I got so mushy driving to work this morning... as much as I love how that sounds I wasn’t actually driving (I don’t know how to!), I was languishing in the backseat and listening to John Mayer when I saw the nativity scene set outside Central Mall here in Gurgaon. I was so overwhelmed that I think I managed a couple of tears too! Christmas time always does that to me, it makes me very very happy and very very emotional at the same time. I feel such a deep sense of humility, almost like I don’t deserve everything I have and every time I feel this way I am drawn back into my kitchen, the one place I feel I can appease everybody and in turn thank them for their invaluable contribution to my life. I think 11 years of convent schooling did its job, December is the time I am both joyous and deeply thankful. This is the month we were blessed with the world’s most amazing baby, who turns 5 in few days ...this year I am baking the cake for her family birthday party, the friend birthday party gets a pro cake. My mother baked wonderful cakes and savouries, she was a master decorator and my most memorable cake was for my two digit birthday, she made me a wall clock cake with the time of my birth for my 10th birthday. Times have certainly changed, Ally wants me to make a Tiramisu cake!
This week has been busy and all I have managed is a south Indian meal of dosa and
sambhar, a dozen mince samosa’s, two dozen pan rolls and a yummy dinner of sea salt rubbed mackarel’s. I am starting my Christmas cooking mania this weekend, even though I won’t be here for Christmas, I will be at my mother-in-law’s, another kitchen with a huge heart.
Few nights back I baked chicken and served it with garlic mashed potatoes and tomato and olive crostini’s, for me this is a perfect winter meal, as the days get colder, I do the same preparation with pork strips and lamb steaks too.
4 chicken thighs, with skin if possible
2 tbsp Worchestshire sauce
2 tbsp Honey
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp HP Sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
6-8 baby potatoes
1 large onion cut into 4 pieces
6-8 whole mushrooms
Make slits in the thigh pieces. Mix the marinade in a bowl (taste it, there is no essentially raw ingredient in it) and rub (like I always say, with your hands, use your hands!) it in for 4-5 minutes. Use only 1 tbsp of the olive oil for the marinade, the rest goes in at baking time. Leave covered in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. Prep a baking dish; smear in the olive oil, the veggies and neatly place the chicken pieces side by side. Pour the leftover marinade over the pieces. Bake covered with foil for about 20 mins on 200 degrees, poke a few holes on the top of the foil to let the steam escape. Once the chicken is ¾ cooked, you can take off the foil (that’s 25 mins or so) and let the top get browned. I leave it for another 5-7 minutes only. I usually marinate for half a day so for me the cooking time is a bit less.
Cooking meats is tricky; you in one sense have to know the meat. Most Indian homes have mastered chicken but mainly curries. Roasting, grilling and pan frying is a bit of an art if you want a juicy, well done yet tender piece of meat.