Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Chicken Tray Bake and Tree Ninjas

Friday afternoon saw me, Sarah and M2 pile into her car and head to Suffolk for Mum's birthday. As is customary in our family, we made sure the celebrations were stretched out over at least a weekend (if not the whole week...). And as is customary for me, I took about 1,000 photos. So, I'm going to have to divide them out between a few posts.

On Saturday, we woke up to some lovely bright sunshine, so I took the opportunity to have a little wander in the garden and reminisce. And take photos.

 Then it was time to get busy in the kitchen! Big Sis and Hubby had joined the gang too, so I doubled up on my friend Tora's delicious Chicken Tray Bake recipe, to serve 6 for Mum's Birthday Lunch.

To make, you will need:

  • 9 - 12 chicken thighs and drumsticks (depends how hungry you are and how meaty you want your bake!)
  • 400g pancetta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 400g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 2 handfuls black olives
  • Black pepper and oregano to season
  • Generous sprinkle of dried chilli flakes
  • 400ml Bianco Vermouth
  • Roast potatoes to serve (optional)

The method for this recipe is very complex, and requires the utmost skill, and precision. Fry the pancetta until almost completely cooked, then...

...whack it all in deep oven tray and cook on 200°C, or Gas Mark 6, for about 45 mins. Use the oil from frying the pancetta in the tray.

Maybe baste it a couple times (and keep an eye on how browned your chicken's getting). You want the skin to be nice and sticky-looking, and the veg to be slightly chargrilled.

Cook your potatoes in a separate tray if you're having them.

The gravy you get with this cheeky little number is incredible - the herby juices from the chicken mixed with the salty olives and pancetta, sweet vermouth, and kick from the chilli flakes just sing together. There wasn't a morsel left, no siree.

After our Tray Bake feast, Sarah and I decided to go for a little wander to walk off some of lunch. And walk we did... we also skipped, jumped, and climbed trees like the true Tree Ninjas we are! I don't know what came over us, really - it was like we'd turned back into kids again! So much FUN.

And look at Sarah here... doesn't she just look like she should be on an album cover or something?

Armed with my nunchucks and Samurai Ninja sword black wedged heels, I took to the trees!

We just made it back in time for the extremely civilised *ahem* cheese and wine night we had planned with some more family friends. But that has its own few hundred photos I have yet to sort through... :o)

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