we had cheryl and geoff & sandy to dinner saturday night. very wonderful to see them all.
but this is a food post because its easy when I've been crook and still am ...
I'm trying to learn to keep things simple. - the hardest lesson of my life!
would that make me a P?
... so we did nibblies... (mmm.. not any effort here - sorry guests - really apart from good dates in honey with toasted pine nuts and sea salt)... main course was 3 chooks (aka poultry) on the Weber, each spiced differently
Chook #1 - I made this one up on the day and it needs more work - a marinade of honey, orange juice, sumac, cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, Indian chilli powder, salt & pepper. Hard to get the honey/orange mixture to stick to the chicken - it probably needed 2 days of marinating. And I'll grind the cardamom fresh next time. Put half an orange inside the chook. But this thing has real potential. I did learn that the sugar in the honey means that the skin burns quicker.... (Aaah... just worked out the solution! Stay tuned, but my original lamb marinade recipe has all of the clues!) Dammit, am I obsessing about food here!!
Chook #2 - made a butter mix with 'real' butter (guests are already in cardiac arrest), minced ginger & garlic, chopped fresh coriander leaves, lemon juice and turmeric - and put it under the chicken skin, and then smothered some on top. Put some of the butter mix and a lemon wedge inside this one.
Chook #3 - made up a spice rub from Big Flavors of the Hot Sun - 2 tbspns coriander seeds, 2 tbspns cumin seeds, 1/4 cup paprika (I ran out so it was 1/8 cup), 1 tbspn cayenne pepper (as if! we used 1 tspn), 1 tbspn ground allspice (I used allspice berries), 2 tbspns ground cinnamon (huh! oops. I left this out!! I couldn't work out what was different at the time....) 1 tbspn ground ginger, I tspn ground cloves. Put a lemon wedge in this chook too.
Vegetables - did the baked Casablancan (apparently...) veg tray from the brilliant "African and Middle Eastern Cookbook" by Josephine Bacon and Jenni Fleetwood tray. In a big baking tray, put some...
- quartered red onions
- longish, thick slices of eggplant
- quartered tomatoes
- thickly sliced zucchini
- some capsicums - vary the colour (cut in half, seed, then quarter)
- chunks of sweet potato
- 2-3 leeks cut into long strips
Plus some whole garlic cloves, crushed or broken, slivered fresh ginger root.
Mix with a generous amount of olive oil. Added cracked black pepper and sea salt. Add some large fresh sprigs of rosemary, then drizzle the whole dish with honey. (a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice would also be fine.)
Bake on 200C or 400F for 45-60 mins (depending on the size of the chunks and the heat of the oven.
This is bloody marvellous, easy as pie, the colours look fantastic (serve it in the baking tray). My default easy-veg dish (of course you could swap the honey for balsamic vinegar for something more Italian...)
Serve it with couscous as a straight vegetarian meal if you like.
We made home-made vanilla ice cream with strawberries (fresh and fresh-syruped) for dessert.
Some nice wine and great company. too little time with all of you, who are extraordinary, much loved and we wish we all lived in the same street, or at least suburb or town!
how good would it be to run that 'cafe at the end of the universe' thing? like a 'who would you invite to dinner?" but every night.
OK, apart from the cooking, and the 'every night' aspect, that seemed like a good idea.