Monday, 11 February 2013

Sunshine Food

Ok, so here goes... This is my first stab at a foodie post so please be gentle with me as I haven't found my food blogging sea legs yet. 
England has been lost under a permanent grey cloud of drizzle, sleet and the occasional snow flurry for too long now, it's perpetually cold and everyone seems down in the dumps. So, as I had the day off I thought I'd bring a little sunshine to our home and cook one of my favourite dishes. I'm going to issue a disclaimer now and say that I am by no means a fantastic cook, but I can cook nice food that 9 times out of 10 tastes good, my picture quality is not professional but then again neither am I.
This recipe is for sticky chicken legs with pineapple salsa and sweet potato fries (sort of). Sticky chicken doesn't sound too appealing and I would love to be able to call it BBQ chicken legs but, unfortunately, these chuck legs have not seen a grill and the sauce they're in would make a Texan weep. Although the name may not sell them, this recipe is deliciously easy and seriously tasty and can be made fairly quickly.

Lets start with the marinade for the chicken, I use the term marinade in the loosest sense as the chicken legs aren't in it for any great period of time but it is used to cook them in. Quantities are by no means strict and really don't matter, the consistency just needs to be thick enough to coat the chicken but thin enough to pour over them. You'll need:
1 large tbsp of honey
4 tbsp (roughly) of soy sauce
1 chicken stock cube
1 squeeze of tomato ketchup 
1 squeeze of a cheap bbq sauce
1 1/2 tsp of white wine vinegar.
Combine all these ingredients in a large bowl, big enough to fit all your chicken drumsticks.
Put your chicken legs in the bowl and toss throughout the sauce so that each one has a slick of sauce on and put to one side while you prepare the sides.
Cut one large sweet potato into chunks/ wedges/ any shapes you like, don't remove the skin and throw onto a baking tray. Using the flat side of a knife crush 3-4 garlic cloves dependent on size, scatter these on top and pour over some olive oil. I've added some dried herbs but as most people think these are criminal to use I'll leave it up to personal preference.
Next comes the pineapple salsa which is by far my favourite part of the meal. It's so sweet, juicy and instantly uplifiting and, although the picture is slightly washed out due to the flash, it's vibrant and colourful to look at. A perfect pick me up. You'll need:
1 ripe nectarine
1/2 a red onion
1 slightly under ripe avocado (so it keeps it shape and doesn't "mush" as easily)
1/4 of a fresh pineapple or 1/2 of a tin.
All you need to do it simply cut everything into similar sized cubes and mix together, the acidity from the fruit will prevent the avocado from turning brown.
I also made a salad to serve on the side, nothing miraculous just some lettuce leaves with a spring onion, some cubed bell pepper, thin slices of radish and some crunchy raw sugar snap peas.

Now that's all done, transfer your chicken to an oven proof dish that fits them all in snuggly. Pour over the remainder of the marinade and put in an oven preheated at about 180 Celsius for about 35 mins. I put the sweet potato in the oven at the same time and by the time the chicken is cooked the sweet potato should be soft, with crisp chewy skin.
And there you have it, sunshine food.

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