Thursday, 10 May 2007

What's that Ting!

Back to the usual routine today, in part at least. Hubby has his days off for this week today and tomorrow, so that's a nice way to ease back into life at home after a week away. We took the boys to playgroup this morning as usual. I say 'as usual', though we haven't actually been for a couple of weeks. The first week we were away camping on our 'mini-holiday' and the second week, playgroup was cancelled so that the church hall could operate as a polling station for the Welsh Assembly elections.

This evening I made, at Hubby's suggestion, a warm chicken and bacon salad that we often ate last summer. The weather hasn't exactly been summery today, but it was nice to pretend! I roasted a small chicken this afternoon, specifically to make this, but any sort of cooked chicken would be fine. The dressing really is a matter of choice; we all enjoy it best with a honey & wholegrain mustard dressing, though others do work well. I suggest a blue cheese or caesar dressing if you want an alternative.

Chicken & Bacon Salad

cooked chicken, cut into smallish pieces
6 rashers streaky bacon
12 'baby new' potatoes, halved lengthways
handful fine green beans, trimmed
salad leaves
dressing of your choice

fresh chives (or parsley, if you prefer)

Steam the potatoes for 20 minutes and add the beans for the last 10 minutes. Cook the bacon until crisp. I do this in the oven, on an oiled baking sheet, for about 15 minutes at 200°c, but you could grill it if you prefer. I hate cleaning the grill pan, so I avoid it. Bacon cooks very well in the oven, as do sausages if you have a tin with a rack. I do a whole cooked breakfast (bar the eggs) in the oven when we have guests staying.

Cover a large plate with a selection of salad leaves. I like some to be substantial (like Frisée) and some to be more delicate (like Lamb's Lettuce), so I usually have to mix up a couple of different packs. Scatter the cooked beans and potatoes over the leaves, then top these with the chunks of chicken. Snip or crumble the bacon into rough bits and then drizzle over your chosen dressing. Sprinkle with a palmful of snipped chives and serve.

I think a bit of bread is needed, too. Something quite crusty, like a baguette or good English bloomer. A glass of chilled white or rosé wine is the best thing to drink with it, though I have to confess that tonight Hubby had a beer and I had a can of Ting (in a glass, of course!) This is a grapefruit-based soft drink from the Caribbean, which I am extremely fond of. I can't get it locally, so stock up whenever I'm away and see it. I normally find it in big supermarkets, my most usual sources being Tesco in Trowbridge, Wiltshire (near my parents' house) and Morrisons in Hillsborough, Sheffield (near the in-laws'). Somewhat bizarrely, you'll find it with the ghee and stuff in the 'World Foods' bit, rather than with all the other soft drinks. It deserves more recognition as it is lush, so try it if you get the chance!

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