Bank Holiday Recipes
It’s 5.45am and once more an early start for me, searching for Bank Holiday Recipes to comfort us during this snowy, icy, freezing weather. It is the early May Bank Holiday in England this weekend – at this time of year in East Yorkshire there is a usually a promise of better weather just around the corner, almost so tangible that you can reach out and feel it. But this year the weather has been strange. The Tour de Yorkshire bicycle race is due to start this morning in Beverley, not far from us, and the worry is that hail and snow may once more grace us with it’s presence. Beverley and area is overflowing with yellow bicycles in shop windows and propped up on street corners, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the cyclists don’t have to compete with snow drifts as they traverse the wolds and North Yorkshire moors this weekend. But enough about the Tour de Yorkshire.
For us ordinary folk, however, this is the first bank holiday of the year, and generally it’s time to get the barbie out of the garage, dust the cobwebs off, give it a good clean and search frantically through our ever-growing cookbook library for our favourite barbecue cookbook. But judging by this weeks weather and the weekend forecast, we won’t be having our ritual ‘lighting up’ ceremony – it will be one of those weekends for finding jobs around the house, lighting the log burner again and cooking up some warm Bank Holiday Recipes – in other words, lots of comfort food.
For some reason, I’m in the mood for all-in-one tray bakes – you know, the sort of recipe where you stick it all in a roasting tin with herbs and a slug of wine, go and sit in front of the log burner, watching maybe those poor cyclists negotiating the North York Moors in snowy May, then without even stirring a pan, find the most delicious dish, crispy and aromatic, just waiting patiently to be spooned on to our plates. So here is a choice of two chicken tray bakes, with a great cake thrown in for good measure, to comfort us during this strange Bank Holiday weather.
Lemon & Oregano Chicken Traybake Recipe
- 500g new potatoes, thin to medium sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 - 8 chicken thighs, skin on
- 8 shallots
- 100g bacon lardon or pancetta
- 1 lemon, sliced into wedges
- 5 oregano sprigs (or dried oregano)
- 100ml white wine
- 200ml good chicken stock
- Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas7.
- Tip the potatoes into a large shallow roasting tin, drizzle with 1 tbsp of the oil, season well and toss to coat. Roast for 20 mins until starting to crisp.
- Season the chicken thighs well and add to the roasting tin along with the shallots, bacon lardons, lemon wedges and oregano. Drizzle with the remaining oil, then return to the oven for 20 mins.
- Pour over the wine and stock and roast for a final 20 mins unit the chicken is golden and cooked through.
The next one of our Bank Holiday Recipes is a slightly more stylish one, to share with family or friends. It would be perfect for a dinner party, or just to indulge yourselves with at home. I love Asparagus, and fairly soon our own Asparagus should be peeping through the soil in our Asparagus bed. I always get excited when I see it’s spears beginning to grow – I laboured hard on digging that bed just after I finished my Chemotherapy 18 months ago, accompanied by our friendly Robin, who made a veritable feast of any worms he could find as I was turning over the soil – so seeing the Asparagus grow is, for me, very special. Right. Here’s the recipe.
Flambeed Chicken with Asparagus Recipe
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp seasoned plain flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- knob of butter
- 4 shallots, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp brandy or cognac
- 300ml good chicken stock
- 16 Asparagus spears, halved
- 4 rounded tbsp creme fraiche
- 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
- Dust the chicken with the flour. Heat the oil and butter in a large wide pan with a lid, add the chicken and fry on all sides until nicely browned. Add the shallots, then fry for about 2 mins until they start to soften, but not colour.
- Pour in the brandy, carefully ignite, then stand well back until the flames have died down. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat, cover, then cook for 15 mins until the chicken is just tender.
- Add the asparagus to the sauce. Cover, then cook for 5 mins more until tender.
- Stir in the creme fraiche and tarragon and warm through. Season to taste.
The last choice in our Bank Holiday Recipes is a gorgeous sounding cake. The recipe says it’s a perfect Autumn cake, and as our April weather right now is similar to Autumn, I’m going to make it now.
Chunky Apple, Raisin, Walnut and Cider Cake Recipe
- 50g each sultanas and raisins
- 6 tbsp medium-sweet cider
- 215g plain flour
- 15g cornflour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- Half tsp salt
- Half tsp ground cinnamon
- Quarter tsp ground cloves
- Quarter tsp ground ginger
- Quarter tsp freshly grated nuteg
- 300g golden caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 175g butter, softened
- 2 medium free-range eggs
- 750g eating apples (about 6), peeled, cored and cut into 1 cm pieces
- 100g lightly toasted walnuts, broken into small pieces.
- Put the sultanas and raisins into a small bowl, cover with 3 tbsp of the cider and set aside for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas4
- Grease ad line a 23cm round, loose-bottomed cake tin. Tie a thick band of folded newspaper around the outside of the tin, so it projects about 8cm above the edge of the tin, and secure it in place with string (this will prevent any over-browning).
- Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder, salt and ground/grated spices into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and butter and beat on a medium speed for 1 minutes, stopping and scraping the mixture down the sides of the bowl, if necessary, until well mixed.
- Add the eggs and mix on low speed for a few seconds, then increase the speed and beat for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Beat in the remaining 3 tbsp of cider.
- Fold in the prepared apples, sultanas/raisins and walnuts. The mixture will look too thick and too apply, but don't worry. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and gently level the surface.
- Bake for 1 hour 25 minutes, covering loosely with foil or double sheet of baking paper once it's richly browned on top, until it is firm to the touch and a skewer pushed into the centre comes away clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack. Remove from the tin to a plate, sprinkle with caster sugar and serve.
- The cake can be made up to 2 days in advance. Keep in a sealed container in a cool room. Or freeze for up to 1 month.
Guess what I will be cooking this weekend? Definitely two of these Bank Holiday Recipes, probably the Chicken Traybake and the Chunky Apple Cake. Hope you, too, enjoy having a go at these recipes.
(Apologies – for some reason my blogs editing menu has suddenly lost some important bit such as ‘underline’ and heading sizes and special tools such as accents etc. Hopefully they will come back soon)
Meanwhile, Happy Bank Holidays to all in the UK and fingers crossed for all those cyclists competing in the Tour de Yorkshire.