Category: Sauces, Condiments and Spreads


Surf & Turf Burger of Shame

September 15th, 2012 — 6:39pm

Shame is, genuinely, my favourite ingredient. I am the queen of the guilty pleasure, the mistress of filth, the dominatrix of ‘so wrong it’s right’. Of course I try to eat the best quality food I can, most of the time. The rest of the time I’m necking Diet Coke, processed cheese, SPAM, instant noodles, SPAM with instant noodles, SPAM on rice with a fried egg on top, fish balls, crab sticks and…McDonald’s.

I love McDonald’s, despite everything that is bad about it, and I don’t care who knows. I’m particularly a fan of what I like to call ‘The Inhalable’ – the 99p cheeseburger which can be eaten in a few bites. I find it hard to pass a Maccy D’s without nabbing one. The fillet o fish is seriously underrated; the sausage and egg McMuffin is a hangover bashing salt fest and the Big Mac is, well, a classic.

If you’re gasping with shock and horror at this point, you’re probably reading the wrong blog.

So the Big Mac ‘special sauce’ is something I’ve been trying to get right for quite a long time. Recipes do exist on the internet, which are supposedly based on the actual recipe released by McD’s but are in fact nothing like the real thing; they also call for ingredients we can’t find easily in the UK. Then, the other day, Mr. Essex Eating published a recipe for something called ‘fry sauce’. This looked very much like Big Mac sauce so I made it the same evening and blow me down if it wasn’t pretty much there and AND I could now put as much of it as I like in my burger.

IN YOUR FACE RONALD MCDONALD!

So a partner in crime was enlisted and some serious burgers got made. Way too much incredible minced chuck was purchased from O’Sheas in Knightsbridge (no point dicking about; I like to mix filth with quality to enhance the feeling of guilt), buns were acquired from the fabulous Kindred Bakery in Herne Hill (they stand up really well to a juicy boiger), prawns were nabbed from the fishmonger….yeah that’s right, surf and turf, baby. You see, the sauce is remarkably similar to that used in a fried shrimp po’ boy; it works with the beef, it works with the prawns, now why not bring them all to that party? I’d ummed and ahhed between prawns or beef, prawns or beef until I was told in no uncertain terms by PiC (partner in crime) that both were going in.

It was glorious. Crunchy spiced cornmeal coated deep fried prawns, medium rare patties of shit hot beef, slappy cheese, iceberg, loads of rip off Big Mac sauce and of course, the magic ingredient, a hefty dollop of shame.

Surf and Turf Burger of Shame

Minced beef for burgers (size depends on your bun; it’s not hard, just form it into a patty, not too thick)
Slappy processed cheese slices
Iceberg lettuce, shredded
Onion, sliced as thinly as possible
Buns, lightly toasted
About 4 raw king prawns per burger
Polenta, for coating the prawns
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning (or substitute some celery salt plus paprika)
Oil, for deep frying

Pretty simple, this. Get a plate and cover it with a generous amount of polenta plus the Old Bay Seasoning, a little salt and some pepper.

Heat your oil for deep frying and get your heavy pan on for cooking the burgers so its nice and hot. When the oil is ready, dip each prawn in egg, then in the polenta, then drop into the oil. Do them in small batches so the temperature of the oil doesn’t drop. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm.

Cook the burgers to your liking – couple of minutes each side. I turn them a few times as I’ve seen burgery expert people doing. Apparently it’s advisable to turn them as frequently as possible – knock yourself out. Melt the cheese slice on top after the final turn. Then it’s an assembly job. I won’t patronise you. Put the burger together with PLENTY of fry sauce.

Dan’s fry sauce (Dan’s recipe from Essex Eating)

Makes enough for 4 burgers

1 Tbs French’s classic yellow mustard
1 1/2 Tbs Heinz ketchup
2 Heaped Tbs Helmans mayonnaise
1 Tsp Colman’s English mustard
2 Heaped Tbs finely chopped gherkins or cornichons,
2 Dashes Tabasco
Dash Worcester sauce
Grind of Pepper

Mix it all together.

