BBQ Piri Piri Chicken Wings

Piri Piri Wings
Piri Piri is an incredible combinations of flavours that has roots in both South Africa and Portugal. The name is derived from the Piri Piri chilli, or birds eye chilli. It is an incredibly fragrant and potent blend that when smothered on anything from chicken to fish to pork to roasted vegetables it will lift the dish to new heights.
Doubt me? Just ask the guys at Nandos. People go mental for that stuff.

2 Piri Piri Chillies,
2 cloves of garlic,
Zest and juice of two limes,
The stalks from a small bunch of coriander,
2 Tbsp of brown sugar,
1 small bunch of thyme
Salt and Pepper
A dozen Chicken Wings

-Firstly, prep your wings by removing the wing tips, they are the boney pointy bits at the end. Then cut through the skin attaching the two limbs and extend the wings out fully.
-Next finely dice the chillies as small as you possibly can.  Leave the seeds in for a bit of a kick. Place them into a mixing bowl.
-Finely chop the coriander stalks and garlic and add to the bowl along with the sugar, lime juice and lime zest.
-Strip the leaves from the thyme stalks and add the the mix.
-Finish with 2 tbs olive oil, then season liberally with salt and pepper.
-Now that you have your sauce made, you just need to marinate the wings. You can cook the wings straight away but leaving them overnight will seriously help things along.
-When you are ready to get going, get your grill seriously hot by placing all of your coals on one side, allowing you direct heat, and indirect heat.
-Fill the direct heat side of the grill with wings and allow to crisp up nicely. Turn them over and repeat.
-Make sure you have good colour on the wings before transferring them over to indirect side. Close the lid of you BBQ and allow to cook for about 25 minutes. This will give you incredibly deep flavour, perfect skin and fall off the bone meat.
-Enjoy in whatever way you see fit.

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

I have been making slaw like this for the last few years. It really was a revelation for me when I realised coleslaw was not that horrible mayonnaise-y crap you get from plastic tubs in Tesco. All squishy cabbage and mushy carrots and no flavour.

In contrast a serious, old school pickled slaw is a thing of simplicity and grace. Just a small handful of ingredients and you are flying. The best part? The longer you leave this to sit in the fridge the better it will be. Perfect for that picnic or BBQ.

One Quarter of a head of red cabbage
2 limes
1 small bunch of coriander
Salt
Olive Oil

-Using a very sharp knife or a box grater shred the cabbage head as finely as possible. The finer you get it, the better the end result.
-Place all of the shredded cabbage in a large bowl.
-Zest the limes into the bowl. Roll them slightly to loosen the juice, then juice them in aswel.
-Finely chop the coriander and add it in with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil.
-This is the fun bit, using your hands, scrunch the cabbage together with the dressing. Don’t be gentle with it. You need the lime juice to start pickling the cabbage and making it edible.
-Once you have based and mixed your cabbage around a good bit, leave it aside. The longer you leave it here the better. You can eat it immediately but overnight is preferable.
-Enjoy with grilled or roasted meats or a sandwich or anywhere you would usually have found that crappy white sludge before.

Nutty Noodle Salad

Nutty Noodle Salad

This was one of the first recipes I ever learned off by heart. It’s pretty easy to make, really versatile and my personal favourite quality, not a lettuce leaf in sight. It is seriously good for lunches, dinners, picnics, packed lunches or just to keep in the fridge for when you are feeling peckish.  The quantities here make a decent sized portion, ideal for BBQs and such.

 

150g beansprouts

150g mangetout

1 red pepper

2 spring onions

500g Noodles

20g sesame seeds

100g bag of mixed nuts

Bunch of fresh coriander

Parmesan Cheese

 

For the dressing

2tbs Sesame Oil

1tbs Soy Sauce

1tbs Sweet Chilli Sauce

Juice of two limes

100g crunchy peanut butter
-First put your noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave them to sit while you get on with the rest of your salad.
-Core and finely slice (nothing too fancy) the red pepper and chop in the spring onion and mangetout. Mix all these together with the beansprouts in a big serving bowl.
-In a pestle and mortal, bash up the mixed nuts and sesame seeds and add them to the bowl.
-In a jug or something like that whisk up all the ingredients for the dressing and add that to the bowl along with the strained noodles.
-Give the whole thing a good mix to make sure everything is covered in the dressing. Chop up the coriander leaves and sprinkle on top with some grated parmesan, then serve and enjoy.

