Sunday, 11 May 2014

My first Shannon Hayes inspired meal

"Long way on a little" by Shannon Hayes. 

There's a bit of a story to this meal, which I will try and lead you through sensibly.

The vegetables involved in this meal.

I was reading the other day about good vegetables to eat and hit upon the idea of eating more chilies. I don't eat a lot, but that's now changing. Cancer fighting, good for the sinuses (good for me at the moment, I've been suffering from a bunged up nose all too much recently), but beware eating too much because like so much when it comes to food - it's the middle ground you want to shoot for. So when I saw sweet chili chicken sausages in one of the farm shops local to me - I bought some.

About a month ago I pulled the last of the beetroots from my garden and told people that it was probably the last that I would have in the way of food from last year's plantings. I was wrong. Since then last year's chard, which until recently has done pretty much nothing, suddenly shot into life. As my veg beds are poly culture and overcrowded some plants were rather lost in the background, and the chard very much fall into this group. I am actually impressed with how they're growing, but I suspect they're beginning to bolt. The chickens have been eating the worst of the slug eaten leaves and we've been having the rest. I love this simple vegetable, but it quickly goes over once picked so having it in the garden is fantastic. When you have a small garden it's important to make sure that the food you grow is something you will eat, and it's a good idea to grow stuff which isn't so cheap to buy. Chard isn't cheap and it doesn't keep well (not in my experience anyway). I also suffer from a lot of slugs so will always have leaves with holes in, which is okay because chard is good for chickens too.

I was thinking about the gadgets in my kitchen the other day. I don't have many gadgets, you won't find a coffee machine, expensive food processor or even a toaster enjoying work surface space in my kitchen. But you will find my slow cooker, my dehydrator and my little food processor. My dehydrator was quite an investment but along with having made plenty of jerky (who doesn't love jerky) I've also been preserving lots of excess veg over the winter. Reduced or special offer veg like mushrooms, leeks and peppers have all be dehydrated and squirreled away. In the past they would have all been taking up freezer space, and this way the stuff I have to freeze to preserve gets priority (like meat).

Onwards to the meal itself. Instead of using cabbage I decided to use some of the chard from my garden. This is a really simple meal but it needs a bit of time and preparation. It started two days ago by starting some bone broth. Then this evening I dry fried the chicken sausages. Then I simmered a tin of tomatoes along with half a cup of bone broth and some dried leek. I added chopped chard and when that was nearly cooked I added the pre-cooked and chopped up sausages. The only other thing that I added was some salt and pepper. It was fantastic. The veg served as a simple but tasty background to the sausages themselves. Simply but nutritious food. Fits perfectly with Urban Paleo Simple.

The final meal. Simple, nutritious and tasty. 

I enjoyed this so much that I decided to use the rest of the sausages in a similar way. Only this time I had asparagus, and made the sauce thicker. 

And because everyone loves chickens and free range eggs - look what I discovered in the nesting box the other day. Unless this is the result of someone else's bird using my nest box - the little egg was laid by a two year old hen.

I know it's been months since my last post. It might be ages until my next as well, I don't know.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy 2014

I haven't texted, called or posted to Facebook. I'm not generally a huge fan of huge new years celebrations but I saw the new year in with a friend. I did tweet a few promises to myself as well.

Me: In 2014 I will read 50 books, lose a stone, build a new chicken coop and get a brand new birth certificate in right name/sex.

I have signed up on Good Reads to track my reading. I need to do some detailed designs for the coop and start hunting out some second hand pieces of wood (in order to save money and add some interest to the coop). I also need to contact my GP to get her report for my GRC application. The lose a stone aim has come about because thanks to comfort eating my way through the severe depression in 2013 and then not exercising for 6 weeks thanks to surgery recovery I have put on at least that. 

Health and fitness-wise as at the start of 2013 I don't have specific aims. I will probably have more surgery, leaving me recovering for a couple of months, which will limit things a little. I am returning to the gym again next week and have mostly ditched the comfort eating. The depression has cleared following surgery and the anti-depressant is on its way out of my system. Withdrawal whilst recovering from surgery hasn't been much fun.

Anyway, here's to 2014, may it bring you all you need. Health and happiness to you all!