Tag Archives: carrots

Chicken Printempier and a catfight

Spring chicken casserole, chicken with spring vegetables

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.

 

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Sausage casserole and confusing coat conundrums

sausagecasserole

I have a new ski jacket. While I’m sure you’re over the moon for me, I admit that this is hardly groundbreaking news. It is, however, very confusing for Hugo. For him, the precursors to ‘walkies’ are: my digging around for an embarrassingly long time in a futile attempt to locate my mobile ‘phone, resorting to ringing it (of course it rings in my my pocket), locating vaguely matching left and right shoes and then, in Winter, putting on The Walking Jacket. My new jacket occasions a perplexed ‘head-tilt to one side’ look of utter bemusement, accompanied by a woefully despondent ‘maybe we’re not going for a walk after all’ sigh. He’d better get used to it though — with my matching left and right shoes and new jacket, there’s no stopping me; I’ve become a bit of a fashionista and may even upgrade again next year! 😉

There’s something in this sausage casserole for everyone: high-maintenance fashionistas, fussy children, finicky dogs and hens… It is adapted from a Tana Ramsay ‘Family Kitchen’ recipe.

Ingredients (serves 6)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and sliced

2 cloves of garlic

6 mushrooms, peeled and sliced

6 Toulouse sausages

60g pancetta, sliced

1  leek, rinced and sliced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons Worcester sauce

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

6 carrots, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces

6 small potatoes, peeled

200g, cannelloni beans, pre-cooked and drained

½ green cabbage, shredded

Gently heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish (Dutch oven), adding the sausages, onions mushrooms and garlic and fry until golden brown. Add the pancetta and leeks, continuing to brown. Then add the seasoning and stock, followed by the carrots, cabbage, potatoes and beans and bring to a boil. Leave to simmer for about 40 minutes. May be served alone or with bread, couscous, quinoa or basmati rice.

Toulouse sausages with Puy lentils and exiled hens

Our hens are in exile; they have been forced from their homeland by an overabundance of horses. Four was fine, desirable even; it created a cosy ‘chicken sandwich’ environment. But the newly-arrived pony was the final straw – she’s a Quadruped Lout Too Far and a tiny bit scornful perhaps at the deference required to lay an egg.

So they’ve set up camp on the fourth-floor shelf of the workshop on some torn-up sheets. Not without much shrill, dyspeptic screeching, I might add. I feel a bit bad that all they found for their nest was old sheets and not pashminas, but such is the life of a hen. I only discovered their new hideout because, reaching for an old sheet to clean my saddle, I unwittingly scrambled an egg at my feet. I assume they think that the workshop is horseproof – I’m afraid they’re in for a surprise 😉

Puy Green Lentils (grown on the vocanic soil of the ‘Massif Central’) are prized above other lentils for their strong peppery flavor and firmness, even after cooking. High in fiber and protein, they also contain dietary fibre, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. As if all that isn’t enough, they also have a very low GI (glycemic index).

Ingredients (serves four)

4 Toulouse sausages

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, peeled and chopped

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

5 mushrooms, peeled and sliced

3 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces

1 tin (400g) of plum tomatoes

200g of Puy lentils

2 sprigs of rosemary

1 bay leaf

250ml chicken stock

seasoning to taste: sea salt, fresh black pepper, paprika

Preheat the oven to 150°C. If you have a griddle pan, griddle the sausages briefly. If not, searing them will do just as well. Gently fry the onions, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil to soften them. Add the griddled/seared sausage, the plum tomatoes and carrots and continue to heat. Add the lentils, chicken stock, herbs and seasoning and bring back to a gentle simmer. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, checking from time to time that there is enough liquid – the lentils absorb an enormous amount.

Chicken curry with mango, carrots and sweet potato

We had a ten-month old labrador bitch to stay for the weekend; a real doll.  My husband, who can never resist a doll, invited her based on the assumption that such chaos would ensue, I would give him a break from my constant whining for another dog (yellow labrador girl puppy, not that I’ve given it any thought or anything :-). Anyway, ha ha! Big miss on his part. There is nothing like the satisfaction of having a sleeping labrador on either side of your feet in the evening. I do admit that the frenzied partying beforehand was slightly more wearing but, all things considered, all this weekend did was make me even more entrenched in my opinion that owning fewer than two dogs should be illegal 😉

This was concocted whilst dodging eight furry and frenetic legs in the kitchen. Never let it be said that I’m not a skilled multi-tasker. It is full of beta-carotene, making it an excellent dish for the winter. Beta-carotene enhances the immune system by increasing the number of infection fighting cells. It also helps protect the respiratory tract. Foods rich in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, mango, apricots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme.

Ingredients (serves four)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon coconut oil

4 chicken thighs

1 onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

6 mushrooms, peeled and sliced

1 mango, peeled and sliced

4 carrots, peeled and cut

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

2 green chillies, chopped

1 tablespoon of peeled, grated fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3 teaspoons cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground  black pepper

200ml chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Take a medium-size casserole dish and fry the onion, garlic, mushrooms and chicken in the olive and coconut oils for a few minutes, until they start to brown. Add the seasoning (cumin seeds, salt, pepper, ginger, turmeric, cinamon stick…) and continue to brown stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Add the carrots, sweet potato, mango and chillies and then the chicken stock. Bring to a gentle simmer, stir and put the casserole in the oven for about two hours, checking from time-to-time that there is enough liquid. The result should be tender and just beginning to caramelise.

Navarin of chicken

I know that, strictly speaking, this should be navarin of lamb. I did briefly hover over the lamb counter, but before I’m ever able to pass from hover to purchase so many images of sweet, fluffy new-born lambs dancing in the long spring grass come to mind that I just can’t do it. Mind you, now that we have hens and I see them living their free-range lives, chicken will no doubt be off the menu soon too!

From an idealistic perspective I should probably be a vegetarian, but I remain entrenched in my conviction that we are meant to eat at least a small amount of meat. I’ve also seen too many miserable-looking vegetarians for it to be an attractive proposition; why is it that they so often look grey and dour?

The term ‘navarin’ is really a reference to the vegetable content of the dish and not the meat, so here is my Navarin for Sensitives Souls:

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 chicken wings and 4 legs

4 spring onions

10 baby carrots

4 baby leaks

6 new potatoes

4 baby turnips

1 courgette

cup of peas

olive oil

seasoning (salt, pepper, chicken stock)

bay leaf, rosemary, fresh mint

2 glasses of dry white wine

Slice the onions and gently brown in a casserole dish in the olive oil. Add the chicken pieces and seasoning and brown gently for a couple of minutes. Add the wine, chicken stock and herbs. Bring to a gentle simmer and add the carrots, leaks, turnips and potatoes. Place in a preheated oven (180°C) for an hour and then add the peas and sliced courgettes, making sure that the liquid level in the dish is still at least 3cms. Cook for a further 20 minutes and add the fresh chopped mint just before serving.