Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

September 24, 2008

Stand-back-and-throw some posh nosh

This week, the food stylist had a few clever tricks up her sleeve. Yes props, like rice and a fork. I don't know how these people do it. Genius.

I thought I would go a bit up-market this week and do my special Chicken With Apple. It contains a secret ingredient: verjuice.

If you haven't encountered verjuice before, think along the lines of unfermented Blue Nun (which I clearly have a thing for at the moment) with an acidic bite that will strip the enamel from your teeth and make you purse your mouth like a cat's ... ahem ... bottom.

Actually I mustn't malign it so.

Its a gourmet ingredient with a price tag to match and does bring a beautiful balance to something like this chicken dish, which is quite sweet with its apple. Verjuice is a pressing of unripened grapes .... er, sorry not the juice of vers (whatever they might be). The name is derived from the French for green, vert.

So stand back and get ready to throw some of that green juice.

To make this casserole, I tossed some chicken thigh fillets with a bit of flour and powdered garlic. Garlic powder is a particular favourite at the moment. - its cheaper and more convenient than using the fresh stuff ... and probably works just as effectively to repel vampires (though I don't have any evidentiary proof of this). Add it liberally (especially if you are troubled by vampires).

Next I diced some apple and carrot and sauteed it briefly with a bit of sage (other fresh or dried herbs, such as thyme, work just as well).

Finally I threw everything into a casserole dish and sloshed verjuice and chicken stock over the top. A good ratio is about 2 parts verjuice to 1 part stock. I oven cooked this dish, but it could be done on the stove-top or in a slow-cooker. It freezes very well.

This dish is generally considered quite acceptable by the smaller folk in our household .... except on those disappointing evenings when they refuse to eat and purse their mouths like a cat's ... ahem ... bottom.


  1. Hee hee, love it. I've informed Mr Tacc that dinner tonight is pancakes. I wonder if that's why he's taken to his bed?
    - or maybe it's my pleasant cocktail of germs?

  2. Yum. I myself cannot get my head around fruit and meat together, but the kids and husband will love this! (I am the only person I know who has never tried apricot chicken... not to my knowledge anyway...)

  3. Ahhh... verjuice! All you need to go with that is some vino cotto ;-D (they're the only ingredients you ever need, aren't they?) Looks delish!

  4. I so love your meals. I can always use some help in this area.

  5. Save me some please, I won't do the cats bum mouth thing.

  6. Ah, finally something to do with my large stash of verjuice! Hitherto it's been bulking up my vinegar collection. Sounds scrumptious- and repels vampires too! Just what I need :)

    BTW I've done my design for my first freezer paper stencil!

  7. That sounds really delish, thank you for sharing.

  8. I'm just discovering the 'fussy child eating habits'. I'm devastated. But he'll eat banana bread! I blame myself - I ate so much of it during pregnancy. I will try this recipe and let you know how it goes and whether it compares to the infamous b bread.

  9. That casserole sounds yummy!
    I too like a bit of verjuice. It's a nice drink when combined with a bit of soda water.
    I use it in risotto as well.

  10. Verjuice is a Maggie Beer creation, and she mentions it on her show The Cook and the Chef a lot. Never tried it tho.


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