Flood goals #2: roast chicken with fruity nutty stuffing

roast chicken with fruit stuffing
The rivers and creeks that have swelled more than Gina Reinharts chin banks will eventually subside. The waters shall recede like George Costanza’s hairline and the semi rural vista shall become apparent once more. It shall sink to depths lower than teenage despair, it shall become shallower than last years prom queen and as weak and feeble as my famous person analogies. That’s what the water will do…

Until then we shall relax and enjoy this forced hiatus from the outside world. At a town meeting we shall decide that we actually prefer this cessation of ties with the outside world. We shall talk about forming our own government and who should be in charge. We will be divided through our options, heightened with a splash of cabin fever. Alliances would be formed. Weapons would be made. The townsfolk will become angry and fights will break out. Oh no, Piggy got smashed with a rock.

Maybe we just need to hope and pray for these waters to subside a little quicker…

While we wait I will take that chook I spoke about last post – you know, the chook of noble upbringing and reputable past – and I shall make a stuffing worthy of being rammed into it’s butthole. And then, my friends, I will indeed ram that stuffing into the chook’s butthole and then we shall roast it and eat it in our bellies.

That’s what I’m going to do.

Stuffy stuffy stuffing
Stuffy stuffy stuffing

Nah, that chook's stuffed mate
Nah, that chook’s stuffed mate
I do believe this would be called the money shot
I do believe this would be called the money shot
Oooh. Nom nom nom
Oooh. Nom nom nom
I told you braised greens were a good side...
I told you braised greens were a good side…

It was really good
It was really good

FRUITY NUTTY CHOOK STUFFING

1 thick slice sourdough bread, diced nice and small
2 dried figs, chopped,
1/4 cup almonds or cashews or whatever your favourite nut might be right now or a mix of the lot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each onion powder and garlic powder
A big handful chopped herbs – parsley, sage, rosary and thyme (yeah, sing it)
A splash of white wine or apple cider to moisten slightly
1 chicken to put the stuffing inside of
Oil
Butter
Salt and pepper

• Pre heat oven to 180-200C

• Massage all of the stuffing ingredients together in a bowl (Yeah massage. Get right in there. But probably leave the essential oils out of this one…), season with a little salt and pepper and then leave to soak up the love for a few minutes

• Get the stuffing into the chicken. I do not believe there is polite and tidy way to do this so I just stuff it in there best I can

• Rub the chicken with a little oil to get it’s sweaty bald man sheen on, and then season with salt and pepper

• Into the oven for 1hr 20mins or something thereabouts – until the juices in the leg joint run clear is a good indicator. After 1hr rub chicken down with a little butter to get that all over tan going on. Once that sexy bitch is cooked rest for 15 minutes and then carve. Pan gravy and braised kale from the garden was a damn fine side for this delicious bird

When the water was at it's peak it would have been close to 2m up that cactus in the fore ground
When the water was at it’s peak it would have been close to 2m up that cactus in the fore ground

Middle Eastern inspired chicken with garlic and spices, really herby and lemony cauli-cous, roasted kipflers potatoes and citrus gravy

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This was one of those dinners I set out to cook with a recipe. Yes that is correct, a recipe. Yes, even chefs use recipes believe me, but read on and you will see, as is often place in my kitchen, the whole thing can stray quickly and massively off course.

So one ingredient that was definitely happening tonight was chicken… and Jennee was really keen on cauli-cous (the blitzed faux rice or cous-cous substitute for peeps who don’t like the grain, and maybe for those amongst us who love the cauli)… and this was leading me very quickly to cooking a recipe of Middle Eastern origins.

I flicked through a few books by Greg Malouf, Yotam Ottolenghi and some other inspiring dojos of Middle Eastern cookery and found a chicken tagine recipe that was going to sort me out. I had the chicken and a few other ingredients in front of me and then bam, that’s where shit went pear shaped. One second I’m making a chicken tagine with really herby and lemony cauli-cous, next second it is chicken with garlic and spices, really herby and lemony cauli-cous, roasted kipflers potatoes and lemon and orange gravy.

No explanation – just happened. And let me tell you it’s happened before and I dare say it will happen again… damn aliens and their anal probes… um… I mean damn mind and it’s lack of ability to cognitively convey to me what the fuck it is doing.

