cumin baked chicken

Cumin, a spice often used in my kitchen for various dishes, is an earthy, warm spice that adds the most beautiful hearty depth to any dish. A delicious match for meat, it also adds complexity to vegetarian dishes.

As part of last night’s dinner, I served these flavourful baked thighs and drumsticks with my lentil and grilled vegetable salad. This is a delicious and healthy dish that is as easy to prepare as it is to eat. With the skin moreishly crispy, the meat is succulent , tender and flavourful. A perfect and easy family go-to meal!

Serve with couscous, salad or grilled vegetables for a healthy family mid-week meal or serve it with a cucumber & yogurt dressing for a delicious, heart warming snack.

ingredients | serves 3-4 | easy
8 chicken thighs & drumsticks
2t crushed garlic
2t ground cumin
1t cumin seeds, crushed in a pestle & mortar
1T black pepper
1/3C olive oil
juice & zest of 1 lemon
1T fresh thyme leaves
1/2t red pepper flakes, optional
fresh cilantro/coriander to serve

method
Place all of the ingredients into a large freezer bag and shake well to coat.
Place the bag into the fridge to marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Arrange the chicken pieces in a baking tray, season with a little salt and bake for about 40 minutes until cooked through.

Drizzle the roasting juices over the chicken pieces and garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro.

Serve warm.


chickpea, walnut & wild rice stuffed chicken

Chicken is a low fat, versatile and healthy meat option, high in protein and nutritious. The mild flavour of chicken works as the perfect base for a variety of beautiful flavours that will leave the mouth watering.
The cooked carcass can be turned into a basic chicken stock, meaning that very little is wasted.
This dish is a guilt-free, healthy and nutritious meal, perfect for any family dinner table.

Serve with a side of green buttered vegetables, roasted butternut or a salad and a beurre blanc sauce or chicken gravy or lemon butter.

ingredients | serves 6 | a little effort
1 whole chicken
2 red onions, quartered
6 whole garlic cloves, skin on & lightly crushed
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2t crushed garlic
80g walnuts, finely chopped
12g thyme, leaves only + more for garnish
200g cooked wild rice
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 lemon, halved
bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2t crushed cumin seeds
1/2t salt
good grind of black pepper
olive oil
2T butter
fresh cilantro / coriander, to serve

method
Preheat the oven to 200C/180 with fan. Cook the wild rice according to package instruction or use ready cooked wild rice from your local grocer.
Heat about one tablespoon olive oil with the butter & sauté the onion & garlic. About three minutes, until just cooked.
Add the chickpeas, walnuts & thyme and cook, while stirring, for about 8 minutes. Add a knob of butter and then roughly mash the mixture with a masher.
Tip the chickpea mixture into the rice, add the lemon zest and juice, parsley, cumin seeds, salt & pepper and mix to combine.
Using your hands, fill the cavity of the chicken with the stuffing, ensuring that it is not packed too tightly. Then stuff the chicken under the skin.

Rub olive oil into the skin of the chicken and season with salt & pepper.

Spoon the remaining stuffing into an ovenproof dish and place the chicken on top.
Add the quartered red onion & whole garlic cloves to the dish.
Stuff the halved lemon into the cavity so to close the cavity.

Cover the dish with tinfoil and cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 180C/160 with fan, remove the tin foil and roast for a further 1 hour, 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the skin is beautifully browned and crispy.

Rest the chicken for at least 15 minutes before carving and garnish with lots of fresh cilantro/coriander and thyme.


roast baby cabbage with fennel

Cabbage, a vegetable that many seldom cook with, is delicious boiled, sauteed, blanched or roasted. This is a cool and versatile, low calorie come-back vegetable that can be enjoyed in various ways.
It is closely related to broccoli, cauliflower & Brussels sprouts, so it comes as no surprise that this leafy green is always welcome in my fridge.

This is a quick and simple recipe for a side dish that you will most definitely return to.

I used two baby cabbages for this recipe. Double the recipe ingredients if you want to cook more or if you are using large heads.

ingredients | easy
2 baby cabbage, halved or one head green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
1t fennel seeds, crushed
1t garlic powder
2T olive oil
4T butter
1t fine salt
good grind of black pepper
1/2t red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lemon, wedges

method
Preheat the oven to 210 degrees.
Crush the fennel seeds using a pestle & mortar.
Melt the butter and mix it with the olive oil. Brush the butter & oil mixture on all sides of the cabbages. Season with the fennel seeds, garlic powder, salt, pepper and red chili flakes, if using. Place the cabbage on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned. Turn and roast for a further 15 minutes until tender.

