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Category: chicken | fowl | turkey

Sesame Chicken with Zucchini Noodles

Okay, I feel compelled to share this recipe with you, my readers and friends. It’s not that I wanted to keep it a secret; but I thought that something so simple just wasn’t worth writing about, and most importantly, is it worthy of your attention? Additionally, I want to start producing better photography and the picture I took last night are really not impressive…but I’m eating this dish for lunch today, as leftovers from last night’s dinner, which I do all the time, and it smells so delicious and tastes so good… that yes, I’ve convinced myself it’s worth it. Of course, you’ll be the tougher judge of that yourselves…


Ingredients, for 4

  • 1 large zucchini per person, or 2 medium ones (I actually ate 2 large on my own with this dish)
  • 750g chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, or julienne style
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 large leek, sliced
  • gluten-free and sugar-free soy sauce (I use Sanchi Tamari Soy Sauce – some strict Paleo may prefer to omit this or use Coco Aminos instead)
  • olive oil (or additional sesame oil, if preferred)
  • sesame oil
  • sesame seeds
  • sea salt, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 150C or 300F.
  2. Wash and peel the zucchini. With a spiral vegetable slicer, create zucchini noodles. (I happen to still be using my little Vietnamese kitchen utensil that does the job perfectly, since I haven’t yet purchased a spiral slicer.)
  3. Place a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet, and spread the noodles out on the paper. Sprinkle some sea salt over them. Bake for about 25 minutes.
  4. When ready, remove from oven and allow to slightly cool. They should be “al-dente”.
In the meantime:
  1. Wash and prepare all of the vegetables and the chicken.
  2. In a wok over medium to low heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides, cooking about 15-20 minutes and stirring frequently.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil and add the remaining vegetables. Stir fry until the vegetables are “al-dente” or to the texture of your liking.
  5. Sprinkle with soy sauce (I used about 1 tablespoon soy sauce) and sea salt, to taste.
To serve:
In a bowl, place enough noodles to cover about half (again, about 1 or 2 large zucchini worth of noodles). Spoon the chicken mixture over top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Chicken Pumpkin Goulash

We have a saying in Spain that says “mas busca un necesitado, que un abogado”, which means the person in needs will search more and do more than the lawyer…that’s sort of what happened to me today. I had put out chicken breasts for dinner and was going to make them an entirely different way, when I found myself with half a squash leftover from my pumpkin cheesecake experiment (more on that one later) and I didn’t want that to go to waste.

So, I decided to make a goulash and add the pumpkin to the stew. I thought I was rather creative, until I did a Google search and found out this seems like a regular recipe. Nonetheless, I made this goulash my way and it is delicious (humility aside of course)!


Ingredients, for 4:

  • 3 large chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
  • 2 medium onions, chopped or julienne
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, julienne
  • 1 large aubergine, partially peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash meat or other pumpkin, pre-roasted
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon pimenton
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • water


In a large pot, over medium heat, place 1/4 cup of olive oil and the chicken pieces. Brown the chicken. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and bell pepper and cook another 3-4 minutes.

Add the white wine and spices and stir. Add about 2 cups of water and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the aubergines and simmer another 10 minutes. Then add the pumpkin and cook 5 more minutes. Season to taste, and serve.





Macau & African Chicken (Galinha a Africana)

On our recent trip to Vietnam, we had a day layover in Hong Kong on the way over and about a 12-hour layover on the way back. So, we took advantage of the time to visit with some friends who live in the area and to do a bit of sight-seeing. This is my second time in Asia and also my second time visiting both HK and Macau. The contrasts I observe I think will never cease to amaze me.

On the ferry from Kowloon to Mainland Macau

After landing in Hong Kong, we took the express train straight into Kowloon, where we had booked a hotel for the evening. We checked in, freshened up and headed for the ferry terminal. By the way on a side note, I still had my Octopus Card from about 6 years ago and it worked. The Octopus Card is like the Oyster Card in London, where you can top off as you go and use it for all the underground, busses and some ferries as well. However, one cannot use it for the ferry to Macau, or at least, we don’t think so.

