The Anonymous Widower

Rats Are More Intelligent Than We Think

I heard this story from a retired gamekeeper, who was very much a proper countryman, after I said I had had a stroke and was on Warfarin.

When you raise chickens, especially free-range ones outside, rats can be a problem, as there’s nothing they like better than a nice piece of chicken.

So Warfarin is put down to poison the rats.

Anybody like me, who is on the drug, knows you must ignore Vitamin K, which is found in leafy green vegetables. I do generally eat my five a day, but they are mainly fruit, tomatoes, beetroot, beans and potatoes.

Apparently, modern chicken feed contains high levels of itamin K, as there are probably a lot of green forage crops in its ingredients.

So as the rats are also looking for their vegetables to go with the chicken, they’re eating the chicken feed.

And the Vitamin K in the chicken feed, could be giving them protection against the rat Warfarin-based rat poinson.

I also suspect, there could be a bit of natural selection at work!

July 18, 2019 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

A Delicious Meal For A Coeliac In A Fast-Food Restaurant

When I was diagnosed as a coeliactwenty years ago, fast-food restaurants were all gluten-full and alcohol, especially beer that I prefer was absent.

But look at these pictures of my lunch.

I ate in Leon in Leadenhall Market.

Gluten-free food has certainly changed for the better.

October 9, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Would You Ever Wash Chicken?

My mother always told me, that you should cook all meat properly.

C never washed any meat either. In fact she didn’t really liked touching it, so often I was the one to put it in the dish for cooking.

So I have never washed any meat before cooking.

So now with reports that washing chicken actually spreads disease, I’m tempted to say my mother knew best.


June 16, 2014 Posted by | Food | , | 3 Comments

Last Week Was Chocolate Week

last week was Chocolate Week and Lindsey Bareham celebrated with five recipes using chocolate of which four were savoury.

I cooked this Catalan Lamb Stew With Almonds on the sixteenth.

Catalan Lamb Stew With Almonds

Catalan Lamb Stew With Almonds

I had a problem in that I couldn’t find any blanched almonds, so I had to use plaked ones and it was a bit gritty.  My little chopper also made a bit of the mess with the sauce, so I can’t say it was a great success.  I’ll try it again sometimes, with the blanched almonds.

And then on the nineteenth, I cooked Chicken Chili With Chocolate.

Chicken Chili With Chocolate

Chicken Chili With Chocolate

It was good and I put half in the freezer for later. I did cheat though, by using microwaveable rice.

Next time I’ll cook it with proper rice.

October 21, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tarragon Chicken

This is another of Lindsey Bareham’s recipes from The Times.  The original is here.

I started by chopping an onion in my little chopper.

An Onion In My Chopper

An Onion In My Chopper

I continued by  gently frying it in some butter in my frying pan.

Spftening The Onion

Spftening The Onion

This should take about 15 minutes. Whilst it was cooking, I cut up three mini chicken fillets into small pieces.

A peeled, finely chopped and crushed garlic clove with a pinch of salt was added to the onion and cooked for a couple of minutes.

The chicken was then added, turning the pieces as they changed colour.

Cooking The Chicken

Cooking The Chicken

A teaspoon of flour was then sprinkled over the top and stirred. 150 ml. of chicken stock was added and the mixture was allowed to bubble up and thicken. Season as required, add one teaspoon of chopped tarragon and three tablespoons of thick cream and then stirring occasionally, let it cook for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

Finally adjust the seasoning to taste, with salt, pepper and lemon.

Dinner Is Served

Dinner Is Served

It was good and I served it as Lindsey suggested with green beans and new potatoes.

September 18, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , , | Leave a comment

Antonio’s Pepolata

I had a problem last night, in that I couldn’t find a suitable sauce for my pies. Last time I used one from Bay Tree, that had been in my cupboard for some time. This time though, the only one i could find was Antonio’s Pepolata from Carluccio’s.

Antonio's Pepolata

Antonio’s Pepolata

The pies worked out fine, or at least the one I had for supper did.

Chicken, Bacon And Potato Pie

Chicken, Bacon And Potato Pie

But even Carluccio’s didn’t really have a suitable sauce.

June 2, 2013 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Dinner From The Microwave

The Times today is having a go at microwave cookers. It didn’t stop me from eating one of Marks & Spencer’s Fuller Longer meals tonight.  It was called Chicken in a Smoky Tomato Sauce.

It was surprisingly, quite well-endowed on the chicken front, although the sauce didn’t appear very smoky.  But I could do without that! The only allergen was a small amount of cow’s milk. Here’s a picture.

Chicken in a Smoky Tomato Sauce

Note the Estrella Damm Daura beer.

I will have one of these again.

