This is Loch Ken in south west Scotland, taken moments before I proposed to S.
She said yes and I've never seen such joy pouring from a person's eyes. We will
marry in Cornwall in late September 2011.
There's nothing like a bit of exciting news to inspire you in the kitchen and this
week brought the following delightful and somehow autumnal dish. I won't
pretend it's seasonal though.
This is chicken thigh strips in a baharat spice mix and ground toasted rice which
gives it a crunchy and aromatic coating. Imagine a Turkish KFC and you'd be
close. The rice contains diced red onion, pistachios, sultanas, parsley, garlic,
sumac, cinamon and lemon juice. The recipe asks for saffron, but I recommend
extra sumac as its a really interesting sour fruity flavour which is brought out by
the lemon juice.
The Baharat spice mix is the fun part. You could buy the mix from a specialist
shop but it's far more interesting to get to know your spices. Start with the
whole spices, create the mix, toast in a dry pan for a minute until you start to
hear popping, then grind the spices while still warm.
Turkish Baharat contains mint. This is the key ingredient. Use a large amount.
Also black pepper and paprika are a large constituent. As with any spice mix, the
ingredients vary so you can include coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves,
cardamom, cassia, nutmeg, allspice. I recommend at least the holy trinity of Cs
(a termed coined by my father) which for me makes up the heart of any spice
mix: Coriander (seeds), cumin and cardamom.