These wings have it all: smoky meat, crisp skin and a killer dressing of aromatic citrus, sweet-tart tamarind and fragrant lime leaves. Toss together with fresh herbs, chilli and pickles and you will find yourself unable to stop eating them.

Grilled Chicken Wings with a Grapefruit, Tamarind and Lime Leaf Dressing

(serves 2)

600g chicken wings, jointed
Small handful mint leaves
Small handful coriander leaves
1 red chilli, very finely sliced

Tamarind, Grapefruit and Lime Leaf Dressing

100ml pink grapefruit juice (1 pink grapefruit)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
6 lime leaves, torn
½ teaspoon fish sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
2 teaspoons caster sugar

Quick Pickled Shallots

2 small shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
50ml rice vinegar
120ml tap-hot water
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt


Light the barbecue for indirect cooking with the coals positioned in the centre (leaving a ring around the outside with no coals).

Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt with the tap-hot water and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add the shallot rings and set aside.

Place the grapefruit juice, sugar, lime leaves and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes, then remove the lime leaves and garlic and discard them. Set the liquid aside while you cook the wings.

Rub the chicken wings with a little neutral oil and season with salt. Place on the barbecue in a ring around the coals – they should be nice and close to the coals so that they cook slowly but are not over direct heat.

Cook the wings gently for 20-30 minutes, or until crisp all over and cooked through. You can move them closer to the coals as they burn down, and give them a final crisping and charring over direct heat.

While the wings are cooling a little bit, add the fish sauce and tamarind to the grapefruit juice and return to heat to reduce by half – this will only take a couple of minutes on high heat.

Pour the hot dressing over the wings and add the sliced red chilli, herbs and pickled shallots. Toss to combine and serve.


Chicken fat is wonderful stuff – I’m sure you know this already. I bought some beautiful, plump thighs from Flock and Herd yesterday with the express intention of roasting them on top of the slightly stale sourdough sitting on the kitchen counter. You may have already tried roasting a whole chicken on top of bread; the fat soaks through and creates an incredible, schmaltzy bedrock which you will find yourself uncontrollably drawn towards. I’d take it over a roast potato any day.

The zippy salsa verde with all its herbs, mustard and vinegar offsets the richness and brings its own pickle-y punch to the party. Do I like a Sunday roast? Kind of. I’d much rather have this, to be honest – more fun and around 10 x simpler.

Chicken Thighs with Chicken Fat Sourdough and Salsa Verde Recipe

6 good quality, free-range chicken thighs
200g stale-ish sourdough (mine was 2 days old) torn into large chunks
2 heads of garlic
1 onion, peeled and roughly sliced

For the salsa verde

1 large handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 slightly smaller handful each mint and basil leaves, finely chopped
Handful capers, finely chopped
Handful cornichons, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6-8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C (fan).

Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan such as a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the thighs skin side down and cook until the skin is browned – around 6-8 minutes depending on size. Set aside, leaving the fat in the pan.

Add the onions, garlic and sourdough and season lightly. Place the chicken thighs on top, skin side up and season again. Put in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, make the salsa verde by mixing all the ingredients together. Add a little salt if you think it needs it.

Serve the chicken thighs with some of the sourdough, garlic and onions and the salsa verde.

I was all geared up to tell you about a pie recipe I’ve been working on; a pie recipe that is, frankly, cursed. I’ve just made it for the third time and I’m still not happy with the damn thing. A friend actually said to me, ‘why bother though?’ Yeah, not sure really. Maybe I need closure.

So, here’s a recipe for an excellent chicken dish I made today because I have a head cold and need comfort. You know when you’re clearly not well but still have a tiny bit of enthusiasm so attempt to leave the house, and then regret it? That’s what happened when I went to the butcher for this chicken. I struggled into Peckham, ran into a friend, chatted to her while standing five feet away, sweating, croaked at the butcher for some meat, then scuttled home and lay down for three hours before I could even contemplate cooking.

It was definitely worth the effort, though, even the part where I decided to cook the orzo in the same pan, which necessitated standing over it for ten minutes, adding chicken stock and stirring, like making risotto. There was no way the accumulated fat and sticky brown bits were going to waste and anyway, stirring results in a creamy texture. Maximum comfort achieved.

I used butter to fry the chicken because I am sick and that is allowed. I can basically do anything I like. The pasta soaks it up, along with the chicken fat, released from its crisp, bubbled skin. A friend at the gym gave me the wild garlic (the gym! Irony! LOL!) as she has tons in her garden, and thankfully I’d whizzed it into a pesto yesterday because getting the blender out is annoying for a perfectly well person, let alone me. It’s not even like it lives at the back of a cupboard but there’s something about washing the individual parts, the blade, the little bits that get stuck in the rubber seal… NO. I wouldn’t have coped.

