It's Sample Sunday Cookoff! You can read an excerpt from my new chicklit comedy mystery Be Careful What You Wish For and discover Amber's mum's recipe for scrummy olive, garlic, and lemon chicken. I seem to have a garlic obsession at the moment! Fab if you've got a cold or you want to keep vampires away, not so fab if you're going to be kissing someone! You can find out more about garlic's health benefits from another blog post I wrote. 

Be Careful What You Wish For...

‘What other talents have you got apart from lip reading, knowing everything about fashion, being psychic, and doing weird spells that blow things up?’ I asked her, then looked at Hacker whose smile turned into a grin. ‘I’m not asking you.’ I chuckled at him.

‘I’ve got lots of talents.’ Tia shrugged. ‘And actually, it was you who blew things up when we did the spells.’

‘You made me!’

My mobile rang before I could say anything else on the matter. ‘Hi, Dad,’ I said, glancing at my watch. ‘I haven’t forgotten about lunch. I’ll be there in half an hour.’

‘Good. I have a present for you.’

I thought back to the nose, the spiders, and the fox. I’d had enough presents lately to last a lifetime. ‘Is it a nice present?’

‘Sabre finally pooped out the memory card. Along with two socks and quite a few prunes.’


The smell of garlic chicken and mashed potatoes wafted towards me as I stepped into my parents’ kitchen.

‘I’m starving.’ I kissed Mum and Dad and sat down at the island. ‘No Suzy today? I thought she was coming.’

Mum squeezed lemon juice and olive oil on the salad. ‘No, she’s not coming. She’s got a new man!’ She smiled at me. ‘She’s having lunch with him.’

‘Maybe the new man will loosen her up a bit.’ I grinned, secretly glad she wouldn’t be here to have a go at me for having commitment phobia, which she always enjoyed dragging up. Suzy was the most serious person I’d ever known. Maybe it was because she was a psychologist. Not a lot to smile about when you got inside the heads of some people. It was scary enough in my head, and I wasn’t nuts. Well, maybe slightly nuts.

‘No disguise today, then?’ I eyed Dad who was dressed normally for once in cord trousers and a black shirt. I’d almost forgotten what he looked like in ordinary clothes. ‘I’ve kind of got used to seeing you dressed as a woman or a tramp.’

Dad glanced at mum and a secret look passed between them. He carried the plates to the breakfast bar and set out knives and forks. ‘I’m going to be spending more time at home from now on. We’re even going on holiday.’
Mum winked at me. It seemed like everything was back on track with them again. 

‘Where are you off to? God, I could do with a holiday as well.’ I picked up a spoon and dished some scrummy food on my plate.

‘Maybe Paris. Maybe Rome,’ Mum said wistfully as she sat next to me. ‘We haven’t decided yet. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris. The city of romance.’

Dad kissed her on the cheek and sat down, too. ‘We’re going to have a second honeymoon.’

‘Great. That’s a fantastic idea,’ I said.

‘And what about you?’ Mum raised an eyebrow. ‘Have you decided what to do about Romeo?’

I forked some chicken in my mouth so I wouldn’t have to answer, but she wasn’t giving up that easily. 

‘Well?’ She prompted me.

‘Brad asked me to marry him.’ I piled more mash on my plate.

Dad nearly choked on a chunk of chicken.

Copyright © Sibel Hodge 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For is available in paperback and all ebook formats. For more details, please check out my Books page.


And here's the recipe for olive, garlic, and lemon chicken...

 Olive, garlic and lemon chicken

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lb black olives, cut in half
8 chicken thighs, with bones and skin
3 cups onions, sliced thin
30 gloves garlic, minced and smashed almost to a paste
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 extra lemons, thickly sliced (remove seeds)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
A bunch of fresh (or dried) thyme leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1) Preheat your oven to 350 F.
2) Heat the oil in a large and hot pan and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Set the chicken aside. Cook the onions until soft, about 3 minutes, and make sure to scrape all the delicious chicken bits off the pan while doing so.
3) Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, until fragrant. You can season with salt and pepper at this point.
4) Add the chicken stock, thyme and lemon juice and return the chicken thighs to the pan, skin side up.
5) Bring to a simmer and put the pan, covered, in the hot oven for about 20 minutes.
6) Remove the lid, add the halved olives as well as the lemon slices and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes uncovered.
7) Serve the chicken with the olive, garlic and lemon sauce as well as with some of the lemon slices.

Easy and delicious! 

Happy Cooking!

Sibel XX