48 comments » | Burgers, Guilty Pleasures, Meat, Sandwiches, Sauces, Sauces, Condiments and Spreads, Seafood, Shellfish

Louisiana Crab Cakes with Celeriac Remoulade

February 15th, 2012 — 7:44pm

I’ve really fallen for the food of Louisiana since making a po’ boy last week. The spice mix sent to me by @Laissezchef is excellent and in order to find a way of getting more of it into my hungry, hungry face, I decided to make me some crab cakes, Southern style.

Although I enjoy the odd British, potato bolstered fish cake, I’ve never really been mad keen. Often they’re more potato than fish, making them bland and heavy. American fish (or in this case, crab) cakes, rarely use any such filler, and if they do, its usually breadcrumbs, which give a much lighter result. The differences don’t stop there however, and there’s one ingredient that’s always put me off: mayonnaise. Mayonnaise INSIDE the fish cake. There’s just something about the idea of it that’s always made me feel slightly nauseous but I decided to bite the bullet and, as the Americans would say, suck it up.

It turns out that the mayo is magic, binding with real silkiness – hardly surprising since it is essentially a load of oil. This probably should bother me, but since these are hardly healthy by the time they’ve been fried anyway I made the decision to get over it.

I used a mixture of white and brown meat (the latter adding so much flavour), so that the end result was incredibly, well, crabby. Rich and decadent, with the sweetness of the mellowed red pepper playing off the crab, and a punchy background of herbs and spring onion, which, to my huge relief, didn’t overwhelm. Fried in a mixture of polenta and a little more of that Louisiana spice, the coating turned out really crunchy – a lovely contrast to the soft innards.

To go with, a celeriac remoulade. I just love celeriac raw, never more so than bound with a good, home-made mayo. To tart it up, chopped pickled gherkins, herbs, a good whack of mustard and a generous souring with lemon juice plus my new favourite ingredient, juice from the pickle jar.

As always when faced with the leftovers, my thoughts turned to sandwiches. First came the obvious, crab cake, remoulade and hot sauce; second came a deluxe fish finger number (above). Hubba hubba.

Louisiana Crab Cakes with Celeriac Remoulade (makes 12, easily halved)

450g cooked white and brown crab meat (fresh crab is pricey, so if you want to make these more affordable, tinned crab white meat would be an option)
5 spring onions, very finely chopped (white and green parts)
1 red pepper, very finely chopped
2 sticks celery, very finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons chives, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, very finely chopped (optional)
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise (I made my own, recipe here)
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon New Orleans spice mix (e-mail to purchase)

Polenta plus a little more spice mix, for coating
Oil, for frying

Soften the red pepper and celery very gently for about 15 minutes until lovely and soft but not coloured. Set aside and allow to cool.

Pick through the crab meat to check for any pieces of shell, then place in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients, including the softened veg (when cool), plus some salt and pepper. Mix well and taste for seasoning.

Form into cakes and set aside to chill in the fridge for an hour.

After this time, cover a plate with polenta, then add another half tablespoon of spice and mix it together. Coat each crab cake by turning it over in the mixture and dusting off any excess.

Heat about 2cm vegetable, groundnut or other frying oil in a heavy based frying pan and cook the cakes for a few minutes each side until golden and crisp. Cook them in batches of 3 or 4, so as not to crowd the pan and lower the temperature of the oil. Drain on kitchen paper then keep warm in a low oven while you cook the remaining cakes.

Celeriac Remoulade

1/2 small celeriac, peeled
1 quantity 2 egg yolk mayo (recipe here)
3 sweet pickled gherkins, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon chives, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon sweet American mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
A little juice from the pickle jar
Salt

Squeeze the lemon juice into a large bowl. To deal with the celeriac, peel it, then cut it into fine matchsticks. I have a nifty peeler which makes lovely little strands out of vegetables. I realise most of you lot probably don’t own one of these, so I’m sorry but you’ll have to slog it out with the knife. Don’t be tempted to grate the celeriac unless you have a really good, coarse grater, because it will go all claggy and horrible when mixed with the mayo; it needs to retain bite. So, once you have your strands, toss immediately in the lemon juice to prevent discolouration.

