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Sunday, 9 September 2012

Spanish style chicken stew and trimming my bush.

I've had a few days off work on holiday this weekend and as money is very tight at the mo I have just been enjoying being at home and doing a few bits and bobs that I normally wouldn't have the time to do. Most of this has been in the kitchen including concocting a Spanish chicken stew from a few ingrediants from the cupboard and some bought in. First of all I marinated chicken pieces in garlic and cayenne pepper and left it overnight in the fridge, to blend. With the bones from the original whole chicken I made a proper chicken stock, again left in the fridge to use the following day. I was surprised to find that it had turned into a sort of chicken stock jelly and when I got round to making the stew I had to blitz it in the food mixer to get it more liquid.

The Spanish style stew was made from celery, carrots, butter beans, chorizo, the cooked chicken and the chicken stock with a little added paprika and black pepper. To accompany this I made some of my fave hot potatoes, patatas bravas. I make this simply by making small roast potatoes, pouring away the oil and briefly warming through with the patatas bravas sauce.

I make the sauce from two tins of chopped tomatoes reduced down on the stove top and I add plenty of garlic and a sprinkling of hot ground paprika and stir well. The sauce gets added to the now roast potatoes and left in the oven for about fifteen minutes to cook through. Too much longer and it can dry out.

Some fresh figs and some delicious mint leaves and chocolate ice cream made a cooling and tasty dessert.

I only have a small garden, most of which is covered in lavender bushes and around this time of the year it becomes time to harvest the already drying flowers and to generally trim my bushes so that they can grow and bloom again in nine months time and fill the air with their fragrance on hot days.

My friend Rebecca (mentioned in the last blogpost) recently gave me some plums which smelt wonderfully alcoholic as I  took them from their bag and shortly afterwards I made them into a super plum crumble. I love the Summer for such fruits and such nice gestures. Thank you again Rebecca. As a return 'thank you' I intend to give her the dried lavender when it is completely dry from hanging in my kitchen window.
Lastly, I purchased (very cheaply) Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall's book, 'Three Good Things on a plate', recently and hope to get some inspiration from this for some tasty, nutritious dishes at low cost and maybe set me off in a new creative direction.


Karen said...

Your Spanish dishes sound yummy- once this hot weather is over (I prefer cooler temperatures) i will try making them. i hope you are gouing to save some of the flowers from your lavender to use in cooking? You could also out a few springs of them into a jar of sugar,& the flavour will be lovely after a few weeks.
As you are on a tight food budget, my one tip would be to use a slow cooker. I got one 3 years ago from ASDA for just £7, & it's invaluable in the winter. I've even used it to make chicken stock from a carcass, as it uses a lot less electricity than making stock on the hob.

Karen said...

"Trimming your bush" indeed. I once very innocently told my next door neighbour that I would trim his bush for him as I was doing some gardening, & I couldn't understand why he laughed at me. Needless to say his overgrown shrub remaind that way!

Jean said...

Your chicken dish looks wonderful, so do the figs with ice-cream.

I have picked up the HFW book a time or two and put it back down again......but it looks very interesting and I'm not sure I can resist for much longer.

Phil Lowe said...

Karen: I shall certainly follow your recommendations. A slow cooker? Hmm, food for thought. Firstly I shall have to shell out for a new carpet cleaner. The Dyson has died and gone to heaven. Can't really afford a another Dyson but maybe a Vax.

Phil Lowe said...

Jean: the HFW book is very good and even if I don't follow his recipes exactly it still gives one a some great ideas.