The 9th chapter

The 9th Chapter of 12.

Does it feel like the 9th Chapter??

I think this year went more like, Chapter 1, Chapter 2 then Chapters 3 - 8 (March - August) aghhhhhhh and now at Chapter 9, some sort of normality. A lot has happened, while nothing has happened. It's been horrendous for some and we've all learned to adapt and change. The shop has adapted and changed. Our customers are adapting and changing. This brought about various changes to our opening and closing time as mentioned yesterday and are below.

On Sundays from 10am to 2pm the wall fridge wil be open with all your usual favourites but also a selection of roasts, prepared in a recyclable roasting tray for your convenience and steak, chops etc on our compostable trays, all in our wall cabinet. The counter cabinet will not be open on Sundays.

One thing that came back into our house during lockdown was the return of the traditional Sunday Roast and much to the kids delighted a Sunday dessert. Sundays had been filled with matches and getting organised for work that we lost the Sunday Roast. Last Sunday I did a lovely Roast beef but I had loads left over. My lads love beef but won't really eat it in a sandwich so I made this recipe below while I was cooking the roast and allowed it to cool just to be reheated the next day with the meat added in. It was a real winner and handy to have organised as things start to get busy again. I seriously encourage you to give it a try. Without adding the meat it would feed any vegetarian in your house too.

Moroccan-style stew for roasted meat

Serves 8

Ingredients:
olive oil
15g butter
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tin of chickpeas (400g), drained and rinsed
1 tin of tomatoes (400g), chopped
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon (or lime)
450ml vegetable or chicken stock (plus more if needed)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

1 tsp paprika
¼-½ tsp cayenne pepper
leftover roast lamb (or chicken or beef)

I had none of these below and just left them out - still yum!!
(1 large bunch of fresh coriander or parsley, finely chopped (or a mixture of both - reserve some for serving)
2 tsp mint, dried or a couple of sprigs of fresh mint)

Heat the butter and oil mixture in a large saucepan. Add the onion and gently fry for at least 10 minutes until beginning to soften and take on some colour. Add the garlic and give it a good stir.

Add the drained chickpeas and chopped tomatoes. Stir.

Add the pepper, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and the lemon juice (but not the salt).

Add the stock and a ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the liquid has reduced but not dried out completely. Top up with more liquid if necessary.

Add the paprika and cayenne now.

At this point I turned off the hob and let it cool. Just for convenience, add the diced cold meat (lamb, beef or chicken).

The next evening, take your dish out of the fridge and let it heat slowly. Boil your rice while you're doing this.

(If you are using these add the chopped coriander and parsley, 1 teaspoon of dried mint)

Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

Sprinkle over with chopped herbs.

Tip: Add additional vegetables such as red peppers or cooked potatoes or even some of the left over veg from your Sunday Roast dinner. Just the last few minutes before the end so they don't go to mush.

 

I hope you get to try this it was delicious. So change can bring challenges but also opportunity. I have always been change adverse. I think this time has help build some resilience in me, in my children and all around us. Love this Socrates quote - "The secret of Change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but building on the new." I like this and I keep reminding myself of it when I'm frustrated about something I can no longer do they way I used to. I was, like most anxious about the going back to school. Teachers are professionals who focus on the child so their wellbeing was never in question.  I spoke to the kids a little bit but not too much before they went back, keeping it positive and trying to encourage that not all change is bad. I'll leave ye with the words that my second youngest said when I collected him from school day one.  " Mam, it's a bit different but it's even better".

Enjoy,

The Butchers' Wife.

New Times Below.

Days Opening and closing time
Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

8 am – 7pm
Saturdays 8am – 6pm
Sundays 10am – 2pm

Jemmas Chilli con Carne

Super Tasty Chilli con Carne
This delicious classic dish can be a real family favourite so I hope you enjoy it. Packed with immune boosting onions and garlic, iron rich beef and kidney beans to help keep your fibre intake optimal, this dinner ticks lots of boxes on the health front. This recipe serves approx. 4 adult size portions but I say double it, and get 4 extra portions in the freezer to get you through the predicted cold spell in the coming weeks! You can make this either on your hob or slow-cooker. Serve with some avocado slices and steamed rice.

