Posts Tagged ‘Jo Pratt’

On Sunday Izzy’s wee buddy Sebastian and his Mum Tina came over for lunch and a play date. It was another miserable rainy day and I wanted to make something bright, comforting & super tasty but I didn’t fancy spending alot of time in the kitchen. Sticking with Jo Pratt’s ‘In the Mood for Entertaining’ I found a recipe that I was sold on as soon as I read the title – Lazy Tray-Baked Chicken! Perfect!

Jo describes it perfectly in her pre-recipe dialogue – ‘You’ll love the simplicity of this recipe – minimal preparation, minimal washing up, but maximum flavour. There is no need for anything else to be served with it, unless you are really missing your greens, in which case a portion of tenderstem broccoli or even a green salad would be lovely’.

If you try nothing else from my ramblings the make sure you give this one a go!! If your confidence in the kitchen is restricted to turning on an oven and chopping some veg then this is the recipe for you. I served with steamed broccoli.

Lazy Tray-Baked Chicken (courtesy of Jo Pratt – In the Mood for Entertaining)


8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs

2 onions, each cut into 4-6 wedges

2 large carrots, cut into large chunks

500g new potatoes, cut in half

1 large red pepper, cut into chunks

8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled

4 stalks of rosemary

4 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp paprika

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 lemon, cut into wedges

150g smoked bacon lardons or pancetta

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 Tbsp runny honey

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Toss everything together, apart from the honey, in a roasting tray. Place the hob over a high heat and turn the chicken and vegetables around for a couple of minutes. Arrange the chicken so it is snuggled into the vegetables and then place in the oven for 30 minutes, turning the food a couple of times.

After the 30 minutes, drizzle over the honey and cook for a further 15 to 30 minutes.

Serve two chicken thighs, lots of vegetables and plenty of the sticky juices per person on to warm plates. That is it!!!

The juices are delicious – beats a heavy gravy any day. Simplicity at its best!

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After all the Pick your Own and farm shops last year we still had a lone pumpkin lurking in the cupboard – stored properly in a cool dark place they last for ages.

Roast Pumpkin is an essential part of the traditional Kiwi roast. However we went many years here in the UK without a decent pumpkin in sight. We came to understand that the bright orange pumpkins were just for halloween and with little taste to them, despite many attempts, they made a pretty poor soup! We were told that pumpkins are considered pig food not sure how true that is but if so, the English don’t know what they are missing!

One of my favourite cookbooks at the moment is In the Mood for Entertaining by Jo Pratt. It is a really girly book full of recipes perfect for….you guessed it, entertaining (Perhaps the title gives it away?!?!) I bought it last year when planning the food for Izzy’s birthday party last year and all of the chosen dishes turned out really well. It has become a trusted book for family meals as well as when visitors are coming – it is full of turned down marked pages signalling the ‘must try’ recipes.

James picked it up last week and turned to one of the turned down pages which was for Roast Pumpkin & Sage Soup served with Parmesan Paprika Scones. We have made plenty of pumpkin soups but not roasted. It was delicious!  Quite a strong taste of roasted onion alongside the pumpkin Рwarming and filling. The scones were a perfect accompaniment and since I have given up bread for lent (a deal with my workmate!) they worked for me!!

Perfect for a cold rainy Friday night. We all polished it off!

Roast Pumpkin and Sage Soup with Parmesan Paprika Scones (courtesy of Jo Pratt – In the Mood for Entertaining)


1 small medium sized pumpkin (about 1.5kg)

2 large carrots, chopped into 2-3 cm pieces

2 large red onions, cut into wedges

4 cloves of garlic peeled

4 Tbsp olive oil

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp finely chopped sage

250ml dry white wine

1.5 litre chicken or vegetable stock

For the scones:-

350g self raising flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp paprika, plus extra for dustin

1 tsp salt

75g butter, cubed and at room temperature

150g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

175ml milk, plus 1 Tbsp for brushing

1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Cut the pumpkin into wedges 2 to 3cm thick and remove any seeds. Place in one or two large roasting trays with the carrots, onion wedges and garlic. Toss in the olive oil, season and roast for about 45 minutes, turning a few times.

Meanwhile, make the the scones by sifting the flour, baking powder, paprika and salt into a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter to give you the texture of fine breadcrumbs and stir in 3/4 of the parmesan. Gradually add the milk and beaten egg and mix until you have a soft, smooth dough, kneading lightly with your hands.

Divide the dough into two and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out two circles, about 2 cm thick. Cut each piece into eight triangular wedges and sit them on a greased baking tray. Brush the tops with milk. Scatter with the remaining parmesan and some paprika.

Bake the scones in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are golden and nicely risen. Cool slightly on a wire rack.

When the pumpkin is soft and golden, remove from the oven and, as soon as it is cool enough to handle, scoop or squeeze the flesh into a bowl. Add the carrots, onions and garlic.

Place the roasting tray over a high heat, add the sage and pour in the wine. If you are using two trays, roughly divide the wine between the two. Bring to the boil and scrape any roasted vegetables from the base of the tray. Pour in 1 litre of the stock and bring to the boil before turning off the heat.

Working in batches, blitz in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and season with salt and pepper if needed. The soup is now ready to be reheated when required, adding the extra stock if too thick.

Serve the hot soup in either bowls or cups with the warm buttered scones…….

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