So yes, we are back from our trip to Oz, myself and NewHuman, and were happy to discover the boyfriend had not gone at all feral during our absence. Happy but a bit disappointed. The house was clean (thanks, cleaner) and bedsheets were fresh and fruit was made available and milk had not turned to cheese. Dog was initially stoked to see us but returned to her usual aloof ways within about 60 seconds. Perfection.
Australia was busy. I am tired. NewHuman travelled very well, being popular with grannies and aircrew alike. His indiscriminate muppet-style face-cracking smile meant I could do a lot of, ‘oh, do you want a cuddle?’ at various people across Australia’s departure lounges and in the cheap seats on the plane.
Anyway the below is something I made a version of for friends in Queensland, and have remade now am home to London and it’s all grey days and dark nights, slimy leaf-ridden footpaths and damp airs. Bloody delicious it is, too. It’s so easy as to be almost offensive, and is the sort of thing you can shove at people you have latterly invited over for lunch and whilst they exclaim at its flavourful appearance you can take all the glory without once letting on it basically consists of throwing things in an oven tray and taking it out about 90 mins or so later.
You should def make it.
Pre-heat your oven to 180C or Gas Mark 4.
• Small ciabatta loaf – don’t go too small, the bread is arguably the best bit of the whole thing.
• 8 chicken thighs or drumsticks – I use 4 of each
• 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes – I use whatever nice-looking tomatoes are the go, slightly bigger ones are fine
• Bunch of basil, leaves picked
• 1 garlic bulb, broken into cloves, skin on
• Handful of black olives, stoned – I didn’t stone mine. I’ve always found the best way to stone olives is to just eat them yourself and spit the pips out
• Olive oil
• 1 dried red chilli – I used about half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
• 8 slices of pancetta, or thin-sliced smoked streaky bacon – I bought proscuitto in a jetlagged haze, so substituted for streaky bacon at last minute. Was the right decision.
Throw everything into a nice big oven tray.
Seriously, that’s it.
Season it well and mix it about, leaving the chicken on top.
Chuck it into the oven.
After 30 minutes stir it all around a bit, turning the chicken if you want to.
After an hour throw the basil leaves in and lay your bacon over the chicken pieces and back into the oven for 15 minutes.
This is my Nana’s rescue dog. He’s allegedly a shitzu. He’s a shit-zu. A terrible example of the breed but has global skills in snoring, sliding on cork floors and sitting up to beg, fruitlessly, for treats.
I obviously ensured NewHuman got a foot in Aussie waters. Coolum did the job for us this time. He was unsure, so I just left him in the water till he was sure. Ace parenting.
Right. Tray out of the oven.
The chicken and bacon should’ve been having a nice pash and the tomatoes having had a major breakdown means the bread can get greedy and suck up all their emotional juices. As it were. Bloody lovely.
Eat. You should probably add a green salad with this, for health, but the boyfriend is allergic to lettuce so I didn’t…