Arriving in Macau

Arriving in Macau… first casinos are visible from the ferry

The journey over is about an hour from Kowloon to Macau. We learned, that since our last visit, there are new ferry lines now going to Taipa as well. Taipa is one of the two islands that along with the Mainland Macau make up this special administrative region. China took over Macau in 1999, after more than 400 years of Portuguese rule. One would think that after such a long time, more Macanese would speak Portuguese, after all it’s one of the official languages, it is still used in government buildings and all signs are in Portuguese, as well as Chinese. Yet, that’s not really the case. I had noticed this on my first visit here, and was again aware of this disparity when trying to communicate to the locals.

Our friend Mary, a Macanese, however speaks multiple languages, one of them being Portuguese. Mary picked us up at the Macau ferry terminal and we headed over one of the long bridges joining the region to Taipa to see the University of Macau, where my husband and she had studied about 12 years ago. The University, which will soon be transferred to mainland China, is located in a modern building on a hill. Most of Macau is made up of hills. And curiously one drives on the left here, just like in Hong Kong (in mainland China and Portugal, one drives on the right). From what we learned it seems that the reasons for this are purely economical rather than historical or cultural, since all cars are imported from Hong Kong.

Waterfront street near the Plaza of Sao Francisco Xavier

Same waterfront street

After a quick zip through the area, we headed over to Coloane, the second island, now joined to Taipa via a landfill. Coloane is also being colonized today, but in a new way. The region’s newest and largest casinos are prominently welcoming the visitor on what is the land-filled area, now called the Cotai Strip. In Coloane, one can still see vestiges of a Portuguese past in a laid back atmosphere, which is relaxing and inviting. It’s almost like stepping back in time. In fact, in the older areas of Macau, one feels like one is no longer in Asia (until the oppressive humidity and heat remind you otherwise) but somewhere on the streets of Lisbon or another part of Portugal. It’s truly a beautiful contrast.

Sao Francisco Xavier church and plaza

We parked along the water front, facing what is mainland China. Yet another contrast. It’s hard to imagine that across what seems like a little pond lies the big giant of the north and yet mainland Chinese are not allowed into Macau without special permission. Macau will remain a special administrative region until 2050, when it should be fully integrated into the rest of the country. And although that is not that far away, it is hard to fathom what type of changes could come about after integration, some maybe not so welcome.

Mary took us to the plaza of Sao Francisco Xavier, which is lined with Chinese restaurants on one side and Portuguese restaurants on the other. We chose a Portuguese one, facing the little church of Sao Francisco Xavier, where we enjoyed some traditional Macanese dishes, such as Bacalhau a Braz, Bok Choi in some special sauce (can’t recall) and African Chicken.  The three dishes are perhaps more symbolic than one would think at first. And they represent Macau’s history perfectly, which is a mixture of the Portuguese heritage, the Chinese roots and the influences of immigrants brought to China by the Portuguese, such as the African slaves.

Menu at the restaurant where we ate

Bacalhau a Braz and Bok Choi & Steamed Vegetables

African Chicken

Restaurant, where we ate

Part of the Plaza of Sao Francisco Xavier

After a delectable lunch, during which Mary had to rush off to get back to work, we strolled through the old parts of the village and then hopped on a bus to get back to Cotai, where we wanted to see what the Macanese version of the Venetian looks like (after all, one cannot come to Macau without visiting a casino, right?). The region’s economy is based on the gaming and tourism industries and it’s very quickly becoming the Las Vegas of Asia, with revenues tripling  those of its American counterpart.

Street in Coloane

Things we saw in Coloane

The Venetian and the other casinos on the Cotai Strip provide free shuttle busses to their sister casinos on Mainland Macau. So, we took advantage of this and went to the Sands casino, which is located across from the new shopping and recreation complex that is being built near the ferry terminal. The complex, when completed, will be amazing with stores, theaters, restaurants and attractions. Mary met us here again in the afternoon and whisked us away to tour the rest of the city. We went up Guia hill for a beautiful view of the city below.

Guia Lighthouse and Chapel – see the wedding couple being photographed?

View of Mainland Macau from the Guia Fortress

The Guia Fortress lighthouse and little chapel are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is the historical center of Macau. The fort and the chapel were built in the 1600s, with the lighthouse being constructed much later between 1864-65. It’s the first western style lighthouse to be built in east Asia. We were joined on our tour by couples taking their wedding pictures at the fort. It seems like it was the season for weddings on this trip, as I also witnessed many couples taking their wedding pictures, while in Ha Noi. 😉

One of the Portuguese colonial mansions in Mainland Macau

Garden in Mainland Macau

Commemorative plaque at the entrance of the gardens

The Macau Venetian casino, inside

Inside the Venetian

Chinese Pavilion & Koi Pond, part of the new shopping & entertainment complex

After our quick tour, as we needed to get back for dinner with other friends, we bid farewell to Mary and Macau, and boarded the ferry back to Hong Kong.

