Same, Old Same New: Jack The Coconut Reductionist and Tahini Garlic Chicken

Make a paste or whatever…*Slides down onto floor*

Yo, Dear Reader, hmm? I’m not lazy! How dare you, I’m just using coconut milk anyways and you know I have to try it every single way possible, remember this is just me cooking for me and that involves repetition, lots and lots of repetition…and coconut reduction I guess. Okay, that’s it for today…what? But I told you what to do! I didn’t?

No I am not getting lax with these posts! *Slides down onto floor*

Okay, serious…ish post time. This is a really rough rework of Tahini Garlic Chicken, which went quietly into that good night once I quit citrus, long before that I ate it much too often and ended up in excruciating pain. Yeah, the original was that good, if you can make that first at least, this is just a fun way to eat herbs and coconut milk without any jarring taste conflicts. I also sauteed some sweet potato with some smoked salt, which is really simple, but delicious. For this I went for haste as I just wanted something fast and light, relatively light that is, the herbs from above recipe, a tablespoon of tahini, half of honey, you need something to cut the tahini’s sharp bitter taste, citrus works wonders on it if you’ve never tried, splash of olive oil and grated garlic. Mix that into a paste, stir up the chopped chicken and let it fry slowly for ten minutes, you want it just cooking gently, the coconut milk will go on at a higher heat to reduce and will cook it the rest of the way. The seeds butters aren’t as good at thickening as nut butters are, but you can use that to make a more reduced sauce even when the seed butter is added early on, which is what I did. You can smell he herbs all he way throughout and they do hold their taste even after a long cook, I time it all by the rice, so about half an hour, give or take. I fiddle with the heat as I go, keep it simmering but not boiling or you’ll split the coconut milk.

Mount it up, higher and higher!

Bonus: (Yesterday’s, but shhh) Sweet Omelette and (This is a recipe, I think) Caramelised Banana (It was!).

So, a simple herby flavoured dish, I’m so used to coconut that I don’t find it jarring anymore, but your tastes may vary, I use the milk for reductions when I’m using nut or seed butters, but use the cream for richer sauces where it only reduces. Most of this is born from the fact I couldn’t use the most common free-from thickeners, but as it all tastes so good I’m not complaining. I’ve updated the sweet omelette page, which is fairly low traffic as it was a much earlier posting. It’s a great recipe, unusual, but worth looking at. I usually  make curry twice a week so you may see a few more reduced recipes, as I say this is purely me playing around for a dinner, I’m sharing to teach what I can’t teach in more traditionally formatted recipes while also giving myself a break from those. They take a lot more to create and type up than you’d imagine. Being flexible in your cooking can help counter any feelings of boredom or irritation at being on a free-from diet as restricted as mine. Maybe not completely, but it helps. Until later, Dear Reader.

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Same Old Same New: Mild To The Max

Mix it all up and just slather it everywhere.

I never actually run out of much because, Dear Reader, I write the shopping list, do the shopping and that will never happen. I don’t like hunger and outside of the set things I eat daily and weekly there isn’t anything I can just grab so I never let it happen. I do occasionally run low, I buy a lot of fruit and vegetables that wouldn’t stay fresh if I buy too many, so sometimes I’m left wondering what I’ll make with what I have. Today I wanted something mild tasting, not to be mistaken for bland, something warm, since the weather is miserable, filling and just gentle. So I took this and this and smashed them together.

I found a shallot, so add shallots.

The carob chicken is intense due to the prevalence of aniseed flavours, I mitigated that by using garam masala as the spice instead of the Five Spice, just a rough teaspoon this all rough, Dear Reader, I used a tablespoon of honey and carob syrup, surprisingly this isn’t noticeably sweet, the honey cuts the tahini’s sharp taste, I mixed all that with a little salt, pepper and garlic granules, it’s just a thick paste, but I rubbed it all onto the chicken anyway, you’ll have to scoop it all into the pan when frying, but it cooks better when mixed first.

I’m sparing this carob syrup, so much that I forget to use it.

