Wow it’s been ages since I put fingers to keyboard. I have had my flower hat on for a few months. Which has been lovely. I made a wedding in November which was (if I say so myself) really pretty. I designed centrepieces filled with white hydrangeas and tulips. The location of the wedding was a stunning Palladian mansion in the surrey countryside Botleys Mansion . The brides mother told me they wanted to hire me to cook the wedding breakfast too! Even I realised that may be a little too much for me to take on.
Enough about flowers, let’s get on with the food. My daughter Lola turned 11 last week and as tradition goes, she requested her birthday celebration menu. She has been talking about her American roots lately probably because her new US passport arrived a few weeks ago. “I want fried chicken and mac ‘n cheese please”. Yep no problem. She also showed me a photo of a cake that she wanted. As far as I could tell it was a cake surrounded by Kit Kats, and then topped with skittles. I told her I would replicate but not with skittles, I would use M&Ms instead.
I made my ‘go to’ chocolate cake mix, to make a 3 layer sponge then a simple butter icing flavoured with a little cocoa, slathered the whole cake in icing, including the sides, then stuck Kit Kats around the edge and filled the top with said M&Ms and finished it off with a bit of ribbon. I thought it looked pretty good. Lola was pleased.
I leave you with a few pics from my weddings sandwiched between cake and fried chicken pics and a recipe for my delicious always juicy southern fried chicken.
Southern Fried Chicken
This recipe is my ‘go to’ for birthdays and picnics. The chicken is always juicy even when wrapped up and eaten room temperature on a sunny day. I usually serve it with a crisp red and white coleslaw with a squeeze of lime and some fresh red chilli.
For the marinade
- 10-12 pieces of chicken (thighs and drumsticks)
- 3 x 75ml pots of buttermilk
- pinch of salt
For the crispy coating
- 200g plain flour
- 3 eggs
- splash of water
Spices to add to flour
I leave the quantities of each spice up to you. I would suggest a couple of teaspoons of each.
- Mustard powder
- Garlic salt
- Celery salt
- Hot chili powder
- Thyme leaves
- Smoked paprika
- Maldon sea salt
- Ground black pepper
Sunflower oil for frying
First take your chicken thighs and trim off any extra fat so the thigh is neatly covered with skin. Place the thighs and drumsticks in a bowl and cover with the butter milk and a pinch of salt. Place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, better still overnight.
When you are ready to cook the chicken. Turn on the oven to 170C. Take a large deep cast iron saucepan and fill a third of the way with your oil place over a medium high heat.
In the meantime start coating your chicken. Take the chicken out of the fridge and with your fingers scrape off the excess buttermilk. Lay the chicken on a tray and then take 2 large bowls and in one bowl add the flour and spices, mix thoroughly. In the other bowl mix together the egg and water.
Using only one hand (or you will turn into a flour egg monster) pick up a piece of chicken, dip in the flour making sure the chicken is thoroughly coated, shaking off the excess, then dip in the egg, shaking off the excess then dip back into the flour. Place on a tray and repeat until all the chicken pieces are coated.
Take a piece of flour egg mixture which is stuck to your fingers no doubt and place it in the oil, if it sizzles gently then your oil is ready to use. If it sinks to the bottom, wait until it rises to the top of the oil and sizzles as this means the oil is not hot enough and you will get oily chicken, which is not good. Also if the batter sizzles violently across the top of the oil this means your fat is too hot so turn down the heat a little and wait for a few minutes.
Fry off your chicken pieces in batches of 3 for a few minutes until the batter is crispy and golden brown, remove and place on kitchen towel then into a roasting dish. When you have fried off all the chicken place in the oven for 20 mins until the chicken is cooked through.
Serve hot or room temperature. Delicious!