Discovering Autumn

Life is always enriched by the discovery of new things or the re-discovery of some forgotten pleasures or treasures. Whilst we holidayed on the North Yorkshire coast recently, as a family, we made many new discoveries and reacquainted  ourselves with some forgotten joys. The major discovery and realisation fro me, was that Autumn is most definitely my favourite time to be beside a home grown beach.

autumnseaside

We rediscovered our love for a good walk, in beautiful surroundings, with stunning views, and the versatility of a stick and the fun your imagination can have with it.

DSC_0154

DSC_0143 DSC_0162Down on the beach there were many discoveries to be made. Stig discovered fossils, not one, not two but three, all within a short space of time, this was definitely the place for a budding geologist.DSC_0180

Then the rock pools brought the discovery of hermit crabs, lots of them and that they do actually give you a nip if you hold them in your hand.

DSC_0225 DSC_0226

An activity we haven’t made enough time for recently is kite flying. It was wonderful to rediscover the joy of this activity, especially for our youngest boy , Tink, who always finds it so relaxing and calming.

DSC_0186 DSC_0190A fantastic new discovery for Stig was the art of crabbing. Something we’ve never done before but he loved it, he was patient and calm whilst he waited for a bite on his bacon rind bait. He wasn’t disappointed he caught four crabs, all of which I failed to get a shot of.

DSC_0306

And I discovered that I love taking my camera to the seaside because there is always so much to capture.

DSC_0210 DSC_0237 DSC_0255 DSC_0244

I’ve linked this post to #OneWeek

one week

Chicken Jambalaya

 

ChickJ

 

My urge to cook is a little sporadic at the moment; it all depends very much on my mood, my frame of mind. The boys have been enjoying a couple of fish finger, waffle and baked bean type meals, they don’t complain but to me this has often been a sign of failure on my part. I am working with my therapist to give myself a break and not deliver such harsh verdicts on my parenting, and as I work more to do what I know I can achieve, instead of what I feel I should be doing, these tan coloured plates of food are actually starting to be liberating. Cooking, like many of my creative outlets, become chore like under the cloud of depression and whilst a little bit of what I usually like is important, cooking can often just become something I resent. This is just awful, no catastrophic, as I’ve always LOVED cooking. However by giving myself a break, what I find happens, is that some days I will have a really desire to cook something. Often, as with this recipe, something will pop into my head, a meal from the past, an old favourite maybe, and with that it becomes a mission for me to create it.

A lot of what I want at the moment is comforting and not to difficult to prepare, that’s this dish in a nutshell.  One pot of chicken and rice flavoured with chorizo, tomatoes, garlic and thyme and a pinch of cayenne pepper for warmth. Chuck in some vegetables and you really do have a well rounded meal all in one place, no need for accompaniments. So just before I give you the recipe for this delicious meal I’m going to do something I like to call (from this point on) Ingredients Chat

chickIngIngredients Chat

 It struck me that I always have a little bit of something to say about the recipe ingredients so I thought I’d create this section with some of my recipes, here we go..

Leeks I often use leeks in recipes instead of onions because they soften much quicker to a consistency that my children, and me, are happy to eat. I suppose at this point I will have to confess to my own love, hate relationship with onions. As a child they were the food of my nightmares and it has really only been my interest in cooking and my understanding of their position as a base ingredient that has led me to enjoy them cooked in certain ways.  I still cannot eat them raw and find large crunchy chunks disagreeable. So leeks for me often offer a suitable alternative.

 Vegetables in General.  I often swap vegetables in recipes for ones I know my family will eat. As long as they are not the main event, can’t really swap broccoli out of a broccoli soup, I think it’s fine to do so, especially if it just makes your life a little easier. In this version I added a little cubed butternut squash, left over from a curry I made, and sat lonely in the fridge. My children are not overly keen but there wasn’t much and I made it big enough to be eaten around. It paid off though; Stig actually ate it and said he liked it, I think the flavour of the smoky chorizo helped.

Thyme because I’m a little lazy, I don’t like to pick off thyme leaves unless completely necessary. So I would rather cut off a few stalks, chuck them in and pick out anything that looks like a twig before I serve it.

DSC_0175

The Recipe 

serves four
200g of cubed chorizo
8 chicken pieces, drumsticks and or thighs, taken out of the fridge half an hour before cooking.
1 large leek, sliced
300g of long grain rice
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
bunch of thyme
2 dried bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, sliced
700ml of chicken stock
1 carton of passatta
handful of green beans, topped tailed and chopped into inch long pieces.
half a butternut squash cubed
a (approx 120g) cup of peas

1. In  a casserole pot that can go on the hob or a large heavy based frying pan, brown the chicken pieces in batches, put to one side and keep warm.

2. In the same pan, cook the chorizo for a couple of minutes, the red oils of the chorizo will start to flow, and  then remove with a slotted spoon, place to one side.

3. Cook the leek, until transparent and soft  and then add the rice, cayenne pepper, thyme, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and stir for a minute.

4. Then add the stock, passatta, beans and butternut squash and return the chicken and chorizo to the pot, before bringing to a low boil.

5. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and uncovered, allow to cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. By this point most of the liquid should have been absorbed and the rice should be tender. If this is not the case cook a little longer or add a little water to help cook the rice.

7. Finally add the peas and cook for 5 minutes, at this point you may need to stir regularly to ensure the rice doesn’t stick.

8. Now you can serve.

jamalaya

 

 

My Precious for #NAW13

naw13GGrrr what to say, what to say, that’s the dilemma. It’s National Adoption Week and I write about adoption and co-host a site (The Adoption Social) about all things adoption, I must have something cool, witty, clever and most of all highly supportive to say about Adoption. So where is it?

Instead I just wrote some words, as they came and here they are..

MY PRECIOUS 

The way in which we formed our family has brought us many things.

Many of them unexpected,

Many of them beyond belief.

I never knew so many tears,

Such engulfing rage,

Aching sadness,

Violence,

Could be part of something I love so much.

Stomach churning,

Gut knotting,

Turn me inside out emotion.

Stretching the parameters of my perceptions of parenting,

Reshaping my whole concept of family,

Reforming a future for us all.

Knowing that a child needs more than some are prepared to give.

Fighting the fight, because no one else will,

And knowing in your heart that it’s the only thing to do.

The torture of a love spiked with trauma,

The relentless moments you are unprepared for.

Fight, flight or freeze, which will it be?

And then,

Just out of the corner of your eye you spot it,

That glistening little fragment,

Is it hope?

It shines so bright, its purity and brilliance takes your breath away.

You bend and retrieve it and place it in your pocket.

The tiniest of things that is there, remains with you always,

And reminds you to keep going.