Jolly Jogging Jon’s Wellington BBQ Chicken

This recipe is credited to a chap called Jon, who lives down my street. We went camping at Wellington Park recently with a load of the families down our road, and we found out that some of the kids refer to him as Jolly Jogging Jon – he does jog pretty much every morning and when he is not being chased into the Thames by big scary dogs he is indeed very jolly!

Anyway, as usual when camping I ended up running the BBQs, in the rain… I had three on the go at one point and was referred to as ‘the Jean Michelle Jarre of BBQing’ which entertained me. One of the items I was looking after was some amazing chicken which it turned out Jon had prepared himself. It was literally one of the best BBQ items I have ever tasted. In lieu of payment for the beer he drank, I accepted a guest post for this blog – so, here, for your delight and delectation, is Jolly Jogging Jon’s Wellington BBQ Chicken. I tried it myself this weekend and it was every bit as good as the original – highly recommended:

Spicy Wellington Chicken for the BBQ
A particularly tasty, spicy chicken recipe for the BBQ.  Deliciously moist, and best eaten outdoors.

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (don’t be tempted to use breasts as the end result will be less succulent, and definitely don’t use chicken pieces with the skin left on – they simply don’t absorb the marinade as well; buy ones with the longest shelf life for a really fresh chicken taste to complement the marinade)

A good slug of olive oil (the mild type is fine)
A tablespoon of tomato puree
Half a tablespoon of tomato ketchup
Half to three quarters of a bulb (yes, bulb, not clove) of garlic, peeled
A tablespoon of mango chutney (plain variety, not one with whole spices as these could disrupt the spice balance)
A tablespoon of smoked paprika (must be the smoked variety; hot smoked paprika is fine but watch the chilli)
Fresh chillies to taste, seeds’n’all (for the usual supermarket varieties, about 3 or 4 gives a good kick)
Juice from half a lemon
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 generous teaspoons of medium or hot curry powder
1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
A dash of balsamic or sherry vinegar (this is optional but adds a tang and helps the lemon juice tenderise the meat)
Yellow or red food colouring (this is optional; sadly, this does give the best results and if you want to keep it natural and please insectetarian guests, use a cochineal-based red colouring.  Don’t be tempted to use turmeric for yellow colouration as with the curry powder it imparts too much of an earthy taste that will disrupt the spice balance)
One and a half Oxo Chicken Stock Cubes (yes, I know this sounds like you’re cheating, but it really draws all the other tastes together)
Black pepper

Put the marinade ingredients in a food processor, then whizz until almost smooth.  Taste (no raw chicken yet so quite safe to taste) and add more salt or chilli in the form of cayenne pepper, to taste.  You may not need to add any salt because of the stock cube and soy sauce.  Put the chicken in a food grade sealable plastic bag (such as the ones you buy for the freezer) or a non-metallic bowl, add the marinade, mix well and leave in the fridge to marinate for about 24 hours.  Alternatively freeze straight away and defrost before use.  BBQ over hot coals (you want to caramelise some of the sugars, e.g. from the chutney, in the marinade and seal the chicken quickly to keep it moist) but don’t blacken it or dry the chicken out.  Enjoy!


Sausages in cider

This post is dedicated to two different people who, in different ways, inspired this dish which I whipped up for Iris (and me!) last night.

First person: I used to play bass in rock bands (something I’d love to find the time to do again!). The first band I played in, Innocence (in a sense), featured a slightly mad drummer called Tom. He used to live a bit out in the sticks, so I’d head round there, we would jam and try and steal his dad’s collection of Belgian beers. His mum was a great cook, and would feed us while we were playing. I used to love a sausage casserole she made, probably helped by the fact that the name of the dish was amusing to y 15 year old brain (still is, if I am honest!) – this is my attempt at replicating it.

The other dedicatee (that word didn’t get spell-checked, which is a shame as I thought I had invented it) is a chap called Greg who lives over the road from me. We went round to his house for NYE and he had acquired 20 litres of Haymaker, a magnificent Welsh cider (Greg’s from Wales originally). For some strange reason, we didn’t finish it that night and (for some even stranger reason) Greg has decided not to drink for the rest of January, so I am currently the proud custodian of the remaining 5 litres or so.

Anyway, on with the recipe. Obviously you can make this meaty or otherwise depending on the sausages you use. Whichever you go with, make sure they are decent quality – and you want simple, pork sausages, not something crazy like wild boar and marmite flavour. Veggie ones – the Cauldron range would work well here I think. Serves fourish depending on how hungry you are; it doubles pretty easily if you need.

