Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Yoghurt-baked chicken with ginger and paprika

Well, I don't know about you, blogfans, but I'm depressed.

I think it was the long weekend that did it. Extended public holidays will always do that to me. I would say that it's because I'm unemployed, so while everyone else frantically packs up and escapes the office, little wheelie travel bag bobbing along behind them as they rush to make the 18.10 to Exeter, I switch off my laptop and go downstairs.

Because when you're actually from London you stay in London during things like Easter and Christmas. Giles and I were both born in London and raised about ten minutes' drive from each other (although 11 years apart). And then when you work from home (in my case "work" from home) there's not terribly much sense of a holiday, except for the fact that I get up at 9.30am rather than 7.30am.

But the fact is that I've always felt like this when I get too much time off. It all ends up leading to a little bit too much introspection and a massive existential crisis - it always has. If I were ever going to kill myself, for example, it would be in August.

Not even a couple of very successful cooking forays really pierced my gloom but I will describe them to you anyway because they worked and, were I not such an Eeyore at the moment, I would have been pleased.

The first was a yoghurt-baked chicken with ginger and paprika, which I fished out of Percy's Cookbook by Tina Bricknell-Webb

1 Marinate chicken breasts or boneless thighs (or with the bones on - you just have to cook it for longer) in a mixture of:

1 pint yoghurt
75ml oil
1 thumb-sized knob of ginger, grated
2 tsp ground cardomom
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp paprika

You can either marinate overnight or mix this up in the morning and use it in the evening.

2 Put the chicken on a baking tray or gratin dish and cook at 200C for 15 minutes.
3 Turn the oven down to 150C and cook for another 15 minutes
4 Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve

This was easy and great - although I forgot to add the coriander - but the ginger combined with the yoghurt in this said "pudding" to me and I thought tasted a bit strange. If I were to do this again, I'd skip the ginger and add cumin or five spice. But the principle is good. Served here (bottom) with braised kale.


  1. Dear Esther,

    We've read and enjoyed your blog for quite some time. All the stuff about your trials and tribulations - recipe related - are good fun. However the following passage from 'Backwards in High Heels. The Impossible Art of being Female' by Tania Kindersley and Sarah Vine, felt apt after reading the post about the Herve Ledger dress and this post too.

    How to call in the perspective police

    ‘The traffic won’t move, the rain has just ruined your new velvet coat, you pressed the delete button by mistake and you lost a day’s work; you burnt the dinner, developed a hideous head-cold the day before a big date, smashed your favourite piece of china. All these are daily irritants, even occasions for sorrow, but they are categorically not worth much expenditure of emotion.

    The key, when the stock miseries and frustrations come, is to call in the perspective police. You may have just have had a fight with your husband, but you are not living in a war zone. Your brother might have forgotten your birthday, but your home has not been repossessed. You may have discovered a new indelible wrinkle on your forehead, but you have all your arms and legs.

    The perspective police will break down the door with a battering ram and remind you of your blessings. They also know all about waiting until you see the whites of people’s eyes. What they mean by this is that you have reached the age where you will inevitably have to face some deep griefs. They mean: don’t use up all your emotional capital on the small things that are not the end of the world.’

    Best wishes,

    Ruth and Dora.

  2. Dear Ruth and Dora

    I understand why you think I need to read this, but this blog is only an extreme form of my persona. It's not really *me* in the sense that I am not going to kill myself, I don't really give a damn what I wear to the afterparty of my wedding and I had a really nice Easter. But I appreciate that I don't always make that clear.

    I just don't think, on a personal blog that is a lot to do with coping with failure, it's much use or fun being philosophical about everything. I want my readers to identify with moments of petty madness and feel better. I can be brave and philosophical in real life.

    But thanks for thinking of me, I do appreciate it
    E xxx

  3. Hi Esther,

    Thanks for your response and we appreciate what you are saying. After all this is your blog and you can write in whatever style you like. We just think that given your response you shouldn't sell yourself or your readers too short by creating too narrow a persona. Having said this we think it would be universally accepted that you SHOULD keep the Herve Leger dress (we spelt it like Ledger, as in Heath - god rest his soul ...)

    Ruth and Dora xxx

    P.S Dora can't wait to try your crumble recipe.

  4. I also work from home, and I know what you mean about long weekends losing their sparkle. I always find myself nipping into my study to answer emails and do bits and pieces. This is the bad side of working from home (that and the long solitary hours when you find yourself bailing up the DHS delivery man for a chat). The good side is no boss to give you dirty looks when you drift off at your desk after a drinking lunch. Not that I would ever do that. Probably.

    Oh, and that chicken looks delicious!

  5. It is the eternal self-employed person's dilemma. Better to have a boss or not? On balace I find that the chances of being lumped with a psycho boss is so high I'd rather not risk it and take on the chin instead the long lonely hours and self-pep-talks.

    Nice to see you FruGal, as always x