Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cumin and Pomegranate Molasses basted Chicken

         Sorry folks I'm still stuck in the middle east.  What can I say?  I'm loving the flavour combinations and this chicken rocks.  Even now as I write this I'm contemplating a trip to the butcher to grab a chicken I've ticked off the other ingredients earthy cumin check, fresh coriander check, spanish onion check and the key ingredient pomegranate molasses check.  You can find this in middle eastern food stores and some supermarkets also stock it.  It is a thick dark syrup made from pomegranates  and is gloriously sweet and sour.  Serve the chicken with hot buttered cous cous to soak up all the juices.

Cumin and Pomegranate Molasses basted Chicken
 (with coriander and pickled red onion salad)

1 whole chicken or your favourite chicken pieces
2 tablespoons ground cumin (roasted)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh coriander leaves
1 spanish (red) onion
1/2 teaspoon salt (extra)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lemon juice

Mix spice, salt, oil and molasses in a bowl.
Butterfly chicken ( remove backbone with a sharp knife or kitchen shears, remove wish-bone and flatten.)  Using your fingers lift up the skin around breasts and legs.  Rub the spice mixture over chicken using your fingers push marinade up into and under the skin.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes and roast in a pre heated oven (180c) with 1/2 cup water in bottom of tray for 50 -60 minutes if using a whole chicken or until juices run clear.  Pull chicken out of oven and spoon cooking juices back over chicken at least twice during the cooking time.

Thinly slice the onion and toss with the second measure of salt, sugar and lemon juice leave for 1 hour.  Toss together with coriander and garnish your chicken.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thyme, Sumac and Sesame Bread

         There is nothing as satisfying as making your own bread.  In this day and age you can decide just how much of your time and energy you wish to use on making your bread.  Yes bread does take time to make there is no getting around it but it is not hands on time the steps to making bread are quick and can be done in a mixer with a dough hook or bread-making machine which will also prove your bread or by hand (it's a great upper body work-out) This recipe is for a crusty flat bread and you can flavour the oil to suit your own tastes ie Rosemary, Chile and Parmesan.  I've taken my flavours again from the middle east.  Sumac is a deep red purple spice which is the dried fruit of a bush most commonly known as Rhus.  The dried berry has a tart citric flavour.  It is often used in spice rubs, marinades and dressings; it has an affinity for chicken, fish and seafood, lamb, eggplant, chickpeas and lentils.  Sumac will keep in an airtight container for several months.

Thyme, Sumac and Sesame Bread

500g plain flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons yeast dried
1 1/2 cups warm water (blood temperature)  yeast needs warmth to activate however if it is hot                                                                               the yeast dies.
25mls olive oil.

Flavoured oil mix:-
    1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
    1 Tablespoon sumac
    1 Tablespoon fresh thyme or half if using dry.
     75mls oil
     1/2 teaspoon salt

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of your electric mixer (follow manufacturers instructions for bread maker using all the ingredients except flavoured oil)  or in a bowl if doing by hand.  In a small bowl mix the water, yeast, sugar and oil set aside in a warm place until it becomes frothy.  Now I could give you a time but it depends on the warmth of your kitchen.  Add yeast mix to the flour and either using a dough hook or your hands combine the ingredients.  Allow the dough hook to work the dough for at least 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and glossy.  If you are using your hands tip the mix onto a clean working surface which has been floured and knead for 10 minutes.  To knead you will form the dough into a ball and then using the heel of your hand you will push the dough down and away from you  Turn the dough a little and repeat.  Use the weight of your body and find a rhythm.  Cover the dough with a clean damp cloth and place in a warm place to prove the dough will double in size and this will take approximately an hour.
For the spice oil combine all the ingredients.
Knock the dough back and roll out so that it forms a 20cm by 40cm rectangle.  Place on a baking tray covered in baking paper. Using a sharp knife cut the dough across into 12 pieces, Brush liberally with spiced oil and put aside for 10 minutes.  Bake in a hot 200c oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.