1 tablespoon or so of olive oil

6 sausages

3 large shallots

1 punnet mushrooms

2 tablespoon of flour

1 pint medium cider

half a pint of hot water

Brown the sausages in the oil first (leave them whole for this bit – for some reason they don’t seem to brown as well once chopped up). Then turn the heat down a bit, and cook the shallots and mushrooms in the same pan. Take the sausages out and cut then into chunks (NOTE THEY WILL BE HOT AND FULL OF HOT LQUID – BE CAREFUL!). Chuck them back in the pan, turn the hear right down and stir in the flour. It will probably all clump up a bit but don’t worry. Cook it gently for about 30 secs, then pour the cider in bit by bit (keep stirring) and increase the heat. Once it’s gently bubbling, add the hot water. Leave it gently bubbling away for about 30 mins or so, stirring every few minutes. It should all thicken up nicely. Serve it with some rice or mashed potato and some nice steamed veggies on the side.

If you want to jazz it up a bit, some thyme or a spoon or two of whole grain mustard works well. I left this stuff out for Iris’s sake but chucked some mustard into mine. Nice.

A fine winter warmer – and all the alcohol from the cider boils off so even if you are doing Dry January, you will suffer no cider-fects (sorry!).


Two bird roast with fig conserve

Easy one for you tonight – and strictly not for vegans this one!

When I get round to it, I try and get my meat (and some other stuff, in particular a wonderful cheese called Wigmore) from – who deliver food grown within a 35-mile radius of Bourne End, where I live. When I saw that they had a two-bird roast on the list, I couldn’t resist. This particular one was a pair of pigeon breasts and a pair of chicken breasts, wrapped in bacon. Perfect for a late father’s day lunch for my dad!

I figured I would jazz it up a bit, so I put them (I bought two for five us – plenty with enough left over for a sandwich!) on a bed of red onion and mushrooms, with a splash of white wine and roasted them in the oven for about 45 minutes. Then I brushed them with some fig conserve I found in the cupboard and roasted for a further 15 minutes. Perfect – and very easy!

Two bird roast with fig conserve

(Not the best photo – but damn tasty with some roasted sweet potatoes!).

Miso Salmon with egg fried rice

I fancied experimenting tonight, and came up with this. Nice and easy, some lovely flavours!

First, the salmon. Marinate four fillets in teriyaki and garlic for 15 minutes, or longer if you have it. Sear them on the non-skin side of a hot pan for a couple of minutes, then flip and do the same. Turn the pan right down and pour over the remaining teriyaki and a cup of miso soup (boiling water plus some of this stuff). Leave to simmer very gently for about ten minutes.

For the rice – cook some rice normally (Tip for rice that I learnt from my mum – use a 1:1.75 ratio of rice to water by volume, and all the water will be absorbed and the rice will be perfectly fluffy, and not too wet). Meanwhile, gently cook an onion and a clove of garlic in a frying pan (a wok is good!). Chuck in a good dose of frozen peas, then stir in the cooked rice. Add a glug of soy sauce and worcestershire sauce, then beat an egg and stir that in too. Turn the heat off and leave it to continue to cook on the residual heat for a minute or two.

Serve the salmon with a bit of the miso soup on top, rice on the side and maybe some steamed veg. I felt a bit of chilli sauce livened it up so feel free! Next time I do this, I will probably chuck some ginger in somewhere (probably in the salmon) so feel free to try that if you fancy it!

Give it a go and let me know how you get on!

Quick and tasty prawns

I should think of a better name for this one, to be honest! I’ve cooked probably a million variations on this theme, but this one is my current favourite. It’s a really good, quick and fairly healthy meal – and you can use frozen prawns and spinach if you don’t have fresh so it makes a good emergency dinner!

Serves one really hungry person (me after a game of basketball) or two less hungry people:

Chuck a tablespoon of olive oil into a pan (a wok works well), and add a chopped clove of garlic. Throw in a packet of fresh, raw, prawns and stir fry gently until just about cooked. Stir in a spoonful of sun-dried tomato puree until it coats the prawns. Throw in a good handful or two of fresh spinach (go BIG on the spinach, as it disappears to almost nothing), wilt it down, and add a tin of Green Giant Salad Crisp Sweetcorn (really important to get the right corn – this stuff is amazing!) and at the last minute, turn the heat off and stir in a tablespoon of chilli jam.

That should have taken you about 10 minutes – just long enough to cook some pasta (your choice – I prefer spaghetti, but I’ll give you some artistic license here). Drain it and plonk the prawn mixture on top… Beautiful!

You’ll notice this is dairy-free so far – but if you happen to have some parmesan in the back of the fridge, a smidgen on top works wonders. Don’t smother it in cheese – you want just enough that the sharpness cuts the sweetness of the tomato, chilli jam and sweetcorn.

I’d have taken a photo, but hey, I was hungry!