I used an onion, garlic, I love garlic, and a shallot, fried in olive oil this time, rather than butter. Tossed the chicken into the pan on a low heat, keeping it from caramelising too much, again: mild, left that to cook for a while, this was being cooked alongside the rice so times vary, I love this post format as this is how I often cook, Dear Reader, rather than he methodical posts you often see accompanying recipes, I do that for my Dear Reader who wants to learn, but you can lean here too, just in a less structured way.

Coconut cream because it’s all I had.

I tossed in the coconut cream, which was thickened by the tahini and peanut butter, about half a tablespoon each. There can be an issue getting the sauce to reduce when using nut or seed butters, you’re better to let the coconut cream or milk residue first and then add them, otherwise you’ll have to crank up the heat and potentially spilt the cream, which isn’t bad, but it can be very oily and might not be that pleasant. The whole thing just simmered away, I occasionally tossed the chicken about, more for something to do than for any real purpose, though flip it at least once to ensure and even cook.

Anything like this ends up either Golden Brown or Sunny Orange.

As for the taste? It was just a gentle, warming dish.It is funny how you can add too much to a dish and destroy the balance and here there was a very simple flavour, that tasted just right, if there wasn’t enough it’d be noticeable, but it isn’t so strong that you notice the flavour all that much either. I’m no great expert on spices, Dear Reader, I’ve learned a lot over the years, but I still add too much, forget to taste. There are so many useful spices and I try to vary it, there are many health benefits to everything I use, it’s why I eat what I eat, I just no longer think of that as I cook, I just do it and enjoy it. Hopefully I’ll have something new soon, Dear Reader, I did make scones and quinoa bread, I used teff and buckwheat and it is very tasty as a combo. Worth thinking of for future recipes. Until later, take care.

Same Old, Same New: Tahini Mango Multitask

Jack, this isn’t a garden post, stop posting pictures of birds.

No.

Great bird pictures – Dear Reader

Ah, Dear Reader, I’ve often said that I am a terrible food blogger because I’m just too stubborn to follow a sensible pattern when talking about food, but as you’re all still here I guess you’re okay with that. Still it all ties in together, today I was on one side of the kitchen preparing Braised Red Cabbage, the other making a mixed and match of a dinner, including the mango tahini sauce which I will get to, and in the middle I was watching birds. There is no multitasking, Dear Reader, in spite of whatever title I have chosen, it’s all just time management. I’m at the stage where I’m more than a dab hand at anything in the kitchen, where if you were to talk to me about food preparation I’d know to keep quiet because I’d either bore you with the details or insult you by not allowing any braggadocios claims, it seems to be a sickness of the Irish that they will know anything that you happen to, without actually knowing anything at all, so if left alone I can work miracles. Or create good food, whatever.

No for me, but for someone who dislikes a lot of food. It’s good in other words.

Concealed Chicken and vegetables.

Blended and frozen mango cubes are helpful for single cooks.

It’s just rice, but I just really like rice.

If most people looked at what I eat they’d assume it wouldn’t be conducive to weight-loss, that’s because most people are idiots, Oh, that wasn’t me, that was the birds typing that! Okay, joking aside there is some truth in that, people generally fall into strange ideas about food, tell them they can have cake and lose weight, grow taller, become beautiful and they’ll worship you, tell them they don’t understand food, but you’d gladly help and they’ll ignore you. Food is complex, vastly more than we’re lead to believe, but like anything you can learn about it, you can, like me, tailor a diet to your own specifications, but as I’ve often said there are no shortcuts and if your first instinct when listening to me, a weight-loss success story amongst other things, is to assume I’m wrong then you are just an idiot. I can say that because, well it’s true, but also because regardless of how I phrase it it will never matter, people with made up minds will never listen and that’s fine, they can go, well just go, but I will put in the work for you Dear Reader, you’er always singular, it’s quirky, because it may help you because you’re willing to learn. We all start at zero, those who go from one step to another learn slowly, but true.

Those cartons weren’t much good after the rain.

I filled this from one and the other burst above the bed.

