Friday, 26 September 2014

Southern Fried Chicken

Got any weekend plans? Well here at Really Hungry we like to relax on a Friday evening. And our favourite way is with chicken. Normally chicken wings, chips, ketchup and a cup of tea but occasionally we go a bundle and treat ourselves to something new.

Now this next recipe is pretty much the finest chicken I've ever made. I think the original recipe came from a book my old head chef used by a gentleman called Kenny McGovern. Mr McGovern suffers/suffered from agoraphobia. I think. Anyway the point is it wasn't my book and I glanced at it once last year but this chap had gone out of his way to recreate all his favourite fast food treats from the comfort of his internet shopping and his own kitchen. I never wrote down the recipe so this is my best recollection. I've had to tweak it a couple of times but, man alive, I've nailed it now. What can I say, sometimes the best things come to those who play things fast and loose.

So here's a quick and dirty blog, of some quick and dirty chicken. Pop yourself some chips in, get a couple of chilled bottles of beer in your fridge and settle down to some Friday night telly. It's the weekend. Enjoy!

  • 200ml full fat milk
  • 1 egg
  • 10 chicken drumsticks
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 good quality chicken drumsticks
  • 1l sunflower oil

  1. Whisk the egg and the milk together in a large bowl, In a separate large bowl mix together all the dried ingredients
  2. In a large chip pan or a fat fryer heat the oil until it is hot enough to seal the chicken
  3. Now individually coat the drumsticks completely in the egg mix then drop into the dried flour mix and make sure they are completely coated. Place the floured drumstick on a plate and continue until all of them are finished,
  4. Carefully lower the drumsticks into the hot oil one at a time. My pan is big enough to take four pieces comfortably so you need to judge that they aren't too squashed in. Better to do less then too many. Turn the oil right down now and leave to fry for 15 minutes, gradually turning as they fry. If the crumb starts to get too dark the fat is too hot so tweak the temperature dial accordingly. If you have a temperature probe the chicken is cooked when it is golden brown on the outside and 75C on the inside. If you have no probe just remove the chicken and drain on a rack and gently slice to the bone with a knife to make sure the chicken inside is no longer pink.
  5. These drumsticks will hold in an oven of approximately 120C until the remaining chicken is fried.
  6. Serve with chips, ketchup and ice cold beer. Then have ice cream.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Autumn muffins

We are still on the allotment theme today and I've been looking forward to this one a lot. Autumn fruit is one of my favourite things and this year I've got my floured covered mitts on the sweetest allotment grown raspberries you can imagine along with the most perfectly tender little blackberries I think I've ever seen. There are significantly less of them than there were when I picked them a couple of days ago as I've been gorging on them every time I've opened the fridge, but the ones that remain are being put to good use in these muffins with a couple of bramley apples from my friend Tammy's garden.

These are so simple to make and you can substitute pretty much any fruit as long as you use the same weight quantity. But remember to squeeze the grated apple to get rid of all the excess water. I normally just drink it while I'm baking, but have also been known to use it in smoothies.

  •  200g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 150g demerara sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 75g melted butter
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • 150g grated apple
  • 80g raspberries
  • 80g blackberries
  • 150ml milk
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cups
  2. Sift all the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the sugar and mix
  3. Beat the egg, milk and vanilla extract together and fold into the dry mix with the melted butter until you have a smooth, airy cake batter
  4. Carefully fold in the fruit making sure it is well incorporated but not too squashed or broken up
  5. Divide the batter evenly over the 12 muffin cups and bake on 180C for 30-35mins. or until cooked through and lightly golden on top
  6. Cool on a rack

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Courgette fritters

As a result of overwhelming popular request (1 person asked on Twitter) here's a short photo blog about courgette fritters. Everyone has their own favourite method, this is mine.

Guess who just had courgette fritters for lunch!

1. Slice courgette into strips or discs of even width, season with salt and leave for 5-10 mins

2. Dab away release moisture with a paper towel and season with a sprinkling of cracked black pepper

3. Coat courgette discs in plain flour, then dip in egg, then back into the flour

4. Shallow fry the discs in hot groundnut oil until golden brown. If the discs brown or burn too quickly
just adjust the temperature to allow a slower cook, so the inside of the courgette has time to get tender.

5. Serve sprinkled with salt.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Torta verde

As a result of my recent fortuitous harvest I've been planning meals around courgettes and runner beans. There's a limit to the number of courgette fritters one can consume, although my husband politely asks me to point out that he has not yet found that limit. But this lovely little recipe provides an alternative option that can be served in any number of ways: as either a main course, with a salad; a snack; as a picnic dish or even as delicate little individual tartlettes as a starter.

