Monday, August 9, 2010

Get your Maroc in this, Chick ... (Moroccan chicken)

Moroccan Chicken
I hate errands. Everyone hates errands. But they are kinda fun when you have someone else to do them with.
I managed to drag sister to the post office and on my errands today. We walked to the shops and I left her outside the post office (they are not usually such exciting places). I found her outside the post office sitting in the sun waiting for me with Leonardo. We spent a good 20 mins sitting on the ground outside the post office soaking up the late-winter sun. So lucky to live in a place with winter-sun.
I also managed to get her to help me choose dinner ideas... She wanted fish... I didn't think Dad would pay for fish so we had to go for something else.
Chicken Maroc? Ok. Deal
Thanks Epicurious app on my iPhone. Epicurious credits the recipe to chef Lafridi from Jnane Tamsna (wherever that is!). I did (of course) have to make a couple of changes. The couscous combination is my own invention.
This is actually really good! Wow. It is also pretty cheap if you have the spices in your cupboard already. Chicken thighs - tender and cheap and the best cut from the chicken.
There were three of us and a lot of leftovers - this would easily make enough for 4.

For the chicken...
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
Olive oil
6 boneless chicken thighs, chicken marylands or a whole chicken cut into joints
1 tbsp buter
1 red onion, sliced into 1cm slices
4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1/2 bunch coriander, chopped (plus 1tbsp extra to serve)
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped (plus 1tbsp extra to serve)
2 tbsp good quality honey
1/2 cup Turkish apricots, cut in half
1/3 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted

In a bowl combine the chicken, the cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, salt and pepper and a good glug of olive oil to moisten. Massage the spices into the chicken. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours or longer if you have the time.

In a large heavy based casserole dish melt the butter and a glug of olive oil. Brown the chicken on all sides (you may need to do this in batches). Return all the chicken to the pan and add the onion. Cook for 5-6 mins or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes longer. Add the coriander, parsley and 1/2 cup water. Put the lid on top and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

In the meantime, place the apricots, 1 cup of water and the honey in a small saucepan. Simmer gently until the liquid is syrupy, about 10-15 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked, add the apricot and honey mix and the blanched almonds. Scatter with reserved herbs and serve with couscous and some greens (we had broccoli, but a salad or other greens would work well too).
For the Couscous...
1 cup couscous
1 tsp stock powder
1 knob of butter
2 orange sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1.5cm dice
1 white sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1.5cm dice
1/2 head of garlic, divided into cloves, but left unpeeled
Moroccan seasoning (I used masterfood seasoning)
1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/4 cup chopped apricots
1/4 cup chopped sultanas
1/3 cup blanched roasted almonds, chopped

In a heatproof bowl combine the couscous, stock powder, butter and 1.5 cups boiling water. Cover with glad wrap and set aside.

Place the sweet potato and garlic on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with the spice powder, pepper and olive oil. Roast in a 200C oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and soft.

Fluff the couscous with a fork. Mix together the couscous and all remaining ingredients. Season well with pepper and salt. Serve with the chicken.
To roast almonds...
Place almonds in a small pan over a low flame. Cook until lightly golden - do not burn!

almost greek pear and turkish fig muffins with yoghurt and olive oil

I say almost greek because of the use of olive oil and greek style yoghurt as the wet ingredients.
These are a very loose adaption of bran and raisin muffins made my Deb from Smitten Kitchen.
I say very loose because I switched the butter for olive oil, the molasses for golden syrup, the raisins for figs, changed the flour/bran combination, added oats and added chopped pear.
The result is a super-moist gem of a muffin. They still do not look super beautiful. I think it is difficult to make muffins look beautiful. Maybe next time I could try prettier cases....
I think this could also be made with berries, banana, apple.. whatever takes your fancy.
They are really easy and quick, so could potentially be in the oven while you drink your morning cup of tea and then in your tummy before you finish the pot.

Makes 16 small muffins

1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup greek style full fat yoghurt
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
1 pear, chopped into 1cm dice (don't worry about peeling it)
1 cup plain whole meal flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a muffin pan with patty pans (I made 16 medium muffins so needed two pans).

In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, brown sugar, egg, yoghurt and golden syrup.

In a separate bowl mix the figs, pear, flours, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Mix until just combined. It will be lumpy.

Spoon into cases until 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 mins or until golden and springy to the touch. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature (with butter if you are that way inclined).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

back on the running... ouch

ouch.. this hurts

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

mmm yum pasta with clams and chorizo with cider and make sure you have some bread to mop it up

this is seriously good
Make it now. Don't worry if it isn't dinner time, you will enjoy this any time of the day.

Make it for someone you love or someone you want to love you because it is that good.

Thank you again to Gourmet Traveller for this recipe.
As usual I cannot stick to the recipe, so have posted it with the changes I made.
I halved the amount of clams to make this for two, but kept the other ingredients in the original ratio to end up with a delicious soupy pasta. The sauce needs to be mopped up with bread. The flavour is too good to waste.
I made it for two people, but there was enough for a third person (male) and I think he was satisified.
Serves 2 generously

2 tbsp olive oil
1 spanish onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 fresh hot chorizo sausage, chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
3oomL cider (we used pear cider)
600g clams, soaked for 15 minutes in fresh water
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
Pepper and salt, to taste
Cooked Angel hair pasta
Fresh bread and butter, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Gently saute the onion, garlic and chilli until softened. Add the chorizo. Cook until brown (5-7 minutes). Add the tomatoes and cook until thickened (6-8 minutes). Add the lemon juice, cider and clams. Bring to the boil, put a lid on top, then cook for 6-9 minutes or until the clams are open. Stir through the pasta and parsley and enjoy.