I’m on the hunt for all things new and invigorating at the minute. The tried and tested have their place of course (particularly now that there’s more of a chill in the air), but I’m on the lookout for untouched recipes to jazz up the blog and get the taste buds going again. I’m talking spice…and lots of it. 

It’s certainly no secret that we love a bit of chicken in the greedy house, which prompted us to have yet another leaf through Diana Henry’s wonderful ‘A Bird In The Hand’ yesterday, in search of some week day magic. Which is precisely what we found in the form of a splendid dish named ‘Cumin and Turmeric Roast Chicken with Smashed Avocado and Corn Cakes’. That’s four of my favourite things right there…this could only mean success. 

This meal can be rustled up with ease after work. I actually marinated the meat for a couple of hours beforehand, but this isn’t stipulated in Diana’s method. It makes for a tasty supper and a real treat (especially on a Monday). 

To make our version of this dish (serves four) you will need: 

For the chicken:

– 1kg of chicken thighs (bone in/skin on)

– Three teaspoons of turmeric

– Three teaspoons of hot paprika

– Two teaspoons of ground cumin 

– One and a half teaspoons of soft brown sugar

– 35g of softened unsalted butter

– Two tablespoons of EV olive oil 

– Three teaspoons of English mustard 

For the corn cakes:

– 50g of fine cornmeal or polenta

– 50g of plain flour

– Theee large eggs (lightly beaten)

– 250g of sweetcorn 

– 75ml of milk

– 40g of unsalted butter (melted/cooled)

– One dried red chilli (finely chopped)

– Two spring onions (chopped)

– Salt and black pepper 

– Sunflower oil to fry 

For the avocado:

– Two ripe avocados 

– Six tablespoons of sherry vinegar

– Four tablespoons of double cream

– Juice of one lime

– Three tablespoons of coriander (finely chopped)


– Firstly make the corn cake batter (which can be prepped well in advance) by putting everything apart from the chillies, spring onions and oil into a blender. Use the chop option rather than purée. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Season to taste and set to one sided. 

– Preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark five. To make the chicken marinade, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Season the chicken thighs well then spread the marinade all over them. Place in a roasting tin and cook for forty minutes, basting regularly with the juices. They are cooked when the juices run clear. 

– To prepare the avocado, halve them and remove the stones, then scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Crush with a fork (taking care not to mash) and stir in the remaining ingredients, blending partially but not fully. 

– Just before serving, heat a little groundnut oil in a frying pan and spoon in approximately six dollops of the corn cake batter. When set underneath, flip and cook until both sides are golden. 

– Serve all three elements together immediately. 

We were so impressed with this meal. The corn cakes are creamy and sweet, with some lovely texture and crunch from the sweetcorn and spring onions. This works in perfect contrast with the zingy tang of the smashed avocado. Then the chicken…my oh my…gently hot and spicy with a real depth of flavour…and a crispy skin to boot. I want it on the menu every Monday.