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Lamb Kofta Meatballs with Spiced Yogurt

17 Oct

I’ve never been a huge fan of lamb. The problem is, I often see photos of and recipes for lamb that look really tantalizing. (I feel the same way, only stronger, about goat cheese. I know, I know…)

While casually cruising around Kensington recently, I popped into Sanagan’s Meat Locker, an amazing hipster butcher (pardon the term), that we recently discovered. This is the kind of busy place that requires you to grab a number and await your turn. Once you have that little paper tab, things tend to move quickly. You are under pressure.

During this hasty moment, with endless options before me,  I spontaneously bought some ground lamb.

Middle Eastern food and flavours are amongst my favourite, and many recipes call for lamb. So what the hell?

“I’ll make kofta!” I thought.

But alas, I didn’t have any wooden skewers, and couldn’t find any in a pinch. So instead of cooking these on a stick (!!) I made them into meatballs. They were equally delicious if not quite as fun.

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I served them with spiced yogurt and paprika, a couscous salad and fried eggplant.

 

Lamb Kofta Meatballs with Spiced Yogurt 

(Makes about 15)

  • 1 lb ground organic lamb
  • 1 shallot or 1/4 onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (toasted) or 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons semolina (couscous) uncooked
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Spiced Yogurt 

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Cup roughly chopped parsley and mint (fresh or dried)
  • 1 tsp chives (fresh or dried)

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients of yogurt sauce first, and let sit in the fridge
  2. In small pan, lightly toast cumin seeds with slivered almonds (can also use pine nuts, which are more traditional)
  3. Combine lamb with all of the spices, onion, herbs, egg and semolina. Mix well with hands.
  4. Roll into small meatballs, being careful not to pack them too tightly. If you have the time,let them rest for 30 minutes or more refrigerated to let the flavours blend.
  5. You can either pan fry them or bake them. I fried them lightly over medium high heat (about two minutes) and then baked them on a tray at 300 for 10 ish minutes.
  6. You can also form them onto soaked skewers (fun!) and bake them that way.

This meal totally hit the spot. I fried up some eggplant (my new fave) dipped in egg whites, and layered it with raw cucumbers (a nice contrast of soft and crunchy), with a lemony couscous/tabouli hybrid salad. I drizzled the whole thing with fresh lemon juice and touch of olive oil.

The yogurt sauce was spicy and tangy and complimented the lamb very well.

These were a hit well worth repeating! They would also make great appetizers.

I may be a lamb convert yet. Stay tuned! 

xo M

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Hello, Crispy “Fried Chicken”! p.s. It’s Baked.

29 May

ImageWhat do you do when you have a hankering for something greasy and sinful but can’t lower bring yourself to pop out for a Double Down?

Why, you create a mock up of course. In this case, involving cornflakes. 

I remembered that I had hungrily Pin-interested something of the sort late one night, so I dug around and found some recipes. The following is a conflation of a few that I discovered as well as the recipe on the back of the Kelloggs box.

You’re welcome. 

The end result was satisfying, to say the least, and pretty fun to make too. 

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Healthy Crispy Baked “Fried Chicken” 

  • 8-10 chicken drumsticks or thighs  
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic- crushed 
  • salt and pepper (1/2 teaspoon each)
  • liquid smoke
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon 
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups (or more) crumbled cornflakes 
  1. Combine yogurt, salt and pepper, paprika, garlic, mustard and a few drops of liquid smoke in a medium sized bowl or ziplock bag. Combine chicken and coat. Let marinate for at least one hour, or as long as possible. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350. 
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix flour, egg, milk and more salt, pepper and dash of paprika until smooth, to create a batter. 
  4. In separate shallow bowl or pan, crush cornflakes. 
  5. Remove chicken from marinade and dip into batter and then again into crushed cornflakes. Place evenly on a foiled and greased cooking pan. 
  6. Drizzle coated chicken with melted coconut oil. 
  7. Bake at 350 for one hour until tender, and chicken is no longer pink inside and juices run clear. 
  8. Do not cover pan or turn chicken while baking. Serve hot. 

