Monday, 14 May 2012

CRACKBIRD THEMED DINNER - Honey, Soy and Garlic Chicken, Burnt Lemon and Feta Dip, Carrot and Cumin Salad and a Healthy Cous Cous Salad

The weeks are flying in and all hands are on deck with the wedding plans and my new job. I've been doing plenty of cooking and entertaining friends so I'll have lots of recipes to share with you. On my day off this week I catered for a communion of 60 guests which was a really great experience. I cooked up lots of delicious salads, cupcakes and dessert and Jane herself organised the mains as unfortunately I couldn't be there to serve the food. I'm dying to do more catering on the side as it gives me the opportunity to get a little creative with ideas for parties.

This particular post is a dinner inspired by 'Crackbird' Restaurant, the pop up chicken restaurant on Dame Street in Dublin.  My friends from college put me to the challenge of writing recipes inspired by the Crackbird menu so they can whip up a tasty dinner and save them from the stress of their thesis!

I had my sister and my sister-in-law (to be) over for dinner the other evening to test it all out and there certainly wasn't a scrap of leftovers! These recipes are really great for entertaining friends as they can all be made ahead of time, taking the stress out of the evening. The salads are perfect for large groups of guests as well and don't be afraid to mix it up and serve them with lots of different things.

Serves: 4
Burnt Lemon and Feta Dip

2 lemons
200g feta cheese
1 small clove garlic crushed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C. Place the lemons on a baking sheet and place in the oven for approx 40mins, turning half way through. This will make the skin of the lemons caramelise and give a delicious flavour.

Remove the lemons from the oven and allow to cool.

Gently scoop out the flesh of the lemon, removing the pips and place in a hand blender or a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and whizz until smooth. 

Taste and season with salt and pepper as required.

Honey, Soy and Garlic Chicken
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp honey

500g chicken wings, drumsticks or thighs.

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together and place in a zip lock bag with the chicken pieces.

Leave in the fridge for a few hours to marinate or even better overnight.

Preheat your oven to 160C Fan.

Spread the chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet. 

Cook for 25 mins, then toss around and return to the oven to cook for a further 5-10 minutes depending on the size. Test by sticking a skewer into the thickest part of the meat for 5 seconds. When removed the skewer should be very hot and then you know the chicken is cooked through.

Carrot and Cumin Salad
5 carrots coarsely grated (approx 450g)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
handful of raisins
Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as required.

Healthy Cous Cous Salad
1 cup cous cous
1 handful sunflower seeds
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of half lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic finely grated or chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced
handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered

Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the cous cous. 

Toast the sunflower seeds lightly on a dry pan.

When the cous cous is cooked, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to combine. Taste, season and serve.

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