Piri Piri Perfect Chicken

Peri-Peri Chicken, Halloumi Chips and Peri-Peri Dipping Sauce

By making your own Peri-Peri chicken you avoid the use of refined oils and sugar. You can use any cut of chicken such as breast, wings, legs or thighs or joint a chicken yourself and you will have something for everyone. The other half of the pepper can be cut into sticks and is lovely with the dip. If you have time, marinate the chicken in the sauce for 30 minutes to get the flavour into it but it is almost as delicious by cooking straight after basting. We have used a little honey to get a little sweetness into the sauce but leave it out if you are very low-carb. As for the chillies, I have specified the tiny Thai bird’s eye chillies but I have made an equally punchy sauce with a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes or large hot red chillies. The important thing is that you taste the sauce as you make it and adjust the heat accordingly. The cooking will lessen the heat slightly so bump up the heat to allow for that.

Serves 6

1 kilo chicken pieces

4 tablespoons Greek yoghurt

For the marinade

Half a red pepper or 3 mild red chillies, stems, cores and seeds removed

3 garlic cloves

4 to 6 red Thai bird’s eye chillies or 1very hot red chilli or 2 teaspoons of chilli flakes, to taste

2 teaspoons mild honey

Juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a food processor or chop the red pepper garlic and chillies a very finely and add to the remaining ingredients.

Take out a third of the mixture and set aside for the dip.

Put the chicken pieces into a large mixing bowl and spoon over two-thirds of the marinade. Stir through evenly, cover the bowl and put it into the fridge for 30 minutes or up to overnight (but 30 minutes is all you need).

To make the Peri-Peri Dipping Sauce mix the remaining marinade with the yoghurt and taste for seasoning. This will be the dip for the halloumi chips.

Heat the oven to 220oC/200oC fan/gas mark 7. Lay the marinated chicken pieces onto a roasting tray, skin side up, and put into the oven to cook through. Chicken tenders only take around 15 minutes. The breast and wings will take between 20 to 30 minutes. Allow around 45 minutes for the thighs and legs.

Remove from the oven, check the chicken is cooked through and allow the meat to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Per serving: 5.9g carbs, 1.1g fibre, 31g protein, 27g fat, 390kcal


Dry frying halloumi

Cut the halloumi cheese into chips, cubes or slices as you wish. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the cheese to the pan and allow to cook. Water sometimes comes out of the cheese, allow this to evaporate away. Turn the cheese when it is browned until it becomes golden all over (or at least on most sides if you have cubes). Use straight away or the cheese becomes firm and squeaky again quickly.


Per 30g serving: 0.5g carbs, 0g fibre, 7g protein, 7.1g fat, 93 kcal


Gluten Free and Gorgeous

We recently posted a picture of Torta Caprese on our FaceBook page as it’s Giancarlo’s favourite dessert and one he can enjoy as it’s gluten free. Many people asked for the recipe so here’s the one we use at home:-
Torta Caprese
Chocolate and almond cake from Capri
Little nuggets of almonds pack out this dense cake full of wicked chocolate indulgence. Whole peeled almonds save a lot of work but if you can only find them with their brown skins intact, roast them and then will crumble off more easily afterwards when rolled between two tea towels.
Makes 1 cake 22cm diameter
200g whole skinned almonds
200g dark chocolate, 70% minimum cocoa solids, broken into squares
200g butter
4 eggs, separated
200g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a loose-bottomed 23cm diameter cake tin.  Pour the almonds onto a baking sheet and bake for ten minutes or until lightly browned. Chop the nuts finely with a large knife or use a food processor but stop before they become like sand.  Small pieces the size of demerara sugar are ideal.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water or in a microwave, taking care not to burn the chocolate.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
Add the melted chocolate and butter to the egg yolks and combine thoroughly. Mix in the ground almonds. Fold in the egg whites using either a whisk or a spatula until well combined then pour into the prepared cake tin. Transfer to the oven and cook for 35 – 40 minutes. The cake is cooked when it forms a crust on the outside. Don’t expect an inserted skewer to come out clean because the centre always remains moist. To decorate the top scatter over some icing sugar through a fine sieve over a doily, remove carefully.  Serve Torta Caprese at room temperature.
This recipe features in ‘The Amalfi Coast – A collection of Italian recipes’ signed copies can be purchased here.

Giancarlo's 'Finger Lickin' Crispy Chicken

When Giancarlo found out that he could no longer have gluten in his diet he made it his quest to create the best tasting gluten free versions of the food he loves. One of his guilty pleasure is ‘Southern Fried Chicken’ which he’ll often cook up on a rare Sunday off and enjoy while watching the Formula 1 racing and his beloved team Ferrari.
Here’s the recipe for his gluten free ‘Southern Fried Chicken’ version he says is tastier than the original and is baked rather than deep fried so healthier too!
For the chicken
250ml buttermilk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1.5kg bone-in chicken pieces or breast meat
olive oil spray or 4 tablespoons olive oil
For the coating
1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme leaves, stripped from the stems
2 tablespoons dried or fresh roughly chopped sage leaves,
stripped from the stems
2 garlic cloves
100g gluten-free flour (try coconut or gram flour for a nutty taste)
3 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
First mix together the buttermilk, mustard, salt, pepper and paprika in a bowl. Pour it into a large plastic food bag (or a container with a lid) with the chicken and seal well. Leave the bag in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours and preferably overnight. Turn the bag a couple of times to ensure the chicken is evenly coated.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or baking parchment.
Gather the fresh herbs, if using, and garlic together on a chopping board and finely chop them with a sharp knife. Put them into a bowl with the remaining coating ingredients. Remove the chicken from the bag and dip all the pieces into the coating mixture, making sure they are well covered. Put them on the lined baking sheet.
Now spray the chicken pieces with oil spray or drizzle over with oil, and bake for about 20 minutes for the breast meat pieces and 30–40 minutes for the bone-in pieces. To be sure the chicken is cooked through, test the internal temperature with a meat thermometer – it should be 74°C. If you don’t have one, pierce the thickest part of the chicken with a skewer and make sure the juices that run out are clear.
This recipe can be found in our book ‘Around the World in Salads’ which can be purchased here.
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