Portuguese BBQ Chicken and Salad

I love spring, mainly because the lamb is incredible but the main reason I love spring is that the longer light and cool evenings are perfect for eating outdoors with the BBQ. And my favourite thing to BBQ is a chicken in Portuguese marinade. There are a lot of theories about the right way to marinade but this recipe is my version, it is really simple  and very tasty. And what makes this even better is to cook with a fantastic free range chicken, I get mine from Hudson Meats sourced from Burrawong Gaian.

 Portuguese Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 long red chillies
  • 10 hot small red chillies
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, get the really good spanish type
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of canola or vegetable oil

Method

  • Blend all of the marinade ingredients in a food processor but do not over process.
  • Reserve a small amount for basting.
  • Cut the chicken into pieces and cover in the marinade. Refrigerate and turn in the marinade regularly for an hour or more.
  • On a high BBQ sear all of the chicken pieces then lower the temperature and close the lid for another 30 minutes, turning now and then. (note: you can also finish the chicken in the oven once you have charred it, this delivers a really moist chicken)
  • Close to service bast the chicken once more with the left over marinade but don’t turn it, you want the marinade on the surface.

 

Salad to Accompany

  • Good handful of mixed salad leaves, choose one with lots of peppery rocket
  • Packet of cherry tomatoes halved
  • Sliced red onion
  • Black olives pitted
  • Dressing of 2 TBsp of olive oil, 1Tbsp of lemon juice, pinch of salt and pepper and a teaspoon of dried oregano.

Perfect to share with friends on a big serving platter on a spring evening.

Sponge Cake Mistakes

I watch far too many food TV shows and I read loads of books. And there is a recurring theme about remaining calm when you make a mistake. It’s an incredibly important thing to remember when you are cooking. I set up to make a different type of sponge cake last night, incredibly light and fluffy. So I baked it and to be honest it wasn’t spectacular. The top dropped and when I removed it from the tin it certainly was light, but the dip in the top was painful.

So I had already made the strawberry sauce, with balsamic and lemoncello and I had also made the lemoncello buttercream icing. What to do. Then I had a crazy idea. I quickly whipped up a mix of cream, sugar and mascarpone cheese then I took the caved sponge and halved it normally, but I used the dipped top as the base, spread some of the cream mix on it leaving the dip in the centre, used more cream mix to seal the base of the other half and then filled the dip with the strawberry sauce, put the other half on top. The result was a sealed cake with a surprise  in the centre. I then iced it as planned. And I had some cream and strawberry mix left, a quick swirl, bake two victoria sponges and I had a second cake.

So it was not lost, in fact the final outcome was arguably better than the original plan. When something goes wrong don’t be too fast to bin it. Sit back and think about your options. You never know you could end up with something special. I did.

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Italian Roast Rabbit with Honey and Vegetables

I love rabbit but I have to admit there is a massive difference in flavour for the better when you get a good one. I had the opportunity today to work with a fantastic animal provided by producers Burrawong Gaian, Beth and Hayden sourced via the always fantastic butcher Hudson Meat. I got to meet Beth and Hayden in the Hudson’s store yesterday and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to thank farmers who are serious about quality. They supply two of my other favourite things, Wessex Saddleback pigs and the stunning Muscovy ducks. I have worked with them before but being able to try the rabbit was a wonderful thing.

The first thing that struck me was how much meat was on the rabbit, the size and the incredible quality of the animal. From the moment I began to break the rabbit down I was really wishing it could just be done there and then. Couldn’t wait.

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So I decided to do something incredibly simple, the rabbit needed to really be the star and the meat needed to speak for itself. So I chose to do a one pot wonder Italian dish which is as simple to make as anything but the flavour, wow. Four of us sat down to the finished dish and all of us thought that it was sensational. The rabbit was the star and it is so simple to make. Here is the recipe and I encourage you to give it a go.

 

Recipe: Italian Rabbit with Honey and Vegetables

TitleRoasted rabbit with honey and root vegetables

Ingredients

  1. 80g butter
  2. 1 tablespoon of good honey
  3. 1 organic rabbit, jointed into pieces
  4. 5 tablespoons of good white wine vinegar
  5. 4 large carrots sliced thickly on the diagonal
  6. 4 turnips cut into thick slices
  7. 100g of freshly shelled peas
  8. 100g french beens trimmed
  9. 2 fresh tarragon sprigs, roughly chopped
  10. Salt and pepper

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  1. Cook each of the vegetables briefly in salted boiling water, just to soften a little, then place all the veg into a large bowl and keep aside.
  2. Joint the rabbit and remove the excess fat.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  4. In a flameproof heavy based casserole with a lid heat the butter and honey over a medium high heat.
  5. When the butter is bubbling hot brown all of the rabbit pieces turning frequently until they develop a great caramel outside. Then take the rabbit out of the pan and set aside.
  6. Add the white wine vinegar, carefully it splutters, and reduce until almost all the liquid is gone.
  7. Add the rabbit and vegetables back into the pan and turn them in the butter gently.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the tarragon.
  9. Put the lid on the casserole and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
  10. Serve in the pan and let everyone help themselves, there will be just enough liquid in the bottom for a sauce.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: Italian

Rating 5 Stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)