Saturday, 28 March 2009

A very pleasant evening

Photo: some rather nice looking apples growing in the walled gardens at Houghton Hall.

Last night was a lovely evening. Everyone turned up, the food arrived on time, wine and conversation were flowing and a great time was had by all. It was really nice to have the time for a good long natter; it's usually 15 mins max at playtime. And the knock-on effect is that apart from the kitchen which is, admittedly, a dreadful mess at the moment, the rest of the house is clean and tidy and all I have to do this weekend is a light dust and get the ironing sorted. So if the weather is anything like favourable, I might even do a bit of gardening!

Mine were in disgrace again yesterday. It was my PPA time. They were all in Family Assembly and a significant number of them misbehaved. So afterwards they were marched back to the hall to 'practice' sitting properly followed by a lecture from me (as their class teacher). This time they were not saved by the rain - the metaphorical clouds opened over them and poured (grin)! And then the teacher who had been taking assembly turned up and said more or less the same things all over again.
They were wingless angels in the afternoon!

I haven't posted a recipe for a few days so here's one! I didn't weigh the ingredients, it's all down to common sense and taste really.

Chicken and mushroom pasta.

Ingredients to serve 1:

One small boneless and skinless chicken breast (a big one is enough for two so increase the other ingredients to match), cut into medium sized chunks - a little smaller than bite-sized
two shallots, peeled and chopped quite fine
olive oil - I used about 8 mls
small clove of garlic, crushed
quarter of a red pepper, cut into chunks
two baby corns, cut into chunks.
about three or four chestnut mushrooms, sliced
some chicken or vegetable stock - I used Knorr chicken stock granules and water - about 2 tbsp.
some philly light - don't use the extra light as it doesn't melt well; the full fat is best but . . .
some grain mustard to taste
black pepper - I didn't use any extra salt - and herbs to own taste

some cooked pasta - I used the spiral shaped stuff: 50g raw weight made loads.


Put the pasta on to cook. When cooked, keep it warm.
While the pasta is boiling . . .
Heat a bit of the oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic and gently sizzle until soft. Increase the heat, add the rest of the oil and the chicken and cook, stirring most of the time, until the chicken is nearly cooked through. It doesn't take very long at all.
Then add the red pepper and the baby corn. Continue cooking for about a minute. Add the mushrooms, lower the heat and let them gently sizzle for a couple of minutes, stirring them now and again.
Finally, increase the heat, add the stock, the philly light, the grain mustard, the pepper and any herbs you fancy. Stir it all in until the mixture is bubbling. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Stir in the cooked pasta and serve.

And now to get that kitchen sorted!

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