This warm salad is great alongside any cooked meats, or as a meal in itself, perhaps with a soft-boiled egg added. Substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand. Cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant fennel, pretty much anything works here, it's an endlessly variable template. In this iteration, I had some leftover steamed green beans that I also added. The point of this recipe is slowly roasting the vegetables, as this allows for more caramelisation to develop, intensifying the flavour. Doused in this addictive tahini dressing, it really highlights how complex and delicious vegetables can be, when treated with care.
1 1/3 cups of faro, rinsed and drained
2 large potatoes, skin on
1 red capsicum
1-2 red onions, peeled
sea salt flakes
large handful of steamed green beans, topped and tailed (optional)
1/4 cup (100g) hulled tahini
1/4 cup (100g) Greek yoghurt
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 t sea salt flakes, extra
fresh lemon juice, to taste
Preheat oven to 180°C. Chop vegetables into roughly 4cm sized pieces. Arrange on a baking tray, toss in some olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and roast for about an hour or until everything is soft and very well caramelised.
Meanwhile, cook farro in boiling water until al dente (about 20-30min). Drain.
Make the dressing by combining the tahini, yoghurt and oil in a small bowl. Crush the garlic by peeling, roughly chopping, sprinkling with the salt and then 'wiping' with the flat of your knife, pressing down as you go until you have a coarse paste. Add this and the lemon juice to the tahini, yoghurt and oil. Add enough water to make the sauce pourable, but still viscous. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Combine the faro, vegetables, and dressing, tossing gently to coat everything well. Serve as a side or as a meal on its own with some extra protein added.
Note: This tahini sauce is also great as a dip, or with any roasted or grilled meat or fish. If you want to use it as a dip or sauce rather than a dressing, only add enough water to make everything smooth, but still nice and thick.
Ok, we all know how to roast a chicken, right? I know plenty of people have their sacred tried and true way, perhaps something their mother's mother's great-great grandmother passed down, or something, or perhaps you flirt with different styles, sometimes stuffing the cavity, sometimes not, simply slathering with butter and salt, or going a full pre-marinade prior to roasting. But, while I think pretty much any way to roast a chicken is a good way, I have to say, if you want fast, delicious, crispy and easy-to serve roast chicken goodness, it's pretty hard to go past a spatchcocked whole bird massaged with a spice paste and roasted until deep bronze and succulent. Read on for the recipe and notes.
Depending on the size of your chicken, either quarter or cut into sixths, dividing the drumstick from the thigh for the extra portions. The spices listed below are just a guide - experiment with different combinations!
Equipment: Mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder
1 free-range chicken
1 lemon, skin on, thickly sliced
few sprigs of rosemary, thyme, or bay leaves (optional)
sea salt flakes
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 T cumin seeds
1 T coriander seeds
2 t dried saltbush (substitute dried thyme or oregano)
1-2 t smoked paprika
1-2 t chill flakes (optional)
About an hour before cooking, (if you remember), take the chicken from the fridge to remove some of its chill. Keep away from heat sources and out of direct sunlight. I don't usually get to do this but it's good practice if you can.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly oil a roasting pan and arrange lemon slices in the centre, topping with sprigs of fresh herbs, if using.
To prepare chicken, drain any liquid from the cavity and pat dry with paper towel. Place the bird on your work surface breast-side down. With shark kitchen scissors, cut along each side of the spine (you will need some elbow grease), cutting through the ribs all the way to the neck cavity. Remove the spine, place in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for later use in stock. Turn the bird over and press down on the breast bone to flatten, (you may hear a crack). Splay out the legs and tuck in the wings neatly (see image below). Place spatchcocked chicken on top of the lemon slices and fresh herbs, if using.
Remove board and knife from the work surface, wash hands, and clean up any residue. (Wash and dry board and knife throughly before using for any other food preparation).
In a mortar and pestle, mash up garlic, a good pinch of salt and all the spices. Add olive oil and mix until you have a coarse, spreadable paste. If using a spice grinder, grind up the dry spices separately, then put into a bowl with the minced garlic and oil, mixing to combine.
