So today morning, while helping my beautiful Mummy with some errands, something happened. I kept running into friends and neighbours telling me how much they enjoy reading my blog and about the recipes they like. Neighbourhoods change, but visiting my parents feels like going back home. People there are mainly very friendly and many of them know me from when I was a child. I love feedback, and before you roll your eyes at me (I can see you) I appreciate all kinds. Done properly. You know what I mean. I love writing on here. I don’t get too personal, mostly because I don’t want to make my friends and family uncomfortable or make them feel uneasy in any way. I want people to talk to me at the end of the day!
Hi everyone. Hope you’re all doing well. It’s been such a hectic few weeks for my family and so C&T had to take a step back this time round. Before talking about food, as we almost always do here, I just want to ask one question: did the Azure Window really and truly collapse? I just can’t believe the footage I’ve been seeing over the internet. It’s been a long time coming but now that it’s no more I still can’t get my head round it. I’m glad I managed to see it and take some photos a couple of years ago. Such a pity. The weather during these few days certainly hasn’t helped. That and other factors for sure. I don’t want this post to be too wordy, so I’ll stop there but it’s a sad day.
This rough weather calls for a roast. I love roasting anything, especially when I have to feed a group of people. How easy is it to place everything in a roasting pan and plonk it in the oven, and just let it do the cooking for you. I do understand though why some of my readers write to me asking me for tips. Believe me when I tell you that I have burnt many a roast throughout the years before learning some useful pointers from the pros. I think there are a few important things to keep in mind. Using a roasting pan in which whatever you want to roast, meat, veggies or both can stay snug but still with some little space to spare surely helps. You want it to roast not broil or poach. When using chicken pieces, I always cover the dish with kitchen foil and then uncover it during the last 15 minutes or so. My Maltese heritage always tells me to pour some stock at the base of the pan, mainly due to an innate fear that my food would dry up if I don’t. It almost is a recurring dream this! Such as the one where I open the fridge and/or pantry and it’s completely empty.
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a good break over the past few weeks, and that you enjoyed the holidays. It was a very busy time here of course, and my kitchen worked overtime this year. I’m so happy that it did though. I also had the time for some baking for family and friends. There was no better time for switching on the oven and turning on the heat. It wasn’t that cold in December, but let me assure you that January has started off with a kick. We’re feeling it here in Malta this week. It’s going to be a cold weekend. Some are loving it, relishing it even, others are fuming
excuse the pun because they’d rather be sweating it out in August.
I’m sure that summer’s officially here, one, because it’s almost unbearably hot, and two, because I buy chicken by the bucket, or whatever expression you might choose to put instead. There are tonnes of reasons for which this happens. The first one that comes to mind is that it makes a perfect meal for when I have people over for supper. So I keep various chicken pieces in the freezer at once. This past week I went to the butcher twice; they were on my list for both trips, simply because I had guests last Saturday and I ran out of chicken breasts. As I must have mentioned somewhere before on C&T
but I must do so again I would rather have the dark meat bits. The meat next to the bones is generally more tender and juicy. However lately, since the turn in the weather, I much prefer grilling or pan-frying a marinated chicken breast. The marinade bit is most important. It’s amazing what some extra virgin olive oil together with freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper does to a piece of meat, and to vegetables! Place the meat in a dish, marinate, cover with cling film in the fridge for a couple of hours. Grill, serve with a simple salad and voila, you have a meal. Right there.
This recipe is a little different, in that you don’t even need a grill pan and there’s no marinade prep but it’s easy. I like it because it resembles a curry without the extra spice. It comes in handy when you know you will feed a group of people who undoubtedly have various likes and dislikes, or even allergies and/or intolerances. As months go by I am often finding myself in this predicament, which can be a headache on one hand, but a positive thing for me, meaning I’m reconnecting with people. It’s been almost a year now since I moved back from Surrey. Unbelievable.
Among the most popular recipes you can find here on C&T is Baked Rice. Yes, it’s already up and has been up for quite some time now. The feedback has been so good – you cannot imagine how pleased I am at how it turned out. Although the photos on that post are decent, I still have a few more I want to show you just because they turned out better.
I love couscous, mostly because it’s very versatile and you can prepare it at a moment’s notice. This festive version is a breeze. Serves 6.
- 125g couscous
- 150ml hot chicken stock* (you can use stock from the ham recipe above)
- a handful or two of dried cranberries (or raisins)
- a handful or two of toasted flaked almonds
Place the couscous, hot chicken stock and dried cranberries (or raisins) into a bowl and cover with cling film. (Please note that you can use vegetable stock for this, and for the ham in the previous recipe.)*
In the meantime put some flaked almonds in a shallow pan on the hob and toast them. Don’t add any oil here. The almonds will release theirs and become nice and golden. Keep an eye on them as they can easily burn.
When the couscous has absorbed all the stock, fluff it up with a fork, add the toasted almonds, fluff it up some more and taste it for seasoning. Serve it with turkey, chicken, ham or alone if you like. So easy.