Friday, 29 June 2012

Freeze(r): Friend or Foe?
Last night, way after my usual bed time I blearily went to the freezer to lift out what I thought were chicken fillets. The mysterious frozen bundle was wrapped in a freezer bag and I honestly didn't look that closely (I'd separated the fillets into 2 bags) so I popped it into the fridge to defrost over-night. So far so good. Except when I got up this morning the chicken had morphed into stewed rhubarb and apple...
So each step of the early morning walk was absorbed by what to do with the apples. LuckilyI'd borrowed a cookbook from the library called 'Apples for Jam' by Tessa Kiros and there was a recipe for Maple Syrup Ice-cream which would go oh so well with apple thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?
Here is the recipe for Maple Syrup Ice-cream and I really, really hope you're having summer weather which justifies ice-cream eating...

250ml cream
125ml pure maple syrup
250ml full fat milk
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

Mix the cream and maple syrup together in a bowl or container with a lid that fits. Whisk in the milk and vanilla. Put on the lid and put it in the freezer. After an hour or so give the mixture another good whisk (with a hand or electric whisk). Then put back in the freezer for another hour or so and repeat the whisking. Then when it's nearly set give it another stir (I used a fork at this stage) and then leave to set.

It was divine with the apple crumble. I never did find those chicken fillets.

Signs of summer:

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Greetings from sunny-ish Monaghan! It has stopped raining and the last of the grey clouds have scudded across the sky so at least we can pretend it's summer (although at 14C I don't think it qualifies). The boys are outside in the garden after being cooped up over the last few days. I'm inside trying to make bunting for an upcoming fair on July 1st...but I'm thinking outdoors would be better if I could find a warm sheltered spot!

Last night was not a summer's evening so I lit the wood burning stove in the sitting room and made Nigel Slater's Chicken with Tarragon sauce except it was with chives because I don't have tarragon in my herb patch... It was really good. Try it!

chicken fillets- 4
flour- a little to coat the chicken
butter- thick slice and a little oil to stop it burning
wine glass of white vermouth or Madeira or dry Marsala
herbs- chives, tarragon, parsley whatever you have
cream- a dash to finish it off

Put the chicken fillets in a freezer bag and get out your rolling pin. Give them a sound bashing so that they are thinner but not in a mush. Add a tablespoon of flour and some salt and pepper to the bag and give it all a good shake to coat the chicken. Put the butter and oil in a frying pan and heat until foaming and then add your chicken fillets. Let each fillet become golden before turning. Continue cooking until white all the way through then lift out and keep warm. De-glaze the frying pan with the glass of vermouth/ booze- scrape up all the sticky yummy bits- then add the herbs and let it reduce. Put the chicken back into the pan and add enough cream to make you happy. Let it simmer for a bit and check the seasoning before serving. Enjoy!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

On Saturday the rain finally ceased long enough for us to take a family walk and get the chance to splash in some puddles. Fortified by home-made scones and jam for breakfast we headed to Cootehill in Co. Cavan with the boys and dogs for a squelchy tramp through the trees.

On Sunday the sun almost shone so I took this as a sign: 'Thou must visit the beach on an almost sunny day' (The never-mentioned eleventh commandment) so we packed up a picnic in our ever trusty picnic bag and after getting hopelessly lost arrived at the beach- Irish style beach I hasten to mention, hence the grey threatening clouds and whippy wind...

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Sigh. The weather really hasn't got any better. But the postman brought Joel Henriques' fantastic book Made to Play so we've spent some time making fun things from paper and loo rolls. Sure, why not.
Mide making a giraffe...honestly it's child's play

Might look weird but these slotting paper circles are a challenge
Then we read...
Swotting up on dinosaur names
And checked if it was still raining (it was)
And then finally gave up and made cake- coffee and walnut cake so hey, life's not that bad!
The recipe is from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet and is really awfully yummy- in fact a bit too yummy as it's nearly all gone and it was only made this morning. The rain and the calories. It's all too much.

Monday, 4 June 2012

This is the June bank holiday weekend. The sun should be shining, children should be paddling, dogs should be panting and mums and dads should be quaffing white wine. Alas, someone forgot to tell the guy who is in charge of the sun and by heck it's a cold 10 degrees here. In fact Hugo was off at a three day Scout Camp  (along with 2,000 others-gulp) which got cancelled on day one -and- a- half due to the 'inclement' weather. Ahem. It rained so hard they were sleeping in puddles and it blew so hard their loo tent flew away. So they were whisked home and we decided it was the sort of day to visit the Dinosaur Exhibition at the Ulster Museum  in Belfast. It featured Real. Moving. Dinosaurs. Mide had to hold onto Kevin's neck very, very tightly just in case! The boys loved it, needless to say...

it's behind you...

Will wants to be a palaeontologist when he grows up 

Today I packed up a small something for Lucy and Ryan in New Zealand. I had a lot of fun making the bits for them. The chicken on a wheel was inspired by Joel Henrigues. He is soooo cool. Love it.

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Squishy Fishy

Slightly Bonkers Chicken on a Wheel