Creole Chicken Salad
4 large chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1 tsp fennel powder
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp dried onion powder
tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika (preferably Hungarian)
tsp fenugreek powder
1 tsp garlic powder
tsp dried thyme
tsp dried oregano
tsp black pepper
tsp chilli powder
tsp white pepper
Ingredients for salad
800g sweet potato, peeled and sliced 1 cm thick
2 red capsicums, flesh cut into strips
2 Spanish (purple) onions cut into quarters
A few handfuls of rocket (arugula) or other salad greens
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for dressing
1 cup natural yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of sugar to taste
1 tsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
This wonderful spiced chicken dish from the repertoire of my assistant, Anna Gare is designed to be served with warm chicken pieces and a splendid tangy yoghurt sauce. Although Anna prefers to make up her own spice mix, a ready-made Cajun spice mix could be used.
To serve: optional thin cucumber slices and more coriander leaves.
Put all spices in a bowl and mix together. Coat chicken pieces in the spice mix and allow to stand, for at least half an hour. May be left in the refrigerator overnight.
Pre-heat oven to 200C.
Put sweet potato, capsicum and onion pieces in large baking pan.
Drizzle over the olive oil and season. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or so.
Sear chicken in a hot oiled pan, turning once, to brown chicken and slightly blacken spices.
Transfer to a baking tray and finish cooking in the oven (about 15 minutes).
Make dressing by mixing ingredients together. Check sweet/sour balance. If the lemon juice is too acidic, more sugar may be needed.
To assemble, place a few pieces of rocket on each of 4 large plates. Add still warm vegetable pieces, sliced chicken pieces, and drizzle with yoghurt dressing.
Garnish with shavings of cucumber and more coriander leaves, as required.
2 ruby grapefruit (or other variety but ruby are best)
2 tsp horseradish sauce
Good sized sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp honey (I use red gum or leatherwood)
Freshly ground black pepper
MethodThe grapefruit is one of our newer fruits. It has only been around for a couple of hundred years, originating in the West Indies and it is a cross between the orange and the pommelo, another large citrus fruit. My favourite variety is the ruby grapefruit, with its pink flesh, which was discovered in Texas in the late twenties.
One of the few places in the world where ruby grapefruit grows is Carnarvon in Western Australia, about 900 kilometres north of Perth. It is no wonder it is in great demand. It has a beautiful sweet flavour as it is or grilled for 4 or 5 minutes. It doesn't need added sugar. It's also great in salads and in salad dressings. I have borrowed this recipe from another grapefruit lover, chef Brian Ferguson.
Cut the top and bottom off one of the grapefruit and peel by cutting down right through to the flesh, cutting away the rind, pith and skin, following the line of the fruit.
Then cut out the individual segments by cutting next to the membrane of each segment.
In a bowl, mix the juice of the other grapefruit, the olive oil, honey, about a tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary, use only half a teaspoon), the horseradish sauce and black pepper.
Finally stir in the grapefruit segments.
This beautiful, fruity salad dressing works particularly well with smoked fish.
Marinas Mexican Salad
1 medium Spanish onion or 4 spring onions, chopped
1 large avocado
1 medium Lebanese cucumber
1 small red & green capsicum
2 celery stalks
1 can of red kidney beans
1 large jar of salsa (hot, mild to medium)
grated cheddar cheese
Large tub of sour cream
1 packet of corn chips (preferably unsalted)
Salt & pepper
A recipe from Consuming Passions colleague Marina Libia. It's a favourite with children.
Chop the following ingredients into cubes or strips, onion, cucumber, capsicum, avocado, celery and tear the lettuce into mouth size pieces.
Drain and rinse the red kidney beans.
Place the ingredients in a deep salad bowl (preferably glass), so you can see the layer of colours.
First place a layer of lettuce leaves followed by a layer of celery, cucumber, red kidney beans, capsicum, onion and grated cheese. Spread over the top the salsa and then slices of avocado.
The final topping should be the sour cream spread smoothly and evenly and then crush the corn chips.
Optional, you may like to add fresh chopped chives to the sour cream before adding the corn chips.
Keep in mind if you don't like some of the vegetables used, you can improvise with what you like, but the secret is having the sour cream, grated cheese, avocado salsa and corn chips that really give it the Mexican flavour.
Refrigerate just before serving. Great salad for BBQ.
My own 'naise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp finely ground pepper
1 Tbsp white wine or rice vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp horseradish cream (optional)
600 ml oil
Most commercial mayonnaises are chock full of sugar, sometimes more than 50% of the jars contents to say nothing of inferior oils and vinegars.
Mayonnaise is easy to make at home.
It's best made with lighter flavoured oils such as sunflower, canola or peanut oil rather than extra virgin olive oil, which tastes too strong.
I add horseradish cream, but it works very well without.
Makes enough for about 12 servings and keeps for three or four days in the refrigerator.
Try it on some blanched fresh asparagus with chopped hard-boiled eggs or mix some with cooked shelled prawns and serve in hollowed-out tomatoes.
In a mixing bowl - preferably glass, ceramic or stainless steel - put all mayonnaise ingredients except oil.
Beat well with whisk or mix in a food processor.
Slowly, a few drops at a time, add oil while whisking/processing all the time. Increase the rate you add oil as the mixture starts to thicken.
Adjust salt, vinegar/lemon juice ration. If too tart, add more sugar.
Note: Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.