Chicken and Vegetable Soupy Dish


This was a really scrumptious, quick after work jobby that took about 30 minutes I’d say. It went down well with the fiancée and most importantly, me. I didn’t follow a recipe, just threw together with what was in the fridge. I find recipes great if you have something to cook for, but often not very economical. You have to be inventive with what you know is in cupboards don’t you. So my journeys home from work tend to be spent on the DLR with 50% of my head in a book or Evening Standard and 50% of my head visualising what’s in the fridge and what I can do with it. I remember back in my early twenties, when I first moved out of Mum’s, I could  barely boil an egg. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration,  I knew what went in things, simple dishes. What I didn’t know, was how to make them taste good, make the flavours blend rather than just sit on top of one another. I’m getting there I think. My fail safes for deep and rich flavours are garlic and anchovy, yum.


  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced (not too thinly)
  • 1 tin of anchovies
  • 3 chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • handful of Broccoli
  • 2 carrots, sliced or cut into batons
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tin of brown chickpeas
  • 1/2 a tin of chicken stock

Slice your garlic cloves, no too thinly, as though you were making garlic chips. I like a lot of garlic so it’s a good thing that my local green grocer on Stoke Newington Church Street sells veg that’s bigger, tastier and cheaper than the supermarkets. Look at this comparison between Morrison’s garlic and Stoke Newington Green’s garlic.


Put your garlic in a low heat pan with olive oil, let it toast away. Then just as the colour starts to turn a little yellow as they cook through, crank up the heat to a high medium and add your chicken. As your chicken browns, in go the anchovies along with the oil they’re tinned in, then your veg. Let this all cook for a couple of minutes.

Next, add you tin of plum tomatoes and smash them up a little with your spoon. You could use chopped tomatoes but I prefer to chop them in the pan. Add the chick peas. Use the tin from your tomatoes or peas to mix a chicken stock cube with boiling water, add to the pan and turn the heat up to a rolling boil. A couple of minutes at this high heat then down to a simmer. Season to taste, I would add pepper and ground coriander  no salt as your anchovies and stock are salty enough.


Check piece of chicken to see when there is no pink, you’re done. You could let this simmer a little longer for more flavour because chicken thighs are hard to over cook. Not impossible though so do be careful.


Something fishy

First thing’s first, I’m new to this blogging business, you may have noticed from the shoddiness of my page. Things will improve over time, of that I’m confident, but for now, forgive me for the unprofessional aesthetics!  Second thing’s second, I want to make the point that whilst I love food and eating, I’m not an amazing cook. I don’t think for a second I’m going to make a convincing Nigella, I’m more a person who likes to cook and can just about find her way around the kitchen. Sometimes, occasionally, my dishes don’t go to plan. Edible, but not perfect. If you’ve guessed that a blog about a substandard dinner is coming…bingo, you’re correct. In the spirit of a ‘warts and all’ blog, I won’t be hiding the clangers. Anyway, on with the blog.

When shopping yesterday, I inadvertently pre-empted today’s distinctly fishy headlines. “Eating oily fish ‘can extend life'” Telegraph and “Cod and chips could be a load of old pollock” Guardian. My favourite is the latter, an excellent use of pollock innuendo.

salmoncod fishanchovy

I never buy fish because I’m not to confident with it, but yesterday cod, salmon fillets and anchovies went into the trolley. Here’s hoping I have a knack for predicting lottery numbers as well as headlines. The anchovies and the salmon were eaten yesterday, you heard about my anchovy omelette breakfast and I’ll detail my salmon dinner below. The cod went in the freezer as it was a yellow sticker buy. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I should cook it? I think they were loins? Can you even get cod loins? I can’t be bothered to go to the freezer to check, so we’ll go with loins. Let me and any readers know of any cod loin recipes you can think of please!

Salmon fillets with red cabbage and vegetable quinoa 


Having uploaded the photo, it doesn’t look terrible. Admittedly, I used a funky app to take the picture, which made my salmon look pretty pale, well, paler. Then I was worried my dinner was getting cold  so I gave up. It actually tasted pretty nice, and given this is the first time I’ve cooked quinoa, I’ll forgive myself for it being a little water logged. The quinoa is part of this gluten free thing we’re trying.


  • 2 salmon fillets 
  • Olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • garlic
  • half a red cabbage
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • handful of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 sliced red onion
  • tin of cooked brown chick peas
  • quinoa, rinsed
  • chicken stock

You’ll see that I haven’t given any measurements or anything, I tend to just throw things in.

