Yes, we’ll get to the breaded chicken in a basil cream sauce in a second. Maybe more than a second. Listen you know the rules, scroll on down to the picture if you don’t want my flowery guff beforehand.
I seem to have acquired a new enemy. I say enemy, rather just someone who clearly doesn’t like me and would cheerfully see me plummet to my death from the car-park like a slightly less camp Julie Martin from Neighbours. See, every day I park in the same spot on the same floor in the multi-storey near where I work. Not because I have to, just force of habit. Anyway, the last couple of weeks someone has got there before me, so I’ve started parking in another bay which has slightly better angles and less change of your car being smacked by some inconsiderate mouth-breather in a Saxo. Easy, no problems. However, it would seem that I’ve taken the space that someone else always used to park in. Oops. They aren’t allocate, I hasten to add. The first time I spotted there was a problem was the other day when another car was driving right up my arse as I trundled up the floors in the multi-storey car park. My first thought was “goodness me, Keavy from B*witched seems to be in a frightful hurry” but all became clear when, as I pulled into “my” spot, she went absolutely apocalyptic in my rear-view mirror, effing and jeffing and waving her arms around like she was interpreting a Russian argument for the deaf. Naturally I did a wry chuckle to myself and parked up primly and professionally.
Since then, if I beat her to “her spot”, I’m treated to the sight of her slamming her door, stalking across the car-park muttering and swearing to herself, before furiously click-clacking her way down the stairs. I’d understand if there was a shortage of spaces but it’s literally me and her on this floor alone. I’m not driving a coach either, there’s plenty of space even if she wanted to park right next to me. Her anger doesn’t seem to be subsiding either. Probably didn’t help that the other morning I cracked my window open a fraction and played ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ as she stormed past, a vision of pure rage. I might borrow Paul’s Smart car and park that in the bay instead, just so she can’t see it until the last minute. That’ll really piss on her chips. Mahaha. Listen, if I’m found in a pool of blood in the stairwell of the multi-storey in Newcastle with a Primark umbrella embedded in my skull, you’ll know who did it.
I do wonder who else is filled with rage whenever they see my moon face appear on the horizon. Certainly there’s a guy near where I work who must finish at the same time as I do. Whenever I see him, I can’t help but smirk. Let me explain. A couple of years ago I was walking to my car when I spotted a man with singularly the worst haircut I’ve ever seen. It was exceptionally styled and colourful and would have looked lovely on a runway model but it was on a bloke who looks just like me but if I’d fallen on hard times. Imagine me with a peacock at full plume on my head. It was such an absurd juxtaposition that I laughed and had to cover it with a cough. He didn’t see me, which is good because I’m not a total bastard and wouldn’t like to think I caused any distress. Anyway, since then, without fail, whenever I see him I have to suppress a laugh purely because of instinct, so every time he sees me he must wonder what I’m chuckling at and/or if I have really bad wind pains. I know, I’m a terrible person, but it’s become like blinking. Perhaps if he didn’t purse his lips at me that might help. I wonder if there’s a blog parallel to this one where he’s writing about the fat gopper in his oversized coat who comes mincing out with a face that looks permanently like I’m about to come.
Ah well, let’s get this recipe out of the way, eh?
to make breaded chicken in a basil cream sauce, you’ll need:
- 4 chicken breasts (why not use one of the many, many chicken breasts you get in our fantastic freezer filler? Can’t get vexed with so much meat delivered for £50!)
- 50g panko (9 syns) (panko is a Japanese breadcrumb, gives a delicious crispy crunch – you can find it in most big supermarkets, just look! If not, use a breadbun from your HEB)
- 1 egg
- handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp oil (4 syns)
- 2 tbsp plain flour (4 syns)
- 125ml skimmed milk (take from your HEA of 350ml)
- 180ml chicken stock
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Remember, this serves four, so although the above comes in at 17 syns, it’s 4 syns each. 4 and a quarter I suppose, but if you’re going to get in a strop about a quarter syn, then have a word with yourself and re-examine your life choices.
REMEMBER: THIS IS PANKO:
THIS IS PAN K.O
to make the hash browns, you’ll need:
- 4 decent sized potatoes
- Frylight if you’re so inclined, proper spray oil is always better
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 30g parmesan, grated (HEA)
to make breaded chicken in a basil cream sauce, you should:
- preheat the oven to 200 degrees and place a baking sheet in the oven to heat up
- mix together the paprika and the panko in a small bowl – make sure to mix it well to ensure the paprika doesn’t settle at the bottom!
- in another bowl, beat an egg
- dip each chicken breast in the egg and then the panko, making sure to press down gently so the panko sticks
- when each breast is coated, take the baking sheet out the oven, place the chicken on it and return to the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes
- meanwhile, in a saucepan heat the oil over a medium heat
- add the flour and mix to a thick paste – it doesn’t matter if it’s a little dry
- add the chicken stock and whisk well, and then add the milk, basil and salt
- whisk until all the lumps are gone and then continue to cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until it’s thickened
- serve the chicken and pour over the sauce
to make the hash browns, you should:
- preheat the oven to 200 degrees
- grate all of the potatoes (quicker to use a little machine like this)
- place half the grated potato in a sieve and rinse well – this takes out all the starch so the hash browns go crispy
- place in a bowl and rinse the other half of the mixture
- to make sure you’ve done it right – rinse it all again!
- lay out a clean tea towel and plop the grated potato onto it
- lay another tea towel on top and squeeze down to remove as much water as you can and put the potato into a large bowl – I like to imagine that if my car-park woman was doing this, she’d see my face bulging in her mind’s eye
- mix together the salt, pepper, chilli and garlic powder and parmesan and stir into the potato
- line a baking sheet with some greaseproof paper and tip out the potato – spreading it out as evenly as possible and give a good pump of spray oil
- place the baking sheet in the lowest rack in the oven and let them bake for about 20 minutes. After twenty minutes, move them to the top of the oven and cook for another 15 minutes – this helps crisp them up
Easy. It sounds complicated but honestly, aside from the time spent wringing out the tatties, this is easy to make and well worth it. Don’t be put off by the 4 syns, that’s nothing and well, it’s worth it for a decent meal, surely?