“Buttermilk Chicken with Chipotle Slaw” from “A Bird in the Hand”

IMG_6707Maureen: Huzzah! Our first barbeque of the year!

Nicholas (11): Well, it is warmest day of the year so far.

Maureen: And we also found a bazillion bags of charcoal when we cleaned out the shed, so that also drove the decision. But mostly it’s to celebrate the return of barbeque weather. What do you think?

Tim: It’s good, but I don’t think the chicken is that much better than any other marinated chicken we’ve done.

Maureen: I know what you mean. I’m surprised by the taste. I thought it would be very different to this. While it’s good, it’s not that different from any other marinated chicken we’ve put on the grill. What about the coleslaw?

Tim: It’s good.

Maureen: It might have been better if I had sliced it in the food processor, like I usually do, but I thought I could cut it thinly enough by hand. I was wrong. Should I make it again?

Nicholas: I think it’s good.

Tim: I think it’s good, but not substantially better than other barbeque chicken we’ve had.

Maureen: I’m with you. I’m a little disappointed. I had high hopes for this. It was good, but it wasn’t great.

Top tip: You have to marinate the chicken 24 hours before cooking it. I used an old and reliable tip from Nigella when I was marinating: I put everything into a zip-lock bag, which made it easier to flip and move the chicken around in the marinade during the 24 hours it was in it.


“Buttermilk Chicken with Chipotle Slaw” from “A Bird in the Hand”

“Chicken Orvieto” from “Bird in the Hand”


Kirstin: Tom and I have very fond memories of this recipe from it’s previous incarnation in the Alastair Little book. We used to love Alastair Little.

Tom: And his restaurant. We even spent an evening in Orvieto looking for somewhere that made this recipe. But it turns out it was just inspired by a cooking class he did there.

Kirstin: But it was a lovely evening. On our honeymoon, in fact. This has taken me 3 hours where I was mostly on my feet.

Ella: The obvious solution would be time travel.

Tom: Is it even more of a faff than Zuni chicken?

Kirstin: It’s a different kind of faff. And I have to admit I had the two recipes out to compare them. So at one point I did add a little water to the pan as Mr Little recommends.

Miles: If you were standing for 3 hours then you lost 300 calories.

Kirstin: Nice! Also, we don’t eat liver in this house. So I used crumbled up skinless sausage as I used to in the Alastair Little recipe.

Tom: So that was already a deviation from the original Alastair Little recipe.

Kirstin: Yes. Because chicken livers are just grim.

Ella: Also because you couldn’t liver with yourself if you ate some.

Tom: That joke was just offal, Ella.

Kirstin: Do you like it?

Tom: I love it but maybe not for an everyday evening meal.

Kirstin: Indeed. I should have started earlier, but the light was perfect for taking portraits and we got a little bit carried away. And then there was the nice light in the kitchen too…

Tom: I think it would be great for special occasions.

Kirstin: The gravy is amazing too, isn’t it? And the addition of pancetta is great with the potatoes too, isn’t it? Remember all those years ago, pancetta was incredibly difficult to get hold of. I’m definitely putting this recipe back into heavy rotation. Thank you for the reminder Diana Henry.

“Chicken Orvieto” from “Bird in the Hand”

“Saltimbocca” from “A Bird in the Hand”



Nicholas (11): Yum.

Maureen: I agree. Full of yum.

Tim: This is hardly something new, though. We used to make this all the time when we lived in Chicago.

Maureen: Life in Chicago– a lifetime ago, or in quantifiable terms, 16 years ago. That probably was a Silver Palate recipe. We made a lot of good dinners from that back then.

Tim: But we usually made it with veal.

Maureen: Yes, but this is good too, and much easier to source the ingredients. I should keep this in mind for when we’re on holiday and we’re trying to figure out what to make that’s quick and easy and doesn’t require any exotic ingredients or spices.

Nicholas: I would definitely want to eat this again.

Maureen: Agreed. This is a perfect weeknight dinner, too, because it’s so quick to make. Boiling the new potatoes took twice as long as making this.

Tim: I’d give it a score of 8 out of 10. I would eat it again.

Nicholas (incredulous): Only 8? Surely it’s a 9.

Tim: Don’t get me wrong. I liked it. I just didn’t think it was all that creative.

Maureen: Honestly, you don’t know how good you have it here if you’re only giving it an 8. We’ll have it again and maybe you’ll give it a higher score next time.

“Saltimbocca” from “A Bird in the Hand”

“Chicken, Spinach and Cheese Polpette” from “A Bird in the Hand”


Anna: My first recipe from this book and I have already swayed from its central tenet: I have used turkey mince, not chicken.

Peter: Drings do chicken mince, don’t they?

Anna: Only if you order it in advance. And I’m not that organised anymore. I mean, I’ve cooked us something new and different! That’s an achievement these days.

Peter: They are very nice. I’m getting citrus…

Anna: That’s the lemon zest.

Peter: How do they differ to Gwyneth’s meatballs?

Anna: Would you be surprised if I told you they are a lot less healthy? Lots more cheese, breadcrumbs, and that sort of thing. But I like these a lot.

Louis: Yum! I LOVE them! I am going to eat them ALL up!



“Chicken, Spinach and Cheese Polpette” from “A Bird in the Hand”

“Turkish-Spiced Chicken with Hot Green Relish” from “A Bird in the Hand”

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Kirstin: Well tonight we are having Turkish spiced chicken with hot green relish. The grown ups are having the relish and the littler people are staying away from the chillis.

Tom: Well, I don’t know how Turkish this is. I was actually going to ask if this was Thai. And actually I don’t really care which country it is from because it’s yum. The chicken has lovely flavours and the relish is epic as well.

Kirstin: Oh yum!

Ella: It’s nice!

Miles: It’s a little bit chewy, but I like it.

Tom: That might be because it’s thigh meat.

Kirstin: Shall I make it again?

Tom, Ella and Miles: Yes!

“Turkish-Spiced Chicken with Hot Green Relish” from “A Bird in the Hand”

“Chicken with thyme and lemon and smashed garlic potatoes” from “A Bird in the Hand”

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Kirstin: So I thought I would make this for you Tom, as you weren’t feeling very well this morning.

Tom: Thank you. I just have a cold, but this is definitely making me feel better.

Kirstin: And a cheeky small glass of wine to go with helps too, I am sure of it.

Tom: Well, yes. There is that!

Kirstin: I loved the potatoes that go with this too.

Tom: I loved everything about this recipe.

Kirstin: This recipe is going on heavy rotation. Perfect for a simple meal in the summer. Or the winter!

“Chicken with thyme and lemon and smashed garlic potatoes” from “A Bird in the Hand”

“Roopa’s lemon grass and turmeric chien with potato salad and date and tamarind chutney” from “A Bird in the Hand”


Kirstin: So this was a personal recommendation from Diana Henry. But ooops. I didn’t realise I should have been marinating this from yesterday.

Tom: And you were wearing gloves earlier on the day too. What was that all about?

Kirstin: I had to put the paste on with gloves so I didn’t end up with stained hands. What do you think of it?

Tom: I love the chutney but I’m not so sure about the paste on the chicken.

Kirstin: I totally know what you mean. This chutney is divine and I will definitely make this recipe again, so we can drizzle this delicious chutney on the top of everything.

Tom: Yes, is there any more of it?

Kirstin: Funny you should ask. Yes, there is!


“Roopa’s lemon grass and turmeric chien with potato salad and date and tamarind chutney” from “A Bird in the Hand”