Tag Archives: thyme

BBQ Spices

5 Jul

BBQ Spice

So I’m sure I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that as a South African, albeit one living in the UK, Barbecuing (braaing) borders on religion.  Commandment number 1 – Whenever the weather presents an opportunity meat will be thrown onto flames and charred until done.  Which is great and delicious, but sometimes well – excuse me a sec while I duck out of lightning range – it can get a little boring. Seeing as there is no wriggle room in commandment one and seeing as it has been a truly lovely summer thus far I had to find someway to spice things up – I hope you enjoy.  With all three of these all you need to do is add  some of the spice to taste to your chosen hunk of meat and then grill – and if the weather isn’t being kind – they work just as well in the oven.

Lemon & Lime Pepper – works beautifully on fish or chicken

L&L INGTo start take:

  • the zest of three limes
  • the zest of three lemons
  • 1/3 cup of black pepper corns
  • 1/3 cup of salt flakes

L&L ZestedHeat the oven to 120°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

L&L DriedMix the pepper and the zest together and bake until the zest is completely dry – about an hour should do it.

L&L GrindAdd the salt to the lemon/pepper mix and then grind.  You can use a mortar and pestle  – this will take an eternity or a coffee/spice grinder.  I have this beautiful old coffee grinder the BH gave me while we were still in Taiwan.  It started life as a coffee grinder, but is now dedicated to grinding spices.  Grind it all up and store in an  air tight jar.

Apple Spice – Brilliant on Pork

This is one of those spice that just kind created itself while I was staring at some pork loins.  I turned to the spice cupboard to find some inspiration and knocked over the fruit bowl.  I love it when stuff like that happens.

AP INGTo start take:

  • two or three apples
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 table spoons of Szechuan Pepper
  • 2 table spoons of ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup of salt flakes

AP DriedHeat the oven to 120 °C.  Finely – like use a mandolin finely – slice the apples and place on foil or parchment paper.  Bake the apples for about an hour and a half and then turn off the oven and leave the apples in the oven until it has cooled or overnight.  Process the apples until they have been broken down into tiny pieces.  Mix the apple with all the other ingredients for the apple spice and grind into a very find powder.

Cajun Rub – Perfect on EVERYTHING from potato wedges to steak

So this is the first spice mix I ever made and nothing else has ever quite matched up.  It is used on almost everything in our household and it’s simplicity itself.

Cajun ING

To start take:

  • 2 tablespoons of cumin seads
  • 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
  • 1 table spoon of salt flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of hot smoked Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of dried thyme.

Cajun cumin toastingToast the cumin seeds in a heavy based frying pan until the seads are just starting to brown and pop.  Add to all the other ingredients for the Cajun rub and then grind together in a spice grinder. For the best potato wedges ever – cut your potatoes into wedges and place in a large bowl.  Add oil to taste and a teaspoon or three of the Cajun rub.  Toss to coat and bake the wedges at 200°C for about 40 minutes – potatoes perfected!

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Slow Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Thyme

10 Jul

Everyone needs a recipe that turns out perfectly EVERY TIME.  A recipe that you can trust to take care of itself.  A recipe that you can prepare in advance and then pretty much ignore until it’s time to serve it.  This is the recipe I serve when family are coming over and I’d rather spend time with them than time in the kitchen.  The truly great thing about slow roasting the chicken this way is that the wine and stock keep it beautifully moist while the butter crisps the skin up to an amazing golden brown.  It does take time though.  Two and a half hours in the oven, but it honestly only takes about ten minutes actual work.

For the Stuffing take:

  • 300gm minced pork
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 Tbs of thyme leaves
  • the zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 finely chopped onion

For the Chicken take:

  • 1 medium whole chicken
  • 100ml of white wine
  • 100ml of chicken stock
  • 100 gm butter (softened)
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbs of thyme leaves
  • 1 head of garlic (cut into eighths)
  • 1 onion (cut into wedges)
  • 10-15 new potatoes halved ( I couldn’t fit these in the picture attractively, sorry)

Preheat the oven to 160°C.   To make the stuffing,  add the mince, thyme, lemon zest, onion and egg to a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then, after washing your hands, get stuck in with your fingers and mix it all together.  Fill the cavity of the chicken, making sure you’ve removed the giblets.  Depending on how big the bird is, you might have some stuffing left over.  If you do this makes an awesome burger or delicious meat balls.

In a separate bowl mix the lemon zest, thyme for the chicken and the butter together, until well combined.  Then stick your fingers beneath the skin at the neck of the bird and loosen it.  Take the butter put it in the space between the skin and the chicken breast.   Rub whatever is left on top of the chicken.

Is is possible to take an attractive picture of an uncooked chicken?  I don’t think so.  Ah well, put the chicken in a roasting tin and add the wine, the stock, the garlic and the onion and cover tightly with tinfoil.  Put it in the oven and roast for an hour.  Wash your hair, have a glass of wine, read a good book, don’t worry about the chicken.  When the buzzer goes, remove the foil and add the lemon, cut into wedges to the tin.   Pop it back in the oven uncovered and continue roasting for another fifty minutes.  Paint your nails, have another glass of wine, call your BF.  When  the buzzer goes turn the oven temperature up to 200°C and continue roasting for another half hour.

