Well I have just returned from a wet and windy week in Liverpool, to an equally dismal Paris. Spring it seems has deserted us on both sides of the channel
I had the intention while I was in my home town, to take a ferry across the Mersey and get some lovely photographs looking back on what is arguably the most elegant waterfront in the world, but even a hardened Liverpool lass like me, was not up for the bracing wind blowing off the river. So I took a few snaps, before the battery ran out on my camera, (note to self – always make sure that your battery is fully charged!) One, ironically of an ice cream van (only in the UK would they be mad enough to try to sell ice cream with a ‘wind chill factor’ of 4!) side by side with a van selling French delicacies, so reinforcing my ‘Taste of two Cities’ theme……….
So with the weather in mind, time to resurrect a bit of heart (and stomach) warming fayre. Actually this dish is light enough to eat all year round………..
All credit must go to my cousin, Margaret (who likes to be known as ‘Margot’) who introduced me to at Liverpool many years ago. Its original name was ‘chicken Maez’ though nobody knew why, but I renamed it in honour of her.
Again, a very simple dish with minimal ingredients that takes care of itself, while you can concentrate on other things………
It is quite an unusual blend of ingredients, and I must say, that I was not sure, when she told me what she was making, whether it would work or not – but it does as anyone who I have ever cooked this for will testify – so don’t be tempted to miss or substitute things – just go for it – you will not be disappointed………
Ingredients serves 2 generously
2 free range chicken breasts cut into ‘bite sized portions’
1 fresh head of broccoli broken into florets and very lightly steamed
4-6 new potatoes steamed for around 10 minutes and cut into bite size portions’
1 tin of Batchelors condensed cream of chicken soup (can use low fat if preferred – cream of mushroom also works well)
1 soup tin full of single cream /crème légère (I used Emlea when making this in the UK)
1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
1 heaped dessert spoon of curry powder
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste
a ‘heaped’ teaspoon of English mustard (don’t use French, it is too vinegary and frankly not strong enough)
2 oz/50g of grated cheddar (available in M&S, Monoprix and some Franprix stores use ementhal is cannot find, but this is slightly more ‘stringy’ – as mozzarella when cooked)
Place the chicken pieces and broccoli florets and potatoes in a shallow casserole dish and lightly season with salt and pepper
Mix together the soup, cream, mayonnaise and curry powder and mustard
Sprinkle over the grated cheese and cover with aluminium foil and bake in a preheated oven for around 1.30 at 180 (gas mark 4)
Remove foil and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese has turned golden in colour.
On a cultural note, broccoli is not so widely eaten in France as it is in the UK and I cannot find at all the wonderful tender stalk broccoli that I used to love. In fact there was a feature on breakfast t.v. a couple of days ago encouraging people to cook and eat more ‘greens’ but they are still viewed with suspicion…………
This is the only way that I can persuade Monsieur le Frog to eat broccoli, occasionally I make this dish with courgette in its place, but I think that broccoli works best……
Suggested starter – salade de concombre
Suggested dessert – Lime mousse brulee