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This is in honour of the football. When the World Cup was on, Jamie and I decided that we’d cook England’s opponents’ food on that occasion. It became quite fun, and a good alternative to the pre-Molly days of downing pints whilst watching England lose.

So although we’re not playing the Ukraine tonight, they are playing, and what better excuse than to try our hands at chicken kievs. It’s something that we’ve been meaning to try for years. Once a staple of the frozen food aisles, and ‘80’s dinner parties, a good chicken Kiev is something wonderful to behold. Anything that oozes hot, garlicky butter from within cannot possible fail, can it?

For reference I thought I’d see if the Guardian ‘perfect’ series had tried it, and indeed they had, just the week before (they must have had similar topical footballing intentions). I used that as a guide, but as I was short of time I merely chilled rather than froze the chicken and I also added different herbs and spices (as I can’t help but mess with a recipe).

When it came to crunch time (and it really was a lovely crunch into the crispy breadcrumbs) I have to say they were well worth the effort, and I was thoroughly chuffed at them being successful. Long live the Kiev!

Chicken Kievs – Serves 2

2 skinless chicken breasts

50g butter

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tblsp curly parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp chervil, finely chopped

1 tsp tarragon, finely chopped

½ lemon

Bowl of plain flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper

Bowl of breadcrumbs, seasoned as above but also with big pinch of mustard powder

2 eggs, beaten

Vegetable oil, to deep fry

Mash the butter, garlic, herbs, season and squeeze in the lemon. Roll into equal sausages, wrap in clingfilm and chill in fridge. Butterfly each chicken breast and then place between two sheets of clingfilm and bash with a rolling pin until equally flat (about 5mm). Season well on both sides.

Put a sausage of butter into each and roll, trying to tuck in the sides as you go along.

N.B. I was exacerbated by this as it wasn’t neatly wrapped and I could clearly see gaps – in the end it didn’t matter.

Roll into a tight sausage using the clingfilm and put in the freezer for forty five minutes.

Meanwhile make the breadcrumbs by using bread that’s at least two days old, cutting off the crust and cutting into squares, and baking in a warm oven until it feels dry. Then blitz in a food processor. Keep the oven on to keep the first kiev warm, as you’ll cook them one at a time.

Lay out the flour, egg then breadcrumbs in preparation. Heat the oil (you can test by dropping a breadcrumb in and it bubbling, and going golden).

Then get the chicken out, and dip in the flour, then egg then breadcrumbs, and then back in the egg and then the breadcrumbs to double-crumb it (this may have been why the holes didn’t matter).

Deep fry for 8 ½ minutes, turning occasionally. Leave on kitchen paper then transfer to warm oven whilst you cook the remaining kiev.

To Serve:

Tomato Chutney

Fried courgettes

Boiled new potatoes with butter and chives

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