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What's in Your Cupboard

The foray into June means that we are now officially into the summer months. I must say, this past month has given us some glorious weather. The end of spring has really felt very summery - long may the good weather continue.

It's this time of year that gets people excited about their gardens. Any fruit and veg that was sowed and planted in early spring will be almost ready to pick and eat now. Bright flowers will adorn beds in front and back gardens. The other day, while we were walking through the village, we passed a house that had a beautiful selection of rose bushes lining the front of the house. The smell from these roses was just incredible - it was a hot day as well which made me feel like I was walking through a beautiful Palestinian garden.

This is the first time I've ever had a garden of my own and when we bought the house my garden ambitions for the summer were very high. However, on moving in, as you know, we were greeted with a poorly kept, overgrown, and in some parts rotten garden. So my plans for fragrant herb pots, colourful flower beds and abundant vegetables will have to be put off for a year while we clear everything and make it "habitable" again.

Another reason we have had to put the garden project on hold is because we now have a three week old little girl to look after and just making dinner is a challenge let alone taking on a major project. Ayah was born on the 11th of May and she has completely changed our lives. I am eternally grateful to my pregnant self for batch cooking a load of meals for the freezer, anticipating that this time would be a no cook zone. We have been very lucky that friends of ours have also dropped of dinners for us as well, always arriving on the perfect day when it's not been the easiest.

I also made sure my dry goods cupboard was well stocked before little Ayah came along. It's so easy to make a meal with pasta or pulses and some spices and basic ingredients while the other of you is keeping the baby entertained. Before we were three, I had some fresh things to use up and one of these was chicken breast.

I'm not a massive fan of chicken breast - it goes dry very quickly and it generally needs to be coated in something to keep it's moisture. I'm more of a chicken on the bone fan. I am also a fan of meatballs. So, I turned the chicken breasts into chicken meatballs. And I coated them in a delicious peanut sauce.

Chicken Balls in Peanut Sauce

  • 2 chicken breasts

  • 1 courgette, halved and sliced

  • 2 tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 2 spring onions

  • 1 egg

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp peanut butter

  • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine

  • 1 tbsp gochujang

  • 250ml chicken or vegetable stock

  • Olive oil and sesame oil for frying

In a food processor, blitz together the chicken breasts, coriander, salt and spring onions. When everything has broken down, add the egg and pulse until everything is well combined.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan. Using a spoon or small ice cream scoop, make balls with the chicken mixture and drop them into the hot frying pan. The mixture will be very sticky so make sure you give everything a good clean when you're done. Cook the balls until they are brown on all sides. Set them aside.

In the same pan, add a tablespoon or so of sesame oil and fry off the courgettes until they're soft. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant. Add the peanut butter, gochujang, shaoxing and stock and stir until everything is silky.

Add the chicken back into the frying pan and coat them all in the sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce is thick and everything is cooked through.

Serve with rice of your choice and maybe some prawn crackers.

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