Chicken and Halloumi with Honey and Thyme

Chicken and Halloumi with Honey and Thyme | Selma's TableI have a real aversion to buying chicken breast meat. It’s easy to overcook, bland and expensive. I would much rather buy a whole chicken or those packs of legs and thighs and anyway, I don’t really like to cook in individual portions, and with chicken breast meat, it has to be individual portions, unless you are cutting it up for curries, skewers or goujons. What if someone is really hungry? It doesn’t sit comfortably with my ethos of passing round a generous platters of food for everyone to help themselves from.

A few years ago, I watched Donna Hay on television, cooking and baking hew way to exquisite looking food. I was mesmerised as much by the incredble view of the sea outside her kitchen window as by her effortless styling of the food on the plates.  She cooked some chicken breasts and halloumi together with a drizzle of honey and it stuck in my mind. Despite my reservations about breast meat, I’ve made this a few times with a few tweaks, here and there.

I’ve added shallots and garlic for a deeper flavour and included a dash of pomegranate molasses to balance the sweetness of the honey. You end up with the salty halloumi, the warmth of the thyme, the sweet honey and the sharp pomegranate molasses which are the perfect foil to the breast meat.

I’ve made this with both skin on and skinless chicken breasts and prefer it with the skin left on. It protects the meat from drying out and also adds a crispy note to the textures. The version below is skinless only because that is what I unearthed when rummaging in the freezer, wondering what to cook for dinner later!

It could not be simpler to throw together – all in the one dish that you can also bring to the table. It’s a brilliant mid week family supper, just make extra to make me feel better!

I am taking this over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #51 which this week is being co-hosted by the lovely, bubbly Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook and  supercook Juju @cookingwithauntjuju.

If you are new to blogging, please do join the party, we would love to see you. Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too. Be sure to comment, like and follow – Angie has such a friendly crowd at this party that you will come away with lots of new followers (as long as you interact) as well as a lot of inspiration! Submit a post (please be sure to include the link and a mention, in your post, to Angie’s   Fiesta Friday #51 post – it’s only polite and also ensures that you can be considered for a feature next week!)  or just take a look at others are up to! If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please do take a minute to read the guidelines.

Right, lets party!

Chicken and Halloumi with Honey & Thyme

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Inspired by Donna Hay

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts, skin on
  • 4 x 1 inch slices of halloumi cheese
  • 2 x banana shallots or 1 small onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves of garlic, halved
  • 10-15 stalks of thyme, leaves stripped
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses or lemon juice
  • Black pepper

To serve

  • salad leaves
  • steamed green vegetables like green beans or broccoli.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F and lightly oil a baking dish
  2. Place the chicken breasts and the halloumi in an oven safe dish that will fit everything snugly.
  3. Scatter around the shallots and garlic.
  4. Mix the olive oil, honey and pomegranate molasses with most of the thyme leaves, in a small bowl and spoon it over the chicken, halloumi, shallots and garlic. Scatter over the remaining thyme and black pepper. You won’t need salt as halloumi is quite a salty cheese.
  5. Roast in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the halloumi is golden. Baste with the pan juices once or twice in that time.
  6. Serve on a handful of salad leaves using the pan juices as a salad dressing.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Garlicky Tahini Chicken from ‘Slow Cooked’

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s TableSlow cooking is like waving a culinary magic wand. Cheaper cuts of knife resistant, sinewy meat transform into something silky and tender as they gently burble away in an aromatic bath of your choice. Up until recently, I used my Le Creuset and a low oven to slow cook lamb shanks, stewing beef, brisket and the like. Then a couple of years ago, I spotted a slow cooker in the summer sales and thought how perfect it would be for making dishes overnight or during the day so that there was something gorgeous for dinner to come home to. But truth be told, I haven’t been too adventurous with it; my best thing is making chicken stock in it with the remains of a carcass but that is all set to change with the publication of a new book, “Slow Cooked” by fellow South Londoner and blogger, Miss South, which I was sent to review.

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s TableMiss South has a passion for cooking good food on a very tight budget. She won the Young British Foodies Food Writing award in September 2013 for her blog North/South Food, which she writes with her brother Mister North. She has also written for Observer Food Monthly as well as appearing on The Food Programme on Radio 4. With these sort of credentials, you just know that you are in for a treat when it comes to her book. It is packed full of 200 delicious sounding recipes which cover meat, poultry and fish, soups, vegetables and legumes, cakes, puddings and preserves too, all made in the slow cooker.

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s TableAfter her first few attempts to cook in the slow cooker, Miss South found that the results were watered down as liquid does not get a chance to evaporate so she set about cutting back on the liquid and amping up on the spicing to get the recipes to work.  Recipes like Carbonnade which have mustard croutons pressed into it for the last hour or so; Butter Beans with Chorizo where the dried beans are cooked without soaking. There are some lovely photos at the beginning of the book but none with the recipes themselves, however the recipes sound so good that I didn’t even register the lack of photos.

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s TableHaving tried a few of the recipes in the book, I found that I needed to rev the up seasoning and spicing a little. I’m not sure if that’s a matter of personal taste or if perhaps my herbs and spices lost some of their potency during the extended cooking period but it is just a matter of tasting and adjusting as you go along.