I’m often cagey about posting what I eat, but never how much, I don’t want anyone thinking they can just copy this diet of mine and achieve a success, nor do I ever conceal anything. I could take a little of everything and make it really, okay somewhat presentable, and you, much like me that was, would believe that represented a portion. Food blogging is something more art and artfulness than real food and real people, that has it’s place, but there’s a huge difference between disclosure and cultivating an image. You get honesty from me, with it you get whatever else I feel like too, hence the birds, seems a fair trade. So, the sauce is a variation of a variation of a etc, I use tahini a lot as I usually eat a lot of protein in my meals, over time I worked out what I needed by listening to m body, not it’s wants, but what made it work better, feel better and be better. It’s great because though the idea is based on a Tarator sauce even without lemon or any acid you still have a way to moisten, flavour and add nutrition without excess bulk. The recipe is pretty simple, it’s:

50g Mango Puree
1 Tbsp Tahini
3 Cloves Grated Garlic
1 Tbsp Honey
Salt to Taste

That’s it. I like to change up the sweeteners, add more or less garlic, other spices, whatever I’m having it over I try to match as much as I can. I don’t like straight tahini so I usually cut it with a sweetener, lemon helps, but as I say I can’t use it. Mango’s sweetness, almost meaty?, combines with the sharp tahini to make a really much deeper sauce than it should be. This makes a great spread too, in any variation, it can be made thick or thin by just adding more or less liquid. A tahini sauce over cold pasta and chicken is my go to go out meal. Not exactly the most complex meal, Dear Reader, but at least once a week tahini is my go to sauce base. That’s it for today, I’ll be back again soon, until then take care.

Tahini Gravy

 photo WP_20170406_001_e_zpsjsfyenkq.jpgYou’ll see this again when I post the second recipe.

You see what I do? I think of my dear readers who can’t enjoy the astounding amazing cashew butter and I ponder, then a little voice pops up and asks about tahini, then a more sensible voice speaks up on the need to be weary of the intense taste and non-traditional uses of sesame seed paste and at that point I’ve left and gone to try an absurd recipe out. You know if we all tried making recipes for other diets we’d end up with a wild and varied collection of recipes. Still, we have gravy, we’ll always have gravy dear reader. You know how to make gravy don’t you de…you don’t? Oh. Well, read on!

The secret of great gravy is unknown to me, but I do alright. I made the spice more prominent in this to help mask the strong taste of tahini and it made it a strong but delicious gravy. The intensity of the spices fighting for a place of prominence on your taste-buds with the sharp tahini taste means whatever you pair this with it’ll elevate it, bland seeds are no longer an issue. Simple, almost every recipe is simple if we’re willing to admit it, to drop the façade of complexity that gives the impression that only an expert few can ever truly understand it, all to present a thin ostentatious veneer. Er, getting heavy there, dear reader. Sorry! (Not really sorry). As for this sauce, it’s tasty as I’ve said, gets nice and thick too, but if you keep it whisked it’ll stay smooth. I don’t often like hot tahini, but I’d happily make this again and again. So, that’s it for this post. I have one more recipe, but for now that’s all. Goodbye and good gravy.

Ingredients

1/2 Chicken/Beef/Vegetable Stock Cube
150ml Boiling Water
1 Tbsp Tahini
1/4 Tsp Sage
1/4 Tsp Thyme
1/4 Tsp Parsley
1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Method

1. Add all the ingredients to a jug and whisk until everything is combined and Tahini has dissolved.

2. Pour into a pot or pan and heat on medium, keeping stirred, until thick.

Garlic and Tahini Chicken

2017 Update: Due to a problem with Photobucket, see here, there will be a lot of recipes without photos. I will be slowly redoing the recipe pages, as best I can, but many other posts will be impossible to replace. I’m doing this in my own time, while continuing to update the blog with new recipes and posts. If you’d like to donate, any amount appreciated, you can do so here. The site will always be free, the recipes will never be locked behind a paywall, but this is a lot of additional work. I’m not demanding or begging, just putting it there so if you feel like repaying my hard work you have that option. I don’t make any money from the site, all that I do here is to help others, I couldn’t charge for that.

Over rice cooked with golden beetroot and shallots.

