Recipe: Simple Chicken Chowder

This recipe we got from my Father-In-Law. Its a really simple, filling meal and the great part is that you can recycle any leftovers to work as a base for other meals afterwards.

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Ingredients:

  • 1lb Potatoes, diced (Waxy are better than floury for this recipe)
  • 150g Sweetcorn (Defrost if using frozen)
  • 2 medium onions roughly chopped (I actually used 3 small ones)
  • 2 large chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 pint of veg stock made up
  • 200ml of milk (I use skimmed, but whatever)
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • a tbsp of oil (So stuff doesn’t stick to the pan)

Method:

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Using a large, thick bottomed pan with a lid (I used my old pressure cooker) throw in the oil, chicken and onions and gently fry off for a couple of minutes until the chicken is sealed. Try not to cook it so the chicken goes brown.

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Add in the flour with the salt and pepper to taste, and mix while cooking for a couple of minutes so all the onions and chicken are coated. It will start to look dry, don’t worry, this is normal, just keep moving it all around so nothing sticks to the bottom. You want the flour to start to break down so it thickens the stock later.

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Add in the potatoes. No need to mix and coat the potatoes with the flour.

 

Add the made up stock to the mix and gently stir. You may find that some of the flour has stuck to the bottom of the pan. You want to scrape that up and get it mixing.
Bring the stock back to a gentle simmer with the lid on for 8 mins.
Add in the sweetcorn and continue to simmer for another 2 mins.

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After the 2 mins (10 mins total) lift the lid and slowly add in the milk stirring all the time. Bring the mixture back to the barest of simmers and then turn off the heat. You don’t want the milk to boil.

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Serve with freshly baked, still warm, crusty bread!

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A few options for you.
Ham and bacon work REALLY well in this recipe. Just be careful that you don’t put too much salt into it. Salt brings out the flavours but it can quickly turn if you are not careful!

If you like your chicken seared then you will need to put the chicken in first, on it’s own, fry it as you like it then add in the onions and carry on with the recipe as normal.

Swapping out potatoes for sweet potatoes or butternut squash can make for a really nice alternative. Just note that cooking times will likely need to be altered a little.

Avoid using butter when frying off the meat. For some reason butter leaves a film of grease on top that I was never able to get rid of. If anyone knows how to avoid that, please let me know. Using butter gave a much better taste but the film was annoying.

Mushrooms make a great addition to this recipe. Add them in at the beginning if you want them to break down a little, or fry them off separately and add in with the sweetcorn if you want them with more substance.

Marimo Bowl Setup

Ok… It appears that I screwed up somewhere… This was supposed to have been posted BEFORE the Marimo Completed post. *sigh* Although the schedule date was set right the fact that I must have clicked ‘Save’ and not the ‘Schedule’ means I dun did an ‘Oopsie’.

Good grief. Oh well… You can have it now.

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With me now having new Marimo babies. I decided that I will make myself a separate Marimo ‘tank’ or bowl? Setting up something like this isn’t as easy as just “Get bowl, add water and rocks, and then pop in the Moss balls.” No Siree!

The first thing I learned when I set up my first fish tank was that there are a lot of things that will infect water! Ok, it’s not that drastic but if you want to bring stuff in from outside or whatever, you need to make sure it’s clean.

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I got 2 lots of stones from my garden and I had some glass beads for some reason… And the jar above from an old gift my daughter got. It had just been gathering dust so she gave it to me and I put it to use.

I picked 2 types of stone and the beads because I have no idea what will look good in the jar. This way I can try all 3 and discard whichever I don’t like.

There are a few ways to clean things for an aquarium. Bleach, boiling and baking are the more common. For my set up I decided to bleach the jar and boil the stones and glass beads.

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While baking is the easiest I don’t know what kind of glass the jar is so I don’t know if it will hold together at the 200C needed to kill off germs. So I went with using bleach to clean the jar instead. A mix of 10:1 water/bleach and leaving it to soak for 24 hours, then a really, REALLY good set of multiple rinses with clean water. Then, when done, leave it to air dry for a couple of days to evaporate any bleach not cleared already.

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The stones and beads I decided to boil for 20 mins on a high heat then leaving to cool. If you do this then you REALLY want to be careful. Those stones get very hot and they stay hot for a lot longer than you may think.
Also, don’t be tempted to run them under cold water… Very hot rocks and glass suddenly plunged into rapid cooling have a chance to do bad things. Just let them cool naturally. B-)

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I chose to let the water cool in the pan for a half hour then poured them out into an old colander to cool from there. After an hour they were still warm. O.o

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You will notice that I actually cleaned a LOT more than I would likely need. Better to have too much than not enough and have to repeat the process!

I also put a jug of water on the side to age. Now, I know that I don’t really need to do this but I didn’t want to take any water from the fish tank they are in now, because of algae pollution. And to be honest, I couldn’t be arsed to work out the minuscule amount of tap water cleaner needed to sort out the 900 mls I needed. So “aging” it is. B-)
Besides… It’s only a Moss ball… No fish will live in there.

So, in a couple of days when everything dries off properly and gets a good rinse I will make up the bowl and see which I like!

 

 

 

 

Marimo Completed

This morning I gave up waiting and decided to make it up today.

