Merry Christmas and something for the BBQ


Thanks, Al, for our lovely reindeers

I would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas.

I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow, a wonderful week and a healthy and prosperous new year. For those who work, have a big rest and to those who don’t, thank your blessings.  I know I do, everyday.

I have had lots and lots of new followers lately.  To them, I would like to say “Hello” and “Welcome”.  I hope you stick around and enjoy what you see.

To the old faithfuls, “I love you lots.”

2016 has been particularly hard for Maus and me, the main reason being we lost our three beautiful little dogs.  We are still finding it very hard to bear and it is especially hard this time of the year.  We miss them so.


On a cheerier note, the darling, Colette, gave me this beautiful cookbook for Christmas and she made me open it before Christmas day.

palestine-on-a-plateWhen I was working, I would spend my lunch breaks scouring book stores for the latest and greatest cookbooks.  But now I am a country girl, I have no idea what is being released.  In any event, I am trying not to buy things.  We all have too much. But … as I have often said, you can’t have too many cookbooks.

When I was having a read of my new book, this recipe, entitled Za’atar Chicken, caught my eye.  It didn’t look that flash in the photo but I liked the sound of the ingredients.  My photo, black though it is, looks just like the photo in the book.  In fact, the coating is virtually black before it goes on.  There is nothing to it.  If you make this recipe, your chicken ain’t gunna look pretty but it is going to taste great.  Don’t worry, it won’t taste burnt.

None of the ingredients listed below are unusual or hard to find but the combination is very unusual.  I must admit, I was a little apprehensive. I usually use the presence of guests as an excuse to make something new.  This is a high-risk strategy which sometimes leads to awkward situations.  However, in this instance, it paid off.

The only change I made to the recipe is: I used small chicken halves, rather than large chicken Marylands (leg and thigh).  Because of this, I made 1½ times the marinade.  Set out below is the recipe for 4 chicken Marylands.  If you decide to go with 4 small chicken halves, you may also wish to increase the marinade ingredients.

Chicken Marinated with Za’atar, Chilli & Pomegranate Molasses

Serves: 4


  • 4 large chicken Marylands (leg and thigh with skin on, in one piece), coated lightly in olive oil
  • 4 tbs* dried mint
  • 5 tbs* pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp dried red chillies
  • 4 tsp* za’atar**
  • 1 tsp* salt
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded, for garnish
  • 1 or 2 red chillis, sliced, for garnish
  • mint leaves, for garnish

*These are 15 mil tablespoons.

**Za’atar is getting easier to find but if you can’t find any, here is a recipe from Spice Notes by Ian Hemphill (Herbie)

  • 3 tbs dried thyme
  • 1 tbs sumac
  • ½ tbs toasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ tbs salt


  1. Mix the dried mint, pomegranate molasses, chillies, za’atar and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Slice the chilli and deseed the pomegranate then set aside.
  3. Place the chicken on a tray lined with baking paper.
  4. Place the legs skin side down and season with half of the mixture. Flip the legs over and season with the rest of the mixture.
  5. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  6. Bake the chicken until cooked to your liking – 30 to 45 minutes.
  7. Once fully cooked, serve sprinkled with the pomegranate seeds, mint leaves and sliced chilli.

14 thoughts on “Merry Christmas and something for the BBQ

  1. i just recently found your blog, sent you one about my problems with the cataplana earlier today, wrote a comment about the snow pea leaves. I am now retired, 74 going on 75 years, lost my husband who was my best friend exactly 5 years and 8 days ago. I was able to continue on after i adopted 2 pomeranians, the apples of my eyes. They are now 2 and 3 years old, father and daughter. I would send you pictures but do not know how to attach them here. Am planning to cook chicken and pork adobo, Filipino style tomorrow, am defrosting the meat. I will give you my recipe but it is ad lib(?). I prefer chicken without skin, but with bones but it is hard to get the skinless ones with bones is it is the bones that gives one the best thick gravy! I also like my chops with bones. I brown them on my cast iron skillet, transfer them to my Le Creuset cast Iron Dutch oven. Caramelize onions, add tons of garlic, few bay leaf in the cast iron skillet, transfer them to the Dutch Oven, deglaze the cast iron and add the goodies to the dutch oven, add apple cider vinegar ( I like a lot, at least a cup if not more for the 3 packages), soy sauce, salt, freshly crushed pepper, pepper corn ( szechuan pepper corn if preferred) , smoked chipotle( however much heat you like) and some chicken stock or just plain water, rice wine perhaps 1/4 cup , a tablespoon or two of brown sugar, let it come to a boil and simmer wth lid closed until very tender. I personally prefer to uncover the lid when the meat are tender, falling of the bones and cook until the sauce is thickened but my son prefers lots of gravy even if it is thin, served with rice. It should have the sour taste from the vinegar, not sweet from the sugar. I serve them with vegetables, best is sauteed snow pea leaves with olive oil, lots of garlic, be careful not to burn them. I mentioned in my earlier blog that I use my tongs to turn the snow pea leaves coating them with olive oil, then, add some crushed pepper, cider vinegar and soy sauce, cover the wok with a lid for a few minutes to wilt the leaves. Again, we like it with a little kick , vinegary and peppery and sometimes, just a couple of tablespoon of sesame oil before serving, enough when I I can smell their fragrance. !!! I never measure when I cook, so try it if you are adventurous!

  2. So sorry about your dogs. It is truly heartbreaking isn’t it? Hope you had a great day. I have the flu! Can’t believe it. On Xmas day and after coming all the way down to Melbourne. All the best for 2017. Xx

  3. Merry Christmas Glenda, to you and Maus. Also best wishes for the new year.
    We always enjoy reading your blogs , and a big thank you for your generosity.

  4. A very Merry Christmas to you & Maus. Very sad that your fur babies Lily, Maggie & Jules are not here, but I like to think they are all young again, running around & barking in doggie heaven.
    A vey Happy & Healthy 2017. Always enjoy your blog.
    Deb xx
    p.s. Love the Reindeers

  5. Merry Christmas to you and Maus. Let’s hope for a positive, good new year! I know that feeling of missing beloved pets, especially at this time of year. I think they enjoy the activity and excitement as much as we do. Our Lola is now 11 years and really slowing down so we enjoy every good day we have with her since she’s already many years past the norm for a Bernese Mountain dog.

    I LOVE those reindeer!!!

    • Hi Diane, yes 11 is very of for a BM. You are very lucky to still have her. You must be treating her well 🙂 Give her a big hug from me. I miss my canine hugs.

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