Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Chicken with Preserved Lemon Prune and Cherry

We're having a Moroccan-themed dinner tonight

Chicken with Preserved Lemon Prune and Cherry

6 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt and ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp harissa

 a pinch of saffron
2 cups chicken stock
10 pitted prunes, halved
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 preserved lemon** (use only the peel)
fresh coriander leaves, chopped
 fresh pomegranate arils

Season chicken with turmeric, salt and pepper.
In a heatproof dish, heat the oil and brown the chicken on all sides.
Transfer to a dish and set aside for later.

Using the same oil, add the onion, ground spices and harissa.
Add a little water and saute until the onion soften.

Add chicken to the pan.
Stir in prunes and cherries and cook over medium heat for another 2 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and bring it to boil.
Cover the pan and place the dish in a 150C oven for about 1 hour.
After an hour, remove the dish from the oven and stir in chopped lemon peel
Simmer over medium heat for another 20 minutes
Adjust seasoning if necessary.
To serve, sprinkle with chopped coriander and pomegranate arils.

** Homemade preserved lemon
Clean lemons thoroughly
Make sure you buy only unwaxed lemons for this purpose
Trim both ends of each lemon
Cut each lemon into quarters, leaving one end still attached
Stuff the middle of each lemon with sea salt
Press lemons firmly into a distilled glass jar, topping each layer with more salt
Place the jar in a cool place, it will be ready to use in about 3 weeks

Thursday, 25 May 2017

My Garden Updates - Alpines and Succulents

How to create an alpine and succulents rockeries
in a wire basket

  • Line the basket with moss or coconut planter liner
  • Half fill the container with compost - I'm using  John Innes No3 soil-based compost. 
  • Add plenty of grit or sand to the soil to keep it open and free-draining
  • Arrange the plants -  the tallest ones should go in the centre or back of the container. 
  • Gently add soil around the plants whilst pushing them firmly into place
  • Water the plants

Sedum kamtscaticum Variegatum 
Chiastophyllum oppositifolium
Rhodanthemum Casablanca
Ajuga Braunherz

 Don't throw away broken pots...
turn them into mini rockeries!

Alpines are generally native to rocky soils and sunny locations. 
You can exploit their natural requirements sucessfully in containers. 
They are also very drought tolerant, so they are ideal for rock gardens 
or for planting in cracks between paving or walls.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Blackened Cajun Salmon with Blue Cheese Sauce

Blackened Cajun Salmon with Blue Cheese Sauce

4 thick portion of boneless salmon fillets
1 tbsp blackened Cajun seasoning*
salt, to taste

Cheese Sauce:
2 oz soft cream cheese
1/4 unsweetened apple juice
3 oz Saint Agur cheese

In a small bowl, rub the salmon pieces with salt and seasoning.
Heat a large skillet with a little oil over medium heat.
Fry the fish for about 2 minutes, skin sides and additional 2 minutes per side.
Take them off the skillet and set aside.
If you prefer the fish not to be pink in the middle, increase the cooking time.

For the sauce:
In a small saucepan, using medium heat, cook the apple juice and the cream cheese
until bubbly and slightly reduced.
Add the blue cheese and whisk till smooth.

To serve, spoon cheese sauce over and top with a slice of lemon

* to make your own Blackened Cajun seasoning, mix together :

4 tablespoons smoked paprika
3 tablespoons dried granulated onion
3 tablespoons dried granulated garlic
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons white pepper
3 tablespoons finely ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons ground thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons ground oregano
(recipe adapted from Epicurious)

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Out and About - New Lanark

It's nearly the end of Elsa's final exam
Just one more paper to do and she's done -
for now.
She has been working hard preparing for her dissertation and exam;
keeping us updated with her progress, anxieties and all.
All that we can hope for is for her to do her best.
Hope she does well.

Moving on...
On one of the many gloomy, cloudy days we've been having
we headed south-west in search of bluer sky.

New Lanark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once a cotton spinning village
It gained fame under the management of 
one visionary and idealist man, Robert Owen.
He set about improving the business and the life of the workers.
Though the mills ceased commercial operations in 1968,
the village still has resident population who live in the 
beautifully restored Georgian buildings