Is life just a series of events ticked off? One deadline after another? It seems so to me. But I’ve got it easy the rest of the week. A funeral to play for (as organist) on Friday and I’m working in the shop on Saturday, organ again on Sunday, none of which really count as work at all, but one of which I’m actually paid for. Gosh.
The stuffed chicken rolls, which the Boy would like the recipe for. Yes, it is very good. It comes from a J0scel1ne D1mbleby book called ‘Fav0ur1te F00d’ which, I see from the publication date, I have had since 1983. It is a very good book and I use several of the recipes regularly, after all these years. I give the recipe as printed, but I usually substitute bacon for some of the pork and I don’t usually thicken the sauce, and rarely remember the parsley. If you have someone on a very low fat diet, dry-fry the lean pork and it’s about as near fat-free as a meat recipe can be.
8 oz (225 g) lean minced pork
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 level teaspoons chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large skinned chicken breast fillets
1 egg, whisked
1/4 pint (150 ml) dry white wine
1/2 teasp. cornflour
small handful parsley, finely chopped
Mix the chopped pork with the chopped garlic and rosemary and season well with salt and black pepper (if you do use bacon, hold you hard* with the salt) Heat the olive oil and fry the pork, stirring to separate, for about 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
Put the chicken breasts between two sheets of greaseproof paper and bash with a meat mallet or rolling pin or whatever until they are spread out and fairly thin (I often cut them to half thickness and bash them a bit, as two small rolls can look better on a plate – in any case, one little one is enough for me, who packs away vast amounts of food, but a bit at a time). Sprinkle them lightly with salt.
Mix the egg into the port mixture and put a good spoonful of the stuffing on each flattened fillet. Roll the fillets carefully over the filling and place, join side down, in a fairly shallow ovenproof dish into which the rolls will fit fairly closely. Don’t worry if bits of stuffing fall out of the rolls, just tuck in any leftover mince around the rolls.
Pour over the white wine and cover the dish with foil or a lid. Cook at Gas 5/375F/190C for 30-35 minutes until white and just lightly cooked.
Pour the juices into a saucepan. In a small bowl, mix the cornflour with a spoonful of water until smooth, and stir into the juices. Bring to the boil, stirring and simmer, still stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Check for seasoning, add the chopped parsley and spoon the sauce over the chicken rolls.
*be cautious. One thinks in Norfolk, once in a while.
Anyway, the meeting went well – it did overrun by 5 minutes (they have seen my true bossy colours recently, and I am strict with time) but that wasn’t too bad. I’d got lunch ready beforehand, and had delegated hulling the strawberries to the Sage, who was splendidly helpful throughout and very hospitable at lunchtime. There were ten of us for lunch in the end, which is comfortable round the table – it can seat twelve but that’s a bit of a scrum and one can find oneself drinking out of a neighbour’s glass.
By the way, one salad came out of a book called ‘Cooking without Fuss’. Indeed, it wasn’t a fuss, exactly, but it took an awful lot of time. First, I shelled a pile of broad beans. Then I cooked them and refreshed them quickly under cold water. Then I peeled them. Then I cooked and cooled some asparagus. Then I peeled and cut up red onions and garlic and roasted them. Meanwhile, I prepared couscous, added lemon zest, garlic, chilli powder, ground cumin and ground coriander to hot olive oil, stirred and added to the couscous. Then, when the onions were ready, stirred them into the couscous.
When this was cool, I added the juice of the lemon, the asparagus and the broad beans, and some cubed feta cheese. I served it on a bed of Cos lettuce.
It took ages. It tasted good, but I’m not sure I’ll get around to doing it again. It was the shelling of each broad bean that clinched it.
The Sage just rang. He had asked what would be for dinner. I said, something with eggs as I hadn’t shopped. He phoned to say, keenly, that the butcher was still open – if he bought some sausages, could we have toad in the hole? Could we, could we, pleeeease? I said yes. Bless him. How can he still eat after all that lunch?