It’s perfect on top of this dish, a bright splash of spring flavour that can find the taste buds despite everything. It’s a foil for the rich pasta and a cheering green – flowers added for extra gaiety. I ate it in bed, naturally, the cats reaching a tentative paw forwards every now and then, hoping for a scrap of meat. We all curled up afterwards and fell asleep again and – I shit you not – I actually dreamt of that sodding pie.

Chicken Thighs with Orzo and Wild Garlic Pesto

4 large, skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
25g butter
175g orzo
1 shallot, finely diced
450ml chicken stock, hot

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas mark 6

Heat a cast iron skillet or other oven proof dish on the hob over a medium heat and add the butter. When melted, season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then add them to the pan skin side down and cook until deep golden brown, about 5-8 minutes.

Turn them over so the skin is facing up and put the pan in the oven for 15 minutes (this time may vary depending on the size of your thighs). Remove from the oven and set aside on a plate.

Add the shallot over a medium heat and cook, stirring, for a minute or so. Add the orzo and stir to coat it. Add the chicken stock a splash at a time, stirring until all the liquid is absorbed before adding the next splash. Once the orzo is just soft, add back the chicken thighs.
Allow to reheat for a few minutes, leaving the orzo undisturbed so it goes crisp on the bottom of the pan. Top with the wild garlic pesto (or serve on the side).

Wild Garlic Pesto

200g wild garlic, washed and dried thoroughly
100g Parmesan, grated
100g pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan until golden
Lemon juice
Olive oil

Put the wild garlic leaves in a blender with the Parmesan and pine nuts. Transfer to a bowl and add enough olive oil to make a sauce. Add lemon juice and salt to taste.

BBQ Chicken Caesar Salad

Regular readers will know that I had to get a personal trainer because being a food writer made me fat (there is absolutely nothing wrong with being fat – I just wasn’t happy). When I first started he – my personal trainer – asked me to keep a food diary, to which I responded, “boy, are you in for a shock.”

At the time I was judging an afternoon tea competition, which required me to eat six teas a week for a couple of months. I’ve never seen anyone’s mouth drop open so fast (except perhaps mine every time I walk into the kitchen and see the peanut butter banana bread I’ll be posting about next week).

Grill the spring onions and broccoli too.

Every now and again he still says something like, “so, how’s the food going?” to which I respond, “um, yeah fine” because I really don’t know what else to say. How do I tell him that I started the day with a cheese börek from the Turkish food centre, spent the day testing recipes, which meant I ate two lunches and then I’m out for dinner because I’m working on an area guide?

Yeah I know, you’re jealous. Well, let me tell you that actually, eating a lot is hard. Often I just want to sit in bed and slurp instant noodles while watching Netflix.

And sometimes, I just want to eat a salad.

I made this salad on Snapchat last week and loads of people asked for the recipe. It barely resembles a traditional Caesar but really, who cares? The chicken is cooked on the BBQ because that’s fun and tastes great, but we’ve also had it just grilled or bashed thin then fried in a skillet. We add Tenderstem broccoli because I’m obsessed with it and also because this salad is a celebration of green things. I love the flavours of Caesar but really it’s just a load of lettuce in a bowl. This, my friends, is more satisfying.

Making the dressing.

Finally, no mayo here because I just find it gross in dressings, coating the back of your throat like engine oil. Grim. Yoghurt is fresher and combined with garlic, Parmesan and anchovies makes a really lovely, rich yet sharp dressing.

Oh, one more thing – there’s a lot of garlic here, so I wouldn’t advise eating this before, say, a meeting, or indeed any human contact. Big flavours are what makes healthy-ish food work for me – it’s basically the opposite of energy balls, obscure flours and the milking of things that have no teats (see: almonds). I’m all about balancing salads with banana bread, and I’m about hitting a gym where the trainer kicks my ass so hard I sweat from my eyelids.

Super Green BBQ Chicken Caesar Salad

This serves two for a massive lunch that’ll make you feel like a total boss in the nutrition department.

For the dressing

4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 scant teaspoon sea salt
5 anchovy fillets
100g grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice ½ lemon (but reserve the other half)
3-5 tablespoons natural yoghurt

For the chicken

4 chicken thighs, boneless (I leave the skin on because again, I’m not wasting chicken skin for the sake of saving calories)
Salt and pepper

For the salad

6 spring onions
200g Tenderstem broccoli
2 little gem lettuces, leaves separated

Prepare a BBQ for direct cooking.