Place a piece of butter onto each half to melt into the vegetable and serve with a lemon wedge or two.

Serve warm.


red wine & vegetable braised lamb neck

It has been years since I last cooked lamb neck and I feel I have missed out on beautiful & succulent, tasty and very tender meat. It was a delicious dinner and I had lots of leftover lamb meat, which was recycled into two beautiful lamb & vegetable pies.

My preferred method of cooking here is low and slow, braised in lots of red wine with vegetables and good stock. Others may argue that it is best treated like a steak and cooked on the fire, quickly on a high heat and served pink.
I will definitely give this a go as soon as the weather allows it.

Delicious with roast potatoes, garlic mash, rice or couscous and a side of buttered vegetables.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | a little effort
1/2C flour & a little more if needed
4/6 lamb necks (depending on size)
olive oil for browning meat + extra for vegetables
1 large white onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
5 garlic cloves, sliced
2T tomato paste
1 can crushed tomato
600ml red wine
4 C good quality chicken stock
4 rosemary stalks, sprigs only
2t fresh thyme leaves
3 bay leaves
1/2t juniper berries, crushed
1/2t cumin seeds, crushed
1/2t coriander seeds, crushed
2T brown sugar
1/2t salt
black pepper
2T butter

method
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/340 F/150 with fan.
Dredge the lamb necks in the flour. Heat olive oil in a large oven proof pot or Dutch oven and brown the meat on all sides until beautifully caramelized.
Set aside.
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pot without wiping it clean. Add the butter and melt. Saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, carrot & celery and cook for a further two minutes.
Add the tomato paste and brown sugar and cook for about three minutes, while stirring.
Crush the cumin, juniper berries & coriander seeds in a pestle & mortar and add it to the vegetables. Cook until fragrant, about two minutes.
Pour the red wine into the pot to deglaze while scraping any bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour the chicken stock into the pot, add the crushed tomato and stir.
Add the rosemary, bay leaves and thyme, salt & pepper and bring the mixture to a light boil.
Submerge the lamb neck into the mixture, cook on a light boil for about two minutes. Turn the heat off, cover with a tight fitting lid or tin foil and carefully place the pot into the oven.
Braise for 3 – 3 1/2 hours, until the meat is almost fall off the bone tender.

Carefully remove the lamb neck from the pot and set aside.
Using a handheld blender, blend the vegetable mixture until smooth and strain it into a sauce pot. If the mixture is a bit thick, add a little more chicken stock or water.
Alternatively, simmer until reduced. Season with salt, pepper and a little sugar if needed.

Place the lamb neck onto a serving dish and drizzle with a little of the rich, red sauce.
Garnish with fresh mint & parsley and serve with extra sauce on the side and your choice of starch and vegetables.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x


rib-eye top roast

There is something quite special about a good roast. For me it brings back many beautiful childhood memories visiting our grandparents on their farm in a little place called Citrusdal, situated at the base of the Cederburg mountains.
Although we were very young and spent most of our time outside in the orchards eating kumquats or chasing chickens and collecting eggs, I have fond memories of great tasting beef roasts served with all kinds of dipping sauces and gravies.

This rib-eye roast is definitely a shorter version of the beef roasts my grandmother used to cook. However, considering my age then, my recollection of her beef roasts may even be a little blurred.
Childhood memories are there to be cherished even if they may not always be one hundred percent accurate.

I served this roast with buttered green beans, crispy potatoes cooked in duck fat and a creamy mushroom & truffle sauce.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
2kg beef rib eye top roast
2t garlic powder
2t onion powder
1t dried sage
1 1/2t coriander seeds, crushed
2t dried thyme
1t dried rosemary
1t crushed black pepper
salt to taste
1/3C or a even a little more of olive oil

Combine all of the dry ingredients except the salt in a small bowl. Add the olive oil and combine to make a paste.
Using your hands, rub the paste into the roast.
Wrap the roast with clingfilm and place it in the fridge to marinate for a minimum of one hour. Remove the roast from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature. (About an hour).
Preheat the oven to 240 degrees C.
Remove the clingfilm, season with salt and place the roast, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.
Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 165 degrees C and continue to roast for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
(This depends on the size of the meat. As a guide, roasting time should be about 20 minutes per 500g.)
If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the meat should read 65 degrees C for medium rare.

Carefully remove the roast from the oven, loosely cover with tin foil and leave to rest for about 20 minutes before slicing into beautiful thick slices.