Tag Archives: chicken

Toasted sourdough sandwich with herbed chicken mayo

14 Mar

My favourite sandwich: a toasted herbed chicken mayo on sourdough bread (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

If there is one sandwich that I cannot resist, it’s a good chicken mayonnaise. Sometimes I buy a cheap one at my local supermarket when I don’t have time for lunch – some days they even have chicken mayo vetkoek (almost like a massive doughnut filled with chicken mayo). But some days I sit down for a proper chicken mayo at Schoon de Compagne. Nothing beats a proper sourdough toasted sarmie. And when it’s filled with freshly roasted chunks of chicken swirled in homemade mayonnaise, it’s the king of sandwiches.

If you’re feeling lazy, use your favourite good quality store-bought mayonnaise and a ready roasted chicken. I won’t tell a soul.

Ingredients: (makes 2 large sandwiches)

  •  2 chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • about 1/2 cup (125 ml) home-made mayonnaise (see below)
  • about 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped herbs (I used a mixture of parsley & chives)
  • 1 medium size sweet & tangy dill cucumber, finely chopped (optional)
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread (I use the middle of a round loaf to get the largest slices possible)
  • butter for spreading

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 C.
  2. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Use a pastry brush to coat them with olive oil, then sprinkle generously with salt & pepper (I sometimes use a Cajun spice when I’m in the mood for a kick). Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the skin is golden and the thickest part of the breast is just cooked (juices should run clear). Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the roasted chicken from the bone, then cut the meat into chunky slices. If the skin is nice and crispy, I like to leave the skin on – it adds a whole lot of flavour. Place the chicken slices/chunks in a mixing bowl, then add the mayonnaise and herbs and mix well. Season with a little extra salt & pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  4. Butter the slices of bread on both sides, then fill each sandwich with a generous amount of filling. Use a hot griddle pan (or normal pan) to toast the closed sandwiches on each side until they’re crisp and golden – press down gently on the sandwich using an egg lifter, while toasting. Serve at once.

For homemade mayonnaise: (makes about 1 cup)

  • 1 whole free range egg, as fresh as you can get
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 10 ml Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) canola oil

Method for mayonnaise: Using a stick blender and tall cup (or a food processor) add the eggs, lemon juice, mustard and salt & pepper. Give it a good whizz, then start adding the oil in a very thin stream while blending. Continue to blend until you get a thick, creamy consistency. Use immediately or store in a closed container in the fridge for a few days.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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A casual summer holiday lunch with Poetry Stores: Part 1

6 Dec

A casual Summer lunch or brunch (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

If there is one word that sums up 2013 for me, it would be “inspiration”. This year has been a great year of being surrounded by truly inspirational peers, clients and friends, and it is the theme of this 3 part festive series that I have put together in association with Poetry Stores.

We’ve reached the end of 2013, and we are all starting to get ready for a well-deserved break! I’ve teamed up with Poetry Stores to bring you fantastic ideas and inspiration for festive meals, recipes, gifts, decor and homeware. With each part of this series I have chosen a recipe book from Poetry’s collection, featuring 4 or 5 of the most scrumptious recipes from each book, along with a selection of beautifully festive homeware that you can use to decorate your table or wrap as Christmas gifts to your nearest and dearest. Remember that recipe books also make amazing Christmas gifts, and they keep on giving us fresh ideas right through the year!

For the first feature, I have chosen the theme of “A Casual Summer Holiday Lunch” with recipes from Café Food at Home by Evan Faul from Quivertree Publications (available from Poetry Stores). Evan is a master at baking, so I simply had to try his recipe for ciabatta. He also features a beautiful recipe for a sandwich in his book, made from the same ciabatta, and filled with garlic & thyme roasted chicken, red pepper pesto & mayonnaise, fresh basil leaves and finely sliced red onion, and I couldn’t resist. For dessert, I chose Evan’s recipe for a white chocolate cheesecake with a chocolate biscuit crust, topped with fresh seasonal berries – a show stopping dessert!

