When I was younger, I was a keen skateboarder.
This was during the tail-end of the 70s craze period, and I only really stopped skating after my head was turned by a Honda SS50 moped.
Years passed. As so often happens, the transition from adolescent to adult brought with it a myriad of bad habits, which in my particular case meant weight gain. Serious weight gain.
A few years ago, when I decided to lose the weight and the associated unhealthy practices, one of the goals I had was to be able to skate again.
My daughter and I made a pact that when the time was right, we would go skating, together, along “Ribban“, a cycle and pedestrian boardwalk type strip that runs along the seafront near our home.
Yesterday we did just that. We spent several hours just cruising up and down, her on her blades, me on my kick scooter.
There was a ceremonial edge to it, a real “mission accomplished” kind of a feeling, as though all the hard work and the sacrifices had been building up to this moment.
The music of Polyurethane wheels on asphalt, amplified through a deck acting as a soundboard, the feeling of effortless gliding, the old, familiar rhythm of push and coast.
Pure time travel. It was 1977 again. The years just melted away, just as the fat had done. Old sub-nets of neurons, dormant for decades, began to fire again. My legs and feet knew what to do, and the front of the scooter knew which way to go.
Magical. There is no other word.
So lost in the moment were we that we lost all track of time.
I still had to go shopping. I had a dinner to cook.
And so, mes amis, we have another chicken dish put together by the “trust your subconscious mind and wing it” school of menu planning.
Smoked paprika, smoked bacon. Chicken and leek, chicken and mushrooms. Paprika and white wine, alcohol free, mais naturellement. White wine and Herbes de Provence. Herbes de Provence and bay leaves.
And that, as Sigmund might have said, will do nicely.
Smoky Leek And Mushroom Chicken
- 1kg boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 leeks, halved lengthways and then sliced into half moons
- 280g cubed, smoked bacon
- 300g closed cap mushrooms, wiped, trimmed and sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
- 1 tsp Herbes de Provence
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ a bottle of alcohol free dry white wine
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large non-stick pan. Stir fry the bacon until golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Set aside.
- Add another 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan, and return it to medium heat. Add the sliced leeks, and stir fry for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and smoked Spanish paprika. Stir fry for a further 3 minutes.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and the Herbes de Provence. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix well, and continue to stir fry for another 5 minutes.
- Return the bacon to the pan, and then add the alcohol free dry white wine. Stir well, and cover with the lid. Bring up to a low simmer, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken pieces, and stir well to coat the chicken.
- Add about 1 dl of water to the pan. Stir well, then cover. Bring to a low simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, adding a splash more water if required. Cook until the chicken is suitably cooked – it should be white all the way through when cut in half.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Serve.
According to your preference, the alcohol free dry white wine could be replaced by ordinary dry white wine, or even an unsweetened grape juice with a splash of added white wine vinegar or lemon juice.