The English Student Cooks: Chicken and Dill Parcels

I’m currently cooking my way through Mary Berry’s Complete Cook Book, which the Pragmatist gave/lent to me when I moved out for my first full-time job. I wanted to document the experience as a kind of cooking diary, and so “The English Student Cooks” was born. This will be an irregular feature, as I only cook when I’m home on my days off, which is Not That Often.

Chicken and Dill Parcels

Method: I started by boiling a chicken breast (it had been in the freezer for about a year, so we’ll see whether I’m still alive in the morning). While that was happening, I made pancake batter (!): I made a well in 85g of plain flour, added a lightly beaten egg and a little milk and combined that into a stiff mixture, then added 85ml of milk and 85ml of cold water and stirred again. That rested for half an hour in a glamorous Pyrex jug, alongside the chicken, which was cooling under a tea towel.

Meanwhile, I washed up. And then did some internetting.

When the pancake batter was feeling nice and snoozy (I know, because I asked it, a tip I learned from Val of this year’s Great British Bake Off), I made pancakes in a hot frying pan with sunflower oil. I’m still getting the hang of pancakes, so a couple of them were quite thick and the first one was a write-off because I tried to flip it before it was cooked properly. (I ate it anyway.)

So I left them to cool while I made the filling: I diced the chicken, sliced three spring onions and defrosted a couple of tablespoons of frozen peas by sticking them in a mug and pouring a small amount of boiling water over them. (This tip I learned from the Circumlocutor.) Chicken, spring onions and peas went into a bowl together with 2 tbsp Asda own-brand mayonnaise and 1 tsp English mustard that has been at the back of my fridge for about a year (again, we’ll see whether I’m still alive in the morning!). Oh, and some dried dill – I don’t know exactly how much because I just shook it at random from the jar.

I cut the cooled pancakes in four, spooned some chicken mixture on each and wrapped it up anyhow (Mary’s instructions didn’t work fantastically, but conceivably this is because I am spatially challenged and as soon as you start gabbling on about short edges and long edges my brain shuts down). Then I ate them.

Substitutions/alterations: I left the sunflower oil out of Mary’s pancake recipe, because I made them last weekend and they seemed very greasy and not, you know, fantastically healthy. I also used dried dill instead of fresh because I know I won’t use it this week and I didn’t want to buy a whole packet just for this meal.

Verdict: There was too much mustard: it coated everything and was just exhausting to eat. I also wonder about how tidy these are given they are supposed to be served as part of a buffet spread: though they’re quite easy to assemble wrapping them up so they don’t fall apart is tricky and even so they have a propensity to fall apart. I didn’t enjoy these enough to make them again, but if for any reason I did I would definitely reduce the amount of mustard in the recipe.

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