Slow roasted garlic and lemon chicken

There is nothing nicer than throwing everything into a roasting pan and watching it caramelize slowly, turning each ingredient into a mouthful of sweetness. The beauty of this dish is that the lemon turns sweet and incredibly tender and you can pop the chunks straight into your mouth, skin, pith and all! Thanks to the irrepressible Nigella Lawson.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 7.28.22 AM

Serves 4 but can easily be augmented

1 chicken (approx 4½lbs) cut into 10 pieces
A bulb of garlic separated into unpeeled cloves
2 unwaxed lemons (preferably thin-skinned) cut into chunky eighths
1 handful fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup white wine
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Put the chicken pieces into a roasting tin and add the garlic cloves, lemon chunks and the thyme; just roughly pull the leaves off the stalks, leaving some intact for strewing over later. Add the oil and using your hands mix everything together, then spread the mixture out, making sure all the chicken pieces are skin side up.
Sprinkle over the white wine and grind on some pepper, then cover tightly with foil and put in the oven to cook, at flavor-intensifyingly low heat, for 2 hours.
Remove the foil from the roasting tin, and turn up the oven to 400ºF. Cook the uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes, by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelize at the edges.

I like to serve this as it is, straight from the roasting tin: so just strew over some thyme sprigs, warm some lovely bread and make a quick green salad and Bob’s your uncle!

Garlic studded beef pot roast

This is a recipe from Emeril Lagasse and I’ve made it multiple times. It is full of flavor, garlicky, and the meat is very, very tender with a rich sauce.

1 (3 to 3 1/2 lb) boneless beef chuck roast
10 to 12 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut in 1/2 lengthwise
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup beef stock, plus more if necessary. (I found I needed about 4 cups)
Fresh chopped thyme leaves and parsley, for garnish
Roasted vegetables, recipe below

Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, make 20 to 24 evenly spaced small slits about 1 1/2 inches deep all over the pot roast. Using your fingers, insert the garlic cloves as deep into the meat as possible. Season the roast evenly on all sides with the salt and pepper.

Heat a heavy casserole dish (Dutch oven) over high heat. Add the oil and when very hot, use the meat fork to add the roast.
Sear on all sides until VERY well browned. This is where a lot of the flavor comes from. When the roast is evenly browned on all sides, add the stock and stir to loosen the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Cover the casserole dish with a lid, reduce the heat to low/medium-low and cook the roast until it is very tender, about 3 hours, turning two or three times during the entire cooking time.
Check occasionally to make sure that you always have 1 inch or so of liquid on the bottom of the pan (Hence the need to have 4 cups of stock available)

When the roast is very tender, transfer to a serving platter and slice or pull the meat apart into serving pieces.
Reduce the pan juices until the flavor is more intense and serve drizzled over the roast and the roasted vegetables that you serve around the roast. Garnish with the fresh thyme leaves and parsley.

Roasted vegetables

2 turnips, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
12 red pearl onions
2 beets cut into 1 inch pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 F

Place all the vegetables except the beets in a roasting pan. Place the beets in a separate roasting pan.
Drizzle all vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Place in the oven and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and caramelized.

Roasted red onions with butter, honey,thyme and balsamic vinegar

My son, Oliver found this recipe, made it and adored it. It’s rich but low calorie (ish) and very moreish.

Serves 6

6 tbsp butter
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 red onions, quartered

Preheat the oven to 350F

Combine the butter, honey, thyme, salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute to reduce slightly.
Place the onions in a single layer in a baking pan.
Drizzle the butter/vinegar mixture over and roast until soft and slightly caramelized, about 45 to 60 mins (or more if necessary)

Provencal oil cured olive tapenade

This is my very favorite tapenade as it’s made from oil cured Provence olives (if you can get them). It’s dark, rich and powerful tapenade and you need very little on a cracker or fish or chicken fillet. We always have some in our fridge as it has a great shelf life.
You can “play” with this recipe as far as how much lemon, garlic, anchovies you use. Some people add breadcrumbs, mustard or ground almonds for a different taste and consistency
If you can’t find the jars of black olives cured with Herbes de Provence (Vicente Foods supplies them, for my LA Westside friends)  then you can use the brand “Cento” and add a little more fresh thyme. The Cento olives are even darker and oilier than the Provence ones.

