Recipe, photography and styling by Tanya Zouev.

I really do feel very fortunate that I am able to combine my two greatest loves: photography and food, with making a living. I have always considered myself incredibly lucky that I can do what I enjoy the most, and get paid for it. Aside from a handful of part-time jobs I’ve had here and there, from stints as a Santa photographer in a major department store to mixing drinks in cocktail bars, I’ve managed to remain a full time photographer now for over twenty years.

Something I’m particularly appreciative of is the wealth of knowledge I am regularly exposed to in regards to food and cooking. I’ve witnessed first hand some incredible food over the years and have photographed many wonderful products before they hit supermarket shelves. I recently had the pleasure of photographing one of these new products: deboned spatchcock, for client Game Farm who produce beautiful poultry in Galston, a picturesque, semi-rural area just outside of Sydney.

I’ve always known the name Game Farm to be synonymous with high quality game birds, so when I was commissioned to shoot their new product I was particularly excited. Game Farm have been producing exceptional poultry since 1975 and over the years I’ve cooked a number of their products including whole spatchcock, duck and quail. (For those who don’t know, a spatchcock or a poussin is a young chicken.) It is also a good thing to know they produce their poultry ethically. The birds are free to move about in large protective enclosures and in their own words the secret to a quality, tasty and tender product is a “stress free life through providing the highest possible standard of animal husbandry.” Definitely something to raise a glass to.

After the shoot (see the photographs here), Game Farm kindly left me with some of their new deboned spatchcock and I created this recipe with it. I am mad for chermoula and have often cooked chicken in this marinade, however when I cooked the spatchcock this way, it took the recipe to new heights. Chermoula is a traditional preparation used in North African cooking and is often used to flavour poultry, fish and vegetables with its incredible medley of flavours. It can turn something bland into something really wonderful with its use of fresh herbs, preserved lemons, garlic and chilli and best of all, it is very easy to make.

I also thought it good to mention that even though spatchcock has at times the reputation of being a bit boney or fancy (probably because you do tend to see it a lot on fine-dining restaurant menus), it is anything but. Spatchcock is a gorgeous bird to cook and eat, and now that they come deboned there’s no excuse not to. Especially when the end result is as good as this.

Serves 4-6. Prep time 20 minutes, cooking time 30 mins (excluding marinating time).

Chermoula Spatchcock

Ingredients:

six deboned spatchcocks, cut into three pieces (Game Farm have these available in packs of two, so you’ll need three packs all up) OR you can also use a whole cut-up chicken
half a standard supermarket size bunch coriander, roughly chopped
half a standard supermarket size bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
one small to medium onion, roughly chopped
six cloves of garlic
six long red chillies
five pieces of preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed under cold water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of two lemons
one tablespoon ground cumin
one tablespoon ground coriander
salt to taste

Method

1. In a small fry pan over low to medium heat, toast the ground cumin and ground coriander until lightly fragrant. Set aside to cool and then place into the bowl of a food processor with the fresh coriander, parsley, onion, garlic, chillies, preserved lemon rind, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Process until you have an almost smooth purée (I like to leave a little bit of texture in mine).

2. In a non-reactive mixing bowl or a plastic food container, layer the marinade alternatively with the spatchcock pieces ensuring all the meat is coated. Cover and place in the fridge for at least one hour, however I prefer to leave mine overnight for maximum flavour.

3. Heat a BBQ grill or a griddle pan (I lightly spray the grill with oil to prevent sticking) and cook the spatchcock pieces on medium to high heat, approximately 3-4 minutes each side, until cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the type of stove or BBQ used so this is an approximate indication. Remove from heat and allow the meat to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Radish and Cucumber Quinoa Tabouleh

This is my interpretation of a traditional tabouleh and its influence lies in the Israeli kitchen. I opted to make this version gluten-free with the use of quinoa instead of burghul wheat and I attribute the addition of baharat to my last neighbour Tom Morris who lived behind me at my house in Melbourne. Israeli-born Tom insists the secret to tabouleh, at least the Israeli version, is baharat, and I tend to agree.

Amongst other talents, the man can definitely cook, and some of the best hummous and grilled chicken was to be had at his place when we lived next door to each other in the suburb of Carnegie (a suburb 14km from the Melbourne CBD with a thriving Russian and Jewish community.) A recipe for baharat is at the bottom of this page.

Ingredients:

one standard supermarket sized bunch of mint, leaves only, torn up
one standard supermarket sized bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only
one small bunch of radishes, sliced finely on a mandolin
two medium sized cucumbers, sliced finely on a mandolin
1/4 of a small Spanish onion, cut finely lengthwise
two long red chillies, seeds removed, sliced finely
1/2 cup cold cooked quinoa (I use a mixture of black, red and white quinoa)
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsweetened pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon baharat spice mix *
salt to taste

Method

1. In a large mixing bowl place the parsley and mint leaves, radish, cucumber, onion, chilli and quinoa. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, baharat and salt. Pour over the salad and stir through. Serve immediately.

Baharat Spice Mix *

This baharat recipe is from one of my all-time favourite cookbooks, Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi. (If you haven’t got the book and love Israeli and Middle-Eastern food, buy it immediately!)

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 small cinnamon stick, broken
½ teaspoon whole cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ whole nutmeg, grated

Place all ingredients into a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until fine.

 

Styling notes:

Ever since I bought the turquoise Moroccan patterned silk in at the local Goodwill I’ve been aching to use it, and this recipe was perfect. The background was salvaged timber (found already painted turquoise) out of a local council hard rubbish collection, the black bowl is by Mud Australia and the rest of the props are all from local op-shops. I wanted the image to be vibrant like the food, keeping the lighting and styling very light. The only light used in this image is window light.

 

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