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s TableWe thoroughly enjoyed the results of slow cooking chicken thighs which had been marinated overnight in a mixture of tahini, lemon and garlic. I added a little sumac and paprika to the original recipe to boost it’s flavour and served the juicy shredded chicken in wraps with tzatziki, harissa oil, and shredded lettuce. There are lots of lovely recipes and brilliant ideas as well as some very useful information about the foundations of slow cooking that make this book a must have for anyone who already uses their crock frequently or for those who would like to start. My next stop is the pudding chapter….

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s Table

Do take a look at what a few other bloggers had to say about the book and see what they cooked up too. The reviews are on the Happy Foodie site – http://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/articles/the-slow-cooked-challenge

Garlicky Tahini Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Slow Cooked by Miss South who describes this as “a dinner party-friendly take on chicken kebab with garlic sauce.”

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 6 chicken thighs on the bone
  • 4 Tbsp tahini
  • 3 – 6 Tbsp water
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped fresh coriander leaves
To serve
  • Wraps/tortillas
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Greek yoghurt or tzatziki
  • 1 tsp Harissa paste, loosened with some olive oil
  • sliced avocados, chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumber – optional but delicious

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the garlic in a small pan of boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and when cool enough to handle, slip the skins off.
  2. In the meantime, remove the skin and any fat from the chicken thighs; slash the flesh a couple of times.
  3. The tahini should be the consistency of pouring cream so thin it out with as much of the water as you need to.
  4. Whizz or pound together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, sumac, paprika and some salt and pepper. Taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary then spread it over the chicken, getting into the slashes and leave it to marinate, covered, in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I did mine overnight.
  5. When you are ready to cook, place the chicken pieces and the marinade in the crock  and cook on low for 7 hours. The oil from the tahini bastes the chicken and keeps it really tender.
  6. Shred the tender chicken into a serving dish, discarding the bones. Taste the marinade, adjust the seasoning if necessary and pour this over the chicken and sprinkle with coriander leaves.

Note – if you don’t have a slow cooker then you can make this in the oven. Place the marinated chicken and the marinade in a roasting tin and cover tightly with foil and cook for 1.5 hours at 160C. Then remove the foil and cook for another 15 mins until tender and falling off the bone.

Serve hot with warm wraps/tortillas and all the fixings.

Any left-overs, re-heat beautifully.

Citrus Chicken with Sage

Citrus Chicken with Sage | Selma's TableA clementine or satsuma is part of our breakfast these days, in the vain hope of keeping at bay, the season’s coughs and colds but a recent purchase of a bag of clementines yielded mouth puckering, lip curling, sour fruit that neither of us can eat. Rather than throwing them away, I have been using them in place of lemons for a similar return in acidity but with a softer more floral flavour.

Duck and orange is a classic combination and as my eyes fell on the bowl full of sour clementines, I didn’t think twice about adding them to the chicken as I rushed to get something ready for dinner the other night. My Citrus Chicken with Sage is an easy, self saucing, one pan dish that looks after itself while you get on with other things; all it really needs is a salad to round it off.

Citrus Chicken with Sage | Selma's TableI placed all the ingredients in a roasting tin – not too large or there won’t be any sauce left, gave them all a good stir, covered the tin with foil which I removed for the final 20 minutes. You can substitute the clementines with an orange or lemon and the sage for rosemary, thyme or oregano. I always add whole, unpeeled cloves of garlic whenever I roast chicken. After cooking you end up with a nugget of  very mellow, gooey garlic paste which squeezes easily from it’s papery shell and is wonderful smeared onto a forkful of chicken. Some of the smaller cloves caramelise and become chewy. They are all such a treat and also very good for you!! Citrus Chicken with Sage is a really delicious meal for very little effort.

Citrus Chicken with Sage | Selma's TableI am sharing my Citrus Chicken with Sage with the Fiesta Friday revellers. Generously hosted by Angie of the Novice Gardener who this week as posted a really delicious looking cake flan – it not only looks spectacular but also magically flips itself over during baking – showcasing how baking really is science!

Our lovely co-hosts (once again) this week are both Canadian! Globe-trotter Julianna whose blog, Foodie on Board is full of the most delicious global recipes and gorgeous photographs too and Hilda of Along the Grapevine who makes foraging and living off the land aspirational and delicious!!  We are in good hands!!

