Balsamic Chicken

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I needed something to go on top of a salad, having had way too much stir fry and Chinese style stuff – time for a change…

It always seemed such a pain to make. It isn’tBig Smile

Balsamic Chicken

From Chris's Stuff | Salads | Italian

A quick and very tasty chicken marinade. Great for on top of salads. Ok – there’s a bit of sugar in it but not so much that it makes it really bad.


cal Calories 398kcal

High fat Total Fat 20g

sat fat Saturated Fat 3g

High chol Cholesterol 117mg

sodium Sodium 290mg

Low carbs Total Carbohydrate 15g

Serving size 283g Calories from fat 180kcal Fiber 0g Protein 39g Sugar 13g
1 servings


  • 180 g chicken breast, cut into 5 goujons
  • 50 ml chicken stock
  • 1/2 tblsp Brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tblsp olive oil


  1. Whisk the vinegar, stock, sugar, garlic and herbs together in a bowl and add the chicken.
  2. Marinade the chicken for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Put the oil in a frying pan, heat (low to medium heat) and fry the chicken until just done. Depending on thickness time varies.
  4. Add the rest of the marinade and reduce the liquid until it thickens. Turn the chicken very occasionally during this time.
  5. Serve on fresh green leaf salad or with whatever you prefer really.


  • This is for one. The marinade doesn’t exactly scale but use your own judgement.
  • Maybe this could also be used for a very firm white fish (tuna?) – I don’t know but it’s worth trying.

Chris’s Chicken Cashew Nut…

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Sometimes you just can’t find the recipe you want so you go and experiment. Today was one of those times. I wanted something like chinese chicken cashew nut but problem…

I had chicken, cashew nuts, endive and a tin of bamboo shoots. Oh – other stuff but not quite what was needed. So – based on a recipe from Ching and using a bit of imagination and creativity I came up with the following. It wasn’t quite right but was still tasty. Also – low carb so big win. Because I do the low-carb thing, it is important to me to bulk up on the veggies and pass on the rice, consequently what follows is for two although I had it allCool. I would suggest to serve with noodles or rice if there are a number of folks. I think also I would have liked some bell pepper, mushroom, onion etc in there but it wasn’t to be – nothing in the cupboard.

Feel free to change as desired and of course depending on what you have in house.

Chris’s Chicken Cashew Nut…

From Chris's Stuff | Main Dishes | Chinese

My variant on Chinese chicken cashew nuts. Lots to change and play with. Note that amounts of spice etc are a guideline only.

NOTE – where the recipe says fennel – USE Chinese 5 Spice Power. Kitchenbug is cool but doesn’t have 5 spice powder in there yet.


cal Calories 315kcal

High fat Total Fat 17g

sat fat Saturated Fat 3g

chol Cholesterol 58mg

High sodium Sodium 604mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 16g

Serving size 281g Calories from fat 153kcal Fiber 4g Protein 25g Sugar 5g
2 servings


  • 180 g chicken breast sliced into strips
  • 100 g endive
  • 140 g can bamboo shoots
  • 30 g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tblsp water
  • 1 tblsp rice wine
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel (See note)
  • 10 g fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 dried chilli, chopped
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tblsp groundnut oil


  1. Mix water and cornflour to paste and then add the chicken and coat. Add the 5 spice powder and mix. Leave for a few minutes to let the chicken marinade.
  2. Heat wok and then add oil. Throw in garlic, ginger and chili and leave for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and fry. Add the rice wine and stir fry until golden (about 5 minutes). Remove chicken from wok, leaving remains of oil etc in the pan.
  3. Add 500 ml water to the pan and the stock cube. Bring to boil. Add the endive and bamboo shoots and stir. Add the chicken back in and then the cashew nuts. Leave to heat for a minute or so and then serve.


  • Put what veg you need in but be careful how you cook them. Maybe after removing the chicken, throw them in the pan with a little bit of water to steam etc. I made this into more of a soup. When doing the low-carb thing soups fill you up:)

Multi-Seed Savoury Crackers (From Great British Bakeoff)

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Those crispy, crumbly, dry things. Eat them with cheese, marmite, cold meats, whatever.

Shop bought ones vary from catastrophic cardboard to classic crispy crunchiness (practicing one’s alliteration here).

How about making some for yourself? I’ve always fancied making them, I even tried once before with less than great results. So, I approached this recipe with a little wonderment. I mean – it’s from the Bake-Off – it must be good, right? Nothing can go wrong, surely?…

And indeed, nothing didCool (sorry to disappoint). The only big problem I had was finding two baking sheets. I couldn’t – so I had to do it in two lots. Well – I did find an extra smaller sheet but it seemed like the big sheet took a lot of heat out of the oven. If I do this again then I think I put in the smaller sheet for an extra 2 minutes to begin with and then throw in the larger sheet.

