Glorious Dinner Party Food – new recipe videos with Sophie Michell

Barbecued Sticky Kung Pao Chicken & Summer Salad followed by Gold Leaf Sparkling Jelly Dessert

Mmmm, sticky Kung Pao chicken, summer salad, gold leaf sparkling jelly with creme Chantilly all washed down with a glass or two of crisp white wine… is your mouth watering yet?  Acclaimed chef, author and TV presenter Sophie Michell (from Channel 4’s How to Cook Yourself Thin) has been experimenting with some new recipes using a splash or two of retro Blue Nun wines… hands up if you remember Blue Nun?!  Whether or not you are a fan of the kitsch brand, Sophie has created five fresh and mouth-watering recipes for you to try at home and I decided to share two of her tasty treats with you.  I have included an ingredients list and cooking method for each dish below, and have also included Sophie’s cooking tutorial videos below.  Leave a comment when you’ve tried one and tell me if you enjoyed them!

UK fans may recognise Sophie, readers in the USA will get to meet her soon as she is currently filming a new show for the US market . Her latest cooking book Love Good Food is also due to launch in July by Duncan Baird Publishers Ltd.

Barbecued sticky Kung pao chicken with cashew, carrot, radish, cucumber and spring onion salad

Serves 4

Prep time 20 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating time

Cooking time 15 minutes




8 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, trimmed

For the Marinade:

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tbsp of Sherry or for a lower sugar marinade use Blue Nun River Riesling

1 tsp honey

1 tsp chili flakes

For the Salad:

½ head of Chinese white cabbage

3 spring onions

½ cucumber

1 carrot

1 red chili (depending on level of heat required)

50g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

For the Dressing:

4 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp Chinese rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil



Firstly mix all the marinade together in a deep tray or dish and then add the chicken turn cover to coat in the marinade and then leave, covered in the fridge for as long as possible (up to 24hrs) and for a minimum of an hour.

Then make the salad. Peel and cut the carrots into very thin strips, and add to a large mixing bowl. Then cut the spring onions thinly on a sharp diagonal and also add to the bowl. Cut the Chinese cabbage down the middle, de core, slice to add to the mix and finally de-seed the cucumber, slice thinly and add too. Mix well. For the dressing, simply mix all the ingredients together and set aside.

When you are ready to eat, heat up a grill to very hot (or if you are barbecuing make sure it is hot and ready). Take the chicken out of the marinade and then place on a grill tray and cook for 8 minutes each side until cooked throughout and caramelised. Then add the dressing to the salad, mix well and serve a big pile of salad with the chicken on top.

Gold Leaf Sparkling Jellies with Iced Frozen Red Grapes and Creme Chantilly

If you are planning on serving this dish for a dinner party why not try toasting your guests with this sumptuous summer dessert – it’s a real show stopper!

·         Makes 6

·         Prep time 20 minutes, plus 3 hours for setting (or overnight)



600ml Blue Nun Sparkling Gold white wine

50 ml Elderflower cordial

1 tbsp sugar

6 sheets gelatine

200g green seedless grapes

200ml double cream

2 tsp icing sugar



Firstly take the grapes and cut into little branches with 3 grapes per set, then place on a tray and pop in the freezer.

Soak the gelatine sheets in a small bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, put 100ml of the Blue Nun Sparkling Gold and the sugar into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Squeeze the gelatine sheets to remove any excess water and stir into the wine mixture until dissolved.

Then mix the heated wine mix in with the rest of the wine (500ml), add the elderflower cordial and pour into a large bowl and place into the fridge. Leave for at least an hour then check and stir. Basically you keep doing this until the mix has thickened enough for the gold flakes to not sink to the bottom.

When ready pour into four individual metal pudding moulds, about 200ml/7fl oz/generous 3⁄4 cup capacity, if you want to turn the panna cottas out onto dessert plates, or into four pretty serving bowls. Put in the fridge to set for at least 2 more hours, or overnight. Then pour the cream and icing sugar into a bowl and whip until soft peaks.

If the panna cottas are in metal moulds, pour boiling water into a bowl and quickly dip the moulds into the water before turning them upside down on to dessert plates. Then add a dollop of cream and some of the frozen grapes.


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