Jerk, and learning the hard way.

Have you even had one of those moments where you discover (usually in a highly embarrassing social setting) that you have known/been doing something wrong your whole life?

People look at you incredulously and you get asked ‘why don’t you know that?!’

I have a friend who genuinely believed unicorns existed, and that they were just extinct. You know, like dinosaurs.
Or another friend who thought polony came from the ground, like peanuts.
One who thought leprechauns were just midget Irish people. He learnt he was wrong the hard way, in a pub on St Patrick’s day, with a punch to the face.

I had someone tell me it was weird that I brush my teeth in the shower. Still do it though. I consider it efficient.

Don’t even get me started on the argument on whether toilet paper hangs over or under on the holder (for those of you playing at home – it goes over. What is wrong with you?).

When I discovered that I could use a thermometer to tell me that my baked chicken was done, rather than cut it open… I thought I’d pretty much discovered life on Mars. I may have hummed Chariot of Fire to myself and ran a victory lap around my kitchen. In fake-slow-motion. Then, I told someone else my genius trick. I was met with That Face, and ‘Um, yeah. Everyone knows that. Didn’t you?’

*sigh*

If there’s anyone left who didn’t know (join my support group – we meet at the bar), get yourself a digital meat thermometer. They’re cheap, and actually rather handy contraptions. Chicken, when pierced through its thickest part, should be about 80*c or 170*f when cooked properly – no more dry chicken. Booya.

Jerk Chicken with Tabbouleh Couscous Salad

Jerk Chicken
From 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver

4 chicken breasts
4 spring onions
small bunch fresh thyme
3 fresh bay leaves
ground cloves
ground nutmeg
ground allspice
6 tbs rum
6 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs runny honey
1 Scotch bonnet chilli
4 cloves garlic

Heat the oven to 220*c.

Drizzle chicken breasts with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and give them a good rub all over. Place the chicken in a frying pan on high heat.

To make the sauce, trim and chop the spring onions and throw them into a blender with thyme, bay leaves, 6 tablespoons each of the rum and vinegar, 1 of honey, 2 teaspoons of salt and a large pinch of the cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Remove the top and seeds of the chili, then add it to the blender. Lastly, crush and peel the 4 garlic cloves, add them to the blender, then blitz until smooth. Add some more olive oil if it needs it.

By now, the chicken should be golden. Pour the sauce into a baking dish, then place the chicken on top, golden side up. Pour a tablespoon of honey over the top of the chicken, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the thickest part reaches 80*c with a thermometer when pierced through the thickest part.

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Tabbouleh Couscous Salad

From Saveur

1 cup couscous
3 tbsp. fine bulgur
450g ripe tomatoes, cored and minced
3 ½ cups minced flat-leaf parsley
1 ¼ cups minced mint leaves
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 spring onions, thinly sliced crosswise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook couscous according to instructions (or, add equal parts couscous and boiling water, plus a little chicken stock for taste into a heatproof bowl, cover with cling wrap and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork once cooked).

Chop the herbs and tomatoes, and mix all of the ingredients, including the couscous together. Season with salt and pepper.

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IMG_5317 IMG_5319

Note: If you don’t have bulgur, don’t worry about it too much. And for the herbs… Just use whatever you have. Don’t worry so much about the ratios. It all works out in the end.

Welcome back, by the way. How was your Christmas and New Year? What did you eat and do? I’d love to hear about it!

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