More corruption by the government. NHS Trusts seem to be political appointments rather than being based on medical knowledge or even financial ability. The system is flawed, as the tories want it to be, so they can privatise it.


You can ask your butcher to spatchcock the chicken. Alternatively, cut down either side of the chicken’s backbone with a pair of sharp scissors and discard it. Then lay the chicken out flat like a book, skin side up. Press firmly on the breast bone with the palm of your hand to really flatten it out.

Serves 6
chicken 1.8kg, spatchcocked 
unsalted butter 60g, melted
olive oil 4 tbsp 
garlic 3 cloves, peeled
cumin seeds 1 tsp 
ground coriander 1 tsp 
dried chilli flakes 1 tsp 
dried apricots 50g, roughly chopped
lemon ½ 
coriander ½ x 20g bunch
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
onions 4, peeled
chicken stock 300ml, hot

Take your chicken out of the fridge 20 minutes before cooking it. Place the melted butter in a blender or mini food processor along with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the peeled garlic, cumin seeds, ground coriander, dried chilli flakes, dried apricots and the juice of the lemon half. Add all the coriander stalks and half the leaves. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and blitz to a paste. Slash the skin on the chicken thighs and rub the spiced apricot butter all over the chicken. Cut the onions into 2.5cm wedges and place in the bottom of a large roasting tray to create a trivet. Drizzle the onions with the remaining olive oil, then place the chicken on top.

When you are ready to cook your chicken, preheat your oven to 180C fan/gas mark 6. Pour the hot stock into the base of the tray and pop in the oven. Cook for 1 hour, then turn the oven up to 200C/gas mark 7 for a further 10 minutes, to get a lovely char on the skin, until just cooked through (pierce the meat in the thigh, and check that the juices run clear. There shouldn’t be any blood). Remove the tray from the oven, and you can leave it to rest as is. But I like to pop the tray directly on the hob for a few more minutes, just enough to reduce the stock a little more until slightly thickened. Spoon the juices and onions onto a large serving platter and top with the charred chicken. Finish by roughly chopping and scattering over the remaining coriander.

Georgina Hayden is a cook and author of Nistisima (Bloomsbury, £26)

Jerk chicken and papaya


What will Starmer say? Partygate? Ukraine – no point in anything other than support. The point of PMQ’s is the question. Energy costs and the budget. NHS parking? Will Johnson seek to either blame Labour (despite the years out of office) or what he suggests they would do? Suggestions of nationalisation would be good but unlikely.

Weak performance by Starmer again. He did ask for a resignation though. Why does he not respond to Johnsons lies?


National Grid Live Status shows that we are still very dependant on fossil fuels, especially at this time of year. We have become reliant on wind for renewable energy and not done enough to develop solar. As ever I am the worst sort of commentator as I have limited knowledge which may be worse than no knowledge!

Cutting demand is an obvious partial solution. Solar panels on all possible sites of offices and educational establishments that operate mainly in daylight is a no brainer. Governments and investors of all persuasions seem fixated on the large scale projects. Would lots of small scale projects undermine the privatised National Grid? I am surprised at the lack of HEP – water powered this country for centuries. Re-instated mill ponds would surely bring environmental benefits.

The stats show the continuing importance of nuclear power. I am cautious with Windscale, Three Mile Island, Fukushima, Chernobyl all in my memory, and we do not seem to have solved the nuclear waste problem. However, needs must. At this time of year we need an alternative that does not exacerbate climate change. The £13 billion pound cost of increasing the nuclear component from 16% to 25% it to passed onto the public. I am not sure the free market economy is working too well in this market. We have seen the privatised energy companies make huge profits (and the huge fossil fuel companies), whilst little has been done to help the poorest in our society. (I was fortunate to have been born with the benefits derived from a socialist government. The gap between rich and poor was still too large, but has grown exponentially recently). The current capitalist model is broke.

Apparently Tory MP’s with rural constituencies are opposed to relaxing planning rules for onshore wind farms. I suspect that 90% of people living in villages do not give a shit, it is the wealthy landowners they are talking about. I am sure the Daily Mail or Telegraph can run a spurious story linking wind turbines to cancer!


April looks like getting off to a chilly start with frost possible at the weekend. It certainly feels colder than the stated temperature. Heater on in the greenhouse last night and I think I may leave it on this evening and for the next few days.


It seems that the British Empire is now finally consigned to the past. The UK, having diminished its influence by Brexit, is now also coming to realise that the Empire was not that keen on our violence and control.


There is a lot to be said for the trivial occasionally. A little light relief. Thank you Will Smith for this. I do not condone violence ever – he could have made his point more forcefully with words. However I can understand his reaction to a very poor jibe about his wife. I think James Corden would have made ruder comments with less reaction as he would not have been so insensitive. Attacking an Oscar nominee personally would seem to be fair play, but their family has to be out of order, especially on a world stage. So he was totally wrong in my opinion – violence is not. It is misogyny – cave men should be consigned to cartoons.

Whilst interesting today it will be forgotten tomorrow as we return to the grim reality of Ukraine and climate change.


Nadhim Zahawi is at least awake which cannot be said of his predecessor! However quite what his ‘reforms’ will do is a puzzle. He wants more academies to link together to form MAT’s (formerly known as Local Education Authorities run by local councils). He announces new targets without apparently putting up any cash for changes. And the target of 2030 for MAT’s is rather pointless.


I was wondering what impact a cold spell would have on wildlife? It is not predicted to be frosty which is something, but early nesting birds/broods could suffer? Butterflies? Blossom is out on many trees but they will need the bees to fertilise, yesterday there were lots of insects around. My bird feeders have gone strangely quiet in the last 3 days or so. Have they found a better source?

Plenty of Brimstone Butterflies in last week