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Coconut-braised chicken quarters with chorizo and potatoes

This is a beauty! I just love cooking with chicken quarters as they are so moist and flavorsome and with the addition of fresh ginger and crushed coffee beans in the gremalata, it’s definitely in a category of it’s own! Also the recipe is easy to judge for people as 1 good sized chicken quarter is enough per (normal) person!
The beauty of this recipe is that it is also a Whole30 recipe with the substitutions of olive oil instead on canola oil and ghee instead of butter.

Serves up 4 generously or 6 normally!

2 tbsp canola or olive oil
6 good sized whole chicken legs
Pepper
1/2lb fresh Mexican-style chorizo, but I have been known to use Spanish chorizo chopped small
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 dried chili de arbol, broken in half
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1lb baking or Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces lengthwise
2 tbsp fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
1 tbsp unsalted butter or ghee

Gremalata

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra sprigs
7 coffee beans, finely crushed (1/2 tsp)
2 tsp finely grated lime zest

Preheat the oven to 425 F
In a large enameled or cast-iron braising dish, heat the oil. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
Working in 2 batches, brown the chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes per side.
Transfer the chicken to a large plate
Add the chorizo and onion to the pan and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the onion is translucent, about 5 to 10 mins
Stir in the ginger, garlic and chili and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute
Add the coconut milk, potatoes and chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer.
Cover and braise in the oven for about 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through.
Stir in the lime juice and butter and season with salt.

Meanwhile make the gremalata.
In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
Spoon the braised chicken and potatoes into shallow bowls.
Garnish with the gremalata and cilantro sprigs and serve with lime wedges

Make ahead
The braised chicken can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently.

Roasted chicken quarters with dates, olives and capers

Yet another Ottolenghi recipe that is beyond delicious. Take the two days to marinade the chicken to maximize the flavor and tenderize the meat.Don’t cut corners.

Serves 4 generously

8 whole chicken legs of a good size, skin on
6 large garlic cloves, crushed
About 1/2 oz fresh oregano, torn
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
4 oz pitted green olives
2 oz capers, plus 2 tbsp of their juices
3 oz Medjool dates, pitted and quartered lengthways
2 bay leaves
5 fl oz dry white wine
1 tbsp date syrup or treacle
Salt and black pepper

Place the chicken in a large, non-reactive bowl and add all of the ingredients, apart from the wine and date syrup, along with 3/4 tsp salt and a good grind of black pepper.
Gently mix everything together, cover the bowl and leave in the fridge to marinate for 2 days, stirring the ingredients a few times during the process. (The other thing you can do is get a very large plastic bag that self seals and use that to marinate everything)

Preheat the oven to 350F

Spread the chicken quarters out on a large roasting dish along with all the marinade ingredients. Whisk together the wine and date syrup and pour over the meat.
Place in the oven and cook for 50 mins, basting 2 or 3 times, until the meat is golden brown on top and cooked through.
Remove from the oven, transfer everything to a large platter, sprinkle with some fresh oregano leaves and serve

Baked porcini mushrooms and potatoes

Rich, earthy, woody and fabulous to have with roasted or grilled meats and a salad. This recipe is from the River Cafe in London.

Serves 6

5oz dried porcini mushrooms. (See below for soaking instructions)
3lbs medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
5 oz Ghee, clarified butter or butter
6 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked from the stalks and washed

Preheat the oven to 400F

Cut the potatoes in half lengthways and into quarters lengthways if they are too big. Wash and pat dry.
Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 pints (1 liter) boiled water for 20 minutes, then strain, retaining the liquid.
Strain the liquid through a fine sieve. Rinse the porcini mushrooms under running cold water to get rid of any remaining grit. Dry well on paper towels.

In a thick-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter/ghee over medium/low. When the butter starts to foam, add the garlic and soften for a minute of two before adding the porcini.
Cook, stirring to prevent sticking, for a few minutes before adding the strained porcini liquid.
There will be a lot of liquid, which needs to reduce and thicken for about 7-8 mins.

Now add the potatoes. Coat them in the juices the gently stir and cook for around 15 to 20 minutes.
The potatoes should begin to take on the color of the porcini juices.

Remove the pan and tip everything into roasting trays.
Season with salt, pepper and the fresh thyme, stir gently and bake for another 30 mins.

Test the potatoes with a skewer to make sure they are tender.

Romesco Sauce

This flavorsome Spanish sauce (or dip) is tremendously versatile. It’s wonderful served with boiled baby potatoes served warm or at room temp, that you dip into the sauce and eat. It’s great with grilled prawns or chicken too.
Whole 30 compliant, vegan, non dairy and grain free, it’s a winner. It also lasts for up to 1 week in the fridge and the whole thing is done in the food processor.

 

MAKES 3 CUPS

1 x 16oz jar of roasted bell peppers
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted lightly
1/3 cup tomato purée
4 heaped tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 tbsp Sherry vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pulse the first 8 ingredients in a food processor until very finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the oil; process until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD: Romesco can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Whole chicken legs braised in orange, sage, ginger and mustard

My sister highly recommended this Mary Berry recipe and modified it so it wasn’t too sweet. It turned out to be delicious and so easy. Like Delia Smith, Mary Berry, now in her eighties, is a British “institution” in highly successful, fail-safe recipes, particularly baking and it’s well worth investing in some of her recipe books.

