Sticky Maple Chicken

Sticky Maple Chicken

This really is the most lip-smacking dinner. Served with fresh crusty bread and a good salad, it’s like heaven on a plate! It’s based loosely on Maple Chicken & Ribs from Nigella Express.

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken thighs with skin and bone still on
  • 250 ml apple juice (as sharp as possible)
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 star anise or 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick (halved)
  • 6 cloves garlic (unpeeled)

Method

  1. Put the chicken pieces in a large freezer bags or into a dish.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, squelching everything together well, before sealing the bag or covering the dish.
  3. Leave to marinate in the fridge overnight or up to two days.
  4. When the marinating time is up, take the dish out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF.
  5. Pour the contents of the freezer bag into one or two large roasting tins (making sure the chicken is skin-side up), place in the oven and cook for about an 45 minutes, by which time everything should be sticky and glossed conker-brown.

Sticky Maple Chicken

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I’m a fool for you Nigella…

Nigella's lemon meringue fool

I apologise. I’ve spent far too much time this week ranting about Tesco and lard, and I’m long overdue a post about actual cooking!

This is a dessert I was treated to a few weeks ago at my lovely friend Lou-Lou‘s house, and I have to say it’s a blinder! Nigella has outdone herself again in true full-fat ‘would you like extra cream with that?’ style. It’s not a pudding to eat when you’re on a diet, let’s get that straight before we go any further.

It’s basically a lemon version of Eton Mess made with lemon curd (make sure you get the very best lemon curd you can) and it is wonderful!

She claims the recipe ‘makes enough to fill 4 small martini glasses or 2 goblets for greedy people’. We went down the ‘greedy people’ route and as you can see the portions are huge! I never though I’d say this, but when a pudding is predominantly whipped cream then the smaller portions would have been plenty. While the pudding was ambrosial, after dinner I just couldn’t manage all of mine without feeling like I was in danger of exploding.

Having said that I was the only person who didn’t pretty-much lick their sundae dish clean, so perhaps I’m a bit of a pudding lightweight! Nigella you defeated me, but I enjoyed every second of the challenge!

Anyway, this is a wonderful pudding.  Even my husband (who claims he doesn’t like cream) wolfed it down, so I’d definitely recommend it!

Nigella's lemon meringue fool

Nigella’s Lemon Meringue Fool

Makes enough to fill 4 small martini glasses or 2 goblets for greedy people.

Ingredients:

  • 150g lemon curd, plus a little to decorate
  • 1-2 teaspoons limoncello (lemon liqueur) or lemon juice
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1 meringue nest (shop-bought is fine) lemon zest, to serve

Put the lemon curd into a bowl and stir in the limoncello (or lemon juice), adding more if it seems too thick to fold into some whipped cream in a moment.
Pour the double cream into another bowl and whisk until just thick. It should be holding its shape but not so thickly whipped that it looks dry: it will thicken more as you fold in the lemon curd.
Drizzle half the lemon curd mixture over the cream and fold in with a rubber spatula, then do the same with the remaining half. You don’t want it all folded in completely: whipped cream rippled with lemon is what you’re aiming for.

Crumble the meringue nest with your fingers into the fool, and gently fold most of this into mix.. Spoon it into 4 small martini glasses (or fill 2 larger goblets) and decorate with some lemon zest curls and a drizzle of lemon curd, or add some of your favourite fruits…Enjoy!

Slutty Brownies: Just HOW Good Are They?

Slutty Brownies

Slutty Brownies seem to be every food blogger’s go-to recipe at the moment. They are being pinned, posted about and shared all over every social network I look at and they always look mighty fine. So how could I not try them? In truth I’ve been craving them for a couple of weeks now, but only got around to making them yesterday.

So are they worth all they hype?

Frankly? No. They’re alright in terms of amount-of-effort vs reward, but in terms of a delicious treat, I’d much rather eat this, or this (particularly that one), or this, or even this!

The combination of ready-bought biscuit-mix, muffin-mix and soggy Oreo biscuits just isn’t particularly great. If it was made with homemade ingredients it would be much nicer, but it would still have those damp soggy Oreos in the middle and it’s the whole slutty easiness which makes the recipe so appealing in the first place…

Even my 7 year old’s response was ‘mummy, I don’t really like this‘ and half the brownie was left on the plate. Gobsmacked is not the word. It’s a chocolatey treat, I didn’t think it would be rejected by a small boy.

That’s not to say they’re totally without merit. If you’re looking for an easy treat which involves minimum effort then by all means give them a try – I’d love to know whether you’re as underwhelmed as I am or whether you’ve found the secret to making them truly delicious…

You don’t really need a recipe for slutty brownies, but I’ve made you handy infographic which tells you pretty much all you need to know. If you did need a ‘proper’ recipe for Slutty Brownies I got mine here.

Let me know what you think 🙂

Slutty Brownies

5 Failsafe Recipes to Cook with Kids

Of course I’m fibbing a little here, no recipe is *truly* failsafe when it comes to cooking with kids. However as long as you accept the inevitable mess (flour over every surface, crunchy sugar on the floor and sticky fingerprints which you’ll be finding for months) these recipes are darn good for cooking with your little darlings.

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Recipe 1. Gingerbread Men

Never underestimate the allure of a big box of different shaped cookie cutters. The biscuit mix takes less than 5 minutes to whip up in a mixer and any bits you don’t use can then be popped into a plastic bag and frozen until you next want to make some.

  • 350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g/4½oz butter
  • 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm;in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.

Decorate with icing and raisins, sprinkles or sweets. Source

Recipe 2. Cupcakes

If you don’t fancy the enormous mess which results after combining children with cake mixture you can make the cakes ahead of time and just let the kids go crazy with the decorating, they’ll be just as happy! I use the Hummingbird Cafe recipe for vanilla cupcakes:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • Half a tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • Quarter of a tsp vanilla extract

You will need a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases. 

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Iced Superfruit Smoothie

Iced superfruit smoothie

On hot sunny days when I fancy starting the day healthily, there’s nothing nicer than this Superfruit Smoothie. Its cool, tasty, low-fat and packed with fruit – yum!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 handful of frozen blueberries
  • 1 handful frozen raspberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 pint skimmed milk

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Lashings of summer berries in the sunshine

Summer berry pudding

What could be nicer on a summery day that fresh sweet English strawberries and blueberries served with vanilla ice-cream. Mmmm….

That’s enough typing, I’m off to go and eat them – have a great weekend!

Strawberries and blueberries

Colourful crunchy and soft summer salad

Colourful summer salad

This is a lovely salad for summer days – partly because it’s so bright and beautiful! It’s also got a really interesting mix of tastes and textures, from the crisp crunchiness of the sugar snap peas and pomegranate to the softness of the avocado and tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 12 sugar snap pea pods
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1/3 cucumber
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • olive oil

Just chop and slice all the veg into bite sized pieces squeeze over the lemon juice, drizzle some olive oil and ta daaah!