Eat · Garden Life · Grow · In the Kitchen

Hot Southern Chicken

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This recipe is adapted from a magazine cutting, the cutting doesn’t have a date but is well worn with use so is many years old. It has stood the test of time as the children have grown up, a perfect autumnal dish to use seasonal vegetables whilst they are at there best. It keeps everyone warm on a cold autumn day and best of all it only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to make. At 383 calories it suits a dieter too. Easy to double up, this freezes really well for a quick meal on another day. An all round winner to feed a busy family.

I use two chillies and leave the seeds in which is quite hot. I recommend you use the right amount for you. If your cooking for little ones 1 chilli with no seeds is plenty. I use Swiss Vegetable Buillion powder to make the stock but use whatever you normally use and if I can’t find new potatoes I use maincrop cubed with their skin still on. If I don’t have fresh herbs to hand I buy the freeze dried herbs from the freezer cabinet at the supermarket they are brilliant for this type of dish and save money as you don’t waste half a packet of fresh herbs that get forgotten about in the back of the fridge.

This freezes well, cool it to room temperature, then label and freeze as quickly as possible. To reheat, defrost on the fridge for 12 hours then reheat in a pan on a low heat for 30 minutes.

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Ingredients

2 tbspns rice bran oil

25g butter (whatever spread you use if fine)

6 skinless boneless chicken breasts, each cut into 3 chunks

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 red chillies de-seeded and chopped

3 cloves garlic

2 tbspns plain flour

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tbspns tomato puree

850ml vegetable stock

450g small new potatoes scrubbed

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks

340g can sweetcorn or kernels from 2 sweetcorn cobs

175g mixed coloured cherry tomatoes

2 tbspns each chopped fresh mint and coriander

  1. Heat the oil and butter in large pan and cook the chicken in batches, turning, until it’s lightly golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.

  2. Lower the heat and add the onions, chillies, and garlic cooking for about 5 minutes until soft but not brown.

  3. Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and stir well. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and vegetable stock, give everything a really good stir.

  4. Return the chicken to the pan with the sweet potato turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low part cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

  5. Check that the sweet potato is just starting to fall apart and that the potatoes are cooked through, if they are still a bit firm leave for another 5-10 minutes.

  6. Add the sweetcorn and tomatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes.

  7. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes then add the herbs before serving in bowls with some crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Hot Southern Chicken Pin

Grow

The Allotment

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Wall flowers planted in 2016 for early 2017 bee attraction.

Our allotment is one of around 400 in a hidden spot in among the houses in the center of our town.  We reside at No 3, we were the lucky recipient in late summer 2012 of an overgrown plot that needed clearing. We spent three years clearing it and now use the whole plot every year.

The allotment is my outdoor gym for 10 months of the year, digging burns the most amazing amount of calories and lugging watering cans around does wonders for your upper arms.

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Plot No 3 when we first arrived in 2012.

The first year we only grew some lettuce and lots and lots of potatoes a few beans and some courgettes to clear the ground and break up the soil.  Last year was the last bit of allotment to be cleared, a three year project, and planted with potatoes with clear the final bit.  I am hoping for a better crop this year as I undertake crop rotation and plant in the middle of the allotment for the second time.

wireworm_lv_msThe downside of planting to break up the ground is the variety of potato you choose and if its very desirable or not to a mass destruction bug called wire worm.  They normally live in grass so when you clear your plot they hatch expecting grass roots and get potatoes that they love and do an amazing job of burrowing into making the potato rot if its stored and be inedible as they burrow all over the potato munching on your hard work and effort.  Over half my crop of Orla no good last year.

There are a couple of varieties of potatoes that are more resistant. Charlotte was less damaged than the beautiful Orla that was almost devastated.  The red main crop potato Saxo Sarpona was left almost untouched but it was my test crop that I planted late, so I only had small tubers and only half a rows worth.  Not enough to supply us through the winter.

This year I have planted my favorite Home Guard a heritage variety of new potato, it tastes amazing.  Charlotte as it is so resistant to most bugs and it actually stores really well.  Orla because it tastes so amazing and finally Sarpo Axona.  I am very pleased to report that last years test was successful, it did so well that I’ve planted it much earlier and a whole row this year.  My finders and toes are crossed that the effort of planting, watering, feeding and weeding will be worth it with less wire worm damage this year as we’ve planted in a bit of the plot that we cultivated two years ago. I will keep you posted on progress.

 

Grow

Garden Life

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I have been in love with the garden and outside since I was small. My Dad kept us in fresh vegetables all year round so there was always something going on in the garden. When my children were small I remembered my love of the garden.  Time and a small garden at our last house were the limiters to doing anything more substantial than a few strawberries and some pretty flowers. The house belonged to my husbands grandmother. She had so many amazing plants and shrubs, those plants her efforts and my Dad inspired me to carry on looking after the garden.  I have always been sad that we had to completely change the garden from her pretty raised beds and gravel paths but needs must and with small children we had to have something more family friendly.  We embarked on a major garden refurbishment project not long after we moved in.  We did add a couple of raised beds that served us well with carrots, peas, strawberries and salad crops.  We kept the front garden for flowers and even now, some 10 years later, it still has some of the original shrubs.  The flowers unfortunately never survived the tenants when we rented it out for a few years.

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When we decided it was time to move to have a bigger space for our family the biggest prerequisite was a large garden so I could grow more yummy food for us to eat.  The bonus when we bought the house was that it had a green house.  I had dreamed of a green house to grow tomatoes and cucumbers and to start vegetables early and grow potatoes in bags for Christmas. I maybe haven’t quite achieved some of those ideals and dreams but we have not only made the most of the garden but have added an allotment to our outside space where I can grow even more fruit vegetables and flowers.

Crochet is 100% my greatest love and will stay with me until I die but I love the garden too and want to share what I grow and what I cook with what I grow.  I hope you enjoy the series of posts about my garden life.  I shall very much enjoy taking the pictures and writing about my garden and allotment as the year progresses and my crochet projects continue.

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