Evan’s book is filled with easy, scrumptious recipes of the food that I really love to eat: it is unpretentious, beautifully photographed, and lipsmackingly delicious. Café food, bistro food, inspiration for laid back holiday food. Serve with you favourite beer or some ice cold white wine.

Poetry’s range of beautiful wooden boards, Wonkiware platters and inhouse tableware will make any feast look picture perfect.  Here’s what we’ve used in the pictures:

Large round bread board:  R499

Baguette board:  Small baguette board R199

Large Wonkiware regtangular trough: R599

Wonkiware bowl: R140

Wonkiware cake plate: R350

Tumbler glass: R40

Ciabatta loaf (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ciabatta: Ingredients

For the “rustic poolish” (starter dough):

  • 400 ml cold water
  • 270 g bread flour
  • 130 g unsifted wholewheat flour
  • 3 g instant yeast (about 5 ml)

For the ciabatta loaf:

  • 375 g bread flour
  • 2 g instant yeast
  • 375 g rustic poolish (see above)
  • 10 g salt
  • 240 ml iced water

Method:

  1. For the rustig poolish, place all the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer, then mix well for a couple of minutes with your flat beater. Transfer the mixture to a plastic container, and cover with a damp cloth. Place in the fridge overnight for use the next day.
  2. The next day, place the rest of the ingredients except the salt and water in the mixer. Mix for 3 minutes on slow speed while adding the iced water.  Mix for 4 minutes on medium speed.
  3. Keep on mixing while you add the salt. Mix for a further 6 minutes on medium speed. Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled container, cover with a damp cloth, then leave in a warm area in the kitchen to ferment for 2 hours. Fold the dough after 4o minutes, and again after 80 minutes.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a flour-dusted work surface. Dust the surface of the dough with flour, using a sieve to avoid any lumps. Gently stretch the dough into a rectangle using your hands.
  5. Carefully divide the dough into 2 portions. Roll the pieces very gently in the dusting flour so that they are evenly coated. Place the dough portions on a well floured cloth and prove for 60 minutes.
  6. Place a terracotta baking stone (if you have one) in the oven, and preheat the oven to 250 C for at least an hour before baking.
  7. Transfer the breads onto a teflon sheet. Mist the oven with water using a spray bottle, before loading the loaves on the hot stone in the oven (I don’t have a baking stone, but I preheated a normal baking tray). Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temp to 220 C for a further 10 minutes. The bread should be golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Chicken lemon & thyme roast (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Chicken, lemon & thyme roast:

  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 10 free-range chicken thighs and breasts on the bone (I used a mixed pack of chicken pieces)
  • 75 ml good quality olive oil
  • small bunch fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 onions, peeled

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C.
  2. Cut the head of garlic in half horizontally. Use it to rub the skin of the chicken pieces. Break up the head of garlic but do not peel the cloves.
  3. Place the chicken pieces and garlic in a bowl. Add the olive oil, thyme and seasoning. Cut the lemons in half, and cut the onions in 1/8 segments. Add the lemons and onions to the bowl, then use your hands to gently toss all the ingredients together. Tip it out onto a flat roasting tray lined with foil, then spread them out in a single layer, chicken pieces skin side up.
  4. Roast for 25 minutes until the chicken is crisp, brown and juicy. (I turned down the oven to 180 C and roasted for another 20 minutes).
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven, then use tongs to squeeze the caramelized lemon over the meat before serving.

