The old ones are the best. Have you seen a chicken with one hand? No silly, you’ve seen it with your eyes. Cue my recent post’s featured image.
I’ve had a bit of a baking bug this week. Firstly there was my first ever cake; an apple sponge with apple drizzle icing. The recipe called for three bramleys but the four which turned up from Tesco’s were global. There are still three of the big fellows sitting forlornly in the fruit bowl awaiting some attention. That initial effort was for my daughter’s fourth birthday.
Recently was Halloween. It’s generally an unpredictable affair. There is no telling how many sheepish little faces dressed in bloodied rags, decorated with the customary face paints will peep around the door saying “trick or treat”. But I had to be prepared. Yesterday I made bat biscuits and a spider’s web cake.
At 6.35, the doorbell sounded. I offered him a bat biscuit but he declined. I suppose if you’ve just moved into Flat seven and you’re more concerned about a missing parcel rather than seasonal tradition, one of my chunky treats iced in black has slightly less appeal.
Then thirty minutes later, two wonderfully polite, almost apologetic little people turned up. At last, fodder for my bats. Then that was it. Just the two. A cake untouched. I’d planned to tell anyone who had opted for the cake that the spider was hiding inside it. That was my fun spoiled.
Then the next day my weekly Tesco order came. It’s such an exciting occasion. For a change, I received a whole chicken. To have simply stuck it in the oven and roast it would have been wasteful; there’s only me here to eat it. It had to be butchered. It needed military planning. The tools were gathered and placed before me.
It was going to involve handling raw meat. If I grab my left arm and stick my hand on top of the old bird, it at least gives me enough weight to secure it whilst I dexterously carve with the other hand. But my left is unstable and is prone to fly off its dedicated station, producing the flat damp sound that only a chicken juice covered chopping board can make when clashing with the palm of a docile hand. But it was done. Each piece was parcelled and labelled in a freezer bag and dispatched to the freezer.
The most exciting part of this is the carcass, teeming with lots of juicy meat, waiting to be painted in a sweet curry marinade and gently roast in foil.
Now for a big tip; when embarking on the great task of dividing poultry, manage your wreckage. The bin is close, the kitchen towel handy and the basin is ready with hot soapy water.
Oh how things have changed. In my two handed days, I would have done the job on the general board. Naturally I’d have wiped it down then cleaned the knife; job done. But today, apart from cleaning the implements, I followed my trail with anti-bacterial wipes. Then I became obsessed. I even did the remote controls. When cleaning remote controls, it is best to take them into another room thus avoiding any accidental televisual activity. You don’t know what you might do; subscribe inadvertently to the Tibetan traditional sports channel or “The hottest mother-in-laws USA.” Then I did the light switches, the wheelchair joystick (that was actually a filthy mess) and the handles of the taps. Then the fridge door and all the drawers in the freezer.
So I made tea. The tea brought me to my senses. Wasn’t all this food hygiene brought to the fore in the eighties. In those moments when Edwina Curry wasn’t indulging in her alleged affair with a future prime-minister, she was being photographed staring at the camera whilst thoroughly cooking her eggs.
E-coli, salmonella and listeria hysteria became strong forces in eighties food. I wasn’t keen on over scrambled eggs and hardened yolks. I used to get eggs from a friend who kept hens. They were filthy with droppings. I just cracked them and under-cooked them, nice and soft. Did it do me any harm? “Here I am, completely un-egg affected. I’m sure you could do a great rap song with with words that rhyme with listeria. Now I like soft yolks and nice chicken. If there are any bits left on my chopping board then we will all survive.
Thank-you for reading.