Cuddle Your Dinner


Friends came to visit so we did the decent thing and killed a chicken for dinner.

Holly and Jude (7 and 13) have decided to be mainly vegetarian and to only eat meat that they know the provenance of – they want to make sure that the animals have had a good life and a quiet death. This means they mainly eat our meat –  meat from animals they have fed and cuddled. This is extraordinarily reflective and thoughtful of them.

So of course, when they came to stay and said they would like chicken for tea we obliged. On Monday morning, with Holly’s help we went and chose one of our free-range, happy Naked Neck chickens that we hatched out earlier in the year and we did the deed, by this I mean James and I did the deed.


I plucked and gutted the chicken which weighed in at 6.5lbs prepared weight.

It was a busy day with a massive cookie making session (more on this later) and a visit to Shingle Street so instead of making a stuffing for the chicken I just shoved rosemary, lemon and onions inside and popped a few rashers of bacon we had leftover on top.


We had it with home-grown runner beans, leeks, cavolo nero, potatoes roasted in duck fat, some leftover roast squash and of course gravy.


So if there is a moral of this blog post maybe it is this: cuddle the animal, look it in the eye before it dies and if you still want to eat it, enjoy it fully with the bestest of friends.

N.B. this probably means you will eat a lot of vegetables, but this is good both for you and the planet.

N.B. Apart from the wretched rosemary – see here (and a spoonful of flour in the gravy and a little butter) this was all home-grown – small little smug dance for friends in Putney to be inserted here 🙂

8 responses to “Cuddle Your Dinner

    • It was quite yummy. We had enchilladas with refried beans, chicken and tomatillo salsa for dinner last night which was good …. Holly has probably done enough chicken, lamb, duckling and pig cuddling for all of us 🙂

  1. Wow, all but the flour is very impressive, I too would be doing a little dance. In another post I also saw your winter stash of onions, I am curious to know how long you can store them for and if the cooler weather makes a difference, sounds like you are drying them out first, would love to know the rest of the process.

  2. I harvest them one a dry day once their leaves have died right down – basically I just forget about them in the garden and then panic! Previously I have dried them on a bench in the sun for a few days, but this year I did it in the polytunnel as it can’t rain in there. When they have dried I brush off the direct and any loose skins and then just store them in a tray. I imagine they will last through the winter and into the spring – I will have eaten them by then and moved onto the leeks. If we still have some left come early spring I might move them from the polytunnel into our garage as it is dark and cooler in there – I might do this anyway as I am sure it will help with the storage. Sorry I can’t help more than this. This is the first year I have really successfully grown onions in any quantity – thanks to the fabulous hugelkultur 🙂

  3. Thanks that was really great info, my climate here in northern NSW in Australia means we have lots of dry days but also lots of humidity at times, but sometimes you need cold as well otherwise things go mouldy. I grew up in England and remember wrapping up apples from our tree, we kept them in the coal shed, it was boring putting them in there, felt like it took forever and it was defo a kids job but the reward was lovely crisp sweet apples all winter. Do you make cider?

    I will go back and have a look at past posts to find out more about your hugelwhatsit. I have seen them on other blogs but always thought them a bit ugly, but you seem to have got a massive harvest from it and with my limited gardening skills I cant really afford to be to be fussy about them!

    • But in NSW you also have mango trees and other wonderfulness because of the warmth and humidity I guess – it is always a trade off. We have planted a cider orchard and this year will press some juice for the first time – maybe next year we will make some cider.

      The hugelkultur is a bit ugly but it is really working for us. To be honest my whole garden is not the prettiest but it produces enough food for us with limited time input.

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