• 1 tbsp olive oil/steamed coconut oil (no coconut taste)
• 2 large red onions, finely sliced
• 4 cloves of crushed garlic
• 2 tbsp mild chilli powder – reduce to 1tbsp if the kiddies don’t like the heat!
• 2 tsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• 1kg minced beef
• 400g tin of chopped tomatoes/plum tomatoes
• 3 x 400g tins of red kidney beans, rinsed in a sieve
• 2 beef stock cubes
• 200mls of water
• 2 large red peppers, chopped
• 10 sundried tomatoes – optional but they do give amazing flavour

1. Heat your oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 3. Heat the oil, preferably in a large lidded casserole dish, and fry the onions until soft. Add the garlic, spices and oregano and cook for 1 min, then gradually add the mince, stirring well until browned. Stir in the tomatoes, water and then crumble in the stock cubes and mix.
2. Cover and simmer gently for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. Stir in the peppers and sundried tomatoes, then cook for a further 30 mins. Then stir in the beans and simmer gently for 3-5 minutes, until the beans have warmed through.
3. If you want to use a slow cooker, fry your onions in a pan for 8 mins, then add your garlic, spices and oregano and cook for a minute. Tip all of the ingredients into your slow cooker, crumble in the stock cubes and mix well to break up the minced beef. Cook on Low for 8 hours, then serve.

 

The love affair with the slow cooker continues. Since I've gone back to full time work I'm just in awe of how people get dinner on the table day in day out. This is where the reliance on the slow cooker comes from. I'm an early riser. Is it from the farm alarm from years ago or is it from being a mother of four? I don't know. My family are all insomniacs so it's possibly just that. Throw in the worry wart gene and sleep alludes me. So getting up early is generally not a problem unless I've just gone asleep. Anyway, it's something I'm trying to improve. So to fire food into the slow cooker early morning is easy for me.  But for those who think they don't have time to do it in the morning, I promise you, what would take you half the evening, only takes five or ten minutes in the morning. Love it. So try this. You'll also love the smell when you get home and can light the fire while the rice is cooking. The cold is coming... Enjoy, the butchers wife xx


Sumptuous Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

 

Boo – if you saw me now you’d be scared – I’m up since before the crack of dawn trying to get some work done before the children descend on me. They’ll all be flying high today. The butcher as usually is gone since the early hours but not without leaving a trail of destruction in his wake….

Yesterday in a last minute bid to embrace all that is Halloween I bought a few decorations with the kids. One is a fake mirror that is sensor operated and has a very scary skeleton reveal himself and say scary stuff as you pass. We hung it inside the front door and we were waiting with great excitement to see himself come home and jump out of his skin with fright. Of course, it was cheap, and the sensor didn’t work. You had to press a button to get it working.

So we pressed it when we passed and all we’re suitably scared. The butcher and I were the only two awake as he left this morning – and guess what. As he walked passed it, the sensor worked for the first time ever. It’s very loud. The front door closed and a few seconds later a tear stained Harriet peered around the door of the office. God love her. ‘I hate it Mammy, I hate it’. Ah Lord…it’s going to be a long day.

We’ve only two dressing up this year – two out of four. This makes me sad. Little indicators that they are growing up. Last year for book day, the three that are left in primary dressed up. They were all very excited. Our eldest boy who was in fifth class then dressed up as Asterisks. He’s a large, round and funny Viking type character and we had great crack putting the outfit together. So everyone was up early and got dressed up. We arrived at school and as soon as our son realised that little or no one was dressed up in his class he freaked out. He was very upset. I brought him home to change. He felt like a fool. I was gutted. I had been delighted with his excitement and I suppose maybe hanging on to the innocence a bit longer clouded my judgement and didn’t warn him that maybe his peers weren’t dressing up. But his excitement led me to believe they all were. I dropped him back to school in his uniform and drove away, tears rolling down my face. A little bit of innocence gone for him and a little bit of his confidence taken away.