Mix in all the other ingredients, adjusting the seasoning as you go; you may want more hot sauce, more mustard, more salt etc.

39 comments » | Fish and Seafood, Sandwiches, Sauces, Condiments and Spreads, Seafood, Shellfish, Side Dishes, Vegetables

My Favourite Recipes (& Guilty Pleasures) of 2011

December 31st, 2011 — 12:00pm

Food Stories has been predominantly recipe (not restaurant) focused this year. Creating is what makes me feel happiest inside, it turns out. So here are my favourite recipes of 2011, followed by the most memorable guilty pleasures; it would be terribly neglectful to exclude the latter, I think, as it’s surely clear by now that I’m quite partial to a filthy (probably pork-based, definitely artery-shuddering) snackette, or four.

1. Egg Yolk Ravioli (top photo)

It took three attempts, but I eventually nailed this recipe and was rewarded with some of the most decadent pasta I’ve ever eaten; a quivering yolk coddled by a ring of spinach and ricotta, ready to ooze headlong into a sauce that is made almost entirely from melted butter. Crushed pink peppercorns and purple basil made it one of my prettiest plates of 2011, too.

2. Piri Piri Chicken

2011 was the year I got even more into BBQ. Come drizzle, hail or sunshine, I was out there guarding that Weber, tongs in hand, bucket of meat on standby. We worked our way through jerk; brisket; brats cooked in beer; pulled pork and an obscene amount of wings (more on those later) but one of my favourite recipes was this piri piri chicken, inspired by a local takeaway. The combination of charred chicken (for piri piri must be charred), feisty chilli and tangy vinegar sauce made this one of my hits of the summer.

3. Boston Baked Beans

These rich and smoky Boston baked beans are thick with molasses and packed with nubs of smoked pork belly. They’re about as different to regular baked beans as you can imagine and they rocked my world.

4. Baghdad Eggs

I first came across Baghdad eggs in Jake Tilson’s brilliant cook book, ‘A Tale of 12 Kitchens’. This combination of  onions, sharp yoghurt and spiced butter on eggs is now my favourite weekend brunch.

5. Daim Bar Ice Cream

I visited Sweden this year and re-discovered Daim Bars. They went straight into ice cream. I watched my boyfriend devour the remains of this, straight from the tub with a spoon, after which he lay back, clutching his stomach, moaning “I feel siiiiiiick”. In a good way, you understand.

6. Ham Cooked in Coca Cola with a Rum and Molasses Glaze

The only way to make this sticky-sweet ham any better would be to pull great big hunks off it, stick it in a sandwich with some deep fried pickles and…oh, wait a minute.

7. Hickory Smoked Hot Wings 

After my first batch of home made hot wings, I wanted to do a variation and decided to smoke them using hickory wood chips, before dousing them as usual in Frank’s Hot Sauce and melted butter. Come to mama.

8. Smoky Aubergine and Lamb Pide

Pide are like a pointy Middle Eastern version of pizza. I based the recipe on my ‘Peckham Pizza’ (based on lahmacun). The topping is an intense paste made from spiced, minced lamb and the flesh from a charred aubergine. Garnished with chopped pickles and herbs, they’re lovely eaten as is, or wrapped around some salad.

 9. Pork Pibil Tacos

This pibil was made with pork knuckles and smothered in achiote paste – a wonderful ingredient which simply has no substitute. The tacos were spicy, drizzled as they were with a sauce made from orange juice, onion and scotch bonnet chillies.

10. Sausage Rolls with Apricots and Whisky-Caramelised Onions

And finally, a seasonal entry at number 10, my new favourite sausage roll recipe. Onions were slowly, slowly caramelised then bubbled furiously with whisky before going into these sausage rolls along with some dried apricots. The sweetness worked so well with the sausage meat and I’ve had great feedback from people who’ve made them this Christmas.

For the guilty pleasures, I’ve exercised some restraint (most uncharacteristic) and narrowed it down to five:

1. Baked Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Spinach

Sneaking in on 3rd Jan was this rather naughty dish I made for my boyfriend’s birthday dinner. Home-made gnocchi baked in a sauce of Gorgonzola and cream, with a little spinach thrown in to ease the guilt. The gnocchi goes crispy on top while remaining gooey and soft underneath. A cardiologist’s nightmare.

2. Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing and Candied Bacon

Candied bacon is definitely one of my top guilty pleasures of the year, so much so I wrote a whole post about making it and using it. I have fond memories though of this ‘salad’ garnish, chopped candied bacon sprinkled over a river of blue cheese dressing and crunchy iceberg.

3. Deep Fried Pickles

Everyone went mad for these in 2011. I stuffed mine into a sandwich with coca cola ham and hot sauce. Then I had a lie down.

4. Meatwagon Burgers

I’ve followed Yianni’s journey from his van in Peckham, through #Meateasy in New Cross and now to Meat Liquor via The Rye. The latter has to be the most convenient and dangerous burger vending situation ever in existence if the state of my waistline is anything to go by. The Rye pub is opposite my house you see and for a few glorious months I needed to do little more than hop over the road to get my fix. Now they’re gone and Meat Liquor is in central London. I could cry.

5. Eggy Bread and Candied Bacon Sandwich

In at number 5: the sandwich of shame. I had candied bacon to hand and I’d just made eggy bread. It had to be done, see? We felt the guilt after eating this but damn, it was good. Sick, but good. If you’re into sandwiches, I’ve written a post about my top 5 here.

Phew. No wonder I need to lose weight. The diet inevitably starts er, tomorrow but until then I’ve got a Ginger Pig rib eye with my name on it. Happy New Year everyone. Thank you for reading and here’s to a tasty 2012. Cheers!

 

36 comments » | Barbecue, Brunch, Burgers, Christmas, Desserts, Dressings, Eggs, Gnocchi, Guilty Pleasures, Ice Cream, Main Dishes, Meat, Peckham, Round-ups, Salads, Salsa, Sandwiches, Sauces, Condiments and Spreads, Vegetables

Hot Sauce: My Top 4

December 15th, 2011 — 8:08am

We all know that chilli is addictive; the more you eat the more you become tolerant to the fire and want increasing amounts on everything. I have this ‘problem’. I want chilli pickle, chilli oil and every type of imported dried chilli I can get my hands on. I even bought a naga chilli plant (at Brockley Market), so that I can grow plenty of the hottest chillies in the world while simultaneously being too scared to eat them. When it comes to hot sauce though, it’s been a real personal mission. A great hot sauce can liven up just about any meal, be it jerk chicken with rice and peas (a must) or simply cheese on toast.

Everyone has at least one hot sauce in their cupboard, right? I think it’s a shame that so often that bottle is nothing more than a lonely Tabasco, a weeny thing that suggests fierce heat but doesn’t particularly deliver, despite having a pleasant peaty flavour. It has its place, which is often at the back of the cupboard where it sits unloved for years sporting an orange crust betwixt bottle and fiddly green cap.

The best hot sauces make you pause before dinner and think, ‘I wonder if I could get away with a blob of X on this?’  and they make you push the boundaries of your tolerance; we’ve all enthusiastically scooped up a massive blob – ‘I can take it!’ – only to be reduced to a snivelling wreck. A good hot sauce will make you crave, crave, crave. I’ve tried a LOT of varieties in recent years and these are the ones I think find the right balance between their position on the Scoville Scale and flavour. A hot sauce shouldn’t simply be very hot, you see (I’ve tried ‘Death Sauce‘ and found it unbearable); it should have depth, sweetness, acidity, salt and it should capture the flavour of the chilli in question. It’s a big ask. Here are my favourites, in no particular order:

1. ‘No Joke’ [see www.nojokepeppersauce.co.uk. £3.25 + pp for 170ml. You'll need to e-mail info@nojokepeppersauce.co.uk if you want to order some, for the moment - new website coming soon. Follow the creator, Susanna on Twitter at @nojokepepper]. 

‘No Joke’ hot sauce (‘created in Trinidad, hand-made in Cumbria’), the newest addition to my cupboard, winged its way to me via food writer Adam Coghlan (his girlfriend’s mum makes it). I’ve tried a lot of scotch bonnet-based sauces in my time and this is one of the best. It has a jammy consistency, with a pure scotch bonnet flavour offset by the sweet, sour and spicy notes of papaya, lime and ginger. The heat pulls no punches but is balanced by the sugar and spicing. A truly tropical-tasting hot sauce.

