8th March 2020, exactly 100 days ago (if you read this in a couple of days time…) the schools in Qatar closed. “It’s just a bad strain of flu” you could hear ringing between WhatsApp groups all over the country. We all seemed to become highly experienced ’Pandemologists’ overnight and predictions of a 6-week lockdown seemed totally realistic, no one considered this dragging on into the summer it was bad enough thinking about canceling our easter plans!
Now with the 100 days of isolation/ lockdown/ homeschooling/ unprecedented times/ global press induced hysteria and trying to ration our booze intake, we all seem to be wavering between the fear of the resulting global depression, fear of a government quarantine facility and fear of summer in 60 degrees heat with no ability to leave the house for the children but finally, we have an end in sight!
We have now had quite clear direction about the next 3-4 months and what it looks like, and it sadly looks like we will be staying put. Any kind of travel this summer leads to the prospect of a 14 day stay in a hotel without being able to leave the room and 2 feral boys on the back end of a holiday, it is quite simply not something either of us wants to consider.
So we have to look for the positive, it’s going to be a long hot summer and we will polish this turd and brace ourselves for ways to keep us all entertained. First things first I have taken to a bit of light vehicle modification, which I am not sure makes for the best blog content, but with a new set of off-road tyres and a fridge built into the centre console of the Pajero (check our my Instagram story highlights) the desert weapon is itching for its next adventure whatever the temperature….so watch this space for some sweaty picnics, uncomfortable campsites, midnight swims, late-night bike rides and epic road trips to nowhere.
While we wait for the powers that be to let us into the wild again I have practiced a bit of camp oven cooking at home with the Ultimate Chicken Pie Recipe and really it only seems fair to share such an epic recipe with you all.
Don’t hold back on this, go big or go home is the motto for Ultimate anything especially Chicken pie. Like all recipes I write, I would suggest applying a large amount of your own artistic licence, ignore anything you don’t like the sound of, and do let me know if you think I have missed something key.
Recipe – Ultimate Chicken Pie
Step 1 – Roast a couple of chickens. We get turd birds here, so we search for the organic chickens when they are available, otherwise they are scrawny little chicks that taste like gravel. Bigger and juicer the better. Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and Lemon is all you need.
Step 2 – Pick the meat from the bird and make a stock with the bones. (Carrots, Onions, Thyme, Bay Leaves and any other veg you have lying around)
Step 2a – Keep the chicken skin in large pieces and bake it in a low oven for about an hour, sprinkle with salt and pepper as its cooking for the ultimate “Cluckling” snack
Step 3 – Fry 4 large diced onions and 6 cloves of diced garlic in oil and butter, add a large finely diced potato to sweat down in the onions for about 10 mins (don’t let it dry out or go brown) add the stock and simmer for 5 mins.
Step 4 – chop up a load of mushrooms (or leeks, or turnip, or carrots) mix up 1/2 a pint of milk and some flour into a light liquid, not pastey. Add the mushrooms and coat in the oily onions and fry for a minute or so, add the floury milk to thicken the whole mixture up, cook-off floury taste. Add 2 glasses of wine to thin the sauce right down. Simmer.
Step 5 – Transfer to pie dish, bigger dish, or camp oven for some additional ultimateness. Add the chicken. Add a big spoon of Dijon mustard. Add a couple of handfuls of frozen peas. Cook for 20 mins at about 160degs.
Step 6 – Roll out a puff pastry onto the lid of your Camp oven (or a flat tray) make a pattern on top with the offcuts, brush with egg and whack in the oven for the last 15 mins with it cranked up to 200degs.
Step 7 – Take the pie out, drop the pastry lid on top and serve the Ultimate Chicken Pie. Goes well with steamed veg, peas, baby new potatoes or just about anything else you can think of.