Take the chicken out the oven and await praise and adulation.

Chicken Pie

27 Feb

Sorry, it’s been a while since I last posted.  Time  has not been my friend this week and speaking of weeks, this week is British Pie Week!  Now my better half, BH, has a more than serious little pie addiction.  In fact I still believe one of the reasons “we” chose to settle in the UK is how readily available pies are here.  You’re smiling and saying she must surely be joking, but this is a man who spent an entire road trip in search of the perfect chicken pie.

It of course, had to be a chicken pie.  The chicken pie is to savoury pies what the apple it to sweet, the pie standard if you will.  The judging criteria were strict, that it had to be tasty went without saying. The pastry had to be fluffy and light. There had to be more filling than sauce and solid chunks of chicken rather than tiny shredded bits. Potatoes, peas and any other ingredients used to bulk up the filling were a strict no-no.  The final factor was that it had to be awesome hot as well as cold.  The winner, by the way was the Steam Whistle Stop Shop in Sedgefield.  Below is my attempt, not to recreate the winning pie, but to meet all the criteria and kick its arse!

First rustle up some ingredients.  In the interest of saving time at a later stage, I always make enough filling for two pies and freeze half.

  • 1 kg of chicken, I use both thigh and breast meat (cut into chunks)
  • 1 pkt of bacon (sliced)
  • 1 punnet mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 1 carrot (finely diced)
  • 1 stalk of celery (finely diced)
  • 1 leek (finely diced)
  • 5-6 sprigs of thyme
  • the juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 100 gms of flour
  • 1 heaped tsp of paprika
  • 1 heaped tsp of dried thyme
  • 1 heaped tsp of salt
  • 500 mls of chicken stock
  • a glug of olive oil
  • 150mls of white wine
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry

First add a good glug of olive oil to a deap pan and fry the bacon until cooked, but not crisp.  Set the bacon aside in a bowl and fry the mushrooms in the bacon fat.  Put the cooked mushroom in the  bowl with the bacon.  Then add the salt, dried thyme and paprika to the flour and dredge the chicken chunks in it.  For maximum shaking fun and minimum mess, I like to do this in a zip lock bag. Fry the chicken pieces,  on a medium heat, in batches until GBD, that’s golden brown and delicious!

Set the chicken pie chunks aside in a separate bowl to the mushroom and bacon.  Now look at your pan.  The flour has left it looking crusty and impossible to clean, right?  Don’t despair.  This is what’s going to make the tastiest sauce ever.   Lower the heat and add the wine to deglaze the pan.  Stir until all those browned bits dissolve into the wine.  Add the onion to the wine and let it soften for about 5 mins.  Then add the rest of the aromatics, the leek, carrot and celery, cover the pan and cook for about 10 mins. Add the left-over dredging flour and slowly stir in the chicken stock, lemon juice and zest.  Add the bacon, mushrooms and chicken back to the pan and allow to simmer for about ten minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow the filling to cool.

While the filling is cooling, preheat the oven to 180°C and then cut the pastry sheet in half and roll out two circles.  Line a greased, floured pie tin with one of the circles and, once the filling has cooled, fill the pie pan with half the filling. (Freeze the other half. )

Brush the pastry with egg wash and top the pie with the second circle of pastry.  Crimp the edges, cut a few “breathing holes” into the pastry and brush the top pastry with egg. Use the left over pastry bits to cut out shapes to decorate the top of the pie and pop it into the oven for 40 mins.

Once the pie is done, take it out of the oven and serve it with something fresh like a tomato salad and green peas to make you feel less like crying when you think of your cholesterol levels.

So, how did my pie compare?  Well thanks to the holy trinity of lemon, thyme and wine invoking memories of roast chicken, BH was impressed with the taste.  Adding bacon helped with this criterion, because bacon makes EVERYTHING taste better.  We scored well on chunks and the lack of bulking ingredients.  I’d like to take credit for the fact that BH liked the GBD pastry, but my friends at Jus-Rol, get credit for that.  In fact it was almost a clean sweep, but we were disqualified right at the end as there was insufficient judging material to judge the pie cold.  I guess I’ll just have to make another one, but I think that’s the way BH wants it.  Can I claim a moral victory?

oh.four.one.

the port elizabeth blogger

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Banting recipes – low carb, sugar free and gluten free. Banting recipes I have tried - those that have failed and those that have been a success! I am not a dietician, I'm just a gal who loves to cook banting food, and keep it as good as possible! Obviously all recommendations throughout this and other posts are not intended as an alternative, treatment, or prevention of diseases, medical treatments or advice. The reader takes full responsibility for counting nutritional information such as carbs, while trying any and all recipes :-)

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