Simple Sunday chicken

Some time back, after being inspired by this Scottish lady, I tried for the first time to cooka whole chicken. It’s one of those things that took me a very long time before I tried for the first time, and also one of those things I’ll be doing a lot of in the years to come. I never imagined it to be as easy as it was. And now I’ll show the easiest way to make chicken.

Before we often bought store-grilled chicken. Already spiced, marinated and cooked. I used to love them as a kid, but the quality of them aren’t all that, and so I wanted an alternative. This was one of those days where we all came home form work/kindergarten and were just worn out. We had a slice of bread when we came home, and decided on a late dinner. Still keeping it simple, this is what we did:

We had chicken thighs, but these were in the freezer and frozen solid when we started cooking. Not the perfect start, but we work with what we have. Whip together a marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. The marinade is good when it’s a little too salty and a little too acidic. Put it all in a bag with the chicken while chopping the veggies. Now put the oven to about 200 degrees. Chop potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and red onions in small chunks, the larger the chicken, the larger the pieces. Add a good dose of oil to a casserole and spread the chopped veggies to form a thin layer. Get the chicken out of the bag and try to massage in as much of the marinade as you can. Place the chicken atop the veggies, pour over some of the marinade and sprinkle over some rosemary. Place in the oven and cook until the chicken is done, the chicken should then be a little brownish on top, and when stabbed with a knife the liquid coming out should be clear and free of blood. The time in the oven varies from 20-30 minutes for room temperatured chicken thighs, an hour (or more) for frozen chicken thighs, to about two hours for an whole chicken (depending on the size). Turn the veggies every now and then if left in the oven for a long time.

This dish is so easy and so good. The chicken is tender and succulent, while the veggies caramelize and bring out the best flavours.

Give away!

Just to remind you: I’m having a wee give-away to celebrate having had 10 000 friendly faces visit my blog. We’re not talking a new car or anything in that range, but, well, a book at least would be a good guess. If you are a reader of my blog, I would love to hear from you. And by leaving a small note in THIS POST, you could be picked as the receiver of my wee give-away. Just remember to leave a ‘hullo’ before April 27 in THIS POST.

A small gust of wind from the past


Spring had been dormant for quite some time, but was turning in its sleep feeling the sun’s rays increasing in heat tickling its back and reminding it to come back to start the circle of life again. A friend of mine, I, was home for a few days, and despite wanting to spend a lot of time together,  all we could find time for was a morning walk in the sun.

We decided on a short route in our neighbourhood, slightly modified to include a few geocaches in the area that I had yet to find. My friend, of course, thought me mad when I started talking about running around to find lunch boxes that strangers had left for us to find. But after we had tracked down a nano, which is a tiny box the size of your little finger (from the last joint out), she was I was no longer searching on my own.

The next cache was atop a tree-covered mound. Climbing up we passed rock carvings dating back to somewhere between 2500 and 4000 years ago. The thought of these carvings having been present for all those years, and all the people who have looked at them, felt them, and fantasized about their origin, and the their carver, I find quite dazzling. My friend bent down and gently traced the carvings. As her hand came close to the rock, a shadowy hand from the past reached out and met her outstretched finger.

The wee walk had turned into so much more; treasure hunting, history lessons, and good conversations had my friend referring to hobbits and journeys, friendship and adventure.



Act your age!

This is art at its best! By that I mean that art is something that should provoke thinking and that it indeed does. I came across this on Pinterest, and it spoke to me. I just had to share it with you.

Sourdough starter

Making a sourdough starter is among the easiest things in the world. The only challenging part is being able to repeat a two minute action regularly throughout a period of ten days. It has been too difficult for me at times, and thus I have tried and failed several times. I have even tried, succeeded, forgot all about it and had to throw it away. The solution has been to make it as easy as possible, the sourdough is consequently used often, often fed, and never stored away for too long.

What you need – Well, to start, what you need is a container, flour, and water. Simple, yes, but let’s make it a little more difficult (or actually easier for you to succeed). You should find a container that holds about a cup, or a wee bit more, and a lid for said contained. I saw fancy glasses and detailed boxes when other people presented their sourdoughs online, screw that! You need something that’s easy to clean and preferably goes in the dishwasher, and to make it even easier, have two. I use some simple boxes from Ikea. Simple boxes with a press-on lid. Then the flour. For white bread you want wheat, for dark bread you want rye, but don’t mix the two. The flour should be organic and wholegrain (I prefer the finely ground). The reason for this is the pesticides and stuff used on most store-bought flour, which could kill the yeast-spores, or at least mess them up.

Hygiene – I’ve seen people using gloves, sterilising their utensils, and making tents for their sourdough containers to avoid bacterias and germs. Trust me, it’s not necessary! The containers must be clean – hot water and soap will do the trick. As for the utensils you use. And, obviously, you must wash your hands (like you always do when working with food. Common sense will also tell you not to sneeze into the flour (or sourdough), don’t use it anymore if you drop it on the floor, and don’t lick you fingers before you touch the dough. I know you know this, but now I’ve said it.

Procedure – First day you take about half a cup of water (I don’t necessarily mean the measurement type of cup, just any normal cup) and enough flour to create a soggy and sticky lump of dough. Leave it on the counter for a day (24+ hours). The next day you remove half the dough (put it in the fridge and use for baking when you need it) and add a fourth of a cup of water and enough dough to get the same icky substance you had the day before. Continue like this until you see the dough coming alive. (If it starts talking you’ve taken it too far) If the texture changes (Wheat becomes very sticky and will, even if made into quite a dry lump of dough, become quite runny. Rye will rise more and be more sponge-like) or it rises, or bubbles appear, you have signs of life. This will take between 2 to 5 days. When it has come alive make it more efficient by feeding it twice a day for 4-5 days.

Now you have an efficient and fully working sourdough. I’ll be back in a few days with more instructions on how to bake with it. Good luck with your starters!

And please do ask if you have any questions!

Creativitea

I found this photo, but that is also all I could find. I love these cups, I think the idea is just splendid. But I have no idea where to find these, or how to make them myself. Any ideas?

Image is from: http-//inspirinquotes.tumblr.com/

Sourdough baking

These little lumps of goo have transformed the breads I bake. I have finally mastered sourdough baking and feel like I have come as far as I want when it comes to breads (what will my next project be?). The breads I now bake rise well, take very little effort, come out of the oven with a crispy crust, are succulent inside, they last for several days in a tea towel; and last, but not least, they taste wonderfully!

Baking with sourdough is an ancient tradition, we’re talking thousands of years and ancient Egypt. There are some who claim to have starters going back to the 18th century (the 17 hundreds). And what this is proof of, is how easy it is to do. There is no magic powder, secret ingredients, or blessings made by wizardy unicorns that gets the process going. What you need is flour (wheat and rye are the most used types), water, and a container with a lid. Flour grains and the air around us have traces of yeast spores in them. This is a natural type of yeast that our bodies digest more easily than the store bought dry or fresh yeast. Keeping flour, mixed with water, in room temperature the yeast is given perfect conditions for fermentation. The yeast takes some time to get going, but as soon as it has started it will quickly get very efficient.

Making your own starter takes about ten days. I have started the process and quit several times as I so easily forget to feed it every day. It takes no more than one minute, it’s just that I am so absent minded and easily distracted that I often don’t remember to do it. But a month or so back I managed, and then I managed to convert half of it from wheat to rye, which means I now have two working sourdough starters.

 

I’ll give you the step by step guide for how to making your own starter in a few days. If you live in the area and would like to have a go at sourdough baking I am very happy to share my own starter with you. Just give me a shout! 🙂