Surprise Parcels

Do you like receiving parcels? I do. O the anticipation of what could be inside – opening  it up – and finding just what you wanted!  Did you know you can cook food in parcels?  You can – and how lovely it is to open, smell the lovely aromas and taste the gently cooked food, full of flavour.  I’ve done this a few times and it has just occurred to me that these are the perfect recipes for us because, of course, they are all individual!

For the parcel, you will need some baking parchment – or if you haven’t got this some greaseproof paper and kitchen foil, folded together, foil outside.  The size will be determined by the size of fish or chicken piece but I would say about a 30cm square or A4 piece of paper should definitely do it.

Two recipes – a fish one and a chicken one.  I’m sorry no photographs – but hey – you’re getting the hang of this now!  You could send me yours?

Lemon and Herb Fish in a Bag (if you want to be posh that’s en papillote in French!)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced lemon peel and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 spring onion
  • a fillet of fish – this can be salmon, cod, haddock – your favourite
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Heat the oven to 200oC

Mix the parsley, garlic and lemon peel together and put to the side.

Cut the spring onion into small pieces and slice lengthwise.

Season the fish with salt and pepper and the lemon juice and spread the top with butter

Put the spring onion in the middle of your parcel and top with the fish.  Put some of the herb mix on top of the fish.  Fold the packages up – each long side to the middle then sides brought inwards to seal.

Place on a baking sheet and bake about 8 minutes.

Put the parcel on your dinner plate with whatever vegetables you like best and open – be careful all those lovely juices will seep out and you don’t want to waste them!

Spicy Chinese Chicken Packet

  • 1 chicken thigh = bone in or out
  • small piece of ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 spring onion
  • some fresh or frozen chilli – to taste (remember that most supermarkets now sell them frozen so you will have no wastage if you only use a little)
  • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce (smells disgusting tastes nice)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or sherry

Put ALL of the above in a plastic bag and give it a good shake then leave to marinade for about 45 minutes

Preheat the oven to 200oC

Prepare your parcel as above. Take out the chicken and put in the middle. Add a spoonful of the marinade and fold up. On to a baking tray and into the oven for about 15 minutes.

Sauce: Put the remaining marinade into a saucepan and add:

  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or sherry (optional but you will need to use the measurement of water)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Simmer altogether to melt the honey.  If you like heat, you could add a little chopped chilli to taste. It’s ready when it has thickened slightly.

Serve the chicken parcel on a plate with a side of rice and pok choy with the sauce to pour over when opened.

The above recipes may contain some ingredients you may have had to buy specially eg rice wine or fish sauce – but don’t worry, over the next few weeks you are going to using them a lot more!

As they say at all the best restaurants – ENJOY!



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