Citrus Chicken with Sage

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 skin on, bone in, free range/organic chicken pieces – I use a combination of legs and thighs
  • 4 medium sized carrots
  • 2 large potatoes (or 12 small potatoes)
  • 2 small sour oranges, clementines or lemons
  • 6 unpeeled cloves of garlic
  • 20 fresh sage leaves
  • Olive Branch EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • Salt and Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Trim any fatty bits off the chicken and place in a roasting tin that will comfortably hold everything in one layer.
  3. Peel the carrots and cut into three pieces and add to the tin.
  4. Peel the potatoes – cut large ones into 6 pieces and halve small ones. Add to the tin.
  5. Thinly slice one of the citrus fruits and add to the tin along with garlic, sage and a good grinding of peppercorns.
  6. Squeeze over the juice of the second citrus fruit and a tablespoon of olive oil and give it all a really good mixing in the tin. Then arrange the chicken pieces so that they are skin side up and distribute the vegetables and citrus slices evenly too.
  7. Sprinkle over a good pinch of sea salt, cover tightly with foil and place in the oven for half an hour.
  8. Remove foil, sprinkle a little more salt on the chicken skin to help  it crisp up and cook for 15 – 20 minutes more, until the skin is golden brown.
  9. Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a serving platter and cover loosely with foil. Pour the juices into jug, straining off any excess fat and taste – adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve with the chicken.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Recipe Wheel Challenge – Roast Chicken

the-recipe-wheel-challenge-roast-chickenThe lovely people over at the Happy Foodie asked what I could do with a Roast Chicken – they obviously knew that I am the Queen of cooking roast chickens, every which way – it is something that I make most weeks as I love having left overs to play with for a few days afterwards.

The idea of the challenge comes from Rosie Ramsden, a self described painter, cook and food stylist. Her new book, The Recipe Wheel, published by Random House, takes a core ingredient which sits at the centre of the wheel and then develops this into recipes which fit into different categories. In this case, the categories are Night In, Left Overs, Impress, No Frills, Friends and Creative. I’ve had a quick look at the book on-line and have to say that it is absolutely beautiful. The wheel for fish is made up of beautifully coloured fish shapes just as the chicken wheel shapes could be cockscombs – you can really see how she has cast and applied her painterly eye over the entire concept.

Inspired by Rosie’s beautiful wheels but having a very basic software package to work from, I decided to use eggs in which to place the recipes titles. You can see my wheel above. The links to the six recipes are below, in the titles – I hope that some of them are ones that you may not have seen before but they have all been published on my blog previously. This post , together with a little write-up about me, has been featured in the latest on-line edition of the the Happy Foodies Newsletter, together with posts from other bloggers using the wheel with different core ingredients – take a look at it here – http://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/articles/the-recipe-wheel-challenge

black-summer-truffle-pesto-roast-chicken

Impress –  Black Summer Truffle Pesto Roast Chicken

 summer-pasta-salad-with-chicken-and-broad-beans

Creative – Summer Pasta Salad with Chicken and Broad Beans 

 

sticky-spicy-chicken

Night In – Sticky Spicy Chicken 

the-recipe-wheel-challenge-roast-chicken

Left Overs – Warm Chicken Noodle Salad & Spicy Tahini Sauce

the-recipe-wheel-challenge-roast-chicken

Friends – Extraordinary Roasted Chicken, Potatoes and Chickpeas

  • This recipe was a contest winner on Food52 – links are in the post

Chicken Mac 'n' Cheese with Rosemary

No Frills – Chicken Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Rosemary

 

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Black Summer Truffle Pesto Roast Chicken

black-summer-truffle-pesto-roast-chickenA few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend Taste of London’s fabulous food and restaurant event in Regent’s Park. The weather was glorious and the event was well attended but didn’t feel crowded at all. Amongst all the Michelin starred chefs demonstrating on live stages and 5* restaurants selling taster sized portions of  their most loved dishes, were lots of producers, artisans and brands selling their wares. IMK July 2014I blogged about the event in this post  with lots of photos – https://selmastable.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/in-my-kitchen-july-2014/  and promised to post a recipe using the new Black Summer Truffle Pesto which I bought from Sacla who had a stand at the event.

black-summer-truffle-pesto-roast-chickenThe pesto is amazing (if you like truffle) and I urge you to seek it out while it’s available as it may be a limited edition. Simply spread on toasted sourdough and topped with a poached egg, breakfast the next day was a little bit of  food heaven on a plate…

black-summer-truffle-pesto-roast-chickenI love to spatchcock chicken. Spatchcock is the term used to refer to cutting out the backbone which opens out and flattens the bird – it’s so easy to do, really cuts down on cooking time and makes carving very easy too. It also makes it very easy to separate the skin from the flesh so that seasoning,herbs, pastes or lemon slices can be stuffed under the skin, as the skin is no longer stretched taut over the flesh. My poultry shears have seen better days so I normally use my the heel and point of my sharp chef’s knife to cut out  the backbone. Skewering it is great if you are barbecuing and need to flip the chicken over a few times but when roasting in the oven, it is unnecessary. This is a brilliant video showing how to spatchcock a chicken, presented by the lovely Sarah Cook who also ran the Food Styling course I took at Leith’s a few years ago – http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/technique/how-spatchcock-chicken

Do save the backbone by popping it in a bag and into the freezer – it does make a great stock when you add to the other chicken bones you have been saving. You don’t have to get fancy with a simple basic chicken stock for risottos, pastas or casseroles. I always strip any meat from a roast chicken carcass to save for quick suppers, salads and sandwiches. Then, I snap the leg bones and the carcass so that they will fit in a pot later  and put these in a freezer bag together with any roasted carrots, herbs and sticky bits (but not lemons as these make the stock bitter)  and in the freezer if not making stock straight away. Place (frozen) in a large saucepan with a lid, cover with water, bring to a gentle boil and immediately turn down the heat to as low as you can and simmer for 2 hours – one hour if you are pushed for time. Strain and use straightaway or let it cool and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

black-summer-truffle-pesto-roast-chicken

This is wonderful with some parboiled, crushed and roast new potatoes and a pile of green beans finishing with and a mustardy green salad to mop up the juices on the plate. I apologise for the quality and lack of more photos but it was getting late so the light was low and tummies were rumbling!

