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Fragrant lemon butter poussin, baked with saffron and turmeric recipe

poussin with saffron and turmericA few weeks ago I noticed a new ceramic pepper shaker standing in my mother’s kitchen table. The powder around the holes wasn’t pepper coloured. Intrigued I tapped a little onto the back of my hand, it smelt spicy and tasted strange.

“It’s turmeric. It’s supposed to have all sort of health giving properties. I sprinkle it on my food if I remember.”

My mum wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of buying a new pepper shaker and filling it with turmeric on a whim. So I cruised I few internet sites and discovered that turmeric has been used for centuries for its health giving properties. I found this interesting article on the benefits of turmeric.

I have arthritis in my right hand. Winters, my passion for Marmite and wet weather can be a nightmare. Apparently the anti inflammatory effects of Curcumin (the key active ingredient in turmeric) are superb. Suddenly I saw the reason for the turmeric shaker sitting on my mum’s kitchen table – she suffers from arthritis too.

Last night I cooked a plump poussin for supper. I was planning my lemon butter recipe but decided to add turmeric (whey hey – a jar containing 120g of turmeric is only ?1.19 at Daily Bread ) and some fragrant saffron. Don’t stint on the saffron. Apart from being packed with great health giving properties, it can really lift a dish. Some claim that it’s great for treating mild depression.

This recipe was easy. A doddle to make and perfect supper party food as it tasted exquisite. The leftovers will be relished with Lebanese style couscous for lunch tomorrow. Probably wolfed down, sitting in Jalopy as the rain drums on the roof.

We’d hoped for an Indian summer this year. Hopefully we’ll get some flavours of summer if Danny can find spices in Bangalore. It seems that all we need are turmeric and saffron for a winter without tears. The rest of my list is long – who could resist the possibilty of spices from India?

We make one poussin stretch between the two us us but ideally allow a possin per person and you may have some hope of leftovers.

Fragrant lemon butter poussin, baked with saffron and turmeric recipe (for two hungry people)


  • 2 plump poussin
  • 1 small lemon. Zest divided between the two pousin, juice rubbed into the flesh of bth poussin and the remaining half lemons baked in the cavity of each bird.
  • 1 level tsp of saffron
  • 1 level tsp of turmeric
  • 50 g of butter
  • 8 tbsp of water


Set the oven temperature to 190 degrees (170 fan)

  1. Take a large piece of aluminium foil and place the birds on the foil, pulling the sides up to form a simple tray, with high sides (these sides will form an igloo in which the poussin are baked).
  2. Zest the lemon and reserve. Cut the lemon in half and rub the juice into each bird. Pop the half lemons into the cavity of the two birds. Scatter the zest over them.
  3. Cut the butter in four. Put a quarter inside the cavity of each bird and a quarter under the skin of each bird’s breast.
  4. Sprinkle the turmeric and saffron over the breast of the birds. Add the water to the aluminium tray, rather than over the birds.
  5. Lift the sides of the aluminium and crimp tightly around the seals leaving a sizable gap above the birds. Bake for an hour in the middle of the oven. Check that the juices run clear before pouring them over the birds. Serve with interesting salads and herby couscous or green vegetables and mini roast potatoes.

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  1. Turmeric stains vanish if you leave out in sunlight. I don’t know why it works, but it really does. UV?

  2. So how much cider vinegar does your mum take then? I might have to try this.

  3. I did some research on turmeric on the internet a few months ago after there had been reports in the papers. It really does seem to have health benefits. We have a small measure each day along with cinnamon powder which is good for controlling blood sugar apparently. x

  4. Soap removes turmeric stains-if on fabric, rub soap into the dampened stain, leave overnight, wash out. This will probably work on your wood too.
    Apparently quality gin made with juniper berries is also good for arthritis- not all gins use juniper berries- soak raisins in the gin, eat one a day. Might work and if it doesn’t who would care after eating gin soaked raisins? I find that oranges are lethal for my arthritis, so I avoid orange juice- when I don’t the effects are almost instant.

  5. catering equipment

    I thought is was copper bracelets for arthritis.

    Great recipe!!

  6. I am going to have to try this recipe. Saffron maybe a little out of my stingy price range. I might buy some on holiday… I always make a mess with Tumeric. I have dyed the the wooden work top in the kitchen. So that is a great tip on putting it into a pepper shaker. Thanks for that.

  7. Hello Fiona

    I’ve heard of taking apple cider vinegar for weight loss but not for arthritis. Perhaps I should try it and maybe kill two birds with one stone!

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pamela

    My mum also takes cider vinegar (diluted in water) every day. Swears by it.

    Recipe is good!

  9. Interesting link about turmeric. I have the start of arthritis in several joints and have had to stop going to the best ever Ashtanga Yoga class because I couldn’t put weight on my left wrist. I use magnets when the pain gets bad, I just tape a magnet over the sore spot with micropore tape until it’s better.

    Recipe sounds good too.

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