Salads aren’t always for just Summer or when you are trying to loose an odd pound or too. They can be very exciting and that is what I wanted to show you this week and maybe introducing you to some flavours you haven’t tried yet.
I love this time of year for Comfort food but in-between I have to eat things like this to give me a little break. Plus theres going to be some more indulgent foods in a couple of weeks so this recipe might help to keep you feeling lighter along the way.
The key to this recipe is using lots of fresh herbs in the salad but if you cant get some of them, I’ve given alternatives. The sumac in the cous cous gives a lovely citrus vibrancy and along with the Harissa chicken will still give you a warming touch. A light dish but yet still very comforting.
Harissa Chicken with sumac cous cous salad:
- 2 boneless and skinless chicken thighs (add more if you want it )
- 2-3 tbsp Rapeseed oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, bashed
- 1-2 tsp Harissa spice, add more if needed ( I use Spice Kitchen )
- 200g Cous cous
- 400 ml chicken stock or to just cover the cous cous
- 2 tsp sumac ( I use Spice Kitchen )
- Handful of chopped cucumber
- handful of cherry/baby plum tomatoes quartered
- 1 small red onion sliced
- 1/4-1/2 fennel sliced thinly
- 75g white cabbage shredded
- a couple of handfuls of baby leaf salad such as spinach, rocket, red chard, red ruby chard etc…
- Selection of herbs chopped (a good sprig of each, the more the merrier)
:- Lovage (Use celery leaves if cant get)
:- Lemon verbena (use lemon zest if cant get)
:- I also used Salad burnet (which tastes like cucumber, I got mine from my local garden centre)
- Cracked black pepper to season
- sea salt ( I used pink himalayan salt ) to season
- a good sprig of chopped fresh coriander leaves
- Some fennel fronds
- drizzle of rapeseed oil
- In a bowl cover your cous cous with the stock just so its covered and cover the bowl with foil. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle your chicken thighs with the Harissa spice and place into a hot frying pan. Cook until your chicken is cooked throughout. Whilst your chicken is cooking throw in your 2 bashed garlic cloves to the pan.
- In the mean time whilst this is cooking, go back to your cous cous. By now it should be nice and fluffy.
- Place the cous cous into a mixing bowl along with all other ingredients. Mix well.
* When your chicken is cooked, Place the cous cous salad onto a plate or bowl, slice up the chicken, add your “to finish ingredients” and done.
So I seem to have been hit by a bit of a baking bug recently and thinking about my Pastry chef days. Either that or I have hit a time in my Life when I actually DO have a sweeter tooth than I thought!
Thing is as you know by now I only write what I feel is right, when it feels right and so on… And this does. So lets just go with the flow!
You will begin to see soon a pattern forming with the lovely Herb, Lemon Verbena. I am besotted with it! I am very proud of my little bush of it gleaming away against all my other Herbs. I love the smell and taste that it has in both Sweet and Savoury dishes. Savoury being so far of the Herby Chicken Goujons recipe I developed last month. So, now turn for a sweet dish.
Lemon Verbena Fruit Shortbread with Lavender Sugar:
(Makes approximately 12-14 round biscuits)
– 115 g of Unsalted Butter cubed and softened
– 180 g Plain Flour Sifted (plus a little extra when rolling)
– 55 g of Caster Sugar
– finely Zest Half of a lemon
– 1 Tbsp of Finely Chopped Lemon Verbena
– 25 g of Dried Raisins and Dried Blueberries
– A small amount of Lavender Granulated Sugar for sprinkling on top, (I infuse my own Sugar)
*Note: If you don’t like Lavender infused sugar, just use normal Granulated Sugar.
– Preheat Oven to 170c
– Place Flour, Butter and Sugar into a mixing bowl and start to mix with fingertips to allow to crumble.
– Once starting to form together add in the fruit, zest and lemon verbena.Mix together until it forms a dough such as like this:
– Start to roll out the dough to flatten to about 1/2 cm thick. It will start to stick and crumble especially if it is warm in the Kitchen.