This recipe is nicked from The Great British Bake-off Showstoppers book and I’ve found a little plug-in for WordPress that presents recipes in a rather cool format rather than just providing lists and such like.

Multi-Seed Savoury Crackers (From Great British Bakeoff)

From Chris's Stuff | Breakfast and Brunch | English and Irish

Savoury crackers with lots of healthy high fiber and omega oils in there.


cal Calories 119kcal

fat Total Fat 5g

sat fat Saturated Fat 1g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

sodium Sodium 96mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 16g

Serving size 40g Calories from fat 45kcal Fiber 2g Protein 3g Sugar 1g
20 servings


  • 230 g wholemeal plain flour
  • 115 g semolina
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed sea salt
  • 55 g Sesame seeds
  • 55 g linseed ( flaxseed)
  • 55 g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 210 ml lukewarm water


  1. Put flour, semolina and salt in a bowl and mix.
  2. Roughly grind the seeds, one type at a time. Pestle and mortar is a good work out but if you have a coffee grinder it can save a bit of time. Add to bowl and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, oil & water. Add this to the flour and use your hands to mix to a pastry like dough. Kneed this for 5 minutes and then leave to rest for 20 minutes under clingfilm.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C. Rub the work top with a bit of oil. Split dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll one piece into a rectangle until it’s about the thickness of a credit card. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the crackers into 4 cm X 7 cm strips. Arrange slightly apart on a baking sheet.
  5. Lightly mist the crackers with water and sprinkle a few extra seeds on top (and press in). Bake for 16 to 18 minutes until golden brown. Turn off oven, open door for 30 seconds to let out steam and heat. Leave for further 10 to 15 minutes until crisp. Put onto wire cooling rack.
  6. Store in airtight container and will keep for a week.


  • The recipe actually makes a lot more than 20 crackers (more like 48) – but the application that presents this has a max of 20.
  • The recipe as given needed a bit of extra salt.
  • To try with this I think are different mixes of seeds and perhaps adding some rosemary etc.
  • Shape is important – try to make them equal sized.

The Marqt & Ginger Cordial…

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Had a “nice” (read windy, cold and wet) ride into town and back again. More to get exercise than to actually go there. 8.5 km each way. Anyways…

There is a new store in town – ok – not exactly new, it’s been there for some time but it’s a kinda cool. It’s a grocery store called Marqt. So whats so great about another grocery store? This one has a load of natural/ethical sort of products that may be a little more expensive but the advantage is that you know what you eat and where it comes from. From fresh fish to ginger cordial to granola to fenugreek cheese to etc etc etc. Another interesting thing is that the store is cashless. It only uses PIN or credit cards.

Anyways – for all I like the store big time, I just “discovered” Ginger Cordial from Belvoir Fruit Farms. This stuff is good. 1:10 Cordial to water and you get a really good hot spicy ginger taste. Mix some of it with hot water, lemon and honey – great for when you get back in after a windy, cold & wet ride into town . Funny that.

In any event – I can really recommend this stuff. Just such a great taste.

Belvoir Ginger Cordial

Belvoir Ginger Cordial

Pancetta – the Results…

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Right – after 1 month of careful hanging and weighing it’s ready!

The result:

It’s lost 33% of it’s weight and is considered done. It’s firm and taking off the cheese cloth revealed, well, a really rather nice looking piece of dried & cured meat. It’s not exactly pretty – I think this is because I tied the string too tight (something to remember for next time) but it tastes pretty amazing.

The first cut into it revealed (much to my surprise) something that really looked the job. Smelling it confirmed this (ok – probably best to do it the other way round but I was really curious as to what it looked like “inside”. As for tasting – well – if you have never had pancetta – I can seriously recommend it. If you have never had home made – I can recommend it even more:) This really is something to try at home.

The taste?

Is something special. It’s quite powerful so you don’t need a lot, You can eat it as is (a form of jerky) or use it as a replacement for bacon bits in sauces. I just had some in an omelette. I cut a thick slice (maybe 1/4″/4mm) and cubed it. I then fried it for a little to make the fat run, poured in the egg, added a couple thin slices of brie and bang – you have a very special lunchSealed

The original recipe is here:

I’ve a graph of weight over time here:

What do I learn from this?

  • Don’t be scared of trying something new.
  • Making your own meats gives good results.
  • Patience is a virtueCool

Will I do this again?

Absolutely. I’ll probably start a few more over the weekend. I’ll again record the weight but this time I’ll try different marinades and learn how to do belly bondage the right wayWink

And now some pictures, in chronological order:


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