Supreme of chicken, Spanish style

Ingredients

  • breast of chicken, one the bone
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • two cloves of garlic
  • 1 chorizo (cooking) sausage
  • half a red onion

Cooking

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and rub the skin all over with soft butter. Heat a pan with olive oil then cook the chicken, skin side down, until the skin is brown and crispy. Remove from the pan and put aside. Heat the oven at 180 degrees.

Add the chopped onion and chorizo to the chicken pan and allow to saute until the onion begins to caramelize. Add the garlic and the halved tomatoes and allow to saute until the tomatoes soften.

Return the chicken to the pan and place in the oven for 40 minutes, until cooked.

 

B’stilla, my beating heart

Postcard from a Pigeon

I couldn’t find b’stilla until I had a close shave with Alad’in, the barber of Albayzin.

For those who don’t know, b’stilla is a traditional Moroccan/Andulusian savoury/sweet poultry pie enriched with scrambled egg, almonds, sugar and cinnamon. Although in its most traditional form the poultry used was pigeon, it is more often served with shredded chicken thighs or quail. It was commonly served as an appetiser or starter at Moroccan weddings.

So while trudging the narrow cobblestoned streets of Albayzin, I made a point of checking the menus of every Moorish restaurant in the neighbourhood in a vain search for this has to be tasted to be believed dish. Not a chance.

Until I went for a haircut and a hot shave in the Albayzin Barbers, close to the Church of San Nicholas. Here, I met Alad’in, who, apart from running a cool barbershop and giving me the most, simultaneously…

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Queenies and smoked bacon

I love this dish. It’s lazy, tasty and healthy with a good dose of naughty, too. It’s the kind of dish I’ll throw together on an impulse so long as the ingredients are available and the sun is shining. Queen scallops are a medium sized scallop, about as big as a button. In the Isle of Man, ‘queenies’ are served with pride as they are the local dish of choice.

Around this time of the year, queenies become widely available. I bought ten of these little beauties for €2 today and at those prices, I couldn’t resist. Mind you, there’s just enough in ten for one person. For a dinner party, I’d buy 50.

The first thing I did to put my super delicious lunch together was to build myself a Greek salad with some fresh chard and little gem lettuce from my garden, then some thinly sliced red onion and cucumber, three cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped, an egg, boiled and quartered, feta cheese, broken up and sprinkled and some black olives, scattered about. I threw in a sprinkling of mixed seeds, too.

Next, the queenies. First, I heated a pan and tossed some olive oil on it, then some butter. When the pan gets hot, throw the chopped up smoked bacon lardons on it and allow them to char before throwing on your queenies. These cook very quickly so you need the pan to be warm and the bacon to be almost cooked. Toss the scallops about, gently, in the oil, butter and bacon fat. It’s all about the flavour, baby.

Finally spoon the mixture out and directly on and all over the salad, then toss some fresh lemon juice over it. Give it a gentle shake and toss and, presto, it’s done.

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Pasta alla Siciliana

First, let me say I’ve never been to Sicily. I’ve been to Italy, places like Rome, Turin and Milan and did my best to try as many classic Italian recipes while I was there. If there’s an Italian cookery programme on the tv, I’m there, Chef’s Table, Keith Floyd, Antonio Carlucci and Gennaro Contaldo, Gino D’Acampo, Rick Stein, even Jamie Oliver. I didn’t discover garlic until I kissed an American girl when I was eleven. That was the first time I tasted pasta, too. I own an English translation of The Silver Spoon and I’ve read Pellegrino Artusi‘s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, from cover to cover but my real go to Italian cookbook is the modestly titled Pasta & Pizza, the 1978 edition, with recipes compiled by Anna Martini and an introduction by Massimo Alberini.

Of course, there are plenty of Italian restaurants in Ireland and plenty of Italian families with a long tradition in this country. So down the years, I’ve eaten many Italian dishes and from many regions of Italy. I’ve made pasta and tried different sauces and styles.

I don’t know if this dish is really a Sicilian recipe but it was given to me by a Sicilian chef. Secretly, I think it is more like a Neapolitan recipe – salty and saucy –  but regardless, it’s easy to prepare, very cheap to prepare and delicious.

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Ingredients

  • six anchovies, deboned and finely chopped.
  • half a red onion, finely chopped
  • one clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of fine tomato passata
  • two chillis, finely chopped
  • one tablespoon of capers
  • pasta, penne is best but I use spaghetti, it’s a personal choice.

 

Instructions

Boil a pot of salted water. Put in the pasta and reduce heat to a simmer.

Heat a pan and add olive oil. Sauté the finely chopped onion until it softens, then add the anchovies, chillis and garlic in that order. Allow the flavours to amalgamate, cooking gently. Now add the capers. Finally, the passata. You can add some finely chopped but deseeded tomatoes, earlier, for texture.

When the pasta is cooked, strain it, reserving a cup of pasta water.

Add the pasta to the pan with the sauce and stir, coating the pasta. Add a little of the reserved pasta water and leave on heat to cook for a couple of minutes, while it reduces.

Transfer the mixture to a warm serving dish, pour some olive oil on it and serve with chunks of rough Italian country bread.

Prawns with courgette and cherry tomatoes

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Ingredients

  • two dozen prawns, shelled and deveined
  • one courgette, cut into thin batons
  • eight cherry tomatoes, halved and deseeded
  • 1 chilli (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)
  • sprig of fresh fennel
  • zest of one lemon

Instructions

Boil a pot of salted water , then add pasta.

Heat a skillet or pan and add butter and olive oil.

Turn down the heat to medium and toss the batons of courgette in the pan until they soften and begin to brown. Add the seeded cherry tomato halves and stir them in with the courgette. Now add the prawns and toss while they heat and cook. While those ingredients are cooking, add the chilli and garlic. Then add the lemon zest and finally, the chopped fennel.

Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the pan with the other ingredients and stir to combine. Now add the reserved pasta water (half a cup) and allow to combine again.

Finally, add the ingredients to a serving dish. Sprinkle with some fresh olive oil and serve.

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Southern or Soul?

“What’s the difference between Southern food and soul food?” is perhaps the number one question we African American food writers get from the media. “Ours just tastes better,” jokes Toni-Tipton Martin, author of award-winning The Jemima Code. Adrian Miller,author of the also award-winning Soul Food, chalks it up to spicier, saltier, fattier, more sugary extremes in terms […]

via Southern or Soul? — Afroculinaria

Turmeric paste

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So I had a bag of fresh turmeric but I knew I wasn’t going to cook enough dishes to use it all, on time. Then I didn’t see any point in drying it out if I can go to my local Middle eastern food store and buy it by the bagful.

Then I figured, why not make a paste, using fresh, aromatic ingredients and all the turmeric.

It contains about 200g of fresh turmeric, four chillis, a big clove of garlic, a chunk of fresh ginger, a handful of fresh coriander, juice of one lemon and half a cup of lemon vinegar.

Then I was barbecuing, so I gutted and filleted a mackerel I’d just bought at my local fishmongers. After seasoning the skin side with salt and black pepper, I brushed the meat side with the turmeric paste, let the skin side cook until the skin popped, then I turned it over to give the flesh side a heat glaze – it was cooked already.

I served it with fresh green beans and boiled Irish potatoes, new season and floury, it was delicious.