Sunday, 15 August 2010

Mixed Bag

The WT challenge on SCS this week was to use buttons. It was time to use the most beautiful button Lorraine sent in a package for my birthday. Vintage isn't my normal style, but the button seemed to call for it.

We had guests on Friday night as well as Monday. I couldn't remember how punctual M was, and he's been living abroad for nine years now so I was allowing that they might be delayed by traffic too, so I chose a low-maintenance, delay-tolerant  dinner. Ronald Johnson's Buttermilk Fried Chicken, with baked potatoes, a green salad and a carrot, orange and date salad, followed by Baileys Chocolate Chip icecream, chocolate sauce and meringues. I felt I had to do icecream - when we met up at the BBQ we were at on the Bank Holiday, he was reminiscing to his wife about a kiwi and passionfruit icecream I used to make, back in the days when he was still in college and this was highly exotic. I remember too the first time he invited us round for dinner. He asked was there anything we didn't like, to which C replied he didn't like pasta and he didn't really like chilli con carne (gosh, he's become a lot more tolerant over the years). M said that in one fell swoop that eliminated his student repertoire. I can't actually remember what he did give us - although I seem to recall profiteroles, perhaps.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken (Ronald Johnson, The American Table)
1 chicken jointed into 4 pieces ( I usually buy breast pieces on the bone)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 small onion, half a carrot, one stick celery, 1 bay leaf
seasoned flour
oil for frying

Cut the tips off the chicken wings and put in a pan with the carcase, neck and giblets. Add water, and the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf and simmer for at least an hour. Drain and reserve stock.

Marinate the chicken in buttermilk to cover, with the chopped parsley, for several hours or overnight.
Lift the chicken pieces out of the buttermilk and straight away shake in seasoned flour till well covered.
Heat 1/2" vegetable oil over medium-high heat and fry the chicken till golden brown on both sides, two pieces at a time. Place in a ovenproof dish which will contain them all in one layer. Pour the buttermilk in so that it comes about halfway up the chicken pieces.
Cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours at 300F, 150C, till tender and crisp on top. Remove the chicken pieces and keep warm.
Add some of the stock to the buttermilk in the cooking dish, then liquidise till smooth. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat adding more stock as necessary to get the consistency of thick cream.
He suggest serving this with hot biscuits - but I can imagine C turning his nose up at the idea - they are definitely not a European accompaniment to savoury dishes. He would expect them for morning coffee or an afternoon or high tea, not dinner!

I haven't seen the heron on the Liffey for a long time. But on Friday morning it was a very low tide and he was standing on the bank just below James Joyce bridge. Then he flew up river towards Heuston Station. I like these pictures as they are such a different setting to the usual park ones. You can see the seaweed in the first one, when he was on the mud bank at the James Joyce bridge. In the second I like all the ripples, even if they might make it a hard picture to look at if you had a headache! And the third one, although it's not a good exposure because all the light reflecting from a still patch of water made it too contrasty, I really like the arty feel to it with the burnt-out white "frame" round it.


  1. As I was pulling this up to read I thought that button looked familiar. I love what you've done with it!

    Your chicken sounds delicious. Yes, we would definitely have that with biscuits, but to each his own.

    Now the birds - Wow! The picture with the ripples and the one with the "frame" are standouts and I would hang those on the wall in a minute. The last bird looks like he's been dipping his head in someone's coffee cup. Or maybe it was hot chocolate. In any case - it's a striking photograph.

  2. I love the button Lorraine sent you. I looks fabulous on your card. I love the second one with all those ripples. What texture!!