Roast Chicken with Saffron, Honey, Red Onions and Pistachios

Serves 4
This dish tastes amazing. The combination of cardamom, saffron, rosewater and pistachios is as fragrant as a spring garden. It is as colourful too. The red onions and yellow saffron contrast well with the green pistachios. You could add to these colours with fresh parsley and pomegranate garnishes.  It is based on a recipe by Ottolenghi

4 chicken breasts
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cardamom
a pinch of saffron threads
juice of 1 lemon
100 g honey
1 tsp each of salt and  pepper
2 red onions, cut into 8 wedges each. Cut through the root end so the sections stay together
1tspn sugar and pinch salt
100g pistachios, ground
2 tbsp rose water

In a large bowl, mix the chicken breasts with 2 tbsp olive oil, cinnamon, saffron, lemon juice, 50g honey and salt and pepper. Leave to marinate for at least an hour, or overnight in the fridge.
Mix onions with remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, sugar and salt.
Spread onions on baking dish lined with baking paper. Cook at 150 C for 30 mins.
While the onions are roasting, mix the remaining 50g honey and nuts together to make a rough paste. 
Remove onions from the oven pour the chicken marinade over them. Mix gently to avoid breaking up the wedges. and push to the perimeter of the pan.
Place the chicken breasts in the centre of the pan and top with the pistachio mixture.
Return to the oven for 30 mins, or until the chicken breasts are cooked. If they’re undercooked they will feel soft when pressed. If they’re giving off liquid, they’re overdone. Getting them firm, but before they exude their juice can be tricky and depends on the size and thickness of the chicken.
Place chicken on the plate first.
Then add the rosewater to the onions and juice left in the pan, toss gently and serve alongside the chicken.

Peanut or Nut Brittle

This is a recipe I am developing. Use it, but use your own discression.
The nuts can be toasted or untoasted, or even a mixture. Not sure about this quanitiy. Using two varieties of nuts will make it difficult to get them both to properly browned at the same time. If in doubt, toast them seperately, add them to the toffee and only cook until they've stopped forming a ball in the toffee.
I am trying to make a bitter, salty, thin brittle with lots of nuts. If you don't like it like that, reduce the salt, temperatures, quantity of nuts and size of pan.
2c sugar
1c corn syrup
1t salt
2T water
1T butter
1-2t bi carb soda
1t vanilla
350 - 500g
Flaked salt to sprinkle on the top
Boil sugar, corn syrup and water until caramel stage is reached, at least 180-193.
Add nuts and reheat until they no longer form a lump and they are the required colour. The nuts will colour at a lower temperature than the sugar will turn to caramel stage, so no need to use thermometer here.
Add butter, bi carb and vanilla.
Heat 2 lamington tins in the oven, so the toffee spreads more easily. 
Spread out in 1 or 2 pans. Pull, lift and stretch with 2 forks to thin. But be careful not to deflate the bubbles made by the bi carb as these give a light texture.

Putting the Buttery Crunch in Peanut Brittle

Raw nuts, butter, and baking soda are secrets to richly flavored, delicate brittle

by Flo Braker
from Fine Cooking 
Issue 24
Candy is a frivolous thing with no other purpose than to delight, and that's why it's so wonderful. But for many home cooks, candymaking is becoming a lost art. They think of candy as complicated and technically difficult, but the truth is that a lot of candies are quite simple to make. When the holidays come around, along with the usual assortment of cookies, I like to give homemade candy, and peanut brittle is one of the quickest, easiest candies to make. With just a few ingredients, most of which I have on hand, I can make wonderful homemade peanut brittle in less than an hour and a half from start to delicious finish.
Baking soda and butter make a more delicate brittle

