Oven Roasted Spiced Chicken

So many recipes, so few days in the month.

With over 800 recipes to choose from, Charmaine Solomons – The Complete Asian Cookbook – is proving to be quite the challenge as  The Cookbook Guru book of the month.

Lucky for me, a friend tagged a few of her favourite recipes. Thanks Sue S.  This was definitely a fine recipe to tag.

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A simple yet amazingly tasty meal to prepare.

I ended up using a whole chicken instead of pieces. Just cut out the backbone and flatted the bird by pushing down on the breast. It cooks faster and more evenly  than leaving it whole.

I added a couple of other ingredients too.

Oven Roasted Spiced Chicken.

1 free range whole chicken (or 1.5 kg chicken pieces)

3 cloves garlic – minced

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

4tsp five spice powder

1 red chilli – finely chopped (optional, we love chilli)

4 Tblsp light soy sauce

3 Tblsp peanut oil

1 Tblsp dry sherry

2 large potatoes cut into slices 5mm thick (optional but delicious)

In a bowl mix together the garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, five spice, chilli, soy sauce, peanut oil and sherry. Pour over your chicken and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

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Spread the potato slices in a roasting dish (which I cover with foil or baking paper for easy cleaning). Lift the chicken out of the marinade and lay it, skin side down, on top of the potatoes. Pour the marinade over the chicken.

Roast in a pre heated 180 c oven for 30 minutes, turn the chicken over (skin side up) and cook for another 30 minutes.

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The skin will be crispy and the potatoes will have soaked in all the delicious juices and be cooked to perfection.

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Indonesian Sticky Beef Spareribs

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This months The Cookbook Guru is the brilliant Sharmaine Solomon’s The Complete Asian Cookbook.

I own of copy of Charmaines Thai Cookbook and it got quite a workout in its time. She makes cooking Asian food easy.

Once again little bits of paper are sticking out from between the pages of this book. A friend even bookmarked a few of her and her family’s favourite recipes for me to try. I’m hoping I’ll get to all of them during this month.

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First off  I’ve started with cooking something I’ve wanted to cook for long time – Sticky Beef Spareribs. I did actually make three  recipes as a full meal – Beef Ribs, Squid Sambal and Green Bean Sambal, but the ribs were the star of the show. So sticky and full of flavour and ridiculously easy to make. 

For two people (with another dish and rice), you’ll need:-

500g beef spareribs

3 cloves of garlic – grated or crushed

1tsp grated ginger

salt and pepper

1 Tblsp peanut oil

2 Tblsp dark soy sauce

1/4 cup water

1 Tblsp dry sherry

1/2 tsp chinese five spice powder

1 Tblsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)

Cut the spareribs into individual ribs for easy cooking and serving. Season with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan and brown the ribs all over. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for a couple more minutes stirring them all around.

Next add the soy sauce, water, sherry and five spice. Give it a good stir, turn the heat down to low, cover and let it simmer gently for about two hours or until the meat is tender. Be sure to give it a stir every now again so it doesn’t stick.

Add the sugar and stir it in until it melts.

The sauce should be thick and sticky, if it isn’t just lift the meat out onto a plate and turn the heat up under the sauce and let it reduce a little.

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These were amazingly delicious. Unfortunately the photos don’t do it justice. Maybe you should try making it and post a photo.

Enjoy…

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Lamb with Onion, Ginger and Coriander Relish

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I’ve had to renew Tessa Kiros’ ‘Falling Cloudberries’ from the library because there are still a few recipes I want to try.

January’s The Cookbook Guru book is one I’ll have to buy I think. Problem is I have no more room left for any more books. Well, that’s something I’m going to have to deal with…

This particular dish looked too good to pass up.

It calls for a 1.3kg leg of lamb but with only my husband and myself to cook for, it was way too much so I de-boned a leg of lamb and cut off a 700g piece (the rest got cut up and put in the freezer for next time). This was enough for dinner and sandwiches the next day.

