Tuesday, June 23, 2015

{Chicken Saagwalla}




I found myself gazing longingly at a photograph someone had taken at an indian restaurant.  Little copper bowls filled with colourful curries, I wished, not for the first time that we had a babysitter, must get that one ticked off the list. Then I just decided to make it myself.  What I felt like was the classic saagwalla, made with mountains of spinach and a touch of cream, I made it with chicken and it was divine, exactly what I needed, minus the leaving the house without the kids bit.

...the curry
3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
2 brown onions, halved and sliced thinly
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes
1/4 tsp ground cloves 
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, grated
baby spinach leaves 320g
1 large green chilli, sliced
1 x 400g tin tomatoes 
800g skinless and boneless chicken thighs, 
cut into large chunks
juice of a lemon
sea salt and cracked pepper
2 tbsp cream
toasted natural sliced almonds
rice

Heat oil in a large fry pan, fry onions until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the spices, garlic and ginger and fry for a further 2 minutes then add in the tin of tomatoes and simmer for another couple of minutes.


I bought 2 x 160g bags of baby spinach which I zapped in the microwave for a minute per bag. Tip spinach into tomato spice mix, wilt for another minute or so over heat then tip into a deep bowl and use a stick blender to puree (or a blender).
Season chicken with salt. Heat a little more oil in the same pan and fry chicken pieces until golden on each side (do this in two batches).

Add spinach puree to chicken and simmer on medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Season generously with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Just before serving, drizzle cream over curry and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Serve with rice.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

{Slow Roasted Persian Lamb Shoulder + Cous Cous + Labne}








I like to trot this out when I have friends come for lunch, especially my kiwi friends who have a special appreciation for lamb. This lamb is delicious, it has come together over a couple of years and a few incarnations but its pretty much perfect now, lamb shoulder is the only thing I'll have a bar of roasting, no legs for me, its all about the slow roasted shoulder.
 

The salad is fresh and cuts through the richness of the lamb and the labne is just a wonderful thing to behold. Try this next time you have pals coming for lunch, make the effort to pop it into the oven whilst still in your pjs and they will walk into your home and be greeted by the delicous smell of this persian lamb slow roasting, it smells almost as good as it tastes.

… lamb
2.5kg lamb shoulder
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
6 x cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 bunch coriander, chopped finely
2 long red chillis, sliced
sea salt
cracked pepper


 …cous cous
1 cup hot chicken stock
1 cup cous cous
olive oil
sea salt
cracked pepper
a lemon
2 lebanese cucumbers, deseeded and chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
tin of chickpeas
bunch of mint, leaves picked
handful toasted pinenuts
danish fetta, crumbled
pomegranate seeds

…labne

250g full fat greek yoghurt
pinch of sea salt
1/2 clove garlic grated

pita breads and lemon wedges to serve
Ok so lets start the day before, combine all the marinade ingredients minus the salt and pepper, score the fat on the shoulder and rub in the marinade ingredients, rub it all over, pop it into a glass or ceramic dish, cover with glad wrap and pop into the fridge for 24 hours.

For the labne scoop the yoghurt into a piece of muslin or a chux cloth and rest it in a sieve over a bowl, pop that in your fridge too and let all the whey drain from the yoghurt overnight.

Preheat your oven to its highest temperature, transfer the lamb to a baking dish along with its marinade, season generously with salt and pepper, add 100mls of water to the pan and cover with a double layer of tin foil, seal tightly. Put it into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 170, leave it alone for 4 hours, by then it should be meltingly tender in which case remove the foil and increase the oven temp to 220 and cook until it is sizzling and bronzed, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven re-cover loosely with the foil and let it stand for 10 minutes.

Once the yoghurt has drained, you have labne! pop the labne into a serving bowl, stir through the seasalt and garlic, drizzle with your best quality olive oil and a light dusting of paprika to make it look pretty.

Now lets make the cous cous salad, pour your cous cous into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper stir to coat then add the cup of hot chicken stock, cover with glad wrap and put aside for five minutes.

Use a fork to fluff it up and then tip it out onto a large platter. Add to that the rinsed chickpeas, cucumber, red onion, toasted pine nuts, mint leaves, pomegranate seeds and crumbled fetta along with a good drizzle of your best olive oil along with the zest and juice of a lemon, and a generous seasoning of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, toss gently and that's that.

Serve alongside some warmed pitas and lemon wedges.


* some pickled vegies would be nice too, like the ones you get at turkish restaurants.

Monday, June 1, 2015

{Lemon Curd}




Make this lemon curd and do one thing for me, stir it through vanilla yoghurt. Eat it.  You are very welcome.

...lemon curd
9 lemons, zest and juice

(homegrown or organic lemons are best or be sure to clean skins thoroughly)
400g caster sugar
200g of butter, cubed
6 freerange eggs, plus 2 extra yolks, lightly whisked

Set yourself up a big pot of simmering water and grab a large mixing bowl that can rest on it making sure that the bowl doesn't directly touch the simmering water below.


Pop the lemon juice, zest, butter and sugar into the mixing bowl and sit it onto the saucepan, stir occasionally until the butter has melted.  Now tip in the eggs, stirring and cook it off for 15 minutes, remembering to give it a stir every couple of minutes.

Take the bowl off the heat and let the curd cool down. It will thicken as it does. Keep on giving it a stir every once in a while.  Ladle your zesty curd into sterilised jars.