Showing posts with label #lowcarb Jane-Anne Hobbs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #lowcarb Jane-Anne Hobbs. Show all posts

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Low-Carb Roast Baby Cabbage Wedges with Bacon

My sister, an excellent cook, suggested this method for roasting fresh young cabbages, and I was dubious at first because I'm not enthusiastic about cooked cabbage. How wrong I was - thank you Sophie! These tender, slightly charred wedges are quite simply delicious with their plain dressing of fruity olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

Low-Carb Roast Baby Cabbage Wedges with Bacon
As a Type-2 diabetic, I'm always looking out for good ideas about preparing ultra-simple, nutritious, low-carb veggie dishes, and I'm so sold on this recipe that I've made it three times in the last fortnight.

You can, if you fancy, add all sorts of extra flavours to the wedges - Sophie uses a delicious dusting of powdered fennel seeds. I reckon I might try caraway seeds or garlic next time I make this. But, for now, I think they're perfect with just a tingle of heat from the dried chilli flakes, plus plenty of black pepper.

I've added crisped-up bacon bits for a touch of luxury, but you can of course leave these out. This is best with good quality cubes of bacon (I buy mine at my favourite, most excellent German butchery), but if you can't find these, you can use decent streaky bacon instead.

 Low-Carb Roast Baby Cabbage Wedges with Bacon 

2 baby cabbages
the juice of 1 big lemon
5 Tbsp (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp (5 ml) dried red chilli flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) bacon cubes, or 10 rashers of bacon, chopped

Arrange the wedges cut-side up on a tray.
Heat the oven to 200 °C, fan on, or 210 °C if your oven has no fan. Cut each cabbage into four wedges and arrange, cut side up, on a baking sheet.

Drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with chilli flakes and season generously with salt and pepper.

Roast for about 35 minutes, or until the edges of the wedges are slightly blackened, and they are tender on the insides.

Ten minutes before the end of the roasting time, fry the bacon until just crisp, then drain and keep hot.

Sprinkle the bacon cubes over the cabbage, add another spritz of lemon juice and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side dish; 2 as a main course

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Monday, 14 December 2015

Prawn and Asparagus Salad with Verjuice Dressing & Mayonnaise

An easy, sea-breezy salad that takes just minutes to put together, and you cannot go wrong if you use the very best ingredients in this simple dish. I've specified cooked, peeled prawns from Woolies here, which I admit are expensive, but they are very good, fresh and springy, and a fine ingredient to splash out on when the festive season comes rolling in.  If you're on a low-carb or diabetic diet, omit the Verjuice (which is a little sugary) and use more lemon juice or white-wine vinegar.

Prawn & Asparagus Salad with Verjuice Dressing & Mayonnaise

This is another in a series of new recipes I've developed using Verjuice, which is wonderful for making salad dressings with a slightly sweet, subtle zing.  Its gentle acidity makes it the perfect companion for ingredients with a delicate taste, such as prawns.

In this bright salad, a two-ingredient dressing and a clean-tasting homemade mayo make magic with prawns, asparagus, dark salad leaves and peppery baby radishes. If you can't find Verjuice, use more fresh lemon juice, plus a whisper of caster sugar to cut through the sharpness.  Please see my Cook's Notes at the end of the recipe for what to do if your mayo curdles.

Wine recommendation by Michael Olivier. He says: "Bellingham Whole Bunch Roussanne 2015, 
recently awarded 5 stars in the 2016 Platter's South African Wine Guide."

It looks like: Elegant bottle The Bernard Series labelling. In the glass pale golden straw with youthful lime flashes.

It smells like: Gentle tropical fruits, desiccated pineapple, kiwi and scrunched fynbos herbs. 

It tastes like: A full circle through easy entry with white flowers, ripe nectarines, Canary melon and gentle sweet spices. The fruit is generous, the acidity balancing and zesty in its youth. Long, full, richly flavoured, with a gently waning aftertaste.

Prawn and Asparagus Salad with Verjuice Dressing & Mayo

350 g asparagus tips
a packet of dark mixed salad leaves
200 g Woolworths ready-cooked peeled prawns
8 baby radishes, halved lengthways

For the dressing:

100 ml Verjuice
100 ml extra-virgin olive oil

For the mayonnaise:

2 extra-large free-range egg yolks, at room temperature
flaky sea salt
1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard
200 ml sunflower oil
100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp (45 ml) Verjuice
1 Tbsp (45 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 tsp (5 ml) Tabasco, or more, to taste
milled black pepper

To make the mayo, put the egg yolks, salt and mustard into a bowl.  Tuck a damp cloth under one side of the bowl to tilt it. Using an electric beater, whisk the yolks until creamy.

Mix the two oils in a small jug. Turn the beater to its highest speed. Now, as you whisk the egg yolks with one hand, dribble the oil onto the yolks, a few drops at a time, with the other. Continue patiently whisking and dribbling on the oil, a little at a time, and within a few minutes you will see the egg mixture begin to thicken. Keep adding the oil in a small steady trickle until you have a thick, pale yellow ointment.  (See Cook’s Notes, below.)

Stir in the Verjuice, lemon juice and Tabasco and season with salt and pepper.  Place in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

To make the dressing, combine the Verjuice and olive oil in a small jar or jug.

Blanch the asparagus tips in boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes, or until just tender-crisp.  Drain then plunge into a bowl of iced water to set the colour. Leave for 3 minutes, then pat dry on a clean towel.

Put the salad leaves on four plates and arrange the prawns, asparagus and radishes on top.  Drizzle with the dressing  (give it a good shake first) and serve with the mayo and plenty of warm crusty bread.

Serves 4.

Cook’s Notes:

If your mayo ‘splits’, or does not thicken, start again with a clean bowl. Place a whole egg yolk in the bowl, whisk till creamy, and very gradually dribble on the split mayo mixture, whisking all the time, as above.  In most cases the mayo will re-emulsify.

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Monday, 26 May 2014

Quick Low-Carb Gammon Steak with Tender-Stem Broccoli, Garlic & Cream

I'm excited to share this recipe with you because it's so quick and surprisingly delicious. It takes about eight minutes to cook from start to finish, and I eat it at least three times a week because I'm smitten by Woolies' tender-stem broccoli, which has become one of the mainstays of my low-carb regime.

Quick Low-Carb Gammon Steak with Tender-Stem Broccoli,
 Garlic, Green Peppercorns & Cream

I've always loved broccoli, but it's become something of an obsession since I cut out carbs. I find tender-stem broccoli utterly scrumptious - up there with fresh asparagus - and as far as I know it's available only from Woolworths. If you can't find it, use small florets of ordinary broccoli for this dish.

This recipe serves one, but you can easy double or quadruple it. Please use a large, shallow pan that allows for fast reduction (a big wok will do).

Although this recipe contains a considerable amount of cream - so allowed on a low-carb, high-fat diabetic regime - its main ingredients are good for you, provided you use top-quality lean gammon steak, with all visible fat trimmed away.  You can use Greek yoghurt instead of cream - please see my Cook's Notes at the end of the recipe.

This dish is so convenient because it's made in one pan, in a flash.

The gammon adds a lovely smoky, caramelised note to the sauce, and I wouldn't consider making this dish without it.  If you're not a pork eater, you might try this with a fillet of firm-fleshed white linefish, but I don't think it will taste as good.

I had to leave brined green peppercorns out of the recipe title because they would have made it too long, but I urge you to try them in this dish - they add a wonderful warm peppery pop and pull all the flavours together.

Quick Low-Carb Gammon Steak with Tender-Stem Broccoli, Garlic & Cream

1 lean gammon steak, all visible fat trimmed away
1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
12 spears tender-stem broccoli
4 Tbsp (60 ml) water
1 small clove garlic, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard [optional]
1 Tbsp (15 ml) green peppercorns, drained of their brine and lightly crushed using a mortar & pestle [optional]
½ cup (125 ml) cream
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
milled black pepper, to taste

Pat the gammon steak dry on kitchen paper.  Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large frying pan, over a high heat. When the oil is just beginning to shimmer, fry the gammon steak on one side for 2-3 minutes, or until its underside is brown and caramelised.

In the meantime, cut the broccoli spears crossways into thirds.

Turn the steak over. Now add the broccoli to the pan, arranging it around the edges of the gammon steak, and pour in the water. Cover immediately with a lid (or with an upturned plate, if your frying pan doesn't have a lid).

