Jerk chicken

It’s now the second day of the year and I am just returning to the land of the living. In my last post I was on the sofa, hoping for a swift recovery from my viral illness. However, that was not meant to be and I went rapidly downhill. I never made it to the family Christmas dinner, I was so disappointed and even shed a few tears,  but I had a loving husband who tended to my every need. I could not complain. By New Year’s Eve, I was starting to feel more myself and I crept back into the kitchen. I had last week found a recipe for jerk chicken in a Tom Kerridge cookbook that was given to me as a 40th birthday present. I had originally planned to make this a part of a birthday menu for my husband but when the day came, I was too exhausted to think about anything other than putting together the simplest of breakfasts for him. When I was feeling better, the thought and eventual smell of the marinade was healing within itself. The final product was delicious and formed part of a cozy little NYE meal for two.

 

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Ingredients

1 medium-large chicken, about 1.7kg, jointed into 8 pieces

For the marinade

1 large onion, roughly chopped

125g ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

200ml dark soy sauce

200ml white wine vinegar

40g freshly ground pepper

35g ground allspice

3tbsp thyme leaves

 

Method

  1. First make the marinade. Put the onions and ginger into a food processor and blend to a smooth, fine pulp. Add the soy sauce, wine vinegar, black pepper, allspice and thyme leave and whizz again to blend in the spices.
  2. Put the chicken pieces into a large container. Pour over the marinade and, using your hands, massage it all over the chicken pieces, making sure each piece is well coated. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop and intensify.
  3. The next day, remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 190oC/Fan 170oC/Gas 5. Place a wire rack inside a large, deep roasting tin and pour 2cm of water into the tin. This will steam the chicken during roasting, making it deliciously tender and succulent.
  4. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place them on the rack. Roast in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, until cooked through, basting a couple of times with the juices from the roasting  tray and some of the marinade. The chicken is cooked when the juices run clear when pierced in the thickest part with a skewer, or the internal temperature registers 70oC on a meat thermometer.
  5. Preheat the grill to high. Place the chicken pieces under the hot grill for a few minutes until richly glazed and dark brown.
  6. Once grilled and nicely glazed, leave the chicken pieces to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes before serving. Serve simply, with rice and a nice crisp green salad.

 

 

Speculoo biscuits tree decorations 

It is two days before Christmas. I am tucked away on my lovely blue sofa in my pink fluffy dressing gown listening to the Bee Gee’s ‘How Deep Is Your Love?’ playing on Smooth FM.
I might ask that question of myself for myself. One currently has a ‘heavy cold’ and is unable to appreciate the sights, sounds and excitement of the holiday season. I could barely get up this morning, and so I did not. When the Lemsip and ibuprofen kicked in I went into work for an hour and then scurried home again. I am hoping that this wretched viral illness leaves me by tomorrow or else I will not be able to enjoy time with my family.

However, earlier in the week, I was full of beans and bounding with energy. I made biscuit decorations for our Christmas tree. They are beautiful smelling ornaments containing ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.

Ingredients

220g plain flour
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk
150g butter

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC/160oC. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, spices, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the brown sugar and break up any lumps with your hands. Add the milk and butter, then use your hands to bring the mixture together as dough. Rest the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a 5mm thickness.
  4. Cut out the biscuits using a circular cutter or any other shaped desired. To hang them on the tree once they are made, use a piping noble tip that has a 3 – 4mm opening, and cut a hole at one end of each biscuit. These holes will be used to thread ribbon through once baked and cooled.
  5. Place the biscuits on the lined baking tray with at least a 2 – 3 cm gap between them. Bake them for 15 -18 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to touch. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
  6. Thread the pre-cut ribbons or strings through the holes in the biscuits and tie the ends together. Hang the biscuits on your Christmas tree to decorate.

Anticipation

My short time in Spain is coming to an end. Apart from the hours of sleep that I have been able to catch up on, the thing that I have been enjoying the most is the food loving prepared and served up by my husbands parents. Simply delicious and worth waiting for.

Fig and almond roll with manchego slices, a pleasant combination of sweet and savoury.
compota de fruta
Quince, grapes and Portuguese cheese made from sheep’s milk
‘gulas’ – wannabe eels!
Turrón. Turon Bread, olive and chocolate, sprinkled with sea salt flakes Jijona turon with chocolate – almond and honey
Arròs negre – seafood tastic
Olive oil marmalade
‘gulas’ – wannabe eels

Un paseo

And then there are times when a walk may take you to places that are not on the map or you may stumble into areas that were previously a no go area. Beware the hidden traps on the side of the road.