Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Monday, 27 June 2011

It began with....

...this book. I may have possessed others initially but this was the one that began my interest in cooking. I think it was the pictures that jumped off the page at you, the scrumptious looking food, the passion with which the author Tamasin Day Lewis writes about food and taste and provenance. I was immediately hooked. With my better half as guinea pig, I attempted the glorious almond macaroon cake and Somerset apple cake, her version of Casa Moro's paella and from then have never looked back. He loved them. Alas, my copy is worn, splattered, dog eared and a survivor of other kitchen abuses, but my love for this cookbook has never been tempered by its increasingly dishevelled appearance. If you're in the market for a cookbook, I respectfully suggest this one...

I was inspired to go Greek. Not for the first time....

I am in training. I'll be off on my jollies in just over a month and even though I'm off to Cyprus and not Greece (let's say the language is the tenuous link I'm working with here) I was so inspired by a rare meal out with friends to make a Greek dish at home, and hopefully it'll be one that I will recreating in our villa in August. A normal person would want to be eating out every night, but I have bought a Cypriot cookbook and post it noted my Greek cookery books for potential meals to cook after a hard day by the pool/on the beach/on the sun lounger... Here is my first offering, with a nod to the Meditteranean Diet Cookbook and a little bit of ingenuity. Don't be put off by thinking that ouzo and children don't go together. Normally they don't, but the ouzo just gives an aniseedy taste which is neither overpowering or offensive. They're more likely to be offended by the olives and the feta, which is why they are totally optional.

January 2013 -  This post is part of the #FaveFamilyRecipes Competition with BritMums and Tilda Rice. Every pack sold will provide a meal to an expectant mum in need in support of the World Food Programme’s Mothers Helping Mothers initiative in Bangladesh.

Chicken with Ouzo and Tomatoes. Serves 4 - 6


3tbsp olive oil
Chicken pieces or breasts if you prefer (I used breasts, three in total and had lots of sauce. I would think this sauce would accommodate six pieces...)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
11/2 tsp of fennel seeds
2 cans of tinned tomatoes (I prefer chopped over plum for this...)
125ml approx chicken stock (I make it quite strong, using two bouillion cubes instead of one).
80ml ouzo or other aniseed liqueur
1 tbsp dried oregano
a small handful of olives (pitted) I used queen ones (optional)
a splosh of cream (optional - more if you like a richer sauce)
100g feta cheese, crumbled
chopped parsley to garnish

Heat oil in large saucepan/frying pan on a medium to high heat. Season chicken and add to the pan. Brown on both sides then remove to a plate.

Pour some of the oil away, leaving the chicken residue in the pan with some oil.

Add the chopped garlic and fennel seeds and fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Add tomatoes, stock, ouzo and oregano to the garlic and fennel seeds, Stir to combine. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally then lower the temperature to a simmer.

Return chicken to the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over occasionally to ensure even cooking (If you are using breasts then you will not need to simmer for as long).

Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.

Add olives to the sauce, if using, and boil the sauce over a high heat, stirring frequently. It will take about five minutes or so to thicken.

Add cream to your taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve chicken with the sauce on warm plates, with greek potatoes and a green vegetable (green beans = delish!) and some suitably Medittereanean bread if you are of a mind to. Sprinkle the finish dish with the crumbled feta and chopped parsley.

I chose to serve this potatoes, but steamed rice or orzo pasta would be excellent too! Enjoy!

Greek potatoes - my version.

I use red skinned potatoes or baking spuds, usually 3 big ones. I cut them into wedges and put them in a baking tin/tray. I add about 100ml of olive oil, 100ml of water, the juice of 1 lemon, 1tsp of thyme, 1tsp of oregano and plenty of salt and pepper. Then I add four of five cloves of garlic, roughly chopped. Then I get my hands in and mush it all together. Finally I throw the squeezed lemon halves in and put it in the oven, quite a high temperature, say 400F. Usually they take about half an hour and are ready when a knife pierces them easily and they are starting to colour on the sharp edges.


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