Sweet & Sour Orange Chicken

On 18th May 2016, This was Dinner

I was going to delete these unfinished posts due to how old they were, I’m glad I didn’t if just to share this one with you. It took some time and should have really been a weekend dinner, the cooker needed a right good clean too.

It’s from Dirty Food by Carol Hilker which was well worth the fiver I paid for it. I did change mine a little, mainly with regards to the rice

Get set…

  • Chop a couple of chicken breasts into pieces
  • Whisk up a couple of eggs
  • Grate some ginger
  • Grate some garlic
  • Slice a yellow pepper and a green pepper
  • Chops some spring onions
  • Cut some pineapple rings (from a tin) into pieces, reserve the juice
  • Slice an onion
  • Zest an orange
  • Get rice, rice wine, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, cornflour, plain flour, sugar, chilli flakes, sesame oil, groundnut oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Mix the eggs with some salt and pepper and a little sesame oil, add the cornflour and plain flour and mix well. Add the pieces of chicken to coat and pop to one side.

To make a sweet and sour sauce, mix soy sauce, sugar, white wine vinegar and water together and add the zest of the orange. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat.

Heat the groundnut oil in a large pan. You need about 2cm of oil (or you could deep fry). Add the chicken a few pieces at a time without overfilling the pan and cook for 4-5 mins each side. Remove and set aside.

Put your rice on to cook.

Heat a little more oil in the pan if required and add the garlic and ginger, stir for a minute then add the green pepper, some chilli flakes and the rice wine, along with half of the pineapple. Stir well then add the juice from the pineapple along with the sweet and sour sauce. Add the chicken back to the pan and leave on a gentle heat to warm through.

Put ANOTHER pan on and heat some oil. Cook the onion and yellow pepper until softened. Add the remaining pineapple and once warmed stir through the rice.

Dish it up…

A good spoonful of rice and the chicken in a bowl scattered with the spring onions. Shut the door on the kitchen and enjoy the delicious goodness of the closest thing to takeaway food there is, worry about the mess later.


Regardless of the time it took it was more than worth it, it was wonderful.

‘Convenience’ Food

I’ve never shopped at Iceland until recently. My image of Iceland was that ropey looking prawn ring that always appeared on their Christmas adverts. However all that changed when a Food Warehouse opened on a retail park close to me. You have to check out a new shop don’t you? It’s freezer upon freezer of frozen goods with fresh, canned and alcohol shelves along the way. Sack of potatoes anyone?

Mr S picked up a couple of bits yesterday and decided to get us some Friday lunch treats instead of the shakes we have been taking to work.

Luckily he bought chicken wings for himself and as he was working from home this didn’t pose a problem as they were oven bake. However, the chicken katsu for me was another matter. Oven AND microwave. That’s not very ‘convenient’ is it? How many people have an oven at work? I couldn’t save it for home either as we don’t have a microwave.

So we had to cook the chicken pieces last night and I then only had to microwave the sauce and rice. To be honest it would be just as quick to make this from scratch!



Verdict? Pretty tasty really but 25 mins in oven for the chicken and messing about with the microwave, sauce in one min. Still, only two quid.

Oh and they sell these:


I only eat these if I’m a little hungover and they are better than buying them from Greggs as the pastry is crisper.

That’s why ThiswasDinner goes to Iceland.

Butter Chicken

On 24th April 2016, This was Dinner

Oh my! I put this on the shopping list for the month a few weeks ago but in the meantime I happen to watch Vivek Singh make a more authentic one on the last Saturday Kitchen episode involving James Martin. I thought ‘Wow! I;m on to a winner with butter chicken I think’ and I was right.

Get set…

  • Cut some chicken breasts into chunks
  • Finely slice an onion
  • Crush a few garlic cloves
  • Finely grate some ginger
  • Chop some coriander
  • Get passata, garam masala, cashew nut butter, double cream, butter & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat some butter in a large pan and cook the onion until softened.

Add the chicken and cook until starting to brown.

Add the garlic and ginger along with some garam masala and stir for a minute. Pour in the passata and gently bring to the boil. Reduce and lave to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Stir in the cashew nut butter and some of the cream and season to taste.

Dish it up…

With some wilted spinach and steamed rice. Sprinkle with coriander (which isn’t shown here).


It’s yet another BBC Good Food recipe but if you fancy putting some extra effort in then here’s the one from Saturday Kitchen.

Chicken & Chorizo Paella

On 15th April 2016, This was Dinner

I had some paella rice in the cupboard and some chicken thighs in the freezer so it made sense to take inspiration from this BBC Good Food recipe in the March edition. Apart from the chorizo, most things are store cupboard anyway so I didn’t need to pick anything else up.

Get set…

  • Cut some chicken thighs into pieces
  • Thickly slice a chorizo
  • Prepare some chicken stock
  • Finely slice a large onion
  • Finely chop a garlic clove
  • Chop some parsley
  • Get saffron, paprika, turmeric, paella rice, frozen peas, lemon, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat some oil in a pan and brown the chicken. Remove and set aside.

Add the chorizo and cook until it starts to release oil. Remove and set aside with the chicken.

Add the onion and cook until softened. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the spices and stir then add the rice and stir again.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil then add the chicken and chorizo and cook for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the peas and cook for a few more minutes. Check the seasoning.

