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A thoughtful blend of original ‪‎photography‬, ‪haiku‬ and ‪calligraphy‬; a cathartic journey upon fluid images and simple words.

9 Jul 2012

Lotta-Garlic chicken and a Conference

July is here.
With its finnicky mood this summer feels more like an early autumn. Sunny and melting days are followed by gloomy gray mornings. Every now and then though, there are days with a perfect balmy temperature; the sun shines through the patches of puffy clouds swimming in an ultramarine sky and the sparrows are chirping.
Autumn can be the best season of the year when it wants.

Fishing for Culture
This year I am quite looking forward to the actual autumn since this year I will finally manage to attend again the Food Bloggers Connect conference in London.

I always look forward to visiting London, the blogging community there is easily more vibrant than anywhere else in Europe and that means that I have got many gourmand friends with whom to explore the city.
It has been now 3 years since I last attended FBC and had my blogger' baptism and this year I will even have the chance to speak!
Bethany and the whole girly organising committee, asked me if I was willing to host a workshop on food-science. I couldn't say no naturally, I have so much fun playing with my food that I want to share the rules of the game with you all.
It turns out that I will have a daily session of food-science tips & tricks for the whole conference weekend so we will have lots of time to get to know our pantry ingredients.
Urban landscape around Waterloo station

The curriculum is still under construction so I warmly ask you to share with me any curiosity or points you would like to be addressed during those days. To do so, either leave a comment here or email me.

Many of the recipes I have published on this platform contain already a few scientific tips to make things work better and the one I will soon share with you is no different.
As for the beginning of each month, it is time for the Secret Recipe Club appointment. This time I was assigned with Kate's blog "Kitchen Trial and Error". Kate's blog features simple and straightforward recipes from her family daily meals. With a nice mix of sweet and savory courses, Kate's blog is a good source of inspiration for those days when we simply can't manage to focus on what to prepare for dinner.
Among her many recipes, I was attracted by Kate's rendition of The Svelte Gourmet "33 cloves of garlic chicken" and her quinoa cakes.
The original idea was to serve my garlic chicken with some sort of quinoa croquettes but when I was finally ready to light the fires I realised that I didn't have enough vegetable oil to fry them. Since I had to cook the seeds anyhow before making them into croquettes, I decided to serve a creamy quinoa and amaranth "risotto" with my chicken.

Roasted or braised garlic develop deep and earthy notes that prompted me on using some coffee in the seeds-risotto; cardamom was then added to lift it up slightly giving the dish a more aromatic quality balanced by the use of Chinese rice-wine that helped linking the risotto to the chicken itself.

I hope that by now I have made your mouth water enough to run to the kitchen with my recipe on handy but don't forget about sending me you food-science related questions and curiosities!

Lotta-Garlic Chicken over Coffe-Cardamom Quinoa & Amaranth
Lotta-garlic chicken with coffee-cardamom quinoa and amaranth risotto

Ingredients (serve 2):
  • 2 chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks), with skin if possible
  • 20g butter
  • 1/3cup water
  • 2 garlic bulbs, skinned with the stalk end cut off
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4cup rum
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice-wine
  • salt and pepper
  • Xanthan gum
  • Garlic powder

  • For the Quinoa-Amaranth risotto:
  • Butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • baking soda
  • 2-3 white mushrooms, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coffee powder
  • seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1/3 cup/65g amaranth
  • 1/3 cup/60g quinoa
  • 1+1/3 cup/315ml vegetable stock or water (approximately twice the volume of the seeds)
  • salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chinese rice-wine
  • 1 tablespoon evaporated milk or cream
  • small pinch of cardamom powder

  • Method:

  • Preheat your oven and baking dish of choice to 190C/375F.

    Skin the chicken legs and lay it flat over a cold pan. Let the pan warm up on a medium fire so that the chicken skin will render its fat and crisp up. In the meantime bone the chicken legs and cut the meat into chunks.
    When the skin will be golden-brown and crisp, remove it to a plate and start browning the chicken meat in the rendered fat. To avoid too much thoughening of the meat, brown it only on one side.
    Transfer the chicken meat into the warmed up oven-dish.

    Add the butter into the pan, let it melt and brown before adding 1/3 cup (around 80ml) of cold water. Using a wooden spatula scrape clean the pan and transfer the juices into the baking dish. Add the garlic cloves, bay leaves, allspice berries and chicken stock to the browned chicken, followed by the rum and 1/2 tablespoon of chinese rice wine.
    Cover the baking dish with aluminum paper and bake for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender.

    In the meantime prepare the quinoa and amaranth.
    In a small saucepan melt the butter and let it brown slightly; add the minced onions and the baking soda, sautée for a few minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the minced mushrooms, the coffe grounds and the seeds from the cardamom pods to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes stirring.
    Add the quinoa and the amaranth to the saucepan and toast them for 5-10 minutes stirring regularly. Pour the vegetable stock or the water into the saucepan, stir, bring to a simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Let the seeds rest for 10 minutes.
    Season the quinoa and amaranth with salt, pepper, the evaporated milk (or cream), the Chinese rice-wine and a small pinch of cardamom powder.

    When the chicken is ready, discard the bay leaves and the allspice berries. Transfer the garlic cloves and the braising juices to a bowl and emulsify with an immersion blender, season with salt, black pepper, a dusting of garlic powder and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of Chinese rice-wine. 

    Thicken the sauce if need be with Xanthan gum or using your favorite method.
    Mix some of the sauce with thicken pieces and serve over the spiced quinoa and amaranth. Serve hot with the crispy chicken skin and the rest of the garlic sauce in a sauceboat.


    1. Lotta garlic is always good :-). Great choice - your chicken looks delish!

    2. I had so much fun going through your blog this month and loved the recipe I finally chose! Again you have come up with an interesting dish. I love garlic anything, so this sounds absolutely great to my ears!

    3. Your chicken and quinoa both look and sound delicious, such great flavors.

      If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my SRC entry Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

      Cook Lisa Cook

    4. I was so excited to see London had a blogger conference until I realized it's the WRONG London.... :(

    5. The flavors of this sound amazing. In fact, I wish I had some now. Great adaption of the quinoa!

    6. Thank you for your help regarding my deflating bread loaves! I will try reducing the yeast. How perfect that I had that dilemma on a day when you might visit my blog--the food scientist! :) Anyway, your chicken sounds so good, the risoto too!

    7. I love quinoa, garlic and chicken so the combination for me is just perfect! It looks wonderful.

    8. This looks and sounds amazing!!!