My new favourite thing…

We went to visit my little brother in London last weekend. He and his gf, the lovely Vic, live close to Borough Market, so after some lunch and a half of ‘Ale Fresco‘ (punderful!) at The George, we went for a wander round. Iris must have eaten her own body weight in free cheese samples… She loved a cheese from a stall called De Calabria – don’t know what it was called but it was a nice mild sheep’s cheese. I bought some smellier stuff with some impressive crust on the outside….

Anyway, the point of this rambling is to tell you about some wonderful stuff the De Calabria chap had on his stall. It’s a mix of extra virgin olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, wild oregano, wild fennel seeds and chilli. It’s just fabulous! The sweetness/saltiness of the tomatoes, the slight aniseed of the fennel and a hit of chilli is a winner! I served it stirred into some spaghetti with some pan-fried trout, steamed tender stem broccoli and carrots. Oh, and a smidgen of that strong cheese, of course! I reckon it would be amazing stirred into some chopped tomatoes and simmered with some red onion and a drop of wine…


If you are passing Borough Market, I thoroughly recommend it… Ian, you know what to get me for my birthday…

Back of the fridge 1: Chorizo and Roquefort Spaghetti

(Back of the fridge will be an occasional post on recipe concoctions from random ingredients – often the best way to invent new dishes).

Came up with this one tonight – a right mishmash of cultures with Italian, Spanish and French ingredients. Pretty tasty though and mainly constructed from ingredients which last a long time – so a great ‘Back of the fridge’:

Chop an onion (I used a red one, which probably will work best for something like this) and sauté it in a small amount of olive oil with some garlic. Chop up half a Chorizo sausage – worth taking the skin off of course – I find it easiest to cut down the length of the Chorizo just a little bit with the point of the knife and then peel it. Chuck the chopped Chorizo in, along with some chopped peppers (I always keep a bag of frozen chopped peppers in) and sauté it all together until nicely cooked. Cook some spaghetti and when it is done, drain it, chuck it in to the sauté mixture and stir it round to mix it. Scoop some out, chuck it on a plate and crumble just a little bit of roquefort (or similar – but the saltiness of roquefort really sets it off) over the top. A dash of my favourite ingredient chilli jam sets it off nicely.

Very tasty, and probably ten minutes including prep time – nice!

Paprika wedges

One of my all-time favourites, this. Another really easy one!

Oven: About 200C

Take about four baking size potatoes, or a larger number of smaller ones (obviously!). Cut them into wedges and chuck them in a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of paprika, half that of oregano, and a smattering of sea or rock salt. Mix it all up and bung it in the oven until crispy. Takes about 40 minutes – and you probably want to flip/ stir the wedges (use a flat metal spatula) a couple of times during the cooking. Much tastier, and way healthier than chips!

This should serve four – make more than you need though as they are great cold and dipped into houmous the next day.

Salmon or Chicken Pepperonata

So I invented something new on Sunday night – and really, really simple! This works equally well with chicken or salmon, so if you have a meat eater and a fish eater at the same table, no problem. I guess it would work with Quorn fillets, but I haven’t tried it. So, here we go:

Take four chicken breasts (or salmon fillets – or mix and match), and a jar of marinated roasted peppers in oil. Drop a bit of the oil into an oven-proof dish, pop the chicken in and drizzle a small amount of the oil over the top, with a squiz of black pepper. Roast in the oven – about 35 minutes for chicken, 15-20 for salmon. It’s worth basting the chicken halfway through – not so important for salmon. When it’s done, take it out and spoon some of the peppers from the jar over, and pop it back in the oven for five minutes (no more!).

How easy is that? If you feel like it, a small amount of grated cheese on top is nice if you aren’t dairy-free. Awesome served with potato wedges – the recipe for which will follow shortly….

Roasted roots with chilli jam

This is something I discovered today – pretty simple and the recipe is pretty much the title. This winter, I’ve been doing carrots and parsnips, slow roasted in the oven with olive oil, garlic and a bit of thyme – and adding a spoonful of honey for the last five or ten minutes, which makes them lovely and sweet and sticky.

Today, though, I decided to try something different – I left out the thyme, and at the end I added a bit of some chilli jam I was given for Christmas. It was AWESOME! So, here goes with the recipe:

Three parsnips

Four carrots

A tablespoon of olive oil

Two cloves of garlic

Two tablespoons of chilli jam (or to taste!)

Peel and chop the carrots and parsnips into chunks. Chuck them in a roasting dish (I like the LeCreuset dishes as you can serve straight to the table) with the olive oil and chopped garlic. Roast, slowly (180C or slightly less if you have time). I tend to leave them on the bottom of the oven for an hour while roasting something, seems to be the right sort of temperature. Worth checking and stirring occasionally of course! Towards the end, about ten minutes before you want to take them out, stir in a spoonful or two of chilli jam.