Recipe: Nigella’s slow roasted lemon and garlic chicken

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I’m a planner. Not all the time, but I like to plan ahead in several areas of my life. Especially when entertaining. So I had decided on a menu for the lunch I was hosting for a few friends in Sweden long before I even got to Sweden.

But the draught threw a spanner in the works. Three days before I was leaving for Sweden the government issued a BBQ ban in most areas and it was forbidden to barbecue even on your own property. All to prevent any more wild fires. Totally logical and something we all had to accept. But since my original lunch plan involved lighting the barbecue I had to think of something else to cook. I thought this would magically come to me as ideas so often do, but no.

So, in this moment of crisis (well not really, but I was starting to panic a little as my days were packed full of activities) I turned to my trusted cook book collection in the beach house and as usual they helped me out. This time it was a recipe in Nigella’s book Summer that saved me! This slow-roasted lemon and garlic chicken is summery (and delicious) enough to make you forget all about your beloved barbecue and appreciate a dish that basically cooks itself in the oven.

And if you don’t find butchering chickens as therapeutic as I do, I would suggest you either ask your butcher for help or buy a mixture of skin-on chicken breasts and chicken thighs.

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Nigella’s slow roasted garlic and lemon chicken, serves 4

Adapted from Nigella’s recipe.
1 chicken cut into 10 pieces

1 bulb of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves

1 lemon, cut into chunky eighths

1 bunch fresh thyme

3 tbsp olive oil

75-100 ml white wine

salt and black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

Put the chicken pieces in a roasting tin, season and add the oil. Toss the chicken pieces in the oil so they’re coated all over. Place skin side up. Add garlic cloves, lemon chunks and  thyme. Sprinkle over the white wine and put in the oven to cook for 2 hours. 

Turn up the oven to 200°C and cook the chicken for another 30-45 minutes, by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelise at the edges. 

 

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Recipe: fabulous lemon spaghetti

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Right now we have normal Spring weather in London (as one would expect in May), but when I made this lemony pasta for the book club girls we had summer temperatures in April (!). If it hadn’t been so windy, I would have liked to eat outside but indoors had to do.

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Because of the nice weather I wanted to make something summery, but more filling than a salad, so when my colleague suggested this River Café recipe I had a hunch it would be perfect.

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And it was!

Looking at the ingredients list it might seem like a heavy dish but the acidity from the lemon makes it appear as light as air (well almost). It’s so fresh and really tastes of summer. So much so that it’s easy to dream of Mediterranean holidays…

But back to London and reality. The pasta went down a treat (everybody had seconds) and Mary-Louise even asked for the recipe. She has since reported back that she made it twice in one weekend and that it works just as well with the pasta shape bucatini. Thank you M-L!

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Lemon spaghetti with Parmesan and basil, serves 6

Adapted from River Café’s recipe.

250 g spaghetti

juice of 3-4 lemons, preferably Amalfi lemons

150 ml olive oil

150 g Parmesan, freshly grated

2 handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and finely chopped

finely grated lemon zest 

Cook the spaghetti in a generous amount of boiling salted water, then drain thoroughly and return to the saucepan.

Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil, then stir in the Parmesan; it will melt into the mixture, making it thick and creamy. Season with sea salt and black pepper and add more lemon juice to taste.

Add the sauce to the spaghetti and shake the pan so that each strand of pasta is coated with the cheese. Finally, stir in the chopped basil and some grated lemon zest.

 

Recipe: slow-cooked salmon with fennel, lemon and chilli

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Salmon. Probably the most popular fish in Sweden, but not my first choice to be honest. I blame all the baked (over-cooked) salmon fillets when I was at Uni for that. Although I love the oily fish raw, cured and cold-smoked. And, after trying this recipe, like this; baked in a very low oven and still raw in the middle.

Slow-roasted salmon with fennel, lemon and chilli, serves 6

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe.

1/2 fennel, thinly sliced

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 red or green chili, sliced

4 sprigs dill + more for serving

salt and black pepper

900 g salmon fillet without skin

olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 135C. Pour a little oil into a baking dish. Place fennel, lemon, chilli and till in the dish and place the salmon on top. Add plenty of salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or longer if you want it cooked through. 

Shred the fish into smaller pieces. Remove the dill (and substitute with fresh dill) and serve with the baked vegetables. I also had new potatoes and a cold sauce with lumpfish roe with mine.

Recipe: cod loin with lemon, capers, red onions and browned butter

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Maybe it’s because of my Scandinavian heritage but I really do like cod. I didn’t use to as a child, but back then my mother used to serve the cod poached *shudders* whereas I like to cook mine in the oven which keeps it firmer. My only “problem” with cod is that it looks so beige on the (white) plate, but adorning the cooked fish with pink, yellow and green accessories like in this recipe effectively solves that problem. Luckily the lemon segments, red onions and capers also elevates the cod to a rather sophisticated dinner party dish, which the addition of that amazing browned butter cements even further.

