Monday, January 17, 2011

FINGER LICKIN' CHICKEN and other stories

We've been eating really well lately. It's something to do with spending time at home (January), doing conscientious shopping trips and being quite frugal (again, January). Last week I had my dear friend Flora for supper and cooked some delicious salads. The best was one with lentils, fennel and mackerel. It was crunchy and satisfying and washed down with far too much wine, made for a delicious girls-night-in. This blog is usually pretty frivolous but after watching all the Big Fish Fight programmes on telly, I really must stress how much it has moved me, and I hope you too. Hopefully from now on, people will be using sustainably caught fish. The mackerel I used for this salad was just that, made by a company called 'fish forever' that we sell at Rosie's. Please do find it, where ever you live.

The weekend was a gorge-fest. Raf made pizza. It's super easy making pizza and we had a really good time choosing toppings for each batch (tomatoes, aubergine, mozzarella, goats cheese, balsamic onions, coppa and all topped with a sprinkle of rocket) and the real trick was using a cast iron slab to bake them on. We got it really hot and then eased each pizza on to it to really crisp up the bottoms. And Raf really does have natural kneading hands, lucky for me. The base was absolutely perfect. I just need to get him making me daily bread and I'll have it taped! Next time we do pizza, I want to try a distant Florentine memory. I know it involved potatoes, rosemary and taleggio (the first time you eat taleggio it changes your world)... watch this space.

And now on to the whole point, the chicken. We roasted one last night and stuffed the skin with a delicious butter packed with chillies, basil, lemon zest, clementine zest and garlic. All pretty obvious. But this morning I stripped the remaining meat off of it and made a stock with the carcass. It's the three day chicken frugality challenge. The meat has gone into a puff pastry pie with leeks, carrots and loads of wilted spinach in a white sauce. That's coming out just before EastEnders for a cosy night in. And tomorrow's supper will be risotto, utilizing the chicken stock. It really does take things up a notch if you make risotto with real stock. You should try it.

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