Thursday, July 21, 2011

Five-spice chicken drumsticks

Quite often, I don't label the stuff in my freezer. I'm getting better at it, but sometimes I take something out and squint at going 'Chicken? Pork?'
I'd forgotten I'd thrown in some dark chicken (I thought it was a mix of drumstick and thigh, but it turned out to be thighs). I used to not like dark meat at all when I was a kid – fiddly, greasier, and way too obviously full of veins. Now, I don't really care, but I do want something with lots of flavour.
I wound up on BBC Food, and came across the five-spice drumsticks by Ching-He Huang.
I loved it; incredibly easy as long as you have five-spice. As usual with marinade, whip it up, stick it on and wait.
Definitely tasty and worth remembering as a store-cupboard favourite.
No pics. I was hungry!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pork belly with coriander and fennel seeds

I decided to go back to my recipe books. I do own several, other than the Joy of Cooking, and got two for my birthday - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingshall's River Cottage Everyday and The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit.
I flicked through RCE, lusted after a few cuts of meat, and turned to The Flavour Theasaurus' chicken section. I was intrigued by the Chicken and Hard Cheese section. Segnit is a bit disparaging about Chicken Cordon Bleu, which I happen to love, but I was totally captured by the idea of Chicken Comte - essentially browned chicken in a wine and mustard sauce, sprinkled with Comte cheese.
Why aren't you reading about that?
Quite simple, Sainsbury's had pork belly at half-price, and I'd been eyeing up HFW's coriander and fennel pork with crackling, wishing I could afford a joint that big. The memory of that crackling from the other week also lived in my memory. I swooped on it, grabbed the other essentials and went home.
The recipe's incredibly simple - score the meat, put slightly crushed coriander and fennel seeds in to the slits and cover in sea salt and pepper. It also suggests sprinkling half of the spices in the bottom of the roasting pan, which seemed rather odd.
It was worthwhile, but it did seem a bit bland and a bit tough. I didn't notice the spices underneath making any difference. However, when I used the pork in a stirfry the following day, it was really tasty to have bits of coriander and fennel seed dropping into my dinner.
I think I'll keep searching for a favourite pork belly recipe.
There are pics, but we were so keen on eating, we didn't actually take any of it cooked...