I took all my bits and, using all the stones, had a go to see which I liked. In the end it was the pebbles I liked. I put them all in the tub and removed some till I was happy.

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In the end I got to here. It’s roughly 1/3 medium to 2/3 water. I have no idea if that is aesthetically good or not but I am happy with it, if you choose to give it a try then you will likely go with something else.

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I then added the two Marimo and put the lid on.

I took the extra stones back outside and then took the completed Marimo bowl upstairs to the bathroom.

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It will sit in the sunlight for a couple of days so that the bubbles disperse. Once it has settled down again I will move it to my room. It may be a North facing window but its actually not so bad. It gets a fair bit of diffused light.

BTW… If anyone wants more info there is a great channel on YouTube that has lots of vids on the subject. Wendi Phan

Oh How I Love The Weather

So today has been a really warm day. Averaging 27 C here in Yorkshire… But that was to*day*…

Now to to*night* where it is HAMMERING it down with near constant flashes of lightning. No heavy crashing of thunderous might… Just a constant rolling thunder. I can feel the hairs on my arm tingle…

This wasn’t forecast, although with the amount of energy held up I’m not at all surprised there have been thunderstorms.

I wish I could take a photo of the sky, I really do… But my phone just can’t produce anything worthwhile. I did, however grab a REALLY crappy video after the rain had stopped but the thunder and lightning carried on.

How I Make Potato Wedges

If given a choice of chips or wedges I will always go for wedges. And even better I will pick my own wedges over shop bought ones. B-)

How do I make them, you ask? Dead easy!

First off… Preheat your oven to 200C (390F).

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Get some potatoes, enough to feed all your hungry mouths! I generally go for more floury potatoes (Good for mashing) but these were waxy Maris Peers. Not quite as good.

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Leaving the skins on, cut your potatoes in half and then thirds. If your potatoes are a little bigger you can cut the potato into 8’s rather than 6’s.

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Drop your wedges into a bowl with about a tablespoon of oil and flick the contents around so they all get coated evenly.

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Add in enough plain flour that it coats the wedges. Judging the amount of flour you need can be tricky. I used about a tablespoon for this amount. you may want to judge this for yourself.
Once you have the flour in there you can add in any herbs or spices you want. We like Jajita, Tex Mex, cayenne pepper, a mild curry or even the ‘Chips’ spice Shwartz makes!

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Once you have it all prepared you need to place them on a baking tray, skin side down.
Once you have filled the tray pop them into the oven for about 20 mins. After 10 mins you may want to turn them to ensure even cooking.
After 20 mins check to see if they are cooked. If they are still solid check again after 5 mins. Note that larger wedges will take longer to cook!

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Once happy remove from the oven and eat with a selection of dips!

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I suppose you could cook them in a deep fat fryer… I wouldn’t know because we don’t have one and there is no way on this planet I’m going to use a chip pan.
Besides, roasting in the oven is better for you than frying… Less oil.

Enjoy!

Mini Marimo Me’s!

About 4 years ago I bought a Marino moss ball for my fish tank. It did really well and, well… By accident I managed to break it and turn one ball into two! *rolls eyes*

 

Fast forward to today and I seem to have found that my two Marimo balls have now had kids… I’m not sure this is how it’s supposed to happen in moss ball procreation, but I’m not going to argue… B-)

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Everyone, say hello to Kael’Thas. That’s my daughters Red-tailed Shark that managed to photo bombed me on just about all the shots that came out roughly in focus. B-)

I’m considering taking the two smaller ones out of the tank and putting them in special bowls just for them and treat them like house plants, which is closer to what they actually are, rather than tank ornaments and filters.

Marimo make great pets too. Kinda. You move them around, talk to them… You can even take them outside and teach them to play catch! Or maybe you can play catch with them? Either way fun can be had with them.

Imagine a softer, wetter pet rock… except these grow over time while pet rocks don’t. B-)

Carpet brushes?

For a long time I have been getting annoyed by the fact that I can’t ever really get the sheddings from a certain member of our household out of the carpets. I do, of course, mean exhibit A…

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She is a long haired Turkish Van… She despises being brushed so she sheds everywhere. Our normal vacuum cleaner tries it’s best but it simply can’t get all the cat hair up. So a couple of weeks ago I bought a carpet brush. Honestly I didn’t think it would work.

The day I bought it I gave it a try. I’m not going to lie… It was good but not as good as I had hoped. As it turns out I had been using it wrong… Colour me surprised!

The brush I bought is only a carpet brush, not a carpet rake… I have been looking up carpet rakes for how to use it. *le sigh*

So yesterday I had another go with it with the new technique, to see how it went… SO MUCH BETTER!!!

After giving it a vacuum I then used the brush.

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You can see the line of fur that the vacuum just didn’t get up. The worst thing is that I can’t tell the difference between the brushed and the as-of-yet brushed bit!
And yet so much came out… It also managed to get out a couple of bits of walked in crud too. Very happy with that.

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In the end, after a single run I got this lot out. Not only that but it feels a lot fluffier underfoot. It’s only a short fibre rug but it has really made a difference!

This was only a cheaper brush. It’s this, if you were wondering… I’m going to try it on a few of the actual carpets in the house, see if it does as well on those as the rug.

Because this did so well I may upgrade to an actual carpet rake in time, maybe when this one wears out. Well… It’s better than shaving the cat! B-)