Sunday, 27 June 2010

Crowd Pleaser Chicken

I've made over a hundred pieces of this chicken today and didn't even break a sweat doing it.

When Summer rolls around my favourite meals are often the quickest and easiest to throw together and this chicken fits the bill perfectly.

Another plus is that it tastes even better served at room temp than it does hot which takes the pressure off the cook to have everything ready at the same time and in the full heat of Summer it can be left to marinade over night and baked first thing in the morning when turning the oven on isn't as big an issue as it is in the evening.

Firstly I want to deal with the chicken. Use whichever cuts of chicken your family like best but keep in mind that this marinade tastes best when used on the darker meat so it's best to stick with drumsticks or thighs. Once you have your chicken in front of you, make two deep cuts in each piece of meat. If you are cooking this chicken and planning to serve some to children its worth pointing out that it is quite spicy. What I always do is choose 2/3 smaller cuts of chicken for Chloe and don't score those, then before I give it to her I remove the skin. The skin allows some of the sweetness and the smallest amount of heat to seep into the chicken but protects it from the bulk of the spice and it means I don't have to marinade and cook two separate batches of chicken. Chloe loves it and she's generally a very anti-spice child.


3lb chicken pieces (roughly 20 pieces depending on size)

3 tblsp dark brown sugar
1 tblsp paprika (smoked, sweet or regular)
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

4 tblsp oil of choice

Place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and add the oil to make a loose paste.

Add the chicken pieces and use your hands to turn and coat each piece of chicken thoroughly. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge to marinade for at least an hour or you can leave it over night.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Place a wire rack over a large roasting pan or tray and load it up with chicken pieces. The rack isn't absolutely necessary but it does save you having to turn the chicken once or twice while it's cooking. Bake the chicken in the oven for 35-40 minutes, then remove it from the oven and leave to rest for at least 10-15 minutes or better yet, leave it to cool completely before serving.

And enjoy.

And even a couple of pieces for the kiddies too.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Cheap Eats

The time is very nearly here. I've been helping a friend out by covering her maternity leave while Chloe is at school, but in less than two short weeks that will come to an end which means that if I'm not selling I won't be earning.

What better time to start cooking and enjoying cheaper meals and Summer really is a great time to cut back on food spending. We're lucky enough to have a bunch of fresh herbs and veggies in the garden that I'll be making use of and you can't beat the cheaper cuts of meat like chicken legs and wings, pork ribs and the humble burger cooked up on the barbecue.

I'll also be posting more recipes as I come up with ones I'm happy with and ones I'm confident will work for everyone. I'll be cooking only with foods in season as they'll be the cheapest and the most tasty and looking at ways of adding lots of flavour for as little money as possible using things like pork belly.

I've already a handful of great, cheap recipes here I can rely on for basic things like chapatis which help to fill out any meal, as with any breads like soda bread, focaccia and fake-accia, a quick knock up which lies somewhere between soda bread and the traditional yeasted bread.

I'll cover breakfasts, soups, salads, sides, main dishes and sweets all in an effort to find good, enjoyable food and cut the cost of our food bill at the same time.

Hopefully there won't be too many failures along the way.