New Year Chicken

This is not a Chinese New Year recipe. If you want some of those, I've got them, but this isn't it.

I invented this salt, brown sugar, ginger and white pepper roast chicken on New Years 2006. I small group of friends filed into my place in Cambridge through the New England snow for dinner, wine and the Twilight Zone Marathon.

I love roast chicken. If it's done well it is one of the great treats, and it can be really simple: just some olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and lemon will do very well. This roast chicken preparation creates a golden skin fragrant with ground ginger, a twist of white pepper and a breath of caramel from the brown sugar.

My boyfriend took one bite, stood up and said "Honey. This is the best chicken I have ever eaten".

And no, he wasn't in the doghouse with me at the time.

You will need:

One jar of ground ginger
about 4 to 5 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
3 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup raw brown sugar (soft demerera works best)
3 tsp salt

One lime

One 3 to 4lb chicken. If you want to make a bigger chicken then you will have to increase the mixture above accordingly.


Preheat the oven to 425.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and sniff it gently. If you are a pepper lover you may want to add more pepper...it depends on how spicy you want to make it.

Cut the lime in quarters and squeeze the juice over the chicken which you have placed on a roasting tray. If you like a really crispy skin or if the chicken doesn't have much fat on it put a spoon full of olive oil between the skin and the flesh of the chicken breast.

Spoon the dry mix over the skin of the chicken smoothing in as you go. make sure the whole carcass has at least a little of the spice on it, including the underside. Spoon any remaining spice into the cavity.

Put in the oven for 20 mins, then lower the heat. you can pour any juices that have come off over the chicken while you're in there. Cook for a further 30 mins and turn the heat back up for the last 10 to 15 to get a really good crispy skin.

Check the chicken is done by piercing with a skewer. The juices should run clear, with no blood.

Serve with some boiled new potatoes or mashed potatoes, roast parsnips and greens. Kale, with its dark green leaf and slightly bitter flavour is a great compliment to the sweet spicy chicken.

I recommend a white wine with some body to go with this meal: an oaky chardonnay or a rounded sauvignon blanc should do the trick, but a pouilly fousse or other white burgundy is preferable if you can afford it.

Indian Corn Salad

This isn't made with Indian corn. We're talking Indian Indian here rather than AmerIndian. I'm afraid I know nothing about AmerIndian cooking :(.

This salad was born out of my love affair with 2 fabulous New England summer staples: fresh corn and heirloom tomatoes. Mix that together with a burgeoning interest in Ayurvedic medicine that sees me buying my first jar of ghee (and never looking back) and you get Indian Corn Salad. It's a fresh, crunchy, slightly spicy, slightly sweet homage to summer. Great with toast or a bowl of rice, alongside tsatziki, lentil rice and hummous for a summer lunch or just on its own.

You will need:

Two ears local corn
A selection of Heirloom tomatoes.
heaped tablespoon Ghee
1 to 2 cloves garlic.
up to 1 tsp depending on your preference Cayenne pepper, ground
1/2 tsp Cardamom, ground
fat pinch Jeera/Cumin, ground or whole
1/2 tsp Coriander seed, ground.
Fresh Cilantro/Coriander
Fresh Mint
Fat pinch salt.

For the heirlooms, I don't want to tell you which ones to get or how many because they are completely different sizes and you might be like me and capable of eating 2 pounds of them... Some varieties I like are Black Prince, Cherokee Purple, Pineapple, and Zebra. I'm particularly fond of Cherokee Purples.

Why Ghee? Ghee is a neutral food in Ayurveda, so anyone of any Dosha or Body Disposition can eat it and it has a soothing effect. You can use butter in a pinch but Ghee is better because it doesn't have the milk solids in it, and so it won't burn at high temperatures. If you are in Europe or the States, just seek out any grocery in your local Indian community and they WILL have this...it is a staple.


Having shucked and washed the corn cobs, use a sharp knife to cut the kernals off the core in slices. Do this over a bowl so that any corn milk that comes out can go into the salad as well.
Cut your tomatoes into small, colorful chunks and try your best not to eat them all while you are cooking!
Smash and chop the garlic.

Heat the ghee in the bottom of a medium sized saucepan. The next part of this recipe is what in Indian cuisine is called "tempering" spices. There'll be more about tempering in other recipes.

you may want to spread the pool of ghee around the bottom of the saucepan a bit. If it doesn't cover, add more.

drop in the spices and allow them to froth and toast for half a minute or so.

Add your corn and mix the ghee through the corn thoroughly. The heat from the ghee and the pot should be sufficient to partially cook the corn, keeping it's fresh crunchiness and slightly astringent taste. Do allow the corn to heat however. If you like your corn well done, you can put in 1/8 cup of water to allow it to steam in the pot.

Once the corn has become a brighter yellow, turn off the heat. Add the raw tomato chunks and salt to taste.

Tear up the fresh herbs and add.

Serving suggestion:

For a snack: Serve in small bowls with toasted pita bread and yoghurt.