Review of 2014 #Project365

I still can’t believe that I’ve now completed my third year of #Project365 that has been hosted by the lovely The Boy and Me.
It has been quite a job to pick my favourite photo for each month of 2014. As I’ve looked through them they have bought back some very happy memories.

I’ve picked my favourites and explained why below.

January – On our way to the local park and Ashley is now confident enough to strike out on his own without too many glances back to see where we are.
February – This just makes me chuckle – I got Rick-rolled with a capcha!
March – After the wind blew or fencing down the big job of resetting the posts. Hubby made a good job it too!
April –  A rare moment of stillness from the little man.
May – This was one of about 30 photos taken with him clambouring all over me to get his picture taken and to be tickled. Almost every photo shows him grinning and laughing.
June – In our back garden with his bike and ball. What you can’t see here is  his face, he’s laughing because Grandad threw the ball at him. (if you click on the picture then use zoom you’ll see it! Go on take a look! )

soosie wales, #project365

July- Our day out at Greenmeadow Community Farm. He really wasn’t sure about touching the chicken.
August – At the local park again in the summer sun. One of the last weekends we had to look after him as Mummy was now on maternity leave.
September – The arrival of Grandson number 2 – Welcome to the world Theo.
October – This boy loves sleeping.
November – Some of you may remember that Molly won’t come into the house since our new back door was fitted.
When it’s dry we put her basket on the bench for her to sunbathe in.
December – Well there was no competition for this one. Both our boys back together again even if it was only for a few days.

soosie wales, #project365

If you did #365 last year I hope to see your roundup too!

Check out my other Project 365 pictures so far.

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What’s for Dinner Tonight?

Well actually in our house it’s what’s for tea tonight?  Most of the time I make dishes from scratch using ingredients in the cupboards and fridge.
But it’s always handy to have some jars and packets as a standby for when time or inspiration is not forthcoming!

Recently Britmums were asking for members to try out the new Schwartz 2in1 seasoning range and they sent me 2 samples:

  • Mediterranean Chicken Pasta and Cheesy Crumb Topping: A blend of herbs and spices for chicken pasta with a cheesy topping.
  • Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken + Crispy Roast Potatoes: Roast chicken seasoning, with garlic and thyme, accompanied by a special seasoning to create perfect Crispy Roast Potatoes

Тhe  2in1 range offers easy to use recipe mix sachets: one sachet flavours the main dish whilst the other contains seasoning for a complementary side dish or topping. There are 5 different varieties to choose from, and an easy recipe on the back of each pack’.

garlic and thyme 1I decided to try out the Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken + Crispy Roast Potatoes.
The instructions said to make some cuts in the chicken, mix the top part of the sachet with some oil and brush that over the chicken. It is then covered with foil and placed in the oven to cook.
The potatoes are cut into chunks and par boiled. You heat a little oil in a separate dish, drain the potatoes, sprinkle with the potato seasoning and toss gently then transfer them to them oven dish.

garlic and herb 2

The cooked chicken:

The kitchen was filled with a delicious smell! The chicken was really tasty, the garlic and thyme is not overpowering just enough to make it tasty for everyone.
The potatoes were tasty too but not as tasty as the chicken. The seasoning contains semolina to give the potatoes a crunchy coat but I’m not keen on this. I can make crispy roasties without it!

garlic and herb 3

This is the finished dish:

Would I use it again? Not sure, the chicken was good but the potatoes disappointing. Perhaps I’ll use the chicken seasoning and give the potato seasoning to the Mother-in-Law!

“This post is an entry for BritMums ‘What’s for Dinner Tonight?’ sponsored by Schwartz. 

RECIPE: Turkey and Pineapple – Chinese Style

The first meal I ever had from a Chinese take-away was Chicken and Pineapple. I wasn’t sure that I’d like it but I did and it has become a regular choice over the years – along with Singapore Chow Mein…

A Chinese girl used to worked for me  and we were discussing food; I asked if the dishes we serve here in the UK are anything like what she has at home – the answer of course was no..but one of her favourites of the UK style was Chicken and Pineapple and she gave me her recipe for it. Really easy too!!

Turkey and pineapple

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time : under 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 4)

  • 350g Turkey breast meat – thinly sliced or cut into strips
  • 1 small can of pineapple chunks (in juice not syrup!)
  • 1 or 2 onions – roughly chopped (1 large or 2 medium)
  • 2 tsps – Light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp – Cornflour

Method:

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok or deep frying pan.
  • Add turkey and fry for 2 minutes – keep it moving as you don’t want it brown.
  • Add Onion and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes – the onion just needs to be transparent.
  • Add pineapple -including the juice, soy sauce and heat through.
  • Thicken sauce with a little cornflour slaked with a little water. Cook for another minute.

Serve with Rice or Noodles.

turkey and pineapple, chicken

This can also be made with chicken or pork. You can also use fresh pineapple but will need to add some liquid – juice, water or try some plum sauce.  I sometimes add mushrooms too as you can see in the picture.

#Project365 4/52

Only 2 pictures for this week. I really didn’t want to take any more ‘snow’ pictures and have hardly been out the door this week. Then when I went for a walk I forgot my camera and my phone!!

