Tag Archives: coriander

Flying and eating, two chickens

Roast chicken

I’m about to get on a plane and I already know that I am going eat too much. Worse still, I know that I am going to eat too much stuff that should never, under any circumstance, have ever passed my lips. It’s totally and utterly inevitable. We all do it – we can have a beautiful meal no more than a couple of hours before we get on a flight, with the promise of another, excitingly exotic culinary adventure in a strange city waiting for us just minutes after we land and yet, when faced with an (unexpectedly) wet, plastic tray of largely unidentifiable and almost totally inedible fodder, we feel compelled to consume it.

And why do we do this? Why do we have this unshakable need to eat anything put in front of us when we’re on a plane, regardless of its (dubious) nutritional merit? Perhaps it’s some sort of innate survival instinct that we still posses from times where famine was commonplace – we’re held captive in this overcrowded bus in the sky and we’re suddenly coming on all “hoardy” and searching out the only source of nutrition immediately available. Or maybe it’s simply driven by a misguided attempt to derive the maximum value from the arse-clenchingly huge sums of cash that we’ve already piled into making the journey., despite the fact that the food served on the flight probably accounts for less than 1% of the cost of the ticket. And yet, knowing the fallacy of my actions, in just a few hours time, I’ll be sitting in my designed-for-discomfort, baby vomit-stained, dog-eared faux leather seat with a full belly and a deep sense of regret.

And what’s worse, it’s equally inevitable that just a few hours later and an hour before we land, they’ll pass by one more time with a soggy cheese and tomato sandwich sitting uncomfortably beside a diminutive KitKat and it will take all my strength to turn it down (by the way, why is it that everything on a plane is half the size it should be? Cans of coke – of which they always give you two – pretzels, nuts, the aforementioned KitKats, cutlery, pillows, vodka – they all seem to come in dwarf-like sizes. All evidence, (as so eloquently argued in this very post), is that we eat more on a plane so why on earth is the only good stuff presented to us in minuscule portions?)

And while I’m at it, why do we consume an order of magnitude more tomato juice on planes than we do in real life? How often do you ask for tomato juice when you’re not on a plane, except when you’re hung over and there’s half a bottle of vodka in the glass with it? So why do we invariably ask for it when we’re flying? It makes no sense to me, and yet I play along happily…

I’m going to be strong. I’m going to make a stand and beat these urges once and for all. Well I’m going to try (mind you, there is something so magical about peeling off that wet foil to unveil the greasy wonders within…)

Anyway – to business: chicken seems to play a major role in this little blog of mine, and no less so today as I come at you with two wonderful ways of cooking our feathery friends, both requiring a little basic butchery skill, but nothing that should scare you…

Roast chicken with lemon and onions

Take a whole chicken and cut it into pieces: two legs, two thighs, two breasts and two wings, leaving the top part of the wing attached to the breast – in posh circles this is called a supreme.

Now take the pieces and put them in a large roasting tin with a quartered onion, a bulb of garlic roughly crushed, a quartered lemon and lots of salt, pepper, olive oil and white wine. Roast it in an oven at 220c for about 40 mins, turning twice throughout, but making sure you finish cooking with the skin side up so that it gets nice and crispy. Perfect with mashed spuds and some green stuff.

Roast chicken pieces with a spicy dry rub

Get another chicken, and chop it up in the same way as above, then rub generously with olive oil and a mixture of the following: two cardamom pods, two star anise, two tablespoons each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds and sea salt, one tablespoon each of peppercorns, fennel seeds, and half a cinnamon stick, all ground into a powder. Stick them on a baking tray (on oiled tinfoil if you want to avoid the worst washing up session of your life) and cook in an oven at 220c for about 40 mins, turning twice throughout, but making sure you finish etc etc..

Serve with lots of chips. To be honest it’s pretty much the same as KFC. But in an edible way.

Roast rubbed chicken

I’ve just landed. I peeled the foil and ate the meal – every last bit of it. I had tomato juice. I awoke to find the devious bastards had placed one of those breakfast boxes right in front of my face but I DID NOT SURRENDER…

Fish and twitter

I’m in a twitter dilemma.

I’m having trouble deciding what I should and shouldn’t be saying through the new age loudhailer. There are schools of thought (@micycle) that insist twitter should be used solely as a professional tool and if you’ve got something to say of a personal nature, keep it to facebook (or to yourself if you’re a normal person who can allow an emotion to pass through your brain without a primal urge to share it with as many people as you can). There are others though – columnists, for example – who spend much of their day sharing personal thoughts and experiences with massive armies of loyal followers who they don’t know from Adam. I suppose that’s their job though, so they’re allowed to do that, right?

