Tea for two

Popped into the butcher’s today to get sausages and bacon. Apparently his sales are up 25% since the horse meat scandal broke. I’m hoping that the people who have started shopping with him recognise the quality of the meat compared to the supermarket and stick with him once it all blows over. Scott threw in a couple of his new pork and haggis sausages for me to try. I can’t decide whether to do something creative with them or stick them in a roll for breakfast. Watch this space . . .

I spent last Valentine’s Day in London for the launch of the LGComms/LGC Future Leaders’ Programme so to make up for being away I bought some herbal tea and a beautiful little tea strainer for HimIndoors from the very swanky Tea Palace in Covent Garden. While I was there buying my one tin of tea there were two sharp suited Italian men with two little handbag dogs. They had a line of teas in front of them for tasting and I could tell just by the cut of their suits that they were worth a bob or two. As I was watching the girl bag up my tea I was listening in to their conversation and it turns out they were stocking up on tea for the Duchess, whoever she may be. Anyway HimIndoors loves tea with liquorice in it so I came home with a blend called Harmony which contains, liquorice, cardamom, rose petals, ginger, coriander and fennel. The tin got put in the coffee cupboard and pretty much forgotten about until today.

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Now I like the idea of herbal tea but in general I hate it. It smells OK but every tea has a bitter undertaste to it and, although some of the combinations sound lovely, I’m generally disappointed. This tea, however is in a class of its own. Even just to look at it you know you’re in for something special.

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Cardamom is one of my favourite spices and there are whole pods in the tea. It’s a sweet, heady taste explosion with no bitter aftertaste. I’m completely sold on the stuff and will be stocking up on every visit from now on. And I’ve just turned down an invitation to an event in London in March too – I wonder if they have an online shop . . .

Today I have learned:

  • I do like herbal tea, as long as it’s hand blended and very expensive
  • And and Dec are still the kings of Saturday night entertainment (especially the Louis Walsh bit)

Today’s recipe

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Chicken in white wine and tarragon sauce

After we had this for dinner I had a lot of sauce and a little chicken left so I ate it for lunch the next day as if it were Cream of Chicken and Tarragon Soup – nom!

Ingredients

a large knob of butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 chicken, jointed

250g mushrooms

500mls white wine

150mls double cream

2 tbsp tarragon, finely chopped

Method:Melt the butter in the oil in a large heavy based pan. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides then remove onto a plate.

Half or quarter the mushrooms and add to the pan and cook till soft. Add the chicken, then the wine, bring to the boil then lower heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes till cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a board and remove the meat from the bone in big, fleshy parts.

Turn the heat up in the pan with the wine and reduce by about a third. Add the cream and the tarragon and return the chicken to the sauce. Serve with Potato Cakes and Yorkshire Pudding.

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