Turn down the heat and cook at a brisk bubble for 3-5 minutes, or until the broccoli is just tender when you poke the thickest stalk with the tip of a sharp knife.  If you've covered the pan with a plate, please be very careful when you lift it off, as you risk an excruciating steam burn (see Cook's Notes, below.)

If the pan looks a little dry, add another splash of water.

While the broccoli is cooking, combine the grated garlic, mustard, crushed peppercorns and cream in a small bowl.

When the broccoli is tender, take off the lid, turn up the heat and pour in the garlic/cream mixture.  It will bubble furiously and immediately turn a caramel colour at the edges. Toss the pan energetically while it does so, not taking your eye off it for a moment, and let it bubble for 30 to 60 seconds, or until the cream has thickened and the sting has gone out of the garlic.

If you haven't used green peppercorns in the dish, add a few generous grinds of black pepper. The sauce shouldn't need any salt, as gammon is salty enough in its own right.

Remove from the heat and add a small spritz of lemon - just enough to add a whisper of acidity.  Serve immediately.

Serves 1.

Cook's Notes
  • You can serve the gammon steak whole, or slice it into strips or cubes, as shown in the picture below. 
  • If you've covered your frying pan with a plate, use a fork to lift up its edge, which will allow puffs of steam to escape. Or wrap a thick dishcloth around your hand as you lift the plate away. 
  • You can use thick Greek yoghurt in place of cream, but be sure to add it to the pan a few tablespoons at a time, over a low heat.  When the yoghurt is hot and slightly reduced, remove the pan from the heat and stir in a little lemon juice.  Here are my tips for cooking with yoghurt
  • This recipe also works beautifully with thinly sliced baby marrows [courgettes/zucchini].

Cut the gammon into cubes, or leave it whole.

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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Salad of Warm Baby Leeks with Blue Cheese and Chilli Croutons

The French refer to leeks as l'asperges du pauvre, or 'the asparagus of the poor', and it's not difficult to see why. Young leeks braised to a melting softness in olive oil and water are delicious, and every bit as tasty, in my book, as asparagus.

Salad of Warm Baby Leeks with Blue Cheese and Chilli Croutons. If you're on a
low-carb regime, leave out the croutons or use my halloumi croutons instead.

For this salad, baby leeks are simmered whole in water, with a little olive oil and some herbs and garlic. By the time the water has evaporated, the leeks are as tender as a mother's love. They are then left to colour and caramelise slightly in the remaining oil, and served warm with crumbled blue cheese and croutons. If you're on a low-carb regime, leave out the croutons!

I came up with this salad last week when I pounced on a big punnet of very beautiful baby leeks. Some I used to add a bit of pep to this dish of smoked tuna, and the rest went into this salad. These are best warm, but you can serve them piping hot (in which case add a little butter to the pan just as you finish frying them).

You can omit the chilli powder, if you like, but it does add colour and a little kick to the crunchy topping. The croutons should be crumbled over the salad at the very last minute to prevent them from losing their bite. A frying pan is essential, as the large surface area helps the water to evaporate quickly.

I've recently adapted many of my recipes to suit my low-carb, diabetic diet, and if you're following a similar regime, I suggest you either leave out the croutons, or replace them with gorgeous halloumi-cheese 'popcorn'.

Finally, use a mild, creamy blue cheese, not a sharp one that will overwhelm the delicate taste of the leeks. I used Fairview's Blue Tower, a rich Gorgonzola-style cheese with a good crumbly texture. (Disclosure: this cheese was part of a consolaton prize I received after this recipe was a finalist in Fairview's Food Bloggers' Competition.)

Salad of Warm Baby Leeks with Blue Cheese and Chilli Croutons

30 baby leeks, topped and tailed
4 tsp (20 ml) olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled
a large sprig of fresh thyme
4 Tbsp (60 ml) white wine
salt and milled black pepper
water or vegetable stock, to cover
3 Tbps (45 ml) lemon juice
1 x 100 g wedge creamy blue cheese
a little extra olive oil, for drizzling

For the croutons:
4 slices white bread, crusts removed
4 Tbsp (60 ml) vegetable oil
a pinch of chilli powder (or more, to taste)

Put the leeks, olive oil, whole clove of garlic, thyme and wine into a large frying pan and season with salt and pepper. Add enough water to just cover the leeks, and bring to the boil. Now turn down the heat and cook, uncovered, at a fairly brisk bubble for 20-30 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated. Allow the leeks to colour slightly in the oil remaining in the pan (but don't allow to burn).

