In My Kitchen – October 2014

In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen, I have cheese. One of my favourite cheese stalls in London’s Borough Market, is Une Normade a Londres. Run by two brothers from Normandy, these boys really know their cheese. This time I came away with a little rondel of Pérail de Brebis, a ewe’s milk cheese  – seriously savoury and creamy from Aveyron in the Mid Pyrenees in France. The land the sheep graze on is rich in floral growth and this is very evident in the mellow but rich flavour of this cheese. In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableThe enormous variety of goats cheeses they have on display is something to behold – they always have plenty of cheese available to sample – if you are in the area, drop by and see what takes your fancy – I don’t think you will come away empty handed! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I have this award winning, liquid gold, which I was sent to sample, from Olive Branch, a company specialising in Greek produce. Olive Branch’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is cold pressed using only Cretan Koroneiki olives, which makes it a single varietal EVOO. It’s quite floral – more grassy and fruity than peppery though there is little bite of pepperiness towards the end. In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableOlive Branch work with a the local co-op as well as neighbouring farmers to partially produce this low acidity (0.3%) EVOO on their farm. Using early ripening olives and cold pressing them within hours of harvest also ensures that the oil is fresh, aromatic and full of nutrients and anti-oxidants. It is absolutely gorgeous – just look at that stunning colour! It has been wonderful on the last of the flavourful summer tomatoes and drizzled over pasta too. In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableI made a lovely salad with sliced fennel, cherry tomatoes, black grapes, walnuts and bee pollen (the bee pollen featured in my September IMK post)  and this oil was the perfect complement to it.

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread | Selma's Table

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread

I also made a Green Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread which was delicious with their oil. Do try the oil if you get the chance – it makes a lovely addition to the peppery EVOO that we are more used to. A little tidbit for you – they supply Ottolenghi with Dakos, that crispy bread he is so fond of! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableSpeaking of Ottolenghi, I was completely overexcited to receive my copy of the long awaited Plenty More. I have made the wonderful tomato and pomegranate salad, the slow cooked chickpeas, the sweet and sour leeks with goats cheese and the corn fritters – all have been delicious!! The book is divided into chapters by method (Tossed, Steamed, Blanched, Braised, Mashed, Grilled etc…) and is vegetarian but you wouldn’t even notice. Nonetheless, there are plenty of suggestions for the carnivore too. Desperately hoping that he returns to London (he is in Australia on his book tour) with a few more dates for book signings… In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's Table In my kitchen, Jake cooked dinner – the first time in a long while. He gets invited to dinner at least once a week where he and his friends do the cooking. At least that is what I think is going on! A few times, I have called him and he is in Sainsburys with one or two of his friends, buying groceries to make dinner with. I can’t hear the tell tale sound of clinking bottles in the basket….Anyway, he announced that he was going to cook dinner – he made this delicious pasta dish, sautéing onions and garlic and adding sundried tomatoes, left over roast chicken, a pinch of smoky paprika and some creme fraiche. The pasta was perfectly al dente too. I was so impressed.

In my kitchen there were fancy, schmancy cupcakes because Jake turned 17. For the past few years, I either take him and a couple of his friends out for dinner or a group of us go out – this year, one of his friends threw him a surprise party. We spun him a tale and made him believe that I was taking him and this friend out to lunch and that afterwards they were going to go to the park and maybe meet up with a couple of friends (because “everyone is away”). I bailed at the last minute, but made him take the Ambassador Cupcakes that I had made in case anyone turned up to the park. He didn’t suspect a thing and got such a surprise when he got to his friend’s house and found everyone there!! I made the cupcakes the night before and the icing, early in the morning. I took him up one hastily and hideously iced and assembled cake with a candle in it, all his birthday cards and his present. Then I watched some icing videos on YouTube and iced the rest in a slightly more professional manner!! The recipe for these Ambassador or Double Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes with Nutella Icing is on the blog – they went down a treat! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's Table In my kitchen, I have Lurpak’s Cook’s Range. I was sent a couple of packs of ‘Baking‘ of and a bottle of ‘Cooking Liquid‘. ‘Baking’ is simply amazing for baking and icing – a blend of butter and rapeseed (canola) oil, it is soft from the fridge so that within a few seconds of beating it looks like this – In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableI used ‘Baking’ to make the Nutella icing for the Double Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes and also used some to make my Carrot and Apple Cake Cheesecake (more about that later) and I think it is pretty amazing. I’ve used the ‘Cooking Liquid’ which is also a blend of butter and rapeseed oil, to sauté onions and brown meat – it does the job brilliantly. There is also a mist and a clarified butter in the range which I would love to try. I have been very impressed with both the products. If you bake a lot, Baking would be a great asset in the kitchen. Lots of recipes on their website as well as a very clever shopping tool which links to your on-line grocery store! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I made a Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake. My friend Rupert, was hosting a Coffee Morning fundraiser for Macmillan and asked me to help – not that I did much other than bake this cake and bank the money raised. In true Rupert fashion, there was a mouthwatering array of hot and cold savoury bites, Bucks Fizz  in Vera Wang crystal flutes and Jasmine tea in a Coalport tea service. There was no selling of anything, just very generous donations from everyone instead – it was lovely and so much fun! He raised a good sum of money too, which was the whole point! The recipe for the Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake is now on the blog.

