Sunday, 9 March 2014

Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives

If you managed to make some preserved lemons either with salt or in oil, this chicken dish is a wonderful way to use them along with this seasons olives (we used our own olives, our first foray into pickling olives... you will have to wait for next season for the recipe!)

A whole chicken cut up into bite sized joints, chicken liver chopped finely and reserved.
1 large onion chopped very finely or better still done in the food processor to almost a paste
4 crushed garlic cloves
100g butter
1 tbsp ground ginger
small piece of cinnamon stick
1/4tsp turmeric powder
3/4 teaspoon saffron strands
juice of one lemon
100g green or black olives
100g preserved lemons cut up into quarters - flesh discarded.
a handful of coriander and parsley leaves chopped
salt and pepper

Put chicken into a casserole (yup... no browning it first!), Add the chopped onion, garlic, butter, ginger, cinnamon, tumeric, saffron, 1 tsp salt and a sprinkling of white pepper.  Pour in 700ml water, cover and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 40 minutes turning chicken and spooning sauce over it from time to time. After the 40 minutes lift the chicken onto a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.  Add lemon juice to the casserole and simmer rapidly until reduced by 2/3.  Return chicken to casserole with olives and preserved lemon and cover with the lid and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.  Add the chopped chicken liver and simmer another 5 minutes.  Add coriander and parsley and taste for seasoning.  Serve with cous cous or rice!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Reine De Saba

Officially it is now spring, but we have had wild flowers and goose eggs along with other indicators of spring for a few weeks now and that includes a steady production of eggs from the hens.  What to do with them all?

I decided to make a Reine de Saba sponge cake.  It's a very moist, dense sponge that should be eaten in thin wedges and goes great with strawberries (also in season at the moment) and cream.  Although it is very easy to make and if you are careful with cutting (unlike mine being off centre) it can look very posh!

Excuse the old fashioned (Imperial) weights and measures... this is the way the recipe goes...

Ingredients: 4 oz plain chocolate melted with 2 tbsp rum, 1/4lb softened butter, 1/4lb castor sugar, 3 egg yolks, 3 egg whites, pinch salt, 1tbsp castor sugar, 2oz ground almonds, 1/4tsp almond extract, 2oz plain flour sifted.

I made double the quantity, making two cakes, one for now and one for the freezer.  Here in Spain it is hard to find castor sugar so I make my own by processing granulated sugar for just a few seconds in the food processor using the nut grinder attachment.  Always melt your chocolate first and then let it cool as you can't add hot chocolate to the egg mixture!

Method:  Butter and flour an 8inch cake tin.  Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 or 180C.  Cream butter and sugar until pale.

Add egg yolks and beat well.  Beat egg whites separately until soft peaks and then add the tablespoon of castor sugar and beat until stiff.

Blend the melted chocolate and rum into the egg yolk and butter mixture and add the almonds and almond extract.  Blend.

Sift in a quarter of the flour and then add a quarter of the egg white.  Mix it all well.

Blend in remaining flour and then fold the remaining egg white carefully into the mixture.  Spoon into the prepared cake tins and smooth the top.  Bake for 25 minutes or thereabouts checking towards the end of the cooking time.  The centre of the cake should still be a bit squidgy when you take it out.  Leave for ten minutes in the tin before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Dust with icing sugar sifted onto the top when cold and serve with a dollop of cream and some chocolate curls if you want to be really decadent!