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Chicken Parcels & Summer Rice Salad

Hurray! It's the Bank Holiday weekend and the weather is actually good! If you have friends around this weekend this recipe will probably come in handy. I was thinking that there are loads of recipes out there for stuffed chicken but the ones that involve cheese end up with you having to scrape it off the baking tray. Since I'm never going to give up on cheese, I thought why don't I try Greek yogurt as a base instead? It's thick enough not to run in high temperatures. So here we are: 
For the parcels: 
- four chicken breasts, butterflied
- three spoonfuls of Greek yogurt
- three spoonfuls of grated Parmesan 
- eight pieces of sun dried tomatoes
- paprika to sprinkle
- olive oil
- cooking string or toothpicks
- splash of cherry brandy
For the rice salad:
- two cups rice
- four cups of water
- chicken flavouring - from the Kosher isle in the supermarket
- two handfuls of spinach - washed
- a beef tomato
- half a sweet, white onion
- a handful of pine nuts
- salt & pepper
- one or two limes
Start with the chicken breasts, wash and dry them and lay them on a chopping board, run the knife down the side, length-wise to open them up. Don't shy away, if you want yummy food you need to get your hands dirty; or you can ask your butcher to do it for you! 
In a bowl mix the yogurt, Parmesan and olive oil. You don't need any salt in the mixture because the Parmesan does the job. Spread the mixture equally on the butterflied chicken breasts. Top the mixture with two sun dried tomatoes on each chicken piece and grind some fresh pepper over it. Fold it gently and secure it with a piece of string or two toothpicks.
Place the chicken parcels on an oiled baking tray and sprinkle some paprika, coarse salt and pepper over them. Bake in the over for half an hour at 200C. If you think it's getting dry, cover it with foil, it will allow for the juices to remain in the baking tray and you can use them afterwards for the gravy. 
Bring the rice to boil, you are using more water than normal, but don't worry, you'll discard some of it later. Add a spoonful of chicken soup flavouring in the water, it really does the trick. Do not let the rice cook until it absorbs all of its' water. When it's ready tip the pan over a shiv and drain the excess water away. This way the rice will be drier than usual and will absorb all of the tomato juices. 

Chop  the beef tomato and onion finely. Toss the pine nuts around a dry frying pan for two minutes, they get a smoky flavour. Once the rice is drained, tip it back in the pot adding the chopped tomatoes, onions, spinach and pine nuts. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Use the liquid left in the baking tray for the gravy. It's already so flavoursome that you don't need to do much more, just add a splash of cherry liqueur and some salt if needed and let it warm up for a couple of minutes over the heat.

Layer the rice salad on a serving plate and place the chicken parcels on top. Last but not least, squeeze a lime over the chicken and rice, it really lifts all the flavours!


St Ouens Bay, Blokarting and Milkshakes

Blokarting rocks! Thanks for letting me get this out of my system.

Today was a day fully and appropriately spent on the beach. Lunch at a shack in the middle of nowhere, napping on the sand and finally blokarting on the beach, all in St Ouens bay!

Apart from the sand dunes not much else seems to be there; until you let yourself slow down and start observing the beach microcosm around. 
St Ouen's Bay is the adrenaline junkie coast of Jersey. Moreover, if you haven't been to Australia yet, just like me,  this is as close as it gets. 
Picture this: on a Monday people casually pop into Le Braye - the beach shack - for lunch, surfers roam around all tanned and the bench dinning area has the best view possible over the Atlantic coast. On top of that think burgers, crab sandwiches, chunky chips and milk shakes.

After a very sunny and fulfilling lunch we popped down to the massive stretch of a beach that's left behind when the tide goes out. We took a look closer and realised that's it's nowhere as empty as it looks from afar; families, friends and couples are all soaking in the sunshine. Lots of school kids mingle...shall we play football? Mais oui! Don't forget that's where England meets France!

And then off course there is blokarting, surfing, paragliding, the works! 
If you want to stay dry, blokarting is the one for you. Racing around the beach using the wind, trying to control the sail above your head, so much fun! Fine it's not an adrenaline junkie's dream sport, but once you get speed and try to turn around a corner, one wheel lifts off the sand and woooohooo! worked for me!

