Grilled #Chicken or Salmon with Spicy #Romesco Sauce

Spiced up this classic Catalan sauce and then smeared it over chicken, salmon fillets before grilling and even used as a base for a fish curry over the next few days.

Sweet, smoky, nutty and this version has a nice spicy kick with the inclusion of chilli flakes.

It’s great to have in the fridge to brighten things up.

It’s delicious as a dip on it’s own as well. The recipe makes a big bowl of it so use it as you please!

Sauce: Prep time 40 minutes

Ingredients:

· 2 large red capsicums

·       1 tomato

·       6 cloves of garlic with skin on

·       1 slice of white bread

·       ½ cup of nuts – I used walnuts but traditional is almonds

·       1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or red/white wine) – I used apple cider vinegar

·       1 tablespoon smoked paprika

·       2 teaspoons chilli flakes

·       1 tsp salt

· 3 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

Heat oven to 200 degrees celcius

Wrap tomato and garlic in foil

Place red capsicums whole in oven, alongside foil parcel

Grill turning red capsicums until blackened and char grilled on all sides

Remove capsicums and foil parcel from oven

Put bread and nuts in hot oven and grill until nuts are browned and bread is toasted on both sides – take care not to burn nuts (lower oven heat to 170 degrees or so) my walnuts got a bit dark but it still tasted good!

Place blackened capsicums in a plastic bag and seal – leave to steam and cool, remove skin and seeds – put in blender

Remove skin from tomato and peel garlic and put in blender with rest of ingredients – break toasted bread into large “crumbs”

Whizz until smooth thick paste forms, place in bowl.

Chicken Thigh Cutlets: Marinate overnight if you like, cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients:

4-6 chicken thigh cutlets – skin on and bone in

1 tablespoon olive oil

Fresh Thyme

Black peppper

Method:

· Rub Chicken thigh cutlets with 2-3 tablespoons of romesco sauce – leave to marinate for a while, even overnight if you can but it’s not mandatory.

· Sprinkle with black pepper, thyme and olive oil – might need a bit more salt

·       Place in hot oven 175 degrees Celsius

· Roast until skin crisps up and chicken is cooked through – about 30 minutes, then turn up to 250 degrees for 5 -10 minutes to crisp up skin

· Serve with salad, rice or roast vegetables with romesco sauce on side.

Salmon Fillets

Smear Salomon fillets with romesco sauce, grill in hot oven 180 degrees for 15 minutes or so, turn skin side up, turn up oven to 250 degrees and grill until skin crisps up for about 5 minutes, I served this with couscous and a vegetable tagine with preserved lemons.

#Parchment #Roasted #Chicken

Roasted a whole organic chicken in a “parchment“ (baking paper) parcel after tucking slithers of garlic and butter under the skin and filling the cavity with Fresh Thyme and Rosemary.

Liberally rubbed with salt and pepper.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Made a parchment “packet” by using baking paper double the length of the roasting pan, and placing a piece to overhang the pan horizontally. Then place chicken on the paper and wrap up the parcel, allowing some room above the chicken like a small tent. Make sure the grill is not on and the paper doesn’t touch the top of your oven when you put it in.

Roasted for 1.5 hours and checked that it was 83 degrees Celsius with meat thermometer. (If you like your skin super crispy, you can return chicken to oven, removing pan juices first, and cutting baking paper back so it won’t burn. Turn on top grill and grill until skin is crisped to your liking but make sure you don’t forget it in there!)

Our roast was super juicy. The juices left in the parchment made the perfect base for a quick gravy thickened in a pan with some flour mixed with water, cooked out in a pan. Serve with roast vegetables and salad. Simple and delicious.

Butter Chicken & Pea Pies #tastypies

This recipe combines 3 delicious things, my version of lite butter chicken curry, peas and puff pastry. My theory goes that skipping cream in the chicken filling recipe makes up for the butter in the puff pastry!

Lovely with just salad on the side and also great picnic food.

Prep time: 40 minutes Cooling: 20 minutes Baking: 20 minutes

Ingredients for 4 pies

  • 400g chicken thigh fillets cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cummin seeds
  • 1/2 piece of cinammon bark or quill
  • 1 teaspooon nigella seeds
  • Handful of curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cummin powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • I cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/4 cup of plain yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 3 sheets store-bought puff pastry
  • 1 egg beaten for brushing pastry

Method:

A. Begin by turning on oven to preheat to 220 degrees Celsius and take out 3 sheets of puff pastry to allow to thaw.

B Make filling and pies

1. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy based pot over medium heat.