Black Summer Truffle Pesto Roast Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Adapted from the Sacla website

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 x 1.5 kg chicken – free-range or organic preferably especially if you are going to make a stock with the bones.
  • ½ jar of Sacla’s Black Summer Truffle Pesto (or whizz together some parmesan cheese, pine nuts and truffle oil into a paste)
  • unpeeled cloves from ½ a garlic bulb
  • Lots of sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 x lemon, cut in half and one half cut into 4 wedges
  • Salt and pepper
  • wine glass full of dry white wine
  • 50 g of finely grated parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Get your roasting tin out. and place a good handful of thyme sprigs on it as a bed for the chicken.
  3. Remove ½ of the pesto from the jar and place it in a small bowl or plate – this will stop any contamination – something that I am a little obsessive about. Divide the paste into quarters to make it easy to use once you get going.
  4. Get a good pinch of sea salt onto a small plate and a good grinding of black pepper too – see note 2 about contamination!
  5. Spatchcock the chicken. Remove from packaging, undo the trussing or string and discard. Turn the chicken over onto it’s breast and cut along either side of the backbone, starting at the Parson’s nose (tail). Flip it over, open it out and with the heel of your hand, press onto the breasts, while you lean into it to give it some weight – this will help to flatten it out.
  6. Flip it onto it’s breast again and using your fingers, spread with ¼ of the truffle pesto. Season with a little salt and pepper and place onto the roasting dish.
  7. Starting at the neck/breast end of the chicken, using your fingers and hands, gently, being careful not to tear the skin, separate and ease the skin away from the flesh  – go all the way to the top of the legs. You will have to get your hands right under the skin – not great if you are squeamish!  Place half the truffle pesto on the flesh, under the skin and spread it as evenly as you can, as far as the  tops of  the legs. I find it easier to do one side of the chicken at a time. Pull and adjust the skin so that it is in place and covering the very top of  chicken  and wipe off any excess paste that is clinging onto your hands onto the chicken skin. Squeeze over the juice from half the lemon. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper.
  8. Now go and thoroughly wash your hands. With hot water and soap and get someone to turn the taps on for you – did I mention I was obsessive about contamination?
  9. Scatter the unpeeled garlic cloves around the chicken. Dribble the cloves and the chicken with a little olive oil. Pour in the wine around the edge of the tin. and place in the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 180C/350F and continue roasting for another 20 minutes.
  10. Remove tin from the oven and turn up the heat to 200C/400F. Using a spatula, spread the remaining truffle pesto onto the skin and sprinkle over the parmesan cheese. Place back in the oven for 10 more minutes. Check to make sure that it is cooked through – no blood running in the section between the leg and the body and remove chicken and garlic to a serving plate, loosely covering with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  11. In the meantime, drain off any oil in the roasting tin leaving behind all the lovely juices. Place tin on the hob/stove top. Bring to a boil then simmer, scraping down the sticky bits from around the sides and bottom of the tin with a wooden spoon. Let this reduce until you have a enough for a little jus or gravy. If you are making green beans, get them on now.
  12. Serve with lemon wedges, parboiled and crushed roasted new potatoes, green beans and a salad. The caramelised garlic just pops out of their skins and is wonderful spread on the potatoes or bits of chicken as you eat.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sticky Spicy Chicken

sticky-spicy-chicken

The other day, I was scrolling through the WP Reader when a recipe for Korean Sticky Chicken by Chandler Tomayko @ The International Poor Chef School Project caught my eye, as I knew that it was the sort of dish that Jake would love. Do go over and say hello to Chandler if you haven’t as yet – brought up in Texas, this young dynamo runs a cooking school, works as a personal chef and also teaches in well known culinary school in Costa Rica. I love her “kitchen hacks” – they are absolutely brilliant!

So with a few tweaks, this is my version of her recipe. I used bone in legs and thighs (wings would be amazing) and oven roasted them rather than frying them – you all must know by now that I have an aversion to frying…I also added some soy sauce and chilli flakes to the glaze. If you partially cook the chicken, you could finish this off on the barbecue, brushing the chicken with the glaze several times.

Jake told me over dinner that the aroma of the chicken cooking had his mouth watering and as he stood up to clear the table he said, “Please can you make that again, Mum? Soon?” So Chandler, thanks for a great recipe and Jake – here it is for you to attempt the next time!

