Monday, 25 August 2014

Making something out of odds and ends

Its still chucking it down with rain its depressing I know we need it but! I have been a bit fed up forever the eternal child who used to stare out of the leaded light windows nose squashed up to the cold glass that steamed up as soon as you breathed on it and watching it pelting down with rain resenting the fact that it combines you to barracks!

And to boot its that time of the month again not quite pay day but the stocks are depleted somewhat to what they normally are and a hot warm meal is required to warm us up. Especially after the constant rain we have had today- which has made the house cold and I have ended up putting the heating on for a short while as my back has stiffened up again and moving about is not so easy - a case of mind willing body not cooperating!

Where do I start - I checked  the upright freezer first and discovered some chicken portions that I had squirrelled away and forgotten about. I prepare a lot of things myself for the freezer mostly for economy reasons I make sure that we have the basics plus a few fol de rols for special occasions or nice things to eat out of season such as English strawberries, peaches, gooseberries, blackberries etc.Whatever comes my way.  I tend to pack small chicken portions in fours and larger breast portions in twos.  So a pack of each came out.{ the breast portions are for a curry tomorrow evening with some rice or a stir fry haven't quite decided} anyway I digress.

After fishing out the chicken portions I then liberated some peas (to be accurate some petit pois) from the freezer and then checked what fresh veggies I had available. I have pumpkin, squash, marrow, potatoes to hand together with broccoli, carrots, leeks and runner beans.  I love fresh veggies and have fresh where I can but if I do not think I am going to get everything used up pretty quickly I prepare it and deposit it in the freezer - I hate wasting anything and being frugal now pays dividends usually at the poorer end of the month but its the veggies that make the meat go further so make sure you freeze those veggies down before they are past their best.   At worst case scenario remnants can go to the compost bin but its better to eat if you can.  The pumpkin,and squash are destined for chutney and for marmalade Pumpkin marmalade is lovely especially on a warmed croissant.

I then chose a small baking pan popped my chicken portions in and some mild olive oil with some dried thyme ( I buy fresh faggots of thyme from the market and let them dry and then sprinkle the dried thyme over whateever  it is I am cooking and then cover with foil.  Half way through cooking I take the foil lid off and then let the meat brown  (so in essence the foil keeps the chicken moist but it looks insipid and not very appetitising so it does need browning off.

I decided to use my three tier steamer placing prepared peeled potatoes in quarters in the base so that they boil (I served them whole and boiled and we then mash the potatoes with our forks ourselves), in the upper racks I placed broccoli, and runner beans.  I cooked carrots and peas together in a separate pan and after the chicken was cooked I plated it and popped it under the grill (not switched on but above my oven for it to rest).  I then drained off the excess fat and used the tray with meat juices to make the gravy.  I served with home made stuffing and home made bread sauce which always helps bring out the flavour of chicken and helps pad the meal out a little more. Sometimes I add chipolata sausages as well.  The meal went down well and warmed us up from the inside out but best of all made use of what I already had to hand.  We cannot always run to a whole chicken but if you can do then buy it as you can potentially end up with at least two to three meals out of a whole chicken plus you can get stock from the bones for making home made gravies and soups. I quite frequently cook chicken like this but also pork chops/steaks, lamb chops, beef olives in this way just amending the flavourings to the meat being used.  Simple unadulterated food and plus I have had my five a day.  Not bad for odds and ends being gathered together from the Pantry, fridge, and freezer not forgetting the fresh veg drawer.

Catch you soon.




  1. It was chicken curry on our house last night (for me, and the freezer, as OH isn't a curry person). It really hit the spot after a very early start to the day (3.45 a.m.!) and much wetness. Autumn has arrived early it seems. I need to do some freezer scrabbling to keep costs down over the next few weeks, so may have to be inventive! I loved hearing about your cooking - it sounded so tasty.

    1. Hi BB sorry its took me a while to get back to you. I don't mind a curry now and again but do not like it too hot it is a good solid filler. I usually keep the best bits of meat off a chicken after it has been cooked and pop into the freezer (the cats get the scraps and the carcass is used for stock) and then every so often I do a home made stir fry or curry with the bits.a cheap way of something for nothing. I now have my freezer working properly again so I will be stocking it up a little at a time with bits and bobs. I like scrabbling around and making something out of nothing and saving bits helps out at the end of the month. I have some onions that are passed their best so rather than waste them I am going to make some onion soup and also some pumpkin soup and then freeze them down so that I can grab a sachet mid week to have. I love a bowl of soup. Take care Pattypan xx

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Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
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