Just before the New Year, I found a note I wrote on 01 January 2015 stuffed into my diary setting out my goals and resolutions for the year ahead. All failed. My boyfriend suggested I failed because I made unattainable goals and resolutions. In general, the process goes, I realise I have failed at my goals and resolutions, I sigh, I comfort myself by reminding myself that the goals and resolutions I set were too ambitious, too hard and anyway with everything else I had going on…. practically impossible I conclude.
Annoyingly, I instantly agreed with his analogy, although I appeared reluctant to agree as I cannot risk allowing him to think he is always right. So I decided, if he was so smart, that he should make my resolutions for me.
The resolutions for 2016 (that he created)
Exercise three times per week for a minimum of 45 minutes per session;
I figured this was attainable, as I used to exercise at least three times a week regularly for at least 45 minutes. My boyfriend is also of the view, knowing how competitive I can be about certain things, that I am more likely to stick to this throughout the year (rather than giving up as previously demonstrated) because he will also have resolutions. If I fail, then he wins and if he fails, I win.
Give up chocolate until 01.07.2016;
Totally unfair and outrageous. How dare he. When I have just moved to the city of chocolate. Of course I can give up chocolate if I wanted to but who wants to give up chocolate. I was offered that I could swap this resolution and give up chocolate with less than 70% cocoa but that would have to last a year. I stuck with the first offer. Easy. Also he said “snacking chocolate” so chocolate deserts are allowed, and hopefully hot chocolate because I had one yesterday but just keeping it quiet.
Cook two homemade meals per week;
Easy – for someone who cooks – not me! I never cook! I hate cooking! Erghhh such a waste of time and money. I am more accustomed to Waitrose for taking care of the preparation and to picking up “ready-made meals” from M&S. James loves to cook and has been the chef for our entire relationship. I assume… it is only fair for us to share this task now that we are living together.
On our first day together in the city, a Sunday, James had to work with his colleague JC to prepare for the week ahead. I spent most of the day settling my bits into the flat and relaxing after our long journey. As I had some time on my hands, I promised the boys that I would cook them dinner, a hearty sunday meal.
The menu came together from a craving to eat potato dauphinoise and knowledge that chicken was probably the easiest meat to cook.
Apricot Chicken and Potato Dauphinoise
Ingredients for the chicken:
- One Whole Chicken
- Tin of Apricots (halved)
- 1L Chicken Stock
Place the chicken on the oven tray and cover in the stock and apricots. Cook chicken as recommended on packaging. To keep the chicken juicy, drizzle the stock and apricot mixture over the chicken as it roasts.
For the Potato Dauphinoise, I took the recipe from my old student cookbook by Sam Stern. I then covered the top with gruyere cheese before baking. There was a little too much sauce per pot as I used ramekins rather than a large dish so … a little overspill but still delicious. Plated with some cooked haricot vert. I was pretty pleased for a first attempt. I had planned to have the remainder of the chicken for my lunch on Monday (resourceful et all) but I clearly forgot I was eating with two hungry men who devoured all the chicken and the extra portion of potato dauphinoise – a good review!