Sticky Spicy Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 of each, free range chicken legs and thighs; skin on, bone in
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

For the glaze:

  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp soy or teriyaki sauce
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes – adjust this amount to your palate

To finish:

  • 2 Tbsp crushed or chopped peanuts (I used pre-roasted and salted ones which I pounded roughly in the mortar and pestle)
  • 3 spring onions finely sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F
  2. Arrange chicken skin side up in a roasting tin.
  3. Squeeze over the lemon juice, drizzle over a little oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes.
  5. While the chicken is roasting, place all the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and heat gently. Let it come to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it bubble away for about 2 or 3 minutes, until it is thick and syrupy. It will froth up, so keep an eye on it and take it off the heat to let the bubbles subside if necessary. Take it off the heat and set aside.
  6. When the chicken has had 35 minutes in the oven, pour off the juices from the chicken into the saucepan with the glaze and boil down to reduce  by half, for 3 or 4 minutes.
  7. Pour this evenly over the chicken and return to the oven for 10 minutes or so to finish cooking and set the glaze.
  8. Pile the chicken up in a serving dish, pour over the sauce from the roasting tin then strew with the chopped spring onions and crushed peanuts.

Serve with a steaming bowlful of jasmine rice and a carrot and cucumber ribbon salad dressed with rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Caesar Dressing

caesar-dressingMy lovely 16 year old son has become a salad eating afficiando – he absolutely loves them and has a huge portion after every meal. Yesterday, I didn’t feel like cooking – we had some left over chicken from the night before but I really fancied a herby Greek salad type meal with lots of chopped cucumber, feta and mint. So when Jake came bounding down the stairs and asked what was for dinner as he couldn’t smell anything (!), I replied “A chopped Greek salad” and waited for him to say “Oh great  – how long until we eat?!”  Instead he paused and then said – “Hey Mum, can we have a chicken Caesar salad instead? It’s my new favourite salad.” Well, how could I refuse?

I used to love Caesar Salads when I lived in Canada – crisp salad leaves, crunchy croutons, grainy parmesan cheese and a dreamy, creamy, pungent sauce – I was in! I was also butterfingers yesterday, managing to drop a fresh roll of paper towels into a sink full of dirty water, which really, really annoyed me! That was just before I knocked over a bottle of oil which dripped onto the smooth tiled kitchen floor, ensuring that I had to stop and have a huge clean up and wipe down. At that point, I didn’t like my chances of ending up Humpty-Dumpty-like, on that floor!

caesar-dressing

Chicken Caesar Salad

I know that the dressing traditionally has a raw egg in it but decided that mayonnaise would be a good substitute as it is already egg and oil based and I have to say that I am quite pleased with the result as was Jake. Don’t miss out the anchovies – they add a deep umami flavour that cannot be replicated by salt alone. You could probably substitute with some fish sauce or anchovy paste – you will have to add a little at a time until you get the flavour you like. This makes quite a lot of dressing but it keeps very well and the recipe can easily be halved too.

From the comments below, a few of you have asked about substitutions;

  •  for mayo – I had a google and Jamie Oliver uses Greek yoghurt – it you try it, do come back and let me know and I will update the post with a credit to you and your blog.
  • vegetarian substitute for anchovies – I suggest tamari or soy sauce – start with one teaspoon and see if that adds enough umami – again, do come back and let me know and I will update the post.
  • vegetarian substitute for the chicken – try marinating firm tofu slices in smoky paprika, a little lemon juice and oil, then griddle or barbecue.

caesar-dressing

Caesar Dressing

  • Servings: 300 ml
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise – don’t skimp on the quality here
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • juice of one lemon – about 50 ml or so – see my Tips and Tricks page on how to get the most juice out of a lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 anchovies preserved in oil
  • freshly ground black pepper – about ½ tsp
  • 120ml/ ½ cup mild olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp oil from the anchovies – optional but good!
  • 35 g parmesan cheese grated

To serve (for 2 people)

  • 1 large slice of  sourdough or ciabatta bread cubed into croutons
  • a little olive oil
  • Half a romaine lettuce, washed and dried
  • 2 cooked  and sliced chicken breasts – barbecued or cooked on the griddle is the tastiest. Ours was room temperature.
  • grated parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, anchovies and black pepper in the bowl of a small food processor and blitz until smooth.
  2. With the motor running, slowly stream in the olive oil and the anchovy oil to emulsify the sauce. Add the oil slowly – this is the key to the dressing emulsifying and not splitting – the mustard really helps with this process in any case.
  3. Taste and adjust the flavour (not the salt though as the parmesan goes in next). More garlic? Add another crushed clove. If it’s too sharp from the lemon, add a little more oil but we found that the above measurements were perfect.
  4. Scrape into a bowl and stir in the parmesan cheese (or you could carry on blitzing in the food processor but I was using my really small one and didn’t have enough space!)
  5. Taste again and make any final adjustments to the flavour.

To serve

  1. Toss the bread cubes in a little olive oil and either cook them in a dry non-stick frying pan or toast in a hot oven for 5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool.
  2. Tear up the romaine leaves into manageable pieces and place in a large bowl.
  3. Top with the chicken/tofu and croutons.
  4. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of the dressing and toss well to coat. Add more if you like more dressing on the salad.
  5. Scatter with some grated parmesan cheese, dish up and enjoy, hopefully alfresco with a large glass of cold Sauvignon Blanc!