As I've been picking my friend's allotment for her while she's away I happen to have courgette and beans handy, but this works remarkably well with pretty much any green veg including chard, spinach, brocolli and fennel. 

This is based on a tradtional Ligurian savoury tart, reminiscent of spanakopita. Unlike their Greek cousins the Ligurian version uses an olive pastry in lieu of filo.  This marvelous dough must be about the simplest pastry in the world to make and handle. Try it with whatever you have in your veg garden/salad box/fridge.

Olive pastry
  • 400g/4oz strong flour
  • pinch salt
  • 6tblsp olive oil
  1. Combine everything in a bowl and gradually add a splash of water until all the flour is combined into smooth, firm dough, Cling wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

 For the filling
  • 350g courgette, sliced evenly
  • 150g runner beans, chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, chopped
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • medium bunch basil, chopped
  • 60g arborio rice
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 80g feta cheese, grated
  • 80g parmesan, grated
  1. In a large pan sauté the courgette, fennel, beans, peas, garlic and basil in a splash of olive oil until soft, then roughly blitz in a food processor. Season to taste.
  2. Cut your olive dough in two and thinly roll out half to line a pre-oiled tart tin (ideally one with a removable base). Leave a collar of at least 1cm of pastry round the edge of the tin. Now roll the second half of the pastry out thinly and leave to be used as the lid.
  3. Into your veg mix add your beaten egg, the cheese, the rice and any salt and pepper required to taste. Remember that your cheese is salty, so add this and taste before adding any further seasoning.
  4. Now place the second piece of rolled out pastry over the pie and trim the edges to leave only 1cm of collar round the edge,  Roll this collar in (as on the picture below) and then use your thumb and forefinger to make a crimped edge.
  5. Brush olive oil onto the top of the pie and make 3 small cuts in the top to release the steam and prevent the lid from getting soggy.
  6. Bake on 180C for between 40-50 minutes, until golden brown. To check if it is ready insert a knife into one of the holes to test the rice isn't still too hard.

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Sadly I didn't grow this haul here at Really Hungry.  The apples were a gift from my good friend and excellent chef, Tammy. She has a blackberries in her garden that can barely take the weight of the fruit. The plan is to make either muffins or create some kind of apple and blackberry slice with them. The beans, courgettes and tomatoes are from my running friend's allotment. I'm tending it (aka nicking her food) while she relaxes in sunnier climes. Her neighbour on the allotment foisted the largest potatoes you've ever seen onto me. And she also gave me a bag of pink fir potatoes which I'm about to steam for dinner. Gotta love Autumn!

Bring on the apocalypse!

Runner beans

Courgette and tomato

Pudding or breakfast?

Pink fir potatoes


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Flanagan's Flapjacks

Once again I've been asked to put together some recipes for the athletes getting ready to run the Surrey Half Marathon on the 8th March 2015.  If you ran the inaugural race in 2014 you'll know it was a huge success and lots of fun for everyone involved. This time round we've decided to do treats. Everyone is going to be working so hard in training that it will be nice to have something sweet and decadent to spoil yourselves with after an arduous work out. 

It's fitting that the first recipe is something of a legend here on the Guildford running scene. My local run club regularly meets on a Wednesday night for a weekly session of hills, tempo, intervals, fun and cake. I'm sure we are not unique: There must be cake clubs all over the country who meet up for an hour of pain and wheezing before cracking open the treats and napkins. It's always been fun trying out everyone's different favourites and a good friend often brings these flapjacks with him. 

Honestly, HAND TO HEART, they are the finest flapjacks you will ever taste. To be fair, everything he makes is absolutely delicious (he's got something of a baking talent there) but these won me over the first time I tasted them after a particularly grueling hill session and have had my heart every since.  Add whatever you want to them. Dried cranberries or blueberries work well, chocolate chips, peanuts. Anything goes. But don't leave out the marshmallows...they go all gooey and light and sweet and seriously...don't leave out the marshmallows!

I really hope you like them as much as me. Thank you Andrew Flanagan:

  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 250g butter 
  • 200g sugar 
  • 125g oats
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 125g crushed cornflakes
  • 50g dried cherries
  • 100ml orange juice
  • 2 tbsp mini marshmallows

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C (gas mark 5) and line an 18 x 25cm swiss roll tin (or any square-ish receptacle)
  2. Melt the butter and syrup in a pan over a low heat until melted
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and pour in the butter/syrup mix
  4. Drain the cranberries (discard the orange juice) and add to the mix, stir until they are evenly incorporated
  5. Now take the mix and spread into the swiss roll tin 
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes
  7. Cool slightly on a rack and cut into fingers when still warm, but leave in tin. Once completely cold they can be broken into their squares and stored in an airtight container.