Thursday, 20 February 2014

Toss 'em in the oven legs

I love chicken legs. In terms of the chicken's life, the freer the better for the meat. The chicken legs from the Ginger pig are from Packington poultry I believe, who produce some pretty good giant, meaty legs; however, as much as I hate to champion a product from a supermarket over a local shop, the best chicken legs I have ever eaten were bought from Ocado and produced by The Black Farmer. They are so free range they border on wild and one can certainly tell this from the meat - the meat is dark, chewy and rich (if I didn't know it was chicken I would have guessed game).
I have found though that most chicken legs (providing they are from a decent free range origin) are pretty fail-safe when chucked in the oven. And that is what is so great about them, they are the ultimate easy Saturday night fare. I rarely plan what I am going to do with them, instead preferring to simply put "chicken legs" on my weekly planner then toss in whichever spices/veg I feel like/have at the time. The following recipe I really enjoyed and so jotted it down...


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A sauce for a thousand uses

I don't make anywhere near as much sauces or dips as I would like to. I always tend to forget about them when I write my weekly shopping list. I find a decent sauce/dip can be used for so much more than a dip - I love to toss them into anything they go with or enhance. Just as a fantastically flavoured/infused oil can be the star secret ingredient in a salad dressing, so can a dollop of sauce in a bubbling stew or stirred into cooked grains can add a fantastic level of depth.
Recently I made a thick sauce of chilli, honey, lime and galangal. It was simple to make and thus acted as a reminder to me to not forget the importance of a few jars of home-made sauces lurking in the back of a fridge.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fish for the weekend

Our weekends seem to follow a certain pattern now that the weather has become colder and Hackney Wick has its annual hibernation away from the rest of London. The pattern seems to go: Friday evening - some sort of decadent meaty dish; Saturday morning - regular breakfast or perhaps bacon and eggs; Saturday lunch - more often than not something fishy; Saturday dinner - something easy and usually meaty (something that can be chucked in the oven for an hour); Sunday - light meals, kind of a detox for the start of the week (with a bit of cake/dessert thrown in mid-afternoon).
The reason I list this pattern is to try and understand the reason behind said pattern. It appears that fish is a natural choice for the Saturday lunch since it is surrounded by meat but, because the Sunday can be a bit lacking in flesh, is still not vegetarian. Also, another reason is that meals with fish don't generally make very good leftovers, and since our toddler doesn't eat dinner with us during the week I like to have fish for lunch on the weekend so he can have some.
Anyway, the point is is that fish is generally reserved for Saturday lunch. My partner and I do eat a fair bit during the week, but that tends to be tinned oily fish, salmon and seafood - the fishier stuff (white fish and richer dishes) tends to come in on Saturday. Another condition for Saturday lunch, which is a result of arriving back home from a morning outing with a hungry toddler, is that it has to be quick. This following recipe is a quick Saturday fish recipe, with a bit of meat thrown in.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

More apples

For some reason or other I have been even more into apples this autumn than any other. Probably because this year (since going to Morocco in June) I have been much more drawn towards the sweetness of savoury dishes cooked with fruit. Apples lend themselves so well to savoury dishes and I find the tangy sweetness they add to a dish is so suited to a good autumn dish.
The apples I had this week were organic (I try to only eat organic apples since they are on the "dirty dozen"), English Spartan apples, which I had never tried (or heard of) before. They were a beautiful rosy red and looked like large cherries, and they were very nice - a particularly sweet, crisp variety which begged to be stewed or roasted alongside some meat. The meat in question was a little plump pheasant. Game season is in full swing now and makes a delightful change to the copious amounts of chicken consumed throughout the summer months. Unforgivably (since I didn't manage to get around to getting a grouse in August) this is my first bit of game of the season. As a result I kept it simple with the following recipe of pheasant cooked with apples and lemon - a great evening warmer as the cold nights surround us thick and fast.