1/2 lb oil -packed black olives, drained
6 well rinsed anchovy fillets
3 tbsp drained capers
1/2 heaped tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 good sized cloves garlic, crushed

Break open the olives by pressing on them with the back of a wooden spoon, then remove the pits.
Put the olives, anchovies, capers, thyme and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until a paste is formed.
With the motor running, add the olive oil a little at a time until the paste is smooth but not oily.
Use the tapenade immediately or put it in a covered jar and store it in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to 3 months

Note;  This is lovely wiped on top of a piece of fish, then grilled or baked, on crackers, on a fillet of chicken, in any sort of dish you’re cooking, in soups, with cheese……..


Chicken with olives and lemons

This is one of the best recipes I think I’ve ever tried because it’s packed with flavor, is easy and is fairly quick.

There are two parts to it, however.  The lemons have to be made ahead of time, but you can keep them in a glass jar for weeks and weeks, but the minimum time is 3 days that is the only thing you have to know before you start.

Here is the lemon part of it first, because these lemons are incredible and they are the shortcut way of making preserved lemons without any salt, just olive oil and cloves. When you make this, try to treble the lemon recipe and do it with 3 lemons, then you have two marinating in your pantry waiting for another occasion!

1 large lemon. (make sure the lemon’s skins aren’t too think as they can get bitter)
6 cloves
Extra virgin olive oil to cover the lemon

Place the lemon in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. (Turn the lemons occasionally while cooking, so they get all sides covered.)

Remove from the water and pat dry gently with kitchen towels. Press the cloves gently into the lemon and place in a glass or sturdy plastic container. Cover with the olive oil, seal well with a lid and leave to marinate at room temperature for a minimum of 3 days.
When ready to use for the chicken dish, remove the cloves from the lemon and discard the cloves. Cut the lemon into 8 wedges, retaining all the lemon and juices and use with the following recipe!!
Easy isn’t it!

Chicken with olives and Lemons (Kotopoulo Lemonato)    serves 4

The preserved lemon (see above)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
8 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs, preferably organic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
6 large shallots, sliced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 cup good chicken, turkey or veal stock
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

Heat the 1 tbsp oil and butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the salt and pepper on both sides and add to the skillet in 2 batches and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add the sliced shallots to the pan and cook until golden, about 5 – 8 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and stir in the drained olives, and stock. Bring to the boil over medium heat then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
Add the lemon wedges and any juices and the chopped thyme and simmer , stirring occasionally for another 15 minutes.
Place the chicken in a deep serving dish and spoon the sauce over.
garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and serve with crusty bread and a salad.


This is also lovely served with a rice pilaf made with chopped sauteed leeks, dried dill weed and chicken broth.
Garlic mashed potato is another lovely side dish, so long as you have something that can soak up all those gorgeous juices, that is all that matters!
Heavens, maybe even orzo or a pasta might work. Let me know!!
All my recipes are a work in progress and there is no such thing as the “finished product.
It’s all about tweaking and sharing!

Roasted cherry tomato clafouti

Printed with permission from Rose Murray.

2 cups cherry tomatoes (about 1lb)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp of dried thyme)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp granulated sugar
salt and pepper
1 cup cream
3 extra large eggs
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 to 3/4 lb shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Remove the stems from the tomatoes. Arrange in a single layer in a shallow 6-cup baking dish.
Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the thyme,garlic, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Roast in oven for 10 -15 minutes or until the skin shrivels slightly.

In a blender, blend the cream, eggs and flour until smooth. Pour over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the cheese.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes or until puffed and golden.
Serve immediately with a salad and crusty bread.