Chef restauranteur of MASU and True Food Bistro Nic Watt shares his top tips for creating delicious dinners this season, and shares a Baby Chicken recipe from his menu at True Food Bistro, the ultimate seaside dining restaurant this summer.
Nic’s top tips:
- Always prepare your dessert in advance and have it ready to go…. as the last thing you want to be doing once you have finished your main is to start messing around with dessert… be prepared and plan ahead.
- When roasting larger cuts of meat, be it chicken, duck, beef, place a small bowl of water in with the roasting to help keep your meat super moist and juicy
- If you are roasting a chicken, try brining it for 4 hours before hand. Make a mix of 20 per cent salt to cold water and add a couple of bay leaves. This will add some delicious depth the chicken.
- If you are cooking for a larger group – say 6 or more – step out of your comfort zone and try cooking only whole section of meat. A great easy start is to roast a side of salmon – then it’s a super easy starter- just add a salad and a fish slice and allow the guest to serve themselves, while you prepare the main.
- My final tip – freeze heaps of summer berries down – in summer when they are sweetest and in their prime condition. As when Autumn comes around, you will have a frozen stash of summer goodness ready for any quick occasion.
Earth Spiced Chicken with Quinoa, Cauliflower ‘Couscous’ and Dukkha Yoghurt by Nic Watt of True Food Bistro
Ready in: 40 minutes Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes Serves: 2–3
Earth Spiced Chicken
- 300g chicken breast (skin on)
2 teaspoons earth spice mix (you can make this by combining one part lemon pepper, one fine crushed bay leaves, one part dried thyme, half part oregano, quarter part celery salt, quarter part garlic powder and quarter part smoked paprika)
- 1 cup water
½ cup quinoa (100g)
2 teaspoons dukkha – an aromatic mixture that combines nuts and seeds for a crunchy specialty (you can make this by combining 1.5 parts crushed toasted hazelnuts, 1 part crushed coriander, 1 part crushed cumin seeds, half par toasted sesame seed, quarter part sea salt and some cracked black pepper)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons golden raisins
- ½ cauliflower, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Zest of ½ lemon
- ½ cup natural yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon dukkha
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ bag rocket
- 1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts (30g raw and chopped)
- 1 teaspoon dukkha
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
Preheat oven to 220oC. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Preheat your BBQ hot plate or grill to high (if using).
- Rub chicken with earth spice mix and marinate for 5-10 minutes.
- Bring water to the boil in a small pot on high heat. As soon as it boils, add quinoa, dukkha and salt. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce to low heat to cook for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat, add raisins and leave to steam, still covered, for a further 8 minutes. Do not lift lid again.
- While the quinoa cooks, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium fry-pan on medium heat. Pat chicken dry, drizzle with oil and cook, skin-side-down, for 1-2 minutes until golden brown, turn over and fry a further 2 minutes.
- Place chicken on prepared tray and roast for about 8 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove chicken from tray, cover with foil and rest for 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.
- While chicken cooks finely grate cauliflower and add to a large bowl. Combine with olive oil, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper, toss to combine. In small bowl combine all dukkha yoghurt ingredients together
To serve: Divide cauliflower couscous between plates and top with the quinoa. Scatter over rocket, drizzle with olive oil and place a few slices of chicken on top. Drizzle over dukkha yogurt and sprinkle over hazelnuts, dukkha and mint.