Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The First Day of School

Its has all been early starts, lunchboxes and over-sized uniforms here at WheelerandCompany.  Our little-boy-blue started school on Tuesday and it was worse than any of the stories I have been told. 
Firstly his father was in tears at the breakfast table at the sight of him in his little uniform (this was predicted and so I, deemed the more heartless one, was dispatched for delivery), then the hustle and bustle at the school gate with grannies, uncles, brothers etc. all bombarding the school to say good bye is enough to scare off any child.  It is no wonder that I was the last mammy to leave the classroom, one and a half hours and no less, after school start time - I bet that's a record. 
I had to walk back down the school corridor listening to my son kicking the inside of his classroom door.  I felt sick for the whole two hours that were left of that school day.

Flip side is that his first words when I picked him up after those anxious two hours were "Mama, I really like that school".

As a result, I could not face the kitchen - it was all little lunch boxes and flasks and reminders of what my poor son went through that day.    So generally feeling sorry for myself, I ordered a Thai Green Curry from Kanum at Baggot Street bridge, for 17 euro (OK I had spring rolls and prawn crackers also) - hence the lack of recipe on the blog yesterday - and dare I admit it but the children had bought fish cakes (note- not fingers but cakes) and they loved them.
Today, invigorated fully from those heaty green chillies, I got up at dawn to make a little packed lunch, and basically stuck at it, having tonight's dinner cooked fully at 9.15am- a record even for efficient me.

It meant that we could enjoy the "post-school park outing in the sun with the white skinny-jean clad Liz O'Hurleys" without having the dreaded 'oh god, what and I making for tea'.  One up for me - I bet the skinnies are making fish fingers tonight! 
And Sister Assumpta Wheeler, I know you will be reading this and will give out to me about being a snob - I cannot help it when it comes to food, you know that.  One up for you, yes I ordered Thai food and admited it and I fed my children a ready made meal.  But I do deserve a break after the anguish of the morning.

Ok ... down to business ... I have been meaning to post this deliciously simple one pot supper for a while as I have made it, or several variations of it, since my return to Dublin 3 weeks ago.  I find that it is a really good dish if you have guests round, as the flavours are rich and deep and it goes perfectly with nothing more than a glass of wine, some crusty bread and perhaps(if there is any left) some ripe Camembert.  You can also make it at the crack of dawn and thus have time to squeeze into the skinny jeans in time for the guests to arrive.

I used an organic chicken for this, (non-skinny) legs and thighs and some breast meat.  I also used a home made chicken stock, made from the carcass of our first garden meal.

Roughly chop an onion, two or three carrots, a few stalks of celery.  Peel about 3 cloves of garlic. 
Roughly chop pancetta, streaky bacon or even some chorizo.
Gather what ever herbs you have to hand, oregano, thyme, bay, chervil, parsley and tie them together with string - you could also use a bouquet garni, I have lovely authentic ones brought from France by my mother.
Season the chicken thighs, legs and breast meat with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (each breast cut into about three biggest pieces).

Firstly heat some butter and a drop of oil in a large deep pan (with a lid).  Brown the pieces of meat and set aside.  Add a little more butter and add the onion, garlic and pancetta and cook for 8 minutes until the begin to soften and the pancetta is starting to crisp. 
Add the carrots, celery and herbs and sweat with the lid on for about 5 minutes.  Return the chicken pieces to the pot and pour in one large glass of white wine and the same amount of chicken stock.
Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. 
Tonight I nestled in potatoes on top of the meat and these served as a good accompaniment
Place in the oven (lid on) for about 45 minutes until the chicken pieces are cooked through.
Remove the herbs before serving.

This can be eaten with potatoes, rice or simply alone in a bowl with a side of cheese and bread for that rustic french farmhouse look!

Must go dig out those white skinny jeans .... after another piece of that really ripe camembert!

1 comment:

  1. Can't promise to be so organised for tomorrow night but will promise NO SKINNY WHITE JEANS allowed..