We’re fortunate enough to live in a real suburban neigbourhood – picket fences, children in the streets, we don’t ever lock our doors and then we had this most amazing relationship with our neighbours. Poppy (fromGreece) and Giuseppe (from Malta) were our neighbours for the past 8 years and they have really become like a second set of parents. Poppy and I have always shared an incredible love for food while the men shared the same love for their gardens. When I woke up in the mornings I would hear Poppy working in her kitchen – cooking and baking away on one of her many Greek creations. There is no-one in my eyes that can cook like Poppy – or better than Poppy for that matter. She is someone who can take the simplest of ingredients and transform them into these most amazing dishes.
At times when I was sad or lonely when hubby was away I used to sit in her kitchen in my pajamas, having a cup of coffee and waiting for a fresh bread or croissant coming out of her oven – she nurtured my body and soul. In the evenings I will hear a holler from over the wall….Aaa-néééél – then I rushed to the wall and there Poppy would be with a sample (enough for Rick and I and another two people) of what she cooked during the day.
One of the dishes that she sent over the wall on several occasions was roasted chicken with orzo. Poppy taught me how to make this dish – yes, I have I added my own twist to it – but it’s still my Poppy’s dish.
Poppy and Giuseppe have since moved and our life is not quite the same without them but they are not too far away and never out of my thoughts.
I love you and miss you, Poppy. I made this specially for you on Dinner Divas.
- 6 Chicken thighs
- 1t Dry oreganum
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Tomato Mix
- ½ Tin (205g) Rhodes Oreganum and Basil Tomato Mix
- 1 Tin (410g) Rhodes Whole Peeled Tomatoes – chopped
- 1t Rhodes Tomato Paste
- 3 Cloves of garlic finely grated
- 60ml Olive oil
- 200g Cherry tomatoes
- 125ml Dry white wine
- Pinch of salt
- 1t Ground black pepper
- 1t Sugar
- Pasta Rice
- 300g Cooked pasta rice
- 1T Olive oil
- 250g Grated Halloumni cheese (if you don’t have Halloumni cheese you can replace this with hard grated feta cheese)
- 1t Dry mint
- 2T Fresh parsley – finely chopped
- 2 T Fresh basil – finely chopped
- Preheat your oven to 200 °C.
- Rub some olive oil onto the chicken pieces.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, sprinkle with the oreganum and then set aside.
- Add all the ingredients of the tomato mix into an oven roasting pan and stir well.
- Then place the chicken pieces on top of the tomato mix.
- Put in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
- In the meanwhile cook your pasta rice.
- Drain the pasta rice with a sieve (not a colander as the rice drops through) and wash under hot water.
- Add the olive oil and mix.
- Then add the rest of the pasta rice ingredients and mix well.
- After 35 minutes take the chicken dish out of the oven.
- Remove the chicken pieces and set these aside for the moment.
- Also remove the whole baby tomatoes as we are going to use these for the salad later.
- Add the pasta rice to the tomato mixture – mix well then add the chicken and thereafter put the whole dish back in the oven for 10 minutes and bake.
- Take out of the oven and taste whether further seasoning if necessary.
- Serve hot in individual bowls with the pasta rice serving as a bed on which to rest the roasted chicken breasts.