A while back I hosted a very successful Ready Steady Cook competition on my blog. I had a lot of fun hosting it but because I had offered prizes there was no way I could take part. That’s why I farmed out my idea to anyone willing to bite so that I could have a chance to cook in it myself. Tandy over at Lavender & Lime was quick to offer her blog as host and after a few false starts away we went.

My 7 mystery ingredients were:

Chicken breasts
Red Onions


Those together with the option of following pantry ingredients:

Flour (or a flour substitute)
Fresh Herbs
Dried Herbs
Dried Spices
Sugar (or a sugar substitute)
Oil – any of your choice
Pasta / Noodles / Rice
Tinned Tomatoes
Tinned Chickpeas
Chocolate / Cacao

Created the following 3 dishes:

Starter Spicey Zucchini and bacon bake.

What you need (makes 2)
4 Zucchini
2 eggs
Cayene pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
butter/oil for greasing
4 Rashers streaky bacon

What to do
Grease your ramekins, butter works best because the bacon sticks to it nicely. In a food processor wizz up the zucchini and garlic. Season liberally (zucchinis can be bland) and add the origano and cayene pepper. Line the ramekins with the bacon and pour in the zucchini mixture. I had a few extra pieces of bacon which I chopped up and put on top. Put in a 180°C oven for 30 minutes or until set then turn on grill till the edges of the bacon are crispy.

Caramelised onion, pea and chicken courgettini

What you need
4 zucchinis
1 red onion
2 chicken breast fillets
1 punnet sweetpeas
handful fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

What to do
Slice the zucchini into super thin strips either using a mandolin or a peeler. Put in a bowl and cover with salted boiling water. Leave to one side. Slice the onion into rings or half rings. Pop a pan on the heat with some olive oil, throw the onion in and then cover with water. Once the zucchini strips are soft and supple drain them. Slice up some garlic and add to the onion just as the water starts to dry out entirely. Slice up the chicken into strips and season. Stir the onions and garlic till they just start to brown then add in the chicken. When then chicken is cooked and browned nicely, slice up the fresh basil and peas and add to the dish. Toss the zucchini with some olive oil and taste for seasoning. Serve the chicken on top of the zucchini as you would over pasta.

Plum and Almond crumble

What you need
100g (+ small amount for greasing) butter
200g + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
100g ground almonds
1 plum

What to do
Cream the 200g sugar and the butter until creamy then add the egg. Mix well then add the almonds. Spoon the mixture into a small baking dish. Slice the plum into half moons and then sprinkle over the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Pop in a 180°C oven for about 30min or until plum pieces are really soft and the whole dessert is bubbly. 


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