Our cat, Minou, is tiny, opinionated and ferocious. Hugo has, in the past, tried to take him on – on the premise that he is top dog – but quickly thought better of it; he knows when he’s beaten. Java sometimes tries to play with Minou – on the premise that she is as daft as a brush – but it invariably ends badly for Java.
Yesterday Luc and I were standing on the lawn discussing the horses’ hooves, as you do. Hugo is always irrationally put out when Luc and I talk to each other outside (I’m not sure why), and doesn’t hesitate to let it be known. Yesterday, he showed his exasperation by sitting on my feet and boxing my legs with his paws. This, of course, provoked Java (because my legs belong to HER), and she torpedoed Hugo, threatening him with her tiny, bared teeth. Next it was Minou’s turn to be annoyed (manifestly, he is the only one allowed to attack Hugo), and he launched himself between the two dogs, intercepting and separating in a matter of seconds, like a particularly effective anti-ballistic missile.
Which begs the question: is this normal or is our cat a total psychopath?
I always love making this casserole in the spring. It’s satisfying, yet light and fresh. And making it takes my mind off my unstable animals.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 chicken thighs
2 glasses of dry white wine
450ml chicken or vegetable stock
10 baby carrots (or 4 normal carrots ‘julienned’)
4 small leaks, rinsed and sliced
4 small turnips, peeled cut
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon fenugreek
1 courgette, cut into rounds
80g of peas (either shelled or frozen)
Fresh mint, chopped to garnish
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Gently brown the onions in a casserole dish in the olive oil. Add the chicken and brown gently for a couple of minutes. Add the wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Add the carrots, leaks, turnips and seasoning. Cook for an hour in the preheated oven and then add the courgette and peas, making sure that there is still enough liquid. Cook for a further 20 minutes and add the fresh chopped mint just before serving. Delicious served with new potatoes.