Recipe: Chicken, Bacon & Leek Casserole

chickenAs mentioned in my recent Seven Days, Seven Dinners post, this is a great recipe for the transition into Autumn, when we’re craving some comfort food, but not yet ready for full-on winter warmers.

It could easily be adapted for slow cooking as well, though I’ve personally given up doing chicken in the slow cooker as I find it very often overcooks and goes stringy.


  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 4 slices streaky bacon
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 med leeks
  • Thyme
  • White wine
  • Olive oil
  • Stock cube
  • Flour


1. Chop the onion and bacon, and fry in olive oil until browned. Add garlic and chicken. Meanwhile chop leeks into rounds and put into a casserole dish.

2. Fry for a couple of mins, then add thyme to taste, and stir in a heaped tablespoon of flour. Add a good slug of white wine, and stir well, bubble for a couple of mins.

3. Add chicken mixture to leeks in casserole dish, you can also crumble in a stock cube and add a bit of boiling water at this point if you like. Season to taste.

4. Bung in the oven at about 170C for about an hour.

I served with with mustard mashed potatoes and peas, but it would go equally well with rice and/or any green veg.  Delicious!


September Sort Out



Good morning, and Happy September!

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Just a quick aside – if you missed my car boot sale bargains yesterday, there’s a post all about them HERE.  As ever, if you can’t click through, let me know in the comments here and I’ll get an invitation sent to you (please introduce yourself if I don’t already ‘know’ you).

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September always feels like a fresh, new start, I think. It’s the end of the looong summer holidays, the start of a new school year, and of the autumn, and I always look forward to getting back into normal routine once the new school term starts.

A side effect of the summer holidays and being out of routine and somewhat more relaxed, is that – in my house at least – everything is a bit chaotic: cleaning has gone somewhat by the wayside, tidying hasn’t been what it could be, and everything’s just feeling a bit disorganized.

So I’m going to undertake a little project for September – the #SeptemberSortOut

I’m going to commit to sorting out/tidying/decluttering one area each and every day during the month. It could be anything – one drawer, my nail polish collection, a shelf, my magazine rack, or on days when I’ve got a bit more time to spend on it, maybe a couple of kitchen cupboards or my filing cabinet (gulp!), or even my wardrobe.

I’ll be posting daily pics on Instagram (follow me – @caroline_mrsm) and on Twitter (@mrsmstweets), using the hashtag #Septembersortout

Would anybody else like to play along? Feel free, the more the merrier, as they say.

I’ll also do weekly blog posts updating on my progress.

Right, I’m off to make a start on my To Do list for today – I feel it may be a long one!

Seven Days, Seven Dinners

Please excuse the awful photography in this post – they are all hasty iPhone snaps.  I certainly shan’t be in demand as a food stylist any time soon!


Slow cooked jerk pork with Caribbean salsa (from this recipe) , served with roast potatoes, tortillas, green salad

The weather was still really hot when I cooked this, and although I’d originally bought the pork joint planning to make a traditional Sunday roast, this was so much more suitable for al fresco eating.

pulled pork



Salmon with wasabi, white wine and horseradish sauce, new potatoes, asparagus

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William was away and Ashley and I weren’t particularly hungry, so we decided on snacky dinner outside on the balcony with a nice glass of white wine.

Baked camembert with pancetta cubes, celery and bread

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Chicken bacon and leek casserole, mustard mash, peas

This is one of my favourite recipes for easing into early autumn – comfort food, but not too heavy.  Recipe for this one to follow next week.





Spaghetti and meatballs in tomato and mascarpone sauce with buttered asparagus.

Bit of a cheat this one, as I needed something quick and easy: bought meatballs and bought sauce.  Not as tasty as homemade, but superfast to get on the table when the hungry hordes are waiting to be fed!




Butternut squash and bacon risotto

I love butternut squash, and I love risotto, but this is one of my first successes at marrying the two.  I’ve discovered through trial and error that the best way is to roast the butternut squash in the oven first, and to add it into the risotto right at the end, otherwise it breaks up and goes soggy.  This was well-received even by my fussy teenager.




Prawns with chilli and ginger in a lemon butter sauce with ciabtta. Yum.

Euphemistically known in our house as ‘Jamie’s Prawns’ because the original recipe was from a Jamie Oliver cookbook, we’ve honed this one over the years to our own tastes, and it makes a perfect light supper dish.





Currently: End of August





Just started this – not loving it yet, finding it quite hard going if I’m honest.



I’ve been driving Ashley’s car a lot this past week, and he only has one CD in it at the moment, which is an old James Blunt one which he played to death in the hot tub when he first got it years ago, and made me really sick of it. I still don’t like James Blunt much.



Just finished re-watching the first series of Damages with Glenn Close and Rose Byrne. Enjoyed it almost as much the second time around.

Also watching The Great British Bake Off, which I’ve never seen before. Enjoying that, too.



Loving Pixi Glow tonic, which I’m using every night and which has really made a different to my skin – it’s definitely looking more fresh and healthy in the mornings.


