I was going to title this ‘An Idiots Guide to Cooking a Stew‘. But, I reckon the folk over at Dorling Kindersley would sue my idiot carcass all the way to illiteracy and back. They are the rightful owners to the Idiot’s Guides. So, I can’t use the title. Instead, I’m being a bit more general in my descriptor. I’m also being inclusive. Inclusive is good in this day and age. I don’t want to offend any particular minority grouping so I am making the statement that “Any Idiot Can Cook This Italian Chicken and Bean Stew”. Yes, that includes you.
It’s such a wheeze. Blog posting, I mean. All you have to do is have an idea and start typing. Easy. It’s so simple, particularly when you have a dish called Chicken and 40 Cloves of Garlic. It practically writes itself. All you have to do is type out the various ’40’ related ideas that present themselves and fling in a simple recipe. What could be easier?
The chicken kiev is of Russian origin. I’m sure the Ukrainian people are not too happy about that. However, I wanted to do an original and I thought the Russian vodka in the shot was appropriate. Sorry, Kiev, if I cause any offence. I could have used a glass of Horilka, a traditional Ukrainian spirit? Matching a dish named for the Ukrainian capital with a Russian vodka is not politically correct in this day and age. But, the kiev has a Russian heritage and that is that.
“Ahhh, what you need is some chicken noodle soup.”. “Chicken noodle soup will sort you out.”. “Chicken broth is what you need.”. So went the advice from various ‘clucking hens’ (well meaning people) while I spent a week in bed, festering with a chest infection. Unfortunately, when one is bed-bound and feeling rotten, the desire to make this elixir of life tends to be absent. So, given that I’m feeling better and am in no need of it, here’s a straightforward recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup.
When I was a kid, some of our country cousins used to refer to Dublin (the grand metropolis that it was and continues to be) as the Big Smoke (Pronounced more like “de big shmoke”). In our company, they would speak about it with mock reverence; “Oh, your from de big shmoke, are ye? Isn’t it well for ye after all.” Time has passed and those from outside the Pale have their own smoke while Dublin, having banned the burning of smokey fuel is now the Big No Smoke. (Say it as “noo shmoke”, if you want to sound like country Irish). This reversal of fortunes has gone on long enough. Our government is about to ban smokey coal throughout the land. So it is time to re-claim the title of Big Smoke for the capital.
In just 0.24 of a second, Google found me thirteen million, six hundred thousand roast chicken recipes. Surely, that’s enough for you to be getting on with? So, I should just leave things here. I shouldn’t bother buying a top quality, free range, Irish chicken. With that many recipes out there, there is little purpose. It would be a waste of time. There is no point in selecting some fine olive oil to bind the stuffing ingredients. It’s a fool’s errand getting my hands on some delicious and nutritious walnuts. No matter what I do, somebody has done it before. Those Google lads have all those recipes in their rows and rows of filing cabinets. Why should I waste my time, lovingly slicing onions, zesting a lemon and delicately plucking sage leaves from their woody branches? It would be very silly of me to lay my hands on some very finely sliced streaky bacon to drape across the decollage of the plump naked bird. All that so I can give those chaps over in Google another recipe and some more photos to add to the prodigious filing pile. It’s no wonder their office in Dublin is so big.
We are being threatened by summer here in Ireland. As with most Irish summers, there is a lot more threat than delivery. Yet, we live in hope. Each year, praying (those of us that still believe in our direct line to God) that the summer will live up to the imagined heights of the dull, uninspiring summers gone before.
You won’t find me on bended knee, praying for some decent weather. No, I am a man of action. If the Powers That Be (Me capitalising that bit is me hedging my bets) refuse to deliver on summer sun, I’m going to do what I can to make things around here as sunny as possible. What better way than with Chicken Breast Sous Vide with Ciabatta and Salad?
I have cooked Kung Pao Chicken previously. I have even shared the results of one venture here. There seem to be more versions and variations on the Kung Pao theme than there are woks in Schezwan Provence. So, I thought it safe to post a different version for your delight. This one leans towards the rising sun (It comes up in the East around here). It favours more of the ‘authentic’ than other versions around the place and it is truly fantastic and tasty.
Those of you who know me reasonably well know that I do a bit of cycling. Some who know me better would also be aware that I am generally bright spirited and positive in my approach to living. Only those of ye that know me very, very well would also know that I do suffer occasionally from visits by the ‘Black Dog’ of depression.
One of the great pleasures of the week is ‘Family Dinner’. We have this every Sunday evening. All are welcome and there is shame felt by any family member who “can’t make it”, no matter what the excuse. For over 20 years, my Mum has joined us for this weekly occasion. Her place is, rightly, at the head of the table and she has dispenses great wit, wisdom and example to the younger generations.