Mediterranean Chicken Kebabs with homemade pitta

‘I’ve never seen him this angry……. Well you say you hated beer, what did you expect’

Sometimes it’s good to act out. This happened whilst I was out having a drink with a surgical SHO  and his girlfriend. She was stunningly pretty, but nothing can excuse that comment – I just had to leave.

In true Cox fashion I jumped into my Alfa, put the hood down and ignored the texts and calls asking if I was returning. I was not!! About 30mins later I found myself in a country village; it was cold, dark and I was hungry. To my good luck the village had a wonderful little Mediterranean bar, so I got a kebab and a beer and ate them on the boot of the alfa – it’s like a table anyway.

Why a kebab – well the girl was a personal trainer – so that, plus beer seemed like a moral win. Of course, I suspect that she might approve mildly. This is no normal Kebab; made with fresh ingredients, homemade pitta, chicken thighs and of course cooked on a rotisserie which helps remove fat (ish)…………

Chicken Shish

This is nothing like the 3am kebabs we remember from Uni, less greasy and a lot more tasty

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Ingredients

  • 8 Chicken thighs
  •  Olive oil
  • 2 lemons – Zest and juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • Honey

Start the day before you intend to make the kebabs, it allows the meat to marinade overnight.

Start by prepping the chicken thighs. You can either use breast or filleted thighs if you don’t fancy removing the bone yourself. Otherwise, use a pair of scissors, a knife and your fingers to remove the bone.

Cut the chicken into chunks and add to a large bowl. Then marinade, combining the spices, garlic, oil, lemon and honey. Use your hands to get the chicken fully covered.

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Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to infuse overnight.Whilst this happens phone a few people about buying a LHD MGTF and parts to convert it to an RHD………..

Right, it’s time to make a BBQ, everything’s better cooked over the coals after all.

Cooking the kebab couldn’t be easier. Just put on the BBQ when the fire’s ready (BBQ rules apply) and start cooking. It should take around 20mins. The alternative is to cook  in the oven at 200C for around 15-20mins on an oiled baking sheet.

Once the chickens cooked, take off the heat and carve into strips. All you need to do is have something to eat them in.

Pitta Bread

I’ve been making Pitta bread for years, it goes so well with Hummus. In fact I might well blog that later for you all – I stole the hummus recipe of TS during one long night.

 

 

 

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Ingredients

  • 9oz white bread flour
  • Fresh yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 160ml water
  • 2 tsp olive oil

(olives to nibble on)

Start by mixing the flour, salt and yeast in your mixer. Add  1.5tsp of oil, I’m using a garlic infused oil for extra taste..

Bring the dough together and then add the remaining oil and water a little at a time till the dough is soft and smooth. Then knead for around 10mins.

You should end up with a pliable soft dough, which needs to proof for an hour or doubled in size.

Once doubled, knock back the dough and divide into 6 equal balls. Roll out into an oval approx 4mm in thickness.

Bake on a pre-heated tray in the top of the Aga or an oven at 250C for 10mins or golden brown.

Lets Eat

All that remains is to take some of the succulent chicken and stuff the pittas with lettuce, peppers, onion and homemade chilli sauce.

To finish the picture, all you need is a beer, some chips and the boot of the Alfa to eat it off.

Cuban Burgers, D-types and the Mille

“She held my hand and told me to be kind and gentle”

These sadly weren’t the words of a lover to me, but a close friends advice in my final year at Medschool. You see, during that year I had become a bit of a dictator; I had rewrote the curriculum, won a major Wellcome trust grant, deposed the head of the Academic Society. This was alongside becoming a favourite of the Urology team, getting a job offer and a myth about a Jag.

I love myths, this one related to a crashed D-type somewhere in Cuba. Well, I say myth, it’s currently on its way to my workshop. During my trip to rescue her, I stumbled upon a little bar by the beach. Here I had my first Cuban burger. These are a heady mix of lean beef, spicy chorizo, chillis and served in a soft Cuban roll with a side of skinny fries and topped with pulled pork if you’re feeling hungry

Now, I’m just finishing another long run of night shifts on the assessment unit, so fancy a treat. Time to make a few Cubanos and get some food.

