Dishing out the past for dinner

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 April, 2012, 12:00am


No doubt you will have heard your parents or grandparents reminisce about the good old days when prawn cocktail, chicken kiev, duck ?l'orange, trifle and creme caramel was on every restaurant menu.

But did you know that such retro dishes are all the rage again these days? Here are a couple of recipes that will help you to please the crowd at home.

Chicken a la King

This recipe (top left) is a great way to use up leftover chicken and replaces cream in the original version with a half-and-half mixture of reduced fat milk and stock.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

100g mushrooms, sliced

1 small green pepper, deseeded, shredded

1 small red pepper, deseeded, shredded

1 heaped tbsp plain flour

200ml reduced-fat milk

200ml chicken stock

375g cooked chicken, diced

1 tbsp dry sherry (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste


1 Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low flame. Add the green and red peppers and saute for five minutes to soften.

2 Add the mushrooms to the pan and saute for three to four minutes.

3 Turn off the heat and stir in the flour.

4 Slowly add the milk and then the stock.

5 Return the pan to a medium heat and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.

6 Add the chicken and sherry if using, stir gently. Bring the mixture back to the boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, before serving with rice or hot toast.

Beef Goulash

This dish (top right) comes from Hungary and can be made using beef, pork, lamb or veal and is eaten as a soup or stew. This version has more of a tomatoey base and the consistency of a stew, so goes well with rice, tagliatelle, egg noodles or crusty bread.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

450g braising steak, diced into one-inch cubes

1 heaped tbsp plain flour

2 large onions, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, crushed

200ml beef stock

1 large can chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp hot paprika

1 bay leaf

350g potatoes, peeled, diced into 2.5cm cubes

100ml sour cream

parsley, chopped (optional)


1 Heat half a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick frying pan and add half of the beef and brown it all sides. Remove the browned beef with a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat with process with the remaining oil and beef.

2 Add the onions and garlic to the pan and fry on a low to medium heat until slightly browned - about five to seven minutes.

3 Stir in the flour and cook for oneminute before slowly adding in the stock, tomatoes, paprika and bay leaf and the beef. Bring the mixture to the boil, cover with a lid, lower the heat and allow to simmer for an hour.

4 Add the potatoes to the goulash, stir and allow to cook on a low heat for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5 Stir in the sour cream, sprinkle over with chopped parsley if using.

Wynnie Chan is a British-trained nutritionist. If you've got a question for her or would like to be featured in this column, e-mail