I was skeptical at first when I saw cinnamon in the recipe, because that’s something I’ve never had with chicken, but I’m so glad I took the risk and made this one. Paired with the yogurt sauce it is really a delicious combo.
What you need for the chicken:
- 1 (4-pound/ 1.8 kg) roasting chicken
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 head garlic cloves separated and unpeeled, plus 6 peeled cloves
- 2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 shallots, unpeeled and quartered
- 3 sticks cinnamon
- 1 cup chicken broth
What you need for the sauce:
- 1 cup plain yogurt, at room temperature
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast-side up on a rack in a roasting pan. If you don’t have a rack you can place some carrots under the chicken to raise it up.
- Combine the cumin seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds and cardamom pods in a small frying pan. Over medium heat toast the spices, swirling the spices around for about 2-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then grind with a mortar and pestle or in a grinder. Mix with the curry powder, cinnamon and red pepper flakes.
- Chop the 6 cloves of peeled garlic finely and combine it with the ginger and olive oil, then rub this mixture all over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, then sprinkle on the spice mixture.
- Place the unpeeled garlic, shallot quarters, and cinnamon sticks inside the chicken cavity, then tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
- Place the chicken in the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes.
- If you are making potatoes, place them around the chicken about 20 minutes into the roasting time, and drizzle them with olive oil.
- At the 30 minute mark, baste the chicken with half of the broth.
- Roast for 20 minutes more, then baste with the remaining broth.
- Continue to roast the chicken for about 20 more minutes, until the juices run clear when the leg joint it pierced with a knife. If you have a meat thermometer, it should read 165F/ 74C. My chicken cooked very quickly, so I recommend checking it earlier than you think you might need to. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest while you prepare the sauce. Salt and pepper the potatoes, then place them in a serving dish. Cover to keep warm.
- Separate the fat from the pan juices, discarding the fat. Place the pan juices in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Reduce the heat, then whisk in the yogurt. It may curdle, so you can press the sauce through a sieve if this happens. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the tomatoes and cilantro, setting some of these aside to garnish with if you wish.
- Serve with the sauce on the side. When I served this people found the sauce made a very nice topping for the potatoes too.
This is SUCH a great salad! In my cookbook library is a copy of the amazing Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, which contains this recipe, but I didn’t think to make it until I saw rave reviews online. So many people were commenting that this was their favourite salad, and now I know what they are talking about. It is my new favourite salad, and I can hardly wait to make it again.
I love the buttery toasted almonds and pita tossed in sumac. The onions (I used red because they are pretty) that are nicely mellowed in a vinegar marinade, along with the dates which become meltingly delicious, and their sweetness is balanced by the onion and vinegar.
I served this with the most delicious Cinnamon Curry Roast Chicken and potatoes. It was plenty of food for four people.
What you need:
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 100g pitted Medjool dates (about 5), quartered lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small pitas, roughly torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 150g baby spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
What you do:
- Place the vinegar, onion, and dates in a small bowl, adding a pinch of salt. Mix well with your hands, then leave to marinate for 20 minutes or more. Drain the extra vinegar
- In a frying pan over medium heat melt the butter and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pita and almonds, stirring to cook them for 5 to 6 minutes. The pita should become crunchy and brown. Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the sumac, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Let this cool.
- To prepare the salad toss the spinach with the pita in a large bowl, then add the dates and onion, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Serve right away!
Recently I had a request to bake some chewy butterscotch oatmeal cookies, a favourite of his from childhood. Now . . . I don’t actually like butterscotch chips . . . so I made a few cookies with chocolate chips instead (smart, huh?). They were all really delicious (to different people, depending on their feelings about butterscotch chips), and my apartment smelled amazing for a few days, thanks to those butterscotch chips.
Since I have this thing against butterscotch chips I figured I should at least get the best ones I could find. Most stores sell the typical (waxy) Hershey’s, Nestles, or store brand (but if you actually like butterscotch chips I’m sure these are just fine), so I had to do quite a search for a store in Vancouver that sold some of a higher quality. I was able to find Guittard butterscotch chips at the Gourmet Warehouse. Pretty much anything you need for baking can be found there – and they do online orders too!
The original recipe is from this website. It was written as a plain oatmeal cookie recipe, so I just added the chips to it and omitted the cinnamon. I made one mistake when I was mixing my dough – I used 1/2 a cup of white sugar instead of 1/4 cup. Normally I try to use less sugar, but these were perfect this way, so I won’t mess around with the sugar amount in this version of the recipe.
What you need:
- 1/2 cup butter, almost melted
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 1 & 1/2 cup quick rolled oats
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- a pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 cup butterscotch or chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Heat the butter until it is almost all melted, then pour it into a large bowl with the sugars. Beat for 2-3 minutes, until it is nice and fluffy.
Add the egg, vanilla and molasses and mix just until combined.
Add the oats, flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, again mixing until just combined. Mix in the chips, if you are using them.