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Warm Chicken Noodle Salad with a Spicy Tahini Sauce

warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauceThis time last week, I was getting ready to meet fellow blogger, Elaine Boddy of foodbod at Borough Market. We hadn’t met before but within minutes of meeting I felt that I had always known her. She asked a young woman to take a photo of us, cautioning her not to run off with her phone – I just knew we would get on! We had  a cuppa and a natter to begin with and then started our meander round the market, stopping to take pictures and exclaim over the produce. We sampled and tasted all sorts of delicious morsels, had a cheese tasting at Neal’s Yard Dairy and then shared a delicious Indian dosa and spicy chickpeas from Horn OK Please and also a fantastic Lebanese mezze from The Arabica Food and Spice Company. All the while we did not stop talking! It was a wonderful day and I can’t wait to do it again – very soon. warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce   warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce After Elaine left to catch her train home, I suddenly realised that I did not have anything for dinner. I went back  in and bought a lovely chicken which I roasted with potatoes and parsnips knowing full well that there would be lovely left overs for later in the week. The sauce for this Warm Chicken Noodle Salad is absolutely gorgeous! It is nutty, spicy, sour, sweet and so moreish! Please do adjust the piquancy of the sauce to your palate. If tahini is not something you buy, use peanut butter in its place but do make a note to get a jar – it is a fabulous ingredient.

warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce

Spicy Tahini Sauce

This would also work well with other types of oriental noodles like soba, udon, rice and vermicelli. Just please, don’t overcook them. You could also boost the vegetable content of the salad by including shredded carrots and finely sliced green beans. warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce If you don’t have any cooked chicken knocking about,  poach a couple of chicken breasts in a vaguely oriental stock – add things like a dash of soy sauce, a star anise, a few slices of ginger etc to the water to infuse a little extra flavour into the chicken. The trick to poaching is not to let the water boil once the protein is in it- keep it barely simmering. Check the breasts after ten minutes by slicing the thickest part with a sharp knife. Pop it back in if it needs a few more minutes otherwise, shred when cool enough to handle. (Sliced or shredded poached chicken breasts are great to have in the freezer to speed up after work/school meals. Just sayin’…) warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce

Warm Chicken Noodle Salad with a Spicy Tahini Sauce

  • Servings: two generously
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Adapted from Easy Cold Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken by Yasmin Fahr on Serious Eats INGREDIENTS

  • 400g fresh egg noodles
  • 300g cooked, shredded chicken (or lower a couple of chicken breasts into a pan of simmering water to which you have added some star anise, a few slices of ginger and a dash of soy sauce;  poach for 10 minutes in barely simmering water. Drain, let cool slightly and shred)
  • 100g shredded cabbage (not Savoy or the red ones – you can use Chinese, Bok Choy, Sweetheart etc.)
  • 50g bean sprouts
  • 6 stalks of chopped coriander leaves
  • 6 stalks of chopped mint leaves
  • a handful of roasted and salted peanuts
  • 2 lime wedges

For the sauce

  • ¼ c tahini sauce (mix it up really well if has separated in the jar, before measuring out)
  • 2 Tbsp soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar/white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sweet chilli dipping sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (I used pumpkin seed oil)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp grated ginger

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put the kettle on to boil.
  2. If you are poaching chicken, now is the time to do it.
  3. Make the sauce by whisking all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust the sweet, savoury, salty, spicy and sour balance to to your taste. Taste it again before you serve as the flavours develop a little as it sits.
  4. Crush the peanuts coarsely (in a pestle and mortar; or place on a chopping board; cover with baking paper/cling film and go over with a rolling pin; or place in a plastic bag and bash gently with a rolling pin or bottom of a sturdy glass).
  5. Pour the water from the kettle into a saucepan and let it come to the boil again. Add a little salt to the water and drop in the shredded cabbage. Blanch for one minute then add the egg noodles for one minute. Set a timer – there’s nothing worse than soggy noodles!
  6. Drain the noodles and the cabbage and mix with the bean sprouts and the shredded chicken.
  7. Arrange on two plates. Top with 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the sauce; sprinkle over the coriander and mint leaves and finish with a spoonful of crushed peanuts.
  8. Squeeze over the lime wedges and eat immediately. Keep the sauce to hand and pass round as needed – you will want more!

Copyright – © Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce

Chicken Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Rosemary

chicken-mac-n-cheeseI suffered with fairly severe eczema and asthma as a child and of course, it was ALL triggered by food. The list of foods I could not eat included ice-cream (the cold set off my wheezing – imagine living in Nairobi and not being able to enjoy the icy creations from  Snow Queen!), cold drinks, fish, shellfish, oranges and passion fruit. I am not sure how scientific any of this was but it was what my mother and I felt set off a bout of up-all-night-wheezing or scratching. While she sat up with me holding my hand through another breathless night, we would discuss what I had eaten that could have triggered it off.  The list grew quite lengthy. For some reason, left-overs were deemed to be a culprit too, so all my food was freshly prepared.

