Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Coronation Chicken"

This isn't really a coronation chicken recipe, but near enough as damnit, and I felt like it had been long enough between posts that I needed to post something. So, in honour of the recent royal hype, I present my (made it up 5 minutes ago) 'coronation chicken' recipe.

1 large breaded & cooked chicken breast
1 tbsp Madras curry powder
1 1/2 tbsp mango chutney
2+ tbsp thick yoghurt
1+ tbsp mayonnaise

Combine curry powder and chutney. Slice chicken breast to manageable bite-sized pieces (dice, if desired). Combine with curry/chutney mix
Add yoghurt and mayonnaise and combine. adjust for desired creaminess.

This chicken salad may be used as a sandwich filling or as a main dish, depending on quantity and desire. If used as a main dish, a whole chicken or chicken parts should be poached with the spices first, and the dish should be served warm. Dried fruits such as sultanas or apricots, and vegetables such as celery may be added.

This is an old-school recipe that could come out if your grandmother is coming to tea (use boring curry powder instead of the Madras stuff). Alternatively, you might punch up the spice and it can impress more jaded palates. I based my recipe on what I had available - if I had my druthers I wouldn't have bothered breading the chicken, would just have poached it, ideally with some spices.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

C'est Quétaine!

It seems that I am a terrible blogger, and only able to put one post up every few months. I'll never get any more readers that way. Ah well.

Anyway, this is a post about the distinctly Québequois word "quétaine" (also spelt "kétaine"). It's an odd sort of word, one that is not immediately translatable into English. It shares a lot of parallels with the BrE "twee", tho it doesn't quite mean the same thing.

"Quétaine" was apparently first attested in the hamlet of Saint-Hyacinthe in the forties. It was used to describe the jarring mishmash of clothing that was worn by the poor who dressed themselves out of the church poor-boxes. This post attributes it to the poor people who were "quêtant" from house to house (cognate for English "questing") i.e. begging. A (to me) slightly more dubious etymology is cited on the French Wikipedia page; that it referred to the surname of a local family - the Keatons or "Quétonnes".

At any rate, the meaning of the word has shifted over the years. It now means something like kitchy or tacky, cheesy, or countrified, or "chavvy", or even "twee". And is used throughout Québec, not only in St-Hyacinthe.

I do find it interesting that a word like "quétaine", which originally referred to the dress of beggars, has managed to intersect with a word like "twee", which also holds connotations of "overly prim and proper". But both could readily be used to describe the verses in some hallmark cards.

I should note that the research for this post was nothing but the most rudimentary Google search, so I've probably missed something important.

Image credit to Benoit.Paillé

Monday, January 31, 2011

so I said I'd try to start posting regularly again, guess that was a lie. Anyway, SOUP!

We have some lovely ginger root at work right now so I was inspired to do a carrot and ginger soup. The colour could have been a bit better as I have difficulty cooking onions to anything less than caramelised but the flavour was phenomenal. If you’re on a soup kick I highly recommend it. Easy to make with local ingredients at this time of year too, which is a plus for me. The version I made was:
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4″ piece of good ginger, peeled and chopped (peel it with a spoon, it’s easier)
1 1/2L good stock (I used home made chicken)
600g carrots, cut into coins
some olive oil
(my version) dry roasted and ground whole cumin, coriander, cardamom and chilli flakes, grated fresh turmeric
(otherwise) 1 tsp good curry powder
salt & pepper to taste
cook onions slowly in oil til soft (or caramelised, if you’re me)
add garlic and ginger & other spices, cook for 5 mins or so
add carrots, mix around til coated, cook for a few minutes
add stock, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until carrots are soft
use immersion blender to whiz to puree or puree in stand blender
(return to heat if applicable), adjust seasoning to taste.
simmer very gently for another couple of minutes to incorporate seasoning
cream/soured cream and garnish of parsley or coriander leaves may be added at serving if desired.