Pâté de foie gras et confiture de figues

Happy New Year!

Pâté de foie gras is a typical French treat often served to celebrate the New Year. Personally, I actually like it any time of the year. The best way to prepare is simply to place it on toast and add something sweet on the side. It helps attenuate its strong taste.

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You can place anything sweet like a chutney, preserves. jam or something simple like dates or raisin. Here, I served it on toasted baguette slices with fig jam on the side (recipe here). And avocado salad completed it.

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Chicken in the oven with prunes, apples and lime

To be totally honest, I have rarely tasted such a delicious and buttery like chicken. The recipe is easy, trust me, it just takes a little bit of patience and it is all worth it.

This recipe is actually a little invention of mine inspired by an old French recipe for a traditional “Pintade de Noël” cooked in cider. I find that adding the lime was a perfect fit, and I avoided the cider completely. I also replaced the onions with garlic, and the thyme with rosemary since I have some growing at home.

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For one two-kg farm raised chicken:
1- Place the chicken in a baking dish and make a few openings with the point of a knife. Make them deep but not wide.
2- Sprinkle with olive oil, some butter, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Then work the chicken with that mix. Do not forget the inside.
3- Peel and slice four garlic cloves. Place the pieces in the openings you have made in the chicken and some inside of it.
4- Place in a oven cold, then light the oven at 220º c. Leave the chicken uncovered. Let it cook for 30 minutes.

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5- In the meantime, in a large bowl, mix six small organic apples peeled and cut in chunks, twelve prunes without the pit and cut roughly, one lime sliced (take out the seeds), one generous tablespoon of organic honey, and about 150 ml of water. Mix.

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6- Take the chicken out of the oven after 30 minutes and poor the apple mix on top. Cover with aluminium foil. Make sure to make a few holes in the foil so that the steam is let out while the chicken cooks.
7- Place back in the oven and cook for another hour and 15 minutes or so. (Should you be using a bigger chicken just calculate about 20 minutes per half a kilogram.)
8- After 30 minutes, take out the chicken and poor some water while basking the chicken with the apple mixture.
9- What I like to do, and that is optional, is after one hour cut the chicken in pieces (legs, wings, breasts) and return the chicken for another 15 minutes covered with the foil.
10- If you want to leave the chicken whole, just let it cook.

Serve immediately. I simply served it with white Basmati rice. Enjoy!

Shredded chicken Persian style

A lovely dish to make when you are running out of ideas… but equally so for its enchanting aroma!

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For a full chicken breast 
1- Boil the free range chicken breast in water with a handful of fresh cilantro and a teaspoon of whole black pepper grains. Make sure you take out the cilantro and the grains once the chicken is cooked.
2- Let the chicken cool and gently shred with your fingers.
3- In a large plan, place a little bit of olive oil. Add four garlic cloves crushed and about three centimetres of fresh ginger also crushed. Add some ground black pepper, but just a bit.
4- Once the garlic and the ginger let out their aroma, add two generous teaspoons of the Persian spice mix Adviye. If you do not have it at hand, just look up the ingredients in this recipe and just add them up.
5- Then add four to five tomatoes cut in small cubes. You can leave the skin. I do.
6- Mix well and when the tomatoes start giving out their liquid, add the shredded chicken. Mix well and add a handful of fresh cilantro chopped.
7- Let the chicken and the tomatoes cook for about 15 minutes uncovered on low fire. Mix frequently.

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I served it with basmati rice cooked with raisins and avocado. 

Poulet grillé au romarin et citron vert

Wonderful chicken in the oven recipe with rosemary and lime. It comes out so tender and tasty, I almost felt I was in Paris!

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Recipe for one free range chicken – 1.7 kg

Preparing the chicken 
1- Place the chicken in a large oven pan.
2- Rub over its skin, under it, inside, everywhere you can: 40 gr of butter, one lime cut in quarters, half a red onion cut in cubes, and three generous springs of rosemary. Make a few indentation in the chicken with a knife and try and put some of that mixture inside.
3- Using a mortar and pestle crush a tablespoon of black pepper and a tablespoon of coarse salt. Rub the chicken with it.
4- Slice another lime and cut each slice in three. Along with the rosemary mixture, rub the chicken some more, and place some of that mixture inside the chicken. (you can use a yellow lemon if you do not have limes at hand)

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Cooking the chicken 
1- Place the chicken in a pre-heated 180º c oven for 10 minutes.
2- Add a glass of water to the pan and lower the temperature to 140º c.
3- Cook for two and half hours. Midway, empty the chicken by tilting it, and use the liquid to moister it entirely.

I served it with plain rice and an arugula salad, and of course, some Dijon mustard on the side! 

Saffron, lime and yoghurt marinated chicken

Another delight with saffron inspired by a recipe in this book “The Saffron Tales”!

I served it with potato Kuku (recipe here) and a yoghurt salad with cucumber and mint (recipe here, minus the garlic, as there is enough of it with the chicken). I used free range chicken and it was delicious!

I prepared the chicken in cubes from breast filets, and you can also prepare this dish with chicken parts (with bones and skin). The trick to make it really tender is to let it marinate for at least four hours. In my case, I leave it all night, preparing it just before I go to bed and cooking it in time for lunch.

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For two filets of chicken breast
1- Prepare the chicken: cut and clean, and set aside. If you are making it with whole pieces, make sure you discard the excess fat and place some cuts in the meat so that it takes in the marinade.
2- In a bowl mix: three quarters of a cup of Greek styled yoghurt, two garlic cloves crushed, a teaspoon of brown sugar (this helps bring all the flavours together), half a teaspoon of turmeric, the juice of one lime, two tablespoons of Saffron liquid (recipe here), two tablespoons of light olive oil, and some salt and pepper to taste.
3- Place the chicken pieces in a glass (not plastic!) container and make sure they are all well coated. Cover and place in the fridge. As I wrote earlier, let it stand for at least four hours.
4- In an oven baking dish, place the chicken pieces without any excess yoghurt sauce, and cook for 40 to 50 minutes in a 180º c. oven. Mix from time to time so that the pieces cook evenly. All the liquid should have evaporated by the time it is done.

Serve topped with freshly chopped cilantro, accompanied by rice or potatoes, and a nice cucumber salad.