Tuesday, 28 May 2013

recipe :: Chicken paprika

Oh my, ever see a recipe that you immediately want to try... I mean right there and then even if it's early in the morning and just that bit too soon for garlic. Yes? I am definitely going for this one on Rebekka Seale's gorgeous blog... garlicky white bean and kale stew I hear you calling...

But on today's menu is chicken paprika with chorizo

1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
about 6 inches or so of chorizo, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 organic free range chicken breasts, sliced
400g can cannellini beans
400g can chopped tomato
good pinch smoked paprika
sea-salt, pepper, a little muscovado sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
small bunch flat leaf parsley

In a heavy bottomed casserole dish heat the oil and then gently cook the onions for about 5 minutes until beginning to get translucent. Add the sliced chorizo and let the fragrant smoky oils start to run, then add the garlic. Gently fry all this for another minute or so. Add the chicken breasts and let them colour before adding the beans and the chopped tomato.Swill out the tinned tomato can with water-about half full- and pour this in too. Sprinkle on the smoked paprika as well as a good pinch of sea-salt, pepper and a crumbling of sticky muscovado sugar. Stir well and put the lid on and leave to bubble on a low heat for about 35 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked through. Finally, just before serving swirl in the tangy sour creamand sprinkle with parsley.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

this week

This week...

This week the sun came out! How lovely it was to feel the warmth outside. The boys were happy to spread a blanket on the grass and play Lego, while we got to fling open all doors and windows. The little lane running beside the house was dry and dusty, with sun dappled patches and lots of blackthorn blossom. Oh I do hope the weather picks up a little more, it's just so nice!

Friday, 17 May 2013

the farmer's year

May: Sheep Shearing
Now it is warm in earth and air. Spilt are the fertile rains of April, and May is among the trees as they quicken and swell. The wastes of sky diminish between their branches; the meadows are growing lush and high, and the pathways in the little lanes have shrunk in width, so generously have the green things grown in the ditches. In the depths of the hedges, above the mist of cow parsley, many small bright eyes watch the lanes, fearful of men and boys; for nests are full of fledglings and a few late eggs, and mother birds remember.
Clare Leighton, The farmer's year, 1933

I am lucky enough to own an original copy of The Farmer's Year, published in 1933. It is the most beautiful publication, green cloth-bound with embossed golden letters, each month of the year according to the farmer's life, each month of the year according to the turn of each season, each month of the year according to the rotation of the Earth. Its handsome woodcuts detail the work, the labour, the routine, the hardship, the connection, the rewards. January: Lambing, February: Lopping, March: Threshing, April: Sowing, May: Sheep Shearing, June: Hay-making, July: Cottage Gardens, August: Harvesting, September: Apple Picking, October: Cider-making, November: Ploughing, December: The fat stock market

Swirl and dance through time another 80 years and take stock of how we farm today. You might recognise some of the work and labour from times past, but now it is called agri-business, now farmers farm with such massive machinery that hedges are removed to simply make way for those combines, tractors and trailers, now when you protest you are told this is how it is, it has to be this way because this is the only way to make a profit. How right the bright eyes watching the lanes were, how right to be fearful of men and boys who, with little or no thought, destroy the natural world for profit.

Friday, 10 May 2013

needs and wants

Needs and Wants:

Maximilien le magicienLudo le lapin Tray
Yes, I need that world map and that long eye-lashed moustached fellow and that nice bunny on a tray (all from here oh, la,la) But I also need this by Barbara Jones...

..and while we're at it I need these.
Steeplechaser 5

Wigginton Road Nurseries
(Emily Sutton's work-love this)
Still life with Liberty fabric
And ok, I think these hellebores and that harlequin cup are a need too- go here for more of Susan Dennis' work.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

in the garden

As we step that little bit closer to summer there is finally a little colour in the garden. I think my favourite at the minute are the elegant stems of Solomon's Seal- I love its nodding bell-like flowers. The boys are spending an ever increasing amount of time in the garden. Their bikes and go-carts are left out on the grass, scattered reminders of childhood and all its innocence. We added another swing to the mix (from Ikea). No game consoles, no Playstation, no Wii, no iPad. Just outdoors, dogs, bikes, wellies, mud, stones to make cavemen fires, swings, rope ladders. I am not saying it's all laughter and fun but it is childhood. A proper one, without the pressures of trying to fit into an adult world.