Nigel Slater's Grilled (or fried) Chicken with Chilli, Lemon and Mint

5/19/2005 07:27:00 PM

On Monday this week, I popped into Borders near uni and picked up two new books – Nigel Slater’s Real Food and his autobiography, Toast. I’ve wanted these books for a while, ever since I’d seen his program Real Food on Lifestyle Food. Click here for some more comments on his deliciously erotic program.

Nigel Slater

What can I say? I’m absolutely hooked! Nigel Slater is fantastic. He’s quite Nigella-esque, in his enthusiastically verbose descriptions of food he is passionate about. I think I’ve read at least half the book already. Unlike Nigella, though, Nigel seems to completely abandon himself to the pleasure of his food, which is to say, there is nothing in here concerned with being healthy or low fat… it is all just delicious. Bring on the butter and cheese!

Real Food is divided into eight chapters – potatoes, chicken, sausages, garlic, bread, cheese, ice-cream and chocolate.

And here is the first recipe I tried…

Nigel Slater's Grilled Chicken with Chilli, Lemon and Mint

Small pieces of chicken are steeped in a Moroccan inspired blend of chilli, garlic, saffron, mint, oil and lemon. It is then your choice whether to grill or fry said chicken pieces. I chose the grill because I thought it would be healthier, and less mess. Hah! The cooking process was so oily and splattery! Nigel says, “it is an exciting way to cook little bits of bird”. How true. Trying to avoid hot oil splattering on my arms is my version of extreme sports.

He also says, “Some couscous, well buttered and flecked with coriander and sultanas, makes a lovely, soothing accompaniment to the spicy chicken”. This was also true. I cooked the couscous in chicken stock for added flavour, and then forked through a little butter, toasted pine nuts, chopped pistachios and coriander. I added the nuts because that’s what we had in the house, and also that’s what Nigella uses in her Saffron-Scented Chicken Pilaf, which I adore, and is Moroccan in inspiration. If we’d had cashews and almonds, they would have gone in as well.

It was fantastic! So, so good! Nigel Slater is my absolute hero! My mum totally loved it too (she’s a sucker for dried fruit in savoury foods, see). I mean, she really, really loved it.

Mum: I love it!

And I love Nigel…

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