Friday, 17 January 2014

Colour and 'Chicken - omics'

During the months of January and February I like to have plenty of colour around me in the house - plants and fresh flowers fulfil that need bringing some of their sunshine indoors.
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Do you buy Marks & Spencer 'Dine in' for Two £10? It is great value and includes a main course, a side dish of vegetables, dessert and a bottle of wine. From the choices available I always chose the whole fresh chicken - look carefully as they vary in price from about £4 up to over £8 within the deal. It pays to search the cabinet for the big ones!!! You can then chose a dessert, we had New York cheesecake, a side vegetable dish - I chose mushrooms stuffed with soft cheese and herbs which actually made a meal in itself with ratatouille and crusty bread.  Then you can pick a bottle of wine from a selection of white, red, and rosé which are valued at around £7. Add all that up and you have got items which would normally cost over £20 in M & S. The great thing is that not only do we get a Sunday roast chicken dinner, but the two following days we have cold chicken with vegetables or salad and jacket potatoes.  The next two days the chicken becomes a curry to which I add dessert apples, sultanas, and toasted almonds. Following all these meals, the bones are made into a stock. This is made into a nutritious soup. By the end of the week the two of us have eaten all of our daily main meals from the £10 'deal' plus the extras we have in the store cupboard, fridge and picked from the garden.
Even if you live in a country without an M & S store, a large fresh chicken can work wonders all week long.
I prepare the chicken for roasting by making deep scores in the breast and legs then poking fresh thyme from the garden in some slits and slithers of garlic in the others. A twist of ground black pepper, a scattering of 'Maldon' sea salt flakes, then squeeze the juice of a whole large lemon over the lot, tucking what remains of the lemon inside the carcass along with some more fresh thyme. That is it, no need for oils or fats - the lemon, garlic, and thyme all flavour and perfume the meat delicately.
Hope Marks & Spencer don't see this - they might decide their 'Dine in' deal is just too generous.

80 comments:

  1. A beautiful feast for the eyes, Rosemary! And, might I add a very hearty Happy New Year to you? I wish you peace, adventure and inspiration for 2014!

    Stephanie

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    1. What a lovely comment Stephanie - may I wish you all a good 2014 too, especially for your daughter sitting her exams this year.

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  2. M&S have quite a wonderful deal there, Rosemary, and you make the very best of it. Food here is much more expensive, an average size fresh organic chicken can cost $30. Your way of preparing the chicken is very clever, with the herbs in little slits. I always use a lemon too, but usually just a big spring of fresh rosemary in the cavity. I'll try your way now! Beautiful images of your flowers, looking spectacular mid-winter.

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    1. Dear Patricia - they do not have this 'deal' on permanently but perhaps once a month over a long weekend.
      I do like a chicken done like this occasionally as I don't have to think about meals for the week - freedom for the cook!!!

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  3. That is a good deal, and your curry looks delicious. I wish we had an M&S a bit closer!

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    1. If you are going to be near an M & S it is worth looking on their website to see if the deal is on. They don't do it every week, and it normally lasts from a Thursday to the following Tuesday.

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  4. Hello Rosemary, We have some sort of satellite M&S here, but it does not have an elaborate food center. I often will make something once then eat for a week, but most of the time I like to serve or give most away, so I won't become tired of the curry/stir-fry/gumbo etc.

    Your prepared dishes are as colorful as your flowers, and all are a feast for the eyes, especially in this gloomy season.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - M & S have wonderful food shops over here which are extremely popular. Most of their food is on the expensive side, but this particular deal which they do from time to time is fantastic value.

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  5. The idea of keeping colour in the home in the cold months following Christmas is such a lift to the spirit. We too partake of the M & S dinner deals, and often stop on our way home from travels and pick one up at the motorway services. Your chicken looks very inviting too! Enjoy and stay warm . x

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    1. It is surprising but a lot of people are unaware of this M & S deal - I didn't know about it until a friend pointed me in its direction. Glad that you partake from time to time too.

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  6. Your post is providing inspiration to me for a weekend meal that has leftovers. Love baked chicken. I'll bet your homemade version is every bit as good, if not better than M&S! Is your soup pumpkin? Butternut squash?

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    1. Yes, you are spot on Sanda - it is butternut squash which I love.