Well, that is it from my kitchen – huge thanks to Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hosts this monthly event – peeking into everyone’s kitchens all over the world is quite the eye opener sometimes!  Pour yourself a drink and take a little browse – all the links to the participating blogs are on the right hand side of Celia’s post. I have linked the page to  her blog name so click on it and take a little tour! Have a wonderful October, everyone!

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread | Selma's TableWhen I first moved to London on my own in the early nineties, I worked as a P.A. to a Greek hairdresser. He and his English wife had been crowned London Hairdresser of the Year a couple of times – a reputation which they were really living off at that point. We were paid a pittance for the opportunity to work there and shine in the reflected glory of their name. I learned a great deal about the “show biz” end of hairdressing there – the photo shoots, the big national and international hair shows, the video shoots, the trade events.  When there was an event on, the hours were long and it was expected that everyone that needed to, would pitch in as necessary. I could be typing scripts and cue sheets and the almost daily changes until midnight – this would be for the elaborate hair shows that would be taken, models, wigs, outfits and all to Japan where this company had a big sponsor. For photo shoots it was usually a 6am start to get to the studio and start prepping the girls for hair, make-up and clothes. Themes, storyboarding and clothes styling were my involvement for this sort of thing, though to begin with I would be briefed with the ‘vision’ then make the phone calls to source clothes for the vision and finally bring back what I could scrounge, as hair shoots don’t really come high on any PR or designer’s list of where to loan out clothes to show their lines. Nonetheless, I managed to come back with racks of clothes for the shoots to take to the studio or the trips where his wife would oversee the vision. Eventually I was trusted enough to be invited to these events to help select the clothes and dress the models. It was a far cry from the happy, busy, personal growth and client focused, customer service driven, suburban salon I had worked in before.

Occasionally, the couple would invite the Art Team back to their house for some food (it was never a meal) to brain storm or invite all the staff over for a barbecue if an event had been particularly gruelling with the salon staff having to prop things up while the Art Team were on a punishing schedule, out of the country or working on a trade event. And it is,  of course, the Greek food that is of interest in this case – in those days, I had only eaten Greek food at that wonderful Bayswater institution, Halepi, in West London –  and also another in Claygate that included plate smashing as part of the post-meal entertainment. The barbecues that we were invited to at their house were memorable – some of his family members would be there; the men presiding over a number of small coal grills, tending to  an assortment of meats and Greek sausages as well as half a lamb on a spit. The salads were many and varied too. But the dish I remember the most was that of lemony, oregano scented potatoes – gorgeous waxy Cyprus potatoes that braise slowly in a little stock, lemon juice and oregano.

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread | Selma's TableThis Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread recipe takes it’s cue from those potatoes, though it is much more than that, of course. It is a another one-pot meal where the flavours and textures all mingle to produce a wonderful dish that is more than just a sum of it’s parts. Some of the bread and vegetables absorb the juices from the chicken and become gooey and soft whilst the rest roast and get crispy and chewy and sharp with the lemon – you can add things like artichoke hearts too if you wish or splash in some stock or wine towards the end for more of a wet roast. It is immensely adaptable to what you have in your pantry and I hope that it acts as a springboard for you – do try it with the bread though – it’s an unusual and fabulous addition!

In the photos you will note a couple of sweet potatoes which I have not included in the recipe below as I wanted to have these for my lunch the next day and not as part of this dish. We love having rocket/arugula with this – the sharp, peppery flavour is another wonderful contrast.

Greek inspired Roast Chicken with Bread

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Aliwaks Roast Chicken with Bread and Garlic

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 kg free range/organic chicken
  • 1 tsp Harissa paste
  • 1 Tbsp Sundried Tomato and Basil Paste
  • Juice of two lemons, separated and plus one whole one
  • 3-4 slices of stale sourdough bread
  • 1 head of garlic – cloves separated but skins left on
  • 2 leeks, cleaned of any sand
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp Green and Black olives stuffed with sundried tomato, garlic and rosemary
  • 8 Sundried tomatoes
  • 700 g waxy potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt
  • Greek “Olive Branch” EVO oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix the Harissa, sundried tomato paste and the juice of one lemon together to make a runny paste.
  2. Untruss the chicken. Remove as much visible fat as you can from the cavity and discard along with the trussing. If there are giblets, freeze them to make gravy another time.
  3. Smear the paste all over the chicken and inside the cavity and leave to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
  4. In the meantime, slice the bread into large cubes, slice the leeks into 1 inch segments and peel and halve the potatoes and arrange in a large roasting dish. Scatter over the garlic cloves, olives and the sundried tomatoes. Squeeze over the juice of the second lemon and sprinkle with oregano and sea salt.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F
  6. Stuff the chicken with a halved lemon
  7. Lubricate the bread and vegetables with some olive oil and arrange the chicken on top, making sure that it is sitting on some of the bread and the potatoes which will absorb the chicken juices. Pour over any remaining marinade that has been left on the plate, back over the chicken.  Drizzle a little oil over the chicken and sprinkle with sea salt to help the skin crisp up.
  8. Cook the chicken for 20 minutes at 220C/425F and then turn down the heat to 180C/350F and give the pan a shake, turning over any bread and vegetables that are not covered by the chicken. Roast for another 40 – 55 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken and until the juices run clear at the leg joint.
  9. Turn off the oven. Remove chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Keep the vegetables and the bread warm, also loosely covered, in the residual heat of the oven.
  10. Carve the chicken as you wish but make sure that everyone gets a good mix of crispy chewy, roasted vegetables and bread as well as some which have absorbed the chicken juices – it is a real textural revelation!

© 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.