Skip to main content

SLEEP ON IT-One of the simplest ways to flavour food is to marinate it.

There are certain ingredients that you almost have to treat like a sponge. Take a simple, insipid chicken breast for example; it can be totally transformed with the addition of a few herbs & spices and a couple of hours marinating before being cooked.

 Although the main purpose of marinating is to add flavour, in some cases it can also help to tenderise meat, chicken and fish. Marinades can even be used on some vegetables, including aubergines, courgettes and artichokes. Part of the trick is to plan ahead so your food has time to absorb the flavours. The best way to do this is to marinate the night before and sleep on it.

Most marinades combine an acid, like lemon
juice, yogurt, or vinegar, with some oil and flavoring ingredients like salt, pepper, herbs, spices, fruits, and mustard. To make a paste a paste, although sometimes a dry rub (such as a simple herb and spice mix) can really do the trick. You can also mix and match flavours to create your own blends.

Always marinate foods in the refrigerator and cover them with cling film. And don’t use liquids that were used to marinate raw meat, poultry or fish on cooked food. Instead, boil used marinade before using on cooked food or set aside some unused marinade for a sauce.

As marinades usually contain an acid such as lemon juice, wine or vinegar. Use a glass, ceramic or stainless steel container, maybe a re-sealable plastic bag — but never aluminium as this reacts badly in contact with any type of acidity.

There are many different types of marinates including Asian teriyaki mixes, Portuguese Piri-Piri, Thai Satay’s and a plethora of Indian curry blends such a Tikka Masala.

One of my favourite dry rubs is an Egyptian blend of sesame seeds, spices & hazelnuts called Dukkah. It not only adds great flavour but also texture to so many dishes, it can also be used as a little appetiser with olive oil and bread at the start of a meal.

The Spanish have a wonderful lamb recipe where shoulders of lamb are marinated with pomegranates. The pomegranates act as a tenderiser and also a rich, deep red colour to the lamb. Pomegranetes are coming into season soon so try it out. I guarantee, you will not be disappointed! 


Ingredients:         serves 8

            4           Chicken breasts

2 tbsp Chopped, fresh red chillies

50ml      lemon juice

50ml       olive oil

1tbsp      paprika

2 tbs.'s    chopped, fresh coriander


Cut the chicken breasts, lengthways, into 4 even pieces.

Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend to a puree.

Pour over the chicken pieces and marinate in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours.

Heat a griddle pan and fry the chicken pieces over a fierce heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove and place in a hot oven for 3-4 minutes to finish cooking.

Serve the chicken pieces with a big green salad and the avocado-yoghurt sauce for dipping. 

Avocado-yoghurt sauce

2 avocados, peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tbsp Greek yoghurt

2tbsp milk

Juice of 2 lemons

Salt and pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a puree.


Ingredients. Serves  4

500g chicken breast, skinned & diced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the chicken breast in the food processor. Blend to form a fine mince and season.

With wet hands, divide the seasoned chicken into 8 equal portions and mould each one around a wooden skewer into a long sausage shape. Roll the chicken skewers in Dukkah to coat evenly and marinate for a least one hour.

When ready to cook, heat a griddle or grill to its highest setting. Place the chicken skewers on the griddle or grill and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with baba ganoush.


150g sesame seeds

135g coriander seeds

100g hazelnuts

75g   cumin seeds

         Salt and pepper to taste

Lightly roast the seeds and nuts in a hot oven until they begin to colour and release their aroma. Put them in a food processor and grind them to form a dry mixture. Do not over work them.

Baba Ganoush (Aubergine Dip)

Ingredients          Serves 8

2       large aubergines
2       garlic cloves
½ tsp         salt
2 tbsp        lemon juice
2 tbsp        sesame seeds

         pinch ground cumin
         Pinch ground white pepper
2tbsp         natural yogurt
         Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
2tbsp         Chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat the grill to high. Prick the aubergines with a fork and grill them, turning occasionally, until the skin blisters and blackens all over. When cool, peel off the skin. Leave the aubergine flesh in a colander for 15 minutes to drain off excess liquid.

Pound the garlic and salt in a food processor. Add the aubergine flesh, lemon juice, sesame seeds, cumin, pepper and yogurt. Blend to a thick purée. Adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with parsley and serve with Dukkha crusted ckicken skewers.


Ingredients:                  Serves 4

2                shoulders of lamb       

150ml                  Pomegranate juice

6                cumin seeds
100ml                  Dry red wine
2                 Large red onions
1                 Lemon (chopped)
3                Cloves garlic
10              Black peppercorns (ground)
10              fresh basil leaves (torn)

Pinch of salt


In blender, combine pomegranate juice, red wine, onions, lemon, garlic, pepper, basil and salt. Rub some of marinade well into lamb. Place the shoulders in shallow glass or enamel pan. Pour the remaining marinade over meat. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, wipe off excess marinade.

Roast the lamb shoulders in a hot oven (200cº/400fº/gas6) for 20 minutes.

Reduce the heat to a moderate (160cº/220fº/gas 4) heat and cook for 40-45 minutes, basting now and again with the marinade.

Leave to rest 5 to 10 minutes before carving.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Fusion or confusion?

--> I spent a little time in the company of Silvia Anglada recently.
Her restaurant, Es Tast de na Silvia is the certified epicentre of Slow Food in the Balearic Islands, located in Cuitadella (Menorca). As I watched her cooking and explaining her philosophy, I soon realised that Silvia is incredibly passionate about the food we eat, where it comes from and how it is grown. She has been at the forefront of the slow food movement in Spain over the last few years and her restaurant promotes the use of locally produced, seasonal, biodynamic foods. She believes deeply in a reconnection with the lost rhythms of nature, the traditions of the past and working the land. She also believes in producing and eating great, local food in a relaxed, sociable way and wastes absolutely nothing from any of her ingredients in the kitchen…her delicious dessert was flavoured with juice from the “inedible” skins of broad beans!

Wild Asparagus time in Mallorca

Wild asparagus or “Ttrigueros” as they are known here in Spain, grow all over the Island of Mallorca in March and April.  The locals spend hours scouring the fields and roadsides filling their baskets with them. 
Growing wild throughout the Mediterranean, the Romans are believed to have been the first to domesticate asparagus. After the fall of the Roman Empire, asparagus was cultivated in their monastery gardens, along with medicinal herbs. Cultivated for more the 2000 years, asparagus will grow wherever it can find a good footing. Wild Asparagus loves secluded hedgerows and undisturbed country roads. When choosing asparagus, look for firm, brightly- coloured spears with tight, crisp tips. (Very large stalks tend to come from older plants and can be tough.). If the stalks bend without breaking it’s a good sign that they have definitely seen better days. Asparagus is usually boiled or steamed, but can be grilled or roasted for a different, slightly nutty flavour. There is a special aspa…


-->One of the biggest food trends for 2018 is the fermentation of foods. From Asia’s top chefs refining age-old recipes of kimchi, miso and fermented tofu to artisan producers around the world making craft beers, all-natural sourdough bread, or the finest organic chocolate, to “food nerds” experimenting with bubbling jars of kombucha, fermented food is growing in fame and finding its way into the repertoires of the worlds top chefs in restaurants all over the planet. Yes my friends, sauerkraut is now sexy!
I think the growing interest in fermenting is tied to a bigger food movement that is concerned with the provenance of food … people want to know the story of what they eat. In the past, all food had a story – where the berries were picked, how, when, where and what was hunted. Over time, supermarkets have made us lose our connection with food. I believe people are now looking for more variety and individuality in their food as most mass-produced food is aimed at the lowest common…