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  7. You brought the spring !!! I love your flowers ,they are so beautiful and healthy Your chicken plate is good food and made by yourself ,healthy and taste ! Here we cook and prefer also the home made food !
    Have a nice weekend !

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    1. Dear Olympia - it worries me that so many young people do not know how to cook themselves a good wholesome healthy meal. Many of them are living on ready prepared convenience foods which often contain too many additives.

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  8. Dear Rosemary,

    I can see from the photographs alone that you are a very good cook! But I'm not really surprised. Something tells me that you master everything that you tackle.

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    1. Dear Mark - thank you very much for the compliment; How I wish that was the case!!!

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  9. Rosemary dear, again I'm feeling pangs of 'wish I was home and shopping in M&S' - I do miss that store for so many things. As you probably know, they've never been able to open stores in the US, and doubt they ever will, so I just have to wait until I can cross the pond again!
    I don't eat chicken (or any meat/poultry) but must admit your version looks really wonderful. Making a week's worth of meals, and a nice bottle of wine for 10 points, is awesome!
    I too posted on winter color today - blogger friend Gina in Utah is worth a visit if you want to bring sunshine indoors!
    Hope you enjoy a colorful weekend dear.
    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Dear Mary - when I visited my brother in Canada nearly 20 years ago they were thrilled to have a new M & S store in Toronto which they took me to. However, I understand that the store has now closed. Presumably they were not successful there.
      I will pop over and have a look at your post Mary - I know Gina's blog very well, her posts always remind me of exquisite Dutch still-life paintings - they are beautiful.

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  10. Hello Rosemary - it is interesting that overall, M and S is doing so well on food, and so badly on clothes. I am shortly going to write a post about the desperate clothes situation - I always used to be a Marks fan but no longer!

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    1. Hello Stephanie - for some reason M & S seem unable to keep up with the trends in clothing that so many people want. However, I think that their lingerie take some beating. There dressing gowns are boring and I often think that I could design them some great ones if only they would give me the chance!!!

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  11. Oh, how I wish our nearest M&S wasn't nearly 50 miles away! DS shops there all the time. I love your way of roasting chicken, Rosemary, and will try it next time. I too can make a chicken stretch and stretch... :-)

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    1. Dear Perpetua - I think making a chicken stretch is something that our generation learnt from our mothers - it is also a good way of making the pennies go further.

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  12. The chicken looks delicious, it is my favorite meat.
    Youre flowers bring spring in youre home...verry nice.
    Have a nice weekend Rosemary.

    Greetings,
    Inge, my choice

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    1. You can do so many things with chicken, I find it a really versatile meat to use.
      I am enjoying the flowers the home whilst anticipating the ones beginning to poke their heads through the soil in the garden.
      Happy weekend to you too Inge.

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  13. Really great that you received your Bee skep. It really does look well made. It also seems like an art that has been passed down. It fits just perfect in your wall cove. Hope the bees come in the spring!
    Your flowers in the home are so beautiful Rosemary. Such a lovely collage of color.
    Well, those meals certainly are tempting. Alas.. no m & s here. The price is incredible. Unbelievable really. with wine included. It certainly isn't worth cooking. Its amazing what one can do with left overs and a little imagination.
    wishing you a happy weekend. val x

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    1. Dear Val - I am so delighted with the bee skep. Making the skeps is sadly a dying art - I do hope Farmer David will pass on his skills to someone else.
      I love the M & S food deals, they only do them perhaps once a month, but they are excellent value.

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  14. Your flowers are beautiful. I agree that this time of year is one of the best times to have flowers in the house. Such a contrast to the bleakness outside.
    I wonder if M&S realise that people can 'dine in for two' for one night - and the rest of the week, too with this deal. I think it's terrific you are making the most of it.

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    1. Hello Wendy - you have hit the nail on the head - that is the very thing that makes us chuckle whilst we are enjoying our £10 deal - night after night after night.

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  15. Dear Rosemary,such beautiful flowers !Preety colours too!!
    Your plates looks so yammy!We prefer our home made food!!
    Sometimes we bue Souvlaki!Wishing you a nice weekend!
    Dimi...

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    1. I am not sure what Souvlaki is - can it be a kebab?

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  16. We never tried it as David loved cooking, my local supermarket does a similar offer which always looks inviting like the M and S one, however not much good for one. :(
    Happy New Year my friend. Great to be back catching up on your blog.