On thursday I recieved a parcel with a (another) win from St Giles Hospice. This was from their Advent competition in December. A lovely teddy, chocolates and £15 high street voucher, all bundled up in a cellophane bag with a big bow.

Yesterday I made a Chicken Biryani in my slow cooker. It was really tasty, not quite spicy enough but very complex in flavour. I was pleased with the result as there isn’t a definitive recipe to be found on the interwebs. If you fancy giving it a try yourself just click here.


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RECIPE: Chicken Biryani – Slow Cooker style

I’ve scoured the interweb looking for a suitable recipe for a Biryani. Some say to cook the rice separately, some are dry cooked meat with the rice par-boiled and added at a late stage of cooking, some add the rice at the start of cooking.
So there doesn’t seem to be a definitive recipe anywhere.. oh dear. Continue reading

RECIPE: Chorizo and Chicken Paella (94/366)

RECIPE: Chorizo and Chicken Paella

Serving Paella at our house is difficult. I love a good paella and love seafood, hubby likes paella but not the seafood kind. YES I know paella is a seafood dish but he always opts for the meat version if we are on holiday.

The best one I’ve ever had was at AYO’s in Nerja, Spain. The restaurant is on the beach and when we went there in November 2001 they only served Paella and only opened at lunch time! Along with crusty bread, salad and a beer or wine or three it was the perfect lunch. It suited hubby too as the Paella had chicken and pork as well as lots of seafood.

When my youngest son still lived at home I used to make us a paella for supper when hubby was working nights. Huge plates of rice, veg and mixed seafood – perfect.
So now he’s left home and it’s just me and hubby I have to compromise.. so here’s my meaty version of paella. I serve it with a salad and a toasted tortilla wraps.

To ring changes try adding peas / sweetcorn or of course you could add some seafood!!

Ingredients: Serves 2

  • 3 oz / 60g Chorizo
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 red or green bell pepper – diced
  • 1 medium onion – diced
  • 1 clove garlic – crushed
  • half pint / 275ml hot chicken stock
  • quarter pint / 150 ml white wine
  • half teaspoon turmeric
  • 5 ounces / 150g paella or arborio rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley – for decoration

Method:

  • Remove the casing from the chorizo (you don’t have to but I prefer to remove it). Cut in half length ways and slice each half.
  • Cube the chicken
  • Heat a couple of teaspoons of oil in a heavy based saute pan (fry pan) and gently fry the chicken and chorizo until the chicken is just beginning to colour.  Remove from the pan leaving behind any oil.
  • fry onion and pepper in remaining oil until onion is transparent.
  • Add garlic and turmeric and fry for a minute.
  • Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the oil.
  • Add chorizo and chicken back to the pan.
  • Pour in the wine and bring to the boil.
  • Pour in hot stock bring back to boil.
  • Simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes stirring every few minutes with a fork.
  • If the mixture is getting too dry add a little more hot stock or hot water.
  • When the rice is just tender and the liquid has nearly all been absorbed check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  • Serve sprinkled with a little chopped parsley.

Serving:

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RECIPE: Chicken à l’Indienne with Peaches

Chicken à l’Indienne with Peaches

I have been making this curry dish for many years. I first came across it in the Freezer Cookery Book by Marks & Spencer. I’ve adapted it quite a bit from the original recipe. So this is my version with a nod and a wink to M&S!

This curry can be as mild or as spicy as you like by omitting or increasing the chilli ingredients. We usually have so it’s just a little spicy but not ‘blow your head off’ hot. The amounts below make it just the way we like it.

You can use just curry powder of course but the extras do give it fuller taste.

Ingredients – Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 4 chicken quarters or 8 thighs or 4 breasts (leave whole or cut into chunks)
  • 2 onions – peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powderIngredients
  • half tsp ground ginger
  • half tsp cinnamon
  • half tsp ground coriander
  • half tsp chilli powder
  • large pinch of chilli flakes or one small red chilli finely chopped.
  • half tsp garam masala
  • 1 oz (25g) flour
  • half pint (275ml) hot chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon mango chutney
  • juice of half lemon or lime
  • 2 fresh peaches skinned and stoned cut in half or 4 canned peach halves.
  • salt

Method:(Photo of dish before going into the oven)

  • Heat a heavy based saute pan or frying pan
  • pour in oil and heat
  • Fry chicken until turning brown
  • Remove chicken from pan and set asideGoing into the oven
  • Fry onion until transparent
  • Add garlic, spices (except Garam Masala) and flour
  • fry for 1 minute
  • Gradually add stock and bring to the boil stirring constantly until it thickens
  • Season with salt to taste
  • Stir in the mango chutney and lemon or lime juice
  • Return chicken to the sauce
  • Add peaches and stir gently
  • Place lid on pan and simmer gently for 40 minutes
  • OR
  • Transfer to an oven proof dish, cover and place in an oven at 150 electric or GAS 2 for 40 minutes
  • Stir in Garam Masala
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if required.

Serve with rice, poppadoms, nan breads etc.

Please take a look at my other recipes.