While the leeks are braising, make the croutons. Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan. Tear the bread into little tatters and fry in the hot oil, tossing once or twice, until they are a rich golden brown. Drain on a piece of kitchen paper and sprinkle with chilli powder and a little salt.

Arrange the leeks on a platter and pour over the lemon juice. Top with crumbled blue cheese, and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Using your fingers, roughly crush the croutons and scatter them over the salad.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a starter or side dish.

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Sunday, 19 September 2010

Smoked Tuna with Fresh-Horseradish Cream, Pink Pepper and Herbs

A tingling punch in the nose is what fresh horseradish delivers, which makes it the perfect accompaniment to smoked, oily fish.  My horseradish plant didn't survive the trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town, so I was overjoyed to see fresh roots (which look like spindly parsnips) in my local supermarket.  Quite fortuitously, I managed to get my hands on some lovely local cold-smoked tuna, which is produced by my fellow food blogger Sam Linsell of Drizzle and Dip. Sam's a partner in The Smoking Shed, an artisan-producer of a variety of cold-smoked foods and spices.

Smoked Tuna with Fresh-Horseradish Cream, Pink Pepper and Herbs.
If you're on a low-carb diet, leave out the caster sugar. 

With a buttery texture and a robust smokiness, this ingredient can stand up well to other strong flavours. I've used finely sliced baby leeks here, but you can use shaved red onion or snipped chives for that essential oniony note. For a final zip, I've added sprouted mustard seeds, which are crunchy to the bite. (You can't buy these, but they are easy to make in a sprouting jar, using fresh mustard seeds from your local spice shop.)

This recipe is suitable for anyone on a low-carb, #LCHF or diabetic diet, but please leave out the caster sugar.

If you've bought a whole horseradish, you'll need only a little of it for this dish. It's worth grating the whole root, however, and putting it in a jar with olive oil and salt (here are my instructions for preserving horseradish). Or you can wrap what's left over and put it in the freezer: it keeps remarkably well, and can be grated over food straight from the freezer.  If you can't find fresh horseradish, use a little of the creamed variety.

Scatter the tuna with tiny baby herb leaves and sprouts. 

Smoked Tuna with Fresh-Horseradish Cream, Pepper and Herbs

one fresh horseradish root
200 ml thick sour cream
½ tsp (2.5 ml) caster sugar
2 tsp (10 ml) lemon juice
250 g cold-smoked tuna, or similar smoked fish
one baby leek, very finely sliced on the diagonal
a handful of baby herb leaves: thyme, sage, dill and parsley
2 Tbsp (30 ml) mustard sprouts
2 tsp (10 ml) pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
6 T (90 ml) fruity olive oil
milled black pepper
lemon wedges, for serving

Peel the horseradish root with a potato peeler (if it's a young root, no need to peel). Grate it finely, using a microplane or fine side of a cheesegrater. (Do this under an open window: there are strong fumes.)

Put the sour cream and caster sugar in a small bowl and stir in two teaspoons (or more, if you'd like it stronger) of grated horseradish. Season with salt and set aside for fifteen minutes. Stir well.

Slice the tuna into ribbons and arrange on a platter, or on individual plates.

Scatter the leeks, herbs, sprouts and pink peppercorns over the fish.  Drizzle over the olive oil and dust with black pepper.  Serve immediately, with the horseradish cream and some lemon wedges.

Serves 4 as a starter. 

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Monday, 9 August 2010

Low-Carb Roasted Ratatouille Soup with Basil Mayonnaise

I'm excited to share my new recipe with you: I think you're going to love it.  It tastes glorious and sunny, like summer in a bowl, and is easy to make (although like all good food it does take time to make). The only part of this recipe that's remotely tricky is the home-made basil mayonnaise, but you can omit this topping if you don't feel confident about making mayo, and the soup will still taste very good without it. Do give the mayonnaise a try, though: it's not anywhere as difficult to make as TV chefs will have you believe.

