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Brick Chicken

When it comes to BBQ the British aren’t the most adventurous with burgers, burnt sausages and the occasional chicken drumstick usually on the menu. Next time the sun is shining and you fancy getting the grill out you need to try this recipe for whole BBQ chicken - it’s relatively quick and easy is perfect for a group of people who each end up with a plate of fingerlicking good chicken.

The trick here is in spatchcocking the chicken - this means splitting it down the backbone and flattening it out so that all the meat cooks at an even rate. To do this it’s easiest to use a pair of kitchen scissors or shears - turn the chicken so that it is breast side down and cut along each side of the backbone from head to tail so that you can remove it entirely.

At this point you’ll want to get your BBQ ready - light the charcoal as you normally would but when the flames have died down heap it all on one side of the grill - this is called a 2-zone cooking system - you have one side that will get very hot direct heat and one side that is cooked by indirect heat.

Now’s the time to make your chicken as tasty as possible - we used the amazing BBQ rub from Vale Smokery along with a little oil to give a really crisp skin.

Put the chicken onto the grill skin side down, on the same side that all the charcoal is heaped up. When you place the chicken onto the BBQ you need to make sure that it’s as flat as possible on the grill so we use a foil-wrapped brick (hence the name) to press it down.

Put the BBQ lid on and leave it for 15 minutes - there’s going to be lots of smoke coming out of the BBQ as the fat drips off the chicken onto the coals - make sure that you’ve got a drip pan in place underneath the BBQ! Once the time is up take the brick off the chicken and turn it over so that it is now skin side up and the chicken is on the opposite side of the grill to all the charcoal.

Put the lid back on and grill the chicken for another 30-35 minutes - before serving make sure it’s cooked all the way through. Serve it up with a bowl of homemade coleslaw, some spring greens and a chilled beer!

Things Neatly Organised

We’ve only just discovered this wonderful blog, we can’t believe it! because we love organising things neatly. You should see the state of our wardrobes and larders, everything in neat rows and colour co-ordinated sections.

Although if you saw our office desks you wouldn’t believe it for a second. 

http://thingsorganizedneatly.tumblr.com/ curates a selection of photos of items in all sorts of places and locations looking neat, tidy and easy on the meticulous eye. 

Like this picture by photographer Ania Wawrzkowicz 

Or New Stones, Newton’s Tones, 1978 by Tony Cragg

It’s made us think that when we are planning our recipes, we are always taking (and seeing) pictures of the ingredients neatly laid out side by side.

For example, all the ingredients for a homely chicken pie: 

Or the fresh and flavoursome additions to homemade pesto:

And the all essential ingredients for brownies 

This has the obvious usefulness of clearly showing the reader what you need to make a particular dish, but we think it’s also nice to see all these individual flavours and ingredients seperate and know that each one of them had their part in the final result when we see it. 

So those brownie ingredients above, turn into these chocolatey wonders

We might spend the rest of the afternoon putting our pens and pencils in straight lines now. 

Asparagus, King of the Season

There are few vegetables finer than asparagus, it is the King of the May season and is eagerly awaited by real food fans each year. The season is very short, traditionally starting on the 23rd April and lasting until Midsummer’s day.

This season our purple headed friends have been suffering from a few problems, with all the rain we’ve been having the crop this year has been a little slow and the annual asparagus festival had to be cancelled.  *sad face* 

When we have found British asparagus in our local green grocer we’ve had plenty of ideas of what to do with it. You can get all fancy with it, roast and bake it, but like with many things asparagus is something that shines with simplicity. 

We’ve had it served up for breakfast with poached and boiled eggs - they make the most delicious dipping soliders (alongside a few bits of crispy streaked smoked bacon) - simply boil or steam it for around 2 minutes if it is at its freshest, if it’s been in the fridge for a couple of days give it a couple more minutes. A generous puddle of hollandaise sauce is a fantastic addition to this luxurious brunch. 

Even less fancy, serve it with a knob of butter, some salt and pepper, parmesan shavings and a slight splash of balsamic vinegar. This makes a great appetiser, side dish for dinner or snack all on its own. 

