Summer Comfort

Adam Liaw's summer one-tray wonder.

At long last, we in England can now meet up with (6) friends and those of us on our own can now “bubble” with another household, bringing grannies and grandads together with sons, daughters and grandchildren. Smiles all round – so, obviously, the weather which has been so good to us over the last few months has now decided to turn and we are being faced with heavy rain and winds – someone is definitely saying we are not having it all!

This week’s recipes are thus back to comfort food – albeit with tastes of summer. Anything with basil immediately transports me to the Mediterranean – if I could bottle its’ smell, I would – sun, warmth and taste in one little green plant!

Chicken, Pepper and Basil Traybake (I’ve taken this back to our meals for one as in the title – but if you are feeding friends or family (how wonderful to be able to say that!) its very easy to double up)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken thigh cutlets, bone in
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • 1 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into thick slices (I don’t know about you but I would eat the other half as I went along – love the sweetness and crunchiness!)
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, cut into thick slices (ditto)
  • 3 anchovies, chopped (optional)
  • 100ml cup chicken stock
  • a pinch of sugar
  • loosely packed basil leaves, torn
  • a splash of balsamic vinegar

Heat your oven to 200C. Take a large baking dish or frying pan that can be placed on a stovetop as well as into the oven (cast iron is perfect) and heat over high heat. Add the olive oil, season the chicken thigh with salt and pepper and fry, skin side down, until golden brown. Turn the chicken and add the onions, garlic and peppers around the chicken. Scatter with the anchovies (if using) and pour over the stock. Season very well with salt, pepper and a good pinch of sugar and transfer to the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked though. Scatter with the torn basil leaves and serve immediately, with a splash of balsamic vinegar. A side salad (you could put the rest of your peppers in if you haven’t already eaten them!) and some little Jersey potatoes would be perfect alongside.

Baked Banana Split (one of my grand daughters said I was “too old” to like banana splits – I’ll show her!)

  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp granola
  • 41tbsp chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice-cream
  • thick yoghurt
  • few crushed pistachios
  • 1/2cup mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries and strawberries work well)
  • pinch ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200°C. Split the banana (don’t peel them) in half lengthways, almost all the way through. Fill with granola and chocolate chips and drizzle with a little honey. Wrap in foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and place the banana halves (with the skin) on a serving plate. Add a scoop of ice-cream, a couple of spoons of yoghurt, scatter with the pistachios and berries and finish off with a little cinnamon.

Adam Liaw's healthier baked banana and pistachio splits.

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