Week 65. Botswana. Chicken In A Hole.

When I grow up I want to be a pickpocket/ urban thief. When people are on trains with their young families I want to sneak up to them and steal their most important things. I don’t care about the fact that it will leave them moneyless and with no phone to call people to help. I don’t care that they look like nice people and that their children are with them and dependent on them. I just love stealing. When I do steal I love the fact that I get about a twentieth of what the goods are worth and that I will accept that money readily as I have a drug habit I need to keep fuelled. I love the idea that the people I steal from will be about to go for Tapas in Barcelona, excited about it being their last night away and I revel in the thought that I am about to ruin their night and tarnish their whole trip which was before I came along incredible. I love what a great bloke I am.

So – last weekend we got done.

We were having such a great time and then it all got ripped away from us. Our last day which we planned to spend shopping and on the beach was filled with Police station visits. It was crappy and it was something which hundreds of people experience every day in Barcelona. I love the city but they need to address this problem. We were prepared and guarded the bag and the phones and money was in a zipped pocket, but they were better. I think they leant a bag against us and they had their hands through a hole in the bottom of the bag and into our bag. I think they used a cute baby in a pram as a ploy and I hate them for putting a bad spin on a great break. Fortunately, being the glass-half-full people we are in a crisis (most of the time) we managed to have a great night after, and drunk more Sangria than we would have and put more Tapas away than I thought we would. We laughed it off until we got back and I wrote a list of what we needed to do to sort things out. It’s a pain, but we didn’t get hurt and on that basis we need to get over ourselves a bit and move on.

We got back to the UK early this week and the weather came back with us. It’s been amazing and as a result the BBQ has been used – albeit after an experience I had yesterday. Listen carefully, as this might happen to you someday and this information will be useful. When I turned on the BBQ yesterday I could hear the gas (we are posh) coming out and the ignition was clearly lighting, but they wouldn’t combine. I couldn’t understand why. Eventually I decided to dissect the underneath and take out the gas pipes. As I did I was sprayed with fat and oil (cold). The pipes which take the gas from the canister to the grill were full of fat from previous barbeques and therefore the gas couldn’t travel up to the top. It was rank, it ruined a shirt and a pair of shorts I was wearing but I fixed it like a mechanic and I was proud and I deserved the nod of the head my wife gave me when I returned in, covered in oil, to say the BBQ was back working!

Botswana was chosen this week and they have a dish called Chicken In A Hole. It is supposed to be placed into a pit dug in the sand and placed on burning coals, and would be used in a community which had no cooking machinery….but I had nowhere to dig a hole so I used the newly mended barbeque as an oven.


The premise is a whole chicken, filled with onion and garlic (also shoved under the skin) and the covered in spices and wrapped in cabbage and then foil before baking. I read different opinions as to what the spice mix should be, but settled on it being largely paprika and coriander based  with Cumin.

I can only assume the cabbage is used to moisten the chicken throughout the baking as it softens and seeps liquid into the chicken. The result was utterly delicious. The chicken tasted poached and was moist all the way through, It was so simple and should I live in a desert or not have an oven I would make it all the time. We had it with salad as it’s hot outside, but it would be equally as nice with cous cous or rice.

Make it, and vary the flavour with things you love. It’s fun and delicious.

Right – I’m off to phone my phone carrier and ask why I still don’t have one back!


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