Recipe: barbecue chicken

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At times I get the most peculiar cravings. I guess it ties in with my way of eating; regardless of what it is I eat for pleasure, not just fuel. And most of the time my cravings are a combination of things my body needs and my favourite foods. Typical cravings are usually something with avocado, anything with burrata and sometimes proper comfort food. Often cheese of some kind, and sometimes fish.

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One beautiful summer’s day in Norfolk my body screamed for barbecued chicken. The sticky, charred kind. Maybe I needed protein but whenever I crave something fairly healthy I always try to give my body what it wants.

As we were in Norfolk and had access to a barbecue it was also much easier to make this happen, than if we’d been in London, so I went all in. I threw together a homemade barbecue sauce and marinated the whole spatchcocked chicken in it for a few hours and then got my darling boyfriend to light the barbecue. The coal one, thank you very much, not the gas barbecue!

And apart from the sugars in the marinade burning too quickly it was a great success. We both thoroughly enjoyed the charred and tender chicken, both that night and the leftovers two days later.

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But, this almost too charred chicken was not photogenic, and I was also slightly worried about the carcinogenic properties of all that burnt sugar. And decided to perfect the recipe (and reduce the charring) the next time.

And that next time arose a few weeks later in Sweden when my boyfriend was over and we were having dinner with my parents. My foodie family was just as excited about the chicken as I was and my boyfriend loved it last time, so it worked out really well! The trick is to add the barbecue sauce towards the end so it doesn’t burn too much; just that right amount that makes it taste to good!

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Barbecue chicken, serves 4 + leftovers

2 smaller (just over a kilo each) whole fresh chickens

salt and pepper

1 tbsp neutral oil 

Barbecue sauce:

150 ml ketchup

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 

1 tbsp brown sugar (or any sugar if you prefer but brown works best) 

1 tsp smoked paprika powder 

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp soy sauce 

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp neutral oil 

salt, pepper

Rinse and trim the chickens. (I usually cut away any loose skin and fat, the ends of the wings that is just bone etc.) Then spatchcock the chickens (instructions here) so they cook quicker and more evenly. Season with plenty of salt and pepper all around and brush with oil. 

Build up the coal barbecue so that you have the coal and briquettes all on one side of the barbecue, where you have a higher temperature, as opposed to the empty side which still emanates heat but isn’t as hot. 

Start off by browning the chickens all around on the direct heat (on top of the coals), for approx 5-10 minutes. Then move them to the indirect heat (empty side) and place them bony side down. Put the lid on and grill for another 15-20 minutes, turning as you go. Brush on a thick layer of barbecue sauce all around the chicken and char the meaty side first (as this is most important to get right) until just enough charring, then turn over and char the other side. The chickens should be ready after another 10 minutes on the grill, but cut through the meat (both the thickest part of the breast and in a joint) to make sure the juices are all clear. Remove from the grill and cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into smaller pieces (our almost fell apart so this was easy) and tuck in!

 

 

The daily grind and a barbecue!

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After the bank holiday weekend in Norfolk I tried to take it a bit easier and didn’t do an awful lot during the weekdays that week. It was back to the weekday routine with an Ocado shop and chores, but I needed that.

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On the Friday night I had a quiet night in and made the lovely spinach dip for dinner (we always have a full lunch at the office on Fridays so a snack is the perfect supper for me) and even posted a tutorial on Instagram, so do follow me there if you want more updates!

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On the Saturday it was nice and sunny so I grabbed my book and an ice lolly and spent the afternoon on the roof. I had no plans for the evening but that suddenly changed when texting with a friend who lives nearby and all of a sudden I changed and put makeup on and met her in town for dinner (review to come!) and the cinema. We saw the Mamma Mia! sequel which was actually a little better than I had expected, and a little less cringe.

Unfortunately I woke up sick the next day and had to stay in bed for several days, watching films and series and reading a bit when I wasn’t sleeping. I was so happy when I managed to drag myself to the office on the Thursday and took it easy in the evenings. But on Friday night I found myself with a little extra energy (yay!) and organised my wardrobe by putting away the most summery things and getting out the autumnal clothes. The weather is so unreliable at the moment I want to be prepared!

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Saturday I went to Richmond and my friends’ Great River Race and barbecue party! It was so nice socialising, eating lovely food and just hanging out. I contributed with the Mexican corn salad that went down really well. Then on Sunday I took it easy and I finally feel like I fully recovered from being ill. Yay!

Theatre, BBQ and sport

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I must admit I feel slightly stressed that it’s already the middle of July. In less than two weeks I go home to Sweden for two weeks and I have quite a lot to do before then, but the main reason I’m stressed is that I don’t want this lovely summer to end! It’s been so lovely and I want it to continue forever.

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I’m really looking forward to my weeks in Sweden but London is lovely too at the moment. Last week was busy but fun and one of the highlight was definitely the RAF fly-over on Tuesday to mark their hundred year anniversary. Wow!

