Recipe – Breaded Chicken Escalopes – and a Tomato Sauce to go with them and some Pasta


WD - The Author at Work (PALS)

You can buy these ready-breaded if you like, but bear in mind they cost more than the DIY variety and, frankly, don’t taste so good. Freshly made is best and they are always popular with family and friends. Ideal with pasta and tomato sauce (again, homemade triumphs by a mile over the store-made or bottled kinds – see recipe below)

The tastiest result (not necessarily the healthiest) for my bread-crumbed escalope is produced using home-made coarsely ground breadcrumbs. I used to find Pitta bread perfect for this, but a chunk of a less-than-fresh baguette also does well. The other day I used home-baked wholemeal bread crumbs and they were good, too.

Ingredients for Four Servings

Two good sized chicken fillets carefully sliced in half to give two thin escalopes. You may also beat smaller fillets flat if you wish, or flattened boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or thinly sliced and beaten pieces of pork fillet.

1 generous cup-full of home-made breadcrumbs

25 cl oil for frying

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp flour


1. In your food processor put broken pieces of the bread and make quite coarse breadcrumbs.

2. In a shallow dish put the breadcrumbs and mix them with salt, pepper and a tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well.

3. Beat four chicken escalopes flat and dip them in flour.

4. Next, dip the floured escalopes into well beaten egg and make sure they are covered all over.

5. Take the egged escalopes and roll them in the seasoned breadcrumbs, making sure they are covered all over.

6. Gently fry on both sides until golden and cooked through. Serve.

Basic Tomato Sauce

CGM-12-ITALIAN - Spaghetti drawing

This sauce can be used for all kinds of dishes. It freezes well (the little terra cotta pots often used for Deli products like olives are a very good way to store 2 – 3 portions). It can be made in any quantity in the proportion of about 1 onion to 3 tomatoes. This is enough to be going on with…

2 largish onions (about 150 g / 5 oz), peeled and finely chopped 450 g / 1 lb of ripe red tomatoes, coarsely chopped 3-4 good cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped Sprig of thyme and several bay leaves Salt and pepper 1-2 tbsps. dry white wine (or dry sherry) 1 flat tsp. sugar A pinch of chili pepper if you want a slightly hot touch 4-5 tbsps. olive oil


1. In a large heavy pot, heat the oil and fry onions and garlic until transparent.

2. Add herbs, sugar and the tomatoes.

3. Cover, stir well and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

4. Add wine and seasonings. Simmer for a further 15 minutes.

If you want a thick sauce, remove the lid and simmer away liquid— watch out for burning, though! You can play about with the ingredients to your heart’s content: more tomatoes, less onion, more garlic, no wine or sherry (or more), fresh herbs like basil, yummy! For a tomato coulis, remove mixture from pan and rub through a sieve or a Mouli. Chuck into food processor if you don’t mind the pips. You can skin and de-seed the tomatoes before cooking if the seeds get into your teeth.

Recipe – Linguine with Mushrooms, Peas, Bacon and Leeks


As write, the rain continues to  fall.  It is damp, dank and miserable.  A quick hot uplifting plate of something was called for at lunch time, made from what was in the house, neither of us feeling willing to brave the elements to go shopping.  Pasta is always welcome, and provided you have a sauce with a decent amount of vegetables in it, you can go easy on the quantities.  We like linguine a lot – a sort of “squared off “ spaghetti but not as hefty as tagliatelle.   Lots of sauces come to mind – this one is tasty, cheap and good for you (Note the absence of cream, cheese or butter)   The basic recipe is very flexible, too.  Vegeterians can increase the mushrooms and add a little sliced celery.  Fish lovers can omit bacon and throw in some de-frosted prawns with the peas…   and so forth….

Linguine with bacon, mushrooms, leak and pea sauce - Dec 2012

Ingredients for four servings

250g linguine

20 button mushrooms

1 leek, green wherein dirt may lurk removed

4 rashers of smoked back bacon

1 cup (125g / 4 oz) frozen peas

2 tbsp oil for frying

Scant tsp of vegetable or chicken stock powder or half a stock cube, crumbled

Several pinches of black pepper

1 level tsp of corn flour 125 ml / 4 fl oz milk


1. Cut leek into chunky rounds – about 16, and wash in a colander inspecting closely to make sure no dirt is left.

2. Clean mushrooms (don’t wash them) and slice each one into three.

3. Cut bacon into small pieces.

4. In a small pan boil the leek pieces until, almost tender. When done, set aside keeping the cooking water.

5. In a large non-stick frying pan heat the oil and fry the bacon until it is beginning to go gold at the edges, turn around.

6. Add the mushrooms and stir fry for around four minutes. Turn heat off.

7. In a large saucepan put the leek water and some more sufficient to amply cover the pasta and bring to boil, then add the linguine. Cook at a rolling boil for 8 – 10 minutes when the pasta should be done. Drain, discarding the water.

8. While the pasta is cooking put the stock powder or cube into a small bowl or a jug and pour over a few tablespoons of boiling water. Whisk. Then add the milk and the corn flour and whisk well.

9. Warm the mushroom/bacon mixture on medium heat.

10. Add the leeks, and peas and stir around till peas or tender, then add the pasta.

11. Finally, add the milk/stock mixture, stir in and heat gently until bubbling.

Serve with crispy fresh bread.

Wine accompaniment a glass or two of a light red Chianti Classico:

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