I’ve been rather busy for the last six weeks and both cooking, and blogging, have been very low on my agenda. Why? Well, if you have read this blog often, or for a few years, you may remember that about three years ago (oh yes, I am very much the tortoise…) I launched a tiny cookbook publishing company called Poach my Lobster. I bought the rights to a brilliant French cookbook, translated it myself, ran a Kickstarter campaign, which didn’t reach its target and then pretty much retreated from the whole idea, once I worked out that the costs were beyond me…
However, though I found the whole experience a bit dispiriting, I didn’t give up on the desire to create something, to take what seemed like a good idea in my head and make it a reality. Little by little, via many steps, I decided to start making beautiful food-inspired notebooks, using the sort of paper that no publisher can usually afford for their products. You can see them here. And, so far, turning an idea that had just floated around into a real thing, has been going well. On Saturday, six weeks after I launched, the Wine notebook was in the Guardian’s Christmas gift guide (alas, only in the paper version, not online). I’m a long way from breaking even but I feel like I am on the right path to doing so, and thoroughly enjoying learning new things every day. But, since I am yet to earn much from them, I am still freelancing which is a pretty exhausting combination, hence not cooking.
Which means I have been even more obsessed with finding dinner solutions and this Nigella chicken and pea traybake from her new book, At my Table, is very much that. It’s brilliant for lots of reasons: it is a three-step-one-piece-of-kitchen kit recipe (four steps if you include turning the oven on…); the shopping list is short (I used what I had, so frozen garden peas not petits pois and white wine instead of vermouth, to make it even shorter) and it is worth making the full recipe because it reheats well for lunch. Finally, you can eat it as is, or dirty one more pan to make some rice or potatoes to serve with it (without those, it is carb-free for those who care about these things), which makes it so low on washing up that even someone doing two jobs at once should be able to cope…highly recommended for being simple and delicious.
PS If you have read this far, I think you deserve a reward, so here’s a little discount code for you devoted blog readers in case you want to buy any notebooks before Christmas: WTFDOIEATTONIGHT.
Nigella’s Chicken and Pea traybake (adapted from Waitrose Food, November issue)
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
garlic cloves, 2
frozen peas, 750g (no need to defrost)
olive oil, 2 tbsp plus a little more
sea salt, 2 tsp plus a little more
dry white wine, 4 tbsp (or vermouth if you have it)
dill, small bunch (about 25g)
chicken thighs (skin-on, bone-in, not fillets), 8
You will also need a roasting tin big enough to hold everything in a single-ish layer. Nigella recommends using one at least 38cm long by 28cm wide; I used one 35 by 26 and it was just perfect.
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.
2. Peel and crush or mince the garlic. Trim the leeks if required and slice into 3cm pieces.
2. Put the garlic, leeks, peas, oil, wine or vermouth, salt and most of the dill into a roasting tin and mix together well.
3. Put the chicken skin-side up on top of the mixture, drizzle with a little more oil and salt then roast for 45 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven, stir well so that the peas remain submerged in the liquid and then roast for another 30 minutes. Finish with the remaining sprigs of dill before serving as is, or with steamed potatoes or rice.