The Big Butter Debate

So it appears the jury is still out on butter. For something that has been part of man’s diet for over four millennia the last couple of decades have demonised butter as a food evil, full of saturated fats that cause heart disease and obesity. Yet recent research has challenged this accusation claiming that perhaps butter isn’t as bad for us as the press it’s been given. Okay, so it’s not exactly classified as a health food, but more possessing middle-of-the-road benefits. In other words, enjoy in moderation. Which, as I think I may have said before, is a great philosophy of life.

I’ve been giving my diet and lifestyle a bit of an overhaul over the last couple of months and I feel like I’ve made some positive changes. I’m sleeping better, I’ve cut down on iphone time before bed, I’m making a conscious effort to move more and I’ve even joined a monthly mindfulness group. Granted I’ve only attended one meeting, but hey it’s a step in the right direction! But most of all I’ve been looking at my diet. I’ve significantly cut down on refined sugar consumption. The first week was challenging to say the least. On my first day I could hear the KitKat in my bag saying ‘eat me, you know you want to’, but I refrained and 2 months on my cravings have reduced, In fact my taste buds have actually reset so even an ordinary biscuit, which I would previously have eaten without even giving it a second thought, now feels too sweet. N and I have also cut down on how much processed food we eat. Which is great except I love a good chicken kiev. Not just because they’re convenient but because I actually like them. And so I recreated them at home. But is that really any healthier? Well I suppose anything you make at home is better than then convenience version but let’s just take a moment to break down the ingredients. Chicken? No problem there. Herbs? Full of benefits. Garlic? Ditto. Milk? Not a problem. Bread crumbs? Absolutely fine in moderation. Butter? Ah.

Butter for me is the essential part of a kiev. It needs to ooze a bit or what’s the point. But can we eat it without feeling guilty? Well maybe we can. It is ultimately classified as a whole food, eaten by our ancestors for many years. And unlike its man-made substitutes, such as margarine and spreads, it has actually undergone minimal processing and refinement and is largely free from additives or artificial substitutes. Yes it does have saturated fats, but according to new scientific evidence not all sat fats are created equal, although it should be noted there is a whole lot more research that still needs to be done on this new hypothesis. So until someone tells me otherwise I will  enjoy my home-made supermarket-style chicken kiev without guilt, but definitely in moderation.

Chicken Kiev (serves 2|prep and cooking time 35 mins)

chicken kiev


  • 2 chicken breast fillets – skinless and boneless
  • 2 generous tablespoons of butter (approx 20g each)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh or frozen parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves – crushed
  • approx 60g dried breadcrumbs
  • small bowl of milk


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan
  • In a bowl place the butter, parsley and garlic and mix well
  • Place the chicken breasts on a chopping board
  • Using a sharp knife make a deep pocket in the breast. Be careful not to cut all the way through or the butter will ooze out
  • Push half of the butter mixture into the pocket as far down as you can and pinch together the chicken breast on top to partially seal it
  • Dip the chicken breast into the bowl of milk and turn it over so it is well covered
  • Then dip it into the breadcrumbs, using your hands to pat the breadcrumbs on both sides to make sure it is evenly coated
  • Place the crumb coated chicken breast onto a greased oven tray
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through

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