Monthly Archives: March 2014

Finger Lickin’ Fried Chicken

IMG_5163Chicken has been staple meat in households for centuries, and then centuries before that. It’s easy to cook, tastes great and you can add chicken in almost any dish to get a bit of protein to your diet. But unlike the seemingly popular demand for the extra crispy deep fried stuff, you can add a bit of batter to your chicken drumsticks and not feel completely defeated after you’ve eaten an entire bucket, by yourself.

Fried chicken originates from the Deep American South. If you’re feeling extra authentic, whip up and bake some homemade cornbread for a delicious meal. Now if you’re up for mixing some sweet and savoury meals together, you have to try chicken and waffles. I know that sounds crazy, but some of my Arizona friends go to May’s Counter in Tucson at least once a week to scarf down this crazy food connection. May’s is primarily a fried chicken joint, but famous for their waffles too. So they’ve decided to put the two together. Yes, I did say together. Waffles are topped with two heaping pieces fried chicken, drizzled with maple syrup and finally topped off with a squirt of hot sauce. Is that sort of thing your cup of tea? I personally just couldn’t get into the trend, but I can’t even do pineapple on pizza. Sorry May’s, I’ll stick with the basic fried chicken for now.

I think anything fried is an American favourite. But having been in England for some time now, and seeing all the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) stores and USA fried chicken huts throughout the United Kingdom, I feel like you Brits are enjoying our traditional American fatty foods just as much. But from what my taste buds remember, the fried chicken just isn’t the same in the UK. If you want to learn how to make the best fried chicken, follow these steps. Your taste buds will thank you.

 

What you’ll need:

  • Vegetable Oil or Crisco
  • Chicken
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Self-Raising Flour
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cajun spices if you want them spicy
  • Paper towels
  1. Begin by heating up some oil or Crisco in a large pot. Make sure you’re generous; the chicken should be completely submerged in the hot liquid.
  2. Take three separate bowls and add flour to one, breadcrumbs to the second, then cracked eggs into the third. Whisk through the eggs and add a bit of milk to make it a creamy texture.
  3. Wash your raw chicken in cold water to bring out the flavour, then dip the rinsed chicken into your flour. Take the now floured chicken and dip it in the egg mixture. As soon as it’s submerged and covered well with egg/milk, drag it back through the flour mixture. Take the chicken one more time through the egg mixture and now for my special secret, through the third bowl of breadcrumbs and spices for your crispy coating.IMG_5149
  4. Fry up your chicken. Be careful as your oil is going to sputter and you don’t want to burn yourself. I only do one piece of chicken as my pots are small, but if you can flip them over without touching the other piece, you can cook more than one at a time.
  5. Keep your heat at a medium temperature to make sure you don’t sear your chicken in the first minute. You have to cook through the middle of the chicken, so make sure to take your time when frying. Watch your crispy outside chicken colour turn golden brown and when you’re satisfied, lay your hot piece of crispy fried chicken on a paper towel to get excess grease off.
  6. Let cool and enjoy. IMG_5169

Veggie Enchiladas

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This week we’re going South of the border. That’s right, Viva Mexico!

Street Food:

Since September I’ve been devoid of real Mexican food. Maybe there are a few spots in England brewing with spicy delights, but I sure haven’t stumbled across them. My hometown of Tucson, Arizona, serves up some of the best and most authentic Mexican cuisine. We’re just a few short driving hours from the U.S./Mexico border, and I miss it.

In Arizona, you can’t go more than a couple of blocks without stumbling on someone selling tamales and fresh tortillas. It’s nothing like the store-bought stuff. Then go a few more blocks and you’ll see tacos and Sonoran hot dog stands lining the streets. That’s the norm to hungry Arizonans. And let me let you Brit’s in on a little secret, it’s from the food trucks and direct bakers where you’re going to find some of the most scrumptious Mexican food. So if there are some of you reading this who haven’t ventured across the Atlantic down to the Western part of the States, or actual Mexico, you’re missing out on some exciting cuisine!

The Mexican food I’m used to is made from scratch. I wish I could say I whipped up fresh tortillas for these enchiladas, but I couldn’t risk not doing the tortillas justice. It’s okay to cheat with store bought tortillas, but that’s it! You want to impress your friends and family with your fancy new cooking skills, right?

Now if you can’t tell from my fair complexion, I don’t have a Hispanic bone in my body. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned from the best of the best. My top tips for this week’s enchiladas are don’t be afraid to mix in your own ingredients.

There are so many things you can add to enchiladas like beef, chicken, vegetarian style or plain cheese. It’s whatever you fancy. This week make it about you and your favorite things. Be inspired about whatever might be pushed to back of the fridge, and use it. Plus, cheese makes everything better.

Smother these cheesy puppies and enjoy.

 

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flour Tortillas (Some prefer corn, so you choose!)
  • Cheese – choose your favorite (I chose two of my favorites)
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Red Onion
  • Garlic cloves

For taste:

  • Cilantro (I just used mixed herbs)
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
  2. To make the red tomato sauce that coats the bottom of your baking pan, mince tomatoes and mix them into a saucepan. Pour a can of the tomato paste. I made four enchiladas, so I needed just one can of tomato paste and one chopped tomato. Heat and stir the sauce on low until warm on the stovetop.
  3. Chop up all your veggies while the sauce is heating. Add the salt, pepper and seasonings, as you like. More chili powder if you like spicy!
  4. Once the sauce is hot, coat the bottom of your baking pan. Leave a little extra for later.
  5. Take one tortilla at a time and fill with veggies and cheese. Roll, and repeat.IMG_4821
  6. Pour the remaining red sauce on top of the filled and rolled tortillas.
  7. Top with cheese and pop in the oven.
  8. Enchiladas should take around 15 minutes to cook. Keep a watch out for the cheese on top to brown, let them cool and enjoy!