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I served the chicken up on baby spinach with a warm, limey blackened corn salad and roasted pickled beets (don’t ask what’s in the corn salad- I I made it in a rush and I honestly don’t recall- but I know that it includes bulgar wheat, fried onions and red pepper, cumin, parsley, cayenne, honey and lime). The pickled beet salad is from the Polish deli next door ( which I’m obsessed with, and often clean them out of their stock!)  

I thought this meal came together bee-autifully. 

Try it out, guilt free. 

M x

 

 

This and That: Aubergine with Lemon and Raw Garlic, Smokey Bacon Jam on Rye with Cream Cheese, Poached Eggs

29 Apr

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This past weekend my mum came to stay with me. I had to work the whole weekend, but she didn’t seem to mind. While I was gone she filled the fridge, scrubbed the stubborn old bathtub and cooked cool things, like bacon jam. She also kept us well stocked with wine and gin.

It’s the little things.

Although she’s back home, her recipes are now immortalized with these photos of the plate of leftovers I had today for lunch, which included that smokey bacon jam. She also made this awesome roasted eggplant pickled in lemon juice, raw garlic and plenty of parsley that is a must-share. In addition: rye toast, tangy cream cheese, poached eggs, avocado slices and salad.

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Sweet and Smokey Bacon Jam
Recipe from food.com. Yield 1.75 cups

You’ll need:
– 1 lb bacon, sliced into small peices
– 4 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 medium brown onion, sliced
– 3 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1 tsp Sriracha
– 1 cup brewed coffee
– 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
– 1/4 cup maple syrup
– black pepper
– liquid smoke
– extra water

1) Fry bacon in batches until browned and slightly crispy
2) Fry onion and garlic in rendered bacon fat on medium until translucent
3) Transfer onions, garlic and bacon into heavy cast iron pot and add rest of the ingredients except water
4) Simmer for two hours adding 1/4 cup water every 30 minutes or so and stir frequently.
5) Cool about 15-20 minutes and place in food processor. Pulse 2-3 seconds, as to leave some texture for the jam.

6) Enjoy the endless possibilities- on a burger, on toast, on a sandwich, with cheese and crackers, by the spoonful….

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Roasted Eggplant with Raw Garlic , Parsley and Lemon
Also from food.com

You’ll need:
– 1 large eggplant
– 1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, more as needed
– 4 cloves garlic
– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley

1) Wash eggplant, cut off stem, leave peel on
2) Slice into quarter inch slices and brush each side with olive oil and sprinkle of salt
3) Bake at 375 for 35 – 40 minutes
4) In a bowl, combine garlic, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and drizzle over plated and cooked eggplant. Cover with parsley and serve.

Keeps well in fridge served cold!

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My day off never tasted so good.

Thanks Mum!

M

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Rosemary and Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops

18 Apr

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This was a super easy and quick recipe to whip-up. In fact, Scott made this as I coached him (with feet-up) from the kitchen table (so fun!). These chops would be great for when you have company and are caught off guard have not a lot of time to prepare.

You’ll Need
-6 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
-1/4 sea salt
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 boneless centre-cut pork chops
-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1) Chop garlic and rosemary finely, mix with salt and pepper to create a rub.

2) Place vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Don't burn! (Learned this the hard way!)

3) Heat a grill pan to medium high. Rub pork with rosemary mixture on both sides. Place pork in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until desired done-ness. Baste in balsamic glaze throughout cooking process, while reserving some for final drizzle.

4) Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tip: bring raw pork to room temperature before cooking (but not too long if exposed to air!). It helps with tenderness. Optional: marinating pork in milk for a few hours before also helps to tenderize.

Enjoy while lounging in front of reruns of Modern Family or alternatively, while entertaining your own elegant, real life one.

M

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Reminiscing: My version of Thai Pad See Ew

11 Apr

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I was craving Beef Bourguingnon, a cozy dish I’ve been intending to make since there was snow on the ground  (not that long ago, to be fair). I bought the beef, the mushrooms, the fresh rosemary, thyme, pearl onions, bacon and egg noodles. I cracked open my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and GASPED. To my horror, I discovered the dish takes upwards of four hours to complete masterfully. I just didn’t have that kind of time.

