Chicken and pea risotto

Ingredients

1 onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

A chicken breast for each person, cut into slices

A sprinkle of oregano and basil

2 bay leaves

Small tea cup of peas (asparagus is nice when in season)

Salt and pepper to taste

500 mls chicken stock

A good drop of white wine

A knob of butter and olive oil to cook

Padano cheese, grated into slivers with a potato peeler

Method

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan.  Gently fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes before adding the chicken pieces.  When the chicken is sealed, add the rice, peas, seasoning and dried herbs.  Stir everything to mix well.  With a ladle, add the chicken stock slowly one or two ladles at a time.  When the stock is finished, add the wine.  Continue to stir occasionally and if it needs more liquid add a little water in the same way.  Take a spoon out to check if the rice is cooked.  It shouldn’t be mushy.

Side 1

I made a side of courgettes (zucchini), cubed with sliced mushrooms in a little olive oil, butter, teaspoon of turmeric, salt and pepper with a little lemon juice.

Side 2

A large bowl of mixed salad

Avocado spring salad

They say strangers don’t speak to each other in London!

Yesterday, I went to an exercise class in Kensington and spoke to a few people in the class. As the journey home clashed with schools out, I decided not to get my usual bus from Notting Hill Station as I’d be lucky to get a seat, so walked to Holland Park to get a quieter bus.  After 10 minutes the other person at the bus stop gave up waiting.  A policeman passed me and then 5 minutes later came back to the bus stop, noting I was reading the times of the buses and looking at my watch.  He  told me the bus would be here any second as he’d checked with the latest technology.  Then I got chatting to a lady on the bus who admired my mini tote bag from Kensington Palace and we had a chat till her bus stop. Walking home from my bus stop I stopped to let a lady teaching her son how to use his camera to photograph his nana.  If I carried on walking, I would have ruined his photo and they stopped me to thank me.  Who needs the new badge the tube are handing out saying “Tube chat?”

CURRIED SCRAMBLED EGGS

 

Ingredients:

 

Cooked baby potatoes in their skin….chopped into cubes

One tomato, chopped into cubes

A handful of flat leaf parsley, washed and chopped

2 beaten eggs per person

Salt and black pepper

Curry powder to your taste

Olive oil or butter to fry

Method:

 

In a frying pan, put the olive oil or butter (or both).  Add the potatoes, tomatoes and parsley with the salt, pepper and curry powder.  Give them a stir and then add the beaten eggs and cook until scrambled.

Chicken Casserole with Red Peppers and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

6 boneless chicken thighs

2 skinless chicken breasts cut into 4

One large cooking onion peeled, cut in half and sliced

Four large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped or crushed

Fresh mushrooms cleaned and sliced

1 red pepper cut into small chunks

1 large tomato cut into small chunks (tinned is fine, if you don’t have fresh)

Splash of Lee and Perrins Worcestershire sauce

A heaped teaspoon of paprika

A heaped teaspoon of dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil and butter to cook

Splash of good quality red wine.  I used Spanish Faustino.

Chicken stock to cover

Method:

In a large deep frying pan, add the butter and olive oil and warm.  Add the onions and garlic.  Add the chicken and fry until sealed. Then add the mushrooms.

Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on a low heat for about 40 minutes.  I set the timer.

Sides:

Courgettes on the griddle pan

Cut the courgettes as in the photograph.  I sprinkled them with salt to release some of their water.  Then heat a griddle pan and pop them on with black pepper until charred.

Potatoes with zatar and sesame seeds

Boil some baby potatoes.  Wash and drain them.  Cut in halves.  Put some butter and olive oil in a frying pan and warm them through again, adding a teaspoon or two of zatar and some sesame seeds.  I had fresh rosemary and parsley to hand so cut some over the potatoes as well

Bathing Your Cat

Why bathe your cat?  Cats spend hours a day washing themselves.  In fact, most do manage to keep themselves clean without any additional help from us.  However, there are times when your cat may need a bath:

  • When covered with a substance you don’t want them to lick off and ingest, such as oil, pesticides, or cleaning powders and fluids.
  • When you need to bathe your cat with medicated shampoo to treat the skin for fleas or as prescribed by a vet.
  • When you are showing your cats – a thorough bath a few days before the show is usually desirable.

For these reasons, it might be better to get your cat acquainted with the bathing concept when still young.  Small kittens rarely take exception to slightly warm water if you approach the job with confidence and soothing talk.  Then when you have that emergency and need to bathe your cat, the procedure will be familiar, although some will not tolerate it at all.

However, if you must bathe your cat, it should be groomed first.  By grooming first, you will remove any unwanted hair and knots which will prevent the shampoo from getting through the coat.  If your cat is wearing a collar, don’t forget to remove it.  Bathing should not be done too often as this removes the natural oils from the skin.  If you use shampoos not suitable for cats, then you may damage the skin and coat.  The oils that are in the coat help in waterproofing and insulation.

If you are thinking to bathe your cat, perhaps you can use the kitchen sink or bathroom basin.  It’s a good idea to put a non-slip mat on the bottom to stop your cat from slipping and sliding, as well as protecting your sink or basin from being scratched.  The water for bathing your cat in should be about the same as the cat’s body temperature.  Make sure you wet the coat thoroughly before adding the shampoo.  When wetting the coat you can help to steady the cat by gently putting your hand under the chin.  Even then, they may not stand too well.  If that is the case, then gently hold onto the two front legs with one hand, while bathing with the other.  Remember to use only a special cat shampoo as they lather less and make it easier to rinse from the coat, especially if your cat doesn’t like standing in the water for too long.  Talk to the cat to reassure it, it helps to keep everyone calm.  Start shampooing at the top and work down.  Firstly along the back and neck area, then the tail and bottom, next the legs and feet.  Lastly wash the head area, most cat shampoos don’t cause much irritation if they get into the eyes, but do try to avoid doing this if possible.  Sometimes it is easier to leave the head until the cat is out of the water.  Use a facecloth and gently wash the face using clean, warm water and no shampoo.

Once you are sure that you have shampooed the cat all over, then rinse it top to bottom.  Repeat the rinsing process until you are sure that all the shampoo has been washed off, using your hands to gently squeeze the coat to get rid of the excess water.  The next step is to dry the cat.  Some cats will tolerate a hairdryer, but only if they have been accustomed to it from a very early age.  Others will need to be towel dried.  If using a hairdryer, remember to set it at a low temperature and move it around.  Don’t concentrate on one place for too long at a time.  After drying, one last groom will finish off the whole process of grooming and bathing your cat.  If you are towel drying it, then please keep your cat in a warm place until it is completely dry.  Once completely dry, comb through the coat again.  This will remove any hairs that were missed before bathing.

Bathing can be quite traumatic for all concerned and may need more than one pair of hands as well as a lot of patience.  If you groom your cat regularly, and it has a healthy balanced diet, there should be no need for bathing as the coat will be glossy and healthy.