Roasted red pepper pesto (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Roast tomato & red pepper pesto:

  • 2 large red peppers, cored seeded and cut into quarters
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 15 ml olive oil for roasting
  • 1 clove  garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 60 g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 35 g pine nuts
  • 25 g cashew nuts
  • 5 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 20 g basil leaves (optional)
  • 100 ml good quality olive oil for blending
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lemon

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Arrange the peppers and tomatoes skin sides down on a roasting tray. Drizzle with oil and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. Place the garlic, cheese, pine nuts, cashew nuts, and vinegar in a food processor and blend together gently. Add the roasted peppers, tomatoes and basil (if using) and blend at low speeds.
  4. With the processor running, slowly add 100 ml oil in a steady stream (depending on the thickness you require, adjust the amount of olive oil). Season to taste and finish off with a squeeze of lemon juice.
  5. Place in an airtight container or in a sterilized glass jar in the fridge – it should keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge.

Roast chicken sandwich (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Roast chicken sandwich:

  • 400 g lemon chicken & thyme roast (see above)
  • 100 g roast tomato & red pepper pesto (see above)
  • 100 g mayonnaise
  • 10 g smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 loaf ciabatta (see above)
  • 100 ml good quality olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • a few basil leaves
  • a few gherkins

Method:

  1. Flake the chicken from the bone, then add the pesto, mayo, paprika and seasoning. Mix well.
  2. Slice the ciabatta in half lengthways. Drizzle the cut sides with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Toast under a hot grill under golden brown.
  3. Remove bread from the oven, then rub with garlic and then with the cut side of the tomato half.
  4. Spread the bread with the chicken mayo mixture. Layer red onion and basil leaves on top and cover with the other half of the toasted bread. Slice into portions and serve with gherkins on the side.

Baked white chocolate cheesecake (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Baked white chocolate cheesecake:

  • 200 g chocolate biscuits
  • 90 g butter, melted
  • 400 g best quality white chocolate
  • 750 g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 230 g sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250 ml single cream, chilled and whipped
  • mixed seasoning berries, to serve

Method:

  1. Crush biscuits in a food processor, then mix in the melted butter. Press mixture firmly into the bottom and sides of a well-greased 23 x 8 cm springform cake tin.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 150 C.
  3. Break chocolate into chunks and place in a glass or metal bowl. Melt gently over a pot of simmering water.
  4. Beat cream cheese lightly with a hand blender. Add vanilla extract, sugar and melted chocolate and mix well.
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then fold in the whipped cream. Pour onto the prepared biscuit crust, then bake for 1 hour.
  6. Switch off the oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the oven before removing from the tin.
  7. Serve with seasonal berries.

Credits:

All recipes by Evan Faul, from his book Café Food at Home.

Food preparation & text: Ilse van der Merwe of The Food Fox

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Ilse van der Merwe & Tasha Seccombe

Homeware: Poetry Stores

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Classic French Coq au Vin

2 Sep

Classic French coq au vin (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Over the past few days, we’ve been bombarbed by torrential rains in the Cape. It’s been the most rain we’ve had all winter, coupled with stormy winds – terrible weather for anyone who had to be outside or on the road.

We had our monthly food shoot last week with the dream team from The Pretty Blog. Although we always have the best time  creating beautiful pictures, dark and stormy weather is not necessarily our friend when it comes to food photography lighting! After scanning my house for the best spot to do the shoot (we usually shoot on the stoep, but it was way too windy and cold), we decided to set up at my bedroom window. A bit cramped to say the least, but we pulled it off!

I wanted to feature one last hearty winter stew before the Spring weather starts to settle in (we cannot wait!), so I decided on one of my favourite classic French dishes: coq au vin. This is a simple stew of chicken, small onions, bacon, and mushrooms, simmered in red wine. The red wine turns the chicken purple – a bit alarming at first, but it then settles into a dark and hearty broth, totally delicious for a cold winters day.

Traditionally, the French serve this stew with bread or with pasta, but we like to eat it with white rice or even mashed potato. Choose whatever you like!