My African Chicken – Mi Galinha a Africana


For the original recipe, click here.


  • 1.5-2 kilos of chicken pieces or whole chicken, cut into pieces (I purchased drumsticks, as that’s all I found at Tesco’s)

For the Marinade:

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (more or less according to how spicy you would like this; I for example didn’t use any)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pimenton (or paprika if you don’t have it)
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder (a mixture of star anise, cinnamon, fennel, black pepper and cloves)
For the Sauce:
  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup garlic, minced (it’s about 1 head of garlic)
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup pimenton
  • 3/4 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (the original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, as the peanuts are originally an African legume; feel free to substitute)
  • 1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Chicken marinating

The night before, marinate the chicken pieces: mix all of the ingredients for the marinade together and rub into chicken. Place the chicken in a bowl or dish and cover with plastic wrap. Let the chicken marinate overnight. (The fridge will smell delicious every time you open it!)
Make the sauce:
1. Over medium heat, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the raw cashews. Slightly brown and remove from heat. Scoop out the cashews with as little oil as possible and place in a mortar. With the pestle grind them finely. Set aside.

Ground cashew (pimenton from Spain in the background)

2. Heat about 1/4 cup olive oil in a saucepan or wok over medium to medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often so the garlic will not burn. Add the paprika, pimenton, coconut and turmeric and cook for another few minutes. Add the chicken broth or water, coconut milk, bay leaves and ground cashews. Simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. Remove the bay leaves. (The sauce can be made ahead of time, just warm up before finishing the dish.)
To Finish the Dish:
Preheat oven to 200C (about 400F). In a wok or large skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Once browned, transfer the chicken to an oven-proof dish and cover with the sauce. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is bubbly.
Traditionally, this dish is served with rice. However, I served it with a “salad” of quinoa, pomegranate and wild rocket leaves.

Ready to be served…

…and ready to be eaten… 😉

Quinoa, pomegranate and wild rocket “salad”

Garlic Chicken with Rosemary & Turmeric

This is a vampire-proof recipe ;)… also one so easy to make, that if you are running late for dinner, it can be made in a jiffy.
I’ve just returned from a week-long trip to Germany, so elaborate dishes are not in the works right now. We once again drove through the Chunnel (Phew that’s two safe round-trips! For someone who hates tunnels and bridges, that’s quite a feat). And we had a great trip with excellent weather. I even got to try out my dexterity by driving a manual, British car (translated, that means the driver’s wheel on the right and shifting with one’s left hand) on Continental roads! Okay, so maybe that was even more of a feat than the Chunnel crossing…mind you, I didn’t dare venture too far…but more about that adventure in another posting.
So as I’m still in the process of organising and doing laundry, dinner tonight was a quick fix. But still a healthy one, nonetheless. (And I say it’s vampire-proof because it’s full of garlic!)
Garlic Chicken with Rosemary & Turmeric
Ingredients, for 2-3
  • 500g chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
  • 6-7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric (curcuma)
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil (I’m generous with olive oil in my cooking, so feel free to adapt to your style)
Preheat oven to 190C. In an oven-proof dish, place all the ingredients and toss until chicken is well coated. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice so that the chicken cooks evenly.
Serve with your favourite side dish. We ate ours with steamed broccoli, over which I poured some of the sauce from the chicken.

Pollo en Pepitoria

After making a couple of desserts today, I wasn’t quite sure what to make for dinner. I usually turn to chicken when that happens, as it’s easy to cook and generally I can come up with a quick dish to make. But I’ve been reading my mother’s recipes lately, which I have written down on odd pieces of paper, and came across this traditional dish, which I haven’t had in a long time. It’s usually served during the fall or winter, but it can be enjoyed anytime of the year, and can also be made with rabbit/hare or other poultry.
Pollo en Pepitoria is thought to have originated with the Moors, in Andalucia. And today, it’s prepared pretty much everywhere in Spain. It’s typically made with almonds, instead of cashews; but they can be used interchangeably or even together. Also, you can add chopped cooked egg yolks to the sauce at the end, if you wish.

