This is for and about home cooks - the women all over the the world (and through the centuries) who put dinner on the table every night. They know how to cook quickly, easily, economically, healthily and satisfyingly whether for one or a dozen.

Part memoir, part diary of shopping, cooking, reading and thinking about putting supper on the table, by a former fashion/design writer/consultant whose secret love has always been food.  

 

Simple Poached Chicken Breasts with Carrots

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Sometimes one forgets how totally delicious the simplest meal can be.

We had just returned from Venice, where we had eaten – again and again – the most perfect simple Venetian food. And then a tummy bug hit. Misery for two days. And then, as my head finally lifted, after soft boiled eggs and toast, all I could think of putting near my mouth was a bit of poached chicken breast. Which I made. And gosh it was good.

How could I possibly have forgotten?

It is a nothing to cook. Chop a carrot or two (depending on size, a bit of onion or shallots (I had some lovely big spring onions with deep green fronds) and let them soften in a bit of oil in a saucepan just large enough for all to fit. Add a couple of chicken breasts and sear lightly, then a splash of white wine and boiled water (from the kettle) to barely cover. Plus salt, ground pepper, some chopped parsley, a bay leaf. Leave it, covered, on a low heat for maybe half an hour until the carrots are soft and the chicken well cooked.  Serve with basmati rice. Mmmmm.

Of course you can dress this up if you wish – a few finely sliced mushrooms or leeks, a bit of cream or full fat yoghurt at the end. But it really doesn’t need them.

 

Easy Dried Porcini Mushroom Meatloaf

Easy Fricasseed Chicken with Bacon (or Cured Ham, Pancetta, etc)