Moar chickin of the preserved lemon variety

It seems like I’m on a roll. A chicken roll. Actually, speaking of which, I could go a chicken roll right now.

Luckily though, this post is not about chicken rolls, notwithstanding their deliciousness. It is about another equally delicious, scrumptious, fulfilling and generally delectable chicken recipes that I stumbled across a little while ago. It involves preserved lemons – not a quick thing to make, but definitely an easy thing to make (don’t be that loser that pays $11 a jar in a gourmet deli!)

Today’s recipe is chicken with preserved lemons! It takes a little while – like a Sunday afternoon project – but do it, it’s worth it 🙂

You will need:
A marinade in which to let your chicken hang out for a while:
– 1 clove of garlic, chopped
– 1/4 of a preserved lemon (see note!), finely sliced and only the rind – ditch the flesh
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 tsps smokey paprika
– 2 tsps cumin
– 1 tbsp of chopped fresh coriander (you can use the stalks)
– 1 tbsp chopped parsley
– 2 bay leaves
– 1/2 tsp saffron threads that have been soaked in a tiny bit of water (not absolutely necessary, but does impart a nice colour and flavour)
– 50ml olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste

The rest of the meal!
– 500 grams of chicken (I used thigh)
– 1 tomato, sliced
– 1 more onion, chopped)
– a couple of potatoes, chopped in fairly large pieces
– 100g of olives
– a good handful of chopped coriander
– about 100mL of water (maybe more – depending on how dry it’s all looking when it’s all cooking)

A note on preserved lemons:
Preserved lemons are super easy to make, although they take a fair few weeks to make. Get yourself a clean glass jar and enough lemons to fill it. This is harder to estimate than it sounds, so as a guide I went with one of those larger pasta sauce jars that I had lying around and about 4 lemons (maybe it was 5…). You’ll also need a fair few tablespoons of salt. Cut your lemons in quarters and then the idea is to place a lemon quarter in the jar and then squash the hell out of it. I use a rolling pin to really get in there and squash it down. Put a teaspoon of salt in. Then another lemon quarter, squash again. Another teaspoon of salt. Repeat until you’ve filled the jar with some seriously squashed lemons and however many teaspoons of salt the number of lemon quarters equate to. It should end up that the lemon juice covers the lemon quarters; if not, get some extra lemons and squeeze just the juice out until everything is covered. Seal her up and whack at the back of the fridge for the next month. Don’t freak out if it develops a little white mould…it’s all good, just scrape off when you use the lemons.

Now to the recipe:
Step 1 – rate and marinate: chop and mix all of the marinade ingredients. Let the ingredients get to know each other for 20 minutes or so. Phew, that was easy. Now get your chicken ready. Massage it all in and let the chicken sit there for a good coupla hours

Marinate me.

Marinate me.

Step 2 – finger licking good: Tip the chicken and the marinade into a pan on low (…or a tagine if you’re organised). Add the tomatoes, onion and potatoes and mix in with the marinade. Dot the olives around and tip in the water, along with half of the handful of coriander. Cook over a super low heat until the chicken is cooked. Check the water and add more if needed. Estimate that it takes around 1/2 an hour or a little longer. Top with the remaining coriander and serve with whatever you like – quinoa, cous cous, rice, vegies…nothing…anything…

Rahhh I'm going to eat you like a lion

Rahhh I’m going to eat you like a lion

Lemon meringue cupcakes: the blog returns

Life. It was life that got in the way of me, that old chestnut. Moving house…well, look that’s actually my only excuse and that was completed in a weekend. So where has the rest of the time gone? Who knows…

Anyway, I’m back! Back with a cheeky little afternoon tea treat I made a couple of weekends ago. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of the gift of a blowtorch from my wonderful parents a while ago. I also had a frustrating amount of egg whites lying around from tales of creme brulee past. What better way to kill two birds with the one stone than to whack up a batch of lemon meringue cupcakes!

You will need:
for the cupcakes…
– 125g butter (make sure it’s a little bit soft)
– 140g caster sugar
– 3 eggs
– the zest of a lemon
– 1 tsp vanilla paste/essence/whatever you’ve got
– 200g self raising flour
– 100g almond meal
– 1/3 of a cup of milk

for the lemon curd
check this one out. It’s not too sweet and REALLY lemony: http://marmadukescarlet.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/lemon-and-lime-curd.html

for the meringue…
– 4 egg whites
– 200g caster sugar

Step 1 – cupcake kingdom: start by lining a muffin tray (it’ll make around 12 muffins). Also whack your oven up to about 180 degrees. Cream together your butter and sugar, along with the lemon zest. Then add your vanilla. When this is all pale and creamy, add in the eggs, one by one. Beat pretty thoroughly after each addition. Then, add a bit of the flour and almond meal and a bit of the milk – in alternate batches until it’s all combined. Bake these bad boys for around about 20 minutes, but check after 15 for a nice golden, springy finish. Get them out on a cooling rack for a while.

Step 2 – fill ‘er up: while the cupcakes are baking, make your lemon curd. Set it to cool – and even put it in the fridge for a little while to let it thicken. When your cupcakes have cooled a little, cut a little divot out of the top – maybe a 3/4 of an inch deep – and spoon in about a teaspoon of your curd. Proceed to eat the little bits of cupcake you have cut out as a “taste test”.

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Step 3 – is that a cumulus cloud: crack out those forearms that you’ve been working on for so long. Get your egg whites into a clean, dry, non-oily bowl. Did you know you can freeze egg whites? Well, you can. I did, for three weeks, in a little sandwich bag. Anyway, quit thinking and start whisking. Get them to stiff peaks and then add your sugar in three or four batches. You really want to make this as firm as you can, because it doesn’t get “cooked” per se. Once you’re happy and you’ve done the bowl-upside-down-over-the-head trick, either spoon or pipe on your meringue on top of the lemon curd-filled cupcakes.

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Now get that blow torch cranking. Gently torch the meringue so you get those nice little caramelise-y bits on top. Devour like a ravenous lion.