Anyway, this is what I cooked. I’m going to call it Middle Eastern inspired chicken with garlic and spices, really herby and lemony cauli-cous, roasted kipflers potatoes and citrus gravy.

Hell of a story, I know.

I call this one "the indecision of a child of the modern world"
I call this one “the indecision of a child of the modern world”

Garlic, coriander seed, salt and pepper getting smashed
Garlic, coriander seed, salt and pepper getting smashed
That chicken getting a bit of love from the spice rub... chicken loves a good spicy rub
That chicken getting a bit of love from the spice rub… chicken loves a good spicy rub
Orange and lemons with a pretty antique filter
Orange and lemons with a pretty antique filter

Someone fill that glass would they
Someone fill that glass would they

MIDDLE EASTERN INSPIRED CHICKEN WITH GARLIC & SPICES, & CITRUS GRAVY (serves 4)

The citrus gravy was the winner on this day. It may strike you as being a little weird but heck, I think you’re a little weird and I don’t go on about it all day so maybe you should just give the citrus gravy a try.

1 whole chook (1.6-1.8kg), quartered, or 4 chicken marylands. Make it free-range ay
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon each black peppercorns and sea salt
5 bay leaves
1 long red or green chilli, sliced
2 lemons, juiced
1 orange, juiced
Kipfler potatoes roasted with olives and tomato, and herby lemony cauli-cous (recipe below) to serve

• Smash garlic, coriander seed, salt and pepper and a splash of oil together with a mortar and pestle to form a rough paste. A really rough paste. A paste that is as rough as the 42 year old “lady” at the club who is still trawling the floor when the lights come on at 3am
• Place the chicken pieces into a baking dish and rub with garlic mix. Add the bay leaves to the tray
• Place into a pre heated 180-190C oven and cook for 20 minutes
• Baste with citrus juice and add chilli. Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until cooked – you can pretty easily check by cutting into a piece of chicken at the joint. Do it on the under side to keep it discreet
• Pour the juice into a saucepan and reduce over a medium heat until slightly thickened and sexy looking. Check seasoning
• Serve chicken with cauli-cous, potatoes and citrus gravy, garnished with reserved herbs and you know what? Scatter a few edible flowers around the plate too, if you have some. Half a flower garden as a garnish seems to be the trend these days… and maybe a small outdoor setting and a fishpond with a few gold fish just to complete the picture…

The cauliflower cut into florets right before I cous the heck out of it
The cauliflower cut into florets right before I cous the heck out of it

Herby, lemony cauli-cous
Herby, lemony cauli-cous

REALLY HERBY & LEMONY CAULI-COUS

3-4 cups cauliflower florets (from ½ large cauliflower)
½ red onion, diced finely
1 lemon, zested
2 big handfuls of mixed herbs (parsley, basil, mint, rosemary, thyme), chopped
½ cup each pistachios and almonds, chopped
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Seasoning

• In 2 batches pulse cauliflower florets in food processer. Pulse is the operative word here as you do not want to let the blades of your choppy choppy mixy machine loose on the cauliflower as that is going to end in a cauliflower mush and quite probably tears. Pulse it a few time to achieve a coarse texture and everyone’s going to be happy
• Combine all ingredients except herbs
• Heat a splash of oil in a wok or large pan over a high heat. Add cauliflower mix and toss/stir for a minute or two
• Toss through most of the herbs, reserving a small handful for garnishing purposes, and check seasoning
• Serve with the chicken and potatoes that you just cooked too

Get into it
Get into it

NB that cauli-cous is also cracking with a nice piece of lamb, yoghurt and tahini dressing, and some fresh pomegranate

Herby lemony garlic really good roast chicken

really good sunday roast chicken
Today, I think we can all agree, is Sunday. A day synonymous with relaxing, god and the Sunday roast. I am going to help you out with a recipe for a really good roast chicken, the relaxing and god things you’re going to need to sort out for yourself. I could say it’s the best roast chicken but my tastes will sometimes change more often than my underwear (yeah, like twice a week), so I will say this was a really good roast chicken that I wanted at the time besides, I’m sure there are at least a few celebrity chefs out there who have the copy right on claims “the best ever”… wait a minute…

When I made this chicken it was Thursday. I know that Thursday is not Sunday but my face wanted roast chicken. Plain and simple, my face really just wanted roast chicken.

