A while back Little asked when we could carry on learning about food from around the world. I said soon, but at the time the thought of researching countries and their food wasn't that appealing. I did ask them both what they liked about our virtual travels. Small (who remember is only three) said he liked cutting up the baking paper and stuffing it with food and covering it up. I think he might not have understood the question and he didn't like it much that Little and I fell about laughing. Little said he liked tasting all the different foods and thinking about the children in other countries and what their lives are like. Small said 'I feel like that too.' More laughter...
So finally we're back on track for our virtual travels around the world and our next choice will be flavours of Arabia, starting with Lebanon today. I'll be drawing on inspiration from Claudia Roden's lovely Arabesque, Greg and Lucy Malouf's very beautiful book Saha, a chef's journey through Lebanon and Syria. We'll also be making up a few of our own recipes.
In the meantime here's something I made last night which was really very good. I'm not sure what we should call it... Harissa Chicken with Marsala Wine? It's no bad thing that you can take inspiration from all around the world, mix it up a bit and make something great.
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
Handful of fine green beans, trimmed
6 chicken thighs
Cup of passata
Cup of marsala wine
Half a glass of flat Cava (optional, I'm sure it didn't change the taste that much)
1 dessertspoon of rose harissa (if you know it's a really hot harissa and it's for children I'd add less)
1 pint of boiling water
tablespoon of oil for frying
In a large heavy bottomed pan, fry the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Take the onion and garlic out, putting in a bowl to one side. Add the chicken thighs and brown on all sides. Add the cooked onions and garlic back to the pan, turn the heat up, then pour in the Marsala Wine. Let it bubble for a few minutes then if you have a spare half glass of dry white wine or cava add this too and let it bubble again for a couple of minutes. Add the boiling water, passata, harissa and green beans, then let it cook on a medium heat for about 45 minutes. You could add other vegetables. We served this with steamed white rice and we all loved it.