Beautiful Bexhill on Sea (ok, I’m biased!) has a wonderful library, housed in a very lovely Victorian Building which, I understand, was once a school.
Bexhill Library (I came across this photo on the internet – happy to acknowledge if it’s yours!)
We have access to books in Spanish for Big Man, books about Quilting for me, novels, internet, and pretty much everything you’d expect from a good library. We have a particularly good section of cookery books which allows me to try out ones I’m thinking of buying and to check out ones I’d never previously come across.
Because of my recent new love affair with my slow cooker, The Slow Cook Book caught my eye. What I like about this book is that apart from some really good recipe ideas (soups, stews, casseroles, tagines and curries) it details two ways to cook each recipe – both in the slow cooker or in the oven or stove top if you don’t have a slow cooker. What a great idea!
Most slow cook recipes are pretty flexible and forgiving, so you don’t need to follow them slavishly. The main thing to remember is that slow cookers don’t need quite as much liquid as conventional cooking as this cooking method tends to conserve most of the liquid.
A mustard chicken casserole caught my eye and as Big Man is a fan of English cider, I thought I’d add that in as the flavours would work well together. It was a simple dish to pull together, with a little preparation before putting it into cook and then forgetting about it for a few hours. It tastes even better made a day ahead.
- 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 tbsp English mustard
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- 8 large chicken thighs, skin on
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, halved and sliced (not too thin)
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved lengthways
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 300ml or chicken stock mixed with 300ml of your favourite cider (or use just stock) which you need to warm – this is sufficient for the slow cooker. For the conventional cooking method you will need 900ml of liquid.
Mix the mustards and honey, season the chicken thighs and smother them with the mustard mixture. Leave for at least 30 minutes (or prepare ahead and leave overnight).
If cooking in the oven, preheat to 160C/325F or Gas 3. Heat half the oil in a frying pan and on a medium heat, fry the chicken in batches until it is browned all over. Put the chicken pieces in the slow cooker or a casserole dish.
Add the remaining oil and fry the onion and garlic until the onion starts to turn brown, Add this with all the sticky bits from the pan and any marinade that remains from the chicken, plus the hot liquid to the slow cooker/casserole dish. Add the time and stir everything gently before covering and cooking in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours or in the oven for 2 hours.
When prepared, taste and adjust the seasoning and serve with mashed or boiled potatoes and steamed or lightly boiled greens.