2. Add cummin, seeds, cinnamon stick and curry leaves if using and stir until fragrant. Ensure cummin seeds don’t burn.

3. Add onions and cook gently until transparent and soft. Add ginger and garlic paste and mix through the onions.

4. Add cummin powder, turmeric and chilli powder and stir though onion mixture until just heated through. Take care not to burn the spices.

5. Add chicken, salt, nigella seeds. Stir fry until chicken is sealed, then add water and simmer for 15 minutes.

Nigella seeds add an earthy sweetness.

6. While chicken is cooking line pie tins with baking paper, then cut out circles of puff pastry to fit into bottom of pie tins, prick bottom of pastry with a fork. Line with another layer of baking paper, add pie weights or dried beans and blind bake in oven for 10 minutes until pastry is cooked and just turning golden. remove from oven and set aside.

Blind bake bottom layer of puff pastry to form cases for pies.

6. Add yoghurt and butter to the chicken curry mixture and bring back to a simmer, then add peas and cook for further 5 minutes until peas are just tender. The chicken should be cooked by now and the sauce reduced to create a moist filling without too much extra sauce left.

7. Sprinkle generously with chopped coriander and set aside to cool for 15-20 minutes.

8. When chicken mixture has cooled to lukewarm, remove pie weights/beans and top layer of baking paper from pastry cases but leave them in the pie tins.

9. Heap chicken mixture into pie cases to form small mounds, don’t forget to remove the cinammon stick.

10. Cover tops of pies with a larger circle of puff pastry crimping edge of uncooked pastry onto the pastry cases, prick top or make a small cut in top to allow steam to escape, use the back of a fork to Mark the edges, then brush with egg yolk and place in oven for 10-15 minutes or until tops are golden and puffed. Don’t worry if they are a bit untidy, they look nice and rustic when done.

11. Allow to cool/rest for 5 minutes or so and serve with salad. If packing for a picnic best to allow to cool for at least half an hour before packing.

Moroccan Chicken B’stilla #chickenpie #Morocco with Carrot salad

This is another excellent dinner party dish which is easy to make but takes a bit of preparation. If you are cooking for more than 4 people, then it’s easy to double this recipe to make 2 pies at the same time.

The combination of the chicken cooked in Moroccan spices, icing sugar almonds and lemon zest is mouthwateringly divine.

I cook carrots in with the chicken to make a carrot salad at the same time to serve with the B’stilla. The carrots cooked in the chickeny liquid are delicious when zested up with citrus and ginger flavours. The recipe is at the bottom here.

B’stilla or Pastilla? The real thing in Fes.

The best B’stilla we had was a pigeon version in Fes made with homemade filo pastry at a restaurant called Dar Tajine tucked away in the heart of the Old Médina. https://www.dartajine.com. Dinner there cooked by Salaheddin the Owner and Chef was a really memorable experience – it felt like we were in his home for a family dinner. In Fes they call B’stilla “Pastilla”.

My recipe uses chicken and store-bought filo pastry but tastes pretty delicious as well.

RECIPE

Preparation time including marination:4 hours Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken large thigh cutlets with bone in and skin on
  • 8 large sheets of filo pastry
  • half a bunch of parsley
  • Half a bunch of coriander
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic smashed to a paste
  • 1 teaspoon saffron fronds
  • 4 teaspoons ras el hanout (Moroccan spice mix)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
  • 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup of flaked almonds
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 litres of boiling water
Freespiritfood.net B’stilla

Method

1. Place saffron fronds in 1/4 cup of just boiled water and allow to steep. Remove filo pastry from freezer to allow defrost for 3.5 hours.

2. In a seperate bowl mix garlic, ras el hanout, lemon juice(not the zest), salt, saffron and saffron water olive oil and mix well

3. Place chicken thigh cutlets in a big bowl and massage the ras el hanout mixture into the chicken. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Marinate for at least 2 hours.

4. Strip the leaves from the parsley and coriander. Keep the stems separately to leaves.

5. Peel and chop the carrot and onion into large chunks.

6. Put the onion, carrots, parsley and coriander stems into a large pot, add boiling water, then chicken. Bring to a boil, then simmer chicken for an hour, skimming from time to time.

7. Check carrots during this time and remove from the cooking liquid and place in a bowl after about 30 minutes when they are tender.

8. Remove chicken from the cooking liquid and place in a bowl or plate and allow to cool.

9. Carefully strain cooking liquid into a saucepan and boil it until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup.

10. Shred chicken into a bowl using your fingers, removing the bone and skin. (I wear gloves to do this.)

11. Chop parsley and coriander leaves and add to shredded chicken., along with the lemon zest, 1/2 the cinnamon, the flaked almonds,and the reduced cooking liquid to moisten the chicken.

