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Truly I am.  What has it been…a week since I last posted?  And it’s not for lack of eating nice things or doing nice things.  This week we have eaten … ugh, I forget without photos to document it!

We have eaten far too much Dunham Massey ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce that I do remember – but along with pizza making we leave chocolate sauce making to Mr Rigg.  My attempt resulted in a near disaster!

Tonight we are making Jamie’s lasagne – the sauce part is busy bubbling away in the oven with the fragrant scent of cinnamon filling the house.  This lasagne has a mixture of beef and pork mince, roasted butternut squash and flecks of crispy pancetta. 

Image: Jamie Oliver

We’ve also made slow cooked chilli con carne with leftovers for lunches – delicious with wraps, sour cream and grated cheese.  This one is worth a post sometime soon when I’ve reinstated a camera into our lives. 

I’ve bought locally grown quinces to make quince jelly after trying some on crumpets at work – yum!  Tomorrow night we have friends over for dinner and are planning a Moroccan chicken tagine with couscous – another Jamie recipe.

Image: Radish NYC

My week has also included a two-day headache (ugh!), an exciting time in the life of my website, lots of log fires, happiness that Mr Robin is back and singing in my garden,  and a visit to the dentist (I’ve had a numb cheek and face all afternoon).  Hoping for a less painful week next week. 

I also came across this lovely blog, a post from the same blog on an incredible looking gourmet shop in New York (wish there was somewhere like this near me!), and amazing lunchboxes.

Image: made by OOTS


Chicken Stew

For lunch today we made Chicken Stew with Dumplings.  I say ‘American style’ because I found the recipe via Tasty Kitchen, which is an American-based recipe website, and because the dumplings aren’t like any I’ve made before.

The original recipe was more of a thick soup than a stew, but I have amended it slightly to make it into more of a stew than a soup.  For the original recipe see here.  For my version see below.

Chicken Stew

It must be said that on eating this dish it should be issued with a health warning.  This is incredibly rich, especially the dumplings.  It is tasty, but you can feel your heart slowing, your eyelids lowering, and a deep haze of sleep creeping over you. 

My advice would be to substitute most of the cream in the dumplings for water – I can’t imagine it would ruin them, but it would make the whole dish altogether more enjoyable.  For our tastes, this recipe is just a bit too much.

Maybe this recipe should be renamed Death by Dumplings…

Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew with Dumplings ‘American style’

Serves 3-4

The chicken stew
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces with skin left on (breasts, wings, leg and thighs)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 litre of chicken stock
1-2 bay leaves
Couple of sprigs of thyme
1/4 tsp turmeric
Plain flour
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

The dumplings
200g plain flour
60g cornmeal or polenta
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
284ml double cream
Dash of water

First things first.  Season some plain flour with salt and pepper and dunk in each piece of chicken to coat.  In a large pan, fry the chicken pieces in hot oil until golden brown on both sides – start with skin side down first.  Remove to a plate.

Golden chicken

Add the chopped onion to the oil (ours got a little singed so we removed the burnt flour first and replaced some of the oil).  Cook for a minute or two until softened. 

Chopped onion

Add the chopped celery and carrot, the bay leaves, thyme, turmeric, and salt and pepper. 

Chopped Celery and Carrot

Cook for another couple of minutes.

Saute vegetables

Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil.  In a small dish mix a couple of teaspoons of cornflour with a little water and mix to get rid of any lumps.  Add this mixture into the pot and stir in. 

Chicken Stew

Next add the chicken pieces and turn the heat down to a simmer.  Cover with a lid and cook for about 15-20 minutes. 

At this point you can remove the chicken to a plate and turn up the heat to a boil to start to thicken your sauce.  Do this until it’s at the consistency you want.

Chicken Stew

In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dumplings – plain flour, polenta, baking powder and salt. 

Add the double cream and mix well.  You just want to mix the ingredients to a sticky dough – you can always add a splash of water if you need to loosen it a little.


Spoon the dumpling mixture into the stew and cover with a lid.  About 12 minutes should cook them – they will fluff up – in our case rather too much (see below for what ours looked like!). 

Fluffy dumplings

Take your serving plates and arrange a couple of pieces of chicken on each.  Spoon out a dumpling or two and finally a generous helping of the stew liquid.  Sprinkle over some parsley and eat. 

Chicken Stew

I feel like I need to go and sleep off this meal for the rest of the afternoon…


Chicken Stew

Mezze Birthday Banquet

Earlier in January was my mommy’s birthday.  N and I packed our car and headed down for the weekend to celebrate her birthday with her and my family. 

While my dad took her off to London for the day the little sister and me got to work preparing a delicious birthday banquet for dinner.  For the main course we decided to do a selection of mezze style dishes with some middle eastern flavours.

There was a crushed carrot and goat’s cheese salad (similar to this one) but prepared everso slightly differently. 

Crushed Cumin Carrots

Toss a bunch of washed carrots that have been cut into lengths in some olive oil and bung in a pre-heated oven at 180°C – roast for about 40-50 minutes until soft and golden.

Allow them to cool slightly then mash.  Stir through a couple of teaspoons of ground cumin and season lightly.  Spread the crushed carrots over a plate, crumble over some goat’s cheese, and sprinkle with finely sliced mint.

Taken and slightly adapted from the Riverford Farm Cook Book by Guy Watson & Jane Baxter – one of my favourite recipe books especially for lovely veggie dishes.

An earthy roasted beetroot, red onion, lentil and feta salad

Beetroot and Onion Salad

In a bowl mix 2 tbsp soft brown sugar and 2 tbsp red wine vinegar.  Add to this 1 medium red onion that has been finely sliced.  Leave the onion to ‘pickle’ in the vinegar mixture for about an hour.

Roast about 500g beetroot that have been scrubbed and trimmed in 5mm of water covered in foil at 200°C for about 45 minutes or until tender.

Cook the Puy lentils and allow to cool until just warm:  Place 100g Puy lentils in a pan with 2 peeled garlic cloves and add enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil, turn turn and simmer for about 30 minutes until tender – top up the water if necessary.  Drain.

In a bowl mix together the lentils, onion mixture and any remaining liquid, and season with salt and pepper.  Peel the beetroot, cut into wedges and mix into the lentils.  Stir through some chopped mint and crumble over some feta cheese.

Another delicious recipe from the Riverford Farm Cook Book by Guy Watson & Jane Baxter.

A coriander and mint hummous (inspired by A Year in My Kitchen by Skye Gyngell). 

Coriander and Mint Hummous

I wanted to try a different take on hummous, so used Sky Gyngell’s recipe for chickpea purée to inspire me.  I can’t remember the exact amounts of ingredients as it was ‘taste and see’.  Into a blender tip a can of drained chickpeas, 2 garlic cloves, some fresh red chilli (seeds removed), a good bunch of coriander and another of mint, lemon juice (add more to taste), a tablespoon or two of Greek yoghurt, a sprinkle of ground cumin and coriander, salt and pepper, and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Blend it all up into a rough purée.  Keep tasting and adjusting the flavours until it’s how you like.  I made it quite lemony, much to the horror of the little sister, but I promised her by dinner time the flavours would mellow and she would love it – they did and she loved it.

A platter of pan-fried ‘hint of spice’ chicken. 

Take some chicken thighs on the bone.  Place in a dish with a squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt and pepper.  Mix the chicken thighs in the flavours well and pop in the fridge for an hour or so.  When you’re ready to eat, pan-fry the chicken until cooked through.

Moroccan Olives

And a bowl of mixed olives – some with Moroccan flavoured and the others were called ‘Mojito Olives’ – spiked with lime and mint.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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