Ratatouille Soup with Basil Mayo
Low-Carb Roast Ratatouille Soup with Basil Mayonnaise
I'm a devoted fan of ratatouille. Not the watery, chuck-everything-in-a-saucepan-and-stew-to-a-mush variety, but a beautiful meeting of ripe tomatoes, shiny eggplants, snappy courgettes, onions and red peppers, slowly roasted with olive oil and garlic to a silken, jewel-bright deliciousness (try my oven-roasted ratatouille recipe).

As always, the quality of the raw ingredients determines how good the soup will taste. Ripe, plump, vividly coloured vegetables will produce a soup of unrivalled quality, and it is always better the next day, once the flavours have had a chance to mingle and mature.

This recipe serves 6, but is easily doubled. It's low in carbs, excellent if you're on a #LCHF regime, and very suitable for diabetics.

Roasted Ratatouille Soup with Basil Mayonnaise

5 large, ripe tomatoes
2 plump brinjals [aubergines/eggplants], or four smaller ones
2 large, deep-red peppers [capsicums]
8 courgettes [zucchini]
2 large white onions, peeled
½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
flaky sea salt
freshly milled black pepper
6 fat cloves garlic, unpeeled
5 cups (1.25 l) water, plus more for thinning

For the basil mayonnaise:

2 large free-range egg yolks, at room temperature
200 ml vegetable oil (such as sunflower or canola oil)
100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (250 ml, loosely packed) fresh basil leaves
1 tsp (5 ml) flaky sea salt
the juice of a large lemon
freshly milled black pepper

Heat the oven to 210 ºC.  Using a sharp knife, top and tail the tomatoes, eggplants, red peppers, courgettes and onions, and cut them into small chunks. Pile all the vegetables into a large roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables, season generously with salt and pepper and, using your hands, toss well to coat.  Tuck the six unpeeled garlic cloves deep into the vegetable bed (but remember where you've hidden them).

Place the  pan, uncovered, in an oven heated to 210 ºC, and roast for 25-35 minutes, or until the vegetables are beginning to turn golden brown in patches.

Now cover the pan with foil, turn the heat down to 180 ºC, and bake for a further 20-30 minutes, or until the veggies are soft.  Remove the roasting tray from the oven. Fish the whole garlic cloves out of the pan, and set aside.

Pour the water (1.5 l) into the pan, replace the foil, and bake at the same temperature for another 15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes to cool.

Ratatouille Soup with Basil Mayo
A very thick, pale-yellow mayo
While the vegetables are cooling, make the basil mayonnaise. Put the two egg yolks into a small bowl and add the salt.

Mix the vegetable oil and olive oil in a small jug. Place a damp cloth underneath the bowl so that it doesn't skid around while you're making the mayo.

Using a rotary beater or whisk, beat the egg yolks and salt for a minute. If you don't have such a gadget, use an ordinary wire whisk, and plenty of elbow power. Now, as you whisk the egg yolks with one hand, pick up the jug of oil with the other, and dribble a little splash of oil onto the yolks.  Keep whisking and dribbling, a little splash at a time, with great energy, and within a few minutes you will see the egg mixture begin to thicken rather dramatically.

Keep adding the oil, a dribble at a time, until you have a thick yellow ointment. You may not need to add all the oil: stop adding oil once the mayonnaise has thickened to your liking. (If your mayonnaise doesn't thicken, or it curdles, click here.)  Set the mayonnaise aside.

Roughly chop the basil leaves, and place in a mortar along with the salt. Pound to a rough paste.  (If you don't have a mortar, put the leaves and salt onto a wooden chopping board, and smash them with a rolling pin). Scrape the pounded basil into a little bowl.  Take three of the roast garlic cloves you have set aside and squeeze the soft, baked pulp into the basil mixture. Add the fresh lemon juice and stir well.  Now stir this mixture into the mayonnaise, season to taste with salt and pepper, tip into a clean bowl, and refrigerate.

Tip the contents of the roasting pan into a big bowl, and blitz with a stick blender, or use a food processor or liquidiser to process to a slightly coarse purée.  If the soup mixture seems too thick, or the blades refuse to turn, thin it down with a little boiling water.  Squeeze the pulp of the remaining three cloves of baked garlic into the mixture, season with salt and pepper to taste, and blitz for another minute.

Return the soup to the stove-top and reheat.  Serve your soup piping hot, topped with a dollop of cold basil mayonnaise.

Serves 6. 