Sprinkle with the parsley.

Dish it up…

Serve with a squeeze of lemon.


I was going to put some cooked prawns in but forgot to get them out of the freezer in the morning.

South African Chutney Chicken

On 1st April 2016, This was Dinner

I’m sometimes a little wary of using skin-on chicken thighs. Depending on how you cook it, you can end up with a chewy skin which is absolutely revolting. Not this recipe though, but do brown them first like we did.

Get set…

  • Preaheat the oven to 180°c (fan)
  • Trim some skin on- bone in chicken thighs
  • Chop an onion
  • Finely chop a garlic clove
  • Finely chop a red chilli
  • Get mayonnaise, mango chutney, Worcestershire sauce, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat some oil in a pan and brown the chicken for a couple of minutes each side. Do in batches. Transfer to a foil lines baking dish.

Heat more oil in the pan and cook the onion, garlic and chilli until softened. Stir in the mayo, Worcestershire sauce and chutney. Season.

Spoon the mixture over the chicken and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Dish it up…

I cooked the remainder of some savoy cabbage to use it up. Oh and with chips! Come on! It’s Friday. Spoon the remaining sticky juices over.


Find the original here.

Mustard Milanese with Fennel & Rocket Salad

On 18th March 2016, This was Dinner

Well it was a toss up which was the best meal of the week – the koftas or these. I’m not going to choose as they were both very good indeed.

I got the idea of these from the Smitten Kitchen cook book. I must say, adding some mustard to the egg is a revelation!

I love some of the different words we use from English to American. Arugula (rocket) and Cilantro (Coriander) being my favourites, or is that favorites 😉 Oh and a special mention for zucchini although courgette is a good word too.

I digress.

Get set…

  • Butterfly some chicken breasts then cut in two
  • Finely slice a fennel bulb
  • Finely shop some garlic
  • Bash up some cornflakes and spread on a plate
  • Season some cornflour and spread on a plate
  • Get olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, wholegrain mustard, egg, rocket & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Whisk up the egg with some wholegrain mustard, add the garlic and pop on a plate.

Pat the chicken into the cornflour then dip in the egg mixture then coat with the cornflakes. Cover and chill for a bit.

Whisk up some Dijon and wholegrain mustard with a little white wine vinegar and some seasoning then slowly add olive oil to make a dressing, whisking constantly.

Heat some oil in a pan and cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of your chicken, ensuring it is fully cooked through.

Toss the fennel and rocket in the dressing.

Dish it up…

Serve the chicken on the salad with a side of fries


There was far more than this picture would suggest, we picked at it all night!

Chicken Biryani

On 7th March 2016, This was Dinner

I’m not obsessed with the stats on the blog, I just love doing it, but what I always notice when I’m making sure I’ve replied to my comments is that a Jamie Oliver Lamb Biryani post is my most popular and still gets plenty of views weekly.

So every time I notice it I think ‘I must make that again’. I finally decided to make a chicken one instead after organising my old recipes last week when I came across this Delicious magazine recipe which claims to be ‘The Best Chicken Biryani’.

I must admit, the lamb one was better but this was still good. You won’t forgive me for all the washing up later either.

A bit of prep before – one to two days before…

Halve some chicken thighs.

Bash & finely chop 6 garlic cloves.

Roughly chop 2 green chillies.

Peel & Grate some fresh ginger.

Get Greek yoghurt, hot chilli powder, sweet paprika, ground coriander & ground turmeric ready.

Mix everything (apart from the chicken) together then stir in the chicken pieces. Cover and chill.

Get Set…

  • Halve some chicken thighs
  • Bruise 6 cardamom pods
  • Finely slice a couple of onions & coat in plain flour
  • Toast some cashew nuts
  • Chop some coriander
  • Get vegetable oil, basmati rice, saffron, ghee*, cloves, milk, bay leaves, cumin seeds, ground nutmeg, star anise, tomato purée & salt ready

Throw it together…

Soak the rice in cold water for an hour.

Heat about 1cm of the oil in a pan and cook the onions for 2-3 minutes until golden, do in batches. Remove to kitchen paper.

Heat more oil in a large pan. Add cloves, cinnamon, cardomom, bay leaves, cumin seeds, nutmeg & star anise and allow everything to release their aromas then add the chicken, along with the marinade.

Cook for 5 minutes then add tomato purée and salt. Simmer for about half an hour until the chicken is cooked. Keep warm over a low heat and add water if required but you don’t want the sauce runny.

Soak the saffron in a little milk.

Cook the rice in boiling, salted water for a few minutes then drain and stir in the ghee.

Heat more of the ghee with some water in a casserole pan with a lid.

Put a third of the rice in the bottom of the pan, drizzle with saffron milk then scatter some of the onions. Pop on half of the chicken then repeat finishing with rice and onions on top.

Pop the lid on and turn up the heat to start the steam then turn down low and cook for 20 minutes.

Scatter over the coriander and cashews.

Dish it up…

Just a big old couple of spoonfuls with a beer!


I loved the onions done like this so much that I’ve used the method again since.

** I couldn’t get my hands on any ghee so I just boiled some butter for around 3 minutes then reduced the heat. It produces a foam which disappears. After about 7 to 8 minutes a 2nd foam appears and the butter turns brown. Strain and use this liquid.