‘Mechwi’ - slow cooked lamb with Ras el Hanout, salt and Olive Oil. Fresh Food in the Hoof, if you are sensitive look away now……
Roman Picnic in the ruined garden. inspired by ‘Apicius’ written 1,900 years ago.
Chicken Volubilis, Celery Custard, Saffron Chickpeas, Eggs with red wine, Apricots & Cumin
1 rounded tsp celery seeds
1 rounded tsp parsley seeds
a handful of chopped fresh mint, tough stalks removed.
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 dessert spoon wholegrain mustard
500ml red grape juice.
1 whole chicken, anything from 1.8 to 2.5 kg is fine for the marinade quantities.
mix all ingredients, excluding the fresh mint.
slash the whole chicken, especially over the thick parts of the bird - over thighs and drumsticks cut to the bone.
rub the marinade all over, into the cuts as well as cavity, if the liver came with the chicken it can be chopped and cooked in the cavity of the bird.
leave to marinate for a few hours or put directly into the oven - gas mark 4 or on the low side of medium. cook for 1.5 to 2 hours. in a roasting tin or a pyrex dish. do not put in a tin that lifts the bird away from the cooking juices.
keep basting and keep an eye on the colour of the bird. The sugar in the grapejuice means the sauce can start to catch, if it does add a little water and keep basting.
20 minutes before the bird is done add the chopped mint and baste again.
the skin will not be very crispy, but the fat will have rendered from the skin and will be full of flavour.
the resulting taste is sharp, rich and fruity but not cloying and the sauce will be intense but not gluey.
the fish sauce adds a vital umami kick - no salt to be added to the sauce, the fish sauce is usually enough. the chicken can be served hot, warm or the following day at which point the sauce will have set.