I got the idea for using pumpkin oil with these chicken breasts from Elizabeth Luard’s autobiographical work, Still Life. It’s black, thick, unctuous, and nutty… wonderful. It looks just like thick balsamic – you see one, you think of the other – so then I had the idea of combining the two, together with some bitter honey, into a sort of tar-like dressing.

It’s a bit novel, but I think it works well.

The chicken goes well with crushed lemony potatoes (go to this post for how to make these quick, no-peel potatoes); and either spinach (for an instant method go to this post), or green beans with chopped walnuts and basil.


Recipe for slightly Indian chicken breasts with pumpkin oil and thick balsamic vinegar


For four


  • 4 x 150g/5 oz organic (better flavour) chicken breasts – skin on
  • 100g/3.5 oz soft goats’ cheese
  • 2 tbsp korma paste
  • 2 tbsp thick balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin oil (or olive oil would do)
  • 2 tsps honey…. ideally a slightly bitter type, chestnut for example, or miele di corbezzolo – Sardinian bitter honey
  • Indonesian long pepper, smoked salt
  • A little dry cider or vermouth
  • About ten stalks fresh coriander, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 210°C
  2. Mix together the goat’s cheese and the korma paste
  3. Slide your fingers under the skin of a chicken breast to make a pocket – stuff with about a quarter of the cheese mix. Repeat with the other breasts.
  4. Oil a small roasting tin and place the chicken on it, skin side up
  5. Mix the oil and vinegar together and brush over the chicken. Season.
  6. Put it in the oven for about 25 minutes until the juices run clear and there is no pink meat. If it starts to look a little dry, add some cider or vermouth. If it looks as if it might burn cover with foil.

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