Wednesday 26 February 2014

Spicing Up My Life!!

Now that I have your attention ...! :0) I don't know about you, but sometimes the day to day cooking of meals can get pretty tedious ... what ingredients do I have in the fridge/cupboard? ... what can I cook that includes some of those ingredients? ... what's QUICK to cook so I don't waste too much sewing time?! Tee! Hee! Hee! Don't get me wrong ... from time to time I'm INSPIRED to cook! Er ... though I confess it's usually when I'm craving muffins at 8:30pm at night to go with my before-bed cuppa ... BLUSH!!! :0) Sometimes, though, I really do feel like pottering around in the kitchen and experimenting with flavours.

Let me say up front that my recipe-following skills are about on par with my craft-instruction-following skills ... they're like the Pirate's Code ... more of a GUIDELINE really! :0) I prefer to play with flavours and decided to do a bit of that today. It all started with some time hanging out around Pinterest. Oddly enough ... I WASN'T looking at recipes! :0) I was enjoying the vibrant colours and flair of some Bohemian/Moroccan decorating and clothing styles. Suddenly I was craving delicious, aromatic Moroccan spices. Hmmm ... what could I come up with using what was in the fridge, freezer and pantry??

First step was to choose a meat ... I know not every meal NEEDS meat ... but I'm married to a confirmed carnivore, so in the name of marital harmony ... most of our meals need to include meat! :0) We've been trying to cut our grocery bill a bit to balance up the increases of other bills, so I've been buying a lot of bulk beef mince and chicken drumsticks ... I have LOTS of recipes for these two meats! :0) Today's pick was the drumsticks, since they were at the front of the freezer. Next stop ... the pantry and spice rack.

A tablespoon of plain (all purpose) flour and some pinches and half teaspoons of my fave Moroccan spices ... turmeric, ginger, all-spice and cinnamon, plus a nice pinch of sea salt. Mix the herbs all about (just like the hokey pokey!!) and tip into a medium oven bag. Pop in the drumsticks, twist the bag closed so you don't end up with flour and spices everywhere (just quietly that is NOT fun to clean up!!) and shake it all about hokey pokey style ... cos that's what it's all about! :0) Make sure there isn't too much loose flour sitting in the bottom of the bag and tip most of it out if there is (I leave a bit in there to soak up excess fat that comes out during cooking), tie off the bag, poke a few holes in the bag so it doesn't pop loudly in the oven, sit the bag on a baking tray to avoid spills in the oven (just in case!!) and cook in a moderate oven for about 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the drumsticks. (poke a fork in them to test)

Right ... while the drumsticks were cooking away, I got started on the accompaniment ... a Moroccan-inspired warm rice salad. First (a-la Jamie Oliver!) I boiled the kettle and tipped three cups of boiling water into a saucepan, added three teaspoons of powdered chicken stock and brought it back to a bubbling boil.  You could use liquid stock, of course, just bring it to the boil first. I then tipped in one cup of arborio rice and cooked it until it was just about ready, then took it off the heat, squeezed in the juice of one good size lime, stirred it, popped the lid on and sat it off to the side to finish absorbing the liquid. (I had the kettle boiled ready to add more water in case the chicken stock liquid looked like being completely absorbed before the rice was ready) Then it was time to play ...

I rounded up some tasty ingredients. Diced sweet potato ... which I spread on a paper lined baking tray, sprayed with a little olive oil spray, salted and peppered to taste and roasted while the drumsticks were cooking. Then I roughly crushed some raw macadamia nuts (I thought later these would be yummy roasted with the sweet potato, too), diced up some fetta cheese, halved some Kalamata olives, finely chopped some dates, diced a green apple (I dribbled some lime juice over it to stop it going brown before we got to eat it) and tossed in some dried cranberries. Once the rice was ready, I tipped all these yummy ingredients into it and mixed them all about some more ... tasted ... thought about adding more lime juice, but decided not to.

Ta Da! The finished mix. Lots of yummy bits and flavours. Add the chicken and ...

That's dinner ready. With unanimous votes (all two of us in the household!!) this yummy Moroccan-inspired meal will be making a return to the menu in the future. The best part is ... there's some of the rice salad left for lunch tomorrow. :0) 

Not much stitching happening here this week. We've got a family event away this weekend, so there's a lot of scuttling around getting ready for that. Hope you're all having a great week and managing some time to relax and stitch. OPAMers ... don't forget to update your sidebar lists and email Sweet Peg and me with your final monthly tally ... the end of the month is coming around quickly again. 

OK ... off to play Polly and put the kettle on for a before-bed cuppa ... minus the muffins since dinner was so yummy and filling! :0) Enjoy the rest of your week! Til next time ...




Fiona said...

oooh yummy!

Judy S. said...

That rice salad sure looks tasty, and the chicken does, too. Yum!!!

Christine said...

Blow the food, you have some very nice vintage looking bowls I am envying!

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