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In the evening I met up with the girls at Chick ‘n’ Sours for nachos (probably the best ever), fried chicken, cocktails and of course a proper catch-up. It was much needed and so lovely!

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On Thursday I was invited to Shakespeare’s The Tempest at an outdoor theatre in Covent Garden. Always nice with some culture!

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And before the theatre we had a quick meal at cosy Polpo nearby. Love those meatballs!

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Friday I had a (much needed) night in, with face masks, scented candles and a not great but fine rom-com.

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The weekend was all about sport, apart from the Saturday evening which was all about Tim (the birthday boy) and the barbecue him and Laura had arranged. We had Pimm’s and snacks in the garden, followed by a barbecue complete with burgers and two types of sausages and finished off with proper American s’mores. Yum! When it got dark we ventured inside for board games and champagne.

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Sunday started with a lie-in (yes!) followed by a whole afternoon in a lovely beer garden watching both the Wimbledon final and the World Cup final.

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It was nice and relaxing with a glass of rosé in hand. Afterwards we went for a little walk, then headed back for homemade club sandwiches and the last episode of Billions. Can’t wait for the next season to start!

Summer in April!!

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The past week was just glorious with blue skies, 25+C degrees and SUNSHINE! It’s sadly over now but it was wonderful as long as it lasted.

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On Tuesday it was my turn to host the book group and I thought a summery lemon pasta (I will post the recipe soon) would be appropriate. It went down a treat together with a simple leafy salad and wild garlic bread. Marie-Louise brought a bottle of lovely champagne as well, so it was a rather festive Tuesday!

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The next day was sunny and hot, so after work I took the river boat down the Thames and had the first glass of rosé of the season, overlooking the river.

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On Friday a group of us had a lovely girlie evening at Gordon’s Wine Bar (where Laura expertly managed to get us a table as soon as we arrived!) with rosé, cheese and lots of chatting. So lovely!

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The rest of the weekend was fairly quiet with lie-ins, pizza and champagne on Saturday night and a lovely pub lunch in the sunshine on Sunday.

 

Summer longings

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The summer has paused (once again) here in London and I sincerely hope my two weeks in Sweden in August will make up for the lack of summer I’ve experienced so far. *crossing fingers*

Luckily, one can help summer along a little by cooking the most summery of recipes. If it tastes like summer IT IS summer, right?!

Noodles with fried squid, lime and mint tastes very fresh and reminds me of balmy nights. What better summer smell is there than the one of charcoal and meat juices?! This marinaded pork fillet with lemon and herbs is utterly delicious! And the easiest (and best) of summer puds is of course the humble mess. For a late lazy lunch with friends (and rosé!) this halloumi salad is easy to whip up.

Happy (make your own) summer!

 

Marinated pork fillet with lemon and herbs

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That weekend in the countryside the maincourse was a buffet with plenty of options. We had sausages and burgers from Waitrose as well as chicken drumsticks with sweet chilli marinade and marinated pork fillet with lemon and herbs.

For the sausages and burgers we had buns, mustard, ketchup, mayo, sliced tomatoes, onions and pickles.

The other trimmings were a regular salad with avocado and spring onions, couscous salad with grilled peppers and chickpeas, bean salad with Dijon and feta, classic potato salad (with parsley instead of dill) and slaw.

Marinated pork fillet with lemon and herbs, serves 6-8

2 pork fillets/tenderloins approx 400 g each

150-200 ml mild olive oil

1 lemon, zest and juice

2 tsp honey

1 garlic clove

5-8 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

5 sprigs rosemary, chopped

Trim the meat of any fat/tendons and cut into 1 inch thich slices. Flatten them a bit. Season the meat. 

Mix the marinade and cover the meat (either in ziplock bags or a ceramic tray/bowl. Leave to marinate in the fridge at least over night or for 48 hours. Barbecue. 

A lovely weekend (with BBQ) in the country

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The weekend before last a friend invited a group of us down to a very nice house in the country. Luckily the weather was good so we could enjoy the pool and play football on the lawn as well as drink wine and eat a lot. What more could one ask for?!

It was one of those wonderful weekends that fill you up with energy, although I have to admit I was a little tired when I got back to London because I took care of the cooking. It was good fun though and I don’t think there was any risk of anyone going hungry.

As we were lounging outside most of the day I thought it best with nibbles instead of a proper started and served three different ones; salmon rolls with horseradish, puff pastry straws with blue cheese, walnuts and honey and my take on bruschetta.

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Then it was time for the big event – the BBQ. I had prepped drumsticks and pork fillet and we also grilled sausages and beef burgers. There were of course a lot of different salads and condiments; potato salad, bean salad with feta, slaw, salad with avocado and spring onions, couscous salad and ketchup, mayo, pickled, mustard, cheese, sliced onions and tomatoes.

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After a proper break we finished the meal with Swedish mud cake, vanilla icecream, butterscotch sauce and berries.

Everybody seem to enjoy themselves and the food and it was good fun prepping it all too! Recipes will follow in separate posts.