Frequently Worn Outfits/Items

I’ve been living in a pair of bright pink skinny jeans that I bought from Tu at Sainsburys earlier this summer. Super comfy and fab colour – pity they don’t make them in other colours as well, as I’d have gone back and bought more!


I’m not generally a huge fan of roast dinner, but the chicken with all the trimmings that Ashley cooked on Monday really hit the spot – perfect food for the end of the dull, wet and rainy Bank Holiday.



Douwe Egberts flavoured coffee – I bought Enticingly Chocolate for a change from Smooth Caramel, and it’s not nearly as nice, disappointingly.


Summer seems to be over rather abruptly, doesn’t it? August was a bit of a let down, weather-wise.


I had a fabulous day out in Cheltenham last week with my bestie, Faye. Both our birthdays fall in August and last year instead of buying each other gifts, we had a day out in Bath and enjoyed it so much that we decided to make it an annual event. Cheltenham was lovely – so much so that we might even go back again for next year’s birthday outing.


September is going to be a busy month with lots of fun stuff happening. Culminating in a week away in Greece. I. Cannot. Wait.


New towels. I have somehow become the owner of a grotty selection of mis-matched old scratchy towels and have been putting off buying new ones for ages. The time has now come. New, luxurious, fluffy towels that match each other – such decadence!

Random Thought

I wish there were more than 24 hours in each day – I always seem to be playing catch-up.


Random Questions Tag

Jay over at My Family & Other Cricketers had to pose 11 random questions as part of a tag she was doing, and she asked for volunteers to answer them, so I put myself forward.  Here are my answers to Jay’s questions:

1.  What would you do on your ideal day? 

Oh, it would have to be a day on holiday, I think … And I’m thinking probably the Maldives. The weather would be perfect, the relaxation would be total, I would be reading an amazing book, my family would be with me; there would be gourmet food, delicious cocktails and I wouldn’t have to lift a finger. Just perfect.

 2. What did you want to be “when you grew up”? And did you achieve it?

I always rather fancied working at an airport, but ended up on a cruise ship which, in retrospect, was probably a better option. I also quite fancied being a journalist at one time, I seem to recall – ha ha, the frustrated writer in me found an outlet in blogging later in life!

 3. Tattoos and/or piercings; do you have any, do you love/hate them?  

Hate hate hate, with a passion. I have my ears pierced but nothing else, and would never ever ever EVER have a tattoo. Each to his/her own, though, obviously. My 14 year old niece recently had her nose pierced (14? What are her parents thinking?), and made the mistake of asking me whether or not I liked it!!

4.  Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

If I’m still living in the same place, doing much the same as I’m doing now, and I’m still healthy, I’ll be very happy, thankyouverymuch.

 5. What are you reading right now?

I’m reading a Simon Kernick novel, Siege, which is not holding my attention as much as his thrillers normally do. I’m nearly at the end and looking forward to reading something different next.

 6.  Serious theatre or musicals; or do you not visit the theatre?

Both. But more musicals, if I’m honest. I’d love to go to the theatre more, but it’s such a lot of money these days, it always seems a fortune to spend on one evening’s entertainment.

 7.  Do you have a secret crush? (famous person or otherwise!)

I don’t think I do.

 8) Who knows about your blog, or is it secret?

Not at all a secret. All my immediate family know about it, but my husband and son never read, my Mum does, my Dad doesn’t unless my Mum makes him read a particular post(!), and my brother and his wife dip in and out, I think.  A few ‘real life’ friends found my blog through my Twitter profile which has a link here (hello Sarah R and Claire S – and maybe Julia P, Jenny H and Rachel B!), but I don’t really tell people about it.

9. Would your ideal holiday (if funds were unlimited) involve seeing more of your own country or worldwide travel?

I love to travel and I often feel that there’s a lot of the UK that I’d like to explore further, but time is limited at the moment and our preference when it comes to holidays is gorgeous weather and relaxation, so I’d have to say worldwide. I do hope that in the future, as time and funds allow, we are able to travel and see more of the world on our doorstep as well as further afield.

 10. If you could rescue one item from your house in the event of a disaster what would it be?

The answer to this used to be ‘photo albums’, but now all my photos are stored online (thanks, Flickr), I think the answer would be my engagement and wedding rings, and William’s soft toy elephant which he still has on his bed at the age of 14 (don’t tell him I told you that!)

11. If you were invited to a fancy dress party would you get excited, have a head brimming with ideas and immediately throw yourself into creating a fabulous outfit or do you struggle and wish it wasn’t fancy dress?

GREAT question, this. I loathe fancy dress parties, as does Ashley. Thankfully I haven’t been invited to one for years, but the last time I was, I explained that I didn’t ‘do’ fancy dress, and was more than happy to attend the party, if they’d like me to, but I wouldn’t be dressing up! They were fine about it, and we were not the only people to attend in our normal clothes, by a long chalk. Every time somebody looked me up and down and said ‘what have you come as, then?’, I replied ‘A party guest’.


Thanks, Jay, for some interesting questions, and if anybody else would like to play along and answer these on your own blog, feel free.  Let me know in the comments so I can come and have a read.