Monday, June 24, 2013

Chicken & Peppers

A dish of beauty
Faster faster faster! When did speed become the defining criteria for dinner happening or not?. Simple I get, tasty I need, beautiful I can be seduced by - but fast? Not so much. Fast food as a term was recoginised by Websters Dictionary in the early 1950's but I'm guessing that what  would be recognised then as fast food would never be sold in the mutli national giants today.

Thought I might reclaim the term just a smidgen, and categorise food that takes less than 15 minutes to prep as fast food. Fifteen minutes is no time, I waited longer than that for a bus yesterday and still got home in time for tea.

So here, without further ado, is possibly the simplest dish this blog has ever posted. It is exactly what it says in the title, just chicken and peppers. What gets served up an hour later with rice is a vibrantly beautiful plate of food that tastes rich and complex. Magic.

Chicken & Peppers

The peppers cook down and mix with the juice released by the chicken to make a lovely sauce that needs some rice or perhaps just lots of crusty bread to soak it all up

For 2

4-5  chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, on the bone, skin on
6-8 bell peppers, a mix of red and yellow (but not green as you are looking for sweet), chopped into large dice
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a large lidded saute pan warm the olive oil and cook the chicken pieces skin side down for a couple of minutes till the skin is crisply golden. Take the chicken out of the pan onto a plate and leave to one side for a couple of minutes while you fry the peppers, stirring occasionally until they start to soften. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up, and season generously. Once the peppers start to give up their juice, turn the heat right down, cover the pan and leave to cook for 45 - 50 minutes.

Serve over plain boiled rice.

Seriously, that is all  you do.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013



Festival Hall has the cleaners in - great view from Baylis Terrace

The Shed at The National

Was an interesting week last week, only just catching up. Started Friday night with tickets for The Shed to see Mission Drift, a fabulous musical about money and America - great performances, brilliant music. The Shed itself is a big red box with 'legs' sticking up, for all the world like a giants' table knocked over in a gust of wind. I'd been curious about it but also decidedly uncertain as it appears to be a small windowless box whenever I catch sight of it from Waterloo Bridge on my way home on the 59 bus. Not a fan of enclosed spaces, me. Then I read an interesting piece about the architecture that piqued my curiosity and soon after an email offered cut price tickets - had to be a sign. I was completely bowled over by it once I got inside, it has the extraordinary sense of being ten times as big inside as it appears to be on the outside, and wonderful with it.

In the Shed

The show started at 7 so we joined a few others at the tables dotted about on the Baylis Terrace for homemade ham sandwiches and a glass of wine from the bar. It was cold but not freezing - there was actual late afternoon sunshine - and is probably the most summer like thing we've done this year...

 Late Sunday afternoon treat of slow roast pork with salads - I persist in the notion that it's summer! Great meal before going out and plenty for lunches in the week.

Sunday night we had tickets for the Palladium, a thrill in itself, to see a comedy evening headlined by John Cooper Clarke, a wordsmith I have loved for decades. I first saw him in Sydney about 30 years ago, playing the Trade Union Club in Surrey Hills, he was just stood on the floor with the crowd around him, spouting the most extraordinary poetry at a million words a second. He was beyond stick thin - I swear my wrists were thicker than his thighs, dressed in a black suit with a white shirt, and an enormous head of spiked black hair. Impenetrably dark ray bans completed the look. I was completely blown away by his brilliance, his use of language was like nothing I had ever heard, a great spume of nasty and bitter and funny in a totally foreign accent. I left the club that night giddy with the thrill of it.

I've seen him a few times since, often as I get the chance, initially convinced he'd be dead in no time from the out of control drug habit.

But somehow that didn't come to pass, instead he cleaned up, having starred in an ad for Sugar Puffs with the honey monster a few years before that happened - a notion that is as bizarre as it sounds.

Been there...

He's gained all kinds of recognition over time, as students who loved his every word went on to be teachers, with enough influence to get his poetry into schools, even Twat made it on to the curriculum for GCSE. Mr Gove, it's for you.