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The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 26 March 2011

A visit to a London city farm, and Chicken Cacciatore recipe

Earlier this week, I took the 2-year-old to a nearby city farm. Rather than tackling the underground tube with a stroller (the access to the tube system from street level is usually stairs), I walked the 2km distance there and back, which gave me a good chance to see the streets of London and admire the beautiful (old) architecture that I enccountered along the way. Zak loved chasing the uncaged chickens around the farm yard, and he kept edging up to the large geese that were as big as him! He gawked at the sheep, but barely gave a glance at the pigs. I wonder at when he will - in that little brain of his - associate those flappy clucky chickens with the chicken dishes I put on the dinner table. That boy loves eating chicken drumsticks, and nothing pleases me more than seeing him enthusiastically eat his dinner (Lord knows what we sometimes go through at the dining table trying to get him to eat).

Zak getting acquainted with chickens at a London city farm:

I cooked this Chicken Cacciatore a couple of weeks ago back home in Hong Kong, and I need to write it down before it gets left forgotten behind a backlog pile of photos of our trip to London and Italy. This is a pretty quick and easy recipe to execute, which is great for weekday dinners. The olives add a fantastic flavour punch, and it's a versatile dish that goes well with pasta, rice, couscous, bread, polenta, potato – any plain carbs to soak up the yummy sauce. I used this recipe from taste.com.au, but with a few modifications (but of course! I hardly follow recipes to the tee). I skipped flouring the drumsticks, added lots of mushrooms and used dried parsley. The first thing Rob said when stepping through the door after work was “Mmm, smells yummy”, and he was full of praises when eating it too. Zak ate his dinner, which was good enough for me!

Chicken Cacciatore


Ingredients

1kg (about 8) chicken drumsticks
Olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
200g mushrooms
400g can whole peeled tomatoes
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
140g (3/4 cup) pitted kalamata olives
dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Method

1. Heat some oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half the drumsticks and cook, turning occasionally, for 4-6 minutes or until well browned. Transfer to a plate. Heat another 2 tsp of olive oil in the frypan and repeat with the remaining drumsticks.
2. Heat some oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until it softens slightly. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.
3. Add the browned drumsticks to the pot. Stir in the undrained tomatoes and stock, using the spoon to break up the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
4. Stir in the olives and dried parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes.
5. Serve with your choice of carbs (e.g. rice, pasta, couscous) and vegetables for a complete meal.

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