Recipe for one pot Malaysian chicken coming, but first.
We have our Christmas tree. Lark, I can actually hear the choir singing Hallelujah – or that might just be the buzzing from the faulty lights. Who knows? Who cares? Not me, until the tree goes up with a loud WHOOMPH and my face is melted off.
Isn’t it pretty? Someone commented on our facebook group asking why we’ve hung some bath sponges on it and that’s a fair point, but actually it’s a trick of the lighting – they’re woollen clouds. Of course! Because nothing says Christmas like wool.
Every year the same argument, though. Paul wants new decorations, I insist we use the old ones until my spirit breaks and I’m buying decorations in a fevered haste. The tree – always a real tree. We did fuss about with buying an artificial tree a few years ago but, having had a real tree all of my life, it’s just not the same. All that bending of branches and adjusting angles sucks the joy out quicker than a Christmas colonic. We have no eye for detail – our trees just end up looking like we’ve wrapped Victoria Beckham in tinsel and stuck a star on her head. Plus, if I’m not picking tiny pine needles from every conceivable crevice – both in the room and on my body – until at least July, Christmas hasn’t been done properly. Way back when my dad would just sneak into a forest near our house and steal a tree, but Paul and I aren’t very good at being subtle and I don’t think his Micra can handle a soggy forest trail.
We went to IKEA for the tree, having heard that they were only £25 – and you got a £20 voucher to spend instore too. Wah-hey! We got out of bed early (well, Paul did, he had to come and physically roll me out of bed – harder when it looks when you’ve slept in the wet-patch and you’re stuck to the sheet like PVA glue) and hustled down to IKEA on Sunday morning. As did, seemingly, every bugger else from Newcastle, Tyne and Wear to Newcastle, New South Wales. I’ve never seen so many people get excited amongst woodland without someone flashing their interior lights off and on and some van driver wearing fishnets wanking away against my wingmirror. We looked for a moment from afar, realised that we weren’t going to be able to a) get a decent tree and b) breathe in that sea of Lynx Africa and spent-tab-breath, and headed for Dobbies, where at least we could get a box of assorted Lindt chocolates to tide us over. We did nip into IKEA first for decorations.
Paul hates shopping with me because I lose interest in what I’m doing almost immediately and then just end up getting catty about everything – my responses to the various decorations he held up? ‘Tacky’. ‘Cheap’. ‘AWFUL’. ‘Are we decorating the lobby of a forgotten Travelodge?’ I know, I’m a monster. Thankfully we managed to settle on a nice collection within ten minutes and we were back on our way.
Dobbies was so much easier and civilised – we selected a tree from the pleasant looking selection, had it wrapped by someone who decided to show me so much arse-crack when he bent over that I almost popped a 7ft Norway Spruce in there and paid for it within a few minutes. The only delay was in bringing me around from my heart attack at the cost – it’s a tree! Was I paying for its fucking ferry ticket too? Good lord. I bundled it into Paul’s car (we took both, I didn’t want to get sap in my car and nor did I want to be stuck under a tree all the way home – plus Paul will insist on playing Tracy Chapman in the car) and sauntered back to my car.
As I was walking back to my car, some beetroot-faced old fart started waving his hands impatiently at me because he wanted me to dash back to the car, vacate the space and allow his shitty Audi in, despite there being a great number of spaces a bit further away. He was keeping the traffic waiting rather than doing the decent thing and you know, dying in a ball of fire. Naturally, I ran over to my car (I say ran, remember, I’m fat, so really it was a ‘every third step a bit quicker’ shuffle), flung open the door and promptly sat and fiddled with the radio, read my phone, did my hair in the mirror…all the very important things. Listen, I know that doesn’t paint me in such a good light either, but I don’t care – he was so obnoxious with his hand-waving (mirrored by his wife, no less, who had one of those wrinkly pursed faces that looked like a Mini Cheddar Crinkly with a pair of lips rollered on) that he had to wait. It took him almost ten minutes before he screamed off, gesticulating wildly. I then, of course, smoothly reversed out, gave the guy behind me the space, and went cheerily on my way. I did spot him as I drove out the car park trying to manouvre his shitwagon into a tiny space next to the trollies. I barely had time to clasp my hand to my lips and shake my head in the internationally recognised gesture for ‘oh how terrible‘ before I was out of the car park.
Paul beat me home and managed to get the tree across the lawn and into the house himself. Decorating took no effort at all, given I sat and watched Paul to do it, interrupting occasionally to tell him where there were bald patches (mainly on the back of his head, though the shiny circle did look fetching with the reflection of the lights bouncing off it). He did do a smashing job. I contributed at the final moments by heroically placing the star on top because Paul couldn’t find the wee stepladder we keep for such occasions (well we certainly don’t use it for DIY, do we?). Together, we did it. He didn’t end up choking me with a line of tinsel, I didn’t wind up smashing jagged baubles into his eye-sockets. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
Here’s a lovely Christmas recipe to be getting on with. It’s not Christmassy at all, but I needed a link. Jeez.
to make one pot malaysian chicken, you’ll need:
- 4 chicken breasts, chopped into chunks (remember, you get lots of breasts in our musclefood box! Details of this meat can be found here! Opens in a new window, don’t worry)
- handful of any old mushrooms, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 600ml chicken stock
- 2” ginger, thinly sliced
- 280g rice
- spring onions, sliced
- red chilli pepper, sliced
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
- 2 tsp sesame oil (4 syns)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
This serves 4!
to make one pot malaysian chicken, you should:
- mix together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, salt and pepper, then add the chicken, and marinade overnight or as long as you dare
- when ready to cook, preheat the oven to 190 degrees
- heat a large casserole pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
- when the oil is hot, remove the chicken from the marinade using a slotted spoon (but don’t throw it out!)
- add the chicken to the hot pan, and allow it to sear and char – stir occasionally
- remove the chicken from the pan and set aside
- add the mushrooms to the pan with a little more oil and cook until starting to brown
- add the garlic and cook until turning brown (this won’t take long)
- add the ginger, rice and 3 tbsp of the marinade and stir well
- add the stock and the chicken to the pan and stir again
- cover the pan and bring to a boil
- transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked
- remove from the ovnr, serve and garnish with the spring onions and chilli pepper slices
If you like the sound of this, why not make one of our other one-pot dishes, like this chicken and tomato risnotto? That’s tasty and easy to make!