12. Mix the rest of cinnamon with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar.

13. Pre-heat oven goes 180 degrees Celsius.

14. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and place one sheet of filo pastry flat on it, the brush with melted butter. Add another sheet of pastry on top, brushing with butter and repeat until you have 7 sheets of pastry on top of each other to form the base.

15. Dust the base with some of the icing sugar mixture, then pile chicken mixture in the middle to form a flattish round heap.

16. Sprinkle rest of icing sugar mixture over the top of the chicken. Add an extra sheet of pastry folded in half over the top of the chicken. Then fold over all the pastry from the bottom to form a neat package using melted butter to seal it all together as you go.

15. Turn the parcel over, add a small decoration like a heart cut out of pastry to the centre if you like, brush with melted butter. Place in hot oven and cook for 30-35 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

16. Allow to rest for a while, then lay kitchen string across the package to create a ceasing, sprinkle plain icing sugar over it all, carefully remove string and voila your perfectly presented B’stilla is ready to serve. If you have a doily you can sprinkle the icing sugar through this to create the pattern. If that’s too hard just sprinkle the whole thing with icing sugar!

17. Slice and serve with carrot and green salad.

Carrot Salad

Ingredients:

  • Carrots cooked in chicken cooking liquid
  • Handful of chopped parsley leaves
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 1/2 finger length of fresh ginger julienned into strips

While the B’stilla is resting, heat your carrots for 1 minute in a microwave,

Add the rest of the ingredients to the carrots, mix through and serve with B’stilla and a crisp green salad.

Chicken with Leek, Peas, Dill and Chilli

Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s chicken traybake recipe

Here’s a link to the original recipe: https://www.today.com/recipes/nigella-lawson-s-chicken-pea-traybake-recipe-t127442

I have tweaked it to add a hint of chilli and replace the vermouth with dry white wine. My recipe also takes into account just cooking for two and cooking with our larger Australian leeks. The dill, garlic and chilli flavours somehow seep into the chicken and the peas and leeks are so yummy cooked in the juices of the chicken.

This is such a fabulous weekday, no fuss but delicious and different combination. After this first try I have to say it will definitely not be the last.

Thanks Nigella for the inspiration.

Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3-4 chicken thigh cutlets or thigh fillets – skin on
  • 1 kg bag of frozen peas
  • 1 leek
  • 4-5 stalks of dill with extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chillies (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Method

1. Pre-heat fan forced oven to 200 degrees celcius

2. Empty bag of frozen peas into flat casserole dish or oven tray that will fit chicken on top snugly

3. Slice leeks into thickish rounds

4. Pound garlic and 1 chilli into a paste in a mortar and pestle,adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to help.

5. add 3/4 of the garlic chili paste, the leeks and dill torn into pieces to the peas

6. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the peas, add white wine, and mix all the base ingredients thoroughly

7. Rub leftover garlic chilli paste on chicken

8. Place chicken on top of peas and drizzle minimally with olive oil and sprinkle with some salt

9.Place in oven for 15 minutes or until skin starts to turn golden

10. Remove from oven and push peas down and mix peas around, removing chicken for a moment if needs be, so peas are slathered in the liquid and juices.

11. Roast in oven for further 45 minutes until chicken is cooked and most of the liquid is evaporated and peas are soft and juicy. Peas will lose their “greenness” but it‘s worth it, trust me!

12. Serve chicken garnished with extra dill, with peas on the side and accompany with a green salad and with or without roast potatoes for a delicious dinner

5.

Annie’s Festive #Duck Roll Recipe

My friend Annie has made this beautiful duck roll for a number of years as part of our family Christmas feast and this year I noted down the recipe and took photos as we went.

It is stunning addition to the table and can of course be enjoyed at anytime of the year. The combination of duck, chicken mince, pistachios, cranberries and sour cherries is delicious and looks festive and is quite delicious.

Ingredients

1 duck skin-on deboned by your butcher

450g chicken mince

250g unsalted peeled pistachio nuts

100g cranberries chopped

1 can (400g) sour cherries drained

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Skewers and kitchen twine

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius

Lay duck flat on a board skin-side down, season skin with slat and pepper

Mix chicken mince with oregano, pistachios, chopped cranberries, season with salt and pepper

Spread chicken over inside (middle part) of duck in an even layer

Stud chicken with sour cherries, about four across, laying evenly in rows “down” the duck.

Roll the duck and secure pulling “skin” across the duck and through the wing holes on the other side

Tie the duck together with kitchen string.

Rub duck sparingly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a dusting of dried oregano.

Put duck roll in roasting tin, along with wings and leftover chicken mixture formed into a patty.

Roast for an hour (about 40 minutes a kilogram) and until duck is golden brown.

Allow to rest for 20 minutes then slice into thin slices and place on a serving tray.

Serve with glazed carrots and a green salad for a lovely summer meal.