Wrap your salmon into a tin foil parcel with a splash of lemon, oil and a crushed garlic clove. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let your oven preheat and heat a pan to the low side of medium.azimuth:0.000000||elevation:0.000000||horizon:0.000000Thinly slice a garlic clove or 2, I like a lot of garlic. Heat your garlic slowly. Before it starts to colour, add your sliced onion and turn the heat up a little. Add your cabbage and turn the heat up a little more, then add your mushrooms. Way before things start to over cook, whilst they look like they still have a good bit of bite, add your, celery, brown chickpeas, quinoa and stock, 1 part quinoa 2 parts water, I judged this by eye, in the pan with everything else in it too. The end result was soggy so the advice is not to be lazy like me and actually measure your quinoa and stock. Bring the pan up to boil then turn down low and simmer. Stick your sealed salmon foil parcel in a medium oven to steam whilst your quinoa cooks for about 20 minutes.azimuth:0.000000||elevation:0.000000||horizon:0.000000

So what if my cabbage stained everything an unappealing shade of purple. So what if my quinoa was more moist than fluffy. So what if my salmon looked like it needed a sunbed. It tasted glorious, the salmon was perfectly pillowy and moist. I’m pretty open to suggestion though so please don’t be shy with the advice.

That was yesterday’s dinner. Tonight’s was really good. I’ll fill you in soon.

He wants to cut down on gluten

Bank holiday weekends have a tendency to involve beer. I’m not a huge beer fan, I can take it or leave it. It’s a change from a gin and tonic in the pub but it’s a bit bloating isn’t it really. So I wouldn’t mind giving it up at all, I wouldn’t even notice. Graham on the other hand, he would notice. So I’ll be really interested to see how the next gluten free month goes.

Driving back from friends he asks if its normal to always have red hands the day after drinking, ‘not really dear’. I won’t bore you with the full conversation and self diagnosis but we decided he might be allergic to alcohol. When we get home, he googles alcohol allergy and notes that he has many of the signs of an intolerance to gluten. He’s going to get this checked out at the doctors – I’m not keen on just self diagnosing – and I’m not one for jumping on the food intolerance bandwagon. Everyone has one these days don’t they! I am however, happy to help him trial a gluten free diet for a month to see if there is a difference. It’s best to test these things isn’t it, so long as you keep a balanced diet, I’ve heard people say they feel a million times better eating less gluten. Let’s see how he gets on not snacking on cheese sandwiches when he gets in from work, toast in the mornings, pasta dinners, beer!

So, doing the supermarket run today, I get ‘I’m starving, its 11:30 and I haven’t eaten anything at all!’ He hadn’t had breakfast because he can’t eat cereal or bread, his face was a little panicked at the thought of having to be a little imaginative about what he eats from now on. Lucky for him, I kicked him off nicely on day one of the new diet.

Mushroom and Anchovy Omelette with gluten free toast


Super delicious, super easy and definitely a winning cooked breakfast. He was happy anyway. I had a big box of mushrooms that were at that point where you use em or lose em. I hate waste, so mushroom omelette it was. It’s a pretty straight forward breakfast so I feel pretty patronising giving a recipe, but here’s one anyway to use or ignore as you please.

  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 2 big handfuls of white mushrooms
  • 1 tin of anchovies
  • olive oil
  • Gluten free bread for his toast and lovely seedy wholegrain for me!

Get a large frying pan to a medium heat and throw in good old glug of olive oil. When the oil is hot, in go your mushrooms, they shouldn’t brown or cook too quickly, just shrink and soften  nicely. As they cook, lay your anchovies around the pan to melt and disappear  pour in the oil from the tin for good measure. Turn down the heat to the second lowest heat, eggs taste better cooked longer and lower I find. Eggs cooked on a higher heat get that crispy edge and really dry out, they loose that eggy flavour. Crack your eggs straight in the pan when the heat is low as you need it, break them up and stir up your omelette quickly.azimuth:0.000000||elevation:0.000000||horizon:0.000000

Then leave to cook slowly, really slowly, you have to be a little more patient here than you’d imagine with an omelette. It’s tempting to get your spatula in there and speed things up with a bit of mixing, don’t. Just let it cook.azimuth:0.000000||elevation:0.000000||horizon:0.000000

When it looks like its nearly done, get your toast on, gluten free or not. If by the time your toast is done, you still have a few dribbles of raw egg that you don’t like the look of, you can give the pan a very quick blast under the grill, but not too long. A few runny bits in an omelette is no bad thing in my books, but today I grilled them off.azimuth:0.000000||elevation:0.000000||horizon:0.000000

I used Wharburtons Newburn Bakehouse, Gluten & Wheat free bread for his toast and the verdict was ‘it’s alright this bread isn’t it?’ For the purposes of this blog, I tried to tease a little more out of him. It tastes similar to normal bread when toasted and slathered in butter. My omelette made it taste especially good,