– Cut out your Biscuits. I used a 7cm cutter:
– Lightly Grease your baking tray, place the shortbread on allowing to give space to expand a little when baking. Prick the Shortbread with a fork and sprinkle on the Lavender sugar.
– Pop into the Oven for approximately 12 minutes or until starting to ever so slightly brown at the edges.
– Allow to cool on a cooling rack before tasting, If you can resist!
A Couple of weeks ago, Friday 13th of June to be precise, Ben Jackson at BBC Radio Leicester popped over to my house to do another Fab Food Friday recipe.
My Kitchen Garden was an array of fresh herbs and the start of seasonal vegetables, so what a lovely way to pop into the garden and see what we could salvage.
I decided to do a dish that Families or anyone could get involved in the making of these little beauties. I chose to do Chicken Goujons but made them more exciting with the use of all the herbs that went in there. One in particular that I feel makes this recipe stand out is the lemon verbena. If you like growing herbs, please go and get some now as its fab!
I find it really hard sometimes when I hear families say they don’t have time to make these because in the same time I made them, it would take longer to open a frozen packet job *cringes* and cook them in the oven. Children AND Adults will love making these.
This is a Great Dish for this time of year. Its Seasonal, Zingy, Vibrant and using up herbs and vegetables from the Garden.
Lots of Sport going on at the moment, So just the Goujons alone with that dressing and an Ice cold beer is great when having your mates round. This certainly has gone down a storm for my Friends and Family already.
Just click on this link to hear Ben and myself preparing, cooking and more importantly EATING this recipe…
Herby Chicken Goujons with Seasonal Salad and a Ranch Style dressing:
Here is a photo AFTER we dived in there!
– 1 x 460g pack of Skinless Chicken Thigh Fillets
(6 Thighs will make approximately 20 Goujons)
– 2 slices of stale bread (I used Sourdough)
– A Handful of a selection of fresh herbs;
– 1 1/2 spring onion (only green parts)
– Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper to season.
– 2-3 eggs whisked
– 3 Tbsp of Plain Flour
– Tbsp of Rapeseed oil or any oil of your choice
– Jersey Royal Potatoes or New if you can’t get
– Fresh fine British Asparagus (still in season now),Blanched and chopped into inch and a half pieces.
– A selection of Salad Leaves such (I used a “Living Salad”) Spinach, Watercress, curly etc would all work fine also.
– A Handful of Fresh Broad Beans
– A handful of fresh Radishes Sliced
– Fresh Peas podded, could always use Frozen if need be
– Edible flowers to decorate:
Ranch Style dressing:
– 2 Tbsp of Greek style Natural Yoghurt
– 2 Tbsp of Mayonnaise
– 1 Tbsp of cider Vinegar or White wine vinegar
– 2 Tbsp of Finely grated parmesan cheese
– Preheat your oven to 180-190c
– Cook your Jersey Royal potatoes for about 15 mins
– Whilst they are cooking away, pop your herbs, bread, Spring Onions and seasoning into a Hand Blender or Processor and Blitz
– Take 3 bowls, Place whisked eggs in 1, Flour in the other and your breadcrumb mixture in the 3rd.
– Slice your chicken thighs into 3-4 pieces per thigh (long strips)
– With one hand place the chicken into the flour, then egg, then Breadcrumbs. Repeat the process and put all onto a plate.
– Heat up a frying Pan with a drizzle of your oil. Fry off the Goujons for a minute or 2 until starting to colour, then turn over and repeat.
– Pop into the Oven on a baking tray for approximately 12 minutes
– Drain off your Potatoes and Blanch your asparagus in boiling hot water for no more than 1 minute.
– Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process
– Make up your dressing by mixing all ingredients together
– Arrange your salad “rustically” with the added Peas, Broad beans and Radishes. Place the Goujons on top, drizzle with the dressing and decorate with the edible flowers! Done!