Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Brand new chicken


We usually roast a chicken about once a week, and while it everyone's favourite meal (Bread Sauce! Bread Sauce!) it becomes very uninspiring to cook it the same way again and again. I found an interesting recipe in the Moro cookbook and decided to try it out despite the fact that only two of us would be eating as everyone else refused to come home.
SamandSam use a Turkish cheese called Labneh but assure us that you can get the same effect by mixing equal measures of natural yoghurt and cream cheese.
So, into the fake labneh (only just scraped together from the darkest depths of the fridge) I stirred; a fat clove of garlic smashed into a paste with a couple of pinches of salt, a handful of chopped up sage leaves and some smokey paprika, as well as a maverick addition of a few ground smoked peppercorns. this mix then gets stuffed under the skin of the chicken, and over the thighs as much as you can fit it in without shuddering - it is one of the most disturbing sensations in the world massaging yoghurt into a naked chicken. You may need to sew the ends together with toothpicks to keep the stuffing in.
This then roasts in the oven for 2 hours on gas mark 7. It is wonderful. We had ours with fried sliced potatoes and a salad, but samandsam recommend spinach and bulghar wheat. Too sensible for us on a weeknight. Or any night.

Reincarnation Dinner


The "lads" are over again and trudging around the house smoking fags and mixing drum tracks for their "album". Occasionally they come into the kitchen with a glazed expression and open and close the cupboards helplessly. I know they are hungry but won't admit it and can't work out the logistical nightmare of cooking for themselves in someone else's kitchen. So I decide to make them a vat of pasta.
When the labour of love is finished and I stand at the bottom of the stairs calling like a dinner lady from a fifties sitcom, it becomes clear that they have gone to McDonalds drive-thru instead. I eat a 1/6 of the pasta.
When Mum gets back that evening she finds my sister struck down by a bout of flu, and reforms my tragic forgotten lunch into a warm and comforting pasta bake, with some fried sausage meat and extra cheese on top.
Next day, my sister's mysterious illness is so life-threateningly serious that she can't go to school and instead spreads herself over all the sofas and watches x-factor, groaning.
As a cure, the pasta bake is evolved into a nourishing life-giving soup, by the addition of some chicken stock.
Next morning, the magic has rubbed off and my sister has been resurrected, once more a healthy, school-worthy person. Miracle.