Davidson Plum Sauce Chicken

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Davidson Plums fresh are too sour to eat - but this sourness seemed to me like a perfect fit for a kind of sweet, sticky Chinese sauce cause it could hold up to the strong spices. The flavour comes through strongly in this recipe - they taste nothing like actual plums. The type we used are Queensland Davidson plums, or Ooray.

Obviously you can use regular plums in this if you like (and a bit less sugar), or just Davidson plums (Veronica very kindly gave us some frozen plum pine when we visited so I used them too. You can order frozen Davidson Plums from Dreamtime Kullilla Art in Redcliffe if you're in Brisbane, from Taste Australia Bushfood Shop and from plenty of other bushfood suppliers on the internet.

It’s best to make this a couple of days before you’re serving it – it gets better with time.  

Ingredients

Plum Sauce


1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
¾ cup brown sugar
2 cups Davidson plums (defrosted)
1 cup plum pine (defrosted)
1 tablespoon crushed fresh ginger
1 onion, very thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
White pepper
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped

Basting mixture

1 cup honey
1 cup olive oil

Stuffing

1 cup brown rice
1 sweet potato cut into small (1cm) squares
½ cup roughly chopped saltbush
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
Zest of a lemon

1 whole chicken

Fry garlic, fresh ginger and onion in a splash of vegetable oil (olive oil is fine it’s just better if it doesn’t have much flavor) until soft, then add cayenne pepper, cloves, five spice and ground ginger until the spices have cooked (around 2-3 mins).

Add the Davidson plums and native riberries, and bring to a simmer. Then add the sugar and vinegar and one cup of water. Taste the mixture regularly – you may need to add more sugar if the mixture is too bitter/acidic.

Play around with the flavours – you want it to be fairly sweet and spiced but still pretty tangy. Simmer the sauce until it’s thick and shiny. Put into a jar or Tupperware container and store at room temperature for at least a day, then you can put it in the fridge.  

For the stuffing, cook the rice, then fry the sweet potato in some olive oil for about 10-15 mins or until it’s cooked through. Add the ginger and saltbush and cook until ginger is starting to brown. Add the zest, then take off the heat and add to the cooked rice, with a splash more olive oil and some salt and pepper.

If you’re roasting a whole chicken, take it out of the plastic and pat it down with some paper towel (including inside apparently, yucky!), then leave it to dry out in the fridge for about a day (I didn’t do this because I started too late – that’s just what the internet says to get a really crispy skin).

Then baste the chicken with a 1 to 1 mixture of honey and olive oil, and some chopped saltbush. Fill with the stuffing and cook at 180 degrees for one hour, basting with more honey and oil mixture every twenty minutes. 5 minutes before you take the chicken out, baste it with a light covering of the Davidson Plum sauce. After it's cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes, then check if it’s cooked. It should be, but if you’re a bit iffy pop it back in the oven for covered in foil for 15 minutes. The sauce and basting should stop it from drying out, so better to be a bit over cooked than serve raw chicken. Serve with the sauce.

 

 

 

'Bahn Mi' with Ginger Poached Chicken, Cucumber Salad and Pickled Carrots.

White bread. Chicken. Mayonnaise. Tangy Pickles. DON'T LEAVE OFF THE PEANUTS (Unless eating them will kill you I GUESS). 

Should make about 8 Medium sized bahn mi. Cut 'em smaller and you've got baby bahns! Fun!

Ingredients:

CHICKEN
1/2 cup chopped shallots (only the white and light green bits)
Two tablespoons roughly chopped ginger, and two tablespoons of crushed ginger. Keep the chunks of peel that you take off.
200g Chicken Breast
Two litres chicken or vegetable stock (I use stock cubes and it doesn't make much difference to me) 

CUCUMBER 
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Lebanese cucumbers
1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek (crushed fresh chills from a jar, can find at Coles)
1 teaspoon palm sugar

CARROTS
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon palm sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 medium carrots
 

WOMBOK SALAD
2 Cups shredded wombok
Mayonnaise
1/2 bunch coriander, roughly chopped.

1 cup Roasted Peanuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Sesame Seeds
Half Bunch coriander, leaves only
2 long Baguettes

Put the stock in a medium saucepan with half the shallots, chopped ginger and ginger skins. If you don't think it'll be enough to cover the chicken, add some water. Bring to the boil.

