CSSB: Cream Linen Jacket

Welcome back to CSSB and this week’s bargain is a brilliant one, a fantastic cream linen jacket from Marks and Spencers.

What makes this one particularly special is that it was bought in a charity shop, but it still had the original tags on!  I love finding bargains like this, things that people have given away without even wearing them once. It’s as good as finding them in the original shop, but you only pay a fraction of the price.

I love wearing jackets, but a linen jacket has been something I been looking for since forever. I have a lovely white dress with a red print flower pattern which would look great for business meetings if only I could pair it up with the right jacket and this one looks fabulous.

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BRAND: Marks and Spencers

PRICE: £4.99

(Original Tag Price: £35)

 

I love the cut of this jacket. The long lapels, the cluster of little buttons at the front and the curved edges at the bottom of the panels all make it look like a really elegant piece.  I love the lining too – understated but with a touch of personality with the discreet diamond pattern.

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As well as the white dress, I can see this becoming a really versatile piece alongside a pair of white linen-mix trousers that I picked up from Matalan last summer in their sale. They didn’t fit comfortably then, but one year on and a little weight lost and they sit beautifully on my hips. I look forward to trying these out together.

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SK: Chicken in Cream and White Wine

I love this recipe, we have several versions of it now including one that comes from a slow cooker (crock pot) but this one still, to my tongue tastes the best. I hope you like it. It is an excellent ‘show off’ recipe for parents/new partners. Done correctly, it tastes like it came from a posh restaurant.

I recommend cooking this with alcoholic wine, even if you don’t drink it, because it really does enhance the flavour, but I guess non-alcoholic wine works well as a substitute if you are particularly picky. Again, I have been told that tofu works well as a substitute for chicken, or you can make it with more mushrooms to replace the chicken instead. Naturally, you can use cream substitute (Elmlea for the Brits), butter substitute for the garlic bread (Vitalite or free-from spread will do) and gluten free pasta if that works better for you.

TOTAL COOKING TIME FROM CHOP TO CHOMP: 1 hour

SERVE WITH: White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio if you’re fussy about types, Chardonney tends to be a little too sweet in combination with the creamy sauce.

Serves: 2 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 medium sized white onion
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs (OR half a teaspoon of sage and half a teaspoon of dried tarragon)
  • Half a dozen closed cup mushroom (1-2 inches in diameter)
  • Sprinkle of salt and ground black pepper to season
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic granules OR 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Small splash of cooking oil
  • Half a glass of white wine (about 125 mils does the trick)
  • 300ml of fresh double cream
  • 4 cups of dried pasta (shells works really well for this as they absorb the cream and create a lovely texture)

Optional Extras:

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh tarragon
  • White sauce granules/Corn Flour to thicken sauce
  • 4 slices of smoked bacon

WANT TO SHOW OFF?

  • Garlic bread (make your own! Get some soft bread rolls or 2 slices of bread, split them in half and butter them, sprinkle a bit of mixed herbs and garlic granules on the top and save them for later)
  • You can use fresh pasta instead of the dried stuff. The recipe is for dried, but if you decide to use fresh pasta then skip step 7, make sure you leave the cream mix to simmer for at least 15 minutes after step 8 and leave cooking the pasta until step 11 – it should literally take 5 minutes to cook through)

Utensils:

  • Wok
  • Large saucepan
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp Knife
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Colander
  • Ladle
  • Baking Tray (for garlic bread)
  • To dish up: 2 plates and a small side plate

1) Fill and boil the kettle for your pasta. Pour a small splash of cooking oil into your wok.

2) Slice your onions and dice your mushrooms.

Open your wine.

3) Dice your chicken into small bitesized pieces. Place in a bowl and add your salt, pepper, garlic granules (if you are using fresh garlic, peel it and chop it as finely as you can and add it now, or if you have a garlic crusher use that instead) and dried herbs and stir together so that the chicken is coated.  If you are using bacon, slice the bacon into thin strips and add to the bowl with the chicken so that it is coated in the herbs and seasoning.

4) Heat the oil in the wok and add the onion once it is hot. Cook the onions until they turn slightly yellow and become softer.

5) Add the chicken (and bacon) to the wok and stir in with the onions until the bacon turns light pink and the chicken turns white.

6) Once the meat has changed colour, pour in the wine and as soon as it bubbles up, add the mushrooms and stir them into the mix. Turn the heat down immediately and, if you have one, cover the wok with a lid.

7) Start cooking your dried pasta at this point. Cover it with boiling water and star cooking it on a high temperature, and then turn down the heat once it bubbles up. Remember to stir it with a wooden spoon occasionally to stop it sticking to the pan. If you are making garlic bread, remember to preheat your oven at around about this point.

8) Crumble your stock cube into the mix and stir until it melts and the wine colours slightly. Then add your cream and stir slowly until a smooth mix is achieved. Turn the heat down, recover with the lid (if you have one) and leave it to simmer while the pasta cooks.

9) Be a good host and keep up with clearing up

10) Once your pasta is cooked, drain it using the colander and rinse it with the clean hot water from the kettle. 

11) Remove the lid and give your mix a stir. If it is too thin for your taste, add some white sauce granules or corn flour to the mix to thicken it up.

12) While you are dishing up your pasta and mix, put your garlic bread into the oven to warm up. If you are adding fresh tarragon, stir it into the mix before you start dishing up your pasta. I recommend heating your plates for this meal, as it can lose its heat very quickly otherwise. To do this, pop them in the oven or under the grill for 30 seconds if they are oven proof, or if not rinse them in hot water for a few seconds and dry them with a clean tea-towel.

13) Dishing up time! Serve your pasta onto the plates and add the chicken and cream mixture to the middle of the pasta. Once you’re done, rescue your garlic bread from the oven and serve it on a side plate. Don’t forget to turn your oven and hobs off.

And there you have it! Chicken and mushroom a la creme, served with pasta and garlic bread. Perfect with a nice cold glass of dry white wine.

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