Sunday, 1 July 2012

Cooking in the Cotswolds

I went to the Cotswolds the day after the ball. (The ball was amazing, in case you were wondering.) I didn't sleep on account of al the fun I was having and my mind was especially addled from the fact that it was the end of the world as I knew it (nice album title, JT) and I was feeling very sentimental and telling people who I haven't spoken to in months how much I was genuinely pleased to have made their acquaintance. I was pretty weird. I almost cried at about 9am from the complete lack of endorphins. It was pathetic. As a friend pointed out, it was the ideal time for the Floo network to come into existence and save the day since journeying whilst dragging dirty white tie was the last thing I wanted to do. I also felt slight reluctance at the thought of going to the Cotswolds with people who don't 'define' my time at college since I felt like I should be spending my time with my nearest and dearest. But again, that was just me being stupidly sentimental and irrational. And such irrationality disappeared when our Kind Host read my mind and expressed how much he was craving spaghetti bolognese. The umami, crumbly stew offset by slippery noodles were exactly what I thought would make me feel happier. Like a hug in a bowl. It didn't disappoint. (Actually, that's a lie. It lacked some of the depth I would've liked despite the correct frying of onions and long simmering time. But it was still nourishing enough.) This was followed by a nice (cheap) glass of red and falling asleep to Die Hard. That rather set the tone for the weekend. Cooking simple food in a perfectly arranged country kitchen, enjoying a few glasses of Lambrini-Pimms (two parts Pimms, one part Lambrini and four parts lemonade, if you're curious) and near inactivity. A blissful antidote to Friday night. I stuck to doing tried and tested recipes with a touch of innovative ingredient supplementing from the fact that the larder wasn't quite fully stocked. But I did try one new recipe. Although, as with most of my recipes, it was so easy I can barely call it a recipe. Hopefully you don't care about that though. We were settled on cooking something English and filling. I looked at so many different recipes that I found out that my phone can only look at eight tabs at once. Who knew! I settled on this but unfortunately, this time, Tesco Extra couldn't cater to my needs. So instead, I decided to do a roast 'cause it was Sunday and all. Roast poussin!
Roast Poussin (with pigs in blankets, mash, kale and red wine gravy)
1 large poussin to share between two or 1 small for each person
Smoked streaky bacon
4 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper

Stuff each poussin with garlic (1 clove for each small one or 2 for each big one), 1 sage leaf and season the inside with salt and pepper.
Season the outside of the poussin with salt.
Wrap with bacon (about 4 rashers per bird) then season with pepper.
Put in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius until the juices of the thickest part of the thigh of the poussin run clear.
Remove, wrap in foil and leave to rest for ten minutes.

Red wine gravy
20g butter
1 small red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of strawberry jam (I would've used redcurrant jelly but I was being inventive)
A bunch of sage, tied at the end
1 tsp Marmite
200ml chicken stock

Melt the butter and fry the onion and garlic on a medium heat until the onion is very soft.
Add the jam and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the sage, Marmite and stock and simmer to thicken for about ten minutes.
Add the juices from the poussin and stir thoroughly.
The sauce should be glossy and quite thick.

If I were to do it all again (dramatic little me), I'd put a very thin layer of unsalted butter between the chicken and the bacon to make the whole thing a little juicier and browner.

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