Baking soda adds bubbles—millions of minuscule ones that make the brittle more porous. Take the syrup off the heat before adding the baking soda so it doesn't foam out of the pan.
Sugar syrup is the foundation of candymaking. To make peanut brittle, the sugar syrup must be cooked to what is called the hard-crack stage. That means that the syrup solidifies when cooled, breaks easily when snapped, and no longer feels sticky. At this stage, the syrup will register between 305° and 310°F on a candy thermometer.
The trick, though, is to make a candy that's truly brittle so that it breaks when you bite it, rather than a hard candy that must be sucked like a lollipop or toffee. By adding baking soda to the sugar syrup, you unleash a zillion minuscule air bubbles that give the candy a porous, delicate texture. Butter also helps to make the candy tender and easier to chew, as well as adding its own rich flavor.
Raw peanuts give better flavor
The peanuts toast and even pop a bit as the sugar syrup turns a rich, light-golden color. They'll flavor the syrup as they cook and make the brittle taste nuttier.
For candy with a rich peanut flavor, use raw nuts: the Spanish variety (with red, papery skins) or blanched raw peanuts. Raw nuts can be added relatively early in the cooking process. They'll flavor the syrup as they cook and give the brittle a nuttier taste. Look for Spanish or blanched raw peanuts in well-stocked supermarkets or in health-food stores.
If you use roasted nuts, however, add them at the end of the cooking time. If added too soon, roasted nuts could burn and leave the candy with a bitter taste. Warm roasted nuts first in a 250°F oven. Adding cold nuts to the hot syrup could cause it to seize and crystallize. Also, if the nuts are salted, omit the salt in the recipe.
Other nuts—particularly soft-textured ones like pecans, cashews, and walnuts—are more susceptible to burning, which can make the candy bitter. If you want to make brittle with any of these nuts, add them when the sugar syrup has almost finished cooking, at around 290°F.
Stretching makes the candy thin
Thick gloves are a must for protecting your fingers from the hot candy. Stretch the brittle as thin as you can so that the nuts are just barely bound together with the thin, crunchy candy.
Stretching the candy while it's still hot and pliable makes a thinner brittle that's easier to eat. It takes less than a minute for the mixture to cool enough so that you can begin stretching. Wearing rubber gloves so you don't burn your hands, lift the edges and pull gently. If the peanut brittle is still too hot, wait five seconds and try again. Don't just pull along the edges but from the middle, too, to make the brittle as thin as possible. The nuts should be just barely bound together with tender, crunchy candy.

Bee Sting Cake

2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 1/4-ounce package) instant yeast (not active dry) (also sold as rapid rise or bread machine yeast)
3/4 cup whole milk, ideally at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs, ideally at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Honey-Almond-Crunch Topping
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold is fine
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (4 3/4 ounces) sliced almonds
Two pinches of sea salt
Pastry Cream Filling
1 cup whole milk
Seeds from 1/4 to 1/2 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or cornstarch [updated]
2 pinches sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold is fine
Make the cake: Combine all of the cake ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl, stirring till the mixture becomes cohesive, then stirring for two minutes more. In a stand mixer, you can mix this with the paddle attachment (no dough hook needed; batter is thin) at low-medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down sides, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place for 60 minutes, till it’s a little puffy. (It won’t fully double; this is fine.)
Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Stir the batter a few times to deflate it slightly, then scrape it into the prepared pan and nudge it until it fills the bottom. Cover again with plastic wrap (don’t let it drape in and touch the top) and set aside for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the honey-almond-crunch topping: In a small or medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter, sugar, honey, cream and salt until the butter is melted. Bring to a simmer and let it boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes a shade darker (it should go from a yellowish tone to a light beige), stirring frequently. Stir in the almonds. You will probably panic because this mixture is going to get very thick — but don’t. Set it aside to cool slightly.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Once the cake has finished its second rise (again, it’s not going to rise a lot; don’t sweat it) use a small spoon to scoop out small amounts of the almond topping and distribute it over the top of the cake. It’s going to be a little pesky because it is firm, but I promise (see above: multiple photos of this process to ease your worry), even if it’s not perfectly evenly distributed, it will all smooth out gorgeously in the oven.
Bake cake on a foil-lined tray to catch any caramel drips, for 20 to 25 minutes, until top is bronzed and toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free. (Caramel on it is fine, and should be tasted.) Transfer to a cooling rack and let it sit in the pan for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, run a knife along the outside of the cake, making sure no places are stuck and invert the cake onto the cooling rack. If you’re like me, you’ll be positive that all of the almonds will fall off, but shockingly, in five rounds, I only lost one or two. Reverse it back onto another rack to finish cooling, replacing any almonds that fell off right back on top. They’ll merge back with the caramel as it cools; nobody will know.
Make pastry cream: Warm milk and vanilla bean scrapings (if using; if using an extract, don’t add yet) in a medium saucepan. Pour into a small bowl or cup, ideally with a spout. Set aside. Rinse saucepan with cool water, to rinse and cool; wipe to dry. Off the heat, whisk the yolks and sugar vigorously together for a minute, until pale and ribbony. Whisk in flour and salt until smooth. Drizzle in warm milk mixture, a spoonful at a time, whisking the whole time. Once you’ve add half of it, you can add the rest in a more steady stream, again whisking the whole time. Return the saucepan to the stove and cook on medium-high heat until it bubble, then simmer for one to two minutes, more whisking the whole time. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and any extracts you may be using. Cool custard completely before using, a process that can be sped up in the fridge or whisking it over a bowl over ice water.
Finally, assemble the cake: Once both the cake and pastry cream are fully cooled, place the cake on a serving platter and divide it horizontally into two layers with a long serrated knife. Spread pastry cream over bottom half. Place top half on pastry cream. Serve in wedges; watch out for bees. Refrigerate any leftovers.