Yes, dear reader, yet another no marinade from a marinade recipe. I haven’t been experiencing any of the troubles that I consistently had with the marinaded versions, it’s just they were so delicious hat I found it hard to accept. But, you know me, I’m no fool, well I might be, but I’m not reckless or feckless with my health. When things go agly then I know to take control and find out how to get back to being better. It’s funny that no matter how often we hear the advice to eat nuts, seeds and vegetables we just don’t. I suppose it comes from not really having enough workable ways to incorporate them into our diets. I think I’ve done well so far, he recipes I list here are used either weekly or quite a lot. You’re never too old to learn and never too and never too well informed to take on new ideas. This is nearly the last of the new recipes I mentioned, I’ll still be watching fr new buckwheat groat recipes, and of course working on my own new ones, but when they get tested and posted is anyone’s guess. I hope to get into the garden more, perhaps the weather will change soon. So, onto the tasty bit.

I do have to admit that this does suffer taste-wise a little more than the previous no-marinade tweak, that’s the problem with herbs versus spices, they don’t take the heat as well, but that’s not to say it’s not flavoursome, just a trifle more simplistic compared with the deeper flavour of the marinade version. Still, the raw garlic and tahini will always and ever be worth the price of admission. If I’m honest, I think I prefer the non-marinade versions as they just don’t take so long. It’s a hassle to prepare everything and then wait considering it’s just for myself. So, again, another simple recipe packed with goodness What you serve it with really depends on you and your preference, I just happen to enjoy it with plain wholegrain rice. Until next time, dear reader, take care.

Ingredients

Chicken

2 Chicken Breasts, Chopped
1 Garlic Clove, Crushed and Chopped Fine
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 Tbsp Light Tahini
1/4 Tsp Sea Salt
1/4 Tsp Basil
1/4 Tsp Oregano
1/4 Tsp Marjoram or Sage

Tahini Sauce

1 Tsp Garlic Paste or 1 Garlic Clove, Grated
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Tbsp Light Tahini/Dark Tahini
Pinch Sea Salt
Water as needed

Method

1. Mix everything, aside from Chicken, in a bowl and then add the Chicken. Mix the Chicken into the sauce and set aside.

2. Preheat non-stick pan and when hot add Chicken. Cook for 15 minutes on a medium heat.

3. While Chicken is cooking mix together Sauce ingredients and whisk together until smooth and thin, adding water if too thick. Set aside.

4. Serve Chicken on Rice and then drizzle over Sauce.

Jerk Chicken Rub

2017 Update: Due to a problem with Photobucket, see here, there will be a lot of recipes without photos. I will be slowly redoing the recipe pages, as best I can, but many other posts will be impossible to replace. I’m doing this in my own time, while continuing to update the blog with new recipes and posts. If you’d like to donate, any amount appreciated, you can do so here. The site will always be free, the recipes will never be locked behind a paywall, but this is a lot of additional work. I’m not demanding or begging, just putting it there so if you feel like repaying my hard work you have that option. I don’t make any money from the site, all that I do here is to help others, I couldn’t charge for that.

I even made Harlequin Squash Fries.

Update February 2017: I added a Tahini sauce, tweaked from here, it goes extremely well with the jerk chicken, it really helps balance out the sweetness.

Changed, only slightly, from here.

Okay, who knocked off the head of my crocus? I’ll find you, you, you jerk. Ho-ho, what a segway. Seriously, I find who did it and they’ll end up in my compost bin, all three of them. Violence and new recipes, that, dear reader is why we’re here. The new recipe I mean, put down that bat. I’ve found out that it was indeed the marinaded meats that was causing discomfort, lemon as a standalone seems to be fine. That’s part of the reason that there a tahini sauce over this recipe whereas you might prefer it as a filling for a wrap or sandwich instead. I just wanted to test out lemon and the sauce was what accompanied the marinaded meat so here we are. I’m currently typing on my new keyboard and it’s much closer to my old one, the key are receding away happily under the dancing fingers. My copy of the New Band Maid album arrived today so the speakers are blaring out and alls right with the world. Well, close enough at least. I have a few posts to type tonight so be prepared for an overdose of yours truly. As if there could ever be enough of me, answer me otherwise and I’ll take up the bat, dearest reader.

I do keep inadvertently ending up with a typo worthy of Balaam whenever I type the word as, look it up, this is a family blog. These keys need to be smashed, so forgive me if any strange typos end up being missed. So, no marinade, no nightshades, no, no actually that is a problem, but here I am, humbled by my own majesty. I lucked onto this recipe and since there was only a little cayenne I could easily ditch it without affecting the final dish. This is pretty nice, it does have a bit of a kick thanks to the contrast between the sweet sugar, as (I almost missed that one!) opposed to sour? Er, forgive me!, and the warm spices. It’s pretty moist too thanks to the quick cook and resting. As I said it might be best as a sandwich filer, but today is pasta day and I don’t deviate from my routine for anything.

