Sweet & Sour Chicken

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Here we are, as promised. Pretty quick and easy, and you can use any cut of chicken you like. You could also use pork or turkey.

6 chicken portions (I used thighs)

1 tin pineapple chunks (save the juice for the sauce)

1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn (or 1 tin of canned)

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp soy sauce

4 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 pt chicken stock

First off, don’t be put off by all the ingredients, it is pretty simple, and most of them are store cupboard basics.

Heat a little oil in a large (heavy bottomed) pan. Gently fry the chicken, turning to brown on all sides.

Meanwhile, make up the sauce. Crush the garlic and, in a small pan, fry it in some oil. Add the soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste and allspice. Heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the juice from the pineapple and the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then pour it over the chicken.

Add the pineapple and sweetcorn and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. The thickness of the sauce is entirely up to you, I like mine relatively thick, so I added 2 tsp cornflour (mixed with water until it is liquid), stirred it into the chicken and brought it to the boil.

Serve with rice or noodles and stir-fry vegetables.

Apologies, Promises and a Bat

First of all, let me apologise for the lengthy absence. It wasn’t my fault, honest!

We have been using an internet dongle (mobile broadband) for the last few years. We have tried a couple of different networks, but none of them were great. If the weather was bad, there was no connection. If the dongle wasn’t balanced exactly right on the edge of the flowerpot on the windowsill, there was no connection. If you had something really important you had to deal with that required an internet connection… there was no connection. Over the last few months it got even worse. I would be in the middle of something and the connection would go off. It would then take 5 minutes of connecting and disconnecting, re-siting the dongle,standing on your head and turning round three times etc. before it would re-connect. Then 2 minutes later, you would have to repeat the entire process. It was irritating, to say the least.

We finally decided that as we were already paying for a service that basically didn’t work, we may as well pay out a little more and get regular broadband, through the phone line. We never had the phone line connected when we moved in, so we knew we would have to get that arranged, and that it might take a week or two. How naive we were!

We signed up to with a popular provider who pride themselves on affordable tariffs and excellent customer service. The date was January 13th. After deciding which price plan we wanted, telling them we would need the phone line connecting, and choosing how to pay, we were offered a list of appointments when an engineer was available to come and connect the line for us. The earliest was in February. We picked the 5th, and waited, using our mobile phones and taking the laptop to parent’s houses when we needed to get online.

The big day arrived. The engineer came, messed around out the front of the house for a while, then came in and fitted new sockets. We were all set to go, we just had to wait for our router to arrive in the post, and for our supplier to activate the broadband. When everything was ready to go, we set it all up, waited for the light to go green… and waited… and waited.

As I do not want to bore you, it took another engineer visit and a wait of 3 weeks before the phone line worked. The broadband still didn’t. Two more engineer visits (3 if you count the one that never turned up), another 2 weeks, and yesterday, at long last, it worked!! You really cannot imagine how happy and relieved I was that the ordeal was over. Hubby came home, connected every single device in the house to the internet and then bounced around for a while.

So you see, it wasn’t my fault. However, I am now back online, and hope to share a few new recipes with you. In fact, I plan to make sweet & sour chicken tonight, my mum-in-law absolutely loved it last time I made it, so let’s hope I can replicate that for you!

In other news, I found a tiny bat on the floor of the milking parlour when I got to work this morning. I’m so glad I saw it, or it probably would have been squashed by someone’s boot. I gently picked it up and put it in the barn next door where it would be safer. I really wish I’d taken a picture of it, it was so incredible. It had really soft brown fur, and the tiniest, cutest little feet. It breathed so quickly you could see it’s whole body fluttering. They have little hooks on the tips of their wings, and when I tried to put it down it was clinging to my hand. When I went back to check on it about 2 hours later, it had gone, so I hope it had recovered and flown away. Little things like that make my day special 🙂