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Comfort food for hungry scholars

These after-school suppers and deserts will go down a treat

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One-pan Pesto Chicken.

One-pan Pesto Chicken.

Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream.

Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream.

Summer Fruit Coulis.

Summer Fruit Coulis.

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One-pan Pesto Chicken.

It’s that time of the year again when schoolbags are dug out from under the stairs and uniforms and schoolbooks becomes a mission. Whether it’s a child starting their first day of school, or a first day of college for a teenager it can be an anxious time for all. So a little together time in the kitchen creating some super simple after-school suppers or treats might be just the ticket.

In my house, one pan chicken pesto is a quick supper that the kids can rustle up after train if some friends drop by unexpected

I use a couple of chicken fillets in this recipe, but chicken thighs are very tasty too. For me, the star of the dish at this time of the year is the basil pesto. Pesto is a beautiful no-cook sauce that is so fresh and vibrant when made using fresh basil in the summer.

It’s a herbaceous, garlicky, nutty sauce that can also be frozen,. Just simply spoon any leftover pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze. Then remove them from the tray and into a freezer bag and use as required. It’s perfect with pasta or added to salads or soups. One tip: if serving with pasta, retain a little of the cooking liquid. The pasta water can be a great addition to sauces as the starch in the water thickens the pesto sauce so it clings to the pasta. Add plenty of summer vegetables like tomatoes, courgettes or peppers making this the perfect one pan supper.

For a little treat and for something that’s easy-peasy for kids to make, simply whisk some cream then add some condensed milk and a little vanilla paste. You can swirl through a little blackberry coulis (see Top Tip above) or freeze it plain and pour some coulis over the ice-cream when frozen.

Other flavours that can be added before freezing are salted caramel and chocolate chip. For a grown up treat add your favourite Irish cream liqueur –— simply delicious!

 

Happy cooking,

Kevin

 

ONE-PAN PESTO CHICKEN

Ingredients (Serves 4):
1 tbsp olive oil
4 skinless chicken breasts, halved
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
200g smoked bacon, chopped
1 red pepper, cut into pieces
1 courgette, sliced
100ml chicken stock
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
70ml white wine — optional
2 tbsp fresh basil pesto, plus extra for drizzling
Fresh basil leaves to serve
Salt and pepper
250g pasta, rice or potatoes to serve


Method: 
1. Over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saute pan and add the chicken pieces.
2. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until caramelised then add the onions, garlic, bacon pieces, pepper and courgette. Continue to cook for a further 4-6 minutes over medium heat.
3. Stir every now and then to allow all the mixture to colour.
4. Add the chicken stock, white wine, and the cherry tomatoes.
5. Bring to simmer and cook for 2-4 minutes until the tomatoes start to soften. Add the basil pesto and turn off the heat. Toss to coat the flavour over the chicken and vegetables.
6. Serve immediately with pasta, rice or baby boiled potatoes or by itself for a light dinner.

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Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream.

Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream.

Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream.

 

A RIDICULOUSLY EASY BLACKBERRY RIPPLE ICE CREAM

Ingredients (Serves 8):
200m condensed milk
500ml cream, whipped
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g blackberry coulis
 

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Method:
1. In a large bowl, whip the cream until it is lightly whipped.
2. Pour in the condensed milk, the vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
3. Check for sweetness and add a little more condensed milk if you want the ice cream to be sweeter.
4. Transfer into a tin or large bowl and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours or overnight to set.
5. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving for a smooth ice cream. Add coulis to taste

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Summer Fruit Coulis.

Summer Fruit Coulis.

Summer Fruit Coulis.

 

TOP TIP: How to make a berry good sweet summer coulis in minutes

A FRUIT coulis is a sauce made using pureed and sieved fruit. They are so easy to make and can be used to add flavour to ice cream or desserts and also to decorate your dishes. Popular coulis include summer berries, mango, kiwi, honey, and blackberry. Simply simmer your fruit in a couple of tablespoons of water (or kirsch) with some icing sugar for a minute or two until just softened. Puree and strain them, then pour

 

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