Or if you are having an early summer BBQ, it is fantastic grilled as its natural flavour needs very little enhancement. Place on the grill for around 5 minutes, turning occassionally and served alongside your steaks and sausages.  

Try it in stir fries, risottos with fresh garden peas and in salads. We are particularly keen on using it instead of green beans in a nicoise. 

We’re so full of ideas, the season may well end before we get to try them all. What’s your favourite use of asparagus and have you tried growing your own? 

A short note on our favourite nut, the doughnut

It’s National Doughnut Week, and not only does this allow us the opportunity to indulge with one of our favourite deep fried snacks it’s also all for a very good cause, helping raise money for the Children’s Trust.

This is surely guilt free eating, right?

Doughnuts, although they may seem the pride and joy of America, are in fact popular around the world and have many different versions and shapes.

The two classics we will all recognise are the glazed ring doughnut, that fictional police characters eat on a 24/7 basis, and the more classically British filled doughnut, like the one above which is from St John’s Bakery and is full of creamy custard. 

In Indonesia they have the donat kentang which is a potato based doughnut (Heston has a version of these from his latest series) which are made from mashed spuds and coated in icing sugar. Whilst over in Argentina they have bolas de fraille which are filled with dulce de leche 

Although not strictly classed as a doughnut, our favourite has to be Spain’s famous Churros; long and thin and perfect for dipping into pots of melted chocolate, they are the quirky, cooler brother of the doughnut and great for street eating. 

Here are a collection of our favourite doughnut recipes, including a healthy and a savoury option: 

These sound so wonderfully indulgent, apple cider, apple butter and warm spice flavours are all involved, plus a decadently rich salted caramel sauce.  Perhaps the perfect autumn doughnut. 

Apple Cider Sufganiyot (Hanukkah Doughnuts) with Salted Caramel from chow.com

Like churros, these cinnamon coated doughnut sticks with a chocolate sauce are great for sharing and feel extra special. 

Cinnamon Doughnuts and Chocolate Sauce from Great British Chefs

For the health conscious out there, these baked chocolate doughnuts avoid the deep fryer and are topped with a chocolate peanut butter frosting. 

Baked Chocolate Doughnuts from neverhomemaker.com

And finally a savoury recipe, filled with sour cream and onions, they are a light snack and good for those who try and avoid the white stuff. 

Sour Cream & Onion Doughnuts from thekitchn.com 

Let us know how you enjoy your doughnuts, do you like yours filled with jam and custard or pink glazed with pretty sprinkles? 

Tags: doughnuts

Goan Fish Curry Kit

If you are one of our lovely #LarderBox recipients then one of these easy to use and extremely tasty curry kits will have arrived last week along with a host of other treats. Of course if you don’t subscribe to the LarderBox (and why on earth not?! You can sign up here) you can get one of these Hare’s Moor Curry Kits from here on Love Your Larder. 

Like all the kits in the Hare’s Moor range, the kit includes all the spices, herbs, chillies and seasonings you need to make an authentic tasting Goan inspired curry, plus offers step by step instructions so you won’t get lost along the way. 

Inside the kit you will find these items: 

Some fresh garlic, ginger, chillies, curry leaves, 2 different spice mixes and a lovely little package of coconut cream (we love its little tied up string parcel) - all you have to add to this are 2 tomatoes, an onion and whatever meat/fish/vegetables you’re in the mood for. They very knowledgeable people are Hare’s Moor recommend some jumbo prawns and some chunks of salmon. 

All the spices are freshly roasted and blended to ensure the best possible flavour. We know how hard it can be to get your spicing just right when making a curry and these kits include carefully measured amounts of each ingredient to make sure you curry tastes as good as possible. Each kit even comes with a chilli guide, so if you only want a mild curry it instructs how much should be included, whilst if you like yours raging hot there’s more than enough chilli included. 

It’s really simple to make, fry off the spices, onions, garlic and ginger before adding your tomatoes, coconut cream and fish or meat and leave to simmer. Don’t worry their instructions go into a little more detail. 

The end result should be something like this, we opted for cod, tiger prawns and sweet potato and it worked wonderfully with the subtle spicing and creaminess of the curry. 