Using your hands, slather this spice paste all over the chicken, making sure to get under the wings and legs and around the edges as much as possible. Wash hands again.
Put in the oven and roast for 50 min to an hour, depending on the size of your chicken (see Tip below). Test for doneness by piercing the thickest part of the thigh. The juices should run clear. However, this method ensures very even cooking, so you shouldn't have any issues. If you like, toss in some par-boiled potato chunks halfway through cooking, tossing them in the flavoured oil in the tray.
When cooked, remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and rest for 15min. In this time, you can prepare a simple gravy (see below). Serve with whatever you like, but roast potatoes and salad are always good.
Tip: Most of the time, a lot of liquid will exude from the chicken as it cooks. This is the enemy of crispy skin, but a boon for the cook. Halfway through cooking (before you add the potato, for example), remove the tray from the oven and carefully pour off as much liquid as you can into a small saucepan. Return the chicken to the oven as quickly as possible. While the chicken rests, boil down this liquid until you have a richly-flavoured jus. I sometimes like to add a bit of Dijon mustard, vincotto, or balsamic, for extra depth. Keep warm and serve with the roasted chicken.
There are many ways to roast a chook, and I don't profess to be an expert in this (hotly contested) field. What Chinese cooks do with poultry, for example, is in a league of its own, but what I can tell you is that if you are a home cook who wants fast, crispy-skinned and delicious roast chicken, this is a pretty fine way to go. Like all my recipes, this is really a template - you can mix up the flavours as you like - but I would suggest you don't try and mix too many different spices, or you can end up with a confused flavour profile where everything gets a bit lost. I'd like to try a Chinese five-spice mix, as well as a more North African-leaning approach with some ras el-hanout or harissa paste, either bought or homemade. The options are endless. You can even just use this method with a bit of butter, lemon and salt - I can attest that the result will be sublime. What I like about using a coarse spice paste, though, is how it gets a bit charred in the oven, forming a deeply-flavoured crust. The paste will also flavour the pan juices beautifully, as well as anything you decide to roast alongside, like the potatoes I suggest in the recipe. Don't overcrowd the tray, however, or you will have more braised than roasted vegetables. The lemon slices underneath the bird act as a trivet, allowing more heat to circulate around the meat, but also, ingeniously helping to keep it moist and adding flavour at the same time. Any additional herbs you have will only help. Enjoy, and as always, I love to know if you try one of my recipes, do let me know!
I made these with my little girl the other week, and she loved them, as did I! Best eaten warm with butter, though. Despite buckwheat having a very pronounced flavour, it was not overpowering in these muffins, rather lending a pleasing nuttiness that offset the fresh, slightly tart berries. I don't have a taste for very sweet things, and I deliberately kept the sugar low for kid-related purposes, but if you fancier a sweeter bite, by all means up the sugar a bit, but I probably wouldn't do more than about 3/4 cup, working on the principle that cakes often have half the quantity of sugar to flour.
Makes 12 mini muffins
1 1/2 cups (210g) buckwheat flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 cup (85g) caster sugar
1/3 cup (90ml) light vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
1/4 cup (80ml) milk (substitute non-dairy alternative for dairy free)
2/3 cup (150g) blueberries, washed and dried
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Prepare mini muffin pan by lining each hole with mini muffin cases or squares of non-stick baking paper moulded to shape over the base of a small glass.
Sift buckwheat flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar. In a jug, combine oil, milk and eggs, whisking well with a fork to combine. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the oil mixture. Stir well but do not overmix. Gently fold through blueberries.
Divide mixture evenly between muffin holes and bake 15 - 20min or until risen and golden.
Provided it's not too hot, these keep well out of the fridge for about five days. After that time, put them in the fridge and microwave slightly before eating. Once cool, the muffins can also be frozen for up to one month. Store between pieces of baking paper to prevent them sticking together.
About The Daughter's Table
The Daughter's Table is a living archive of recipes and stories. It is inspired by my daughter, and the desire to create a food legacy that connects us to what we eat and why.