I started drafting this post ages ago, when Jack was still working in Belgium, so a lot had to be deleted in the end. I fear that this may have been his last summer in Brussels, which is fine as long as he continues to come back to visit.
Incidentally, we went up the road to Pizza Lilo for dinner one night during the Week of Hell, while I was trying to get out of the house. I’d been passing it four times a week on my way to and from training, so it was about time. They gave Jack extra anchovies (like father, like son), so everyone was happy.
On a fraternal note, check out Diarmuid’s video of his trip around the US and Canada with Fiona. As usual, it puts any modicum of my creativity to absolute shame.
While Jack was here, I made dinner for him one night when he was off work. I’ve made this Jamie Oliver bake before, it is so simple but soooo tasty. A word of warning: it gets unbelievably hot after an hour in the oven, so try not to lose a layer of the inside of your mouth.
Chicken, tomato and basil bake
4 chicken legs (although I used chicken breasts), jointed
Sea salt (optional) and ground black pepper
A big bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped
A load of red and yellow cherry tomatoes (halved) and some plum tomatoes (quartered)
1 whole bulb of garlic, broken into cloves, still in the skins
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
Optional: tin of cannellini beans, a few handfuls of new potatoes
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/gas 4.
Season the chicken pieces and put them in one layer in a pan, followed by the basil leaves, stalks, tomatoes, garlic cloves, chilli and olive oil. Seriously, this is embarrassing easy. It’s a pity I have such a terrible memory, I wouldn’t need to type it up at all. Mix everything up, getting the tomatoes underneath.
Pop into the oven for an hour, mixing it again halfway through. If you are using chicken legs, the skin should be crisp and the meat falling off the bone.
If you are going for the beans/potato option, add them to the mix to cook with the chicken. A lot of water comes out of the tomatoes, so it can be a bit watery. You can also accompany with mashed potato or pasta.
Before serving, squeeze the garlic out of the skins and give it a final stir. Delicious!