Open out the chicken thighs and give them a little bash if needed to make them the same thickness all over. We used skewers to fan them out too as you can see from the photos. When it’s ready, rub the spring onions and broccoli with a little oil and salt and pepper, and grill under tender and slightly charred (5-10 minutes).

Set aside while you cook the chicken. Season and cook over direct heat, turning every so often, until cooked through – around 20 minutes depending on the size of the thighs.

In a pestle and mortar, bash up the garlic with a pinch of salt. Add in the anchovy fillets and mush them up too. Add about half the cheese, mush it up then add the yoghurt. Stir in the rest of the cheese, plus the oil and lemon juice. Check for seasoning and balance – add more lemon juice or some black pepper if you want it.

Mix the lettuce leaves and a heaped tablespoon of the dressing in a large bowl then mix with hands. Do the same thing with the Tenderstem and spring onions.

Arrange on a plate and top with the chicken and a bit more of the dressing to taste.

So it’s only taken me 8 months to get around to writing about Ethiopian cookery. Efficient. I have been experimenting with recipes, which means I have spent a lot of time battling with injera batter. I crave that stuff intensely since coming back; having eaten it 3 times a day, every day, I became addicted, surprisingly, rather than resentful.

Ethiopian cookery is richly spiced and complex. Two of the foundations are berbere and niter kibbeh. Berbere is a rusty red spice mixture, made from dried chillies, fenugreek, nigella seeds, ginger, false cardamom and various other herbs and spices. I managed to find a bag to bring home as the result of a twilight trek around the back streets of a small Ethiopian town. Purchased from a hut made of corrugated iron, it was like gold dust in my eyes. Precious cargo. It adds such a curious depth to a dish, and I add it to many. All very nice for me of course, but not so useful for you lot, huh? So I’ve had a go at cracking it at home. It’s not quite the same of course – the chillies are a different variety, some of the herbs and other bits are simply unavailable – but you know what? It’s not bad. Not bad at all. Recipe at the bottom of this post.

Berbere from Ethiopia 

The niter kibbeh is a clarified butter, simmered with spices including fenugreek, cardamom and nutmeg. It’s a key ingredient in the doro wat recipe below. That’s chicken and egg stew to you. Doro wat is really simple to make once you’ve done your prep and is honestly one of the most satisfying dishes ever invented. A rich, russet red like the darkest autumn leaves, it could stain a white T shirt at twenty paces. The flavour is so intensely spiced and satisfying; perfect for cooler weather and yet reminiscent of the blazing Ethiopian sun.

Berbere Spice Mix Recipe

Chillies (I used a handful of chillies I buy in Peckham labelled, helpfully, ‘African chillies’. They look a lot like piri piri. You could also just use cayenne, although I would use about 5 dried ones. Saveur use chillies de arbol so by all means use 5 of those if you like)
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
4 cloves
6 black peppercorns
3 allspice berries
Seeds from 6 cardamom pods
6 tablespoons crunchy dried onions (you can buy these from Indian grocers)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinammon

Toast the whole spices in a dry pan, stirring constantly until fragrant. This takes a few minutes. Grind in a spice grinder with the onions and chillies until you have a fine powder. Mix with the remaining spices and salt.

Niter Kibbeh Recipe

You could of course use clarified butter for this, i.e. ghee, which saves the hassle of clarifying it yourself. You will need to use less butter or more spices though, as the recipe below allows for the loss of a bit during the clarification process.

250g butter (or just use 200g ghee to save arsing about clarifying it yourself)
Seeds from 6 cardamom pods, ground
Pinch fenugreek seeds, ground
Pinch nigella seeds, ground

If you do want to clarify the butter then melt it gently over a low heat, constantly skimming the scum from the surface. Once it is simmering, just keep removing all the scum until it looks clear. It takes ages, about 20-30 mins. Up to you. Strain it through a sieve and try to leave the white milky bits at the bottom behind in the pan. Stir in the spices.

Doro Wat Recipe

6 chicken thighs, skin removed
4 eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
1 level teaspoon salt
50g niter kibbeh (recipe above)
3 red onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons berbere (recipe above)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
500ml chicken stock
Veg or other oil for frying

Hard boil the eggs, let them cool and peel them.

Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and caramelise the onions slowly over a low heat. This will take about 40 mins to an hour. Stir them often and stop when they are sweet and caramelised.

