Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Spicy chicken and an old play.

Okay, let's try it out. If you're going to die of arsenic poisoning, it might as well be after a nice dinner.

Take several pieces of bone-in chicken, and make cuts in the skin with a very sharp knife.

Make a marinade: blend half a cup of chopped basil leaves, five garlic cloves, an inch of peeled ginger, two tablespoons of peanut oil, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a little salt. After blending, fold through half a cup of plain full-fat yogurt.

Place the chicken pieces in the marinade ensuring it fills the cut sections. Refrigerate for up to a day.

Bake, or barbecue, turning once. The result is sensational. Serve on saffron-infused basmati rice with hot lime pickle to garnish and fenugreek roti on the side.

Drink: cold beer. Or elderberry wine if you're a murderous spinster with lodgers in the house.

MORTIMER: Aunt Martha, men just don't go into window seats and die.

ABBY: No, Mortimer, he died first.

MORTIMER: But how?

ABBY: Oh, Mortimer, don't be so inquisitive. The gentleman died because he drank some wine with poison in it.

MARTHA: Elderberry wine.

MORTIMER: How did the poison get in the wine?

MARTHA: Oh, we put it in the wine because it's less noticeable. When it's in tea it has a distinct odor.

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