Saturday, March 8, 2014

What’s cooking - Pt XXCVII: Chicken in white wine and caper sauce, followed by apple tarte Tatin

Cooking a meal today, yippee. I like cooking, but so rarely get the chance to, mainly, I think, because my wife is jealous of her influence in the kitchen and, possibly, because she knows I cook tastier things than her. She has, on rare occasions, attempted something, usually involving salmon, but almost always it is something starkly British, such as shepherd’s pie and boiled vegetables.

There’s nothing wrong with shepherd’s pie (or its first cousin, cottage pie - I never know which is which), but like most dishes they can be made so
they are appealing, appetising and attractive, or they can resemble something found in a pretty mediocre works canteen. I’m sorry to say my wife’s cooking belongs in that latter category. (I’m not being very nice, am I? But I am being honest, in the certain knowledge that she doesn’t read this blog. In fact, the number of times she has used the internet could, without exaggeration be counted on the fingers of one hand, bearing in mind that the thumb doesn’t count as a finger.)

My sister is coming across to Britain to visit our stepmother and will be arriving in the later afternoon, and as I like cooking, I have made it my excuse for cooking something. After the above, some might claim smug, introduction, I am perhaps riding for a fall when I reveal what I plan to prepare. However. . .

I’ve shall be cooking chicken breast in white wine and caper sauce, with new potatoes (which I might, purely for the hell of it, roast) with flash-fried leeks (i.e. so that they are still a tad crunchy) served with a little lemon juice. Pudding will be an apple tarte Tatin with cream, tarte Tatin being one of the simplest puddings to create, although admittedly I shall be using ready-made puff pastry. I started it off yesterday to save
time: melt 50g of butter in a cast-iron pan (because it will later go into the oven and so a wooden or plastic handle - or plastic anywhere - would be a no-no), a very little water and sugar. Peel and slice, in generous slices, several cooking apples and layer them in the pan. Add a few more knobs of butter and a sprinkling of sugar, then cook briefly on a low heat, then let it cool.

That was all yesterday. Today I shall cover it all with the pastry, then bake it. I really don’t think a pudding could be any simpler, except, perhaps, fruit salad, which is another of my favourites. (I do dislike dishes which demand a lot of fannying around in the kitchen.) I have bought a bottle of Gewürzgtraminer and a second, cheaper, bottle of some other white wine (I can’t remember which) for the chicken dish. Bon appetit.

Where does Putin, the Crimea and the Ukraine come into all this? They don’t, except that I’d be surprised if Putin can cook. He’s more one for wrestling with bears and posing for pictures with a bare torso. Not a lot of call for posing for piccies when you are in the kitchen (except, perhaps, if you are modelling for some truly recherché porn magazine).


  1. and it was a great meal :-)
    the sister :-)

  2. At the OS 'Drac' taught me enough Latin to know that Pt XXCVII is a nonsense roman number. XCVII is 97 though. Clarissa Dickson Wright's Shepherd's Pie receipt was in the Telegraph yesterday. The link is
    Cottage Pie is made from beef. BMcA. (Another loyal reader) PS I occasionally played cricket with the XI where CDW was guest umpire but never actually met her. I rather suspect she found the after match drinking rather difficult to keep up with ...