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Friday, 16 October 2009

Easy Chicken, Feta and Bacon Roll-Ups in a Tomato & Rosemary Sauce

Stuffed with feta, garlic and sage, rolled in bacon, crisped in a hot pan and then finished off in a buttery tomato sauce, these chicken-breast rolls make a delicious family meal. Okay, they do involve a little fiddling, but I reckon it's worth the effort. This is a low-carb recipe suitable for diabetics, or for anyone on a #LCHF regime. 

Chicken breasts, being so lean and light, feature on our family menu at least twice a week, but  I have to say that a single deboned chicken breast is not nearly enough to satisfy the appetite of a teen who has grown so tall I have to stand on a ladder to lecture him.

What he really needs is several thick ropes of fillet steak - heck, a whole cow - every week, but as these are beyond our family budget, I'm always looking for ways to stretch the common-or-garden (and shockingly expensive) breast of a chicken.

You can use ordinary tinned tomatoes for this sauce, but good, deep-red plummy Italian ones will make the difference. I buy tinned tomatoes in bulk (along with superb olive oil, vinegar, olives, pasta and polenta) from the excellent Italian supermarket Super Sconto, in Norwood, Johannesburg.

Leave the cream out if you are watching your weight.  No, on second thoughts, leave the cream in.  The combination of cream and tomatoes is  sublime.

Easy Chicken, Feta and Bacon Roll-Ups in a Tomato & Rosemary Sauce

6 deboned, skinned chicken breasts
3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil, plus extra for frying
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 'wheels' (about 200 g) feta cheese
12 slices streaky bacon
salt and milled black pepper
18 fresh sage leaves
chopped parsley, to garnish

For the tomato sauce:
4 Tbsp (60 ml) butter
1 large onion, peeled and very finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2  x 210 g tins good Italian canned tomatoes, chopped, plus their liquid
1 x  8 cm sprig fresh rosemary
½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
salt and milled black pepper
½ cup (125 ml) cream
a little water, to thin

First make the tomato sauce. Melt the butter over a medium flame, add the onion and cook gently for 4-5 minutes, or until it's soft and just beginning to turn golden. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further minute, without allowing it to brown. Add the chopped tomatoes, rosemary and wine, season to taste with salt and pepper, and simmer gently for 30-45 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Fish out the sprig of rosemary, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream, a tablespoon or two at a time to prevent the sauce from curdling.  If the mixture seems too thick and gloopy, thin it with a little water. At this point, you can liquidise the mixture using a food processor or stick blender, but I prefer it slightly chunky. Set aside.

While the sauce is cooking, prepare the chicken. Place a breast between two large sheets of clingfilm [saran wrap]. Using a rolling pin (or an empty wine bottle), gently bash it so it flattens out to about 5 mm thick.  Don't smack it too hard, or it will break apart into strings: a gentle, persistent pounding, starting from the middle and working outwards, is the way to go. Repeat with the remaining breasts.

In a little bowl, mix together the olive oil and crushed garlic.  Cut the feta cheese into batons that are about as thick as your ring finger, and three-quarters its length.  Toss the feta pieces in the olive oil and garlic mixture. Place two strips of streaky bacon on a chopping board, about 1 cm apart. Lay a flattened chicken breast crossways on top of the bacon strips.  Place a baton of oil-and-garlic coated feta on the breast, add two sage leaves, and season with salt and pepper.  Starting from the side closest to you, pick up the edge of the breast and the bacon strips and roll into a neat, tight bundle. Tie two lengths of kitchen string crossways around each bundle, tuck a large sage leave under the strings, and trim away the excess string. Repeat with the remaining breasts.

Heat a big pan over a medium-high heat and add a splash of olive oil.  When the oil is very hot - but not smoking - add the chicken rolls and brown them - about a minute and a half a side - until the bacon is crisp.  Drain any excess fat from the pan. Now pour the reserved tomato sauce over the chicken rolls, turn down the heat, cover the pan with a tilted lid and simmer very gently for 7-10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked right through but still very tender.  If you're not certain it's cooked, make a sneaky cut on the underside of the thickest breast: if there is no trace of pink, it's done.

Serve hot, topped with chopped parsley and a swirl of olive oil.  Lovely with crunchy potato wedges and a green salad.

Serves 6.

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