Invention Test #1
I took the opportunity of sorting through all my kitchen "stuff" and reducing it by using a lot up before we moved, plus the inevitable throwing out of the out of date things. So I have rather less than normal odd ingredients and haven't yet remembered to look at a recipe before I go shopping, but ... in reality it all adds to the fun and I like inventing things and people who eat them don't seem to object too much.
Anyway, a couple of evenings ago I found myself with a large chicken breast, a slightly sad fennel bulb, a lemon and a few mushrooms. I looked up a recipe that I vaguely remembered having seen to find that it required orange juice (well the lemon would have to replace that) plus some other bits that I didn't have like pomegranate seeds (not an Orcadian ingredient surprisingly). Plus it was designed to be cooked for between 2 and 3 hours. Well that's not an option at 7.30 in the evening. So. What to do.
Well, I dug around in my spice box. Unfortunately my box of seeds, which includes fennel seeds, mustard seeds (black and yellow), coriander seeds, nigella and cumin seeds must have been turned upside down at some point. Hmmm.
Well, a mixture went into a dry frying pan with a teaspoon of ground cumin, a little touch of ground cinnamon and ground cloves with a smidge of ground turmeric. And were toasted very (verrrrrrrrrry) gently to get the oils going. Then I cut the chicken breast into chunks and coated it with the spices and put it on one side.
Gently fried a chopped onion and a crushed clove of garlic and into the pot went the chicken to start cooking. Plus the quartered fennel, the juice of a lemon, a small handful dried cranberries and another of shelled pecans. After a good stir, a splash of white wine and some chicken stock were added and a low heat applied to it's bottom, and I wandered off with a small glass of wine to watch Mark light the fire. Wandered back after about 15 minutes and put some couscous in a bowl with boiling water and lemon juice.And lots of pepper and salt. Just before dishing up I added a splash of rosewater (to the couscous). Did the usual "taste and check" and dished up. It met with approval.
Memo to self: take photo next time !