Serves 4 to 6

6 whole organic chicken legs
2 tbsp clear honey
1 rounded tbsp cornflour
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the marinade
20 fl oz freshly squeezed orange juice (don’t be lazy and use juice from cartons!)
4 fat garlic cloves, crushed
2-4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
3 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp coarsely grated fresh ginger
2 tsp coarse grain Dijon mustard
4 tbsp Seville orange marmalade (optional, but I recommend it)

Combine all the marinade ingredients, mix well and place in a large, resealable plastic bag with the whole chicken legs. Seal the bag making sure all the chicken is coated with the marinade then put in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 F or Gas Mk 6.
Take the chicken out of the plastic bag, reserving the marinade to make the sauce. Arrange the chicken legs, skin side up in a large roasting tin and drizzle with the honey.

Place in the oven to roast for about 30 minutes. Measure the cornflour into a pitcher, add the marinade and mix until smooth. Pour the marinade over the chicken and return to the oven for a further 20 to 30 mins.
Remove the tin from the oven. Strain the juices left in the bottom of the tin to make a sauce, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve a whole chicken leg per person some some of the sauce and enjoy!

PS The marinade mixed with the cornflour thickens the sauce when it cooks in the oven

Seared scallops with roasted cauliflower and olive puree

This is a dish from the “Brooklyn Rustic” recipe book and is the perfect combination with scallops without overpowering them.

Serves 4

2 head cauliflower,cut into 1 inch florets
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Fine sea salt
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
2 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
1 1/2 lbs jumbo scallops (about 12 to 16)
freshly ground black pepper
4 oz young pea shoots

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl.
Pour the cauliflower into a preheated pan inn an even layer and roast until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through roasting.

In a blender, puree the olives, vegetable stock, lemon juice, and half the basil until smooth, about 2 minutes

Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Cooking in batches, if necessary, add the scallops to the skillet, leaving at least 1 1/2 inches between each scallop. Sear until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Scatter the pea shoots on a serving platter. Sprinkle the roasted cauliflower over the pea shoots, then lay the scallops on top.
Drizzle the olive puree over everything and finish with a sprinkle of lemon zest, the remaining basil and a drizzle of olive oil

Chile-roasted Delicata squash with queso fresco

Here’s another interesting vegetable dish.
I happen to love Delicata squash as it’s the sweetest of the squashes and you don’t need to peel it. It’s perfect paired with these flavors and well worth trying

Serves 4

2 delicata squash (about 1½ pounds)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
¼ cup crumbled queso fresco (you can use French feta cheese)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Slice the squash in half crosswise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, discarding the pulp. Rinse the seeds and set aside to drain. Slice each squash half into ¼-inch to ½-inch rounds.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, cumin, chipotle powder, paprika, and salt. Add the squash and toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange the squash in a single layer on a large baking sheet, overlapping the slices slightly if necessary.

On a separate baking sheet, toss the squash seeds with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt.

Place the squash and seeds in the oven. Roast the squash for 20 to 25 minutes, turning the slices halfway. Check on the seeds after 10 minutes and remove from the oven when golden brown. The squash will be ready when fork-tender, golden brown, and caramelized.

Place the squash on a large serving dish. Sprinkle the toasted seeds, queso fresco, and cilantro leaves over the squash.

This dish is best served warm.

Roasted cauliflower with olives, currants and tahini dressing

This is a really tasty and well balanced recipe with a lot of interesting flavors going on. It’s terrific for those on the Whole 30 program, as my husband and I are and is fairly simple to put together.

Serves 4

1 large cauliflower (about 3lbs), trimmed and cut into florets
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Kalamata olives
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Tahini Dressing
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
2 tbsp water, plus more as needed

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt to taste. Arrange the cauliflower florets in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, turning once, until the edges are brown and caramelized.

While the cauliflower roasts, make the dressing. Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt until smooth and creamy. Add the water and whisk until combined. The sauce will be thick. Add more water to thin it slightly if you like. It will continue to thicken as it sits.

Keep aside some of the olives, currants and parsley (or add a little more) so you can decorate the top of the salad after tossing it in the dressing.
Toss the warm cauliflower with most of the dressing. Add most of the currants, olives, and parsley and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing or salt, if desired.
Decorate with remaining olives currants and parsley

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Crab bombs

A simple, hot and tasty appetizer to serve. Lovely with a dry champagne or crisp white wine.

1 lb. Crab meat
1 Egg, beaten
1 cup Ritz Crackers, crushed
1 tsp. Yellow Mustard
2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Place the crab meat in a mixing bowl, picking any stray shell fragments out. Add the crushed crackers, Old Bay Seasoning & parsley to the crab.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg, mustard, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Whip with a whisk until smooth.

Pour the egg mixture over the crab meat and crackers and gently mix, careful not to break up large lumps of crab meat.

Mold into golf ball-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Drizzle w/ melted butter and allow to cool.

Fig “carpaccio” with blue cheese, walnuts & white balsamic

I have always thought of figs as rather bland and pulpy until we planted our own tree several years ago and now walk out into the garden to pick over 15 per day through the season.
This is such a super and different way of eating them. Thanks to Matt Wilkinson.

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Serves 2, sharing

5 ripe figs, cut in half
2 oz blue cheese; I like to use a creamy gorgonzola.
10 walnuts, toasted and chopped
8 basil leaves, washed and torn
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (or if you can’t get it, regular balsamic vinegar)
2 tbsp good-quality olive oil
1 tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted
good pinch of salt flakes
a few turns of white pepper
2 slices bread, toasted on a char-grill

Take two sheets of baking paper, each about 12 inches long. On one sheet place the figs, flesh side down, then cover with the other piece of baking paper. Now gently smash the figs using your fingers until they are flat. Once smashed, take off the top layer of paper, leaving the figs on the bottom sheet.

Turn the bottom sheet of paper upside down on to a plate, then gently remove the paper. Now crumble the cheese over the figs, then scatter with the walnuts and basil.

Drizzle the vinegar and olive oil all over, then sprinkle with the pepitas, salt and pepper. Serve with toasted bread on the side.