Wednesday, 10 November 2010

A lesson in chicken keeping: Day one

I was up at 6.30 today, excited about letting the chickens out, and also anxious not to forget I now have a new routine to follow every morning. As if two packed lunches, three breakfasts, one shower, three mouths with teeth to clean, plus three sets of socks shoes, pants and coats etc. was not enough to deal with before 8.20am, every morning.

So I put the coffee on and skipped up the garden in my dressing gown (I wonder what the new neighbours think?) to open their door. It was cold, very very cold. They knew it too as they didn't get out of their beds for at least another hour. Tomorrow I shall be having a lie in!

In the absence of any eggs (and yes, I have checked - couldn't resist, even though I know they won't lay for at least a week or two), and therefore no eggs recipes to create, I shall have to ramble on about the chickens themselves. Humour me, I am new to chickens, and still in an overexcitable state.

So, they are absolutely fab, I love them. So far they have proved endlessly fascinating. I have had so much work to do today - including the shopping and prep for a photo shoot for my new stew book tomorrow, not to mention kids swimming lessons & two meetings - but I have kept watching my new girls on and off all day. Mostly on actually. So much for trying to get organised! It'll be late to bed tonight. 

I'm not the only one who's keen. The cat seems to be as fascinated as me, I watched her as she spent nearly 45 minutes circling round the run like some sort of striped furry shark. Poor chickens. Actually they really seemed to enjoy giving the old mog the evil eye, safe in the knowledge that she could never get them.

Lastly, I have already decided what my first egg eating experience will be: fried egg butty with the legendary nam prik sauce. I actually can taste it if I concentrate very hard. For the nam prik, I use Rick Steins recipe in his Far Eastern Odyssey book (great book, I love it and it reminds me of travels to that part of the world when I worked in TV years and years ago. If I close my eyes I can remember the intoxicating smell of Indonesia when I first arrived there. Isn't smell amazing like that?). 

I shall post the recipe in celebration of my first home-grown egg, when it finally arrives. Just hope I don't have to wait too long for that exquisite taste combination!


  1. I look forward to reading the recipe for your fried egg butty. I do love me a good fried egg sandwich and the sound of this nam prik sauce has me questioning my vegetarianism.

    BTW, saw this today and thought of your blog: How to cook perfect scrambled eggs

  2. Its only got a tiny bit of shrimp paste in it! And you could probably omit it without too much drama!

  3. Rachel Demuth said
    hi what beautiful girls! heres our vegetarian version of nam prik that we make in the vegetarian cookery school which we love.
    Nam Prik Phao

    Dietary: Vegan

    4 small green chillies, de-stalked
    4 small red chillies, destalked
    2 large garlic cloves, peeled
    2 shallots, peeled
    1 tomato, chopped
    1 tbsp tamarind paste
    1 tbsp lime juice
    2 tbsps shoyu
    1 tsp palm sugar

    Wrap the chillies, garlic, shallots & tomato in silver foil and place under a grill or in a hot oven & grill or roast until they soften.
    Soak the tamarind paste in a 100ml of boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Squeeze the pulp with your fingers to dissolve it, then strain, pressing the pulp through a strainer, retain the liquid and discard the fibrous bits & seeds.
    Unwrap the roasted chilli mix & place in a mortar & pound to a paste.
    Add the tamarind water, lime juice, shoyu & palm sugar & mix to a smooth sauce.