It actually feels like summer now. And if old-English folk-lore is to be trusted we’re in for a lovely few months. According to the rhyme, ‘St. Swithin’s day if thou dost rain, For forty days it will remain, St. Swithin’s day if thou be fair, For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.’ It’s predicted that St Swithin’s Day, July 15th, is set to be hot and sunny. I’ve stopped making my usual Sunday roasts due to the heat and found a perfect replacement.
Back in Sydney, we used to love going to Turkish and Lebanese restaurants, even the boys love hummus and tabouli, and skewered pieces of spiced lamb and chicken. Since we moved here we haven’t found anything similar. I drove to Slough, which is a very multicultural suburb, a couple of months ago and bought home some tabouli and felafel, chicken and hummus. But to tell you the truth, it as too far to go for the average quality of the food. If food is good – I will travel far and wide, but if it’s not, then I usually try and make it myself at home.
I have a big old Tess Mallos Middle Eastern cookbook, that a food-writer friend gave me. If you want to see commitment to cuisine, visit her blog, The Spice Scribe where she writes about all things Indian. I got a tabouli and hummus recipe from the Tess Mallos book, which turn out to be just as good as anything from back home, even if it means I spend half the day with my food processor.
However, the chicken I make for our new summer Sunday feast, is from my Maria Elia cookbook, Full of Flavour. It’s perfectly spiced with cinnamon and allspice and zings with lemon juice. I’ve made this twice now and it’s already a firm favourite with all my boys. The thing I like about this recipe is that tastes exotic, but you’ve probably got all the ingredients sitting in your cupboard. Don’t be tempted to use breast, it will be too dry. There might seem like a lot of cinnamon and allspice, but trust the recipe, it’s not too strong. I’ve also added a bit of paprika to the mix, because I love paprika.
Spiced Chicken Recipe
Ingredients for marinade:
10-12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
4 garlic cloves
salt and pepper
juice of one lemon
4 tbs olive oil
1.5 tbs cinnamon
2 tbs allspice
I’ve made this having marinaded the chicken for hours and also only half an hour, and honestly I couldn’t tell the difference.
I lay out the chicken in a roasting dish in a 200C oven and cook for about half an hour. I tip out all the cooking juices just before I serve and pop it back in the oven, to make dry the chicken out a little. If you turn the pieces a few times during cooking you’ll get a nice sticky-type glaze, from all the sugars in the lemon caramelising.
However, you can also skewer the chicken and cook on the BBQ or on a grill.
I cut it up into pieces with kitchen scissors and put it in a big bowl, served up with warmed pita bread, hummus, tabouli and shredded lettuce.