Thank you Bon Appetit for the inspiration and sorry for butchering your recipe, but this version is more Scandi.

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Cod loin with lemon, red onions, capers and browned butter, serves 6

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe.

1 kg cod loin

2 lemons

1/2 red onion

1 tbsp small capers

salt & pepper

500 g salted butter

Cut the cod loin into smaller pieces. Peel the lemon and cut into segments in between the membranes and place in a bowl. Slice the onion thinly and place in a bowl and cover with lemon juice. Place the cod in a buttered or oiled ovenproof dish and season well. Cook in 150C oven for 20-25 minutes or until just cooked through. Leave to rest for a few minutes.   

While the fish is cooking, place the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat until nice and browned. Keep warm. 

Mix the lemon segments with the red onions (but not the juice) and capers on a bowl. Put the fish onto a clean serving plate and top with cod pieces with the lemon and onion mixture. Spoon over some browned butter. Serve with potato purée, peas and carrots and serve the rest of the browned butter on the side, it’s the only sauce you need. 

Lemon soufflé with elderflower liqueur

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I’ve been wanting to make soufflés for a while now and when I was at home for Christmas I finally did. With my very knowledgeable mother by my side. But I needn’t have worried – it wasn’t hard at all. And it is so satisfying watching the soufflés rise in the oven through the oven door.

The original recipe called for Grand Marnier, but we didn’t have any and therefore substituted it with another liqueur; St Germain. It didn’t add that much flavour though, but there was an elderflower hint at least.

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Lemon sufflé with elderflower liqueur, makes 6

50 g butter

80 g plain flour

200 ml milk

3 egg yolks

6 egg whites

80 g caster sugar

100 ml St Germain elderflower liqueur 

grated zest from 1 lemon

softened butter and caster sugar for the ramekins

icing sugar for dusting

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and incorporate it into the melted butter using a wooden spoon. Add milk and sugar and incorporate it on low heat until the batter is smooth and easily comes off the sides of the pan. Leave to cool. 

Thereafter mix in the egg yolks, liqueur and lemon zest. Beat the egg whites to a hart foam and fold them into the mixture. 

Butter the ramekins thoroughly and coat them in caster sugar. Fill the ramekins (all the way up and make sure the surface is even). 

Bake in 200C for 12-15 minutes; until they’ve risen above the ramekin edge and are golden brown on top. Keep an eye on them through the oven door. 

Remove the soufflés carefully from the oven, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately. 

Asparagus risotto with lemon and dill oil

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March this year seems to give us a real pick ‘n mix of weathers; from snow and cold winds to warm temperatures and wonderful sunshine It makes it difficult both to dress appropriately and eat appropriately.

This risotto is a great compromise as it is both creamy and warming (for cold weather) and fresh and spring-like with the addition of asparagus and lemon. I just can’t bring myself to go back to hearty stews after a few days of fresh salads.

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I used this recipe, but used vegetable stock instead. And at the end I added lemon zest from a quarter of a lemon, topped the bowl with more grated Parmesan and a few pungent drops of dill oil. I bought mine in from this place, in Southern Sweden.

Potato soup with lemon and truffle ricotta

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I am definitely a seasonal eater, both in terms of produce and in terms of what type of food I fancy. During spring and summer I can’t get enough of fresh salads, and in the winter it feels like no amount of hot soup can warm me up enough, so I eat it all the time.

This time, in between winter and spring, I crave lighter foods such as salads combined with warm hearty dishes to warm me up. But not too hearty. Instead I try and make those dishes seem lighter by adding lemon or just some fresh parsley. In this soup I used both and some ricotta and truffle oil, and yes, the soup really is like that warmer spring coat you start to wear when you just can’t stand the heavy winter coats anymore; it still keeps you warm but doesn’t feel that heavy.

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Potato soup with lemon and truffle ricotta, serves 4 as a starter or 2-3 as a maincourse

4 large potatoes, Maris Piper or King Edward

1/2 red onion

chicken or vegetable stock

50 ml milk

50 ml single cream

zest from 1/2 lemon

salt, black pepper

To serve:

100 g ricotta

truffle oil

chopped parsley

salt, black pepper

Peel the potatoes and cut into equal sized pieces. Rinse the starch away. Slice or chop the onion roughly and fry without browning in some oil in a large pan. Add the potatoes and fry without browning for a minute or so. Pour in the stock so it just about cover the potatoes. Boil with the lid half on for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft. Mix until you have a smooth puree. Add milk and cream and bring to the boil. Adjust the thickness with more milk or stock. Add the lemon zest, salt and pepper. 

Mix the ricotta with enough truffle oil for the flavour to really come through. Season. 

Pour the soup into bowls. Add a spoonful of ricotta, drizzle with a few drops of truffle oil and dust with some chopped parsley.