Arrange the chicken in a dish and rub it with the lemon juice and salt. Leave for 30 minutes.

When the onions are done, add the niter kibbeh and let it melt. Add the berbere (yes it is a lot, don’t worry) the ground ginger and crushed garlic and cook out, stirring, for a few minutes.d

Pour in the chicken stock. Brush the marinade off the chicken pieces and add them to the pan too. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the lid after this time and add the whole eggs. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste and season if necessary (depending on saltiness of chicken stock). Serve with white rice or (bastard) injera.


I do love the word ‘spatchcock’. Oh come on. Aside from the juvenile pleasure, the giggles and unnecessary emphasis, it’s just such a satisfying word to say. Go on, say it. Say it out loud like you mean it.

It’s also, handily, a very useful and easy way of prepping a bird in order to ensure even cooking, particularly on the BBQ. I’m sure you already know this, but I had to say something useful and serious, otherwise this is just a post about a word that sounds funny. Here’s a vid if you’re not familiar with how to do it.

I made these three times before I was happy with the marinade. The first time – too orangey, the second time – too meh, the third time however…well if I hadn’t nailed it the third time I would have been worried. Pomegranate molasses makes a wonderfully sticky marinade with its exotic sweet and sour flavour, there’s orange juice too and then plenty of BOOM! spicing in the form of Turkish chilli flakes and cumin. I also used dried rose petals, which have always baffled me. In the bag they just smell kinda dusty. I didn’t get it. When ground up however, they did add a nice floral (duh) flavour, which I’d originally tried to achieve with orange blossom water (didn’t work – just tasted like bubble gum).

These were fabulous served with some grilled spring onions – just oil and sling ’em on the grill. A cucumber salad was refreshing, made with spring onions, parsley and sour cream. Oh and there was leftover dirty BBQ veg on the side.

The way to get the poussin tasting really good is to reserve half the marinade and brush it on as they are cooking. This makes sure you get plenty of that flavour on there, without it all slipping off a la marinade. Sticky, sweet, charred, spicy. Incredibly good, actually.

Pomegranate Molasses and Turkish Chilli Poussin Recipe

(serves 2)

2 poussins, spatchcocked

For the marinade:

4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons Turkish chilli flakes
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried rose petals
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (use a good one)
Juice of 1/2 small orange
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
Splash of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Bash up the cumin seeds with the rose petals until you have something resembling a powder, then mix with all the other marinade ingredients. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover the poussin with half the marinade, reserving the rest for brushing on top during cooking.

Cook on the BBQ until, well, cooked (depends on the size of your poussin really – mine took about 20 minutes), turning and brushing regularly with the marinade.

If you’re not intrigued by the title ‘mummified cockerel’ then we’re not going to get along, basically. First up, did you even realise cockerels were for eating? Me neither. I thought they were just for strutting about and waking people up with what is, frankly, one of the funniest animal noises ever. When I used to spend a lot of time out in the sticks, the noise of a cockerel never failed to make me giggle, even at 5am; they just sound so ridiculous and desperate.

I spent 15 minutes laughing at videos of cockerels crowing on youtube while writing this post, and that’s before I’d even started referring to the cockerel I cooked as ‘the cock’. So many jokes… ‘I cooked a cock today’. ‘I’m just mummifying a cock’. ‘Anyone for some hot cock?’ (sorry mum).


So the Ginger Pig have started doing er, chickens. They’ve started selling these hulking beasts that are a cross between a Cornish game cockerel and a Sussex or Dorking hen. They’re 100 days old (as opposed to 65 for the average commercially grown free range British chicken), they’re dry plucked and then hung for a week to bring out the flavour. That’s a special bird. A special cock. You’re not going to find cock of that quality elsewhere (snigger). They’re massive too, with obscenely plump legs. I’ve always been a thigh woman…

I was sent a cock in the post (giggle), to play around with (smirk), along with some advice to cook it ‘low and slow’. This would ideally happen with some liquid; in a casserole or pot roast for example. Problem is, I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to do something silly like smearing the cock with a kick ass spice paste, wrapping it in flatbreads and cooking it for four hours. So I did. And it worked. Ha! I do this all the time with regular chickens by the way, it’s a Middle Eastern recipe I found in one of my favourite cook books – A Tale of Twelve Kitchens by Peckham based artist Jake Tilson.