Ingredients: (serves 4-6, but this recipe can easily be doubled to feed a large crowd)

  • 45 ml (3 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 8 chicken pieces (about 1 kg)
  • 16-20 “pickling” onions, skinned and whole (small pearl onions)
  • 125 g streaky bacon, cut into small cubes
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 250 g button mushrooms (or portabellini)
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) tomato paste
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) flour
  • 1/2 bottle (375 ml) red wine (I use a good Bordeaux blend like Sutherland’s Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot)
  • salt and black pepper

Method:

  1. In a large heavy based pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then fry the chicken pieces in batches until the skins are golden. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, bacon & thyme, then fry until the bacon becomes crispy and the onions get a nice colour on the outside. Add the mushrooms and fry for another minute.
  3. Add the tomato paste & flour, then stir well. Now add the red wine. Give it a good stir, then add the chicken pieces and meat juices back into the pot. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes. Check on the chicken every now and then to make sure that the pieces are submerged in the sauce and gets coloured purple on all sides.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, then stir gently without breaking up the meat. Serve warm with rice, potatoes, pasta or bread, and some steamed green vegetables like beans or broccoli.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.

(Photography by Tasha Seccombe)

 

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Butter chicken curry

12 Aug

Rich butter chicken curry with roti’s and fresh coriander (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Of all the butter chicken recipes I have come across over the years, this one remains my absolute favourite. I have made it many, many times at home, and everytime I am amazed at how easy it is to create such a fragrant and satisfying feast.

Butter chicken curry is a mild, rich dish. It is made with lots of butter, ground cashew nuts, and cream – definitely not for the calorie conscious! But the result is an absolutely dreamy mixture of fragrant exotic spices (especially cardamom), rich gravy and succulent boneless chicken. It is fantastic served on basmati rice, but also great served with naan bread or wrapped up in a roti.

Tasha, our photographer, told me that they had recently used butter chicken curry as a filling for soft white rolls on a road trip. Now that sounds brilliant! Don’t forget the fresh coriander, it adds a welcome fresh touch to the richness of the sauce.

Ingredients: (recipe adapted from Huisgenoot magazine, 16 April 2009)

  • 1 kg boneless chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • 45 ml grated fresh ginger
  • 5 ml salt
  • 5 ml ground turmeric (or 2,5 ml yellow food colouring)
  • 125 g butter plus 15 ml vegetable oil
  • 30 ml butter
  • 10 ml ground fennel (barishap)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 5 ml minced red chilli (I use John West, but you can also just cut up a fresh small red chilli, very finely chopped)
  • 100 ml raw cashew nuts, finely processed (reserve a few whole nuts for decoration, if you want to)
  • 1 can (410 ml) tomato puree (NOT tomato paste)
  • 5 cardamom pods, skins removed and seeds crushed in a pestle & mortar
  • 250 ml fresh cream (or Ideal Milk or plain yoghurt)
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh coriander leaves, to serve
  • cooked basmati rice or naan bread, to serve

Method:

  1. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and place it in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the ginger, salt and turmeric, then mix well to coat the chicken.
  3. Add the 125 ml butter and oil to a large pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chicken and fry until it has changed colour but not cooked through all the way – about 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside until later.
  4. In the same pan, add another 30 ml of butter. Add the fennel and onion, then fry over low to medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent (very important to not do this over high heat).
  5. Now add the garlic and chilli paste, and fry for 1 minute. Add the cashew nuts and tomato puree and stir well. Turn the heat up slightly and bring the mixture to the boil.
  6. Now add the chicken pieces and cardamom seeds, and lower the heat to a simmer. Add the cream, then stir through and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Season to taste with salt (if necessary) and black pepper. Remove from the heat, top with coriander leaves and serve with rice or bread.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.

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Exotic coconut curry

1 Nov

Chicken coconut curry with exotic asian vegetables

I was invited by the kind people at Crush Online Magazine to participate in a cooking challenge! This challenge involved the new Findus frozen foods range, and specifically their Wok Range. It is imported from Sweden and currently available at most Pick ‘n Pay retail stores.

