We’ve been back from our trip to Phuket for nearly two weeks now and already it feels like it was a dream. A gorgeous dream though … relaxed, chilled and involving no schedule and no driving. Perfect. To be honest we barely left the hotel and that suited us all just fine. You might remember that we were trying out a different hotel this time – The Banyan Tree – and very lovely it was too….
We’re on count down now until we’re off on a family holiday to Phuket, Thailand for a week. On an excitement scale of 0 – 10, I’m about a 15 and as it gets closer, there’s only one direction it can go … up, up, up.
It isn’t our first trip to this beautiful island – we’ve been twice before – but we all loved it so much that returning again is definitely a pleasure. Previously we have stayed at The Indigo Pearl – an independant hotel which was badly damaged by the 2004 tsunami and then lovingly rebuilt under the watchful eye of a talented Australian architect. It was built on the site of an old tin mine and uses this theme as the inspiration for the design and decor. A themed hotel could be naff, but it works – even down to the cutlery.
When day to day home life is too frantic, too stressful, too annoying … when we’re feeling hacked off and a bit grumpy, Indigo Pearl is where we all wish we could escape to. We all have our favourite bits … I love their iced coffee – tall glass, decaf, ice cubes (NOT crushed), a dash of milk, sugar syrup on the side. I’ll admit that I’m high maintenance about my coffee – my lovely husband says it’s not just on coffee! Joe and Finn like the buffet breakfasts where there is a large lady who makes small omelettes, and a small lady who makes large ones … cute. Hella likes the blue ice cream – that has to be Smurf flavoured doesn’t it? My lovely husband likes lazing by the pool with a good book – oh, and also riding on an elephant.
We all like the rain storms as long as they are shortish and warmish and of course we love the beautiful, gentle Thai people.
We’re trying a different hotel this time – controversial – but I feel sure that it will be just as lovely. And in preparation for the onslaught of the fresh, zingy, buzzing flavours that make up Thai cooking, I have made one of my favourite dishes this week – Thai Green Chicken Curry….
So, this is the first of a slightly different post featuring my favourite ‘no fuss’ ingredients. These are all sorts of different goodies; things to stash in your store cupboard, which will give you an easy boost when making gorgeous food – no fuss. Most of these ingredients have an element of the pre-prepared about them. Some would label them as cheating but, you know, sometimes it’s good to cheat – especially when it tastes this good….
There’s a secret smug feeling that I rather like.
It’s the same feeling that I get when I’ve finished wrapping Christmas presents and it’s not even Christmas Eve; it’s the feeling you get when you’ve finished your weekend homework (dim and distant memory alert) and it’s still Friday. But I especially like the secret smug feeling when dinner is prepared, all-set, ready to go … and it’s not even lunchtime. To make this happen, generally I’ve either got to –
- Be up before the sun …. mmmm, BIG thumbs down,
- Have a completely free morning with nothing else that needs doing and nowhere I need to be …. IN MY DREAMS or
- Be preparing a dish for dinner that, not only is easy to prepare in advance, but whose preparation is super speedy …
… and here is that very dish – Harissa Chicken….
My lovely husband and children bought me a slow cooker for Mother’s Day – probably 10 years ago. A gift of any kitchen appliance works well for me and I had been pondering about this one for a while.
That Mother’s Day was a memorable one for a number of reasons …
- Steve had bought all the ingredients to have dinner from the slow cooker ready for us on our return from a day out. A perfect Mother’s Day treat.
- We drove to the coast for a bracing walk on a wide, empty beach but sadly the English weather misbehaved and by the time we reached our destination the colour of the sky did not bode well.
- Fast forward a couple of hours – we are back at the car, all as wet, wet, wet as it’s possible to be having been pelted with hailstones and thrown around the beach by torrential wind and rain.
- It wasn’t the mood board we had hoped for but, hey, it was a memorable day – especially the bit where me and the children stripped down to our pants for the journey home – when your children are 3 and 5 it is the funniest thing in the world ever when your Mummy does it too!
- Dinner from the slow cooker when we arrived back home was oh so welcome. It was not a ‘blinder’ of a meal and I have to come clean and admit that I have had a limited number of ‘blinders’ courtesy of the slow cooker over the years. It’s always no fuss – but it’s only rarely gorgeous….
…. Until, that is, I discovered making chicken stock in the slow cooker….