So you sacrifice the crisp skin with this recipe, let’s face up to that right now, but what you get instead is meat of super succulence and a load of bread that has spent 4 hours soaking up chicken fat, juice and spice and let me tell you, it’s off the hook. I witnessed an actual fight over the last piece of that bread between two people that have been friends for quite some years. Be warned.

I made the spice paste by slinging the following into a blender: two onions, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons za’atar (a mixture of thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and salt), hot chilli flakes and a splash of oil. I then slapped it all over that cock. Intense. After the slapping part it’s the wrapping part, which is pretty much a case of doing your best to get it all enclosed. I always use a packet of khobez from Persepolis in Peckham (3 or 4 to a pack), which split apart nicely and are the perfect thickness. It’s widely available in London but if you can’t get it I suggest you just do your best with whatever you can find. Don’t use anything too thin like lavash however, as it will crisp up too much and burn.

So what of the cooked cock? Well, I was worried about it to be honest; the drawback of this cooking method is that it’s impossible to check on the progress of it once wrapped. I cook a regular chicken this way for 3 hours at 175 degrees. This seems like an age of course but the bird stays very juicy due to the wrapping. I’ve no idea why it’s cooked for so long but that’s what Jake told me to do so I don’t argue. As I’d been warned the cock would take even longer to cook, I gave it 4 hours to be on the safe side which was probably totally unnecessary (although it did no harm). As a friend advised me at the time of cooking, ‘I’d say 4 hours at 175 degrees would cook fucking anything to be honest.’ Well, quite.

This dish is all about the big reveal. Wang it in the middle of the table and crack the crust to release the fragrant spicy meat puff. Ooooh! Aaaaaaah! Once the steam dissipates, the cock is revealed; the drama of de-mummification. At first I was a little taken aback by the funk of the bird; it smelled a little more high than the average chook. In the mouth though, that translated to chicken flavour to the power of 100 days + hanging for 1 week. It’s aged for a reason…

I served my bird on Persian style rice; basmati steamed with cardamom and streaked with steeped saffron. The shredded meat was dabbed with bits of the spice paste and then, then, scattered with what is possibly the best garnish ever: chopped dates fried in butter. They’re really high in calories, what with all that natural sugar and the liberal addition of saturated fat, which is why they taste incredible. If you’re not into the savoury/fruit thing which I know weirds people out sometimes, try them as a topping for ice cream. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out.

Okay so it’s not the prettiest of dishes but it tastes incredible, it’s fun and it’s always possible to panic garnish with out of season pomegranate seeds, to give it some colour and make it look better in a photo…a little tip for you there. Damn, I could charge for this shit.

The cockerels are available to buy from Ginger Pig now. They cost £8.50/kg, which isn’t cheap by any stretch, but is only a couple of quid more than a standard free range bird and they’re pretty unique. A 3kg bird will feed about 6 people, or greedy me for 3 days.

See here for Ginger Pig branch locations

Mummified Cockerel

1 x 2.75 kg (or similar sized) cockerel
2 average sized onions
3 cloves garlic
Hot chilli flakes (about a generous tablespoon I suppose)
3 tablespoons za’atar
A splash of oil
3-4 khobez flat breads (or similar), for wrapping

Preheat the oven to 175c.

Whack the onions, garlic, chilli flakes, za’atar, oil and some salt in a blender. Blend it. Smear it all over the cockerel, inside and out, but mostly out. Split one of the flatbreads so that it is still joined on side; you basically want to tuck the chicken into a bready pocket. Do that. Then keep doing it until you’ve mummified the cock. Just do your best to make sure it’s all wrapped up.

Wrap it loosely in foil and put it in the oven. Cook for 4 hours. Every 45 minutes or so take it out and brush the top of the flatbread liberally with water; this should stop it from burning. You won’t be eating the top bit anyway but burnt stuff doesn’t taste good so don’t skip this bit.

After 4 hours it should be ready; who knows, it might even be ready after 3. Anyway, crack the flatbread crust and get stuck in.

Rice Iranian Stylee (these are Sally Butcher’s quantities from Veggiestan, which means they cater for Iranian – meaning large – appetites. This is also her method for cooking rice, which never fails)

600g rice
800ml water
Generous knob of butter
Pinch saffron strands steeped in a little boiling water
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch ground cinnamon
A few dates, chopped
More butter for frying the dates

Wash the rice well. Put the water and butter in a pan with some salt and bring it to the boil. Add the rice and let it come back to the boil, then turn the heat down really low. Tie a clean tea towel around the lid of the pan, then put it on and let it simmer very gently for 20 minutes. After this time, lift the lid, stir in the cardamom and cinnamon, put the lid back on and steam for another 10 minutes.