My sister is actually waiting for this post so she can make it. Better get on with it then.

To a bowl add 250g plain yoghurt, 4 cloves grated or crushed garlic, 1 tsp each allspice, sweet paprika, ground cumin and ground coriander, 1/2 tsp each ground cardamom, salt and ground black pepper. Give this a really good mix.

Put your lamb in a container where it will fit compactly and smoother it all over with the yoghurt marinade.

This amount of marinade will probably be enough for a whole leg of lamb.

Cover and leave to marinade overnight, or as long as possible, in the fridge. (I managed to leave it for 4 hours)

Take the lamb our of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking it it let it come to room temperature.

Lift the lamb from the marinade but don’t scrape any of the yoghurt off.

The recipe says to lay the lamb on a wire rack and bake for 1 hour at 200oc but I lay the lamb on some chunks of potato that I’d coated in garlic, oil, salt and lemon juice and baked at 160oc for nearly 2 hours, turning the meat over after 1 hour.

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While the meat was absolutely delicious, I really loved the relish that’s served with it. So fresh and tangy.

Finely dice 1/2 a brown onion and gently saute in 2 Tblsp olive oil until starting to go brown on the edges. Add 3 Tblsp of water and continue to cook for a few more minutes until the water has reduced and the onions are soft. Take off the heat and add 2-3 tsp finely grated ginger and leave this to cool. Transfer to a serving bowl and add the juice of 1 lime, a big handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves and a dash or two of some chilli oil or a bit of sambal oelek. Give it a really good stir.

Leave the lamb to stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing up and serving with a spoonfull of the relish.

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The meat came out so tender and juicy. I’ll be making this again and again and again….

Enjoy…

Tessa’s Filo with Poached Pears, Rose and Pistachio Praline

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Another wonderful recipe from Tessa Kiros’  ” Falling Cloudberries” for this months The Cookbook Guru Challenge.

It was just too good to pass up. I borrowed the book from the library nearly 3 weeks ago and have had this recipe bookmarked since I read it.

Having absolutely no idea what to make for dinner it was time to send out the urgent message…

‘Hey, how’s your day going? What do you feel like for dinner cause I have absolutely no idea?’

To which my husband replied….

‘How about Monk Soup with lots of toasted Lebanese Bread?’

Perfect….

But a really healthy dinner like that deserves a really good dessert like this…

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In a saucepan bring to the boil 80g castor sugar, a couple of pieces of lemon rind, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise (optional, I like the licorice flavour it gives) and 1 cup of water. Let it boil for 5 minutes while you peel, quarter and core 2 firm pears.

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Lower the heat under the sugar syrup, add 1/2 tsp rose water (the recipe calls for untreated rose petals which I didn’t have, so rose water did the trick) and gently lower in the pears. Lay a piece of baking paper on top of the pears so that the exposed parts don’t discolour. Simmer very gently for 15 – 20 minutes or until the pears are cooked through and soft but not mushy.

Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Next you’ll need 3 sheets of filo pastry, 30g melted butter and 1 Tblsp castor sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.

Lay one sheet of filo on your bench and brush it with the melted butter then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Place another sheet of pastry on top and do the same again. Finish with a good brush of butter. Cut the pastry in half longways and then into strips about 5cm wide. Carefully place on a baking paper lined baking sheet and drizzle each piece with a little honey then bake at 180oC for 12 – 15 minutes until brown and cripsy. Leave to cool.

So now for my favourite part, pistachio praline. Lightly butter or oil a piece of baking paper and put it on a baking sheet. Put 3 Tblsp castor sugar  into a small saucepan or frypan over a medium head. Leave it to melt and turn a caramel colour. Don’t stir it just swirl the pan a little. Be sure to keep your eyes on it so it doesn’t burn.

