Raining lemons and limes

IMG_0468 (2)Disappointingly, we awoke to the patter of rain this morning. Rain rarely patters here – it normally falls in sheets, accompanied by swirling winds and much thunder and lightning, and it sneaks in through cracks in window panes and underneath doors. Today was a much gentler – almost English – affair, but it deterred us from our planned walk and I have passed the day catching up on a few household chores.

A big chunk of the afternoon was spent on the phone, trying to get through to Thomas Cook, who have most helpfully cancelled the return part of our flight when we go back to the UK for a couple of weeks at Easter, and have now put us on a flight two days earlier with no consultation or option to say ‘no, thank you.’ I cannot, apparently, deal with this online, I have to actually speak to a person – none of those people, according to Thomas Cook’s answering service at their call centre, would be available to speak to me for at least 60 minutes and we would be the ones swallowing the phone bill for that wait, from here in Turkey. Grrrrrrr.

Abandoning that for today then, I’ve had another lemon and lime day. Our lime tree is now sporting not just last year’s fruit and this year’s baby limes, but also the blossom for next years offerings. I can’t keep up! Four more pots of lime marmalade are sitting temptingly on the kitchen counter, the previous batch having been snaffled already by visitors and neighbours – I think I’ll hide the new batch. We also have a fridge full of lemons, as our neighbour’s tree, which grows right into our garden, is absolutely loaded with them.

This recipe is for a meal I often prepare for our ‘diet days’ – low fat, very tasty and hardly any washing up. As a bonus, it is not only absolutely delicious cold in a salad or sandwich the next day, but Robin’s youngest son always insists on extra chicken thighs being cooked so that we can use the leftovers to make pizza the following day (I have to admit that idea of his was absolutely inspired – it really is exceedingly good as a pizza topping).

The recipe I have given here is for two people and can easily be doubled or tripled – if you are doing extra chicken, just increase the ingredients for the sauce accordingly.

It is very important that the chicken and potatoes sit snugly in the tin or they will dry out too much, but the tin needs to be low sided to allow the top of the chicken and the potatoes to caramelise nicely. Line the tin with baking paper or you will have a horrible washing up job and the sauce will almost certainly burn.

Zesty lemon, honey and mustard chicken

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Apologies for the deeply unappetising photograph – must do better. But it is really delicious – do try it, you will thank me!



(Prep 10 minutes, cook 1 hour)

4 chicken thighs, boned and skinned
Potatoes – any type, however many you will eat – cut into chunks, no need to peel
2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons runny honey
1 lemon, zest and juice
¼ teaspoon chilli flakes – more if you like things spicy
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or any fresh herbs you fancy, if you have them)
2 – 3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
Several grinds of the pepper mill and a pinch of salt

You will need a baking tin in which the chicken and potatoes will sit snugly in a single layer, lined with baking paper.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan).

Put the potatoes into a small saucepan with a pinch of salt, add enough water to almost cover, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook, covered for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile put the chicken thighs close together in the lined baking tin – open out the thighs so that you expose as much of the flesh as possible to the heat (you get extra crispy bits by doing this). When the potatoes have had their 5 minutes, drain them and add them to the tin – make sure everything is sitting snugly in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper.

Put all the ingredients for the sauce into a small bowl and make sure everything is well mixed. Trickle the sauce over the chicken thighs and the potatoes (you may need to baste it all with a spoon to make sure everything has some of the sauce).

Bake for approximately 1 hour (but check after about 45 minutes to make sure it is not burning – it rather depends on the depth of your dish). When the chicken is ready, it should be golden brown with crispy edges and the sauce should have reduced into a sticky, caramelised glaze.

Serve with a green salad or any green veg of your choice.


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