Thursday, February 7, 2013

Farewell to 2012

I thought I should sneak in a last post for 2012.  I can't believe the month of December has slipped by without so much as a cursory glance in the direction of this blog.  It's been a bit of a whirlwind: lots of end of year bits and pieces, a trip to Adelaide, friends to stay, school break ups, gardening and general Christmas busyness.
Flowers on the potatoes

Some South African friends came to visit the weekend before Christmas.   We chased kangaroos, watched the shearing, played lots of cricket and went yabbying.
Ate lots of this,

drank far too much of this:

We had our first Christmas at home this year.  After lunch my mother-in-law declared that she would never cook Christmas lunch again and after more than 40 years of preparing the feast, I think she deserves a break.  The tree is down, decorations packed away, linen napkins and placemats washed and ironed, holly and ivy removed from the mantlepiece and pine needles swept away.  Quite a relief really.

It has been non stop in the kitchen, but alas very few photographs to show for it.  I made my first batch of strawberry jam from home grown strawberries, which was gratifying...
Here is a good chicken dish for the holidays.  It looks like it might be tricky, but is really so easy.  Just marinate in the morning and bung on the BBQ when you get home from the beach.  The kids will appreciate a change from a sausage in bread, which is their standard dinner at this time of year.

First you need to butterfly a chicken.  DON'T PANIC.  It is very simple, but you do need a pair of poultry shears (cheap).  Place the chook breast side down on a chopping board with the parson's nose facing you.  

With the shears cut along one side of the back bone from tail to neck.  Pull open the bird and cut along the other side of the back bone and remove it (use it for stock). 

 Turn the chicken over and open out then press firmly down to break the breast bone.  Hard part done.

Season with salt and pepper and then marinate in a large zip lock bag in the fridge for up to 24 hours.  I would put it in a dish and turn over a couple of times.  Here are a couple of marinades you could try:

1/2 cup lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, crushed
handful each of parsley, thyme and oregano, all chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
Mix together and add to bag.

Here is one based on a Nigella Lawson recipe:
1 carton buttermilk
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tblsp dijon mustard
1 tblsp maple syrup
1 tblsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Mix in a bowl and add to bag.  The buttermilk makes the chicken very tender.

I then cook this on the BBQ skin side down, with the lid down for about 15 minutes (don't let the barbeque get too hot, you don't want it to burn), and flip it over and give it another 20 minutes.
Don't know about you, but my sweet peas have been a bitter disappointment this year.  They were so amazing last year.
I just couldn't get the seeds to germinate.  I have just pulled up the most enormous onions..
and the garlic looks good too..
I hope you had a lovely Christmas.  Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2013 and hopefully there will be less chaos and more time for new recipes and news from the garden.  See you next year!

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