 100ml Marsala wine if you don’t have any use red wine instead 1 sprig of rosemary
Add the chicken and the rosemary sprig to the mixture. Leave to marinade for an hour or over night if you have time.
What else you need:1 glug of extra virgin olive oil 2 celery sticks – diced 1 large onion – sliced 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped 1 carrot – cut into strips 2x400g good quality tinned plumb tomatoes 1 sprig of rosemary – very finely chopped 6 rashers of streaky bacon if you can’t get pancetta salt and pepper - to taste 125ml red wine (Chianti) small dish of flour 1x400ml can of cannellini beans
How to do it:In a large skillet fry the bacon until it’s on the way to getting nice and brown you shouldn't’ need any oil to do this). Remove the bacon and set aside. Now in the same pan (without washing it) as you want all the nice sticky bits from the bacon. Saute the onions until they are soft, but not coloured. Now add the carrots, celery, garlic and chopped rosemary. Give it a good season with salt and pepper.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, but make sure you keep it but discard the rosemary and the bay leaves. Dip each piece of chicken into the flour.
Now, using a separate frying pan: Fry the chicken until it is starting to brown – keep stirring for a few minutes. Then add the chicken to the pan with the reserved marinade and the wine.
Add the vegetables and olives, along with one of the cans of tomatoes. You can now add the other can, but I don’t think you will want the juice from that can – just the tomatoes. Put a lid on – or cover with foil and cook on a low heat for about 1 hour. You will have to keep giving it a stir though! Now add the cannellini beans and cook for another half hour – or until the chicken is cooked through and really tender.
We think that this was such a nice meal. I know you can't tell how tasty it was from pictures but if you are ever stuck for something to cook - give this a go.
It would be so easy to do if you have anyone coming for dinner, apart from giving it the occasional stir, it looks after it’s self!
I served mine with some nice crusty bread – well it was crusty ‘ish’ as I made it!
This recipe was taken from Nigella Lawson's book 'Nigella Express' Having made this, I would suggest using only 1 Tablespoon of oil, and not 2 as this recipe says. You will Need: 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (Not Extra Virgin) 2 Pears, Unpeeled and Uncored (uncored says Nigella - I say core those pears)! 3 Tablespoons Marsala 2 Tablespoons Honey 50g Walnut Halves 500g Gorgonzola How to Do it: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Meanwhile, cut the pears into eighths, leaving the skin and core on. (I cored my pears - no stalks on my plate, thank you very much)! Fry the pears for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until softened.
Meanwhile, whisk the Marsala and honey together in a cup or small bowl. Add the Marsala mixture to the pears and allow to bubble and become syrupy.
Transfer the pears to a large serving plate, reserving the syrupy mixture in the pan. Add the walnuts to the same pan and stir fry them for about a minute, or until they are slightly darkened and sticky all over.
To serve, transfer the walnuts to the serving plate along with any remaining pan juices and place the gorgonzola onto the plate.