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poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

We’re fortunate enough to live in a real suburban neigbourhood – picket fences, children in the streets, we don’t ever lock our doors and then we had this most amazing relationship with our neighbours.  Poppy (fromGreece) and Giuseppe (from Malta) were our neighbours for the past 8 years and they have  really become like a  second set of parents.  Poppy and I have always shared an incredible  love for food while the men shared the same love for their gardens.   When  I woke up in the mornings I would hear Poppy working in her kitchen – cooking and baking away on one of her many Greek creations.  There is no-one  in my eyes that  can cook like Poppy – or better than Poppy for that matter.  She is someone who can  take the simplest of ingredients and transform them  into these most amazing dishes.

At times when I was sad or  lonely when hubby was away I used  to sit in her kitchen in my pajamas, having a cup of coffee and waiting for a fresh bread or croissant coming out of her oven – she nurtured my body and soul. In the evenings I will hear a holler from over the wall….Aaa-néééél – then I rushed to the wall and there Poppy would be with a sample (enough for  Rick and I and another two people) of what she cooked during the day.

One of the dishes that she sent over the wall on several occasions was roasted chicken with orzo. Poppy taught me how to make this dish – yes, I have I added my own twist to it – but it’s still my Poppy’s dish.

Poppy and Giuseppe have since moved and our life is not quite the same without them but they are not too far away and never out of my thoughts.

I love you and miss you, Poppy. I made this specially for you on Dinner Divas.

roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • Chicken
  • 6 Chicken thighs
  • 1t Dry oreganum
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Tomato Mix
  • ½ Tin (205g) Rhodes Oreganum and Basil Tomato Mix
  • 1 Tin (410g) Rhodes Whole Peeled Tomatoes – chopped
  • 1t Rhodes Tomato Paste
  • 3 Cloves of garlic finely grated
  • 60ml Olive oil
  • 200g Cherry tomatoes
  • 125ml Dry white wine
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1t Ground black pepper
  • 1t Sugar

  • Pasta Rice
  • 300g Cooked pasta rice
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 250g Grated Halloumni cheese (if you don’t have Halloumni cheese you can replace this with hard grated feta cheese)
  • 1t Dry mint
  • 2T Fresh parsley – finely chopped
  • 2 T Fresh basil – finely chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 °C.
  2. Rub some olive oil onto the chicken pieces.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, sprinkle with the oreganum and then set aside.
  4. Add all the ingredients of the tomato mix into an oven roasting pan and stir well.
  5. Then place the chicken pieces on top of the tomato mix.
  6. Put in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  7. In the meanwhile cook your pasta rice.
  8. Drain the pasta rice with a sieve (not a colander as the rice drops through) and wash under hot water.
  9. Add the olive oil and mix.
  10. Then add the rest of the pasta rice ingredients and mix well.
  11. After 35 minutes take the chicken dish out of the oven.
  12. Remove the chicken pieces and set these aside for the moment.
  13. Also remove the whole baby tomatoes as we are going to use these for the salad later.
  14. Add the pasta rice to the tomato mixture – mix well then add the chicken and thereafter put the whole dish back in the oven for 10 minutes and bake.
  15. Take out of the oven and taste whether further seasoning if necessary.
  16. Serve hot in individual bowls with the pasta rice serving as a bed on which to rest the roasted chicken breasts.


herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta = healthy springtime surprise

herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta = healthy springtime surprise

herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta

My mom, Babs, is in her eighties, extremely healthy and has been a size 10 her whole life. She is one of those “odd” people who does not like butter, cream, fatty foods, deep fried foods, chips and crisps or anything unhealthy and then she also does’nt like too much spices either – not like her not-so-small-foodie-wine-drinking-spice-loving-daughter! Lean proteins, huge salads, vegetables, different kinds of fruit and whole grains are part of her daily regimen – washed down with a cuppa tea or two or ten – and then … always a healthy strong whiskey every single night. I have to admit though that she has been prone to a bit of strong cheese and a dash of olive oil here and there just to keep the body parts in good working order.

So when Babs comes to visit I have to cook something healthy and therefore for our Sunday lunch recently I prepared a chicken breast covered in fresh herbs, some stem broccoli and I served it on parmesan + lemon flavoured pasta. It was delicious, fresh with a light and dreamy springtime flavour… but most importantly … mom approved. Enjoy!

herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta = healthy springtime surprise
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • For the chicken
  • 4 Skinless deboned chicken breasts
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 1 Clove garlic – peeled and sliced in 4 slices length ways
  • 2 T Fresh coriander – chopped
  • 2T Fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1T Fresh basil – chopped
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • For the spaghetti
  • Cook enough spaghetti for 4 people
  • 2T Olive oil
  • 75g Grated parmesan cheese
  • 2T Fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • For the stem broccoli
  • 4 or more stem broccoli
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  1. Chicken: Make small incisions into the chicken breasts and insert a sliver of garlic into each breast.
  2. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Mix all chopped herbs together – parsley, coriander and basil.
  4. Then press the breasts in the fresh herbs – so that the herbs coat both sides of the chicken breasts.
  5. Using a non-stick pan fry the breasts till done – while frying squeeze a bit of lemon over the chicken.
  6. When done put aside.
  7. Pasta: Add the parmesan, olive oil and lemon in a bowl – mix well and add to the cooked pasta.
  8. Then mix the parsley through.
  9. Taste the pasta for seasoning – add some more salt and add the black pepper.
  10. Stem broccoli: Cook as per packet instructions – normally only 3-4 minutes.
  11. Immediately put in a bath of ice water.
  12. After a while, warm the broccoli up again in the same pot you have cooked them – add a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  13. To assemble: Place the cooked pasta the bottom of the bowl. Add the stem broccoli and then the chicken breast. To serve, add another drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and parmesan shavings.