One of my most favourite meals is actually a very simple mix of ingredients derived from what was left over in the fridge one day.
We eat a different meal every day of the week, every week of the year. There are no set meals that are served on a particular day of the week and no same two meats or accompaniments in succession, ever. Which would probably sound daunting to anyone with children or anyone who happens to be a creature of habit and likes the same foods for every meal. We probably only have handful of dinners that we have eaten more than twice in our whole time together. [Obviously, eating out/takeaways/relatives dinners aren’t included – everyone has a regular takeaway order!]
There are meals that have stood firm and hardly ever change, for instance roast chicken, I hardly ever cook a roast chicken without making a mix of olive oil, butter, garlic purée and thyme before basting under the skin and the whole of the bird. There are recipes that you find your ‘go to’ method and stick with it, until you decide to try it another way and then you can’t imagine why you ever made it the first way. [Which by the way, if you’re thinking of delicious roasted chicken now, you should try mixing a tablespoon of harissa paste with butter and oil and spreading it on your bird before roasting, you won’t regret it.]
I’m a lady of cravings, for flavours. If I have a certain meal in mind then that’s what I’ve got to eat, which can be slightly inconvenient when I look up a menu for a restaurant, see something I really want to eat and when you get there, it’s sold out. It can be quite annoying if you’ve actually chosen, had your order taken and they come back smiling at you with apologies and that you have to pick something else because the chef has run out or even worse that they haven’t had it all day but you weren’t told it was off the menu.
Usually that’s okay because there’s usually at least a couple of things on a menu that you would be happy to eat, other times, especially in bistro places with ever changing tiny menus of seasonal food it can be a bit of a heart breaker.
A recipe that I’ve made, continue to make repeatedly and hardly change at all (except for the vegetables) is the Chorizo, Chicken, Prawn and Rice One Pot.
With this recipe I was in the mood for chicken, chicken that had been sizzled in the most delicious remnant oil where spanish chorizo had just been sautéed. If I’m cooking chicken on the stove top then it will be boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, every time. It’s the juiciest most underrated part of the chicken, so many people opt for the overpriced breast that goes dry in five minutes flat, when they should be using the darker thigh meat, it will hold all of the accompanying flavours and add depth of its own.
So with this in mind, I wanted rice that doesn’t just sit on the side of the plate as a white bead of bland next to your dinner. Delicious rice, a long grain (because sometimes I prefer it to basmati) cooked in chicken stock infused water, thrown into the chicken pan at the end of cooking so it soaks up all the flavours giving it a resemblance of a jambalaya/gumbo.
So to make this…
Enough for 2 generous servings.
Chorizo – 2 inch piece, cut into coins
Skinless, boneless chicken thighs – 6, cut into bite-size pieces
Garlic purée or crushed – 1 tsp
Red pepper – 1, cut into slices
Spring onions – 1 bunch, sliced into 1 inch pieces
Green beans – half a pack, sliced into half inch pieces
Mushrooms – 100g, sliced
Paprika – 1 tsp
Tabasco – few dashes
Chicken stock – 250ml
Seasoning – Salt & Pepper
Prawns – 225g
Juice of a Lime – 1
Parsley – Handful, torn
Long grain rice – 1 cup per person
Pop your pan on the hob, preferably a large frying/sauté pan. Toss in your oil, waiting a minute before throwing in your chorizo, you want to fry your chorizo on a low heat to get it to give up it’s dark red smoky paprika flavour without burning it to a crisp.
Put your rice onto cook whilst you tend to the chicken.
After a minute add your chicken to the pan and toss it gently around in the golden fat until cooked on all sides. Now you can scrape in your garlic, giving it a good season and stir. Throw in your peppers, onions, beans and mushrooms, stirring it all together, give it another season, sprinkle in the paprika, dash in the Tabasco and stir. Simmer for five minutes.
Prepare your chicken stock and squeeze your lime juice into it, pour it into your pan, add the prawns and bubble together for another five minutes.
Grab your cooked rice, drain and pour into the chicken pan, stirring together until combined. Simmer for two minutes whilst the rice absorbs the juices, taste and season again.
Toss in your torn parsley and serve.
Holkham Hall is a gorgeous stately home surrounded by 3,000 acres of land, both of which are privately owned by the Coke family (ancestors to the first Earl of Leicster) and open to the public. The hall itself is only open on specific days for the public to tour, if you’d like to know more, click here.
The Park is open all year round for walkers and cyclists, the park is inhabited by a herd of Fallow Deer and a smaller herd of Red Deer, the Lake and Farm walks take you right through the deer’s most popular resting land, which we will definitely be doing this year. You can take your pooches but they need to be on lead throughout the park for the safety of not only your dog but the wildlife too.
We chose to do the Park Walk last October, (when the weather was warmer than now) the four mile walk (that we did backwards) took us a few hours, taking us past the house to the bottom of the lake, past the ice house and down to the Obelisk, which is pretty fantastic. We went through farming fields and round to the Great Barn, following the path up to the Broom Covert Wood, through the trees onto the other side which has tall hedges bordering grazing land for the cattle – who I am not fond of sharing fields with – continuing on to another wooded area that borders the Almshouse Gates entrance to the park, following the main path back to the car park. The main path is where you can really see the deer in their glory, rutting and grazing the land as you walk by.
The walk was pretty great, one of the best we’ve done, and we’ve done a lot. If you’ve ever wanted to see or photograph deer pretty close up, then you will love it. We watched photographers and other walkers get astonishingly close to the deer, who weren’t bothered at all. We’ll definitely be doing the Lake Walk this year (as soon as the weather warms up) to get closer to the deer and see the gorgeous lake and Monument to the Coke of Norfolk.
Starting the Park Walk
passing the lake on our right
walking up to the ice house on the hill
looking at the back of the hall on our left
leaving the hall and lake behind us
meeting Edward the 7th Earl of Leicester with his dog Swazi, created by Penelope Reeve, 1998, commissioned by his wife when he passed, placed in his favourite spot to look upon the hall
try as we might to recreate the pose, Fin wasn’t having any of it
walking up to the obelisk
continuing on the path before turning left through the fields
leaving the obelisk behind
where we came from, and where we’re going
coming up to the barn
keeping left past the barn, continuing on past fields bordering the woods in the distance
through the woods and on to the other side, taking the path sandwiched by hedges and fields of cattle…moo
through the woods that border the main gates
on the main path past the deer
finishing up at the car, all three of us completely worn out!
I recommend visiting Holkham Hall to anyone who loves beautiful views and walking next to deer, it’s a great day out for families, there were lots of parents with their children nearer the hall, you can take the tour tram/car up to the obelisk and back so you don’t have to walk at all. We got by-passed by the tour a couple of times on our way up to the obelisk with tourists looking at us like we were crazy for walking in the heat. What they didn’t know is that we walked another 3 miles after they had left.
Take lots of water for your pooch and yourselves! We always start walks thinking “four miles is easy” until we get half way and decide that it actually isn’t that easy when you have a little dog with little legs who wants to sit down and you have to carry him!
On this walk I’m glad to say he didn’t give up, with lots of terrain changes it kept his paws happier than the heat of the path, there were nice shady parts and trees to wee on to keep his spirits up to walking the distance. We certainly had a great day!
Let me know if you decide to go for it, especially if you decide to do the six mile farm walk! Happy Walkies!
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