So if the kids are dressing up. If there are clothes and fake cobwebs everywhere and you’re tripping over skeleton bones and the decorations. If there’s face paint smeared into the couch (aghhhhhhhh…) it’ll pass. And then they won’t want to dress up. My eldest isn’t dressing up this year. Won’t risk it.

I’ll stop now because I’ll blubber. Jemma has given me this fab recipe. Although the butchers wife tips says I haven’t tried it because I hadn’t at that point but since. I’ve actually made it twice or should I say the butcher stuck it on twice. That’s a big flashing light saying how say this is… His go to meal is Daddys’ famous toasted sandwiches. Try this, divine. We has it potatoes and carrots and with stir fried vegetables and rice Monday night.

Happy Halloween you all…. Enjoy it x

Sumptuous Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

Spice Rub
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1 teaspoon garlic granules
• 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon thyme

Chicken
• 1 x Whole Chicken – approx. 1.6kg – 1.8kgs
• 1 x peeled onion, sliced into 3 x thick rings

Combine all of the spices together in a bowl and mix. Rub the chicken with 1 tbsp of soft butter to coat the surface of the chicken. This helps the spices to stick to the chicken but also creates a lovely brown skin by the end of the cooking time. Sprinkle the spices over the chicken and rub them so as all of the surface of the chicken is covered in the mix. (You let this marinade overnight if you have time for extra flavour) Lay the onion slices on the bottom of the slow cooker, add 100mls of water and then place your chicken on top. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Then allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Enjoy!

Let’s Nutrify – Jemma’s Tip
So this is what will be cooking in my kitchen next Wednesday for a Halloween dinner. I’m already filled with dread at the thoughts of all of the sticky, sugary sweeties that my kiddo’s will collect after some “Trick or Treating”. So the secret is to get a hearty, protein rich dinner into them an hour or 2 before trick or treat time to prevent mega-sugar highs and lows (that and disposing of 9/10’s of their sweetie haul when they go to bed that night, but shhh! Don’t tell them that!). This fits the bill. I can pop this in the slow cooker around 9am and look forward to a scrumptious roast chicken dinner by 4pm. I often pop in some whole, peeled carrots and parsnip about 1-2 hours before the end of cooking time and that’s the veggies taken care of. Or you can serve with roast veggies and steamed baby potatoes.

Tips from the Butchers Wife
I’m really excited about the upcoming slow cooker recipes. Have I mentioned I LOVE MY SLOW COOKER – how has it come to this – I used to have a life. Honestly I did. But now I am busy…. Busy busy busy and anything that reduces the stress and feeds me well I love. My needs are simple. I would definitely marinate this the night before – take it out of the fridge in the morning and stick it on – haven’t tried this yet but Halloween is coming and I’ve a list of recipes to try. I must admit I’ve been rolling out the old reliables. So want a stock of new easy slow cooker recipes. I’ll let you know how I get on. Just a question for Jemma – by dispose of the junk do you mean eat them yourself. That’s how I interpret that – it’s for the good of the children after all!!


Lamb and Prune Tagine

 

No messing around this week listening to me withering on.... try this...

Lamb and Prune Tagine

INGREDIENTS
• 1 TBSP OLIVE OIL (13G)
• 1KG DICED LAMB
• SALT & PEPPER (3G)
• 2 ONIONS CHOPPED (300G)
• 4 GARLIC CLOVES (12G)
• 5CM KNOB OF GINGER, PEELED AND CHOPPED (20G)
• 1 TBSP HARISSA (18G)
• 2 TSP GROUND CUMMIN (GG)
• 1 TSP GROUND CINNAMON (2G)
• 1 TSP FENNEL SEEDS (2G)
• 1 LITRE CHICKEN STOCK
• 4-6 LARGE RIPE TOMATOES, ROUGHLY CHOPPED
• 200G PRUNES
• 100G GREEN OLIVES, STONED
• 100G SHELLED PISTACHIOS
• 20G CORIANDER CHOPPED

