Spicy Roast Chicken with Lemon and Onions

I just got asked urgently for this recipe by a friend of mine and it reminded me that I haven’t made it myself for ages.

Might have to put it on the menus for a weekend roast.

I am thinking this would be is nice with cauliflower rice pilaf (recipe will be posted)and a green salad.

Here’s the link to the roast chicken recipe first though:

https://freespiritfood.net/2017/06/10/spicy-roast-chicken-with-lemon-and-onions/

Creative cuisine #Coya #cookbook

Celebrated the launch of Ashraf Saleh’s new cookbook this evening.

The book is a lovely reflection of the creative plating and innovative flavours inspired by French and Middle Eastern cuisine that Chef Saleh whips up at his restaurant Coya in Cromer, north of Sydney.

Good recipes to try at home as well. Ashraf also offers cooking classes at the restaurant. Checkout their website for specially themed nights and classes https://www.coyacromer.com.au

Here’s a link to my review of Coya last year. Some of the dishes we tried then are featured in the new cookbook.

https://freespiritfood.net/2019/03/02/ashraf-cooks-up-a-storm-at-coya-restaurant-cromer-sydney/

Eggplant, anchovy and capsicum #pizza with #basil #veggies

Haven’t made pizza for ages but was inspired by my visit to the Entertainment Quarter markets in Centennial Park in Sydney this morning.

Brought home a beautiful haul of fresh, organic vegetables and thought an (almost) vegetarian pizza as a unique take for football finals food would be a nice addition to the usual sausage rolls and meat pies served at this time of the year at parties around the country. Still pizza though so figure it fits into the genre!

My basket of goodies from the markets this morning.

I started with the pizza dough for the base so it could “prove” for an hour while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

Pizza is fun to make and is so good when you make it all from scratch.

Prep time: 1 hour cooking time: 15 minutes

Pizza base

Ingredients:

2 and 2/3 cups of plain flour

1 cup lukewarm water

7g (1 sachet) dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1.5 tsps salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

Whisk yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes until yeast begins to froth.

Mix flour and salt and place in a mixing bowl.

Make a well in the centre of the flour, add frothy yeast mixture, and oil and mix using a cutting motion using a round edge knife or metal spatula.

When mixture starts to come together, quickly knead on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. Should be a lovely smooth blob with a slight elasticity to it.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place dough in it, cover with glad wrap/cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour to “prove” and double in size.

Sauce for base

ingredients

2 small ripe tomatoes finely diced

1/2 onion diced finely

3 cloves of garlic crushed

1 tsp mixed herbs

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

2 tablespoons tomato sauce (I used an equal mix of tomato and sriracha sauce)

1 cup water

1/4 cup white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add garlic and sauté until just fragrant, add onions and cook gently until transparent, then add mixed herbs, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, chilli flakes and white wine and simmer about 5 minutes until wine evaporates, then add water and simmer about 20 minutes until sauce is thickened and tomatoes have softened and created a nice sauce, add more water if necessary to cook more for tomatoes to break up. set aside to cool.

Topping

Ingredients

1 medium eggplant

1 whole red capsicum

4 anchovy fillets

1/2 onion sliced very thinly

8-10 small marinated green olives

Grated mozzarella

Cherry size bocconcini balls

Preparation

Capsicum

Turn on your grill/oven to 250 degrees Celsius on the grill setting. Line a small baking tray with baking paper, prick the capsicum with a fork in a few spots to allow air to escape, place on baking tray and roast in oven until skin is totally blackened…about 25 minutes or so. Remove from oven and immediately place in a plastic bag and knot the top. Set aside to cool, the skin will easily peel off when you are ready. Peel off skin, remove core and seeds, slice into thin strips and set aside.

Eggplant

Slice eggplant thinly and cover with salt and rest for 30 minutes or so, this will remove he moisture and stop the eggplant form discolouring. After minutes, drain away liquid, pat dry and pan fry with olive oil until golden brown, place on kitchen paper towel to drain off excess oil and set aside.

Olives

Slice into smaller pieces, removing pits if necessary.

Onion

Slice thinly and set aside.

Bocconcini

Slice 6 cherry bocconcini balls into 4 rounds and set aside

TURN ON OVEN TO PRE-HEAT GRILL to 250 degrees Celsius

ASSEMBLY:

Roll out half the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to your desired size and thickness. Remember the dough will rise a bit in the oven. Lightly flour your pizza pan or baking tray and place your pizza base on that. (You can freeze the other half to use another time)

Spread your cooled tomato sauce over the base.

Sprinkle a layer of grated mozzarella sparsely or not so sparsely (up to you) over the tomato sauce, then place eggplant slices evenly around the base, add s shreds of the anchovy fillets, capsicum, raw sliced onion, olives and bocconcini over the base. Add another very light sprinkle of mozzarella.

Cook under 250 degree grill, lowering heat slightly if top looks like burning, lightly cover with foil if necessary to low base to cook and crisp up.

