I am no longer going to apologise for my lack of blog posts, or my dearth of Tweets or my general lack of presence on the Interwebs. Life at The House of Purple Love has been beyond hectic these past four weeks. There have been kids to deal with ("NO Lima Bean, you may NOT drop out of school to become a barista. I was a Jewish Mother in a previous life and I didn't go through 58 DAYS of labour for you to pour coffee. You will go to Uni and become a barrister"). I have, however, acceeded to him getting dreads after school is finished.
The hardest thing to deal with over the past few weeks are the dogs, Stella Bella Bottom Smeller and Mrs Peaches.
SBBS has returned to her previous neurotic behaviour, of cowering whenever someone's voice is raised and gulping madly at her food and then muscling the smaller Mrs Peaches out of the way and gobbling down hers. And when you yell at her, she cowers, drops to the ground and wets herself.
Last week, I headed of for a girls weekend, leaving the pups and Mme Mouse home alone for 2 nights.
My fabulously gorgeous and relaxing weekend feeling lasted exactly 4 seconds after I walked through the door at THOPL, to find the pups had muscled their way into my bedroom, urinated all over my bed, shat in the washing pile, torn up their bedding and shat in the lounge room and the corridor....
So much for that loving holiday getaway feeling.
So blogging, and Interwebbing in general, has taken a back seat to life, neurotic dogs, brainiac sons wanting to make stupid life choices, the vagaries of SKYPE and remembering which night is rubbish night.
I am also getting better at cooking for one. Cous Cous has become my new best friend. Some chicken stock (or some Vegeta and water), some sliced chorizo, a handful of sundried tommies, a wodge of mozz or fetta and voila! super quick and easy dinner.
So I put out a call on Twitter the other week, for a Middle Eastern recipe for chicken and cous cous. And the divine Zoe, from Progressive Dinner Party, came to the... err... party with a recipe that she assured me, I would fall in love with. She was right.
It's from Ottolenghi the cookbook 2008 and I adapted it slightly, as I already had some macadamias in the house.
For the marinade
2.5kg organic chicken breasts, skin on
4 onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
150ml extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of a lemon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of saffron threads
freshly ground pepper
For the hazelnut paste
200g unskinned hazelnuts, lightly roasted and chopped roughly (I used macadamias with awesome results)
1/2 cup of honey
2 teaspoons rosewater
1. In a large dish mix the chicken with the onion, garlic, olive oil, water, lemon zest and juice, ginger, cinnamon, saffron threads and salt and pepper. Leave to marinate minimum 1 hour. .
2. Preheat the oven to 200C. Transfer the chicken and the marinade to a roasting pan. With the chicken skin side up, cook for 30-35 minutes.
3. Meanwhile mix the hazelnuts/macadamias, honey and rosewater together to make a paste.
I did this in my mortar and pestle and the results were brilliant. You want to grind a few of the nuts to a paste, but leave most of them whole (ish) for texture.
Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon the nut paste onto it, heaping it up quite high. Return to the oven for a further 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the nuts are golden brown in colour.
4. Serve with cous cous.