PREPARATION
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan and brown the lamb well on all sides. Season generously. When you’ve got a good colour on the meat, after about 5 minutes of stirring and browning on a relative high heat, add the onions, garlic and ginger and cook out for another 2 minutes, until the onions start to soften and carmelise. Add the harissa and spices and mix really well. Cook for another 3 or 4 minutes so that the spices and harissa coat the meat.
Add the stock, cover with lid, turn down the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is burning at the bottom of the pan. At this stage you can let cool and leave in the fridge overnight and cook the following day, which allows the flavours to develop further but you can continue in one go. Add the tomatoes, prunes, olives and pistachios and cook, uncovered for another hour. At this stage it should have reduced to a nice consistency and the flavours should be really good. The bottom line is that the lamb need to cook for 2 hours in total which can be done in one go or split over 2 days. Garnish with the coriander and serve with rice. Yum !

Let's Nutrify! - Jemma's tips

Lamb is such a favourite of mine, both because of the delicious sweet taste but also because I know how nourishing it is. Rich in easy to digest iron, b vitamins and zinc, lamb makes the perfect winter boost if the energy levels are flagging. Lamb is also a relatively wild meat, outdoor reared and feeding naturally year round on the grasses and plants that they've always eaten. Owing to this, lamb is rich in omega 3's and also in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been linked with lower body mass and seems to help with weight management. The ginger, fennel seeds, and prunes contained in this recipe make it rich in antioxidants, easy to digest and a wonderful source of soluble fibre. So if you would traditionally have found that red meat slows down your digestion, you'll be pleasantly surprised by this dish! This dish freezes really well so be sure to make plenty and store some for those cold, dark nights! Serve it with some roasted root veggies or roasted cauliflower."

Shane Dineen Fitness
Super fuel recipe with fantastic flavour, well worth the effort, see nutri info below:
Per portion:
Carbs : 26g
Protein : 56.6g
Fat : 33.4g
Fibre : 10.5g
Calories : 625

Butchers wife tip.
This tagine is ideal for a large group, this recipe serves 6 people, and is great with some rice and roasted veggies. The harissa gives it heat with body rather than outright fire, but feel free to add more if you like it. Seems alot of effort but if you use the frozen pre chopped ginger and just chuck in a tin of chopped tomatoes instead of chopping that cuts out chopping time.  If you don't have harrisa use some chilli flakes to add the heat... enjoy x


Goodbye summer, Hello Autumn - September 2017

Is September really nearly over?? It's flying. I still feel caught in the whirlwind and I'm not talking about the weather. Our eldest little one started in Secondary School this year and the transition is just huge. She's adapted to her new start just brilliantly. So many different classrooms, so many teachers to get your head around and not to mention THE LOCKER. This is the most exciting thing about secondary school. I think, perhaps, they might watch too many American sitcoms but the locker is certainly where it's at!!

We also challenged ourselves to the tree top walk in Castlecomer Discovery Park and by we I mean the children. The third step of a ladder is three steps too high for me. The older you get the more you loose your nerve and it is to my shame that the children overcame their nerves and flew around the course, while mammy looked on with pride with my two feet secure on solid ground.

Back to school brings back to activities, piano, swimming, rugby etc. In and out of the car like yoyos but it's a choice and I'm glad they all have interests. It does leave structured opportunities to go for walks while we wait. Lovely time to chat and catch up on the news of the day. We also had a great project on Sligo and therefore we had to do some research on Countess Markievicz. I love history and talking about how things were and how far we've come. Go on the girls..

September 2017 also brought THAT MATCH. What a brilliant game. Déise abú!! Great sense of pride in our county or in other words I loves me county boi!! And then Puddles turned 1 - Puddles arrived at Christmas - and brought plenty of puddles with her. She's a little Jack Russell who absolutely torments the life out of Bear our collie labrador mix. So Puddles had to get a cake and we got a doddie cake from the Bushy Tailed Baker -  a special dog cake. I kid you not. The dogs were trilled and the children got a great kick out of it.

So there you are. September nearly behind us. I love the crisp and cold weather of this time of year. Long walks wrapped up. Yummy comfort food and thoughts of lighting the fire. Bring it on...

Enjoy,

The Butchers Wife xx