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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.