Fennel Pulled Pork

As you can tell from the previous blogs, I like pulled pork. Whilst on the trail of my mythical Jag I kind of fell in love with an aromatically flavored Fennel Pork. It again is cooked overnight in a low oven, so those with Agas are at a distinct advantage.

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Ingredients

  • Pork Shoulder
  • Fennel seeds
  • Mustard seeds
  • Coriander Seads
  • Onions, Celery and Carrots
  • Course sea salt and pepper
  • Caster Sugar
  • Thornbrudge Jaipur IPA (or a good pale ale)

 

Start by making your dry rub. Combine the fennel, mustard, coriander, salt, sugar and celery salt in a pestle and motor and grind to a coarse powder. This relieves some of the pent up stress of finding parts of a Jag race engine.

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Next it’s time for a bit of chopping. Layer the bottom of a large Le Cresuet with onion, carrot, celery and a bit of bay leaf if you have any. On top of this place the shoulder of pork.

Massage the dry rub into the Pork and then add a hearty glug of Worcester sauce and a pint of a good quality beer.
As you can tell I’ve been drinking a lot of Juipur recently and it made sense finish the Keg off.

Cook in the bottom Aga (approx 100) for around 12-18hrs depending on the Pork – if you stick a fork in and it falls apart it’s done.

Cuban bread

Having first had this in a little bakery in Havana and falling in love, I persuaded the owner to teach me how to bake them. She used an old enamel cup to weigh the flour out so I’m being true to this. They are sort of an enriched dough, but lack the eggs of a brioche style. Soft and slightly buttery, you can see why they make a fantastic sandwich.

Ingredients 

  • 2cups strong white flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tea spoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Start by weighing out the ingredients and then combine in the bowl of the mixer.
Using the doughook slowly add the water till a soft dough has formed. Then keep kneading at a medium pace for around 5mins.


The same principle can be used to hand knead the dough, it will help with any bingo wings which are starting to form as well. 
Let the dough rest in an oiled bowl for around 1hr or until doubled in size. In the mean time I would suggest fixing yourself a rum based drink or working out where to get more Jag parts from.


After an hour, your dough should be nicely proved. Knock the dough back and turn out onto a well floured surface.
Divide the dough into 4 and shape into balls, taking care to tuck the bottoms under to aid in the rise.


Prove again for around an hour until doubled in size -more Rum would be my suggestion here.


Cut a cross into the top of the rolls and bake at 190C till brown and delicious -around 15mins. In the last 5 mins you can sprinkle with flour for effect.

Cuban Burger

Basically a burger, but so so much more

Ingredients

  • 1lb. 70/30 lean beef coarsely ground
  • 1 small onion
  • 4oz Chorizo
  • 1 small chilli
  • Parsley, sage and a sprig of thyme

 

I’m not going to lie, I don’t know if the Cuban burger is one which originated in Cuba, or was a bit of an American import during the roaring 30’s. Either way it’s delicious. A mix of smokey chorizo, good quality beef and a kick of chilli.

You can either mince the beef yourself, using something like chuck/brisket or get your butcher to grind it for you as I have. Start by dicing the chorizo into small pieces, approximately the size of a pea.

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After this, finely chop the chilli, onion and herbs. You can leave this coarse, if you prefer a chunkier nature to your burger.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and, using your hands, mix together and divide into 4 balls. This gives you burgers somewhere a smudge over 1/4lb………….

Although I have a burger press, the rustic nature of the burgers at the bar on the beach would be disrespected if I were to use it. Therefore using the palm of your hand, flatten into discs.

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All that’s left to do is cook them in a hot pan with a dash of oil. Flip over after around 5mins when a good char has been achieved.

Lets Eat

All that remains is to assemble the burger. I find that it’s best to toast the rolls to give them some structural integrity. Then just add a good smear of mayo, the burger, some cheese, the Pulled Pork and the bbq sauce. Serve with a side of crispy potatoes, coleslaw and obviously a token salad leaf…………….

 

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Oh, I nearly forgot. The car, well I promised the friend who gave me the advice that I would run the Mille Miglia with her when we both became consultants. Should have the D’ restored by then……..