This post is a week late which pretty much sums up the kind of life I’m living right now. If I appear to be on time for anything then it’s probably because my watch has stopped meaning something else for me to add to the never ending to do list.
I can’t complain though because it’s been a fantastic week, full of cake, balloons, party hats and bubbles. Yes, the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday at the weekend but in the Hartley household there was another more meaningful birthday this week as Cole turned a full 1 year old. With that I break down into floods of nostalgic tears for little newborn tootsies, tightly curled fingers, sleepy little yawns and without question the endless days where I held onto him contentedly on the sofa, surrounded by cushions, digestive biscuits and binge watching my Gilmore Girls DVDs.
So I haven’t watched a DVD since 2015 and these days Cole pretty much refuses to be held at all, shooting off my lap or out of the pram or out of the car seat as he practices using his wobbly little legs, inching closer and closer to walking. My life mostly involves careening about the house rescuing him from whatever danger he seems to be courting next. I also had to buy him his first pair of shoes as well this week to protect his feet which were getting filthy from London terrain. So it’s milestone after milestone and I’m struggling to keep up.
We celebrated his birthday by taking a hoard of North London mummies and babies to London Zoo along with a giant picnic and we had such an excellent day, even if he did nap through most of the animals. It was a truly British summer day and I made this Coronation Chicken Salad for us all to share. Actually it was a lazy choice of salad as it’s the one I bring to every large picnic gathering and I’ve been meaning to blog about for ages. It’s easy to make, so delicious and good with or without the rice to bulk it out. Even though it’s a mildly spiced coronation chicken, meaning that it’s suitable for adults and babies alike, it is certainly not lacking in flavour due to the freshly ground spices and tangy with lime and yoghurt to make up the dressing along with the usual mayo.
So happy birthday to Her Royal Highness but more importantly to My Royal Highness. It’s been an amazing, non-stop, emotional rollercoaster of a year but one I really don’t want to disembark from.
Coronation Chicken Salad
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
seeds from 3 cardamom pods
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
8 chicken thighs
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
300ml natural yoghurt
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons almond butter
225g wholegrain basmati and wild rice mix, cooked according to packet instructions, then cooled
8 dried apricots, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced
two large handfuls of mixed baby leaves
large handful of coriander leaves
50g flaked almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, black or white
- Pre-heat the oven to 190°C
- First make the curry paste by grinding together the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and cardamom seeds until fine using a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar. Tip into a large bowl and add the turmeric, ginger, garlic powder, salt and mix well. Remove 1 tablespoon of the spices and set aside in a small bowl for later.
- Stir the coconut oil into the rest of the spice mix until a thick paste has been formed.
- Rub the paste all over the chicken thighs until they are evenly covered. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes then remove from the oven and scatter over the sesame seeds, place back into the oven, turn the heat up to 220°C and roast for a further 15 minutes. Remove and leave the chicken until cool enough to handle then shred the meat and crisp skin from the bones. Place in a bowl whilst you prepare the dressing.
- To make the dressing whisk together the mayonnaise, yoghurt, lime juice and almond butter with the reserved tablespoon of the spice mix.
- Mix the chicken, the cooked rice, the chopped apricots, spring onions and chilli in with dressing until completely covered.
- Toss the baby leaves and coriander leaves together in a large bowl then add in the coronation chicken, mixing lightly so the leaves don’t get too heavy with the dressing.
- To serve, scatter over the flaked almonds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.