Chicken and mushroom pot pie

With Easter, Songkran holidays, and a lot of cat visits to the vet, I’ve not posted for a while. Here’s an easy festive pie to make up for the silence. With some mashed potato and baked pumpkin on the side, it feeds 8-10 people. Continue reading


Feeling lemony

I went to Abu Dhabi this month…

And I came back with dried lemons.

That would be those golf ball-sized items atop the chicken.

They looked much the same even before cooking. The blackness makes them a little alarming (even for someone who eats blachan), so I googled round beforehand for instructions and found some excellent commentary here, with further links:

I also hunted round for some Middle Eastern-type chicken recipes, and in the end concocted my own with green olives and the dried lemons. You’re meant to stab each lemon three or four times to puncture it, then drop it into your stew to infuse.

I rubbed the chicken all over with cumin seed, turmeric and two kinds of paprika – sweet and half-sharp. The next day, I cooked it up with onions, garlic, chopped up olives, raisins, and said lemons, also adding some nice bay leaves – another souvenir from the trip.

It turned out quite nice, especially with this fatoush (green salad tossed with parsley and some stale baguette, cubed and brushed with extra-virgin olive oil) and some grilled eggplant.

It wasn’t as lemony as I was expecting, maybe because it didn’t stew for that long – we were in a hurry (story of my life). I’ll give a go again another day, letting it bubble away longer next time.

My husband was a bit late home tonight, and I’d saved him the leftovers. But someone else got in first.

The misguided search for authenticity

I made Chicken Everest last night, out of Charmaine Solomon’s Complete Guide to Asian Cooking. I’ve had the book for years, but – perhaps snobbily – had never tried this particular recipe listed in the Indian and Pakistan section, because it was one her husband had invented, and not a “traditional” recipe. (“Mr Charmaine”, in his concoction, uses various Indian spices, roasted rice powder – and then a Chinese ingredient: soy sauce.)

It was delicious. And it tasted..Indian. Which made me think about what counts as traditional or authentic.  Continue reading

Chicken curry is the foundation of adult life

When I left home, my mum wrote out this recipe for me. I’ve long since lost the original, but have cooked it so many times that I can write it down from memory. It is, give or take a little, a South Indian-style chicken curry*, and it’s what we made for any vaguely celebratory meal, along with an array of accompaniments of varying plainness or grandeur, depending on the occasion.

Continue reading