Chicken, Daal II

Normal services resume…

Services were temporarily suspended as the Teen left the Attic. It is only temporary. Since her return, normal cooking has now resumed!

As her return beckoned, I went into cooking overdrive. While she told me not to overdo it, I couldn’t resist. I so enjoy cooking but more than anything, I love cooking for her!

I put together some of her favourite dishes to welcome her home. Chicken curry, Daal and chocolate cake – not exactly a traditional ending to a spicy but it’s her favourite bake.

The Chicken Curry? It’s a tweaked version of Roopa Gulati’s recipe on the BBC Good Food website. The spicing is perfect for us and it’s a really tasty dish.

The Daal? I have no idea where it came from (another recipe scribbled on the back of a page) but whoever created the original, we thank you as its one of the best we’ve tasted.

And the chocolate cake? It’s the Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe on this blog but with a twist. Instead of the chocolate butter cream filling, I used whipped cream mixed with crushed Malteesers. It was surprisingly light and not too sweet as I’d feared. A really nice alternative.

Chicken Curry

1 large onion, chopped roughly
50g ginger, chopped roughly
6 garlic cloves
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
5cm cinnamon stick
1 chilli, chopped finely with seeds removed
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp castor sugar
1 tsp caster sugar
10-12 chicken thighs, skinned and boneless
250ml hot chicken stock

1. Place the onion in a small food process with three tablespoons of water. Process until a paste
2. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan
3. Fry the cumin seeds, fennel seeds and cinnamon stick for about 30 seconds
4. Add in the onion paste and fry for about 10 minutes until golden brown
5. Place the garlic and ginger in the food processor with 4 tablespoons water and blend into a paste
6. Add this to the onion mix with the chilli and cook for for another 2 minutes
7. Stir in the garam masala, turmeric, sugar and tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes until the tomatoes darken and reduce
8. Add in the chicken and coat with the paste.
9. Cook for about 15 minutes until the chicken is tender and the masala lightly thickened. The stock can be added if the sauce is becoming too thick
10. Serve with rice or naan bread


Stage 1
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
8-10 fresh curry leaves
1 chilli, deseeded and chopped very finely

Stage 2
3 tbsp butter or ghee
1 onion, chopped finally
1-2 chillis, deseeded and chopped finely
1 tbsp minced garlic
8 ounces red lentils
1½ pints water
3 tbsp roasted garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
7 ounces tomatoes, skinned and chopped
A dash of lemon juice
Salt and black pepper

Stage 1
1. Heat the oil. Add the cumin and mustard seeds, cooking for about 30 seconds
2. Fry the onion until crispy.
3. Add the garlic and chilli. Cook for a further 2 minutes until the garlic softens
4. Add the curry leaves and cook for another 2 minutes
5. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave aside

Stage 2
1. Heat the butter or ghee in the same saucepan. Add the onions, ginger and chilli and cook for about 10 minutes until golden brown
2. Add the lentils and cover with the onion mix
3. Mix in the water, bring to the boil and leave to cook for about 50 minutes
4. Add the garam masala and coriander
5. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and freshly ground pepper
6. Cook for another 10 minutes
7. Remove about one third of the mix and blend into a smooth paste
8. Return to the pan and mix in
9. Mix in the onion and garlic mix from the first stage
10. Serve as a main dish with naan bread or as a side dish

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Here is the link to the recipe on this blog


Pollo Asado



Food smells conjure up so many memories – mostly good, thankfully! I can’t remember what age I was when I first encountered Pollo Asado but it was memorable. Love at first bite as the cliché goes!

Long before the chicken rotisserie machine graced every supermarket and the concept of a raw chicken without giblets was commonplace, my mother brought home an unimaginable feast – a cooked chicken from the local shop in Spain. I remember every detail – the bright yellow plastic bag and the tinfoil package inside. But mostly, I remember the delicious smell, the juices dripping into the bag and the heat off the parcel!

It was one of those simple meals which was divine. Mum put the chicken on a plate and we broke pieces of bread. Eating with our fingers and putting bread into the juices was truly amazing. I worried about the yellowish colour of the flesh but was assured the bird had been corn fed and that was part of the beautiful flavour we were enjoying.

I often cook Pollo Asado but while delicious, it will never be on par with that first encounter. Sometimes, it is eaten with hands and bread or mixed salad or chips. Whatever accompanies it, there are rarely any leftovers!

All the ingredients are commonplace in the kitchen and the chicken is roasted in the usual fashion. The level of garlic, however, is not for the faint hearted!

Whole chicken (c. 4lbs)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 dessert spoon of sea salt flakes
Generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees
2. Combine all the ingredients together to make a paste*
3. Rub the paste into the skin of the chicken and allow to stand for about 30 minutes
4. Place in a covered tin and put in the oven
5. Cook for 20 minutes before reducing the heat to 170
6. Cook for 1 hour
7. Remove the lid and cook for another 20-30 minutes until the skin is browned and the juices run clear
8. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving

*The salt can be omitted and sprinkled over instead (this makes the skin crispier).



Lemon and Rosemary Chicken

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Blogging has been low on the list of priorities since my laptop died and took all my recipes with it! Cooking, however, has continued because the teen and I have to be fed!

In a rush the other day, so what’s nicer than roast chicken? When possible, I spatchcock the chicken so it cooks evenly and all the skin is crispy. The first time I did this I found the method a little creepy but the results were so good, I quickly got over that!

So how do I do it? I place the chicken breast side down. With a sharp scissors, rather than a knife, I cut along the back bone. Turning the chicken over, I push the bird downwards with the heel of my hand so that it is as flat as possible. If the bird is large, I use two large skewers, placed across the bird (leg to leg), to secure it and keep it flat throughout the cooking process. If it is smaller, I don’t bother.

This night’s offering was Lemon and Rosemary Chicken and I served this up with a mixed salad. The leftovers were few!

3lb  whole chicken
Sprig of fresh Rosemary
Half a lemon
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 C degrees
2. Spatchcock the chicken as above
3. Squeeze lemon juice over the bird and sprinkle the fresh Rosemary
4. Season with ground black pepper and sea salt flakes
5. Cook for 1 hour
6. Rest for 10 minutes and serve with accompaniments of your choice.