You can get a curry kit here for only £3 

Easy No-Knead Foccacia Bread

Foccacia Bread is something which we’ve traditionally found difficult to get right but this recipe produces a great bread and is relatively simple. The only factor to bear in mind is that you need to start it a day or two ahead as it uses a no-knead dough recipe - however this gives the foccacia a great texture and is totally worth the forward planning.

Ingredients

Dough;

750 g Strong white flour
525 g Water
1/2 Tsp Dried Yeast
3 Tsp Sea Salt 

Toppings;

Jar of sundried tomatoes in olive oil
Rosemary, Thyme, Lavender, Sea Salt (We used this great cheat but use whatever is to hand)
Basil Pesto

Olive Oil

Method

Stage 1 (Start 24-48 hours before you want to eat the foccacia)

1. Measure out the flour into a large mixing bowl

2. Mix in the dried yeast and the sea salt

3. Make a well in the centre, pour in the water, and mix until there is no dry flour left in the bowl.

4. Cover the bowl and place somewhere at room temperature - leave it for at least 18-24 hours until it’s doubled in size.

Stage 2 (Start at least 90 minutes before you want the foccacia)

5. Pre-Heat the oven to it’s highest setting (240C+)

6. Scoop out a good handful of sun dried tomatoes from the jar and roughly chop them into halves/quarters. If you’re using fresh herbs then roughly chop these too. Put to one side.

7. Put a 12” cast iron pan (skillet or other “oven and hob proof” dish) onto a medium-high heat on the hob and pour 3-4 tbsp of Olive oil into the bottom

8. Once the oil starts to smoke use a spatula to scrape your dough out of it’s bowl and into the pan - make sure it’s reasonably spread out across the base of the pan. Tuen the heat down to medium at this point.

9. Pour another 2 tbsp of olive oil over the top of the dough and spread it out - the idea here is to prevent the dough from being too sticky

10. Place a chopped piece of sundried tomato onto the top of the dough and push it down with your finger so it’s embedded 1” down into the dough - repeat this with spoonfuls of pesto, sundried tomatoes and antything else tasty you have (chopped olives and anchovies come to mind!).

11. Sprinkle with plenty of your herb and mix

12. Place into the pre-heated oven on a high shelf

13. Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the heat down to 200C

14. Bake for another 35-40 minutes. The foccacia should have risen up, turning golden brown on top.

15. Turn out onto a rack to cool slightly before impressing everyone by bringing it to the table along with some dipping olive oil and balsamic.

There has been a lot of interest recently in Japanese knives and we found this great video which shows some of the incredible skills which go into making one.

"When did we forget the joy of saving for something we really love?"

http://www.flintoff.org/saving-grace#.T6kPZDHXz-Q.twitter

Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork

One of our favourite things about visiting the USA is getting to eat proper BBQ (check out this link to see some of the different styles) but it’s not very practical to get on a plane every time we get a craving for some pulled pork so here’s our guide to making it at home. It’s not true BBQ as we’re not going to be using any charcoal but the end result is 95% the same. The main requirement for this is a slow cooker - yes you could do it in a low oven but it’s going to be a lot harder and slow cookers are cheap and very, very useful for all kinds of cooking.

To start with you need to decide on your meat - it really has to be pork shoulder as it has the right balance of fat and lean meat to make sure that you don’t end up with dry meat. A 2kg shoulder (either bone-in or rolled) is going to feed a lot of you with a whole heap of meat left over. If you don’t mind eating pulled pork every day for a week (not a problem for us!) then go for this size, but if you’re not such a meat fiend or are on a budget then go for something nearer 1kg.

Ingredients:

Pulled Pork:
1-2Kg Pork Shoulder
2 Onions 
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper
200ml Cider Vinegar 
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Mustard

BBQ Sauce:
1 Onion
6 cloves Garlic
1 red Chilli (deseeded)
2 Bay leaves
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Mustard
175ml Cider Vinegar
25ml Pontack
150g Soft Brown Sugar

Instructions:

1. Pat the pork shoulder dry using kitchen paper and then mix together the cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and rub all over the meat.