French Toast Sandwich with Caramelised Peaches

Just look at these beauties!
We first met at the Beresford Food Market in St Helier a couple of days ago and they had to come home with us!

Here lies the dilemma though: what to do with them? These white Jersey peaches look so perfect that no dish or recipe would do them justice.
I went through all options, a crumble, a smoothie, a pie but I decided upon the lushest option of them all: caramelised and sandwiched between warm French toast.

For the caramelised peaches
- three peaches
- two spoonfuls of brown sugar
- one knob of butter
- half a cup of single cream

For the French Toast
- pain de campagne, brioche, or any type of soft bread you prefer 
- two eggs
- one cup of milk
- pinch of cinnamon
- one spoonful of sugar 
- butter for frying
- vanilla infused icing sugar for dusting

Start with the peaches: leave the skin on, give them a good wash and slice them vertically, discarding the peeps.

Put the knob of butter and two spoonfuls of brown sugar in a non-stick pan to warm up.

Once the butter has melted and the sugar starts melting too place all slices of peaches in the pan and put a lid on, let them cook on very low heat for ten minutes. It will give you enough time to prepare the French toast and serve everything warm at the same time. 

In a bowl beat the two eggs with the milk, the spoonful of sugar and the pinch of cinnamon. If you are using brioche, you can hold back the sugar. 

Dip the bread slices in the milk-egg mixture and let it soak in quite a bit of the liquid for a couple of seconds. 
Warm a knob of butter in a second non-stick, shallow frying pan and once it's hot enough place down the bread slices and let them cook until golden on each side. 

Add the cream in the pan with the peaches and swirl the pan around for the caramelised sugar, peaches juices and cream to combine. Take the lid off and let the peaches simmer in this luscious sauce for another 3 minutes. 

The fun part, assembling: Place a slice of your fried toast on a plate, add a couple of peaches smothered in caramel sauce, add another piece of toast on top and finally dust with some vanilla infused icing sugar.

If you are feeling adventurous add another layer of peaches and build your sandwich even higher and to drink add a touch of butterscotch liquor to your cappuccino - strictly after midday off course! 

I promise, this is as heart-warming, as it gets. 
Sweet, velvety sauce, soft peaches and slightly crunchier bread that will soak up all these lovely flavours...it will make your day! x 

Rozel Bay

This is a postcard fishing port all around!
It's lodged in the northwest corner of Jersey island with tiny, compact and utterly colourful structures. 
Rozel Bay while the tide is out leaving back pools full of crabs and other noisy creatures!
smallest hut in the world?
When the tide is out,  yellow, blue and red shacks stand squished between rocks and a sudden drop into the waterless sea bed. 
The Hungry Man's shack provides food to locals and visitors alike and is a meeting point on the edge of the port. We walked away after 10 minutes of queueing but we gave it a second chance, since it was consistently busy when we returned from our walk an hour later. These guys must be up to something, right? 
Another 20 minutes of queueing for a sausage and egg roll and vanilla soft scoop ice cream - they were both ma-hu-ssive!

The "Pour Moi" shabby chic shop is a hole is the wall filled with all of the wonderful mis-matched furnishings, jewellery and glassware you'd need for a perfectly rustic home. 

The owner at Pour Moi, encouraged us to brave the steep steps on the hillside to the Chateau la Chaire.
Take a moment to turn back and admire the view over Rozel's Bay though, it's breath taking.
The Chateau is totally secluded, surrounded by what seems to be ancient, tall trees.
It's a good base for exploring the north-east coast of Jersey. (check availability in Chateau La Chaire)
The entrance to Chateau la Chaire
tall, lush trees meet the sky around Chateau la Chaire
an afternoon delight in the garden of the Chateau
the way up to Chateau la Chaire is tranquil and the view breath-taking!

St Aubin's Bay

Today is about the trip rather than the destination. When the trip involves Wellington boots, venturing out in the mud and  discovering all new and wonderful things from sea life to fossils...I say, let's do it! 

St Aubin's secluded port, all dried out for most part of the day
The tides here are some of the most impressive in Europe and St Aubin's Bay is the perfect spot to put your Wellies on and go off exploring the seabed once the tide is out!
We took out first steps in hesitation..."are we supposed to be here"?
The houses of St Aubin were towering above the empty seabed and the old castle ruins were standing exposed on dry rocks, usually surrounded by seawater.  Then we saw a family with the kiddies and doggies all running towards the new coastline in their full seaside gear and we thought: "yeap, we are fine"!

