Another Ottolenghi treat : a really really easy one

It’s cold. Really really cold. And because it’s cold we need warming, nutritious, comforting food. We need it to be quick and easy and relatively painless. This is all of those and the only downside was that I didn’t make more of it – I halved the recipe to feed 3 of us and I should never do that.

I’m a bit of an Ottolenghi fan but even I can find all the spices a little too much to handle at times. This recipe uses the softest of spices which makes it a treat without being overly fussy. It’s also incredibly easy to make and I shall be probably be cooking it very often indeed. I actually think this one could turn even the most hardened of Ottolenghi cynics.

I forgot to take a picture in all the excitement so here it is photographed straight from the pages of Jerusalem




Chicken with Caramelised Onion & Cardamom Rice

  • 40g Sugar
  • 25g Barberries (or Currants, Sour Cherries & Cranberries)
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Medium Onions
  • 1kg Chicken Thighs
  • 10 Cardamom Pods
  • 1/2 tsp Whole Cloves
  • 2 Long Cinnamon Sticks, broken in two
  • 300g Basmati Rice
  • 550ml Boiling Water
  • 5g each Chopped Parsley, Dill & Coriander
  • 100g Greek Yoghurt mixed with 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper


  1. Put the sugar in a small saucepan with 40ml of water and heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the barberries and set aside to soak. If using currants you do not need to soak them in this way. (I used this method with my dried cranberries and it worked well)
  2. Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil in a large sauté pan for which you have a lid, add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 10-15mins, stirring occasionally, until the onion has turned a deep golden brown. Transfer the onion to a bowl and wipe the pan clean.
  3. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and season with 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of salt and black pepper. Add the remaining olive oil, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and use your hands to mix everything together well. Heat your frying pan again and place the chicken and spices inside. Sear for 5mins on each side and remove from the pan (this is important as it part-cooks the chicken). The spices can stay in the pan but don’t worry if they stick to the chicken. Remove most of the remaining oil as well, leaving just a millimetre at the bottom. Add the rice, caramelised onion, 1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper. Strain the barberries and add them as well. Stir well and return the seared chicken and push into the rice.
  4. Pour the boiling water over the rice and chicken, cover the pan and cook on a very low heat for 30 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, remove the lid and quickly place a clean tea towel over the pan and seal again with the lid. Leave the dish undisturbed for another 10 mins.
  5. Finally, add the herbs and use a fork to stir them in and fluff up the rice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot or warm with yoghurt if you like.

Happy Birthday Johnny Cash


Through the Vine

I have a new social media addiction. I doubt it will quite take over my love of Instagram but it’s going to be a close one. Vine is a FREE app for iPhone and iPad which allows you to film 6 second movies. You hold your finger down on the screen for as long as you want to record which means you can do six 1 second pieces of film (or more / less) which is then edited automatically and posted. You have the choice to share your movies just within the Vine community, or further afield through your Facebook and Twitter profiles.

The platform looks like Instagram but with moving images. Download it now and have a look at some of the Editor’s pics. It’s amazing what you can do with 6 seconds of film.



So this happened….

I don’t generally use ANTW as a platform for rants, well not often anyway, but I have a quick one today which I’ll try to keep brief.

Can someone please explain to me this current need to caption things, photographs mainly, with the phrase “so this happened”, or “so this is happening”. Not only is it hugely irritating and a bit too over friendly, but I’m sure it’s also grammatically incorrect on all kinds of levels. I’ve been looking in to it and it’s not just Instagram, Twitter and Facebook which seem to be suffering from the occasional “so…” caption. There are blogs published under the title “So This Happened…” and “So, this happened…” which I suppose at least involves a comma. There are people I like and respect using the phrase all too freely and flippantly. Mostly it seems to partner a picture of some kind of food which either has or is about to be consumed. A great big greasy burger, an eye watering spread of Indian take away or a bar full of alcohol or perhaps even a tattoo in mid branding.

I do see how it works and I do understand the appeal, to a point, and perhaps it’s just my prudish, British sensibility which causes it to bother me at all. Who knows. All I do know is that I’m finding it even more annoying than LOL and I never, ever thought that possible.

So, that happened. Is that right? Oh I don’t really care.