2. Slice up the onion and lay out in the bottom of the slow cooker and then place the spice covered pork on top.

3. Mix together the Cider Vinegar, Mustard and Worcestershire sauce and pour into the slow cooker. Switch it on and set it to a low heat, place the lid on and leave it for 10-12 hours!

4. Ignore all the incredibly delicious smells coming out of your slow cooker and leave it to do it’s thing!

5. Now is a great time to make the BBQ sauce. Some people prefer to use the sauce that the meat has cooked in but personally I think it’s better to make a fresh sauce and mix it into the meat later. To do this use a food blender to blitz the onion, chillis and garlic together until you’ve got a paste and then fry this in olive oil to start releasing all the flavours. After 2-3 minutes add the mustard, paprika and bay leaves and stir through. Add the cider vinegar and pontack and then the brown sugar, stirring well until it is all dissolved. Bring up to the boil and then take off the heat and leave it covered for at least half an hour - all the flavours are infusing during this time and it only gets better with time.

6. When you’re ready for your BBQ sauce use a sieve to strain it which should leave you with a thick, sweet and sharp sauce perfect for mixing into the pulled pork.

7. When your pork has been in the slow cooker for it’s full time then lift it out into a tray.   You should find that you can shred the meat with just a couple of forks.

So that’s it. It’s pretty foolproof but does require some patience and a little forward planning - if you want to eat this for lunch then start it the night before, or if you want it for dinner then start it when you get up. It’s perfect piled high in soft white rolls with some homemade coleslaw and a good beer! 

Tags: BBQ pork recipe

Brilliant Biltong

You know the famous saying? Meat based snack products are like buses, you wait for one to come along and then you get three at once.

Well recently we’ve had quite the influx of biltong onto loveyourlarder.com and are now working with 3 fabulous producers of this chewy, and protein packed South African snack. 

To make biltong, first the meat is marinated in a vinegar solution before being flavoured with spices and seasonings - most commonly a mix of pepper, salt and coriander - before being hung out to dry. 

Westdene Butchers in Brighton make their classic Biltong from the best cuts of topside or sliverside Sussex beef and is flavoured with natural herbs and spices. You can also specific if you’d like it whole or sliced, lean or fatty - you can buy it here

We are also now working with Isle of Wight Biltong who make their biltong with a whole range of flavours including kibbled pepper and curry. Our favourite however is their Smoked Biltong, which has a subtle smokiness and is a totally addictive snack. 

Also originating from South Africa are Droewors which are tender air dried beef and lamb sausages which contain no husks or rusk. They are similar to boerewors, another traditional South African sausages but are thinner and dried. 

Raging Bull Meats make a range of biltong, snapsticks and droewors, you can get them all here

Aubergine Bruschetta

The office has been on a bit of a health kick recently, less big plates of carbs, more vegetables and light salads. It feels good. 

We are always on the look out for inventive ways to improve our diets so when we saw this recipe over on Smitten Kitchen for aubergine bruschetta we knew we had to try it out. Rather than use bread for your base, she’s inventively used aubergines slices. 

We grilled rather than fried or baked our aubergines for extra healthiness. 

The toppings are a mix of fresh mediterranean flavours and we’ve discovered the perfect addition from a little closer to home. Rather than ricotta or feta, The Northumberland Cheese Co make an amazing Redesdale hard full fat sheep’s cheese which has just the right mixture of tang and sweetness to compliment the tomatoes, red onion and mint. 

This is the perfect summer snack, and we can imagine a tray of these going down very well at any summer BBQs, and they are really simple to prepare. 

Aubergine Bruschettas 

Makes 8 - 10 Brushettas 

Ingredients

1 aubergine

60g Redesdale Sheep’s Cheese

1 tablespoon of capers

Bunch of finely chopped mint

1/4 red onion

5 medium tomatoes

2 inches of cucumber

2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar

Salt and black pepper

Method 

1. Slice the aubergine into 1cm thick rounds, brush with a small amount of oil (we used this fab rapeseed oil) and season with salt and pepper for around 6 minutes each side. 

2. Finely chop the red onion, tomatoes, cucumber and mint and mix together in a bowl with the red wine vinegar and capers, and crumble in the cheese. Season to your taste. 

3. Arrange the salad on top of the grilled aubergines and enjoy!