Today, left-overs are something that I practically plan for – they speed up after-work cooking and stretch the food budget without any hint of parsimony. My favourite is left-over roast chicken. No matter how I have cooked it, I always strip what is left on the carcass while it is still warm as this yields the most flesh. I also break up the bones for a simple stock that I start for an hour or two on the Sunday evening or pop the bones into a freezer bag for another time. And I save all the cooking juices, gravy and vegetables. Favourite left-over chicken meals include risotto with any left-overs being made into oven baked  arancini the following day which we have with a spicy tomato sauce and a rocket salad; there are pot pies in the winter and pasta salads in the summer, also soups, green curries and stir fries. Left over roast chicken is one of my favourite ingredients!!  (And just in case you are wondering – when we moved to Winnipeg all my allergies disappeared completely, only to return when I moved to London. Today if anything flares up it is usually due to stress or damp.)

chicken-mac-n-cheese

At the weekend I made my version of this braised spatchcock chicken which left me with a lot of gorgeous pan  juices as well as about half a chicken. For quite some time, I have been meaning to try  this chicken lasagne recipe. But when I read it through again, it seemed very heavy on the cheese and in any case, I didn’t have any lasagne sheets but I did have a packet of macaroni pasta. So my Chicken Mac ‘n’ Cheese evolved and I have to say that it was absolutely lovely; total comfort food with not too much fuss.

chicken-mac-n-cheese

If you are starting from scratch, without any pre-cooked chicken or pan juices, I would suggest braise roasting  3 or 4 chicken thighs while you make the béchamel. All instructions below.

chicken-mac-n-cheese

Chicken Mac 'n' Cheese with Rosemary

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

For the braise roasted chicken:

  • 3 or 4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
  • 2 banana shallots
  • 4 whole peeled garlic cloves
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • ¼ c of  black olives – I leave the pits in and warn everyone
  • 150ml of a dry white wine
  • 250ml stock or water with a stock cube mixed in (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper

Or if you are using left-overs:

  • 250 g cooked and shredded chicken
  • 200 ml of pan juices  

Plus:

  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 cup of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 250 g macaroni or elbow pasta
  • 20g grated parmesan cheese.

For the Béchamel Sauce:

  • 60g butter
  • 60 g flour
  • 700ml/3 cups milk
  • ⅓ of a nutmeg
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 heaped Tbsp finely chopped rosemary needles
  • 200g grated cheddar cheese separated into 150g and 50g – just eyeball it!
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F.

MAKE THE BRAISE ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS

  1. Slice shallots into long half moons and sauté gently in a pan with a little olive oil for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the whole garlic cloves, the chicken thighs, the anchovies and the olives; stir it around, letting it all get a little caramelised – about 7 or 8 minutes. The anchovies will dissolve and add a deep savoury note to the pan juices. Remove the chicken to a plate. Deglaze pan with the wine, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom.
  2. Place rosemary stalks in a snug fitting roasting dish and scrape in the savoury shallot/garlic/anchovy/olive mix over them. Nestle the chicken thighs on top and squeeze over the lemon juice and pour round the chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Pop in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove rosemary stalks and discard. Remove chicken from the pan juices and leave on plate until cool enough to handle; shred the meat and mix it back into the pan juices.

MAKE THE BÉCHAMEL SAUCE

  1. Make béchamel by melting the butter over a medium heat. Sprinkle over the chopped rosemary and the flour and cook, stirring madly for about 5 minutes.
  2. Take off the heat and slowly add in the first cup of milk, stirring all the time to avoid lumps and then add the other two cups, stirring well after each one. Pop in the bay leaf and grate in the nutmeg.
  3. Let this just come to the boil (scald) and then turn down the heat and keep it on a low flame, to thicken which should take about 5-10 minutes. You will have to keep stirring to stop the bottom from catching.
  4. Once it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, stir in 150g of the cheddar cheese and the mustard.
  5. Take it off the heat and set aside to cool a little, stirring occasionally to stop a skin from forming – it will thicken even more as it cools.

COOK THE PASTA

  1. Cook the macaroni pasta in lots of boiling salted water for 4 minutes. It will carry on cooking in the sauce in the oven so resist the urge to cook it any further otherwise you will end up with pasta the texture of baby food in the finished dish.

ASSEMBLE THE DISH

  1. Place the cooked chicken, the pan juices, including the shallots, garlic and olives; the spinach and peas in a mixing bowl (or even the dish you are going to bake this in) and mix well to combine. Check on the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, ladle the pasta and some of the water that will be clinging to it, into the chicken mix. Stir in just over half the béchamel and mix well. It will be quite sloppy which is what you need to finish cooking the pasta. Check on the seasoning and adjust.
  3. Spread the pasta mixture out evenly in your baking dish.
  4. Using a tablespoon, dot the remaining béchamel evenly over the pasta mix and smooth out.
  5. Scatter over the grated cheddar and  parmesan and bake in the oven for about 30 – 40 min. It should be bubbly and golden when it is ready.
  6. Leave it to rest and settle for about 10minutes before digging in.

Perfect with a salad.