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    1. Lovely to hear from you dear Linda - I do hope that this year goes well for you. I know that you have family near to you.
      Yes, a whole chicken would be far, far, too much for one,

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  17. Definitely good value , and you are very clever to stretch the rests for the remaining weekdays. Fresh flowers really cheer you up on the cold and grey winter days. Have a nice weekend.

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    1. We have had a cheap week of eating - still one more day of soup left for tomorrow. Luckily we are invited out for lunch on Sunday.

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  18. We have just finished eating a £10.00 Sainsbury's deal which was delicious but only gave us one meal! I will have to try M&S next time!
    Sarah

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    1. The best value is definitely to go for the fresh chickens, but don't forget to check them out to find a big one.

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  19. Your food images are gorgeous. I cannot photograph food.

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    1. You are right Olive - I think taking the images at home where you can perhaps place the dish in good light is easier than taking food in a restaurant. I do have a menu on my camera for taking food, but I always forget to use it.

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  20. Your collage of flowers looks bright and cheery. We had a chicken roasted in the same way as your recipe (cooked by my husband) on Christmas Day. This evening he made minestrone with chicken stock using the wings etc. from a whole chicken bought today that will now be used for other meals.

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    1. The Italians, which I know your husband is, are great at making food from so many things that we neglect. I wonder if you watched Italy Unpacked yesterday with Giorgio Locatelli and Graham-Dixon?

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  21. Hello Rosemary
    I love your blog header and the selection of flowers. I just purchased hyacinth and white roses today.
    M & S's offer is most generous I love how you have created so many beautiful nutritional meals. Your dishes compliment your creativity. Have a great weekend.

    Helen xx

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    1. Dear Helen - en masse, it is surprising the amount of colour that they create. Just coming to the end of our chicken, sadly one bowl of soup each is all that is left.

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  22. You are so lucky to have Marks & Spencer. That M&S three course meal with wine is a great value. Your roast chicken and curry chicken looks so delicious. Having that meal and surrounded by your flowers truly makes a great time!

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    1. I am sure that you know the M & S food department following your trips to London. This offer is usually on for a couple of weekends a month. It is well worth getting even if you chose not to have the chicken.

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  23. Hi Rosemary, that sounds like an unbelievable deal! Your food photos looks so yummy, that even though I had eaten dinner already, I feel I am hungry, again. I will try out the way you cook a chicken, it feels like even I can do it ;-)! Wishing you a nice weekend!
    Christina

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    1. It is a quick, easy and healthy way to roast a chicken - all the juices make a lovely gravy with a little tot of some wine added to it. Enjoy.

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  24. There is nothing quite like a plump, roast chicken. I've never tried mine with rosemary or thyme, but always tuck a lemon inside. I will have to try your method.
    Like you, I make a chicken feed us for five days, at least.

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    1. Is there a generation gap in making a chicken stretch? I suspect that many of the younger generation simply eat the roast chicken and throw the rest away.

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  25. That does look a good deal. The chicken looks like a really nice one. Reminds me that I must have a roast chicken again soon - as you say one can make so many meals from it. The colourful flowers look great as well.

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    1. Enjoy your chicken when you have it again - I was wonder if NZ is getting the really hot weather that Australia is having?

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  26. Good use of the M&S specials! You are making me want roast chicken. I am amazed at the perfection of your flower shots.. and your flowers.

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    1. Dear Valerie - may be it is simply because of the brightness of the flowers. It is not so easy to get good shots indoors especially with the winter light. I find red flowers difficult to photograph, but I have discovered that if I adjust the EV menu down (exposure value) it helps to maintain a decent red.

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  27. I too like to have fresh flowers, even if it's just a single one.
    Gosh, we eat a chicken in two days!
    We don't have Mark & Spencer which is a pity.

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    1. H is an excellent carver and remover of the meat from the carcass which gives us so many extra meals - the bones make a wonderful soup if you boil them up in stock for an hour and add cloves, bay leaves, juniper berries, and cardamon seeds, or whatever you have around in the cupboard. You can then use the resulting liquid to make any kind of soup.

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  28. Dear Rosemary,
    your chicken looks (and reads) very delicious! Imagine: I just come out of the kitchen and have done - a fresh chicken! Normally I do it your way (with lemon, thyme and Maldon salt - in Berlin I get that), but today I did a new Austrian recipe with apples and onions and 2 cloves - very tasty too, though I think your way is better, because it is crispier.