I had spent 10 hours in the kitchen prepping for a party we were catering for, but I really needed to spend that little bit of extra time getting a roast chook on for dinner.

I’ve told you before, my face is a needy little bitch when it decides it wants something, and this occasion was no different.

I had a few bits and pieces floating around the kitchen, so I was pretty confident… or over confident… or just pretty happy with my own abilities, that I would be able to pull this one off. And no, that is not a lead in line because as you know, once I paint a picture for you, you cannot physically un-see it. It shall be with you forever and, quite frankly I have grown to like you and I don’t think that’s anything you deserve ☺.

Load the chicken up with the herby garlic lemony goodness
Load the chicken up with the herby garlic lemony goodness

Dana is not going to be happy with this photo. Not enough day light. Well Dana, there's not enough bloody day light in the day at the moment so this is all I got
Dana is not going to be happy with this photo. Not enough day light. Well Dana, there’s not enough bloody day light in the day at the moment so this is all I got

HERBY LEMONY GARLICY REALLY GOOD ROAST CHICKEN (Serves 4 or so)

1 chook, chicken, buk buk burguuuuk. Free range. We all use free range now right? Size 16 is good
5 cloves garlic, smashed roughly
¼ preserved lemon, flesh removed, chopped
1 handful each fresh thyme and tarragon
1 teaspoon coriander seed, crushed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil or pork fat

• Combine all ingredients except chicken in a bowl and rub them together a little
• Put the chicken into a baking dish
• Pour the herb mix over the chicken and rub them a little more. Massage it a little and get it into all the little nooks and crannies. Yes, even into the chooks bottom
• Roast at 180-200C for about an hour, basting with the pan juices a couple of times during the process
• Check the chicken is cooked by gently pulling the leg away from the body
• Rest chicken for 10-15 minutes
• Carve and eat it with the roasting juices salsa verde for a little something different. I’ll tell you all about salsa verde very soon my friends

Chicken thighs with beans and asparagus ala Matty

roast chicken thighs with beans and asparagus
My brother is staying with us at the moment. His name is Matt, so for the purpose of this story I shall call him Matt.

Matt lives in Margret River on the west coast of Australia and we live near Byron Bay on the east coast of Australia, so as you may or may not be able to imagine, I don’t get to see my brother heaps, which is a shame because I really like hanging out with that guy. Sometimes we do get a little carried away, and there have been more than a few occasions that we have pushed our luck a little too far and ended up relegated to sleeping in the shed… together… in the same bed. But these are definitely stories for another time…

So Matt is here for a two month holiday but he seems to like to fill his holidays with things to do around the house, so always puts his hand up when there is a job to be done. Now, I don’t know if he genuinely likes to have something to do, or if he’s just trying to impress Jennee, but either way there’s always a list of stuff that needs doing when he comes to visit. This time we have garden beds that need building and planting, a back deck getting built, catering jobs to lend a hand on, and we regularly come home to the clothes washed and folded and a clean house. This is true domestic goddess shit going on right here and this kid is getting full marks thus far. It’s like Jennee’s finishing school for boys who want to be able to live with girls. Anyway, to complete his course in domestic goddessery (more on that later), yesterday he decided he would cook us dinner. He’s a bit of a dab hand in the ol’ kitchen so our expectations were high… Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t expecting a Heston’s feast but we also new he could do plenty better than a weight-watchers frozen ready meal for one, too.

Chicken and asparagus
Chicken and asparagus

Asparagus and chicken
Asparagus and chicken
Nothing wrong with this picture
Nothing wrong with this picture

Extra greens are going to do nothing but score you a heap of bonus points with the ladies
Extra greens are going to do nothing but score you a heap of bonus points with the ladies

ROAST CHICKEN THIGHS (and legs) with BEANS and ASPARAGUS (serves 4)

3 large chicken marylands, separated into leg and thigh (or 6 chicken thighs)
1 brown onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (we didn’t have any, but agreed it would’ve been a nice touch)
A splash of white wine (apple cider would also work here)
600ml thickened cream
2x 400ml tins butter beans
A handful of chopped parsley, thyme and chives
Seasoning
Steamed asparagus, to serve

• Season chicken pieces and roast at 180C for 40 minutes
• After 20minutes of chicken roasting time start on the bean number
• Sauté onion and garlic until soft and fragrant
• Deglaze pan with a splash of wine or cider and add cream (and mustard if you got some)
• Cook out for a few minutes
• Add beans and herbs and warm through
• Serve beany goodness with chicken and asparagus and a few extra herbs and some flaked chilli on top
• Matt says cheers

Jennee’s Sunday Spreads… for Father’s Day

That breakfast spread
That breakfast spread

Spring has sprung. Winter is officially over. September has made it’s way past the 31 day cycle that was August, and reared its beautiful head, adorned in the royal head dress that is the glory of this backwards assed Southern Hemisphere Spring.
Everything a man could ask for plus more
Everything a man could ask for plus more

My plate was full… and consequently so was my belly
My plate was full… and consequently so was my belly

If September was a lady she would be a damn lucky one indeed. This month is the time most will say good bye to the smelly little over weight kid that isn’t very good at sports and doesn’t get invited to parties (don’t write in. That kid was probably me) that was winter, and spread their arms (and possibly their legs) to embrace and welcome that most popular, funny and down right sexy young lady that is spring.

We built a fire pit. I am more than amped to fire that sucker up
We built a fire pit. I am more than amped to fire that sucker up

September and December both really lucked in with the whole timing thing. These months get a lot of love for the seasons they bring. Even March/April get a heap of respect for giving us Easter eggs and things of the like. June though, what does June get? No happy holidays, carnie filled fan fare or love from the rich folks. Nudda.

Oh well, poor old June, eh.

Jennee cooked a chook stuffed with chorizo and preserved lemon
Jennee cooked a chook stuffed with chorizo and preserved lemon

Chooky stuffing glory
Chooky stuffing glory

This whole spring thing is special in more ways than one for me. It doesn’t lick the windows (or other un-PC things most wouldn’t talk about. This aint 80’s comedy, folks) or even offer me a sneaky under the desk reach around a la Bill Clintons glory days. No, September holds a-whole-nother realm of love and goodness in it’s could-easily-be-a-hand-model type hands, for September is also the month of my birth and fuck me if god didn’t decide it was going to be the month that entertains a special day for every father out there, the very aptly named Father’s Day. Just for me… and maybe you.

In lieu of an actual shower, I was showered with gifts; new power tools, a stubby cooler stating I was a super dad, lattern, a grooming kit (for what I will use that for I know not), a bottle of Chivas Regal and a cracking old school bowl with a recipe for coleslaw on it (possibly for my later years when I lose my shit and can't remember how to make this, my favourite of salads)
In lieu of an actual shower, I was showered with gifts; new power tools, a stubby cooler stating I was a super dad, lattern, a grooming kit (for what I will use that for I know not), a bottle of Chivas Regal and a cracking old school bowl with a recipe for coleslaw on it (possibly for my later years when I lose my shit and can’t remember how to make this, my favourite of salads)

This was my first ever Father’s Day at home, not cooking for all the other lucky dads out there, and I darn well enjoyed it. It was the absolute tops being greeted with hugs and love by my children at a time when most respectable people would still be asleep. But not me, I was up and ready for those little padiwans. I was like the kid waiting for his first Christmas, or the FIFO (fly in, fly out) worker in line at the brothel… I was keen! I got to open presents and enjoy a cup of tea in bed followed by a slap up breakfast buffet that would have even the staunchest of non-breakfast eating protagonists crumbling at their knees. Fathers Day is truly awesome. I recommend it for everyone out there… unless you’re a girl; that aint going to work to very well for you at all.

To top it all off, a baked lemon tart
To top it all off, a baked lemon tart

Now it is much later. I am three sheets to the wind up the mizenmast of the good ship Chivas Regal and well on my way to becoming the poster boy for an ad campaign for against the perils of day time drinking, Jennee has a good looking chook stuffed with chorizo and preserved lemon on the chiminea, the boys have made sure and a half that I know how much they love me… this Fathers Day lark is a good one. A damn fine day indeed!

This family of mine is the best.

Paul’s Caul… Chicken Three Way

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Chicken three way

Holy shitballs that tittle sounds saucy in a too many beaks in the bedroom kinda way…

Do not fear I am neither into bestiality or in fact sharing my poultry with more than one person, but I am a sucker for cheap eats that are healthy and tasty food for my ever-hungry face hole.

I’m back from our extremely long and equally as amazing journey through South America, but as to be expected I seemed to have smuggled in some extra baggage in the form of my belly whom I shall name Jose. And to counter this excess weight we made sure that my wallet was completely void of weight and content. So healthy eating on a budget is my new hobby, its possible more than a hobby, its essential if I hope to continue to wear any of the clothes in my cupboard. So with Jose looking up at me with a wanting eye (that is a belly button I speak off, as I feel that should be made clear) we start the process of training everyday and cooking on a budget.

What better way to save money than to buy whole chickens and break em on down, one chicken enters three meals leave, it’s the anti-thunder dome sans Tina Turner and possibly any other relevance to the actual thunder dome. This nonsense aside I start with a chook and knife…

And end up with 2 whopping great big breasts (possible from all that food I’ve been eating) couple of Maryland cuts (leg and thigh) wings and a carcass.

So here we stand with our prey laid out before us about to become dinner.  Dinner it is, praise Valhalla…

We shall honour this creatures life by simmering its bones into a delicious master stock inspired brothy thing… its once moist bossom will once again be moist with my garlic & oregano titty rub… and to make sure she ain’t going no-where we be roasting the shit out of the running parts and da flying parts, connecting in their heated journey with an olive oily, chilli, lemony, black peppery little number.

The master stock inspired brothy thing
Carcass of any birds (within reason)
1 onion roughly chopped
6 dried chilies
4 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
2 big nugs of yellow sugar (nugs are about 2cm cube)
Good splash of Chinese cooking wine
Not quite as much kinda splash of black vinegar

• Whack all ingredients in a medium to large pot (depending on what you dictate as large I guess)
• Then fill pot with water and place on a gentle simmer to bubble away for 1.5hours then strain.
• Carefully pick any of the chicken meat that may be on the carcass and place to one side.
• This broth can be slightly thickened with corn flour if you wanted but I prefer a nice flavorsome stock to add what ever you want to.

I think we will go for rice noodles, julienne of carrot, leek and spring onion with ginger and coriander.

Mmmm, titties
Mmmm, titties
Titties with other good things
Titties with other good things

Garlic & oregano titty rub
Half a handful of fresh oregano
2 large garlic cloves
Sea salt & pepper
Olive oil
Whatever meat you want delicious

• Chop up oregano and garlic on a board until nice paste is formed.
• Pull a little hole on the side of the chicken breast skin.
• Jam lots of the paste up and on to the breast.
• Roll breast on board to pick up all traces of love.
• Cook skin side down in olive oil, until skin is crispy as shit, then flip for a minute. Place on an oven tray and in a well hot oven for approx. 10-14 or until the breast be seeping clear juice and felling the goods.
• Serve with whatever you like, tonight I went for the literally the only things left in fridge approach, and came up with…. Corn, red onion and jalapeño cooked down with cannellini beans in a (light) coconut cream and fish sauce reduction. Recipe can be devised through looking at the picture and reading the description.

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Ready to get it’s ass into the oven
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Effing fantastic
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Oh dear good lord. Don’t pretend you don’t want it

 

Olive oily, chilli, lemony, black peppery little number
All the best bits of a bird (legs, thighs and wings)
1 long red chilli sliced on a fancy angle
½ red onion cut into strips
Lemon zest or strips if you’re a wanker
3 garlic cloves
Decent amount of black pepper (freshly cracked people, we are not animals)
Little olive oil for lubrication
Good quality sea salt

• Whack all in a big bowl and roll around each other.
• Line a small high side oven dish with over sized glad bake.
• Place all chicken in with skin side up.
• Cover with smaller piece of glad bake.
• Cook in hot oven (mine was at 220C) for 20minutes approx.
• Take top piece of paper off and place back in oven for further 10minutes to crisp up.

• Chicken can be eaten straight away, but I like to leave sitting in its juices for an hour or so before diving in, it’s worth the wait.

So all up I’d say that’s three solid dinners out of a $14 chook and not a lot of extra expense to get some vege love into us, alongside the holy trinity of non-foul foul.