My earliest memory of “garlic” is a bedchamber scene between Sid James and Joan Sims in the 1971 film Carry on Henry. Henry VIII’s wedding night ardour dies as his French wife Marie reeks of garlic, which she considers an aphrodisiac and refuses to stop eating it. Cue: divorce.
And who can forget comedian Peter Kay describing a conversation with his father about garlic bread. “Garlic…? And bread…?” “It’s the future! I’ve tasted it!”
Perhaps socially it is best shared or eaten with parsley, but garlic is both food and folk medicine. For thousands of years, it was believed to have medicinal properties – and science has now confirmed it.
Garlic is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense plant in the onion family that can help prevent and reduce the severity of colds and ‘flu. It appears to improve blood pressure and bone health, reduce cholesterol and lead toxicity, protect against the effects of ageing, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It may even improve physical performance and help you live longer. Those ancient doctors knew their stuff.
Best of all, garlic is delicious and easy to add to your diet, as this recipe proves!
Preparation time: 5-15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
1 medium chicken (about 1.5kg): jointed into eight pieces; skin on breast and wings, skin off legs and thighs
4 tbsp of olive oil
2 garlic bulbs: separated, skins on
6 bay leaves
200 ml of white wine or Fino sherry
100ml of water
Salt and pepper
1. Prepare the chicken as above and season with a little salt and pepper
2. Place a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or frying pan (that has a lid) over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic cloves and fry gently until slightly golden. Remove the garlic from the oil with a spoon and set aside
3. Add the chicken to the pan in batches and fry on either side until golden brown all over. Return all the chicken and garlic to the pan along with the bay leaves, and pour in the wine, shaking the pan as you do to help emulsify the wine with the oil
4. Simmer for 2 minutes to evaporate some of the alcohol while turning the chicken in the sauce. Stir in the water, cover with the lid and simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Add more water, if required
5. Season, then serve