I’m probably going to end up searching for more suitable spice rubs in the future, there are a lot of recipes out there, but finding something to suit my exacting requirements is difficult. Nightshade intolerance seems to be pretty rare, I can’t find much about it that I don’t already know and I really struggle to find fellow nightshade bloggers, but I keep trying. It’s all we can do really. Not much left to add, dear reader, I have another recipe to pop up, something simple, nothing too exciting. See you then.

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Ground Allspice
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Tsp Cumin
1/8 Tsp Ground Cloves
1/8 Tsp Cinnamon

Sauce

2 Tbsp Coconut Cream (If solid then melt in microwave)
1 Tbsp Tahini
1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Clove Garlic Grated or Equivalent in Paste
Pinch Salt, Cumin and Nutmeg

Method

1. Mix together all the Sauce ingredients until smooth and set aside.

2. Mix together all the dry Ingredients in a bowl and then dredge Chicken until completely covered.

3. Preheat non-stick pan, add Oil, and when hot add Chicken. Turn to medium-high and cook for 7-10 minutes or until Chicken is fully cooked. Rest in foil for a further 5 minutes.

Variations

Oil Free: Use a food bag to cook the Chicken, leave out the oil and replace with 30ml Water. When adding Spices add a pinch of any Gluten Free Flour. Bake at 175c (Fan) for about 30 minutes.

Tahini

 photo WP_20160420_001_e_zpshpjamn8s.jpgI measured out the seeds but forgot about the loss of volume when grinding.

Yeah, I used 150g, but go for the 200g for about the same amount as store bought tahini. Okay, this time I used this as a reference and I’m glad I did as there are a few differences between nut butters and tahini. Firstly you don’t need to roast the seeds until dark, just a little colour and fragrance is all you’re looking for. I taste tested the seeds and you can tell when they’re done quite easily. Second you let them cool, toss them onto a plate or something so they cool faster. Lastly I went with olive oil rather than coconut, though you can still use whatever, as it pairs really well with tahini and I’ll be adding it to it when I use it. That was a terrible sentence. I blame this heat, which I am grateful for, as are the plants, but I always get a little muddled in hot weather.

 photo WP_20160420_002_e_zpspn4mxwg5.jpgHard to tell but they are toasted.

I have an induction hob which always seems to give me grief whenever I try to toast anything in a pan so I opted for the oven instead. You could make this raw as well but I don’t know if there are other considerations when going the raw route. Be safe is what I’m saying. I would like to try black sesame seeds just to have a black tahini, sadly I can’t get those anywhere. Nothing much else left to add, I do understand this does assume you know what tahini is like, if you are new to it blend up a small batch to see what you think. I have a tag devoted to tahini and a large number of recipes that use it so you should find something to suit you. Tahini is a staple of my diet, I prefer it blended with garlic and oils, but you may enjoy it straight on bread or in hummus. Whatever you decide to go do consider adding a little tahini to your diet it’s a really worthwhile addition. One more recipe is coming maybe later or tomorrow. Until then.

 photo WP_20160420_004_e_zps5zxr1eut.jpgThe almost not quite stage, don’t stop here.

 photo WP_20160420_005_e_zpsdts14cbj.jpgGo for the smooth and glossy stage.

 photo WP_20160420_006_e_zpstnrgsr3x.jpgIt ends up about 3/4 filled, so you lose around a  quarter of the volume.

Ingredients

200g Sesame Seeds
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil or Other Mild Tasting Oil

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 175c (Fan) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Spread the Sesame Seeds out and then bake for 5-7 minutes, stirring to prevent burning as needed, until slightly fragrant and a little coloured. Taste to tell if done. Transfer to a plate and let cool completely.

3. Add the Sesame Seeds to a food processor and blend until a smooth glossy paste has been formed. Add Oil as needed to facilitate blending and stop every few minutes to prevent food processor over-heating. Store it in the fridge.