The thin, flat egg noodles stood on the counter, forlorn, calling my name. I wanted them.

Attempting a Plan B, I was reminded me of my favourite dish when I was in Thailand, Pad See Ew, which is a lot like pad thai but with thicker, flatter noodles and a saltier sauce. That dish is traditionally made with rice noodles, but the shape and texture is similar.

Bingo.

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I was inspired by this recipe by Rachel Cooks Thai, but I added to it.

Pad See Ew

  • 1/2 package of fresh wide, flat rice noodles (sen yai), (or egg noodles)
  • 2 chicken breasts, thawed and cubed
  • 4 cloves garlic, shredded or minced finely
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, shredded finely
  • 3/4 of a red bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 1/2 head of broccoli, sliced thinly
  • 6 mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 3 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • Peanuts, roughly chopped for garnish
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Chili flakes (optional)
  • Sqeeze fresh lime juice (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (for frying)
  1. Prepare your sauce by mixing together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey and vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Chop peppers and mushrooms. Saute in hot wok with coconut oil until tender.
  3. Blanch noodles in boiling water until almost cooked.
  4. Over high heat, add garlic and ginger and fry until fragrant and almost browned. Add chicken and cook through.
  5. Push the chicken and veggies to the side of the wok and add the egg to a clear space. Scramble.
  6. Push the egg to the side and add the noodles and the sauce. Mix it all together and cook over high heat until most of the liquid is evaporated (about 5 minutes)
  7. Add the broccoli and spring onions and cook through.
  8. Serve immediately with garnishes!

This was so good, fast and fresh. It took about 25 minutes start to finish. I would recommend prepping as much as possible before heating up the wok- slice, dice and chop everything ahead of time for speedier results. A vegetarian version would be simple- swap out chicken for tofu.

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I’ve been such a bad blogger lately- I’m finishing school and starting a new job at the same time, and have sadly not had much time to cook. But I just wrote and submitted my last-ever essay this morning. My blog was the first thing I turned to! A good sign for things to come? ( Hope so)

M

P.s. memories of picnic spots past…sigh

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Italian Turkey Meatballs with Balsamic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Brussel Sprouts

19 Feb

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My search for the perfect meatball recipe has come to an end. After an arduous journey (not really)  I can safely say that this is the one. And turkey at that. Colour me surprised.

Very juicy, very flavourful, lovely texture and extremely light. Perfection.

I served these babies on a bed of brown rice with a homemade tomato sauce and balsamic roasted brussel sprouts and cherry tomatoes. Over all a pretty healthy meal, and couldn’t be easier.

Italian Turkey Meatballs
(30 minutes) (makes approx 16 meatballs)

  • 1 package lean ground turkey (approx 1 lb)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup panko (or traditional breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried chillies
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Splash balsamic vinegar (approx 2 teaspoons)

1) preheat oven to 400. In large bowl, assemble all ingredients and mix well.
2) Form into small round meatballs (makes about 16) and place on baking rack
3) Bake 15-20 minutes, until no longer pink in the middle.

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I roasted the tomatoes and brussle sprouts simultaneously, although they needed about 25-30 minutes at 400. I covered generously with olive oil and some sea salt. Half way through roasting I drizzled on some balsamic and sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar and returned to the oven. I broiled them for the last 5 minutes to give the sprouts a bit more colour.

They turned out to be a perfect addition to the dish. The textures worked well with the meatballs, as the sprouts were basically melt-in-your-mouth soft.

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I made a simple tomato sauce by sautéing 3 cloves of garlic in olive oil along with 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds and diced red pepper. Once soft, I added crushed tomatoes and seasoned with salt, pepper, brown sugar and some dried chillies and a splash of balsamic. I made the sauce first, and added a 1/4 cup to the meatball mixture before baking.

I layered the sauce over the rice and topped with the meatballs, which I covered with more sauce and the roasted vegetable. I topped it all off with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

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I was thrilled with this recipe. I hope you try it out. Let me know if you do!

