This is neither the time or the place to talk about illness. It's not a heath blog it's a food blog*. however my state of poorlyness this weekend has prompted Tonight's Menu. This weekend was the hottest of the year so far and we had plans. We had planned to visit a friend in Wilmslow for a barbecue and a session drinking his home-brew. Everything was put on hold and I went back to bed at around 12:30pm on Saturday.
There I stayed, feeling sorry for myself, until the following day. On Sunday I continued my convalescence on the sofa. This was no bad thing as I got to watch the Wimbledon Men's Singles Final and the highlights of the German Grand Prix. I also got to watch some food programs, which was one of my favourite pastimes before R turned up and wrestled the control of the telly from my grasp.
One of the shows I caught was Saturday Kitchen Best Bites. I was still dozy and uncomfortable so I wasn't really paying attention but one recipe grabbed my attention, Spicy chicken calabrese with olive oil mash. It looked like such a vibrant, colourful and most importantly tasty dish that I made a mental note to cook it soon. I didn't realise it would be this soon however.
With me out on my back, Z took over the shopping and meal planning duties for the week. She was planning on me being out of action for a couple of days so tonight she was going to cook chicken thighs with some leftover courgette and chick pea stew for herself. However, I'm feeling well on the road to recovery and wanted some proper food to get me back into the swing of things.
The Calabrese is a stew of chicken and peppers and has one special ingredient, 'nduja, which is a spreadable, soft salami. I'm not sure about eating 'nduja on toast as a snack, as was recommended on the program, but its uses as an ingredient seam endless to me. Sadly I do not have any spreadable salami, so I had to improvise. I added smoked garlic, hot paprika, crushed fennel seeds and oregano to the stew.
The finished dish was delicious. I served it with soft parmesan polenta instead of the recommended mashed potato, but only because we didn't have any spuds in the house. I limited the amount of chilli in the dish to better suit my weakened constitution, but as summer stews go this was a winner. I'll admit that the 'nduja would probably add some depth of flavour to the dish but it was certainly not a flop with out it.
I have a feeling that dishes similar to this will be popping up on our weekly meal planner quite a lot this summer. There are very few ingredients so with a little imagination the recipe could be used with most meats, fish, or even made as a vegetarian dish. I will defiantly be eating polenta more often as it only took 5 minutes to cook. I'll also be on the lookout for spreadable salami, if you see any let me know.