Sunday, 12 July 2009

The best chicken (and the first potatoes)

I spent all morning on the allotment (and forgot to take my camera). After trimming, weeding and sowing beet, spinach and rocket, it was time to dig the first potatoes. Here they are, my first buried treasure of the season.
On Friday, Big Bro and I dashed over to see Todd, soldier turned farmer and purveyor of the best chicken I've ever tasted. The chickens - Sassos - spend their lives at Wickham Manor Farm near Winchelsea. Todd is a member of the Slow Food movement, and the chickens taste full of a happy long life.

I first came across the chickens at Marylebone farmers' market, but you can also find them at Rye farmers' market and, I think, another London venue. Sadly, Todd doesn't have a website, but if you chance across him, buy that chicken!
My normal procedure is to roast a la Simon Hopkinson - season, whack on some butter then pour over the juice of a lemon and push the lemon halves into the cavity. Yesterday I added some tarragon from the garden.
Here's the chicken after I'd demolished it for yesterday's supper.
In winter months, bread sauce is essential, but in the summer, I turn to Claudia Rodin and her tarrator sauce. It's a mix of walnuts, soaked bread, garlic and olive oil - as ever with my favourite recipes, it looks like wallpaper paste, but it tastes wonderful. Rodin suggests it as an accompaniment for veg or fish, but many years ago I discovered how well it goes with roast chicken.
It keeps well in the fridge and I often scoop it up neat by the fingerful.
Looking ahead to tomorrow's lunchbox, I made my fave noodle sauce, based on an Ottolenghi recipe.
My noodle sauce
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
zest and juice of one lime and one orange
1 tbs grated ginger
1 tbs of jaggery, if you've got it, or soft brown sugar
2 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs peanut oil
1 tbs chilli jam
1/2 tsp salt
Mix well with a whisk.
Now you're ready to add to noodles (soba are my choice but egg noodles take this treatment well too).
To the noodles I added some thinly sliced radish, spring onion and red pepper, pine nuts and cucumber. Tomorrow I'll add some coriander and mint.
And some sprouted radish - I used to be very sniffy about sprouts, but in the past year I've been converted to the these yummy little plants. To the right is what Thomson and Morgan call 'salad mix', but there's not detail on the packet as to what the seeds are. No matter, they taste hot and very green. These are only four days old - a brilliant way to get cheap and easy greens.

5 comments:

Chow and Chatter said...

yummy, sounds wonderful tarragan and chicken must give it a try

Dan said...

Great Post Fran - interesting heads up on the Chickens. How much are they roughly?

As for the noodles sauce recipe - fantastic. Just the thing for a quick lunch. I'll be giving that a go this week.

fran39 said...

Dan - this chicken was just over 1.5kg and cost me £8. I know that chicken prices get some people riled...my view is that good meat is worth paying for (and I only eat organic/slow movement meat) and this chicken will give me at least five meals plus stock. And Todd's chooks are so tasty that I'm very happy to hand over the dosh.

mangocheeks said...

Ooh look at those potatoes, all different sizes.

I keep forgetting to use my sprouter. Thanks for reminding me.

The taratour sauce looks interesting, I have never been tempted to make it, but if you can tell me what veggies you think it would compliment, I may give it a try.

fran39 said...

Mango - I think it would be lovely with roast veggies, like carrot or parsnip or indeed potatoes. It would also be good with raw veg, used as a dip. Mmmm, that's given me an idea!