{recipe} chicken wings and broad beans

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I have discovered that if we want to eat something edible, dinner cannot be complicated. There are simply too many kids trying to get into things, bickering and scavenging for floor snacks in this house. I’ve tried the whole Traditional Dinner and that was as successful as trying to keep the baby from eating everything he finds on the floor – I’m positive he throws half of his Cheerios on the floor for later snacks while he’s about.

These sizeable chicken wings have been kicking around the freezer for a couple of weeks. They hail from Little Dorset farms, purveyors of excellent local meats that are grown without antibiotics or nasty stuff of questionable origin. As a result, the meat is very flavourful and fulfilling to eat – I don’t eat as much meat because what I do have is extraordinarily satisfying. That sounds like I’m blasé about it – I’m not. Ever eat something rather meh then you eat too much because, what the hell? That doesn’t happen here. The chicken is perfectly chicken and delicious. It isn’t an approximation if chicken.

Not everyone may be familiar with fish sauce which is a staple in our kitchen. It adds an umami flavour to the dish -very salty and savoury. I like to combine it with sesame oil and soy sauce in equal parts to balance and those elements are also featured in this recipe.

For balance in he dish, which is somewhat Asian in style – I kind of hate that catch-all as it usually means anything with ginger or a thick, red sauce, which is conspicuously absent from my chicken wings and broad beans.

I’ve kept the chicken summer light and while it appears to have a lot of components, the steps take a bit so you can walk away to fish crayons out of a baby’s mouth, do secret handshakes and play guess the song.

Chicken Wings and Broad Beans

A note: I used 8 chicken and each one equalled an approximate chicken thigh.

one onion
3 carrots, chopped
quart of broad beans, ends snapped off
8 chicken wings (or thighs)
Fish sauce
Soy sauce
Lemon juice

Optional: Scoop of tomatillo salsa

To dust the chicken:
Approximately two tablespoons flour (or a handful)
white pepper (this has more heat than black pepper, be warned)
onion powder
salt

1. Heat olive oil in saucepan – I used a large wok style and highly recommend it.
2. Cook onions until translucent. To avoid burning, keep heat at medium to low. Toss in broad beans and carrots and toss to warm. Set aside.
3. Prepare the chicken wings by tossing in the dusting. The measurements are largely approximate for the spices and salt, it’s your preference.
4. Add a bit more olive oil to pan and bring up to medium/high heat then toss in the chicken to brown.
5. Once chicken is browned, add the vegetables.
6. Add liberal amount of the lemon juice and soy and fish sauces – tablespoon of each, it is important to use equal amounts. Lower the heat just a smidge and cover with a pot lid. Allow to cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until the juices run clear when you cut into the thickest part mod the largest piece of chicken.

Optional extra step: If the liquid is starting to burn down, feel free to toss in more of each in equal parts. It will just make the sauce richer. The flour dusting you used on the wings will thicken all this liquid splendidly into a delicious, tangy sauce. The optional tomatillo salsa adds a kick.

Enjoy

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The Last Post of 2010

This year has been an extraordinarily long one, filled with some ups and a lot of downs. It is easy to focus on those downs when it feels like we are faced with so many so while I am happy to let go of this year and all of its difficulties I am most definitely looking forward to what 2011 can possibly be. I haven’t properly prepared to write this post and I feel a touch fragile about it, mostly because an ending makes me feel prickly and touchy, disoriented in my own skin and so with that, some of my favourite food photos from 2010:

In the new year I will broach the subject of gluten, it disappeared from my life for a while and after things fell apart (remember how 2010 wasn’t that great?) it came back with full force. And that’s okay.

Spinach and Egg Crisps

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Stealing a nibble

The other day I was seriously craving hummus but the only chickpeas in the pantry were dried and seeing how it was already lunchtime, I couldn’t really make Bubs wait 2 hours for chickpeas to hydrate. Instead, I start washing, chopping and throwing things into a pan without one clue as to what I was doing. The tastiest meals can come out spontaneity. This plate of crisps was perfect for Bubs and me as a light lunch, add in a glass of milk and a piece of fruit for lunch and it’s a surprisingly healthy lunch. It is also a potential party food, spiced up a bit with slivers of smoked salmon and a bright drizzle of olive oil.

spinach smear
The recipe
bag on spinach, washed
half onion, diced
3 tbsp. apple cider
salt
2-3 tbsp. soy milk
S&P to taste
2 eggs
15 stoned wheat crackers (mine had caraway seeds and I strongly urge you to do the same)
1. Bring water to boil. Gently lay (with a spoon) two eggs in the water. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
2. In a pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil until it slips easily across the pan. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
3. Add the spinach and the apple cider, cover. It should take just a few minutes for the spinach to wilt, even though you will be blending it and breaking it down you do not want the spinach cooked to mush as it will destroy the flavour.
4. The eggs should be finished at this point. Dump out the water and run under cold water. Leave to sit in the water, you could even add a few ice cubes to speed up the process. Once cool, peel and slice.
5. In a blender add the cooked spinach and the soy milk. Pulse – I didn’t make mine into a smooth purée because I wanted the texture. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
6. With a spoon, drop a spoonful of the spinach mix onto a cracker and flatten with the back of the spoon. Top with a slice of egg. Salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
Enjoy.

Gluten-free Mint and Chevre Raiffe!

I adapted this recipe from Sarah Brown’s utterly stunning World Vegetarian Cookbook.

Disclaimer: If you are from Morocco and expecting an actual gluten-free Raiffe out of this, I’m sorry. It is an absolutely stunning and delicious dish but it is more of a reject-latke biscuity thing of wonder and yumminess.


Raiffe Dough

2/3 cup cornflour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup potato flour
1/3 cup quinoa flour*
pinch of guar gum
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
2 oz. butter (I always use goat butter.)
100 ml warm water
1 tbsp olive oil

Minty Cheese

5 oz. chevre
1 tsp. dried mint**
pinch of kosher salt


*if you don’t want a gluten free version use 300 grams of wheat flour. I’m sure you will have a pastry of beauty. Gluten free baked goods are great, in their own way. Gluten free food is kind of like that weird girl from you grew up with. She’s weirdly pretty and will introduce you to your favourite folk band but maybe she wears too many cardigans. I just really miss wheat pastry. Sob.

**I just thought of this: if you wanted just a smidge of sweetness, add a bit of liquid honey. Not too much, you don’t want it to leak out and scorch.

1. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it becomes a soft crumb mix.
2. Mix in the olive oil. Use a fork and it just generally adds to the crumb-like consistency.
3. Incorporate the warm water.

If this was a regular wheat flour dough you would simply knead until it forms an elastic ball.As it is gluten-free you will try to do this (if you are me) and come to doubt all of your home-culinary skills until you realize you are using exactly one million flours and not one has any gluten in it. Did you know that gluten forms strands in the dough and that is what makes wheat pastry flaky?
Try your best not to freak out and mix it until it is together.

Form the dough into about 8 balls and allow to rest.

4. Flatten the dough. This is not specific. Just load it up with the cheese mix and fold it back together until the cheese is entirely covered. Wing it if you have to.

5. Fry in heated oil until a crisp golden brown.

They will kind of look like over-sized reject latkes. Don’t be fooled.


Serve it with the sage and garlic aioli and you are set!