Sunday, 30 August 2009

a country mouse cooks chicken stew

Tonight's tea was a Sophie Dahl recipe called Chicken Stew with Green Olives, with a Fay Ripley recipe, Chinese Roast Broccoli, served with redcurrant jelly that Little R and I made earlier in the summer after picking basketsfull at the local fruit farm. There were a lot of strong flavours and DH and I thought it was a success. Little R was less keen but that could have been due to the glace cherries she scoffed (illicitly) beforehand. I have made the chicken stew a few times now and am a big fan of Sophie Dahl's cookery book (Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights). The recipes use ingredients that I like and it is very easy to find something delicious to cook. Another thing I like about the book is that it has a core of ingredients which she uses in different ways, so once you have bought the more unusual ingredients you are all set to make lots of things with just the addition of the fresh stuff. Definitely a high scorer in helping country mouse achieve an organised life.

One thing I have found to be really important in making dishes which require tins of tomatoes is to use a really good make. The best I have found so far, and I've been consciously looking, is Sainsbury's Taste the Difference San Marzano tinned tomatoes. They are 75p a tin but so are the Tesco organic tinned tomatoes and the San Marzano ones are noticeably nicer. I also add some sugar even if it doesn't say it in the recipe as that seems to take away any bitterness. If only that worked in life.

This recipe uses fennel instead of onions in the tomato sauce, which makes it very summery and fresh tasting, and just before you serve it you stir in green olives (got to be really good quality, either fresh or in oil, not the nasty ones in brine) and big handfuls of fresh basil. I served it with crusty bread tonight and that was the only bit Little R ate. I am not doing too well in my quest to find dinners we can all eat. She keeps asking for bangers and mash.

The Fay Ripley broccoli recipe was very easy and effective. You put the broccoli florets on a baking tray and scatter with ground-up coriander seeds then drizzle liberally with olive oil. You then bake it in a hot oven for 20 mins so you get black bits on it. Really yummy.

The only thing I changed about the Sophie Dahl recipe was that I did not pour in a glass of white wine before adding the tomatoes. I just CANNOT bear to pour a glass of wine into a pot.


  1. Mmmm, all sounds delicious, can I come round for tea at yours - I'll bring a banana for Little R and I'll eat her portion!

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