Indian Roast Chicken – A recipe for Linsey

I haven’t written on here since last year – it started feeling like just one more chore and I lost my motivation. Now that spring is here and the watery sunshine is cheering me on I’m making a tentative return. I think this will be a more occasional project than I attempted initially but not as ‘occasional'(i.e. never!) as it has been for the last while! I’m inspired by the encouragement of my cousin (husband’s cousin strictly speaking, cousin-in-law maybe?) Linsey who has been asking when I’d be back blogging again. I’m also prompted by a desire to say thank you to her for a lovely drawing she did of the baby.

The baby is 9 months old now and eating solid food as well as milk these days. We did baby led weaning with him and it seems to suit him pretty well. He has what we have and gets stuck in. It means any recipes I post will probably omit salt but anyone making them could obviously add it to taste. We don’t miss it.

For Christmas I got my fancy cast iron pot and then (thankfully post Christmas dinner) our oven promptly broke so it got little use until that was fixed. I luckily also received a slow cooker and I’ve enjoyed experimenting with its possibilities. Although I haven’t been writing on here I’ve done lots of cooking and learned/invented/adapted a host of new (to us) recipes. We’ve had pulled pork, slow cooked brisket, one pot slow cooker chicken dinners, various stews, curries and hot pots and I’d have to say I’m a convert. It saw us through a month with no oven admirably.

Once the oven was fixed, I was keen to get the cast iron casserole in use and this recipe for a whole pot roast chicken with Indian spices (adapted from here) has been one of my biggest successes with it so far. Roasting with the lid on initially, means the meat stays moist and tender and the coconut milk combines with the juices to make a delicious spiced gravy. My cheats ingredient in this recipe is frozen cubes of chopped garlic, ginger and red chilli from the supermarket, I love these as a time saver and it also saves me throwing away the unused bits of ginger and withered chillies that tend to end up forgotten in my fridge. If you’re chopping your own then a cube is equal to about a teaspoon full.

Indian Roast Chicken

A whole chicken
2 cubes frozen chopped garlic
2 cubes frozen chopped ginger
1 or 2 cubes frozen chopped chilli
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tin coconut milk

Allow the frozen garlic, ginger and chilli to defrost at room temperature in a bowl. Add the dried spices and oil and mix together to form a fragrant paste.
Stab the chicken all over with a sharp knife and rub the paste all over the skin.
Cover and refrigerate to marinade for a couple of hours. It’ll be ok if you skip this step, but the flavour is a bit better if you give the spices a chance to get right in about the chicken.

Put the chicken into a large, lidded, ovenproof pot and put it in a preheated oven at 190.
Cook it with the lid on for the first hour or so and then remove the lid and pour over a tin of coconut milk before returning it to the oven, lidless, for the last half hour.
Allow it to rest for 15 minutes or so and then carve and serve with the spicy coconut gravy poured generously over.
We ate it with chapattis, cardamom rice and kidney bean curry.
There was enough chicken left over to make a quick and easy weeknight tea of biryani a few days later.



Sausage and mustard pasta

I’ve not posted on here for a few weeks, it seems like ages anyway. We all had the cold in what seemed like an illness relay race – thankfully the baby’s first cold didn’t seem to bother him too much, the rest of us were very brave too. The baby’s recently learned to sit up and should be ready for solid foods just in time to join in with Christmas dinner, which will be fun. I’ve started working, extremely part-time, but enough that I feel busy (it’s amazing how time consuming someone so small is when you’re trying to fit anything else in too!) and I’ve even managed to start a bit of regular exercise in a bid to shift the last of the baby weight. We’ve been eating a lot of stews (my older son has discovered a deep love of dumplings) which has been great when I have had the time but sometimes we need something a bit quicker to prepare.

This Nigel Slater sausage and mustard pasta fits the bill perfectly. I saw it mentioned on mumsnet and hunted the recipe down, the only alterations I made were to substitute half-fat creme fraiche for the double cream (otherwise what’s the point of all that exercise?!) and to add some chopped fresh thyme to the sausagemeat. The original recipe suggests conchiglie pasta but we had it with fresh egg tagliatelle and it worked well for us.

Olive oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced
300g fresh egg tagliatelle
4-6 sausages (I used a supermarkets ‘premium’ range which were 85% meat)
About a tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
a dollop of smooth mustard, such as Dijon
a dollop of grainy mustard, such as wholegrain
150ml half fat creme fraiche (half a supermarket small tub)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Add the oil to a hot, shallow, large pan and fry the onions until they are very, very sweet. They want to be soft, not crisp, so put the lid on so they steam as well as fry, say a good 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to packet instructions.
When the onions are caramelised, skin the sausages, mix through the chopped thyme and then rip the meat into good sized chunks and add to the onions and cook for a few minutes.
Add in the parsley (saving some to sprinkle over at the end) and stir in the mustards. It’s up to you to add as much or as little as you like of each. A tablespoon of each is usually enough.
Stir in the creme fraiche and check the seasoning, adding more mustard if you want. Drain the pasta and add to the pan and toss about till its all coated and mixed. Serve immediately with an extra sprinkling of chopped parsley.