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Monday, 29 August 2011

Post the Fifteenth (in which our heroine dies a death)

Today was not one of my better days.  I had a hangover of Dionysian proportions, compounded by the fact that I only got five hours sleep.  And the cause of this delicate state?  Was I carousing in some city hotspot with the beautiful people?  Was I engaged in an imbibing session in one of the country's many salubrious drinking establishments?  No.  I was at a family day in my parents' house.  There was a bouncy castle.  And I still managed to get myself into such a state that I had to leave work early.  To be honest, I think that's quite impressive.

So now I'm sitting here suspiciously eyeing the glass of wine that my sister swears blind will cure me.  I'm not entirely sure I believe her.  I think possibly the only thing for it is to order pizza, eat too much of it, then go to bed and settle in for the inevitable DTs, night-sweats and mad dreams.

Anyway, I was did things a bit arseways yesterday and gave you the recipes for the pesto and baguettes that I brought along to the Fambly Day yesterday.  By the way, if you ever decide to host a party, you could do worse than adopt the Ken Coffey way of doing things:

1. Announce to your family at large that you're "organising" a family day as a last hurrah for the kids before they go back to school.  Go a bit mad and tell them you're getting a bouncy castle.

2.  Inform everyone that they have to bring at least one dish with them for the food.

3.  When people ask you what kind of food everyone else is bringing, inform them that your youngest daughter is co-ordinating the food.

4. Neglect to inform said daughter of this fact until after she's already fielded several phone calls from siblings wondering whether anyone has already baggsed doing pasta salad.

5.  Forget to tell your eldest daughter about the family day until after she's already bought tickets to a show for that morning.

6.  Get your long-suffering youngest daughter to find the cheapest bouncy castle in Dublin.

7. Sit back and enjoy the party in which you've had little to no part in actually organising.

8.  Bask in all the thanks for setting it up while your youngest daughter drinks herself into an epic state.

Anyway, tonight you're getting the recipe for Saturday night's dinner.  It sounds a bit weird, but it's really, really good.  If you like spice, that is.  If you're nursing an ulcer, a blistery mouth or have a senstive, erm, bum, then maybe you'd best give it a miss...

Chicken Tequila Fettucine - serves 4

4 chicken fillets, diced            Large handful coriander, chopped
Half a jar of sliced jalapenos, finely diced, or 3 fresh ones, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, diced              2 tbsps butter
450ml chicken stock              100ml tequila or rum
Juice of 1 lime                        1 onion, diced
1 red & one yellow pepper, diced
250ml cream                          250g pasta (use any shape you like, it doesn't have to be fettucine.  Which is just Yank-speak for tagliatelle anyway).

(I'm aware that that looks like a lemon, but it's a lime, believe me)

1. In a small saucepan, sauté the jalapenos, coriander & garlic in two tablespoons of the butter for 5 minutes. Doesn't it smell freakin' AWESOME?  Add the tequila, lime juice and 3/4s of the stock and boil like a madwoman (or man) until it's reduced to a paste-like consistency.  Set aside.

2.  In a separate large pan or wok, sauté the onion & bell peppers for until the peppers have wilted a bit.  Add the chicken, the jalapeno-tequila paste and the cream, mix well, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is nice and thick.  Add the reserved stock if it looks like it's reducing too much before the chicken is cooked.

3. Meanwhile, cook & drain your pasta.  Taste your sauce and if it's not hot enough (I have a shameful chili addiction), add a few dried chili flakes.  Season, toss with the pasta, garnish with a little extra coriander and serve.  Laugh at the big red faces on your guests if you've served it to people who aren't quite as addicted to chilies as you are.

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