Extraordinary Roasted Chicken, Potatoes and Chickpeas

Extraordinary-Marinated-Chicken-Potatoes-and-Chickpeas

My 16 year old son, Jake,  has been in Demark visiting friends over the holidays. He is due back later today, having braved an overnight ferry crossing in this hideous weather we have been having. I am really hoping that the weather will have calmed down otherwise the experience will put him off boats and ferries for life. Which would be such a shame. I am also hoping that he has managed to revise for his mock GCSEs which commence this week. I am expecting that he minded his manners, helped out without being asked and didn’t sleep in to the extent he does at home during the holidays.

Well, I am sure that all will be revealed, probably just as soon as he has watched the new, much anticipated BBC drama, Sherlock Holmes – The Empty Hearse. Did I mention that I have already watched it twice? One of my favourite New Years Day tweets was from a good friend who wished everyone a “Happy New Year also known as Happy Sherlock Day!” I think that just about sums it up. I read somewhere that 10 million people tuned in to watch it – that is quite staggering don’t you think? Follow Selma’s Table on Facebook as I will post the update on his trip there.

In the week before Jake left, I discovered Elaine Boddy’s lovely blog, foodbod. Her recipe for Lebanese inspired marinated and roasted chickpeas and potatoes really caught my eye (well it did have chickpeas and potatoes in it – my two favourite food groups) and I actually went out to buy some chicken just so that I could make it.

Oh. My. Goodness.

It is a completely and UTTERLY gorgeous dish. Jake polished off half of it – the recipe serves 4! After it’s stint in the oven, the marinade cooks down to this incredible sticky savouriness around the potatoes and chicken, which when combined with the crispy bits of chickpeas, tender chicken with crispy skin and fluffy, marinade-sodden potatoes, just becomes food heaven on a plate.

I entered the recipe into “Your Best One Pot Meal” contest over on Food52 and was surprised and rather excited to get an email from them saying that I was one of two finalists (out of nearly 200 entries). Voting then started and I was and am, over the moon to have WON!!! Thank you to every one who voted – and a huge thanks to Elaine who inspired it. It’s such a fabulous recipe – I do hope you try it.

This is the link to my  Winners Q & A on the site – http://food52.com/blog/9696-winner-of-your-best-one-pot-meal

This is the link to the recipe on the site where lots of people have tried it and left comments – http://food52.com/recipes/25866-extraordinary-marinated-and-roasted-chicken-potatoes-and-chickpeas

Extraordinary-Marinated-Chicken-Potatoes-and-Chickpeas

This recipe is so easy to make – mix up the marinade; peel and chop the potatoes; rinse and drain the chickpeas and leave it all in the fridge to marinate for a day.

Extraordinary-Marinated-Chicken-Potatoes-and-Chickpeas

Then arrange in a roasting dish, cover and pop into an oven for about an hour. Rustic,  flavourful and  charming enough to be served to supper guests.

Extraordinary-Marinated-Chicken-Potatoes-and-Chickpeas

Elaine cooks it without chicken so I have adapted her recipe to account for this (less oil and the inclusion of buttermilk to further tenderise the chicken) and tweaked the spicing a little too. I think it would be amazing with lamb as well.  I have made it again for Jake’s homecoming.

Extraordinary-Marinated-Chicken-Potatoes-and-Chickpeas

It needs a day to marinate so what are you waiting for?

Extraordinary Roasted Chicken, Potatoes and Chickpeas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from  Lebanese inspired marinated and roasted Chickpeas and Potatoes by Elaine Boddy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1  can of chickpeas (400g)
  • 800g floury potatoes  – I used King Edwards the first time and Maris Piper this time – both with excellent results but I preferred the King Edwards
  • 1 whole head of garlic, cloves separated
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (organic/free range preferably)

Marinade

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 1 ½  tsp sugar (brown has a better flavour)
  • 1 Tbsp buttermilk/yoghurt
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Harissa paste (or adjust this to your taste)
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To finish

  • 2 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds
  • a pack of  coriander leaves, chopped
  • Greek yoghurt or a Tzatziki

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 2 inch chunks – the size of roast potatoes.
  3. Give the lemons 30 seconds or so in the microwave to help release more juice. Roll, applying a little pressure;  then slice in half and squeeze out as much juice as you can.
  4. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Place the chicken, chickpeas, potatoes and garlic in a large freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Flop it around a bit to make sure that the marinade gets everywhere. Place on a plate, in a bowl etc. and pop in the fridge to marinade for a day. Turn the bag over whenever you open the fridge over the next 24 hours.
  6. An hour and a half before you are ready to eat; pre-heat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/ 375 F. Remove the bag from the fridge and tumble the contents into a large roasting dish – large enough for everything to be spread out so that there is a lot of exposed food surface area. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil and cook for 1 hour.  Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the chicken skin and potatoes are crispy and cooked through and the chickpeas get a little crunchy too. Watch like a hawk that the marinade does not go from gooey and delicious to a burnt crisp. Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving platter/dish and scatter over the roasted cumin seeds and chopped coriander.
  7. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or Tzatziki on the side and prepare to be worshipped.

Copyright – © Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.