Sara’s Roast Chicken with Sage and Garlic

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Todpop mentioned on a couple of times this recipe. It-never-fails!, she assured. As always, Todpop was right. The chicken is absolutely delicious, and this dish is highly recommendable for a special occasion roast. You might want to take into consideration that garlic, sage and butter will leave a bit of a stink in the kitchen.

Sara’s Roast Chicken with Sage and Garlic

Ingredients 

  • 1 chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 22 fresh sage leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter,  at room temperature
  •  Salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 sprigs parsley
  • 2 small onions, quartered
  • 2 carrots, cut into 5cm pieces
  • Fleur de sel

Methods

1. Heat oven to 200°C. Rinse the chicken under cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Peel the lemon, avoiding white pith. Finely chop the lemon peel, sage, and garlic together; place in a bowl. Add butter and 1 table spoon of  salt. Stir to combine. Quarter the peeled lemon; set aside.

2. Using your fingers and a small, sharp knife, loosen skin of chicken from breasts and thighs. Slip butter mixture between skin and flesh, spreading it evenly. Rub skin with oil; season skin and cavity with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff with quartered lemon, parsley, and 1 quartered onion. Tie legs together with kitchen twine, if you like.

3. Put remaining quartered onion and carrots into center of roasting pan and place chicken on top of them. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 180˚. Continue roasting for about 1 hour more. Transfer the chicken to a platter; sprinkle with fleur de sel; let rest for 10 minutes before carving.


Roasted sweet potatoes pan fried with roasted red onions, pine nuts and feta cheese

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I have already mentioned it a few times: Tapas – Simple Flavours, Striking Combinations, by Carlos Horrillo and Patrick Morcas, is one of my favorite cookbooks. And, the  roasted sweet potatoes is one of my favorite dishes. It looks a bit laborious, but most of the roasting can be done in advance.

Roasted sweet potatoes pan fried with roasted red onions, pine nuts and feta cheese

Ingredients

  • 3 large sweet potatoes cut in 3 cm slices
  • garlic infused oil (I normally out 4 crushed cloves in 100ml olive oil and let it rest for a while)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 red onions cut into quarters
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of pine nuts
  • 75g of feta cheese

Method

The stove goes at 200oC (mark 6).

Put the sweet potatoes in roasting tray and drizzle generously with garlic oil until they are well coated. 2 pinches of salt and 3 pinches of pepper and then mix well. Put in the middle of the stove for about 1h, and mix every now and again to ensure they don’t burn.

Put the onion quarters in a small roasting tray and drizzle with garlic oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place them at the bottom of the stove and cook for 20min.

For the pine nuts, get a small frying pan and put it at low heat. Do not add oil. Drop in the pine nuts and fry gently stirring constantly until they are golden brown. Reserve.

When the onions and sweet potatoes are ready, place a large heavy based non sticky frying pan on a medium to high heat and put enough garlic oil to cover the bottom Drop in half the roasted sweet potatoes and fry until they start to break. Add half the roasted onions and give everything a good stir. Cook for 5min, stirring the whole time to avoid burning. Take it out from the pan and keep it hot. Repeat with the remaining roasted potatoes and onions.

When the second batch is almost ready, add the first batch to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Carefully stir in the feta cheese and the pine nuts and continue cooking until the feta is almost melting. Serve straight away.


The ultimate Winter couscous

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Another recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi‘s column The new vegetarian on the Guardian. It took me a while to realize that it was worthwhile to face an inordinate amount of ingredients: his recipes are absolutely delicious and full of flavors. This one has over 20 ingredients, but it is very straight forward. Plus, the veggies can be done in bulk to eat latter (reheating won’t change its organoleptic properties). Seriously, how hard can it be to roast some vegetables and put them on top of couscous?

The ultimate Winter couscous

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks (it is easier to be blessed with a sunny day in November than finding parsnips in Switzerland. I replaced it with a different type of pumpkin).
  • 8 shallots, peeled
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • half teaspoon of  salt
  • half teaspoon ground ginger
  • half teaspoon ground turmeric
  • half teaspoon paprika
  • half teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 300g squash, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks (weight after cleanning)
  • 100g  dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 200g chickpeas (cooked or tinned)
  • 350ml water (or chickpea liquor)
  • 170g couscous
  • 1 big pinch saffron fronds
  • 260ml vegetable stock
  • 20g butter, cut into small pieces
  • 25g harissa (I ignored it)
  • 25g preserved lemon, finely chopped (I ignored it)
  • 1 handful picked coriander leaves (I forgot to add, but at the speed this was eaten it didn’t seem to be instrumental for the recipe)

Methods

Preheat the oven to 190oC/gas mark 5. Put the carrots, parsnips and shallots into a large, oven-proof dish, add the cinnamon, star anise, bay leaves, four tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and all the spices, and mix. Roast for 15 minutes, then add the squash, stir and roast for 35 minutes more, by which time the vegetables should have softened but retained their bite. Add the apricots, chickpeas and liquid, then return to the oven for 10 minutes, until hot.

Around 15 minutes before the vegetables will be ready, put the couscous in a heatproof bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, the saffron and half a teaspoon of salt. Boil the stock, pour over the couscous and cover with clingfilm. Leave for 10 minutes, then add the butter and fluff up with a fork until it melts in. Cover again and leave somewhere warm (I followed the couscous instructions for time and volume).

To serve, fill the base of a deep plate with couscous. Stir the harissa and lemon into the vegetables, taste, adjust the seasoning and spoon on to the centre of the couscous. Garnish with lots of coriander.