BERRIES, BAKING AND BUTTERMILK HERB CRICKET CHICKEN
This is most likely going to be my big blog before Christmas, as things are begining to get a little hectic. During this next 2 weeks, I am trying to slow down, but also still need to get quite a few things done still – pay those bills (tick), clean my house and make some sense of the mess, write my Christmas cards, Christmas shopping and get my Christmas Cake cooked !!! It sits there on the kitchen bench soaking away in brandy and vino cotto – I will get to it – but at least all that soaking should result in a mighty fine cake. I’m sure it’s a bit like this for you too. So, too the best bit – the food. These are the weeks I really, really like to make a bit special, and make a little more effort. I like the house to be full of the smells of food baking, roasting and cooking, and without doubt, these are the smells of the 2 weeks before Christmas, all mingled with the glorious pine of the Christmas tree (it’s not up yet, we go to cut that baby down on Friday). It’s got to be a real tree for me, and we get one from the Christmas tree farm. When it’s finished, the leaves (thin as they are) get used to mulch the gardenias (or azalea’s) but when dried, also make the best kindling for the winter fire. The log is dried over summer, ready to use for firewood during winter – so nothing has gone to waste.
But shall we get onto the food?
It’s berry season here, and we often go blueberry picking at about this time. I know this is a traditional time for cookies, but these lemon and blueberry scones are so delicious and easy to make. Perfect with a cup of tea, warm out the oven for breakfast or morning tea, I find them a more substantial than cookies.
The Buttermilk Cricket Chicken? Well, we go to the evening 20/20 cricket ( a short version of the game) and I believe in taking a delicious (but easy) picnic. No packets of chips or commercial dips, or other seriously dodgy foods that I see most families eating when we are there, I want real, good food. This is the easiest thing to make, transports well, eats well and provides leftovers. What more can a woman want? (mind you, asking that question I can think of a few other things ….Santa Baby….. love that Christmas song, Eartha Kitt has the best version). I like to cook the chicken with small chunks of potato (toss them in a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt first) and tuck them around the chicken. The juices and fat from the chicken end up coating and baking with the potatoes. I find it’s important to cook the chicken well, that chicken juice will have the opportunity to reduce and begin to gel around the potatoes – making them even more delicious. The chicken fat will also make them extra crispy. When serving remember to scrape off all those sticky chicken juices from the tray – that gelatine will help you digest the meat. Together with a yummy green salad, you have a delicious dinner. Dessert ? That will be mini pavlova with all my left over egg whites :) Topped with creme and berries. You know how much I hate hot summer days, but those evenings – glorious, outdoors where one should be on a summer night.
I love using left over chicken in salads and sandwiches – mixed with mayonnaise and herbs – it makes a quick and exceptionally nutrient dense lunch. If I have pesto floating around (and I do !) I would add that – even more delicious.
I wish you a wonderful and joyous Christmas season – Happy Holidays!!! Thank you for sharing the year here with me, and may many blessings find there way to you. May there much joy and deliciousness in your life and at your table…………..
Flattened, Buttermilk and Herb Crispy Chicken:
This is the simplest meal to put together, and left overs are excellent for lunch. Cutting out the backbone of the chicken allows you to flatten it, and thus cook quicker. You will need to marinate this 24 hours ahead of time. If you run out of time to marinate, just omit that step – it will still be delicious, and if you want an even quicker and crispier end result, you can cut the chicken into smaller pieces.
1 organic, grass pastured chicken
500 ml buttermilk
handful fresh herbs
The Herb Mix
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, lemon thyme, thyme and sage
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Potatoes for everyone – skin on, scrubbed and roughly cut into small – medium chunks
Lay the chicken breast side down on a chopping board. Using your kitchen or poultry shears cut out the backbone (freeze for stock). Turn the chicken over and flatten. Place in dish and pour the buttermilk and fresh herbs over the chicken, ensuring the buttermilk is evenly distributed. Cover and place in the fridge for 24 hours.
Pre heat oven to 200c or 180 c if fan forced
Prepare the herb mix by mixing the herbs and lemon together. Remove the chicken and place on a baking tray (the flatter the tray the better) and roughly pat dry – make sure to leave some buttermilk on the skin especially. Gently loosen the skin from the breast and stuff 2/3 of the herb mix under the skin. Sprinkle the rest on the chicken, with a generous amount of pepper and salt. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Toss the potatoes separately in a little olive oil (and herbs if desired) and scatter on the tray, close to the chicken – even tuck some underneath the chicken. Bake until the skin is crispy and golden approx. 40 – 60 minutes, or until the juices in the thigh run clean. If you find the skin is burning rather than just becoming golden, reduce the temperature.
Remove from oven and leave to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Lemon Glazed Blueberry Scones:
1 cup / 130 gm white spelt flour or 130 gm white, all purpose wheat flour
1 cup / 145gm wholemeal spelt flour or 130 gm wholemeal wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons rapadura sugar
grated zest of 1 small lemon
½ teaspoon baking soda
100gm very cold unsalted butter, cut into rough 1 cm pieces
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup full cream, non – homogenised milk (+ 1 – 2 tablespoons more if using wheat)
½ cup buttermilk or yoghurt (+ 1 – 2 tablespoons more if using wheat)
For Dairy and Butter free:
80 ml macadamia or almond oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup rice milk
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice – you may need more depending on the acidity of the lemon
Preparing to Bake:
Pre heat the oven to 200c or 180c if fan forced.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Put the flour, baking powder, sugar and zest in a bowl and sift in the baking soda. Mix through with a whisk to combine ingredients and break up any lumps of flour.
Add the vinegar to a cup measure, and add the milk and buttermilk. Set aside.
Cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs – some bits will be the size of a pea, this is fine. Add the blueberries and toss through to evenly distribute. Add ¾ cup of milk (the full cup if using wheat) and mix with a large spoon to just combine – take care not to over – mix as this is the main cause of heavy scones. Add the extra milk as needed, for spelt you will use just about the whole cup, for wheat you will use the whole cup and may need to add another 1 – 2 tablespoons. The mix should form into a moist, but not at all sloppy, dough. For dairy free, cut the oil into the flour as best you can, forming coarse breadcrumbs. Mix 3/4 cup of milk with the vinegar, and add as described.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Depending on wether you want a wedge or a square, cut the dough.
To make wedges pat (don’t knead) the dough to form a rough circle approx 20cm x 2.5 cm thick. You may need to lightly flour your hands. Using a sharp, floured knife, cut 12 wedges (you may well need to re flour the knife in between cuts) and place on the lined tray. You may need to use your knife to pick up the scones and don’t worry too much if they fall out of shape a bit, that is part of their charm. Alternatively, form (don’t knead) the dough into a rectangle approx 21cm x 16cm and approx 2.5cm deep. Cut 4 x 3.
Bake for 15 – 20 mins, or until golden and lightly browned and just cooked in the middle (you can break one open to check). Drizzle with the glaze and serve warm.
To make the glaze, add the ingredients to a small bowl, and mix together well – taste and adjust as needed the lemon juice as needed.
- Afternoon Tea
- Chef Training
- Core Recipes
- Dairy Free
- Gluten Free
- Grass Fed Meat
- Late Summer
- Making a Book
- Meals from my Garden
- Quick Dinner
- Ramble and Roam
- Seasonal Cooking
- Soaked Grains
- Sustainable Fish
- Wedding Cake
- Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training
- Wholefood Kitchen