Pollo en Pepitoria (Chicken with Almonds/Cashews)

  • 1kg chicken pieces, thighs and drumsticks
  • sea salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • corn starch (I use Maizena brand)  coconut flour or cornstarch replacement
  • arrowroot powder or tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds or cashews
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 medium onion, cut julienne style
  • white wine, about 1 cup or slightly more
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Turmeric (Curcuma)
  • 6-7 tablespoons olive oil
  • water
  • bunch parsley, chopped
Rinse chicken pieces and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and  arrowroot powder on both sides. Set aside.
In a saucepan, over medium heat, add the olive oil, cashews and garlic cloves, whole. Saute for 1-2 minutes, until the nuts start to turn brown. Remove from saucepan and place in mortar. With the pestle, roughly grind the garlic and cashews.
In the same saucepan with the same oil, place the chicken pieces and brown on both sides. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes longer. Add white wine and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add water, just enough to almost cover the chicken pieces. Add the turmeric, and cook for about 50 minutes, or until chicken is done. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. The sauce should be thick and plentiful.
Add the ground cashew and garlic and chopped parsley and cook 5 minutes longer.
We ate our pollo en pepitoria with quinoa and broccoli, with some additional sauce from the chicken.

Chocolate Pasta with Prune & Apricot Chicken

Gut & Gerne Schokolade Shop, Duesseldorf
Last week, I was in Duesseldorf, Germany, for the day and as I was walking around the Altstadt (old city), near the Rathaus (city hall), I stumbled across a quaint little chocolate shop. What caught my attention initially was the window dressing: a chocolate fondue pot pouring over with mouth-watering, melted chocolate and a bunch of packages of chocolate noodles! Yes, chocolate noodles!
I had never heard of them or seen them before (after 4 years of living in Germany and previous visits to this city), but apparently they are well-known in Germany. And of course, I couldn’t resist the temptation, as you can imagine… so I entered.
The Gut & Gerne Schokolade shop, on Burgplatz 3-5, is a true delight for any chocolate lover. It’s offers an assortment of chocolates for drinking, baking, and cooking, pralines, truffles, liquors… anything chocolate, they have it… and of course, the chocolate pasta, which intrigued me so much. They also have a cafe attached to the shop and offer chocolate seminars. So cool! After a good perusal, I decided I just had to take a package of pasta home with me.
Even the packaging is inviting, don’t you think?
So, I’ve been home a week and hadn’t touched the pasta, because I refused to make a sweet dish out of it. The package comes with a recipe for “caramelised chocolate noodles” involving sour cherries and vanilla ice cream. And I’m thinking of making some with a vanilla sauce, so typical of German desserts. But not yet.
Last night, I was inspired by a recipe I was reading for chocolate-prune cake. Now that sounded like a good pairing to me. So, here’s the recipe below for prune and apricot chicken, paired with chocolate pasta.
Prune & Apricot Chicken, with Chocolate Noodles
Ingredients, for two persons
  • 250 g of chocolate noodles (I used half the package I purchased)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • olive oil
  • 500 g of chicken breasts, cut into squares
  • fine cornflour (I use Maizena brand – cornflour is gluten-free, by the way)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 12 prunes (cut in half if they are large)
  • 12 dried apricots (cut in half if they are large)
  • 2 tablespoons of pickled baby onions
  • 100 ml of red wine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or a 1/2 a vanilla pod can be used, be sure to take it out before serving)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
  • soy sauce
  • olive oil
  • chicken broth
  • table salt
  • fresh ground pepper
In a pasta pot, bring water to a boil, with a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a dash of olive oil. Add pasta and cook, 9-10 minutes. When pasta is al dente, remove from heat and drain.
In the meantime, clean and cut the chicken in squares. Season with salt and pepper. Roll in cornflour, and shake off excess.
In a wok or skillet, add 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and saute until golden brown. Add the carrots and saute an additional 2 minutes.
Add the red wine and reduce. Add a dash of soy sauce, and enough chicken broth to slightly cover the chicken. Add vanilla, cinnamon, prunes, apricots and pickled onions.
Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the sauce is thick.
Guten Appetit!

*Note: we were slightly disappointed by the lack of intense chocolate flavour of the pasta, which we expected. I generally accompany the Prune & Apricot Chicken with couscous or quinoa.

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