Add your chicken breast, cover and poach for about 18 - 20 minutes. If they're smaller pieces check after 15 by cutting one in half and seeing if it's cooked through. When the chicken is cooked, rub it in the rest of the shallots and crushed ginger and some vegetable oil to marinate for a while.

While the chicken's cooking, make the pickles. Cut the cucumbers in half longways and scoop out the seeds. Give them a wack with a rolling pin/flat side of a big knife etc. so they're a bit battered and split. Roughly chop them into couple of centimetre slices. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and leave to sit. 

Julienne the carrots, or grate them if that's too annoying (I found out most basic vege graters have a mandolin peeler that makes thin slices that you can then slice into match-stick pieces. Really improved my life). Mix the carrots with the rest of the pickle ingredients.

Mix the wombok, coriander and mayonnaise (it's between you and whoever you choose to tell how much you want to put it - you want it to balance out the chicken cause poached it can be a bit dry) together.

Toast the sesame seeds in a hot pan on the stove. Mix together with the chopped peanuts. 

To assemble, either cut or tear up the chicken, put it in a halved piece of baguette and layer with the salad ingredients. Top with fresh coriander leaves and peanuts and sesame seeds. 
 

 

 

Total Fluke Roast Chicken

I don’t know how it happened, but this chicken was, as any judge on any cooking show might say ‘cooked to perfection’. Which is weird cause I (aka dumb chicken cooking rookie) bought the wrong part for roasting (Nigella says to ALWAYS use chicken thigh. I hope one day she’ll forgive me) so I was expecting it to be very dry. Brining it definitely helped, and resting it for 5 minutes before serving. Really though, it was just a total fluke that I checked it at the exact right minute (I was gonna leave it in for another 10!) when it was just done and tasty as hell. I sure took all the praise like I deserved it though

Serves 12-15.

Ingredients: 

1 kg Chicken Breast (you want to have at least half a breast for each person)
2 tablespoons Ground Cumin
2 tablespoons Ground Tumeric
2 tablespoons of Ground Coriander
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup Slivered Almonds, roasted
500g Greek Yoghurt
1/4 cup Tahini

Make a brine for the chicken by covering the peices water, then adding about 1/4 cup salt. Leave to sit in the fridge for 30 mins - 3 hours

When you're ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Take the chicken out of the brine and rub it with the ground spices, garlic. and olive oil so every piece is covered. Cook for 10-15 minutes until just cooked (try not to open the oven too much during this time). Cut the biggest piece in half to make sure it's cooked through. Leave to rest out of the oven for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Mix the yoghurt and tahini together. To serve, scatter the chicken with almonds and drizzle the tahini yoghurt sauce over if you want, otherwise just serve the sauce in a bowl. 
 

Mini Chicken Bastillas

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet


This recipe is pretty much a tweaked version of the one off this GREAT Moroccan cooking website called ‘Cooking with Alia’.  If you wanna do it right, follow her recipe (and check out a few more, while your there). Mine’s just a bit simpler, for lazy motherfuckers.

Real bastillas often have cinnamon and/or sugar dusted over the top – I bloody love them, but I thought it might be a bit much for some of my guests (sweet/savoury is a thing but some people hate it. Personally I hate fruit in savoury salads. Unrelated but I’d really like it to stop). If your mates are on board the swavoury (sorry) train though, definitely give it a go. You don’t HAVE to put the butter in at the end, but as my chicken mixture had been sitting in the fridge since the day before I was worried they’d be dry. And it worked, they were pretty perfect. Plus, fat’s good for you now. Everyone says so.

Makes about 20 pastries

Ingridients

750g chicken breast
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tabelspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 tspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 Onion
4 Cloves of garlic
½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
5 eggs
100g butter
2 packets filo dough
250 grams almond meal

Put the chicken, tumeric, cumin, coriander parsley, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and a few splashes of olive oil in a pot with a lid. Make sure the chicken in covered in spices and oil, then cook for about 5 minutes, until chicken is starting to colour all over. Add 1 cup of water, cover with the lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until all the chicken is cooked through. Take the chicken pieces out of the sauce and break up into small pieces. Reheat the sauce (add a bit more water if it’s more solid than liquid) and add FOUR of the eggs, mixing until they’re cooked through. Mix this egg mixture with the chicken.

Fry the almond meal with some olive oil, cinnamon, cloves and sugar until it’s browned and tastes toasted.