Melt some butter in a pan and fry the dates in it for a few minutes.

Streak the saffron through the rice and serve with the chicken and dates on top.


Peckham Korean Fried Chicken

This is the post that won me the Young British Foodies writing award in 2013. 

This is a recipe that was concocted by me and my friend when we were drunk; I’m not going to lie. It started thus:

“Let’s make Korean fried chicken!”


“But let’s make it like, you know, better and shit! We’ll stamp the style of Peckham all over those birds and then deep fry them! TWICE!”

“OKAY!” *sound of drool hitting the floor*

Because deep frying when drunk is always a particularly good idea…

So, we went out immediately and bought some chicken wings, which now reveals that we were in fact drunk in the middle of the day. We had no recipe to hand, so we started poking about on the internet, as you do. After a while, the maelstrom of different methods, ingredients and opinions made our heads spin and we began to approach things according to the rules of drunken logic; that is to say, we decided to wing it by borrowing random ideas and ingredients willy nilly to create one unholy mother of a mash up.

I expect I’ve totally sold this recipe to you by now so, without further ado, here’s how to make your very own drunken batch of pure PKFC™:

Begin by putting some Wu Tang on. Turn it up loud.

Now you can marinate your chicken wings. Start by vigorously pounding two cloves of garlic in a pestle and mortar. Stick this in a bowl and add one generous tablespoon gojujang, which is Korean chilli paste. Immediately rename said chilli paste ‘Kajagoogoo’ upon discovery that you cannot remember how to pronounce gochujang properly because it is an unfamiliar word and you are hosed. Complete the marinade by adding enough milk to comfortably submerge the chicken in a spicy bath. Plunge your hands into the bowl and start rubbing and fondling the wings, while saying things like ‘horny’ ‘hubba’ and ‘massage my meat’. Film your friend doing this on your iphone. Both regularly fold in on yourselves in fits of giggles. Set the wings aside.

To make the batter for the wings, put some K-pop on. Turn it up loud. Next, harrumph a load of flour into a bowl (150g plain, 200g cornflour + 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, pinch of salt), and set about making it sexy. You’re aiming to create a flavour bomb and drop it on batter city, yo. Boom! Start by toasting 1 level tablespoon of sesame seeds, then pounding, pounding, pounding them (vigorously) in a pestle and mortar along with 2 dried red chillies, 1 star anise, 1 teaspoon ground ginger and a er, touch of Old Bay Seasoning because you’re drunk and you’re thinking it’s a great idea at the time. Next, rain down a little chemical magic on that party by adding 1/4 teaspoon of MSG, just for shits and giggs. Mix the batter with half the can of Red Stripe you’re holding at the time plus an equal quantity of water; aim for a thick slurry that gloops off the tip of each chicken wing in explicit, quivering ribbons. This should be outrageously funny so if it isn’t, that means the texture is wrong. Add more flour or beer until you reach the uncontrollable, shoulder shaking like Mutley stage of laughter.


1§To make the sauce, put Milkshake by Kelis on. Turn it up loud. Crush 2 cloves of garlic and cook it in a pan with 1 grated onion, some finely chopped ginger, 1 tablespoon pounded (vigorously) rock sugar and 4 tablespoons Kajagoogoo. Set aside.

Heat your oil for deep frying. This should be done with the utmost care and attention, ideally while not drunk and not holding a can of beer. One should definitely not walk away from the pan. In fact, just don’t ever do this unless you’re a complete and utter tool.

I’ll continue. Use a chopped up piece of crumpet to test if the oil is hot enough because you don’t have any bread. When hot, slip each wing into the batter and pull it out slowly so that it looks kind of rude; give props to the comedy noises and visuals. Lower into the hot oil, 2 wings at a time and let them fry for about 4 minutes (total stab in the dark on the timings). Drain on kitchen paper. When all are done, fry them all a second time until golden all over. Drain again.



Slap the wings about in the Kajagoogoo sauce a bit until they’re more or less covered. Pile onto a plate and garnish with chopped spring onion and sesame seeds. Serve with a roll of kitchen paper, a massively smug expression and an outfit that EXACTLY matches the colour of the Kajagoogoo. You’ll see. Revel in the funky fermented chilli heat and sticky sweetness, the filthy satisfaction at having double deep fried some meat (vigorously). PKFC™ sounds like a chemical abbreviation and it may as well be considering all the stuff that went into this recipe. I haven’t mentioned thus far the teaspoon of raspberry jam we added ‘for a laugh’ – now that’s living. You know what though? These could actually be great, pending a few improvements…

Improvements needed:

1. Swap half water/half beer mix for all beer mix to make the batter lighter. It was kinda thick and spongy. Also, increase the quantity of liquid (same reason).
2. Use less Kajagoogoo in the sauce; that shit is intense and the overall effect was cloying.
3. The raspberry jam probably isn’t necessary…
4. Buy an oil thermometer to reduce anxiety.
5. Be more responsible.
6. Make more fried chicken in general.
7. Do more exercise.
8. Make more of an effort with the recycling.
9. Stop swearing so much.
10. Get your roots done.