- Scoop the dough using a medium cookie scoop (1 & 1/2 tablespoons) and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving some room for them to spread.
- Bake for about 9 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned, making a cookie that is still doughy in the middle.
- Leave on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. But . . . you will want to taste one while they are still warm . . .
This cookie monster stole a cookie
Soups, stews and chowders are the perfect winter food, although I love them all year round. Here’s an easy chowder recipe that I’ve been using as a main dish. It’s hearty enough to leave you satisfied on its own, but you could always add a slice of bread, or the tortillas that the recipe mentions.
I found the recipe on the Jamie Oliver website. The only changes I made were to use canned corn, to rinse the black beans before adding them, and serving with a dollop of yogurt. A number of people commented on the Jamie Oliver website that their soup was grey, so I think rinsing the beans first helped to avoid that.
This made quite a large batch, which was excellent for leftover lunches for several days.
What you need:
- 1/2 bunch cilantro stems
- olive oil
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 sticks of celery, sliced
- 250 g cooked chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
- 400 g tin of black beans, rinsed
- 750 ml organic chicken stock (or water and chicken bouillon)
- 1 fresh corn on the cob or 1 can Peaches and Cream corn
- 1 bay leaf
- cilantro greens
- Plain yogurt (optional)
- 2 corn tortillas (optional)
- 1 lemon
What you do:
- If you need to cook the chicken breast, flatten it a bit first by pounding it with a mallet, rolling pin or heavy frying pan. This will help it to cook uniformly, and you won’t have dried out or raw bits. Add a little olive oil to a frying pan, then add the salted chicken breast, sprinkling on a little chili powder if you want. Let it cook a few minutes per side until cooked through. Set aside to cool.
- Pick the cilantro leaves and set aside for garnishing. Finely slice the stalks. Peel and chop the onion and garlic, slice the celery finely.
- Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a large saucepan and place it over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and cilantro stalks, then sauté for about 10 minutes. The vegetables should soften but not brown.
- Add the cumin and cayenne to the pan and fry for about a minute. Add the black beans, chicken stock and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut or shred the chicken breast and add it to the pot. Cut the corn kernels from the cob or use the corn from the can along with its liquid, and stir into the chowder. Allow to simmer for about 5 more minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the lemon juice. Serve with optional tortillas and a dollop of yogurt, and sprinkle with the cilantro leaves.
This really is a stunning and delicious puff pastry appetizer with a feta-cream cheese spread. The photos on Smitten Kitchen look so much better than mine – but I feel like I’m giving you a more realistic version of this recipe, because we can’t all make things look quite so perfect. I love the olive tapenade filling, and the feta spread is amazing. I was able to put it all together, to high praise from the devourers . . . but I’m not going to lie to you . . . it was a little tricky, and doesn’t quite look like the supermodel version I thought I’d be presenting.
It still looks pretty, and tastes amazing, but it was hard to make the rays look as uniform as the original. The biggest problem was that I baked it for double the time the recipe specified, and it was still not flakey in the middle . . . and yet the people loved it.
The only planning ahead you need to do is to thaw the puff pastry overnight in the fridge, or four hours minimum.
What you need for the tarte soleil:
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or oil from tomatoes, plus more if needed
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 packages puffed pastry (I used La Baguette & l’Echalot)
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)
- 1 tablespoon sesame or poppy seeds to sprinkle (optional)
What you need for the dip:
- 170 grams/ 6 ounces feta, crumbled
- 55 grams, 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- salt to taste, or none if your feta is very salty
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
What you do:
- To make the filling, combine the sun dried tomatoes, olives, oregano, garlic, olive oil and pepper in a food processor. Blend until finely chopped. Thin it with some olive oil if it doesn’t seem spreadable.
- Heat the oven to 350F.
- Roll the first package of puff pastry out on a large piece of parchment paper until it is about 30cm/12 inches in diameter. Use a 30cm round bowl or plate as a guide to cut the pastry into a circle. Put this pastry in the fridge, then repeat the process with the other pastry.
- Place the first pastry, still on its parchment paper, on a baking sheet. Spread the filling over the pastry, leaving about 2cm around the edge uncovered. Dab the edges with water and then place the other pastry on top.
- Place a small glass into the centre of the pastry as a guide, so you do not cut all the way into the middle. Cut the pastry into quarters from the edge of the glass out to the edges, at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock marks. Cut each quarter in half, then each in half again, until you have 32 strips. If the dough becomes difficult to work with you can put it in the freezer to get firmer (or if your freezer is too small, you can just do your best with it, like I did.)
- Remove the glass and begin the twisting; place a finger near the centre circle so that the strip doesn’t break off, and twist each strip a few times.
- Beat the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water and brush it over the pastry. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes (or much longer in my case) until the pastry is golden brown.
- While the pastry is in the oven, make the feta dip. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until they are smooth.
- Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes. To serve, place it on a serving tray and tear off the rays and dip them in feta or spread it on to eat.