Remove from oven after 15 minutes, scatter with fresh basil leaves and allow to sit for a few minutes. Ready for devouring!

Sublime seaside style #hotelalbatroz #cascais #portugal

Still dreaming about sunny days and relaxing by the pool at the beautifully restored and decorated Hotel Albatroz in Cascais.

We spent 4 days in this lovely seaside town on the Atlantic Coast enjoying fresh seafood, the quaint shops and even a pop concert by the beach.

The Hotel Albaztroz is right on the Atlantic Ocean, so the views are stunning. Being on a point, it is away from the main hustle and bustle of this popular coastal town, but the sounds of laughter and people enjoying the beach drifts up through the windows creating a happy and idyllic air to the place.

According to their website: The Albatroz Hotel started in the ’60s when it opened for the first time with the name ‘Estalagem Albatroz’ in 1963. Revamped and enlarged during 18 months in 1982, Duke of Loule Palace (the main building), also known as “the box of almonds”, was built in 1873 and was home to several royal families.

We stayed in an upstairs room in the original Place Building accessed by an old school lift. The room with it’s porthole windows overlooking the beach was reminiscent of staying on a ship. Luxurious bedding, and divine but eclectic interior decorations add to the feeling of luxury and elegance.

The food from the restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinners on the terrace, by the pool or in the dining room overlooking the sea was all really good, making it difficult to tear oneself away to explore restaurants and bars in the town…although we did that as well and enjoyed it greatly.

The restaurant in it’s own right is very worth a visit with beautiful salads, club sandwiches, fresh seafood and a good wine list.

We also enjoyed long walks along the sea to Estoril and the other way to the Lighthouse. The weather was perfect and whilst there were many tourists it was relaxed and very enjoyable.

Cascais is a great escape by the sea, only 30 minutes from the centre of Lisbon. We just caught an Uber down and then back to Lisbon airport. A lovely way to chill out on the coast without having to travel too far.

Roda Viva rocks Mozambique flavours #alfama #mozambique #lisbon

Feeling a bit miserable today with a cold and dreaming about sunny Lisbon and the fantastic foods and flavours we experienced on our recent visit there.

One of our eating adventures involved finding the atmospheric Mozambican restaurant Roda Viva in a small alleyway in Beco do Mexias 11 In The Alfama.

We had visited Castelo de Sao Jorge earlier that morning enjoying stunning views across Lisbon and soaking up the history of the 11th century castle and then walked down to Beco de Mexias through winding cobblestone backstreets of Alfama. Walking down was. A great way to get a close up look at the ancient houses, trendy artisan shops and restaurants, but we definitely needed Google maps to guide us to our destination as it would be very easy to get lost in the labyrinth of streets around here.

We were warmly welcomed into the tiny narrow restaurant by the waiter/chef Octavio Chamba, a Mozambican chef and anthropologist with a passion for percussion who moved to Lisbon 10 years ago to study ethnomusicology.

We settled in and immediately ordered icy cold Mozambique 2M Mac-Mahon beer to quench our thirst after the hot walk.

Mozambique was an important strategic colony of Portugal’s acting as a layover post for Portuguese explorers on their way to India and the Far East. There is a small population of Mozambican expats but quite a few well known restaurants serving the fusion African eastern food.

We ordered traditional Capucha stew with a mixture of beef, pork, chicken sweet corn and beans and their famous crab curry which came with a hot chilli sauce on the side and rice. The meal was different and delicious. (It is the crab curry that I would like right now to fix this cold!!)

The restaurant is decorated with straw hats and traditional Mozambican fabrics and the service was warm and friendly.

A great stopover during our exploration of Lisbon and a nice way to connect with the Portuguese history of colonisation, exploration and voyaging. We continued our walk to the Port and beyond.

Shedding new light on modern Australian dining #Lamshed #canberra

Brilliant dinner at Lamshed in Canberra on Friday night. Waiter suggested AUD$45pp shared plates but we got to choose what we wanted from the menu.

Started with fennel cured kingfish with orange, tarragon and lightly pickled fennel. The combination of flavours was perfect. This was followed by Sweet potato “schnitzel” with tzatziki…the sweet potato was crumbs and deep fried but the cool yoghurt cucumber tzatziki made it all feel healthy and fresh!

The wine list is excellent and we enjoyed a beautiful Rose and moving to an Albariño as we progressed through the various dishes.

One of the specials was the slow cooked lamb neck perfectly spiced with what tasted like all-spice and wrapped into cabbage rolls and garnished with dill. Another special was pan-fried fish of the day with a sweet pea puréed sauce, peas and pea tendrils.

The eggplant tempura with white miso was divine as was the the pressed oxtail, celeriac and fregola.

Every course was an imaginative combination of ingredients and flavours delivering an overall excellent dining experience.

We finished the meal with cheese and a bottle of 2015 Campbell’s of Rutherglen Durif.

The restaurant that is in Yarralumla is minimalist but warm and the open kitchen adds a buzz of activity and atmosphere to the dining room.

We went with a party of 6 which was great for trying lots of dishes.