 

 

Make pie not war

Chicken and Bacon pie

 

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Reading this blog you’d probably think that all us Brits ever eat is pastry based foods and let’s be honest you’d not be far off but we couldn’t miss out the humble British pie.You know, everything in moderation and all that jazz.

We do love a good meat pie, be it pork, beef and ale, chicken and bacon or something more adventurous like a rabbit pie or game pie.

Our love of the pie can be dated back to medieval times when oven space was limited; the pies could easily be cooked on an open fire and would provide a nutritious easy to store meal.  There has been reference to pies in England from the 14th century when they were named ‘pyes’ in Latin.

Shakespeare even coined a famous pie related saying which we still use today. In the play Henry VIII he wrote ‘No man’s pie is freed from his ambitious finger.’ This is a saying that has now been adopted as someone who has a finger in many pies.  So pies are very much rooted in our history and it’s no wonder we have such a fondness towards them.

I went for a chicken and bacon pie with a puff pastry crust because I just love the way it flakes and puffs up rather than short crust which can sometimes be a little heavy.

Again you are welcome to make your own pastry but ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’ (you have to say that in an American accent – cue Amber)

You can also use a fancy pants pie dish but I just used a trusty Nandos dish, really it just needs to be deep enough for the filling and the pastry topping.

Another top tip is to put a small slit or hole in the top of your pie crust so that the steam can come out during cooking.  This means your pastry won’t go all soggy and nobody wants a soggy pastry.

Let’s get cooking !

  • 1 tbsp of Butter
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 4 Bacon rashers-chopped
  • 1 Chicken breast or half a packet of mini fillets – chopped
  • 100g frozen peas & 50g Sweetcorn tinned or frozen
  • 3tbsp Half fat Creme Fraiche
  • 225g ready made puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp English mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp of parsley either fresh or dried’s fine too

1) Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6

2) Fry off the onions in a little butter until golden, then pop in the chopped chicken and bacon and allow to cook for about 5 minutes.

3)Add in the peas and sweetcorn, the Creme Fraiche, mustard and parsley. Stir. At this point you might want to add some salt ‘n’ pepper.

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4)  Roll out our old friend the ready made puff pastry so that its the same size as the chosen dish.

5) Pop the pie mix into a dish , I used a nandos dish but all it needs to be is deep enough and wide enough to hold your pie. Cover the filling with the pastry lid and cut a little steam hole.

6)Transfer into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. You’ll notice the pastry will rise and turn a lovely golden brown.

7) Et Viola ! lift out the pie and serve alone or with  a hearty pile of mash potato.

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A&B’s Pancake Day – Behind the Scenes

Here’s B and I’s first attempt at a bit of video.

Take a look and tell us how adorable we are. Also, we want to get matching aprons and maybe some chef’s hats what do you think?

Taken with my new Go Pro camcorder, enjoy! (That B keeps dropping opps!)

Song: “She’s Got Me Dancing” by Tommy Sparks

Pancake day – The thin British kind

British pancakes

 

So this week Amber and I decided to celebrate Pancake Day in style and we rustled up a selection of pancakes.I used to hate the big fluffy American pancakes but then I lived in Canada for two months, try teaching a Canadian that pancakes can be thin and you’ll be met with opposition. A girl can change her pancake preferences.

However this does not mean that I don’t still love our English style pancakes. I still have fond memories of these thin golden delights, my cousin and I used to beg my Grandma to make us her signature pancakes for breakfast.  At home we used  gather all our favourite toppings onto the dining table and make piles of fresh crepes ready to indulge in a little bit of Pancake Day goodness.

In England we tend to eat the thinner crepe style pancakes and then pop on our favourite toppings.In comparison to American pancakes these aren’t as sweet and are definitely a lot thinner as Amber remarked the mixture looked a little like soup rather than her thick cream like batter.English pancakes tend to be kept simple and sweet with bitter lemon and sweet sugar. Use both, not one or the other as you need that sweet and sour contrast for a true taste sensation. Other toppings include fruit, golden syrup or my personal favourite banana and Nutella.

Although I love pancakes all year round, in England we tend to only have them on the designated Pancake Day which makes them an exciting tasty treat. Traditionally Pancake or Shrove Tuesday was the day before Ash Wednesday the start of Lent and it allowed people to use up their ingredients such as flour and eggs. They would then fast until the 40 days of Lent were over.

In a sleepy little village of Olney, Northamptonshire they hold an annual pancake race in which 25 ladies of the village race along the high street whilst flipping pancakes. So no in England we don’t have IHOP but Pancake Day is still a big deal.

Pancake Day is best celebrated with loved ones as you can cook together, flip the pancakes together and debate other which is best American or British and what the best topping is.

What you’ll need

  • 110g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk mixed with 75ml of water
  • 50g butter

and whatever toppings you fancy

Lets get cooking …

1) First pop the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. Whisk.

2) Slowly add the milk mixture whilst mixing the batter. Make sure everything is incoperated. When the batters a cream like consistency add two tablespoons of melted butter and whisk.

3) Get a frying pan nice and hot and add a little spray oil or butter . Ladle in some mixture and tip it around the pan so it gets fully covered. It should only take about a minute and a half . Flip the pancake to give the other side a bit of love. When there done slide and fill with your chosen topping.

pancakes

 

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