Tag Archives: rice

Baked lemon and garlic chicken with pilaf rice

Lemon and garlicThis recipe apparently has a silly amount of garlic in it but don’t be put off and don’t be tempted to reduce the quantity.  When garlic is roasted it loses its pungency and instead takes on a mellow sweetness that works well with the lemon flavour.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 chicken (approx 2.25 kg / 5 lbs) cut into pieces: breasts, thighs, drumsticks etc

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

125ml (4 fl. oz) white wine

20 garlic cloves, unpeeled

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons and the juice of 1 lemon

1 large sprig of thyme

1 bay leaf

300ml (1/2 pint) chicken stock

For the rice

25g (1 oz) butter

1 small onion (about 125g / 4 1/2 oz), peeled and chopped

300g (11 oz) basmati rice

750 ml (1-1/4 pints) chicken or vegetable stock

To serve

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C (325F), gas mark 3.

Heat a large casserole or saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the olive oil and chicken pieces, skin side down and cook on both sides until golden brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour off and discard any excess fat.

Add the wine and garlic cloves and boil for 2 minutes.  Next add the lemon zest and juice, the herbs and the stock.  Bring to the boil, cover and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.

To cook the rice: melt the butter in a casserole or saucepan that is large enough to accommodate all the rice (bearing in mind that it will swell).  Add the onion and season.  Cover and cook over a low heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft.  Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes until it crackles, then add the stock and some salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil then transfer to the oven and cook for about 10 minutes or until the rice is just cooked so that it is slightly al dente and all the liquid absorbed.

Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Serve the chicken with the rice in shallow bowls and sprinkled with chopped parsley.

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Adapted from a Rachel Allen Recipe

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Pilaf Rice

A simple and foolproof method for cooking rice that produces a moist and tasty result.

Ingredients

25g (1 oz) butter

1 small onion (about 125g / 4 1/2 oz), peeled and chopped

300g (11 oz) basmati rice

750 ml (1-1/4 pints) chicken or vegetable stock

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C (325F), gas mark 3.

Melt the butter in a casserole or saucepan that is large enough to accommodate all the rice (bearing in mind that it will swell).  Add the onion and season.  Cover and cook over a low heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft.  Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes until it crackles, then add the stock and some salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil then transfer to the oven and cook for about 10 minutes or until the rice is just cooked so that it is slightly al dente and all the liquid absorbed.

Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

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Attack of the biscuit beetle

Ooooh!Sooner or later you’re likely to open a packet of flour to do some baking and see tiny little beetles, 2-3mm long, crawling around. Commonly called ‘biscuit beetle’ (Stegobium paniceum), and in the US ‘drugstore’ or ‘bread beetle’ they are, apparently, harmless and unless you see them in large numbers the flour should still be OK to use.  Well that’s the theory.  On the rare occasions I have come across them it has prompted a major session of checking food packets, chucking out and cleaning – but that’s just me.  

It’s important to say that biscuit beetle has nothing to do with cleanliness, so don’t beat yourself up about it if you see some of the little blighters in your kitchen.  The chances are that something you bought contained either the beetle or some eggs, and considering that a single female can lay up to 100 eggs, which will hatch in 1 – 2 weeks, you can see how pretty soon one errant beetle will produce an infestation. They don’t just inhabit flour either, you may well find them on other dried foodstuffs: cereals, pasta, nuts, rice, biscuits; and ordinary sealed packaging is no deterrent because they are able to gnaw their way into new packs.  You can see how pretty soon they can get a foothold in your cupboard!

HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM:

You’re going to need storage containers to store your food in from now on – items like plastic ‘Tupperware’ boxes that you can seal. 

Empty the cupboard and decide whether you want to use anything that you find to be affected. (I’ve already said that my preference is to throw away anything affected and start again).  Modern wisdom seems to be to then use food safe pesticides to treat the cupboard and surrounding surfaces but I can tell you that I don’t  like the thought of pesticides (food safe or not), and all my life I’ve had no further trouble when I’ve used the old-fashioned approach:

Cleared the cupboard, washed all around, including crevices, with hot soapy water (also tackling the counter tops beneath the cupboard) and then either leave the cupboard open to dry very thoroughly or use a hair dryer to make sure that there is absolutely no moisture remaining in it.  Transfer your unaffected food to your plastic, sealable storage containers and then that’s it – you can fill your cupboard again.

Biscuit beetle beaten!

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