The night of the storm:
Hello kind readers! BBC1 here. What a dreadful Monday here in Britain! Awful stormy weather saw some people lose their homes or worse their lives! Loads of travel disruption and cancelled trains etc., and on top of that we were without electricity all day here!, so no wifi and only 50% battery on iPad!
We have become used to power cuts in a storm here, so when the storm hit and the power went out at 12.30pm we thought “oh well”, but of course we had put the clocks back at the weekend so it gets dark earlier now! With no electric by 4pm we started to prepare the candles and ‘hunker down’. We got the log burner going and used this and a pan of water to make hot drinks and warm our lunch of Jamaican Patties.
BBC2 went into town and got us a take away for our tea; doner kebabs, and not a beer in sight! At 8.30pm we noticed that our neighbour’s lights were on. We gleefully checked ours – nothing. We checked our fuses – nothing! Ok, a bit late I know, but we phoned the electricity company, “we’ve had no reports from your area, why didn’t you phone earlier? (Doh!) We will send someone…”
Wonderful engineers arrived at 9pm and first checked our fuses, to their dismay. “Ok, we need to go up the pole!” – “Bad news; cable down for three lengths and it can’t be fixed till tomorrow. Good news; we’ve sent for a generator and it should be here in an hour or so!”
12.30am we have electricity again, can communicate with the world and charge the iPad!
So please accept our apologies for the lack of posting on the blog. However, we had a busy and wonderful weekend, culminating in a visit from old friend Sarah and her husband Anthony, which we really enjoyed. So, as you can imagine, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen preparing things to test on the two of them for the blog. It started out with this easy meal that another old friend of ours, Alison, used to make for us in London. Kids love it, and it is so quick, simple and tasty, it’s worth a go. Also if you cook extra chicken, as we do, it’s great for making a simple chicken salad or wrap for the next day!
For the Chicken:
4 large skinned chicken breasts (or 2 more if you want to make the chicken wraps)
4/5 Tbs of olive oil
Chicken seasoning (the one we use has cayenne, paprika and onion salt as it’s main ingredients. But you just use those or whichever proprietary brand you can get).
For the Pasta Sauce:
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 Tbs of tomato purée
2 Tbs of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Plus 350/375gms of Farfale or pasta bows – obviously you can use your favourite pasta or be daring and make it yourself!
For the Coleslaw:
1 carrot peeled and grated
One quarter to half a cabbage, dependent on size, shredded thinly
2 spring onions, thinly sliced, including the green part
4 to 5 Tbs of mayonnaise
2 Tbs of double/heavy cream
Pre heat oven to 180c Fan.
We start by mixing the ingredients for the coleslaw. Shedding the cabbage, peeling and grating the carrot, then slicing the onion thinly and mixing this together in a bowl – you can use a food processor for this, but as it’s not a lot we use a grater for the carrot and a knife for the cabbage and onion, saves on washing up! Add the mayonnaise and cream and stir through the the vegetables to make sure everything is evenly coated. Set aside in the fridge if you like cold coleslaw, or to one side if you like it at room temperature. If you like a more vinegary coleslaw add a teaspoon or so of white wine vinegar.
Next we marinate the chicken, in a roasting tin/dish, for half an hour or so in the olive oil, coating each side of the breasts with the oil then sprinkling each side first with the garlic salt, then with the chicken seasoning.
Whilst the chicken is marinating, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot/pan on a medium heat. Add the onions and fry until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until the aromas develop. Now add the Italian seasoning and stir for a few seconds. Next, add the tomato purée and fry this for a couple of minutes. Finally add the chopped tomatoes, turn up the heat and bring the sauce to a rolling boil, stirring all the time (be careful as can splutter). Once the sauce has come to a boil turn down the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and leave to simmer for approx forty minutes to an hour. The amount of time will depend on the brand of tomatoes you use and how thick and rich you like your sauce. You could also add dried flaked chili peppers if you like your sauce with a bit of a kick.
Now place chicken into the preheated oven and cook for approx thirty minutes until cooked through. Again this will depend on the size of the chicken breasts, so use a knife to ensure they are cooked through and no pink remains.
15 minutes or so before the chicken is cooked, cook pasta according to packet instructions, saving approx half a cup of the pasta water to add to the sauce if too thick. Add pasta to the tommy sauce, stir and ensure is evenly coated.
Once all is ready, serve and enjoy! We sprinkle a little cheese on the pasta, you can use parmesan, cheddar or whatever takes your fancy.
The cold chicken wraps I mentioned earlier are really simple and we will post the recipe later. Electricity and wifi permitting!
It was permitting and the recipe for the wraps is here: Chicken Salad Wraps