I chose to cook with the Findus Wok Gold pack, which contains a mixture of very exotic Asian ingredients, like cabbage flower, water chestnut, bamboo shoots and green garlic. It also contains more well-known vegetables like carrots, sugar snap peas, onions and baby corn.

I have to say that the quality of these frozen veggies is really amazing. Even after cooking, it retains the crunch of great quality fresh vegetables.

I decided to cook the vegetables in a quick, fragrant coconut curry sauce with sliced chicken breasts, but I have also tried this recipe with prawns and it worked really well. You can also cook it with cubed fish fillets.

This is a mild curry, but add as much chilli as you like. It is a really quick, easy, fragrant meal that takes only 15 minutes to make from scratch!

Ingredients:

  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 20 ml red curry paste
  • 15 ml crushed ginger
  • 400 ml coconut cream
  • 400 g chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
  • 450 g Findus Wok Range, Gold
  • salt to taste
  • fresh coriander leaves and sliced small tomatoes for garnish
  • cooked Thai rice, to serve with

Method:

  1. In a wok or large pan, heat oil over medium to high heat. Add curry paste and ginger, then fry for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add coconut cream, then bring to a boil. Add chicken and frozen vegetables, then bring to a simmer and simmer for 6-8 minutes with the lid closed.
  3. Remove from heat, season with salt and serve with Thai Rice, garnished with coriander leaves and sliced tomato.

Tip: You can also make your own red curry paste by grinding fresh garlic, ginger, red chillies and coriander leaves in a pestle and mortar to a paste. But using ready-made curry paste saves a lot of time for people with a busy schedule!

Please go to Crush Online’s Facebook Page and vote for my recipe!

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Roast chicken with garlic, lemon and thyme

16 Oct

Roast chicken with loads of garlic, thyme and lemon, served with green beans.

Coming from a family of 6, we rarely had whole roasts of any kind when I was a child. Chicken was served as an economical dish, braaied or baked as individual cuts in a hearty chutney sauce, or boiled and deboned and served in a creamy white sauce topped with crushed tomato flavoured potato chips (one of my favourites). Both dishes were served on rice, with accompanying veggies. My Mom did sometimes buy whole chickens, but they were always boiled in water, after which I had to debone the cooled birds for my Mother to use in one of her family feasts. I have to confess: I always ate some of the meat while deboning the chickens. I once actually ate a whole chicken on the job – I started with 2, but ended up with only one for the rest of my family. My Mom was NOT impressed!! (PS: those were the days when my teenage metabolism was still as fast as a freight train.)

The first time I ever had whole roast chicken was when I made it myself, about 12 years ago. There are few things as simple and as festive as whole roast chicken. Always use the freshest and best quality chicken you can find. If you have ever tasted real organic farm chickens, large as turkeys, with beautiful brown meat, you would understand the difference. Now, I know that it is simply not always possible to get hold of these chickens, or to afford them. So we buy the specials in the supermarkets and we make the most of them.

With this simple recipe, a cheap small supermarket chicken will taste fantastic. If you can get hold of a free range organic farm chicken, it will change into something heavenly. Buy whatever you can afford!

Ingredients: (1 medium sized chicken will serve about 4 people)

  • 1 whole chicken (cleaned and trimmed)
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 8-10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 whole heads of garlic

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. Mix olive oil with rind and juice of the lemon. Strip the thyme leaves off half the sprigs and add to the mixture. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Separate cloves off one head of garlic, then slice the other head in half horizontally.
  4. Place chicken breast side up in a medium-size roasting tin. Place separated garlic cloves and sliced head of garlic next to chicken, along with the used lemon halves. Now drizzle all over with the olive oil mixture. Make sure the chicken is covered well. Place remaining thyme sprigs in chicken cavity.
  5. Place roasting tin in over, uncovered, and bake for one and a half hours, or until chicken is golden and garlic cloves are dark brown.
  6. Remove from oven, then serve on a large serving platter with blanched green beans and roast potatoes.

