Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year!?

Happy New Year to you if you are reading this. I was full of hope for 2014 but if today is anything to go by, I have my doubts...

Waking up at 5.30 with a hangover, hearing a scuffling in the attic and then realising that it isn't your son in his attic room as he is having an impromptu sleepover, but the elusive mouse that we can't get rid of.

Waking later and although both children are at someone else's house, not being able to have a lie-in as I need to go to tend to some chickens as soon as it hits daylight. Normally I love these chickens (I am part of a chicken-share scheme and look after them on Thursday mornings but did an extra day as someone else was away for New Year's Day) but in the pouring rain it has its downsides. There has been a lot of rain recently and the field has been getting worse and worse; on the footpath to their patch up to my ankles in water and their patch itself just mud itself, not a chance of staying clean. Still, plenty of eggs, still warm, spur me on. In fact it isn't until I get home that I realise my new wellies have a leak.

Children tired and grumpy today, of course not enough sleep.

Bit of a respite before a lunchtime trip in more rain to clean the chickens out. Yes it stinks but this is nothing compared to the misery of the cold and the water and the mud and some of the roofing over their run has blown off. I do a makeshift effort of putting it back and weighing it down with logs. I know this isn't going to be good enough. Back home to change out of wet clothes.

Return to grumpy children. Argument over what film to watch. We all settle down to Narnia and all is good. I have organised a treat for later: a trip to the theatre to watch The Little Mermaid. Of course we have to cut short the film to get ready, cue the moans. And I need to put the bloody chickens to bed before we get to the theatre. The rain is still pouring. The roof has blown off again. Can't stop to do much about it. I will try to face it tomorrow when I go back. Back to car, changing my wet socks as we are going along. Boy starts whinging about how he hates mermaids and doesn't like the theatre. We get there and the queue is horrendous, nearly out of the door into the foul rain. And then someone mentions that the play has been cancelled as one of the actors has been taken ill (I finally take on board the ambulance parked outside). The mortification of having a son who cheers at the news.

All is not lost: I have managed to cheer myself up a little with some good food tonight...

Huevos Motulenos (courtesy of Thomasina Miers)

Serves 2

1/2 onion roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of ground cloves
Sprig of thyme
Olive oil
4 tomatoes, roughly cubed
Tortillas (husband had 3, I had 2)
Eggs (husband had 2, I had 1, thank you chickens)
Refried beans
Roast tomato salsa (see below)
3 slices good ham, each chopped in 2 (we have some really great smoked ham thanks to my brother for Christmas, from Pipers Farm)
Guacamole (this wasn't in the original recipe but I had the ingredients and I love it)
You could also have some grated cheese - I didn't but I've just spotted it in the recipe.

Start by making the roast tomato salsa:-
2 tomatoes
1/2 small onion cut into wedges
1 garlic clove unpeeled
1/2 green chilli
Small amount of coriander chopped
Juice of about 1/3 lime
I also added a teaspoon of chipotle paste

Put the tomatoes, onion, clove of garlic and chilli in a dry hot frying pan and keep turning them occasionally until they have blackened spots on them. Put them all in a mini blender, taking the skin off the garlic, and blitz. Add the coriander, lime juice, and chipotle paste if you have some and season. Mix and chill.

Then on to the main event: blitz the onion, garlic, cumin, cloves and thyme with a tablespoon or so of water. Heat a little olive oil and fry the mixture until the raw onion smell has disappeared. Add the chopped tomatoes and season, cook for a few minutes. Some recipes have peas in at this point. Thomasina mentions spinach. I had neither.

So to multitasking and assembling (much swearing at this point): 3 frying pans on the go at once: in one you need to briefly fry your tortillas, in another I fried the ham slices (not necessary but this ham we have is just soooo good fried, it gets really tender), and in the last fry your eggs. Oh and warm up your refried beans. Cue more swearing as something inevitably gets forgotten. Put the tortillas on your plates and then put everything else on top, in your preferred order. Don't forget anything: tomatoey sauce, refried beans, salsa, eggs, ham, guacamole. I would have taken a photo but it really didn't look very pretty. Lots of dollops.

It sounds like a lot of faff doesn't it? Terrible lot of work and the last 5 minutes were manic. The pan I was frying the eggs in turned out not to be non-stick. But I can report that the combination of flavours was remarkable. Really complex and a lovely mixture of hot and cold, and plenty of different textures. I wish I could put into words everything going on on that plate. I will be making it again very soon. Happy New Year.

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