the up side of being woken up by neighbour’s drilling at 8.15 on a sunday morning

The neighbour’s builders rest at the weekend, just as the other neighbour’s builders  seem to ship in. I would be tempted in thinking that it is the same set of builders moonlighting at the weekend. The drilling woke me up at 8.15am this morning…nice…very thoughtful on a Sunday morning…probably breaking some law, certainly the common decency one. Looking on the bright side, the cafes were empty,  as most other people were just crawling gently from their pits, so we had a nice quiet cuppa – I watched Mr P. demolish a warm chocolate croissant, while we tried to sort out ‘what we were going to do about Christmas’, like it was some slightly misbehaving child.

We also saw the beginning of the cliff hanger, local  football league finale between the N4’s and Hanwell. It was a bit cold to see the whole game, but got a few nice action shots.

Having been reunited with the cauliflower of late, the same thing has happened with the red cabbage. I am probably solely responsible for more red cabbage waste during my lifetime than almost any other living thing. I buy one with all good intentions, and it sits in my fridge, just waiting for the day when it is so far gone (and that really does warrant some some hanging around to get to that point) that it goes back in the ground with  my compost, looking almost the same as when I bought it, just a bit shrunken and  rather smelly.

This autumn I have finally cracked the successful roast chicken. I have cooked 3 in as many weeks for 3 sets of close friends – each time accompanied by baked squash, roast potatoes and red cabbage. Not any red cabbage. You cut up and onion, an apple and red cabbage, mix it all together in a pan with a lid, with about 4 dessert spoons of white wine vinegar, caraway seeds, nutmeg and cinnamon and a big slug of maple syrup – I usually simmer on the top for a bit then stick it in the oven , with a lid on, giving it an occasional stir. I have also got into raw chopped up red cabage with caraway seeds, spoonful of mayo and  greek yoghurt, very nice as a side dish for a warm stew and rice.

cut garlic

The roast chicken is thus made…..A whole bulb of garlic cut in half  right across all the cloves, a lemon cut in half.  Half the lemon and half the garlic goes inside the chicken with some salt, which I have taken to putting on the lemon to save me having to do too much cavity exploration. You butter and salt the chicken, sling the other half of the garlic and lemon outside the chicken, put a tiny little bit of wine or brandy in water in the bottom of the pan ( a thick bottomed pan that has a lid for later). Thwack it in the oven at about 170C ( that’s for my fan) 30 mins for each 500g plus and extra 30 mins. What I do is,  first and last 30 mins without a lid and the rest with the lid on….seems to keep it very moist. The cabbage and the squash go in too. They come out after about an hour, keep warm somewhere, the potatoes go in . Half an hour to 45 mins later the chicken comes out ( depending on its vastness) and rests, and the tatties get another half hour with a blast to get them really crunchy, while I make the gravy…..

You take the chicken out of the pan onto a flat plate to rest for and  the juices are amazing! You can mash the roasted garlic in the juices, ( don’t mash the lemons as you get the pithy taste in your gravy) add some veg stock or water and make into the finest tasting gravy -with a bit of cornflour etc. RESULT. I then simmer all the carcass and remains and make soup too. Much better value to buy a whole chicken than bits and pieces…..Always but free range though….

Blimey…. am worn out just thinking about all this now.

SONG OF THE DAY – The Strawbs -Part of the Union

1973….. nuf said.

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