2. Holy Fuck Sauce by The Rib Man [£5 for 250ml from www.theribman.co.uk]

Londoners have been going crazy for this sauce, and rightly so. It comes from the kitchen of Mark Gevaux (The Rib Man) and was apparently named ‘Holy Fuck’ because that’s what people say when they first taste it. He uses scotch bonnet and a smaller amount of bhut jolokia or naga, the world’s hottest chilli. It does, of course, pack serious burn but somehow – possibly through some kind of sorcery – Mark has managed to capture the rich, fruity perfume of the chillies. There is no other hot sauce with a comparable flavour; it’s truly addictive. A lot of sweetness balances out the heat and I wonder if he uses ketchup in the mix. It has the most incredible thick texture, too. I’m not sure I can ever be without a bottle.

3. Tan Rosie Garlic and Pepper Sauce [£4.00 for 250ml, available from www.tanrosie.com]

I came across this one thanks to a tip-off on Twitter. It’s made to a family recipe by Tan Rosie foods (based in Birmingham) who advertise it as a ‘true taste of the Caribbean’. Phewee! Yeah, this is a hot one all right. Despite the heat which, for me, hangs just on the right side of searing, the flavour of scotch bonnets is so incredibly pure. It does border slightly on frustrating, because I always want more of the flavour with a little less of the heat but I can’t help going back for more. I’d choose ‘No Joke’ over Tan Rosie if it came down to it, but a great one to have in the cupboard nonetheless; it’s livened up many a mediocre jerk chicken, although the jerk pictured below was fantastic (from Caribbean Spice Jerk Centre – my favourite until it got taken over by new management recently. So sad).

4. Frank’s Original and Frank’s Extra Hot [you can buy 148ml bottles of Frank's in major branches of Tesco, Sainsbury's and through Ocado for £1.49 a bottle and at Waitrose for £1.59 a bottle]. 

I came across this American brand of hot sauce when I first made hot wings back in the summer. The classic buffalo wings recipe uses equal quantities of Frank’s and melted butter (although these days I’m inclined to skew that ratio a little); one batch and I was hooked. My favourite to date was this pile of hickory-smoked, Frank’s and butter slathered beauties (below). Phwoar. Frank’s is a mild sauce (even the extra hot, which is below Tabasco on the Scoville Scale) but it has a lovely flavour, made as it from a mixture of aged cayenne peppers.

I also love it sprinkled over my poached eggs in the morning. It’s mild enough for 8am in my book.

Those are my favourites, but I want to hear yours. Does Sriracha warm your cockles? What about Encona? Are you a hard core Death Sauce fanatic? I’d like to find some new varieties to try so please do let me know in the comments.

 

90 comments » | Hot Sauce, Sauces, Sauces, Condiments and Spreads

Hickory smoked hot wings with sour cream slaw

August 8th, 2011 — 11:34am

The first time I made hot wings they were good, but not hot enough. I wanted try again using the authentic, not very secret ingredient, Frank’s Original Hot Sauce. I also wanted to try my hand at smoking them so I sensed the opportunity for an Amazon binge and bought: 3 bottles of Frank’s, a tub of Old Bay Seasoning, a Weber chimney starter and a pack of hickory wood chips.

I would encourage anyone who owns a half decent BBQ with a lid to buy some wood chips for smoking immediately, if you haven’t already. There were almost tears of joy when we lifted the lid to find a rack of wings turned orange with hickory smoke; I was amazed at the results you can achieve with just a regular home kettle BBQ.

I’d marinated the wings overnight in herbs and seasonings, then smoked them for 25 minutes a side over indirect heat with the hickory chips thrown in. They emerged crisp and burnished brown, ready for a good plunge into a combo of Frank’s Original and melted butter before going back on the grill, over direct heat for another 20 minutes. To finish, a final lick of that sauce and straight onto the plate.