 

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Tasha Seccombe & Nicola Pretorius

 

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Mediterranean chicken kebabs with olive marinade

28 Jun

Grilled chicken kebabs with a Mediterranean olive marinade

While the rain is keeping us all indoors here in the Western Cape during the height of Winter, I’m mostly in my kitchen preparing hearty dishes like stews and soups. But then a beautiful sunny day comes along, like today, and all I want to do is pretend that I live in the Mediterranean and eat  tapas-style food!

We’re having friends over for a braai tonight, and we’ll be having these mini chicken kebabs with a Mediterranean olive marinade for starters. I prefer to use deboned thighs for the kebabs, as the browner meat is always more tender and juicy. No-one likes a dry sosatie!

Rather make smaller bite-size kebabs for this recipe – they are easy to eat as snacks or starters and they are easier to cook through without the risk of being underdone. I serve them with Medi Deli’s Roasted Red Pepper Dip – the perfect partner for these Mediterranean flavours!

Ingredients for marinade:

  • 10 x Mediterranean Delicacies Calamata Style Olives, pitted
  • 1 t Mediterranean Delicacies Basil Pesto
  • 4 x Spicy Sweet Pickled Peppers (or peppadews)
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 2 T (45 ml) olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Ingredients for kebabs:

  • about 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (preferably organic)
  • 10-12 thin wooden kebab sticks, sliced in half (I only use the sharp-edged halves)
  • 1 x small tub Mediterranean Delicacies Red Pepper Dip, for serving

Method:

  1. In a food processor or blender, mix all the ingredients for the marinade to a chunky paste.
  2. Cut the chicken thighs into bite-size chunks (about 2 x 2 cm) and arrange on kebab sticks, about 4-5 pieces on a stick
  3. Brush liberally with marinade, then grill on an open fire until golden and just done, or bake in a pre-heated oven at 220 C for 10 minutes on each side.
  4. Remove from fire/oven and serve immediately with Mediterranean Delicacies Roasted Red Pepper Dip.

WIN this hamper!

This post is the first in a 4-week series that I am doing in association with Mediterranean Delicacies.

WIN a fabulous Medi Deli hamper by entering their competition on Facebook! Competition closes on the 1 of July 2012. Hamper includes a gourmet pasta maker, cheese board and a selection of delicious wines and Mediterranean Delicacies’ products.

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Thai green chicken curry

22 May

Thai green chicken curry (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

I grew up in a house that only knew one type of curry: mild. “Cartwrights Medium”, to be exact. My Mom used to cook fragrant chicken curries, beef curries, lamb curries, mince curries – all using that same simple spice mixture. I loved it, because it was sweet (she always added chutney to it) and very flavoursome, but I only discovered much later in life that “curry powder” is not a spice. It is actually a Western term given to a prepared mixture of spices. Dishes called “curry” usually refer to meat, fish or vegetables cooked in a gravy that are made from these spice mixtures.

The first time I ate at a proper Indian restaurant, I was literally blown away. I couldn’t believe that there were such a vast array of flavour combinations available in Indian cuisine, and that I’ve been missing out on it for most of my life! “Curry” quickly became one of my favourite foods, and I became more and more adventurous as my taste buds adjusted to the magnificent heat that sometimes came along with it. Not only did I enjoy Indian and Cape Malay curries, but also discovered the Thai version – a lighter, fresher take on what I was used to, using a paste made from fresh green chillies, fresh ginger and lots of fresh coriander. Blended with coconut milk or cream, it became one of my absolute favourite comfort-food dishes, and I now make it very regularly for my family.

