It was a special night at the Palace of Solitude tonight – I had two lovely dinner guests.  Two of my very favourite people and what is more, two people who live within spitting distance of my flat.  How lovely to have such friends on my doorstep who can come round for din dins on a work night and can leave at a reasonable hour to get home to bed with no need for public transport.

Tessie O’Shea’s Slimming Cookbook has floated to the top of my pile of cookbooks as I am getting stout.  It’s an occupational hazard when you are writing a cookbook I suppose.  I love Tessie’s book.  It was a present from my chums Sarah and Suzanne and has been the source of much comfort in my many hours of wondering whether I can be bothered to go on a proper diet…

But I am back on the dating scene and therefore I must.  And Tessie’s diet is so full of cream and cheese and lovely things.  But carbs are the devil, oh yes.  But so what? Her chicken was lovely and we enjoyed it and all the accompanying nonsense surrounding it.

We discussed how many chicken legs a man would eat (two) and a woman (one) as I only happened to have 5 chicken legs about my person and wondered if this was enough for 3.  I figured I would eat one, Vic two and Cathy maybe one or maybe two.  As Cathy put it – thank God for 5 legged chickens.  I agree – there was one leg left over for the freezer.

As I was preparing dinner, crazy messages kept coming in from my new dating site OK Cupid.  A man 13 years my junior wearing a sombrero in his profile picture seemed keen to meet up and I showed Vic and Cathy the photo of the man I have a date with tomorrow.  His profile picture shows him in silhouette from behind, bare-backed watching a sunset.  It’s a very arty photo.  He has no other photos so tomorrow we have a date and I have NO IDEA what he looks like.  Personally I am imagining a rockabilly type lookalikeee Stray Cat guy from the time when they were young and gorgeous.  Vic is predicting someone who looks a bit like the Elephant Man.

As she went down the stairs Cathy said, “Let me know how you get on with Mr Shoulder”.  Ha ha – this is FUN.

In my experience on dating sites, men with no photos (and in this case no face is effectively no photo) are either married (and don’t want to be spotted) or very handsome (and therefore get bombarded by women “winking” or “liking” or “messaging” them).  I hope to GOD that it is the latter.

Here’s a picture of me on my date on Sunday.  I went to the Tate on a date…

Here’s Tessie’s original recipe

And here is my version of Tessie’s Creamed Almond Chick (she is fond of shortening words…)

2 ½ tbsp butter

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp salt

½ tsp celery salt

¼ tsp curry powder

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp black pepper

5 chicken legs

20g sliced almonds

70ml double cream

1 chicken stock cube

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.

Melt butter, add all the spices and pepper, stir well and remove from heat.  Place chicken pieces in a large baking dish and pour butter sauce over all. Sprinkle almonds over this. Make chicken stock with 150ml water and the stock cube.  Pour this between the chicken pieces.  Cover and cook for 45 minutes.

Take chicken from oven, spoon out ¼ cup of the sauce and mix it with the cream.  Pour this over the chicken, put it back in the oven uncovered to brown for about another 15 minutes.

DELICIOUS!  Says Tessie and I agree.  Basically I halved her recipe as hers was for a whole chicken, jointed.  The only thing I didn’t have was marjoram – add a ¼ teaspoon to the spices that are fried in butter.

Vic said, “It’s very 1970s”.  Indeed it is.  I have a feeling we’ll be having more from Tessie’s Slimming Cookbook.

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