The smoking, together with the sweet, vinegar-chilli punch of Frank’s (it’s like a thick Tabasco) cut with velvety butter, makes the flavour incredibly intense – not to mention sticky. A mound of discarded kitchen paper stained orange with sauce rose before us as we worked our way, just the 2 of us, through 24 wings.

It seemed appropriate to cut the heat and umami with something a little sharp, a little creamy; a cool, crunchy pit stop between wings. Slaw. This is a classic mix of carrot, white cabbage and red onion; the sauce a mix of sour cream, natural yoghurt, a smidge of American mustard and my secret ingredient – a slosh of juice from a jar of dill cucumbers, which adds a lovely spiced-sweet pickled note.

Later on, we deep-fried more pickles and shoved them into a sandwich with shredded wing meat and slaw. So gluttonous. So unhealthy. So. Good.

Hickory Smoked Hot Wings

26-30 chicken wings

For the marinade

2 cloves garlic
1 white onion
3 teaspoons thyme leaves
3 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1.5 teaspoons ground black pepper

For the sauce

1 bottle plus 2 tablespoons Frank’s Original Hot Sauce (that’s about 12 tablespoons in total)
125g butter

You will also need hickory chips for smoking the meat.

Begin the day before by marinating the wings. Put the onion in a blender with the garlic and 1-2 tablespoons water and blend to a paste. Put into a large bowl (the one you will use to hold the wings) and add all the other marinade ingredients. Mix well. Add the wings and mix really well to make sure they are all evenly coated. Refrigerate overnight.

When you’re ready to cook the wings, remove them from the fridge to bring the temperature up and set up your BBQ for indirect cooking; this means lighting the coals to one side (you will cook the meat on the other side). Take a couple of handfuls of hickory chips and soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes.

When the BBQ is ready, sprinkle a handful of chips directly onto the coals and put your wings on the other side in a single layer (you may need to do 2 batches as I did). Put the lid on (leave the holes half open) and smoke for 25 minutes. After this time, turn the wings and sprinkle on a few more chips.

Melt the butter and hot sauce together in a pan (don’t be alarmed at the strength of it, this will be tamed somewhat once on the wings). Remove half of it to a bowl and dunk the wings in it, then return to the grill, this time directly over the coals for about 10 minutes each side, until well charred. Dunk again in the sauce before serving. Get the kitchen paper ready.

Sour cream slaw

1/4 white cabbage, very finely shredded
1 medium sized carrot, grated, julienned or shredded in a processor
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
3 heaped tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon American mustard
1 tablespoon snipped chives
2 tablespoons juice from a jar of dill pickled cucumbers
Salt and pepper

If you can use a food processor to finely shred the vegetables, do. I used a julienne peeler for the carrot and just finely sliced the onion and cabbage by hand. Put the veg in a large bowl. In another bowl, make the dressing by mixing together all the remaining ingredients. Mix this well with the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.

42 comments » | Barbecue, Beer, Meat, Pickles, Salads, Sauces, Condiments and Spreads, Side Dishes, Snacks, Starters, Street Food

Smoked pepper and scotch bonnet hot sauce

July 15th, 2011 — 7:07am

There’s only so many times a woman can hear her boyfriend say, “I’m going to make my own hot sauce” before she just gets on and does it herself. I mean, if he’s going to bang on about it all the time then I’m going to be thinking about it all the time and before I know it the mother of all cravings has crept up behind me and planted its claws right into my brain.

So I made the hot sauce while he helped by way of forming words with his mouth and speaking them at me from the sofa.

Basically the idea was that we would cook red peppers and scotch bonnet chillies in the BBQ to really get a smoke flavour going on in the sauce. That worked. The rest is tomatoes, garlic, onion and the usual saucy suspects: vinegar, sugar and salt. The red peppers I think add an essential sweetness, dodging the unpleasant saccharine gloop you get from too much regular sugar. Obviously it’s also fruity-hot; I put 3 scotch bonnets in there for goodness’ sake. De-seed or don’t it’s up to you.

We ate the sauce with jerk chicken and rice n peas. I made the boyfriend go and get it. Ha.

