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Archive for April, 2014

Madeira – coming soon!

Ah! I’ve just come back from a week on Madeira, and what a great holiday it was too. The weather was glorious. The company excellent, and the food…..

Well, Madeira is not renown for their cuisine (some might disagree of course) I often found it lacking in flavour, however, they do know how to cook one ugly-looking fish! Their produce of fruit and vegetables is excellent as well.

More to come soon!

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Lemon chilli chicken

Serves 4

Prep time 25 minutes, plus marinating
Cooking time 45 minutes

You need:
8 chicken thighs
8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 juicy lemons, quartered and squeezed skins reserved
1 small red chilli, chopped and deseeded (unless you want more heat)
2 tablespoon orange blossom honey
4 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus springs to garnish
Salt & pepper

 

1. Arrange the chicken pieces in a shallow oven-proof dish. Crush two of the garlic cloves and add them to the lemon juice with the chopped chilli and honey. Stir well, then pour the mixture over the chicken. Tuck the lemon skins around the meat, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight, turning once or twice.

 

2. Turn the chicken pieces skin-side up, scatter over the remaining whole garlic cloves and the lemon skins.

 

3. Cook the chicken in a preheated oven, gas mark 6 / 200 for 45 minutes or until golden-brown, cooked through and tender. Stir in the chopped parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve garnished with fresh parsley springs.

 

Happy Easter, folks! I’m off to Madeira next week, and hoping for fine weather, great sights and of course new and exciting food.

Love,
Natasja

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Coming soon…

I am still searching for that perfect roast chicken recipe, and chilli, parsley, garlic, honey and lemon are a few of my favourite things.

Chicken marinating in the fridge as we speak, and I will make it for supper tomorrow or Saturday, so watch this space.

 

In the meanwhile, why not enjoy these spring flowers ?

 

 

Love,

Natasja

 

 

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Serves 2

Takes 30 minutes or so

200°C / 400°F / gas mark 6

 

You need:

2 red peppers

250 grams minced beef

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Handful of frozen green peas

Half a tin of black beans

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chilli powder

Salt & pepper

Grated cheese

 

Use a small knife to cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Place the peppers on an oven proof dish.

Gently sweat the onions and garlic in a pan, add the minced beef and brown quickly. Add the spices and salt & pepper to taste.

Transfer to a bowl and mix in the beans and peas, then add mixture to the peppers. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes on 200°C / 400°F / gas mark 6.

Serve with bread, a side salad or just on its own.

PS it might be an idea to cook the peppers a little before adding the stuffing.

Enjoy!

 

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Big bunch of flat parsley, finely chopped
Large handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
Two shallot onions, or one small red onion, finely chopped
Five or so tender celery stalks, finely chopped
A few cloves of garlic
A tin of chickpeas

Dressing:

Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Lemon juice
Sugar

Mix the vegetables and herbs in a bowl, add the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, salt, sugar and freshly ground pepper to taste.

 

Image

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Arabic lamb stew

I really did enjoy this dish, which was oh-so-simple to make. You could leave the lamb to marinate for 24 hours in the fridge to optimize the flavour, but you would then need to skip step 1.

Serves 6

1 1/2 kilo leg of lamb or any lamb stewing meat, on the bone
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cardamom (alternatively replace with 1 teaspoon fresh or ground ginger)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 liter natural yoghurt (I used Greek yoghurt)
2 tablespoons tomato pure

1. Seal the meat in the oil and place in an oven-proof dish. (I have to admit I forgot this step however the dish turned out ok….)
2. Mix all the other ingredients well and cover the meat in the mixture
3. Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven for 1,5 hours on 200°C / 400°F / gas mark 6

I served this dish with a simple herb salad and cous cous. Really enjoyed it. I hope you will too.

Love,
Natasja

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When I think of lamb, I think of a very cute, big eyed, curly and curious creature and if I think too long about it, might find it hard to eat very often. I find this with other baby animals too, like veal. It somehow feels wrong to eat the young of any species, as they’ve not yet fulfilled their purpose….. Maybe it’s just me being sentimental. Don’t get me wrong, I do like lamb – nothing beats a leg of lamb, packed with garlic and rosemary on the BBQ.

I was looking for an explanation as to why we often eat lamb for Easter. The tradition can be found in the Christian, Jewish and Catholic faiths, but I couldn’t find lamb being widely used in Islam, at least not around Easter. I don’t think they celebrate this? I could be wrong, of course, my ‘research’ was done via Google at a coffee shop during my extended lunch break, so not very in-depth. I found the below extract interesting though:

“Lamb is the symbol of renewal, victory of life upon the death, gentleness, tenderness, innocence. It is a perfect victim which should be sacrificed to assure someones salvation. The cult of Dionysus and his devotees were one of the first to use this symbol. They used to throw lambs to a chasm to ease Pylaochos, the guardian of the infernal gate. Thus the God could reappear on the coast of the lake Lerna, where from he descended to the underworld to look for his mother.

With the Hebrew Revelation the lamb or the sheep symbolizes Israelite, member of God’s herd. Christianity retook this image. Even today in Jewish, Christian and Muslim symbolism the lamb is the victim to be sacrificed, the Renewal in Jewish Easter, in Christian Easter, death and resurrection of Christ, the lamb of God, and sacrifice of Ramadan.

When John the Baptist saw Jesus for the first time, he called him the lamb of God who destroys the sin of the world, which is, first of all, related to the sacrifice. This image is the main accent of Easter mentioned Peter. Christians were liberated as Israel from Egypt was in ancient times through the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ. John and Paul affirm that Jesus’ death perfectly accomplish the sacrifice of the paschal lamb.”

Source: http://symbols.ehibou.com/lamb/

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