SUMAC & ALLSPICE CHICKEN WITH AUBERGINE & DILL RELISH

A midweek supper shouldn't be bland. I have so many friends who just lob a chicken breast into a frying pan and serve it with greens. I like that, when done properly, but why not experiment a little? 

Here I've used chicken thighs; they're much cheaper and more succulent than breasts, especially when still with bone and skin. Sumac and allspice are easy to come by, just have a look in the spice aisle and you'll find them. 

Ingredients - serves 2/3

For the chicken 

  • 6 chicken thighs, bone and skin intact 
  • 1tsp sea salt flakes 
  • 1tbsp olive oil 
  • 1tsp ground sumac 
  • 1tsp ground allspice 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced  

For the relish

  • 1tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 aubergine, very finely diced 
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped 
  • 1tbsp freshly chopped dill 
  • 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 fat red chilli, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper 

Method

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas mark 8. In a bowl toss together the ingredients for the chicken, rubbing the spicy oil into the meat. Heat a little oil in an oven-proof frying pan over high heat, then add the chicken thighs, skin-side down. Fry for a few minutes until golden, then turn over and roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes - the skin should be deeply bronzed and slightly crispy. 

For the relish heat the oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the aubergine and tomatoes and fry for a few minutes until softened. Remove from the heat and stir in the dill, balsamic and chilli. Any juices that leak from the chicken when cooking, do add to the relish. Season to taste and serve with the spiced thighs. 

FENNEL, HALLOUMI & GRAPEFRUIT HOT SALAD

Even though I have the luxury of working from home, I still grumble. I can't elude my piling workload; my desk is more cluttered than the streets of Soho on a summer's eve. But the one thing I'm grateful for is the ability to instantly saunter into the kitchen and throw together something lavish. 

This isn't necessarily decadent, but it's so good. And the beauty lies not just in the flavour; it's all fried in the same pan. 

Ingredients - serves 1 

  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced 
  • 1/2 x 250g block of halloumi, sliced 
  • 1 pink grapefruit, segmented
  • Fresh mint or coriander, roughly chopped 
  • Olive oil 

Method

Heat a tiny amount of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium flame. Add the fennel and halloumi slices and fry for a few minutes on each side until lightly charred. Arrange on a plate with the grapefruit segments - you can fry those quickly too, if you fancy them warm - and scatter over the fresh mint or coriander and a light drizzle of olive oil. No need to salt; the halloumi is already punchy.