Smoked pepper and scotch bonnet hot sauce

550g tomatoes
6 scotch bonnet chillies
3 red peppers
1 large white onion
4 cloves garlic
250ml white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Heat your BBQ. Lightly oil the peppers. Crush a piece of foil with oil and place the scotch bonnets in it. Fold the foil into a parcel and use a skewer to make a few holes in it so the smoke can penetrate. Put the peppers and chilli
parcel on the BBQ once hot. Put the lid on the BBQ to keep the smoke in (open the top and bottom air vents). Turn the peppers every so often until soft and charred all over. Turn the chilli parcel once half way through cooking the peppers. Once cooked set both aside to cool.

Cut a cross in the base of each tomato then place them in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for a few minutes until the skins loosen and can be peeled away easily. Dice the tomatoes and set aside.

In a saucepan fry the onion gently in a little oil until soft. Try not to colour the onion too much. Roughly chop the peppers, discarding the stalk, seeds and any charred pieces of skin and add to the pan with the chillies, garlic, vinegar, tomatoes, salt and sugar. Let the mixture simmer for about 30-45 minutes until the tomatoes have started to break down into a pulp. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve then blend it. Set aside to cool.

21 comments » | Food From The Rye, Peckham, Sauces, Sauces, Condiments and Spreads

Piri Piri Chicken

April 17th, 2011 — 1:57pm

The grilling season is upon us. I’m excited. The summer stretches out in front of me like one long BBQ sizzling with stuffed squid, beer-can duck, tikka, grilled pineapple salsa, sardines, smoky baba and of course, plenty of jerk (top tips for great jerk here).

Portuguese piri piri chicken is something I’ve been meaning to experiment with for a while. We’ve survived the winter by ordering from Na Pura in Nunhead. The chicken there has a good flavour and is cooked well but I do wish they’d use better quality birds. They also take forever to cook them. After a batch of wings and a chicken or two I’ve hammered down my own recipe and the time has come to say that I’m sorry, Na Pura, but your services are no longer required.

My piri piri sauce is a combination of shed-loads of fierce little chillies, oregano, paprika, garlic, vinegar, oil and sugar; the sweet/sharp balance makes it perfect for the BBQ and BBQ’d it must be because char is very important for this recipe. The skin should be blackened in places. The vinegar in the marinade tenderises the meat keeping it juicy and moist inside. The other important thing to remember is to keep a pot of marinade and a brush to hand when grilling; brush the bird liberally and often. When she’s done, give her a final coat before serving with wedges of lemon and a big salad. And a beer.

It’s nice to serve a pot of the sauce at the table with a little brush, like Restaurante Bonjardim in Lisbon.

Piri Piri Chicken (makes enough for 2 chickens)

30 piri piri or other small red chillies (obviously you may need to adjust the amount according to the chillies you have available)
3 teaspoons dried oregano (fresh would be lovely but it’s quite hard to find around here)
2 level tablespoons paprika
150ml red wine vinegar
200ml olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
Salt
Chicken (see instructions on spatchcocking at the end)

Whack everything in a blender until smooth. Pour half of the marinade over your meat, cover and refrigerate overnight. Turn the bird around in the marinade every now and then. When it comes to grilling your bird/s, get the coals white hot then move them to the edges of the BBQ and put your chicken in the middle. Brush regularly with the marinade. Cook until the skin is blackened in places and the bird is cooked through (about 15-20 mins per side for a spatchcocked chicken).

Brush again with the marinade before serving.

If you’re cooking a whole bird on the BBQ, spatchcock (butterfly) it to ensure it cooks fast and evenly. To do this, place the bird breast-side down on a board, with the tail towards you. Using scissors, cut along each side of the backbone to remove it (this requires a little welly as you’re cutting through the ribs but it’s not that difficult). Turn the bird over and use the heel of your hand to push down on the breastbone so that it’s all one thickness. Use skewers to secure the legs and keep the shape of the chicken by pushing them through the thigh and then diagonally through the breast. A bird will take 15-20 minutes per side. If you want to see someone doing it there are some good vids on youtube.

20 comments » | Barbecue, Gluten-free, Main Dishes, Meat, Sauces, Sauces, Condiments and Spreads

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