Friday, September 18, 2009

Baked Spanish Style Chicken and Pasta

Well, what can I say? I love this! I had one of those days when everything you think of making seems predictable, and everything you’d like to make has ingredients you can’t find. When that happens, I wander around the store, waiting for something to jump out at me. This time, I felt like chicken, but not in any of the ways I usually make it, and I felt like pasta. I don’t usually buy chicken breasts, as you already know, I lean towards thighs. Once I had those, I was stumped.

I wandered down to the pasta aisle, past the tinned food, and an idea came to me. I wanted something warm, tasty, filling and different (for me). So I picked up some Spanish style chopped tomatoes, with paprika and peppers, and some pasta, and away I went.

At home I had some courgettes, cherry tomatoes, red and yellow peppers and red onions, so I chopped it all up, tossed it in a baking dish. I browned the chicken, laid the pieces on the veggies, seasoned them and added a little cayenne pepper, and covered it with 2/3 of the tin of Spanish style tomatoes. After baking for 30 minutes, the chicken was beautifully cooked, and the veggies had roasted up nicely. I deboned the chicken, and tossed the whole lot with some cooked pasta, and was I ever impressed!

Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

4 chicken thighs (or whatever pieces you like, and as many as you like, though more will obviously take longer to cook, and require more covering.)
Half a pack of cherry tomatoes
3 courgettes / baby marrows / zucchini
Half a red onion, sliced
2/3 tin of Spanish style tomatoes
Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper
Half a pack of pasta screws, cooked
    1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
    2. Chop the onion, and lay it out on the bottom of a flat ovenproof dish, that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
    3. Chop the courgettes into wheels, or whatever shape tickles your fancy.
    4. Brown the chicken pieces in a hot pan, and place on top of the onion and courgette.
    5. Season the browned chicken pieces and sprinkle with cayenne pepper, rubbing to make sure the chicken is seasoned.
    6. Place cherry tomatoes close to the chicken pieces, to add their flavour.
    7. Cover it all fairly liberally in the Spanish style tomatoes.
    8. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.
    9. Put pasta on when you put the chicken in the oven.
    10. When 30 minutes are up, test the chicken by skewering with a sharp knife in the fattest part of the meat. If the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked. If there is any sign of pink, put it back in for a few minutes.
      When the chicken is cooked, you can either eat the pieces whole, on the bone with mash or rice or something. I deboned the chicken, and tossed it back into the sauce with the pasta. I then tossed the whole lot back in the oven under the grill with some grated boerenkaas I was sent my the fine people at Eat In magazine as part of the Eat In Awards, which I will tell you more about shortly.

      I SO hope you enjoy this, the bf and I really did. It wasn’t heavy, was delicious and different! Let me know how it goes!

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      Restaurant Review: The Eastern Food Bazaar

      Tantalising smells, milling people, the sizzle of frying ghee – these characterise the atmosphere of The Eastern Food Bazaar. Recently opened in what used to be the Wellington Fruit Growers, a long, narrow building from 1934 spanning the block between Darling Street and Longmarket Street in the centre of Cape Town, The Eastern Food Bazaar cooks up a storm.

      In the buzzing heart of the Cape Town business district, The Eastern Food Bazaar cuts a democratic swathe across the people of Cape Town. All types of people can be found here, from suited businessmen, to German tourists and hungry locals. All enjoy the flavours, smells and sounds of this bustling restaurant.

      Taking a different approach to the restaurant business, the owners of the Jewel of India work on the idea that different people like different things, and service costs money. A variety of food is served at 6 or 7 kitchens, while there is a central pay point for all kitchens. Service is kept to a minimum, with a few servers to clear tables, and maintain hygiene. Food, drinks and dessert can all be collected from self-service kitchens, and water is available on a central counter.

      The dishes range from chicken bunny chow (R25) to potato paratha (R15) and lamb rogan josh (R30). There’s also homemade ice cream and lassi to cool your chops when you’ve enjoyed a chicken tikka masala.

      The décor leaves nothing to be desired, and puts many a Michelin starred restaurant to shame. Lining the walls are carved wooden screens and doors, authentic Mughal paintings and silks. The floor was paved with stones to suggest a cobbled lane, and the whole effect is supposed to simulate an Indian lane. Granite tables and wooden chairs complete the feeling of quality, and enhance the already fantastic food.

      This haven of spicy delight fills a hole in the Cape Town restaurant scene, by offering good food, in a beautiful setting at very reasonable prices. This isn’t fine dining, but it doesn’t pretend to be. I predict that this unpretentious, incredible place will fill many tummies for many years to come.

      The Eastern Food Bazaar
      Tel 021 461 2458
      Fax 086 682 6519
      96 Longmarket Street
      Cape Town CBD

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      Thursday, September 3, 2009

      The last couple of weeks..months?

      Hi guys!

      I have to apologise. I've been terrible with updating recently, and all I can say in my defense, is that life has gotten in the way! Since mid-July, or so, I was planning my engagment party (I baked over 100 cupcakes!! More about that soon..) and for the last couple of weeks, I've been getting over it, searching for a house for my boyfriend (fiance weirds me out!) and works been picking up!

      That's not to say I haven't been cooking anything good, but to be honest, you haven't missed much. I've been relying on my staples, like the spaghetti bolognaise I can cook with my eyes closed, freezer pizza, and other easy, but not mind blowing dinners! We all have those periods, and this was mine.

      What I would like to share, is that we were given a beautiful slow cooker for our engagment party (Thanks Penny and Charles!!) and I'm collecting a million and one recipes for delecably slow cooked dinners that I'm eager to try! The first time, though, I want to hang around, and make sure everything goes according to plan, because I've never used one before, and I tend not to trust technology too far. Then, if everything goes accordingly to plan, I will be creating succulent lamb shanks, melt in your mouth butter chicken, and sticky oxtail, and sharing it with you all, right here!

      For now, please accept my deepest apologies for abandoning you for the last couple of months, I can assure you that, I will be back! (We just have to find a house first!!)

      Love, and see you soon,

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