Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Bang Bang chicken

I have been sulking a lot recently for an unidentifiable reason.

Maybe it's the incredibly swizzy unfair weather we're having. Winter was such a fucking slog this year, what with Kitty not yet walking or watching telly or doing anything remotely compatible with bad weather. All we did was sit around going mad and getting ill, praying for bedtime and lusting after spring. Then spring never came, or summer. We might get a blast in September or October if we're really lucky but in reality we're just going to go straight back into winter.

And we've done all our holidays this year - we've had three already, taking advantage of having a pre-schooler to go away in May, June and early July. We invested, for the holiday, in a preposterous amount of childcare. And on the most recent holiday, to a house in Devon, we had a cook. It wasn't my idea!! So please don't have a massive go at me. We were with another couple who work incredibly hard and get paid stupendous wodges of cash and who do not want to assemble salads or wash up when they are on holiday, or stay in a hotel. So we had Cara, the dark-eyed, pink-cheeked 23 year-old Leiths graduate marvel with whom my husband fell passionately in love on the first day.

Anyway it was amazing. But after seven full days of not doing any cooking or much childcare I have come back in this sulk you see before you. I have forgotten how to look after Kitty - and she knows it. She is well aware that I think that if she cries or is in a bait it's my fault. And at the moment it is my fault because she is incredibly pissed off with me because I have taken away her morning and lunchtime bottle.

There's this tedious thing when you have children about the amount of milk they have. They fucking love milk, little children, and they especially love it out of a bottle. On the grand scale of things, I think that being attached to your bottle isn't especially bad, but people get in a right piss about it and say children ought to have all their drinks out of a toddler cup from 1 year on and no more than this amount of milk but no less than this amount of milk.

I couldn't have cared less about it: Kitty can tell me what she wants, says please and thank you, can sing Baa Baa Black Sheep, doesn't embarrass me in public and goes to bed at night in her own bed and wakes up at a civilised hour. Thus, anything she wants - a constant stream of rice cakes, Peppa Pig, drawing on the walls, three bottles a day - she can have it.

But then I went to see a paediatrician, who also happens to be my husband's cousin. I rang him in a complete blind panic two months ago when Kitty had a temperature of 104 and a head-to-toe rash and he was really nice about it. And when I say "really nice" I mean he said "If she isn't better by tomorrow, give her antibiotics."

No other fucker will do that for you, when your child is sick. They mimsy about like total utter dildos, saying "Well you could do this or you could do that". But Dr Mike just told me what to do. So obviously I fell passionately in love with him. When he rang to check up on Kitty and to say that maybe he ought to see her in person I screamed "Yes!" and raced about doing my hair, putting proper shoes on, picking the crud out of Kitty's ears and ironing her into her Bonpoint.

And when Dr Mike told me that Kitty was having too much milk and ought to drop her multitude of bottle events I meekly nodded and gave him my shy Princess Diana "okay" face, rather than snarling and mentally flicking him a V-sign like I do with everyone else.

Kitty's not that pleased about this bottle cessation. She rages through the kitchen, rummaging deep in cupboards and drawers until only her dirty little feet are poking out, looking for the few Avents we still having hanging about, assembles one with a shaky, addict's hand then staggers about sucking hopefully at air before throwing the bottle across the floor and weeping theatrically.

There was an awful lot of weeping yesterday, imprisoned as we were in the house by the rain and we were at each other's throats. Back when I was reasonably good at childcare, I used to have this thing where when I was was in sole charge of Kitty I would lock away my iPad and only check my emails when she was napping. Otherwise the temptation, like yesterday, to poke the iPad all day and barely focus on the child is overwhelming and she's not stupid and starts wailing and flinging herself about from a lack of attention.

Christ are you still awake? I'm even boring myself with all this. No wonder I'm in a sulk.

Anyway let's just leave things there with the weather, back where we started, and move on to a recipe shall we?

I did this last night for my husband and was terrific except that I didn't use enough vegetables. So if you want to do this, make sure you have 3 parts vegetables - any you like - to 1 part chicken. I ate mostly poached chicken and it was quite strange

Bang Bang Chicken

1 quantity of chicken. It is supposed to be poached and it is supposed to be cold. I did this by poaching an entire chicken; you brown it in oil in a massive casserole whatsit then filling the whatsit with water so that just the top inch of the chicken is visible. Throw in a carrot, a halved onion, some peppercorns, a star anise (??) then put it in the oven for 1hr 45min at 180. Poached chicken is just as nice as roast chicken when it comes to leftovers

A large pile of shredded vegetables - carrots, cucumber, mung beans? sweetcorn? whatever, dressed with:
- a drizzle of toasted sesame oil
- lime juice
- shredded mint

For the bang bang sauce - enough for 2 people.