June 21, 2012 Posted by | Food | , , | 7 Comments

Ginger Chicken with Lemongrass

This recipe was published in The Times yesterday. It is one of Lindsay Bareham’s and I’ve used hers before, as they are simple, quick and delicious on the one hand and often gluten-free on the other.

The ingredients are as follows and the quantities serve two.

  • 20g ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 onions, 145g in total
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 chicken thigh fillets
  • 300g potatoes
  • 2 tsp lemongrass paste or 1 large lemongrass
  • 300 ml water
  • 100g frozen petits pois

The method is as follows.

  1. Peel and thinly slice the ginger into scraps the size of shirt buttons.
  2. Slice the garlic into thin rounds.
  3. Finely slice the onions.
  4. Heat the oil in a lidded pan, stir in the onion, ginger and garlic.
  5. Cook, stirring often, over a medium-low heat, encouraging it to soften without browning.
  6. Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir into the semi-cooked onions.
  7. Peel and slice the potatoes into 50p-size pieces. Quickly rince and add to the pan.
  8. Stir in the lemongrass paste or buised lemongrass, then add the water. 
  9. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, semi-cover the pan and cook gently for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender, the chicken cooked through and the liquid slightly reduced.
  10. Season to taste.
  11. Add the peas, bring to the boil, immediately reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes until the peas are tender. Serve in bowls with crusty bread and butter.

I think I’ll give it a try this week.

December 22, 2010 Posted by | Food | , , | 1 Comment

Colcannon Chicken and Apple Pie

I was looking for something a bit different to add to the potato topped pies that I like and keep for suppers by myself in the freezer and I found this recipe on Note that this website marks all recipes as to gluten-free, vegetarian etc.

The ingredients I used for the pie were.

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 450 gram chicken breast fillets cut into chunks 
  • 2 carrots, thickly sliced
  • 250 ml. pf chicken stock
  • 250 ml. of dry cider – Aspalls of course!
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 2 Cox’s apples, thickly sliced
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • salt and pepper

And for the Colcannon topping I used.

  • 700 grams of potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 200 grams of Savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 4 tbsp of semi-skimmed goats milk
  •  25 gramsbutter
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped.


These quantities make enough for four, so I froze some of it for later.

The method was as follows.

  1.  Heat the oil in a large, deep, non-stick frying pan. Add the onion and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes or until softened. 
  2. Add the chicken to the pan and cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until it is no longer pink. Stir in the carrots. 
  3. Combine the stock, cider, mustard and tarragon, and pour into the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the apples and cook, covered, for a further 10 minutes or until the chicken and carrots are tender, and the apples have softened but are still holding their shape. 
  4. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for about 15 minutes or until tender. Cook the cabbage in a separate pan of boiling water for 4–5 minutes or until just tender but not soft; drain well. 
  5. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan. Add the milk and butter, and mash until smooth. Stir in the cabbage and spring onions, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm. 
  6. Using a draining spoon, transfer the chicken, apples and vegetables to a 1.7 litre (3 pint) ovenproof dish. Set aside.
  7. Mix the cornflour with 1 tbsp cold water, stir into the cooking liquid in the frying pan and bring to the boil, stirring until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour over the chicken mixture. 
  8. Pile the potato and cabbage topping over the chicken mixture, spreading it evenly to cover. Place in the  top oven of the AGA  and bake until golden brown.


I made a couple of mistakes in that I didn’t make enough topping and the sauce could have done with more thickening.   But it was well worth the ewffort.

August 17, 2010 Posted by | Food | , , | 1 Comment

Chicken, Bacon and Potato Pie

This is effectively  a version of Shepherds Pie, that uses pieces of chicken breast and bacon, rather than mince. I made it to clear some chicken breasts out of my freezer and also make my left hand do some work by peeling potatoes.

This simple meal used the following ingredients to make three, two of which I froze after cooking.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 rashers of bacon
  • 1 jar Bay Tree Cracked Black Pepper and Mustard Cooking Sauce
  • 1 kilo of King Edward or similar potatoes
  • Milk and fat to mash the potatoes with

The method was as follows.

  1. Chop the chicken and bacon into small pieces and fry in the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. When the chicken is brown and the bacon is cooked through, add the shallots and the carrots and continue cooking for perhaps ten minutes, after which you stir in the sauce and simmer for perhaps 10-15 minutes. 
  3. Whilst the chicken and vegetables are cooking, boil and mash the potatoes.
  4. Pour meat and sauce into an 11-inch by 7-inch baking dish or individual foils for freezing and allow to cool slightly. Top with potato.
  5. Bake in the bottom of the top oven of the AGA.

For something I made up with what I had available it worked out quite well.

It will be interesting to see how the ones I have frozen turn out, when I eat them in a couple of weeks!

July 23, 2010 Posted by | Food | , , | 3 Comments