You can use any kind of meat for this recipe: chicken works very well, but also try prawns, fish, or vegetables. It is excellent served on fragrant sticky Thai rice, and keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days. To entertain a large crowd, feel free to make the curry a day in advance, as the flavours tend to become even better the day after.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 fresh green chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 T chopped fresh ginger
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
  • 1 t (5 ml) dried fine coriander
  • 1/2 t (2.5 ml) dried fine cumin
  • handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 T (30-45 ml) water
  • 2 T (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 t (5 ml) sugar
  • a few drops fish sauce
  • 1 t (5 ml) lemon/lime juice
  • salt to taste
  • fresh coriander for garnish
  • Thai rice to serve with

Method:

  1. In a food processor (or using a mortar & pestle), add chillies, ginger, garlic, dried coriander, cumin, fresh coriander and process to a paste. Add a few tablespoons of water to created a more workable consistency.
  2. In a large saucepan or wok, heat oil over high heat. Add paste all at once, frying quickly for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add coconut milk, turn heat down to medium, and bring to a simmer. Now add sliced chicken and cook in liquid for 5 minutes, covered.
  3. Add sugar, fish sauce, lemon/lime juice, and season well with salt. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  4. Serve on Thai rice, and top with fresh coriander leaves.

Tip: The sauce will remain quite runny – that is how it is supposed to be. For a thicker, creamier consistency, use coconut cream.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Pictures: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.

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Marinated chicken with lemon, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs

5 Mar

Poached chicken, marinated in lemon, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs, served with bruschetta (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

One of the very hot new trends on the food scene is tapas-style eating. And may I say: it is my favourite way to feast! Sharing platters full of snacks, dips, bruschettas and bites with friends around a big table is such a fantastic way to celebrate.

This recipe for poached chicken, marinated in fresh garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs, is seriously one of the tastiest ways to eat chicken. The poached chicken becomes so soft that it almost melts in your mouth while the juicy sauces run into the crispy toasted bruschetta. And best of all: you can make it a day ahead and dish it up at room temperature when lunchtime arrives.

The recipe is an adaptation out of Ina Paarman’s book “The Good Food Cookbook”. I bought it 12 years ago while I was still studying Consumer Science in Textiles at the University of Stellenbosch. It was a cheap little book back then, but has remained one of the timeless classics in my cupboard, along with Phillippa Cheifitz’s “Lazy Days”. These books have played a big part in inspiring me to follow my passion for food and cooking.

Recipes are meant to be shared, so here’s my version of Ina’s superb marinated chicken:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large whole free-range chicken
  • 2 large carrots, cut into thick chunks
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 litre good quality chicken stock (if you don’t have access to fresh stock, use dissolved cubes)

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup great quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 big tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 big tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken stock, reserved from the cooked chicken
  • 1 cup organic cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)

Method:

  1. Skin the raw chicken by simply pulling the skin off the body and thighs. Don’t bother too much with the wings. Place it, breast side up, in a large heavy-based saucepan with the carrots, onions, garlic and chicken stock.
  2. Cover with greaseproof paper, pushing the paper down to the level of the liquid. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, then simmer on low heat for 1 and a half hours until the chicekn is very tender and starts to come away from the bone. Remove from the heat, then turn the chicken over (breast side down) to cool in the liquid – this takes an hour or 2.
  3. In the meantime, mix the ingredients for the marinade together and leave to stand at room temperature to allow flavours to develop.
  4. When chicken has cooled, remove from pot and reserve 1 cup of stock for the sauce (keep the rest in the freezer for your next recipe). Discard the onion and carrot.
  5. Tear the meat from the bone into long strips and add the cherry tomatoes. Beat the reserved stock into the marinade, then pour over chicken and tomatoes in a porcelain dish and cover with clingfilm, pushing the clingfilm down onto the mixture to expel as much air as possible. Refrigerate overnight to let the flavours mature. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  6. Serve with toasted bruschetta and a green salad, or as part of a tapas style menu.

Credits:

This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe selection & development, testing and preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photographed by Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Ilse vand der Merwe and Tasha Seccombe

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Creamy chicken casserole with bacon and thyme

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Chicken casserole with bacon and thyme

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