- 1 tbsp groundnut oil
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tbsp dried red chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce

Whizz all this up in a food processor

Assemble the salad by layering your vegetables, then the sliced/shredded chicken then the sauce, then sprinkle over some coriander, toasted sesame seeds, chopped chillies. You know the drill.


  1. I find you wildly amusing, and have missed your postings. On the matter of finding things to do on icky weather days, how about your local library? I suggest this as 1) someone with no children; and 2) a fundraiser for a public library system, so please feel free to ignore my inane advice. But they usually have wonderful story times and other activities for pre-schoolers. I just want you out of your sulk so we have more of your postings!

    1. Amy thank you for your excellent and pertinent comment. Our local library is compeletly brilliant and very welcoming to small children. However, it is an absolute teeming cesspit of germs during the winter and we are driven there only in dire emergencies in bad weather because Kitty always comes home with some completely insane and medieval sickness. It's better in summer though and we were there only yesterday.

  2. Bad weather is crap when you have a small person to amuse. I solved it by going back to work and hiding from said small person...then felt inordinately guilty so eventually ditched the job to be all earth mothery for a bit. I was still a bit rubbish at it to be fair and now yo you between work and home.

    My boy was mad for the milk too and we got told to reduce it as he was so full of constant milk induced slimey snot (he still is. delightful) and the only way we could do it was to bag up the bottles and give them to a friend who lived far, far away and tell them not to let us have them back. I knew I would be tempted to give in. It seemed mean but within 2 days he had forgotten all about the bottles and life reverted to an endless stream of leaking sippy cups.

    The chicken looks good. I shall give it a go as we have found that poaching chicken breasts for this sort of thing is really easy and low fat too. I made the potato egg pie thing the other day and it was great for a comforting winterish/summer evening dinner, so thanks for that.

    Keep at it. Love the blog. I wish I felt more comfortable being more sweary on my blog but my in laws read it and it makes me feel bad. Perhaps I shall come here and swear instead. I love swearing.

    Yours fucked off with the weather @clairetweet from thingswemake.

  3. I had a bottle til I was 4. My mother finally got me off it, and bought me presents (I love a bribe). Then she went off and had my sister, I stayed with my granny, and back on the bottle I went for another year. I even used to steal my infant sister's bottle at times. And I turned out fine.

    I hate milk now though. I'm not sure if it's related, or if it's just because milk is actually kind of gross.

  4. Ah I've missed your posts always make me laugh because I've had scenarios totally the same made this for dinner last night with mushrooms and pak choi tossed in was delicious x

  5. Muireann, I'm the same! I used a bottle until I was about 5 due to a younger sibling. I'm not sure my mum even tried weaning me off it. But when it finally happened, when my mum declared we were both too old for bottled milk (especially me, of course!) I was furious and refused to drink milk from anything else. I still dont. Hate milk, actually :)

    Nice salad!

  6. I shouldn't admit that I am replying to this post whilst my 3 children are eating their tea. So, I have fallen down a slippery slope. So, I better shut my laptop.
    Great chicken dish, I love poached chicken and the stock it creates too :)

  7. Ahh crap. Is my 2yo is addicted to milk (and it HAS to be in a cup, tried and failed for a month to transfer her affections to a sippy cup) and I have never been too bothered by it because other than the milk vice she is great. Now I am concerned....how much is too much?! maybe that's why she has a persistant cough? maybe that's why she eats like a sparrow some days?? ARG!! going to have to google it....
    That chicken looks awsome, very much going to have to cook it asap!

    1. that should read her milk has to be in a bottle! DOh! anyways, googled it and am now ruthlessly cutting her daily milk supply in half.

  8. Elizabeth Medovnik23 July 2012 at 22:27

    I love that Kitty can sing 'Baa Baa black sheep'! Mimi can only sing the first word of 'Head, shoulders, knees and toes'. And I spend far too much time checking emails when I should be looking after her. Oh dear.

  9. This is probably my favourite post of yours. I don't even have kids. Please keep on using "terrific" - it's a wonderful word.