I am currently breathing a sigh of relief and high fiving myself for coming out the other side of what has felt like an endlessly long winter. My first winter as a full time market trader has been a test of endurance. As I set off on bitterly cold Monday mornings long before anyone else was even remotely contemplating starting their new day, layered up so much that I could barely see over the steering wheel, I did question my sanity. But I am still certain being an antique dealer is where my passion lies, despite tough winter mornings dragging myself out of bed and long days outside in the freezing cold. Taking this leap of faith has given me freedom with my days, some days I may not have more than a few pence to rub together after a tough day at the market, but no money can make up for feeling like a free spirit, and I of course love living on a shoe string budget, it’s a fun challenge rewarding, creative, exciting and a way of life. Life can be full of quality without having lots of money and this is one thing that this last year has really shown me. As I come out the other side of those bleak months, yes I did manage to find lots of positives in my new way of life, but I have to say I am not sure my drummed up sunny disposition could have continued for too many more cold, dark mornings, I can safely say have never been flippin happier to feel warm sunshine on my face, to hear the birds singing when I wake up at the crack of dawn and to not have to be wearing 17 jumpers as the norm!
Spitalfields Market was a sunny pleasure yesterday and lots of colour was injected into the stall in true appreciation of the warm sunny months ahead…..
There is also nothing better after a long day at the market than coming home to a delicious home cooked meal. The Woodfashioner normally obliges and has dinner on the table for my return (I would expect nothing less! only kidding, it really is such a treat and am always so grateful!) but he was also working hard in London yesterday so I decided to make my trusty chicken casserole recipe the day before, so it was ready to heat up on our return. I thought I’d share the recipe with you as it’s easy, very tasty and also fits in well with my shoe string budget:
Spring Chicken Casserole:
4 Chicken Thighs, on the bone and skin on
1 onion finely sliced
4 gloves of garlic finely sliced
4 carrots cut into thin rounds
1 celery stick including the leaves, finely sliced
1 large leak sliced up
Half a punnet of mushrooms sliced up
1 large courgette cut into rounds
1 red pepper sliced up
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 bay leaf (if you have some in the garden or a sprig of thyme, but not essential)
Chopped parsley to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish, then add the chicken thighs cooking until brown on all sides, turning over regularly, careful not to burn them. Then add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
- Add the carrots and celery and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the stock, followed by the potatoes, courgettes, pepper and mushrooms, give a good stir to ensure everything is well mixed up and then bring to the boil.
- Add the bay leaf and thyme if using and then cover and cook on a low heat for 3 hours, it can be cooked for longer, the longer the better really, the more the tastes develop.
- When it is ready to serve sprinkle with some chopped up parsley and serve with some warm crusty bread, perfect for dunking into the juices.
Hope you enjoy it, you can add different vegetables depending on what you have left over in the fridge, it’s a great way to use up veggies, making a deliciously, hearty, healthy and cheap meal.