Take it off the heat and stir in 30g unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, then carefully pour onto the prepared baking sheet and leave to cool and set. Break up into pieces, put in a ziplock bag and bash with a mallet until it’s like coarse breadcrumbs.

To serve – spoon a couple of pieces of pear onto a plate or a bowl with some of the syrup, add a couple of strips of the filo pastry, sprinkle with the praline and scoop in some vanilla ice cream.

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I sounds like a lot of work but it was really worth it.

Please give it a go…

Enjoy…

Baked Butter Beans with Onion, Tomato and Parsley

My first choice from The Cookbook Guru book of the month, Tessa Kiros’s ‘Falling Cloudberries’ is a baked beans recipe.

I have been wanting to make my own baked beans for ages, the thing is, I have absolutely no reasons or excuses to offer as to why I haven’t yet.

That’s all about to change.

I borrowed a copy of the book from one of the local libraries though having had a look at it wouldn’t mind owning a copy.

Such a diverse collection of recipes and so well set out. I have little bits of paper poking from between the pages as bookmarks for the recipes I want try and the beans are first off the rank.

Now, I couldn’t help myself and have altered the recipe a little (maybe one day I’ll follow a recipe to the letter, maybe???)

What you’ll need is…

1 x 400g can of butter beans – drained and rinsed well

1 Tbls olive oil

1/2 onion – thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1 stalk celery – finely diced

200g canned diced tomato (diced fresh tomato will work too)

2 Tbls bread crumbs

2 – 3 Tbls finely chopped parsley

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Heat the oil in a fry pan and add the onion. Saute until soft and just starting to colour around the edges.

Take off the heat, add the garlic, celery and tomato and season well with salt and pepper.  Stir in 100ml water.

Put the drained beans in a deep ovenproof dish and pour the tomato sauce over it. Give it a gentle stir, cover it with foil and bake at 180oc for 40 minutes then remove the foil and give it a gentle stir adding  a little more water if the beans are getting too dry.

Sprinkle with a couple of dashes of worcestershire sauce (totally optional) and the bread crumbs and return to the oven, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.

The beans should be very tender and golden on top and the sauce should be thick and sticking to the beans.

Sprinkle the parsley on top and it’s ready.

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This makes a great accompaniment to roast or grilled meats or just spooned over lightly grilled sourdough bread.

I served it with grilled lamb chump chops and a mint and garlic yoghurt sauce.

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Enjoy…

Seasoned Chicken with Asparagus Sauce.

Well, I finely managed to get a copy of Jane Grigson’s English Food. Thankyou very much Mr Brian P. for lending it to me.

This is the November book for The Cookbook Guru challenge.

Let me tell you, there are some pretty interesting recipes in there. I’ve bookmarked a few pages with recipes containing ingredients that I’ve never cooked with but am definitely up for trying.

Tonight though, I’ve picked something easy. Asparagus Sauce.

Dinner tonight is going to be free range chicken breast which I’ll season with salt, pepper, cumin, sweet paprika, cinnamon and sumac.

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I’m going to pan fry the meat to give it a lovely golden colour then i’ll put it in the oven (200c for about 10 – 15 minutes) to finish cooking.

In the meantime I’ll be roughly chopping 2 bunches of fresh asparagus spears, leaving a few whole spears for garnish, and steaming them in a little water until they are cooked through. Then pop them in the blender, with a little of the cooking liquid, and purée.image

Once the chicken has finished cooking lift it onto a plate and keep it warm (I put it in the microwave oven and close the door), then pour the asparagus purée into the same fry pan that you cooked the chicken in. All those lovely spices and juices left behind end up flavouring the sauce. Add 30g butter and let it gently melt in.

Now, Jane’s recipe calls for sour cream but I don’t have any so I added some Greek style yoghurt instead, about 3 tablespoons.

Heat through gently and adjust the seasoning if you need to.

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This meal went down well with a glass (or two) of  Four Sisters  Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.

Enjoy…