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    1. Thanks for that tip Brigitta - it is always good to learn other ways of doing things.

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  29. Dear Rosemary, I too am worried about our young people not being able to cook even a simple meal. and in our small farm community, young mothers do not cook for their families. I worry about the young once.
    I love all of your photographs and yes you have the red just right...shows what a fine photographer you are. Thank you also for the lovely compliments you have given me. ox, Gina

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    1. Dear Gina - I do wonder about the diets of the young and as you mention especially what they are feeding to their children. I look in their food trolleys which are filled with convenience foods - lots of white bread, cakes, biscuits etc and very little in the way of fruit and vegetables. Because many mothers are working they use convenience foods as an excuse, but really once I have cooked our chicken the rest of the week is a piece of cake as regards preparations - nothing could be simpler.

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  30. Mmmmm! Pretty flowers and yummy food??? Rosemary, I want to come over for supper :) BTW, I love the carrot cupcakes from M&S. We always enjoy those when we visit. Will be back in the U.K. in March.
    Have a great weekend - Loi

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    1. Love you to come for supper Loi - never noticed the carrot cupcakes, I tend to avert my eyes at the cakes!!!

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  31. Thanks so much for following my blog and I'm really delighted to have found yours. Believe me, if we lived within ten miles of an M&S I'd be pounding the aisles at every opportunity. However....being so remote, I rarely get the chance. We'll be passing Exeter tomorrow....maybe I'll just pop in...

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    1. Thanks and welcome Em - love your photos of the moors, and your walk with Jessica.

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  32. That really is making one chicken go a long way! Last year when I was in England, my friend and I bought many delicious take-away sandwich lunches from M&S. Such variety and reasonably priced. Lovely colours in your photos Rosemary.

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    1. M & S have really great sandwiches, and as you mention, lots of different varieties.

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  33. Oh Rosemary! As green fingered inside as outside - and your skills in the kitchen are just as pleasing to the eye. I can only boast of being as skillful as you are when it comes to the number of meals I can make from one chicken!

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    1. Chickens really are great value - but Nilly, no one is as skilled at telling a tale as you are.

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  34. Hi Rosemary....
    Great minds think alike!
    I too....did a large chicken this week...mine was in the slow cooker...
    We had chicken, fries and salad the first night...
    Chicken pot pie the next night.....
    Sliced chicken,mayo, avacado and tomato sandwiches for lunch yesterday...
    And...a pot of chicken and rice soup on the stove!
    I just love stretching things soooo far!
    Your pictures are beautiful....no pictures here....
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend...
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. Ooooops! I forgot!
      I also love flowers in the Winter♥️

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    2. Snap Linda - the dishes you created sound wonderful. I too have a slow cooker which I really enjoy using. It is a wonderful device for popping a casserole etc in, then going out for the day, only to return home to a delicious tender meal.

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  35. Your flowers are wonderful and I love your chicken-omics. Very clever and it sounds delicious!

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    1. Thanks Lisa - delighted someone 'got it'.

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  36. Lindas fotos de flores e de quitutes, good appetite !
    beijinhos,
    Léah

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    1. Obrigado Léah - enviando saudações a você

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  37. Hello, rosemary! Things on this post are a perfect way to spend the frigid and grey winter days positively. You never fail to make me feel hungry from time to time. I prefer chicken to beef or pork meat and these wholesome dishes look so appealing both to see and to eat. In the first collage, some of the orchids and their arrangement look like oriental.

    Yoko

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    1. Lovely to hear from you Yoko - you always put a smile on my face with your very generous and kind comments.
      I had to go back and have a look at the orchids. I suspect that maybe they have an oriental look to them because of the black picture frame in the background of one, and the black ebony candle stick holder in the other.

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  38. OK I just have to give this a go, it looks and sounds absolutely delicious.
    Have you tried the Flower Sprouts from M&S? I seemed to have become addicted to them, yummy!

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    1. Next time I am in M & S will be keeping my eyes on the lookout for those Flower Sprouts Paul.

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  39. Hi Rosemary,
    That food looks amazing.
    From: Bea Cupcake

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    1. Next time you visit we must have a chicken for lunch.

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“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them too.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh