Friday, 21 October 2011

Roasted Chicken

Cover image taken from

This recipe is adapted from one in Wolfgang Puck's "Makes It Easy" cookbook. As usual, some 'halalifying' was necessary: I substituted the alcohol with a squirt of lime juice and some pomegranate juice in my fridge.

Mama Pongkey's Whole Roasted Garlic Chicken in Herb Sauce

Ingredients for roast:

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped flat leafed parsley/celery shoots
2 tablespoons extra light olive oil (I ran out of extra virgin)
1 whole frying chicken, about 4 pounds

Ingredients for sauce:

1/2 cup pomegranate juice diluted with 1/4 cup water and squirt of lemon juice (I basically had 1/4 cup water, then added about 3 tbs pomegranate juice, squirted in some lemon and topped up to 1/2 cup with water. This is to avoid too much sugars from the fruit juice.)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons salted butter (I ran out of unsalted)
1 tablespoon dried'tarragon' (at least it looked like tarragon. The Iranian guy at the shop didn't know what it was called in English. I bought it anyway. Ha.)
Lime wedges for garnish


I preheated the oven to 230 degrees Celcius. I then tossed together the parsley/celery and garlic slices, then eased this mixture in between the skin and meat of the chicken. Then I gave the old bird a good massage with olive oil and a salt & pepper body rub.

I placed the chicken in a pan in the oven lying on its breast, and set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes are up, I turned the temperature down to 170 degrees Celcius (I forgot this part, and only turned down the temperature only after 10 minutes!!! Eeek one side will be more tanned than the other. LOL), flipped the bird to its side and turned the timer on for 15 minutes. And repeat for the other side for another 15 minutes. For the last I flipped the bird on its back, and cooked till golden brown, which takes about 30-40 minutes. You'll know the bird is cooked when the juices run clear when the chicken thigh is pierced with a knife, or a thermometer inserted into the thigh reads about 74 degrees Celcius.

Then I transferred the chicken onto a serving platter, taking care to conserve the chicken juices in the pan in another bowl. I heated the pan over high heat, added the pomegranate/lemon juice, and stir and scrape to remove the glazed deposits at the bottom of the pan. Then I add the lime juice and boil to reduce the liquid by half.I added the butter while it is still chilled, cube by cube. Finally I stir in the dried herbs. At this point you are supposed to blend the sauce but honestly I couldn't be bothered. Besides, I like chunky bits in my sauce.

And here is the final result:

It tasted.. good. Mild flavours from the garlic and celery. The tarragon tasted quite smokey in the sauce. Parts of the skin turned out a bit crispy. I think if I roasted the whole chicken at 230 degrees Celcius I could probably achieve crispy roasted chicken. Maybe. Anyway we polished the whole thing off. Would I make this again? I would, but make it even spicier :-) Alhamdulillah.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

My So-Called "Beauty/Skincare Regime"

Taken from

This is really dedicated to my youngest sister.

Every time we meet, she will comment on my "clear skin". I usually go like 'huh?' In February this year when she asked me about my skin, I replied I haven't washed it for 3 weeks. Yes, I am that bad. But when your dad is in the hospital with a broken back, things like skincare tend to fall by the wayside. Basically I didn't have a clue on skincare. Yes, by that time I had figured out that my skin hates all those weird-sounding chemicals in drugstore skincare brands, so I had graduated to using a relatively cheap organic skincare range. I had noticeably less breakouts then.

A couple of months ago after going Primal she asked again. I replied it was all the saturated fat I was enjoying. I relished the fat from (Aussie/New Zealand) lamb steaks and (organic) chicken skin. I was cooking in butter everyday. I ate organic eggs. I love ghee. I took virgin coconut oil regularly. I also took Chlorella supplement to help detox from all the toxins being released by my fat stores (or so the theory goes). And probiotic capsules regularly, or homemade yoghurt/kimchee.

This week she called me up and asked again, commenting how nice my skin looked when I saw her last week. I said it can't really be my skincare regime as I don't remember when I last washed my face. I 'fessed up and said Primal/Paleo. I told her to eat lots of bone broths, veggies, no wheat, and lots of good fat. I said to ditch the seed oils. And yeah lately when I do pay attention to my skin, I lightly slather virgin coconut oil on my face, paying extra care to some reddish/inflamed areas. I directed her to Mark's Daily Apple and told her to read up. She asked whether I have a copy of the Primal Blueprint. I do, but since we live far apart it might take some time for her to borrow mine.

I am not sure if she will decide to use the recipes, or change her way of eating. But she is investigating, and taking charge of her and her family's health, which is the way it should be.

Diet (4HB?) Update

Emm.. this was baked salmon, with fishcake soup (yeah slightly naughty I know!) and slaw. Iftar in Ramadan.

Along the way, we found our diet morphing into a low-carb version of Primal/Paleo. How did we do this? Basically we started eliminating suspected causes of hubby's joint pains, namely the dozens of conventionally-sourced eggs, and Carotino oil (blend of the healthy red palm oil and bad Omega 6 rich canola oil). Processed foods are to an absolute minimum, that we only eat them when socially we have no choice. We don't really go for cheat meals anymore.

On hubby's side, his stats have improved tremendously. Blood pressure has normalised, from 150/120 to 110/70. HbA1c was 9.7 in Aug, went down to 6.9 by Sept. In June his random blood sugar was between 8.0-14.5mmol/L (145-260mg/dL), nowadays it is 5.8mmol/L (105mg/dL). He started at 132kgs (291 lbs) in June, now he's at 112 kgs (246lbs). Weight loss has slowed down somewhat due to lack of rest (working overtime) & my not being able to cook for about 3 weeks (loooong story). He has been on glucophage and blood pressure meds for a few years already without much improvement before Slow-Carb/Primal/Paleo. His energy levels have went up, and he is down several sizes. I can't remember how many inches lost at the waist, but it should be around 10-12 inches. :-)

I have attained my goal weight, in fact I am now at 53 kgs (116 lbs), my original goal was 55 kgs. Total weight loss, 7 kgs (15 lbs). I have added back small portions of rice once a day, and the occasional fruit. Some days I go on a mini binge of rice, but as long as I don't do that more than 2-3 days in a row I think I am fine. My skin has worsened a bit when I added carbs back, so perhaps I need to titrate down to a lower amount. I have started to exercise a bit more, keeping cardio to once a week, and lifting weights and other forms of body weight exercises plus generally moving more. I feel good eating this way, although from time to time I get cravings. But lately I am not too worried about them, because I know once in a while I can be naughty. Usually this happens when I am with friends who aren't into this way of eating. Hmm, I think in real life I DON'T have any friends who are Primal/Paleo.

So far so good.. insha Allah... :-)