It has been a big week at work. One that I am glad is over. Although there is still stuff that needs to be done. Records that need to be bundled up and filed. Stuff that needs to go to the accountant. One bonus though is that I can get my tax return submitted this weekend, hopefully today, and I should get a small refund if previous years are anything to go by. Anything would be welcome at the moment.
I recently decided that I needed to make more of an effort to curb my spending habits. Less buying ingredients just in case I need them. Or think that I might use them at some point. Make a point of using all the fresh produce that I buy. Actually sit down and plan meals and make lists, consider what I already have in the pantry, fridge and freezer before deciding what to cook. Make a point of coming home from work for lunch or at the very least taking food with me to eat for lunch. I have already cut back in a few other areas. I am keen to save for some improvements to my house. I would also dearly love to purchase a Thermomix. Everything that I have seen and heard about them has convinced me that it really would be an asset in my kitchen. However, first I really need to replace my dodgy electric cooktop. Going back to gas cooking is my desire, I miss it so much. Hopefully by the end of the year I should be able to replace my cooktop and be on my way to saving for a Thermomix.
Recently, while in the supermarket they had some pomegranates on special. I do love pomegranates. I have made a number of different things using them in the past. I really like them as an addition to salads. There was also a pomegranate, quince and raspberry sauce that I made to go over ice cream which I then added more sugar to and reboiled making a really lovely jam. This time I wanted to try something different so plugged "pomegranate recipes" into google to see what I could come up with. I was drawn to two recipes in particular and decided that they would work together perfectly since they had a few common ingredients and, more importantly, everything already in my fridge, freezer or pantry. The first was this recipe for Middle Eastern Chicken over on Not Quite Nigella. The flavours of this were just divine. My chicken was slightly smaller, at 1.1 kg, but I left all the rest of the ingredients the same. I was so pleased with this. I think I could easily eat it weekly. I served it with quinoa cooked in vegetable stock.
The other dish served that night was an Olive, Walnut, Pistachio & Pomegranate Salad based on a recipe over at A Life (Time) of Cooking. The original recipe had green olives but I am not a fan of green olives. I do, however, adore black olives so I decided to use them instead. This salad was just incredible. The combination was just a revelation. Even the leftovers a few days later when the nuts had softened slightly were delightful. I still have pomegranate seeds and pistachios left so I am planning on making this one again tomorrow. In fact I think that I will make it as often as possible.
Gemma's Middle Eastern Chicken
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1.5kg organic chicken (I used a 1.1kg)
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 60ml brandy
- 1 pomegranate
- salt and pepper
- handful of roughly chopped, toasted pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over a low heat. Add onion and carrot and cook until onion is soft, approx. 10 minutes, then remove and set aside.
- Increase heat to medium high brown chicken on both sides being turning carefully so as not to damage the skin. Ending with chicken breast side up.
- Remove from the heat and spoon carrots and onion around the chicken.
- Sprinkle cayenne pepper and allspice on top of the chicken and drizzle with 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses and half the brandy.
- Place lid on Dutch oven and bake for 1 to 1.5 hours. Adding water if needed to stop it drying out (I didn't need to).
- Turn the heat up to 200C and baste the chicken with pan juices and cook for 10 minutes or until nicely browned.
- Remove the Dutch oven out of the oven. Carefully remove chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm
- Heat the Dutch oven over a low heat on the stove then add half the pomegranate seeds, remaining pomegranate molasses and brandy. Cook for about 5 minutes. Spoon this around the chicken on the serving platter then top with remaining pomegranate seeds and chopped, toasted pistachios.
Olive, Walnut, Pistachio & Pomegranate Salad
- 1/4 c walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
- 1/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 2 small shallots, peeled and finely diced
- 1 red chilli (or to taste), seeded and finely chopped
- 2 – 3 Tbsp shredded parsley leaves
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp walnut oil
- 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Combine nuts, olives, pomegranate arils, shallots and parsley in a bowl.
- In a small bowl combine oils, chilli, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, salt and pepper and whisk well.
- Mix dressing with salad and let stand for 5 minutes to allow flavours to develop.