In recent years there seems to be a common ground for many prime time television shows and this appears to be food! Whether it is showcasing quality Irish producers or showing us a novice chef attempting to throw a dinner party, we all seem to want to know more about where our food is coming from and how others are cooking that food. As I love all things food orientated this programming schedule suits me perfectly. My older boys have also become quite interested in cookery shows, I'm not fully convinced whether this is a genuine interest or more that these shows tend to be on around the time they should be going to bed ! Either way I think it is important for children to know how their food makes it to their plates and I always like to encourage this interest.
In the past few weeks a new cookery show has hit our screens called Masterchef Junior, Australia where children aged between 8 and 13 are competing in the kitchen. I must say however that these certainly aren't ordinary children dabbling in a bit of cooking but ones that are destined to open a Michelin star restaurant in the very near future! They are completely amazing in the kitchen and very inspirational for not only other children but also for many adults.
As my boys watch these shows the orders are given to me thick and strong for the next day's dinner. All the dishes look so tempting and when you see an eight year old whipping it up it seems completely effortless to make! I based my recipe below on their Chicken Schnitzels which are similar to the Chicken Goujons, that I already make for the boys, but the chicken breast is tenderised by flattening it with a rolling pin, between some cling film. This results in the chicken becoming so tender that it almost melts in your mouth! These are very easy to make however if you are catering for a large crowd they are quite time consuming but these Schnitzels are so worth it! I like to serve them with a nice salad, a few homemade wedges and a garlic dip. By chance if you have any leftovers they work brilliantly in a wrap with some salad.
200g white sliced bread
50g parmesan cheese, grated
6 sprigs thyme, leaves only
1 tbsp chopped chives
Pinch salt and pepper
2 chicken breast fillet
2 tablespoons milk
70g plain flour
80ml olive oil
40g butter, chopped
1. Process the bread and parmesan in a food processor until fine crumbs. Add the thyme and chives and season with salt and pepper, process until finely chopped. Transfer to a plate.
2. Cut the chicken breast horizontally into thin steaks. Place in between 2 sheets of cling film and lightly pound with the flat side of meat mallet or a rolling pin to flatten.
3. Whisk egg and milk together in a bowl. Set up your three plates including one for the seasoned flour.
4. Coat one piece of chicken in flour and shake to remove excess. Then dip the chicken into the egg mixture. Then coat the chicken in breadcrumbs mixture, pressing firmly to coat. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken and crumbing mixtures.
5. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, cook chicken in batches, for 4-5 minutes each side or until tender and golden. Reduce heat to low and add butter around the chicken. Cook until crispy, remove and to a warmed plate. Enjoy!
This article was published in The Westmeath Independent on 16th March 2011.