Chicken with Aubergine and Couscous

It is every reviewer's nightmare: you are booked for a job, you get to the location clutching confirmation, only to find that somehow your booking has vanished.

It happened last week-end. After a three hours drive, I got to the Brudenell Hotel in Aldeburgh which I am reviewing for The hotel was fully booked as one would expect for a mid-August week-end but not a Pebble on  the register.

The staff lived up to their 4* reputation. They found alternative accommodation and ferried us back and forth to their faboulous sea-facing restaurant. I took the manager to his word, enjoyed and relaxed.

The Chef, Francis Moore who has previously worked in Le Pont de La Tour and Zinc Bar in London makes the most of fresh fish and produce available locally. The menu has lighter options, an alternative is not that often seen in restaurants.

I started with Treacle cured salmon with cucumber and ginger salad and wasabi cream, I am determined to look into the wasabi cream soon, it was light and so delicate that it transported me to diner's heaven.

Back home, I tried one of Francis Moore's recipe due to a lack of ingredients, remember, I had spent the week-end away, it turned out very different from the recipe but still a very good dish

Chicken with Aubergine and Couscous

serves 2
2  chicken thighs or breasts,
1 large aubergine, sliced or diced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tb fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
2 Tb olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp red pepper

for the couscous
1 cup couscous
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup water
1 spoon butter (choose how much you wish to add)
Pat dry chicken pieces and season with salt. Combine spices in a bowl. In a pan, eat the oil, when it is very hot add the spices, fry for a minute then add the chicken. Lightly brown chicken on each side until just cooked; remove from pan.

Under medium heat, in the same pan saute onions,  pepper and garlic until soft. Remove from the pan and place with the chicken. Add oil to the pan and fry the aubergines for a 10 minutes stating on high heat reduce to low when they are just browning.

Return the chicken and all the ingredients to the pan add the tomatoes and leave it to simmer for 15 minutes. Add lemon juice and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary.

Meanwhile prepare couscous, bring a cup of water to boil. Remove from heat, add couscous and raisins, stir quickly, and cover. fluff the couscous after five minutes and add butter

Serve immediately.

Maggi Hambling's Scallop - her tribute to Benjamin Britten on Aldeburgh beach

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