M

West African Peanut Stew

14 Feb

Old Man Winter, you bastard.

Cold ears. Dry skin. Static-y hair. Runny noses. Short days. Long sleeves. Slush.

I’m having a mild bout of winter blahs. I’ve been busy watching the Olympics and not motivated to do much extra, such as cooking interesting things and writing about it. I’m afraid the ole’ blog has suffered!

I’m sorry.  I’ll be better.

I hope this post makes up for it, because it is the perfect antidote for a cold winter night.

Don’t get me wrong, I love chili, I really really do. Everyone should have a killer recipe (like this one!) in their repertoire (arsenal? I can’t decide). But let’s face it, sometimes its boring. Like stir fry. I could make it blindfolded.

May I suggest something to shake things up? How about this spicy and hearty peanut stew? Try it out! It was seriously satisfying.

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West African a Peanut Stew
(Serves 4-5. Time: 1 hour. Adapted from Saveur) 

  • 6-8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh red chilis
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cilantro, to garnish
  • Fresh lemon

Directions
1) Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large pot and brown chicken drumsticks over medium high heat until browned on all sides (approx 10 minutes). Set aside.
2) Meanwhile, prep onions, garlic, ginger and 1 chilli and add to hot pot once chicken is removed. Sautée with a more oil until soft and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
3) Add spices (turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, coriander, cumin, cloves) and fry for about one minute.
4) Add tomato paste and cook until slightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add peanut butter. Stir until melted and incorporated.
5) Return chicken to pot along with stock (or water) and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
6) Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 25 minutes.
7) Add sweet potato and cook until tender, about another 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
8) Season with salt and add roasted peanuts and second chopped fresh chilli. Finish with squeeze of fresh lemon juice and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Yum. This stew is really filling, and made great leftovers. The chicken was fall-off-the-bone tender, but I’m sure it would still be great vegan-ized with tofu. I liked the crunch of the peanuts.

I served it over couscous (aka the lazy-man’s rice) with salad. The next day we had it with sautéed balsamic mushrooms, salad and flatbreads.

Note: my peppers were not extremely spicy, so I did not de-seed them. Proceed with caution if you think yours may be hotter. Also, if you think the stew is too thick, add one more cup of liquid.

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What are your favourite winter recipes? How do you stay sane at this time of year? Let me know below!

Thanks for reading.

M

Caribbean Spiced Pork Ribs Revisited

7 Jan

Two years ago today I posted this recipe. It was one of my first ever posts! Unsurprisingly, it got very little attention.

So, I decided to revisit this little gem, because I remembered it being mag-nificent. Besides, it is cold as psshhht outside, so why not contrast the winter chill with a little spicy jerk heat and beachy daydreams?

The rub is fairly easy and extremely flavourful, chock full of fresh ginger and lime zest. It would also be awesome on chicken or maybe (?) even tofu! ( I’ll have to experiment with that one, stay tuned)

Fork poised.

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Brrr.

This recipe indulges my love of spices. We have just finally recently got our spice act together along with some new and overdue shelves.

Can I show off our cute little kitchen for a sec?!

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It makes me happy.

I served these ribs with lime roasted sweet potatoes and blackened corn and quinoa salad.

Caribbean Spiced Pork Ribs
Serves 4, approx 28 ribs (or eat for dinner and then again for breakfast)

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 4 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons white (or black) pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 cups of orange juice (can also substitute water here)

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1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Assemble rub (minus the OJ)  and mix well. Press the rub into the ribs on both sides, but more thickly on the top side. Add to roasting pan with 2 cups of orange juice.
3) Bake for 1.5 hours, covered in foil. Baste occasionally. Remove foil and cook an additional 20 minutes.
4) Remove and serve with choice of sides.

Yum. Dinner. And again with eggs for breakfast.

Decadent.

M

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An Indian Feast and a Recipe for Chicken Vindaloo

21 Nov

On Sunday I cooked an Indian dinner for seven, as a long overdue “thank you” to our friends that helped us move way back in April. (Long. Overdue).