Beat the remaining egg in a bowl. Cut up the butter into small (about 1cm square) cubes.

Get one square filo sheet on your bench. Put about 1 heaped tablespoon of chicken and egg mixture in the middle. Put one square of butter on top, and sprinkle with almond-meal mixture (about 1 teaspoon in each pastry). Fold up the sides, using the beaten egg to stick the pastry down. Put another piece of pastry on top of your parcel, then flip it over and fold up and stick down the sides again, so it’s wrapped in two layers. Brush the flat top of the pastry with egg, and sprinkle black sesame or poppy seeds on the top.

Cook at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the pastry is brown.

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Spiced Chicken & Rice

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

There’s a Lebanese place in Red Hill that does the most insane vegetarian savoury rice and lentils, with charred bits of eggplant and chewy fried onion. I’ve never been able to cook eggplant right, but this is my attempt at something close to what they do. But also with chicken. 

INGREDIENTS

RICE
750g Basmati rice
200g Lentils
200g Raisins
5 Cloves of garlic
2 Large onions
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
½ bunch fresh coriander
200g Pine nuts
Olive oil
1 Lemon

CHICKEN
1.5 kilos chicken breast.
1.5 tablespoons turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 preserved lemons
(from a jar)

Boil the rice and the lentils separately – the rice for 10-15 mins and the lentils for 25-30 – until they’re tender. Combine the two, then fry the garlic, raisins, pine nuts and spices together in a seperate bowl. Mix through the rice and lentils, adding more spices and salt if it’s a bit bland.

Slice the onion into circles, separate the individual rings, then deep fry them in about 1 cup of olive oil until light brown and crispy. You don’t have to do this – you could dice them and fry with the garlic instead – but I think the long bits of fried onion through the rice give it a different texture and more interesting flavour. When you’re ready to serve, toss through a bunch of fresh coriander and squeeze some lemon over it.

Cut the chicken into strips (try and make them roughly the same size so they cook in the same time). Coat the chicken in the spices and preserved lemon and leave to marinate for about an hour. Shallow fry it in a pan (you might have to cook it in batches to make sure it’s cooked – don’t give your friends the raw chicken voms), then serve on top of the spiced rice. 

Prawn salad rolls & chicken meatball subs

Prawn Rolls:

This would also work with crab or lobster pretty well if you wanna get even more impressive. This is a very quick and easy recipe, but excellent. Probably goes without saying, but god I love mayonnaise.

Makes 6 rolls

Ingredients:

750gms cooked prawns.
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
Half a bunch of dill, off the stalks
3/4 of a large cucumber,
chopped into rough cubes
Cracked pepper
6 bread rolls/ hot dog buns. 

Shell the prawns and cut them in half. Mix in the mayonnaise, dill, mustard, and cucumber. Season with cracked pepper and keep refrigerated until you're ready to stuff it in the bread rolls/hot dog buns.

Chicken Meatball Subs (with tomato sauce):

If you've got a little more time on your hands, these meatball subs are super filling and good for more carniverous mates. If you wanna make it even easier, you don't have to make your own tomato sauce - mine probably isn't THAT much better than the jar stuff....

Makes: about 8 subs

Ingridients:

Meatballs:
500g chicken mince
150g breadcrumbs
3/4 cup of milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 cup shaved parmesan

Sauce:
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons fennel seeds

Worcestershire sauce
Balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves. 

8 Bread rolls

 

Get the tomato sauce going first so it has time to thicken. 

Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook the onion until it's soft. Add the garlic and the fennel seeds and cook for a few more minutes. Add the tin of tomatoes. Fill the tin up with water and add that too. Add the rest of of the sauce ingredients (put a splash of both the balsamic and Worcestershire sauce in, then taste to see if it needs more of either) and simmer until it's thick and rich. Add the basil leaves at the end.

In a medium bowl, pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and leave to sit for a minute until it's soaked in. Add the chicken mince, egg, thyme and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Oil an oven tray. Roll the chicken mixture into balls (you may need to oil  your hands if it's too sticky) and place on the tray, covering lightly with a bit more oil. Cook for about 20 minutes until golden brown (cut one open when you take them out to make sure they're cooked through).

Add the meatballs to the sauce mixture. Cool and then put in a container if you're transporting them, otherwise stuff as many as you can into a bread roll and go nuts.