The thing is, however much I’d like to be, I am not a columnist. And I wouldn’t dare to suggest that my life holds any interest for anyone apart from the odd stalker (I know you’re out there) and my mother (I’m sure you’re out there, but you’re not reading this anymore it seems). My friends certainly don’t give a shit – in fact even the more progressive of them take every opportunity to take the piss out of me for “being a gay and writing a big gay food blog”. Perhaps new friends are in order…

The thing is, I was given very specific advice when I first kicked off this blog to not, under any circumstances, talk about myself. People are simply not interested. But surely I’m allowed to share my opinion about things that affect us all (like children, flying on Virgin, doing nothing untoward in Las Vegas, writing blogs, being recursive) even if that opinion is articulated in a roundabout, meandering sort of way, and never really gets to a substantive conclusion.

So, I think I’m going to bumble along on under the assumption that one or two people may just have a vague interest in my musings (you can comment on here if you think I’m deluded) and get down with @caitlynmoran and @alaindebotton (now there’s a guy who’s got something to say that’s worth reading). Sorry @micycle.

Of course, I have a more fundamental problem, which makes much the above musing somewhat moot. When I said one or two people, it wasn’t simply a figure of speech. It is my sad reality that I have a grand total of bugger-all followers on twitter. Anyone who knows me or who is interested in what I’ve got to say is already on facebook getting all my tweets in the form of status updates hot off the press thanks to the wonders of modern technology, so there’s no reason for them to inflate my rather miserable followership (should that be fellowship? I don’t think so – sounds a bit religious).

So how do I persuade complete strangers to come and find me and follow me? Why do I even care? Well, at the onset of the new year, and at the deranged direction of my sister, I set out a goal to try to get over 500 views on this blog in a single day before the year is out (along with write a book, a song, conquer everest, become chief exec of NewsCorp…), and I’m not going to do that with 32 followers. Not even I’m that deluded. So if you’re reading this and you’re one of the lucky ones with the twitter equivalent of a big nob (in case it’s unclear, that means you have lots of followers. and no it’s not sexist), then go on – do me a favour and retweet…

All that said, I think I’m ignoring the elephant in the room here – what has all this got to do with fish? Feck all as it appears…

So – to business – this is a brilliant starter – I do it all the time and now my pa seems to love it too (that’s father, not assistant by the way…)

Potted salmon

Take a couple of really good salmon fillets and place them in a saucepan submerged in olive oil. Heat the pan very carefully so that the fillets slowly poach (but don’t fry) in the oil. This will take less than 10 minutes, and you may want to turn them over during the process. After about ten minutes take the pan off the heat and set aside to cool down.

Now chop, fairly roughly a small pack of good, mildly smoked salmon – nothing too smokey.

Once the poached salmon has cooled a little, carefully peel off the skin with your fingers along with the unsightly brown flesh, and falke the good stuff into a bowl, along with the smoked salmon.

Now add the following to the bowl: two tablespoons of capers a couple of spring onions and a handful of cornichons all chopped finely, the juice of a lemon, two or three large tablespoons of soured cream, a large teaspoon of dijon mustard, a little finely chopped and seeded chilli (for warmth) a handful of chopped coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all and serve at room temperature in ramekins with melba toast or crusty bread. And it freezes really well if you make too much (which I recommend you do..)

And here’s a really good variation using mackerel (although I still prefer the salmon one):

Smoked Mackerel Pate

Take a whole smoked mackerel (or fillets if you must) and gently fry in butter, without letting it colour. Once cooked, flake it into a bowl with your fingers, making sure you remove all the bones and dark brown flesh. Add another knob of butter and a teaspoon of mustard along with a little finely chopped parsley and a couple of tablesspoons of soured cream and the juice of half a lemon. Then add either finely chopped spring oninions or chives, mix together, season carefully and serve in ramekins again with crusty bread.

I really mean it this time…

I’ve tried three times to get back into doing this blog and this time I’m going to persevere. I promise…

After having made my now famous ceviche a few nights ago (yes, I have had people come up to me in the street telling me about how they loved it), I had left over stuff that needed eating and this turned out really well.

Coriander and chilli tuna
Finely chop a handful of fresh coriander and half a red chilli and sprinkle over course ground sea salt and black pepper (with a dash of cumin if you fancy it), then rub a couple of nice thick tuna steaks with olive oil and dip them into the spicy herby mix, covering them all over. Let them sit for as long as you like and then fry in a searing hot pan for 45 seconds on each side. Leave to stand and serve with a green salad with red onion, dressed simply with lemon or lime juice and a good olive oil, well seasoned.

Turns out that last night I still had some coriander left over, so I did the same as above but with beef fillet (and added freshly ground cumin, coriander and fennel seeds) – really really good…