This may have been the most elaborate meal I’ve made to date.

I tried to find authentic recipes. I made palak paneer, eggplant bhartha, butter chicken (my mum’s recipe!),chicken vindaloo, sweet potato chutney, salad, rice, and a tangy lemon cardamom tart for dessert (to be featured in a future post). My favourite (as in, the only one I wouldn’t tweak at all) is the one I want to share with you today.

The chicken vindaloo was the winner! (Sorry mum, I didn’t use the heavy cream in the butter chicken after all. Sometimes mothers really do know best)

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This is what 10 hours in the kitchen looks like!

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But make no mistake, cooking for lovely people is one of my favourite ways to pass the time, and the day flew by.

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Chicken Vindaloo

Spicy, tangy, delicious.

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 2 onions)
  • 2 tbls fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tabls paprika
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (I used rice)
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbl tamarind paste
  • 1 tbl tomato paste

For Chicken Marinade: 

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbl fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbl fresh ginger
  • 1 tbl garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 healthy glugs olive oil
  1. In bowl or ziplock bag, marinate chopped chicken in yogurt mixture for at least an hour (3-4 is probably perfect, I did 5)
  2. Once ready to begin cooking, preheat oven to 400
  3. In hot pan fry onions until browned. Then add garlic and ginger until fragrant.
  4. Meanwhile, assemble spice mixture in small bowl.
  5. Once oven is hot, cook chicken in the marinade for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  6. Add spices to onion mixture and cook a few minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently.
  7. Add tamarind and tomato paste, as well as water.
  8. Using hand held blender or food processor, blend mixture until smooth.
  9. Add vinegar and honey.
  10. Once chicken is cooked, transfer (along with cooked marinade) into the sauce
  11. Cook uncovered over a low simmer until sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and cilantro. Serve over basmati rice with naan.

This dinner was a huge success. I was so worried about not making enough food, but turns out I was way off. Today is Thursday and there is still a ton of leftovers in the fridge! (Although the vindaloo was the first to be polished off and half the lemon curd ended up spilled on the floor. Oops!)

I will definitely try out the butter chicken again and refine the other recipes as well.

Indian is my favourite cuisine. It is really fun to make, and especially EAT.

I’m hungry.

What’s your favourite Indian dish? 

Rosemary and Ruby-Red Roast Chicken

3 Nov

I had to write this short n’ sweet post to tell you how a forlorn single grapefruit abandoned in the bottom of the fridge inspired an incredible meal.

On a whim, I Goggled grapefruit and chicken and stumbled upon this gorgeous recipe from No Fuss Foods, which I then followed verbatim (rare for me). I’m glad I did because the end result was the juiciest and most herbaceous roast chicken EVER, and delivered serious flavour throughout. WARNING: only try this recipe if you really like rosemary.

I know I was just going on and on about how beautiful eggplants are…but really…does anything really beat a Ruby Red grapefruit?

20131103-232024.jpgI blended grapefruit juice (and some pulp) with garlic, salt, peppercorns, fresh rosemary and some olive oil.  Then I spooned the marinade (more like a paste) under the skin of the chicken.

Tip use a sharp pairing knife and gently loosen the skin all over the breast of the chicken, being careful not to puncture the skin. I also did this to the meaty part of the legs. Distribute as evenly as possible covering as much of the chicken under the skin as you can with the paste.

20131103-232040.jpgI roasted the chicken on top of a rack, and below added carrots, onions, sweet potato and sprigs of thyme sprinkled with sea salt, olive oil, and to finish fresh grapefruit juice. The drippings from the chicken mixed with the veg added more great flavour. I also stuffed the cavity with the grapefruit rind and more freaking rosemary.

The recipe said to roast the chicken upside down for the first 45 minutes and then flip. I think this really adds to a juicy bird. After the 45 minute mark I topped the chicken with the remaining marinade and roasted for another hour. As it was resting I squeezed more fresh grapefruit juice over everything.

I served the chicken and veg on a bed of baby kale. This would be great for a dinner party. For more wow factor, grill slices of grapefruit to serve on the side.

Sensational.

M

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