Tag Archives: rural France

Crab avocado and playing chicken

crabavocado

HugojournoandJava

Once again I find myself at my wits’ end.  The Spring is a very busy time for me as I’m out every night until at least midnight escorting invaders off the premises. There are so many animals coming out of hibernation in a foggy daze, having forgotten who’s boss and needing to be reminded of their boundaries. I actually think I’m being charitable; they’re probably not in a six-month sleep-induced daze at all, they’re just disrespectful, trespassing hooligans. As if this isn’t enough for my nerves to contend with, Java, having finally understood that she must eat neither the hens nor their eggs, has decided that she should play with them instead. I suppose her rationale (if she’s capable of such a thing) is that they must be useful for something (er, Java have you and the hens actually met?). Of course, this makes them screech, which in turn makes Bossy screech and the general mayhem is such that I can’t catch up on my sleep. I sometimes think it’s a shame that dogs don’t hibernate…

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tablespoon Greek yoghurt

1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ teaspoon chilli powder

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

100g white crabmeat (I used tinned)

2 ripe avocados, cut in half with the stone removed

5 basil leaves, shredded

Combine the yoghurt, lemon juice, mustard, garlic and seasoning in a small bowl. Add the crabmeat and mix well. Fill all four of the avocado halves with the crab mixture, scatter with the basil leaves and serve. Makes a delicious starter.

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White wine chicken casserole and apple turnovers

chickenwhitewine

It’s that time of year again: The time of year when, in this area of France at least, the countryside becomes speckled with well-stuffed apple turnovers. Upon closer inspection (admittedly not always advisable), the apple turnovers morph into ladies of a certain age, neatly folded in two tending to their vegetable patches. Whenever I see them, I have an overwhelming urge to pick them up by the waist and set them down in our vegetable garden. Perhaps they wouldn’t even notice, and if they did, surely the change of scene would be welcome, although I imagine one patch of weeds looks much like another. In the meantime, my husband serves as our apple turnover, although he’s not nearly as generously-stuffed as some…

bentover2

Ingredients (serves 4)

8 chicken thighs (you can use a mixture of breast and thigh if you prefer)

1 tablespoon flour

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

20g butter

2 red onions, peeled and chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

30g pancetta

5 mushrooms, sliced

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

Sprig of rosemary

350ml dry white wine

500ml chicken or vegetable stock

200g fresh garden peas

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Place the chicken in a bowl, coat with the flour and seasoning and set aside. Heat the oil and butter in a medium-sized casserole dish, add the onions, garlic, pancetta and mushrooms and cook until softened. Set aside and place the chicken in the casserole dish and cook for just over five minutes, turning to brown evenly. Add the carrots, rosemary and wine and continue to cook until reduced by about half. Add the stock and the set aside onion/pancetta and bring to a boil. Cook in the preheated oven for about an hour, adding the peas (and more stock if necessary) 20 minutes before the end of cooking. Delicious served with minted, mashed, potatoes.