Foolproof Cupcakes

Foolproof Cupcakes

          This along with my cookies recipe and chocolate cake are seriously great things to have stashed in your back pocket at all times. (The recipe, not the cake, that would be weird.) They are all simple, easy to remember and most importantly, easy to execute well. Making you look like a culinary hero instead of the culinary cock-ups we all really are. It’s about perception my friends.

          I have been using this recipe for a fair few months now and it never fails. Stick to these measurements and the recipe will not let you down. The only thing that might change is the cooking time. Baked goods are delicate and pretty fickle. You will just have to watch yours closely for the first batch and then use that time as a guide from then on. Once you get to know your oven a little better (it probably misses you) you will be flying.

           Once you have it down to an art the rest is up to you. Replace a little of the flour with hot chocolate powder and add a few chocolate chips for double chocolate cupcakes. Grate in a little pear or apple for a fruity twist. Berries are always a safe bet. I did these ones with Lime zest and white chocolate in that batter and a white chocolate and lime juice icing.

The Cupcakes
225g Sugar
225g Butter (must be room temperature)

4 Eggs

225g Self Raising Flour

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

The Icing

200g Butter

450g Icing Sugar

2 Tbsp Milk

-Cream together the butter and sugar until it turns to a light white creamy consistency. All of this can be done with a hand blender or in a food processor.

-Mix in the vanilla.

-Crack the eggs into the creamed butter and sugar one at a time and mix in thoroughly.

-It will initially look like its going to split but keep going and it will come together in the end.

-When the eggs are all incorporated sift in the flour and the baking powder.

-Mix these into the wet batter slowly. Make sure not to leave any pockets of flour in the batter. That will not end well, trust me.

-Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius.

-Line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases.

-Fill each case about 2/3 full.

-Place in the centre of the oven. About 12 minutes works a charm for me but everyone’s oven is different and will give you a different time.

-When they look nice and golden on top, stick a toothpick in the centre of one. Leave it for a second or two then pull it out. If it comes out clean you cupcakes are done. If there is still batter on the cocktail stick put them back in for abother minute or two then test again.

-When they are done, leave them to cool on a wire rack so they don’t get too moist on the bottom.

Icing

-Soften the butter a bit in the microwave before starting. This will make everything a lot easier.

-In a large bowl whisk up the butter so it is nice and airy.

-Then slowly start to add in your icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time.

-Keep whisking until all of the icing sugar has been incorporated into the butter.

-I then add a few tablespoons of milk just to let it out a little and make it easier to pipe onto the cupcakes but if you are going to spoon it on then there is no need.

-If you would like to add food dye at this stage feel free. You can see I went for red here but use whatever you have to hand.

 

Top 5 Best Salads for Picnics

BBQ’s and Picnics can be a dodgy endeavour. Without proper planning you can see an awesome day at the beach turn seriously sour at the drop of a hat. Your BBQ isn’t working properly, you forgot to bring all the ingredients for your salad, Jake never packed his suncream and is getting burt (despite the clouds) or maybe you just aren’t getting along with your Aunt.

Whatever the reason, one way to seriously lighten your load is to have 90% of your food done the night before. Having all of that complicated nonsense out of the way will allow you to totally focus on the more important things, like how annoying your Aunt is being.

To help you with that, here are my Top Five Night-Before Salads for every Al-Fresco Adventure.

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

Nutty Noodle Salad

Nutty Noodle Salad

Easy and Spicy Chicken Salad

Spicy Chicken Salad