If you have any leftover chicken it is possible to make the hangover breakfast of joy (see below), which consists of clumsily hand fumbled leftover wing meat and the odd piece of batter fried with onion and topped with an egg. Jubilee paper plate (impulse purchase) optional…


Smoked chicken wings with honey and chipotle

Last weekend I decided on a whim that it was, without a doubt, the official start of BBQ season. It was a beautiful day and we flung open the doors on to the balcony, letting sun stream into the flat, fired up the grill and had a bunch of mates over to devour what I rather modestly titled a ‘Mexican Feast’. We ripped through a mountain of tacos, piled with slow-cooked pork with blood orange and chipotle plus about seven different salsas, guac and sour cream (got carried away) followed by chocolate mousse sprinkled with honeycomb. To start, it was a big pile of these wings, which we set upon like a bunch of feral animals.

When cooking wings on the BBQ, there’s always the question of how to get the skin nice and crisp (i.e you’re not deep-frying them). I spent a lot of time last year cooking chicken wings, a LOT of time, and I found that even 40 minutes over indirect heat can sometimes leave them a little flabby of skin. Recently however, I discovered a new method via Serious Eats. A new method! Joy! The meat is treated in a mixture of salt and baking powder, then suspended on a wire rack over a dish in the fridge. This needs to happen for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. I also added dried oregano (on the Mexican vibe) and some Old Bay Seasoning.

The wings don’t really look that different in the morning, but when they’re cooked over indirect heat on the BBQ for about 45 minutes, they go all sort of dry and weird looking. I was a little worried at that point.


They’re then doused in the sauce and flashed over direct heat to caramelise and char. It turned out I needn’t have worried, as the result was the crispest skin I’ve ever achieved on a BBQ and some juicy meat within; the wings are so fatty that they can be cooked for ages without ever drying out inside. The sauce is a mixture of smoky spiced chipotles in adobo (that’s smoked jalapeño chillies in a sweet sauce) which I was kindly sent by the Cool Chilli Co. but have also made at home with much success. They’re incredible and will add smoky intensity to many dishes. I used quite a lot in this recipe which gave the wings a good kick of heat. Balanced with plenty of honey they were super sticky too, cut with the tropical astringency of lime juice.

They’re so good I just made another batch yesterday and I’m making a third next week for a mate’s birthday. The buzzing heat of the chipotles builds with every wing, yet is numbed by the sweet honey, making for an addictive cycle which makes you go back for another and another and another. Have plenty of kitchen roll handy.

Smoked Chicken Wings with Honey & Chipotle

Makes enough for 15-20 wings (depends on their size really)

For the rub

1 heaped teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

For the sauce

3 heaped tablespoons canned chipotles in adobo (the ones I had were from Cool Chilli Co. and were chopped up in the sauce, in contrast to the ones I’ve made at home/bought before)
1 tablespoon chipotle ketchup (optional)
50g melted butter
Juice 2 limes
5 tablespoons honey

You will also need a handful of hickory wood chips, for smoking.

Start this the day before you want to eat. Mix all the ingredients for the rub together. Pat the wings dry then cover them with the rub, making sure to massage it in to each wing. Spread the wings out on a rack (I used a cake cooling rack) and suspend this over a baking dish or other large flat dish, so that the dish can catch any drips and the air can circulate around the wings. Refrigerate the wings but don’t cling film them, as they need exposure to air.

The next day, make the sauce. Melt the butter then add it to a blender with all the other ingredients and whizz until well combined.

Fire up your BBQ and set up the coals for indirect cooking (by which I mean wait for them to turn white then move them across to one side of the BBQ). Place the wings skin side down on the side of the grill that is NOT over the coals, throw your soaked chips into the coals, then put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. After this time, turn the wings and cook for another 20 minutes or so (with the lid on).

After this time, douse each wing in sauce then return to the grill, this time OVER the coals; this is to get some char on each wing and caramelise that sauce. This takes about 15-20 minutes.

