Tuesday, 3 January 2012

James Martin: Lime Basil Chicken

Sometimes the best laid plans never go smoothly.  And where Currys is involved, best not even bother planning at all.

As regular readers will know, my dishwasher decided to blow up the week before Christmas.  I hummed and ha-ahed for a bit over where to buy one from given my previous experience with Currys and my fridge and cooker but in the end got suckered in by their post-Christmas deals.  Sucker being the operative word.

Here it is, 8.15pm and it's still not been delivered.  Because the numpty driving the van managed to get it stuck in someone's driveway so they have had to send out a crew with a smaller van to offload the items and then continue the delivery.  And despite the call centre being able to speak to the drivers, they can't tell them to not waste their time by coming to my house.  I expressed my frustration that Miss A will be in bed and my dogs will go mental, as is their wont when anyone comes into the house after dark.  But Currys didn't care.  So I am dishwasherless (the husband doesn't count) and in a little while I'm going to have to get a little bit grumpy.

Likewise with my dinner plans for today.  I'd decided that I was going to do something radical and make Chicken and Rice for the husband (chicken breast baked with Schwarz Chargrilled Chicken Seasoning, a packet of Uncle Ben's rice, gravy and two bits of bread and butter - his favourite dinner) and I was going to try the Cod and Chorizo stew from Waitrose Kitchen which I discovered via the lovely Kate Selwood's blog.

Suggesting changing Chicken and Rice night to the husband is tantamount to sacrilege.  I quickly backed down and suggested chicken curry.  We settled on Chicken Tikka with Frying Pan Naan which is normally a weekend only thing as it takes so much pre-preparation.  Hmmm...  And I'd already started writing the pre-ramble for the Chorizo stew recipe too.  Best laid plans and all that...

Step forward the lovely James Martin.  *Swoon*  Along with Nick Knowles and Chris Jarvis (CBeebies Presenter), James is one of my guilty crushes.  It's something about the combination of the Yorkshire accent, the love of fast cars and the way he handles a deep fat fryer.  If I lived with a man who could cook (properly I mean), especially one who probably secretly deep fries butter, I would be the size of a blue whale.

On a foray into town yesterday to look for an A4 desk diary - how hard are they to find in a little hick town like what I live in??? - I mistakenly wandered into Waterstones.  Having lovingly leafed through the Primrose Bakery book and The Boy Who Bakes, I tore myself away at Miss A's behest to feed the ducks, knowing that it was a bad move to buy yet another baking book when I'm supposed to be trying to be healthier for the next few months (and shift about 24lbs!).

Next stop on the diary hunt, WH Smiths where they had James Martin's Masterclass for a fiver down from £20.  Bargain.  Handed my money over and then realised that I was probably better off buying one  of the baking books given the cardiac-arrest-inducing recipes Mr Martin peddles.  Would I find anything in there that I could eat whilst on a diet?

The answer is yes.  There are probably two recipes I can get away with although I'm currently obsessed with his Club Sandwich with Bacon Mayonnaise recipe.  Mmmmm.  Bacon Mayo....  Luckily, the recipe I chose also fitted in with tonight's Indian theme and comes in at under 500 cals with a 75g (uncooked weight) serving of basmati rice.  Result.

Lime basil chicken with apple and mango chutney
Sadly, only the one picture as I raced to get everything pre-prepped this afternoon just in case Currys might actually deliver in the allotted time slot.  Silly me.

It is really tasty (although the husband didn't like it) and it's beautifully moist thanks to the marinade.  The huge amount of basil makes it smell like it's marinating in posh pesto, but when you actually taste it, the Indian influences do come through.  The ginger was hard to taste even after I doubled the quantity, but this may be because I used Garden Gourmet rather than fresh.

It would work really well in home-made tortillas of the Dan Lepard variety with some salad and a little coriander mayo and I'm sure it would be good popped on skewers and on to the barbecue.  If we ever get any sunshine this year!


  • 4 x 175g skinless and boneless chicken  breasts
  • 75g basil leaves
  • 25g coriander leaves
  • 1oz mint leaves
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 2 tbsp peeled and chopped root ginger
  • 2 tbsp veg oil
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • Salt

  1. Slice the chicken breasts into 4 pieces, place in a owl and set aside.
  2. Place the fresh herbs in a blender along with the chilli, ginger, vegetable oil and yoghurt and puree to a smooth paste.  Season with salt to taste and pour over the chicken pieces, stirring them in the marinade to coat evenly, then cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6
  4. Remove from the fridge and lay the chicken pieces on a baking tray.  Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve with lime wedges and sprigs of watercress.

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