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Friday, 11 August 2017

Gone totally cooking mad over my stay at home holidays. Totally!

As well as supporting my local butcher through the occasional purchase and blog posts, I have been enjoying being at home cooking on my staycation in my village of Ruddington - with red wine always to hand. Or if not actually to hand, then, certainly very close by.

Amongst the things I have cooked are a whole chicken deboned, trussed up into joints and marinated in lemon juice and rosemary.

To do this I quartered the whole chicken then deboned the breast and leg sections. Taking the skin off the leg portions I then spread the leg flesh inside the butterflied breast pieces (leg skin removed) and tied them up with butcher's string.

The wings I cut into two on the bone pieces for a nibble type treat when cooked. I used two whole fresh lemons and a small amount of rosemary from the garden and marinated the chicken overnight.

The next day I roasted the chicken pieces in the oven for about one hour and a half. As you can see from the photo I also used the lemon rind to add texture and additional citrus flavour. I ate the chicken over the next couple of days in various salads.

I have enjoyed some Merguez sausages from the Ruddington butchers and added them to some sweet crispy salad and half a packet of Cucina Italiana Spinach & Ricotta Tortelloni (cooks in three minutes) from Sainsbury's.

The slightly blurred picture above shows the same dish with less salad (I had run out! 😀 ) and fresh on-the-vine tomatoes from my local greengrocer on the Ruddington High Street. Always like to shop local where I can, otherwise the village can become an desert of boring corporate shops with no individual style and products.

It is rare that I eat deserts or puddings but, I do like a nice crumble and I took advantage of some luscious apricots (I'm a devil aren't I!) on sale at my greengrocers and made them into a yummy crumble. I de-stoned the diddy sweet tasting apricots and chucked them gently into a bowl with a small amount of cinnamon powder and two table spoons of brown sugar. I love brown sugar - it reminds me so much of my childhood. The apricots got stewed for less than fifteen minutes until they were mi cuit.

I added some sultanas from my store cupboard and then I banged on, and very thinly spread, a bag of shop bought crumble mix. I know I know! There was just enough! Phew!

This went into the oven at gas mark six for three quarters of an hour and came out bubbling hot and flavoursome!  I let it cool before I subjected my delicate mouth to its potentially volcanic blistering heat! 

At other points during this week I went for a mindless wander around two Chinese supermarkets in Nottingham where I had no idea what was in most of the linguistically obscure packets on the shelves. I was seeking out whole spices but struggled to find what I really wanted. 🙍

Further down the road in the bottom part of Sneinton, in Nottingham, I enjoyed a good browse around the Murat store that caters for many ethnicities food-wise. Check out their website here but try not to laugh too much at their appalling promotional video!

Their promo video
looks like it had been made by a drastically bored kid at school who had been promised a few flatbreads in payment for their 'Video artistry'. Out of focus is the main theme with 'random' as the bed upon which it so awkwardly lays.

However, the reality of its true 'inside'  is so much better than what this dreadful video purports to show. The hahal meats section looks fresh and inviting as does the fresh fruits and veg section.

There was so much foreign foodstuffs here I could have been in another world. If you like bottled gherkins and other pickled delights then stray no further! If you also like a huge selection of dried pasta, multiple herbs (dried) and enough Greek products to keep the whole of Athens happy for a year then shop at Murats!

The grumpy personality lacking staff may not win 'cheery personality of the year' awards (some very serious and uninterested ladies on the checkout) 😐😒 but the produce is top class and great value.

I got some deliciously fragrant and tasty peaches (another childhood reminder of summer long days and sticky lips attracting wasps) and a bunch of crunchy peppery radishes and some roasted and salted pumpkin seeds which, it turns out, I didn't really like, but I added a few to a Dutch cheese salad with French Saucisson Sec.

The 'Expressa' pumpkin seeds have a claggy feel that overrides the initial salty - roasted appeal. I have thrown them away which feels a waste of £2.99 for 200g really. Lesson learnt.

Rather oddly today, I enjoyed a peculiar breakfast of a rhubarb crumble made by my neighbour (yummy and fragrant with a crunchy crumble texture), unctuous sliced up fresh peaches and sharp peppery radishes to eat them before they got too soft. All that fibre certainly has an effect! Too much info? 

Neighbourly cats Harris and Soufie have constantly been around to help my cooking endeavours. Thanks cats. By the way that is MY tuna! Cats! Oh never mind!

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