Once the wings are good and caramelised, you may want to douse them in any remaining sauce.

Brown Stew Chicken

Brown stew chicken is a common Caribbean dish, yet I don’t see it too often on restaurant menus around here. Well, not compared to jerk anyway. The stew takes its name from the colour of the sauce, which is made by caramelising the marinated chicken in brown sugar before adding the reserved marinade. This caramel flavour is essential to make a good brown stew and it’s important to spend time ensuring the chicken is properly sticky and golden before moving on. The sauce is then cooked down to an intense gravy; it’s sweet and damn spicy, depending of course on how liberal your hand is with the fierce yet fruity scotch bonnet pepper.

It’s a proper carnival of Caribbean flavours, with depth from the caramelised sugar and soy, plus fragrance from the thyme, ginger, spring onions and  lime. The smell carries like nothing else and will make your neighbours insane with jealousy. This is proper winter comfort food, Peckham style.

Brown Stew Chicken

(serves 2-3, depending on how many chicken thighs you fancy)

1kg bone-in chicken thighs (about 6), skin removed
Juice of 1  lime
4 spring onions, finely shredded, plus one extra to garnish
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 scotch bonnet chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 regular onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
4 sprigs thyme
1 thumb sized piece ginger, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
Half a tin chopped tomatoes (I used the cherry ones)
Water to just cover the chicken pieces

Place the chicken pieces in a dish and add all the ingredients except the sugar, chopped tomatoes and water. Mix well and leave to marinate for an hour or overnight if possible.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, remove them from the marinade, reserving the marinade to add to the stew. Pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a high-sided pan and add the sugar. When it begins to turn dark brown and caramelised, add the chicken pieces, taking care because it will splatter a lot. Fry them until you have nice caramelised bits on both sides, then remove from the pan and set to one side.

Add the reserved marinade to the pot and fry for a few minutes to soften. Add the chicken pieces back plus the tinned tomatoes and just enough water to cover the meat. Season, then simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce is thickened and the chicken cooked through. Serve with rice and peas, or plain rice, garnished with a little chopped spring onion.

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.

Hot Wings

This isn’t turning into the grilled meat blog, I promise. It’s just, well, it’s summer isn’t it and I’m either having or getting invited to a lot of barbecues. Wings always fit the bill because they’re cheap, cook quickly and have a lot of fat for their size, which means loads of crisp, charred skin. Tick, tick and tick.

Thinking about it, this is probably the unhealthiest of all ways to cook wings without deep frying them first.* They’re hot wings you see, which means they’re bathed in hot sauce cut with a load of melted butter.

Hot Wings


But I’m getting ahead of myself. It begins the night before with a marinade made from onion, garlic, thyme, oregano and paprika. Then right before cooking you melt the butter with the hot sauce, dunk the wings in half of it and grill them, reserving the other half for later. When they are charred and cooked through, you dunk each once again in the sauce, leaving a sweet-spicy coating, silken with butter, which stains your fingers and face bright orange.

These went down well at the BBQ but they weren’t hot enough because I ran out of hot sauce. Traditionally you would use Frank’s to make hot wings; I didn’t as I needed to use up my homemade scotch bonnet sauce but I didn’t realise quite how much the butter would tame it. Still, easily remedied in future. I served them, as is traditional, with celery sticks and a blue cheese dip, which make for a cooling interlude between each sticky wing.

Hot Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

For the marinade

30 chicken wings
1 tablespoon salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion
3 teaspoons thyme leaves
3 teaspoons dried oregano
1.5 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

For the sauce

250g butter
Hot sauce

Sticks of celery and blue cheese dip, to serve.

Process the onion and garlic in a blender with 1 tablespoon water until you have a puree. Put this puree in a bowl with the salt, thyme, oregano, pepper and paprika. Put the chicken wings in a large dish and rub the marinade all over them, giving them a good rub to make sure each wing is well coated. Refrigerate overnight.

When you want to cook the wings, remove them from the fridge to come to room temperature and start your BBQ. When the BBQ is ready, melt the butter in a small pan and stir in hot sauce to taste. You’ll want it nice and spicy. I only had half this kilner jar of sauce and if you’re using a shop bought sauce you’ll need to experiment. Don’t worry though, it’s not exactly rocket science. Split this sauce into two bowls.

Dump the wings in one of the bowls and mix to cover with the sauce. Grill the wings until charred all over and cooked through. When cooked, dip each into the remaining bowl of sauce.

Serve with sticks of celery and the blue cheese dip.