It's so fascinating to examining the sea bed, rippled sand patterns left from the water subtracting and tiny thread-like patterns left back from sea-worms digging their way into the sand. Fossils on the otherwise water-drenched rocks and caves left by the constant movement of the tide.

It's the one place, where acting like a kid is expected of you. Splash around the waters and "oooh & aaah" at all of the new creatures you come across, go on , it's fun! 

We ended up returning back to St Aubin day after day, because it's the first traditional and peaceful village you come across, on the coast, outside the busy St Helier. 

Houses have a continental feel to them, cream and white little villas, fishermen's old houses with killer view towards the french coast and lovely little bistros to stop at for a glass of wine.

The crowds seem to prefer the Boathouse, lodged right next to the marina, a hot-spot for mingling.
Our first dinner was here and we were left unable to finish the giant tuna stakes along with french beans drenched in hazelnut butter; one to be trying at home for sure! Not to mention that we had to stop at every bite to admire the views across the whole of St Aubin's Bay all the way to St Helier! 

Boathouse: fresh oysters and
chunky tuna stakes!
Our last night was spent at the Salty Dog, a very interesting restaurant with huge variety of seafood, Thai and even curry dishes.
Start with pork belly and scallops, perfect balancing act. The tempura sole was lighter than light, hence I had to try the raspberry roulade, filled with fluffy cream and raspberry reduction, heaven!
You can't go wrong with this place really! 

Post-dinner, make sure you walk across the promenade, it goes all the way to St Helier and is lit with tiny white lights that seem to hug the bay all around. 

Channel sailing

The 3 am wake up call was worth it after all! 
Early sailings are nobody's favourite but the 6am sunrise as we sailed off the port of Poole made the day already special! 
Tranquility all around the bay with a few yachts moving around the waters quietly and an orange sun appearing slowly in the horizon leaving a golden trail in the waters. High time for a mental image and a hug - what a lovely image to bring back to mind in the forthcoming cloudy autumn mornings! 
Pass Brownsea island, a wildlife heaven and a Scouting historic spot, to finally break free into the open sea...on to the Channel Islands! 

Brownsea Island, the first camping site ever used
by Lord Baden Powel's Scouts- proud Brownie grin!
Ah! The islands! Guernsey first with its' two offsprings Herm & Sark and then Jersey, on the doorstep of St Malo's Bay in France. Arriving in Guernsey is like seeing a mini flemish town by the sea, only everybody speaks english. It's one of those spots where your brain takes a minute to wrap around the fact tha architecture is more french or flemish, signs are written in french but people speak english! 

Guernsey St Peter's port
This is more like the ports of Normandy if you ask me
Arriving at St Helier

Birthday Breakfast @ The Cape

Who said that birthday celebrations must be soaked in alcohol? What nicer way to start a birthday morning rather than with a hearty breakfast surrounded by family? So here we are, at The Cape, a South African bistro in the suburbs. I have wanted to tell you about this place for a long time and I was very happy to hear that we would be celebrating a family member's birthday there this morning.

The décor is my absolute favourite: shabby chic, industrial railings mixed with cute chandeliers and mismatched tables and chairs. 

The food is always of the highest standard because Joan and her husband, the owners, are always there to personally look after guests rather than customers. We always go for a milkshake, no matter what time we get there, their cofee-based one is to die for, so is the vanilla! And another thing you must try when you  visit is the bacon. Remember, we are in the suburbs, which means that all of he ingredients come from local farms, hence you get the juiciest, slightly salted rashers of bacon, either with eggs or in an impressive club sandwich. I have to admit that I occasionally stop here to grab lunch when I feel like treating myself, a simple bacon sarnie from The Cape goes a long way! 

Back to breakfast, this time I decided to ditch the eggs and go for the Bircher Muesli...oh my! I have never had muesli soaked in juice before and I loved it! It's lighter but utterly tasty. Bircher muesli is based on oats mixed with sultanas but also freshly grated fruit, apple in this case that makes it a fragrant morning pick-me-up! 

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