I have not been well in the past few weeks but I’m getting better. I know I’m better when I’m back in my kitchen.
But I need people to cook for! What’s better than having a couple of homies over.
Being so far away from home becomes difficult and lonely at times. You start missing even speaking your own language.
This is why when I meet a fellow Zulu person in Cape Town, I instantly make friends. The friendships don’t always work out but they mostly do. Who can resist homemade food that comes with my friendship? 😜😜😜😜😜
So I’m having over 2 friends. A friend I met when I still worked for the South African Military 2 years ago. And the other I met exactly 2 months ago when she was moving to Cape Town and needed a lift from Durban, which I gladly offered. I love meeting new people. So we drove for 24 hours together and she ended up staying at my house for 2 weeks while she was sorting out her accomodation. It was so nice to have a girl in the house. Anyway; she’s cool, I’ve missed her and she seems to like my food.
Guess what I’m making for lunch? Yes, chicken! Because I’m going through a chicken phase and chicken is a guaranteed win when you’re cooking for black people. This is truth! I see you black person, don’t deny it..😀. On a serious note though, chicken tends to be a fail safe protein regardless of race, nationality or continent.
My lunch is completely based on what I have in the fridge and pantry, like most of my dishes.
What do I have?
4 chicken pieces
Red cabbage, Lettuce leaf
Basil olive oil
Marinade- soy sauce, white spirit vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, paprika, ginger powder, honey, masala, fresh garlic.
What to do?
Our meal has many components to it, everything serves it purpose. Remember all of them. I’ll use a numbering system to remind myself.
I’m leaving my chicken to defrost while I go to church.
- When I come back I start preparing the marinade. 50ml of soy sauce, 100ml of white spirit vinegar, 25 ml of olive oil, 1 tsp of paprika, 1 tsp of masala, 1/2 tsp of ginger, 1 tbs of fresh chopped garlic. Mix this and rub the chicken with the marinade and leave to rest for at least an hour, over night is always better. Then into the oven dish, wrap with foil. Then into the oven at 230 degrees celcius for 20 minutes, with all the marinade.
After 20 min, remove the foil and let the chicken brown on top for another 10 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking in the oven, clean and finely chop leeks and celery. Cook on the stove with water and salt. When cooked through, strain the water out. Add cream cheese to the veggies and blend until smooth. We want a purée consistency, make sure it’s not too thin or thick. If it’s too thick, add a bit of cream to loosen it. If it gets too thin, add more cream cheese to thicken it. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then set this aside and continue with the other components of the dish.
Dice 4 rashes of bacon and throw into the hot pan on the stove. Add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan( if you’re not using a non-stick pan). When browned, add a cup of couscous and let this roast for about a minute. Then add chicken stock( I’m dissolving a stock cube per 100ml of hot water) 100ml at a time while stirring until fully cooked. Which takes about 3 minutes. All done. Set it aside.
- Our chicken is ready now, remove it from the oven dish, wrap in foil and set aside. We are going to use the marinade and drippings from the chicken for our sauce. Add 1 sieved tbs of corn flour to thicken the sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste then onto a hot stove for it to thicken. This sauce is super spicy because of the masala but my guests and I love hot food. When the sauce is done, strain it and done.
- While the sauce is thickening, do the last component of our dish: the red cabbage and celery salad. Thinly slice a red cabbage, a leaf of lettuce and celery. Throw into a bowl and start dressing it by adding 15ml of basil infused olive oil, 5ml of lemon juice, season with pepper and aromat( you can use salt but I’m being unhealthily naughty- aromat is full of MSG but it makes my dressings so much nicer😧). Mix it all up.
And we are done! Wheeeeeu, I’m definitely back. Now serve up. Remember presentation is as important as taste. Make it look pretty!
I think my guests really enjoyed it. Mkhaya even went for seconds…👍🏾 And none of my guests have had couscous before and they both devoured it, that deserves 👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾
My son’s favourite was definitely the couscous. And because of the heat, he excused himself from the chicken and the sauce.