Saturday, 3 June 2006

The chicken that never would

You know how they say; lucky in gambling, unlucky in love.

Well, at the moment, I am thinking that I am lucky in love but unlucky in... cooking.

Yes, that's right. Cooking.

If you want to try the recipe, click here
I am not a bad cook. In fact I'd say I'm quite a good one. I've helped cater for weddings of up to 150 people and never once spilled anything on the bride.

I've also singlehandedly cooked a three course dinner for my mother's 50th birthday, with no food poisoning incidents.

So I thought that a simple dish of oven-baked Moroccan chicken for J and I should be a doodle. How wrong can a lustful person be...

I open the fridge and take out the chicken thighs purchased at Waitrose two days earlier. As soon as I open the plastic I know something is wrong. That sickly sweet smell of rotten chicken. Not very strong, and only from one side of two of the thighs.

And having witnessed my ex-flatmate very recently in a food poisoning situation where he had to leave both his bedroom door and the toilet door open on a permanent basis due to time constraints, I decided not to tempt fate and bin the chicken.

It was already 2010 in the evening, so J suggested binning the marinade I'd already made and getting a Domino's instead.

But just like a man who refuses to ask for directions when they know they're lost, I decided to be brave and cycled to the nearby Co-op to purchase more chicken. They offered a choice between very dodgy-looking chicken breasts, and a whole chicken.

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished me to the Second Level of Hell!

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Arriving back home with the whole chicken, I took a meat cleaver to it (curiously satisfying) and put the carcass in a pot to boil for stock. I then put the chicken on to marinate for half an hour and turned on the oven. While I'd originally planned some relaxing playstation playing, I spent instead the 30 min obsessively scrubbing anything that had been in touch with the off Waitrose chicken.

As I finished the dishes at about , I realised that our glass baking dish was nowhere to be found. I looked high and low. J looked high and low. The dish had obviously disappeared to an alternate dimension.

I decided instead to use a cake baking tin, the kind with a detachable rim. I tipped the chickpeas in, positioned the chicken which fit in snugly just like it was supposed to, and then poured over my lovely home-made stock.

Which then trickled out at the bottom at an alarming rate, spreading chicken fat to everywhere in my kitchen, including the inside of the cutlery drawer.

Panicking slightly as it was now 2110 and I was very hungry, I scrubbed the grill pan, which J had left with salmon fat in it for about a week, and decided to use that instead. But could a girl win?

No. Because I then realised that the oven wasn't working. Yes, that's right. It was stone cold. I hadn't noticed because the light on the cooker was on due to the stock simmering on the stove top.

I tried the top oven. It wasn't working either.

Extremely pissed off, I tipped the chicken, chickpeas and stock into a pot, which turned out not to have a matching lid, covered it with a dinner plate and boiled it on the stove top.

Instead of relaxing while it was cooking (my original reason for picking this dish!) I spent the next 45 min scrubbing the kitchen floor and washing the whole contents of the cutlery drawer.

Then, amazingly, while steaming some couscous to go with it in the remaining stock, I managed to burn the couscous.

When J came home from playing football (which he'd managed to do in the interim), I almost started crying because I was so pissed off. Fortunately, he was very supportive, and even more fortunately, the chicken actually tasted great in the end. Apart from the burned couscous.

I don't know if this story has a moral, I just needed to get it off my chest. Maybe "leave cooking to the menfolk, who would give up and order a takeaway pizza before it's too late".


  1. You know, I've had situations like that. In fact, "washing the whole contents of the cutlery draw" bought a grimace to my face.

    The recipe looks fantastic, and as a man who loves to cook I'm going to give it a try. I'm going to pick my cookware carefully, mind you ;-)

  2. I sort of like you at the Second Level of Hell as it allows the rest of us twisted creeps further down at the Seventh to look up your skirt.

    I also love to cook and have had my share of kitchen mishaps. I have to admit, I did find it comforting and amusing to know you endured a bit of cuisine failure but only because in the end you had a good meal.

    Oh and don’t worry...I’m saving a bigger and harder tag for you.

  3. Thanks Mickey, always the classy one! Or is it my dirty sinful mind that turns that into an innuendo?

    WD, let me know how your cooking efforts go... I have a suspicion that recipe is in fact cursed.


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