Oops There It Is

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.

Wedding photography by Faye Cornhill and John Sanders.

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friedchk

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.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

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

Method

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!


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Taste The Air

How the hell did half term come around so quickly? I am totally tripping over children in my home. Its just not right. They should be in school 49 weeks of the year. I think three weeks holiday is ample. I had a long conversation with a friend of mine. We were wondering why no one has set up a kiddy hotel. You know kind of like a dog hotel but for kids. Just check em in and pick them up at the end of the week. How cool would that be? Hmmm…..

Well I have the joy of seeing the adorable creatures everyday of the week. The weather is not helping the situation much either. In the spirit of peace and harmony I decided to embrace the long weekend and try not to loose the will to live. I succeeded. It was the perfect weekend to teach the kids how to make me breakfast..What? Look there has to be some perks having 6 other hands in the house…Ok Rufus is kind of excluded, although he does clean skirting boards really really well. Oh and he loves to Hettie!

Lola eager and bossy..(hmm wonder where she gets that from) Took charge after I gave her a lesson on how to fire up the Bialetti. She was brilliant, although I have to light the stove which kind of negates the whole purpose of my plan but still its a start. They are great at doing toast and jam! I don’t really eat toast…Oh but Tilda does a mean scrambled egg. She is really good at it. Although cracking the eggs is proving to be a little bit tricksy, I told her to “Take control of the egg, you are in charge, do it like you mean it” She does the best egg cracking warm up I have ever witnessed….Still manages to get the entire shell in the frying pan though..

Having had a unbelievably horrible bug…(I will not go  into details but you can kind of guess one of two things happened or both)! I haven’t really been the most prolific cook this week. Although I would have to be in a coma for me not to cook anything.. It was The Ru’s birthday so at his bequest I made fried chicken..I will give you the recipe. I also baked this cake. It was divine. Seriously really good and light and amazing and easy.

Again I don’t want to go into detail but the reason there are no photos of said party food is that at the exact precise moment the food was ready and as I was about to hit the click button on the camera, Tilda presented herself as the carrier to the bug which ripped through my household like wildfire. Enough said..

I leave you with some random photos of stuff and a recipe for fried chicken.

Rachelle x

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Yummy Fried Chicken

For the love of god don’t go to KFC. This is sooo much better and healthier and yummier and all of the rest.  Great cold as well, but it never hangs around long enough in my house to go cold. I figure 2/3 pieces of chicken per person. Always better to make more. More is more after all..

Ingredients

  • 2 or 3 pieces of chicken. (free range legs and thighs)
  • 2 tubs of buttermilk (enough to cover the chicken in a saucepan)
  • Sunflower oil (enough to fill a deep pan one third of the way up)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 2tsp garlic salt
  • 2tsp celery salt
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • 3tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

Get a saucepan big enough to fit all the chicken in snugly. Trim off the excess fat from the thighs. Put the chicken pieces in the pan and cover with the buttermilk. If there is not enough to cover then add some milk. On a medium heat gently cook until the meat looks like it is beginning to pull away from the bones and is not pink at all by the bone. Turn off the heat.

Grab a wire cooling rack and some paper towel. Take out the pieces of chicken and place them on the rack to cool. Pat them down to get some of the buttermilk gunk off, (that sounds attractive)!  Right so now wash and dry out your big pan and fill one third with vegetable oil. Turn on the heat.

Put all the spices into the flour and mix throughly..Look you can judge how much flour you need add more if you have a lot of chicken pieces, you are going to double dip everything in the flour so always best to have more then you think. Add more spices if you add more flour. I mix it and taste the flour. You want it to taste more spicy and more salty then you think as frying will dull some of the flavour.

Put your flour in one bowl. Beaten eggs in another. Using on hand and one hand only (you will thank me) dip each piece in the flour, egg and then flour again.

Shake a piece of the gloopy egg flour off you fingers into the oil. If it sizzles gently on the surface it is ready for the chicken. Add the chicken in batches of 3 or 4. Not too much or you will cool down the oil too much and have soggy chicken.  Cook for a few minutes until the flour coating is bronze and crispy. Decant and season with a little sea salt. EAT NOW!

 

 


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