Sunday, June 28, 2009
Over the recent Queen's Birthday weekend several of us journeyed from Melbourne to Canberra to stay with Margaret and Tony and to celebrate Pat Miller's 60th birthday. You can see some of my photos here. You may notice in the dinner photos that there was a lot of food. Margaret had cooked up a storm before we came and, though I had come up the night before the others with a view to helping with the cooking, there wasn't much to do!
The major themes (apart from the requisite pavlova) were Greek and Lebanese and the recipe sources were Abla Amad's the Lebanese Kitchen (now sadly out of print) and a book on Greek cooking by Andy Harris. As I had given both of these books to Margie I was pleased to see them so well used and literally stained. I always think this a sign of a well-loved cookbook!
The good thing about such a feast where we are sharing lots of dishes is that it reminds one of old favourites. One of those that I hadn't eaten for a while was Abla's chicken wings in garlic. Needless to say, once I got back to Melbourne and my kitchen and my copy of Abla's recipe book, I cooked up a variant.
As I had a whole lot of limes I substituted that for the lemon juice, I used little chicken drummettes instead of wings and I just used already prepared and purchased minced garlic from a jar. So the principle and the cooking methodology was Abla's but practically no ingredient remained the same! Well, that's how I like to cook: getting ideas from different sources and seeing what's at the shops.
12 chicken drummettes
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Juice of 6 limes
1.5 tablespoons minced garlic (purchased prepared)
Preheat the oven to 220c
Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in a baking dish
Sprinkle salt over
Roast for approximately 30 minutes until browned
Meanwhile squeeze limes and add minced garlic to resulting juice
Remove chicken from oven and pour over garlic and lime mixture
Cook for another 20 minutes
These chicken pieces melt in your mouth. I served them with a simple rocket, pear and parmesan salad which we had also had at a Canberra meal over the break. I was flattered at the reception this simple main course had when I was told I was serving restaurant quality food! Well, it was: Abla's!
A few days later I tried another variant. I had some chicken breasts that I had intended grilling souvlaki style but as I still had limes that were also needing to be used, I chopped up the chicken breasts and cooked them using the same method above. They ended up being a little dry and probably didn't need the whole first 30 minutes of cooking; probably 20 would have done. But nonetheless they were delicious in salad for lunch and I'll be making them again too. Thanks, Abla, for being such an inspiration.