Buffalo Wings


I’d always imagined these were a little American joke…buffalo can’t fly ?????…but it turns out they were invented in Buffalo, New York State, a city on the shores of Lake Erie.

There’s two ways at least to cook them, the unhealthy traditional way gives the crispest skin but  the traditional butter-based hot sauce slather is pretty hard on the old heart, so I’m going to talk about a healthier version too, but first the heart-attack special for the sake of authenticity:


Chop the chicken wings into three sections, the tip ( which is discarded or used for chicken stock), the drumette and the flat or wingette.


Shake a little salt over the flats and drumettes and chill for 3 or 4 hours to draw the moisture out, then pat dry and fry for 10 minutes at 130 Deg. C.

Allow to cool a little, or keep until later, and then fry again for 4 minutes at 190 Deg.C.


Smother in hot sauce made by melting butter and adding a chilli sauce like Franks and serve with celery sticks and a blue cheese dip  made by crushing blue cheese into mayonnaise.



Healthy Version

Prepare the flats and drumettes as above, but sprinkle them with any dry rub you fancy and arrange themon a rack suspended above a roasting tray. These have …. from left to right,…. Schwartz chicken seasoning, Chinese salt and pepper seasoning and lemon pepper seasoning on them:


Roast in the oven for 45 minutes at 200 Deg.C , Gas Mark 200.



Serve with a low fat cool dip and hot sauce, maybe Franks in some ketchup…..( without butter) on the side.



This is a really cheap and easy meal…….a box of wings costs about £2 and feeds two people. It’s so popular in America that it has become the traditional Superbowl Sunday meal….(this is their Premier League Final) and they consume about a billion wings on the day….swoon!



Canadian steak supper

A meal to remind us of our pals in Banff, Alberta and all the marvellous meals we had out there.

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As a starter we had Mushrooms Neptune…a favourite from the Keg chain of restaurants. There’s lots of recipes on the ‘net for this dish but they all miss one important point: The mushrooms must first be poached in a liquor!  I have the very Keg Restaurant staff cooking instructions before me as I type.

Poach the mushrooms in house mushroom broth made from the following:

Glass of Sauternes white wine.

Glass of water.


Beef base.

Chicken base.

You can make something very similar without opening a bottle of wine just for domestic use. Just braise together the following:

500ml of hot water.

2 level tablespoons of Beef gravy granules or 1/2 a stock capsule.

One diced garlic clove.

A pinch of dried Mixed Herbs.

The diced mushroom stalks.

1/4 teaspoon of white wine vinegar.

6 grains of white sugar (!!!!)

This will braise the mushrooms through in a lidded saucepan, remember they will shrink. Turn them over once to ensure even cooking, and drain them on a plate, cap side up to cool.


The Neptune Mix:

Cream Cheese.

Crab meat.

Green onions, chopped.

Parmesan Cheese.

Lemon Juice.

Worcestershire Sauce.

Garlic Powder.



Once again if you’re stuck in a log cabin miles from the shops you can approximate this by lightly blending the following:

A tin of crabmeat, well drained, called Snow, Lump or Spider Crab…you want crab pieces, not ‘dressed crab’.

Thawed cooked prawns.

A tablespoon of double cream.

Grated medium cheddar.

 A slice of processed burger cheese, chopped.

Pinch of chopped parsley.

A little diced raw onion.


Garlic powder and chilli sauce to taste.

Loosen the mixture with the drained crab-water if needed, stuff the mushrooms and reserve to cook.


Bake at 200 Deg. C, Gas Mark 6, for 25…30 minutes. (

The herb-butter pats bottom right are for the main course, and just keeping cool ready)


The Keg chain is famous for the dry rub that is used on its steaks and burgers. You can buy it in North America but postage to the UK is very high so I made my own using their published recipe of ingredients. The hard items to find were dill seeds and crushed red pepper flakes, but they are available online here in the UK.


Nicely marbled fillet steaks with the Keg-inspired dry rub.

Here’s the spice blend contents:


The steaks weren’t particularly well-aged…go for a more ‘purple’ coloured meat if you can find it…fillet is super-tender anyway, but dry-aged meat will taste better if you can find anyone who does it. You certainly won’t in a UK supermarket, where it will be plastic ‘vac-packed’ and wet-aged, but a good butcher will possibly have some dry-aged steak.

See my section on selecting and cooking steak here:



Hash Potatoes

Peel large red-skinned potatoes and cut them to be a little squared-off.

Dice into a 12.to 15mm dice.

Braise gently in lightly salted water until cooked, drain carefully and return in the saucepan to the hob to cool and dry a little.

In a mixing bowl add the following:

3 teaspoons of Plain Flour.

1 teaspoon of sweet or ‘dulce’ paprika.

1/2 a teaspoon of salt.

1/4 a teaspoon of dried garlic granules.

1/2 a teaspoon of Mixed Herbs, ground smaller in the plam of your hand with a your opposite thumb.

Add the now cooler potatoes and gently shake and lift to cover in the seasoned flour. Reserve on a cool plate in the ‘fridge, uncovered except for a sheet of dry kitchen paper.


Roast the hashed potatoes in a little oil in the oven at 200 deg.C, Gas Mark 6 for 45 minutes, turning once.( They can go in when the Mushrooms Neptune are nearly ready🙂 )

Cook the steaks and rest them in a warm oven. Serve with vegetables of your choice, and the potatoes, adding a pat of herb butter to the steaks just before they reach the table.



The sauce with the steaks was the reserved mushroom broth, with a dash of red wine and thickened with some gravy granules.


We raised (and emptied) a fine bottle of red wine and drank to the health of all our dear friends in Banff.banff





Chicken Piri-Piri and spatchcocking

A Remembrance Sunday dinner to honour our allies the Portuguese and the men who fell in the Peninsular War, a war which is sometimes forgotten, but where once again we saved Europe from a despot. Bonaparte!



Take a small chicken and spatchcock it by removing the string, cutting off the lower legs through the joint and then turning it over and cutting out the backbone with pinking shears. Open the bird out flat and cut out the triangular breastbone with the tip of a small knife, taking care not to remove too much breast meat.

Turn it skin-side up again and put a deep slash across the thighs, across the drumsticks and then the breasts, then brush the bird all over with your choice of the  following marinades after thoroughly cleaning your hands, kitchen implements and all work-surfaces. Spatchcocking pictures at the end…….

Nando’s Piri-Piri Marinade, available in a number of ‘hotnesses’.  It’s pretty good, but very salty, and lacks the smell and taste of a freshly blended marinade. It does however, make a very nice side sauce!

The ‘real’ thing:…enough for two whole birds and some basting……

Juice of half a lemon.

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar ( or use white wine vinegar and a dash of red wine)

1 whole fresh red chilli pepper.

2 fat cloves of garlic, or 3 smaller ones.

3 heaped teaspoons of sweet paprika.

Leaves from at least 5 large sprigs of fresh thyme. ( it’s easier to pinch off the soft tips and stroke the lower leaves off downwards away from the tip)

1 level tablespoon of caster sugar.

1 tablespoon of any smoky barbeque sauce.

1 teaspoon of Schwartz Chicken Seasoning, or a pinch of salt and dried oregano.


Whizz the whole lot up in a blender and paint over the two chickens, leaving them to marinade in it for at least 4 hours, or even over-night. Spoon the marinade back over the meat occasionally, but remember it is contaminated with raw chicken now!



Cook the birds directly on the oven shelves of a hot oven, 200 Deg. C, Gas Mark 6 for 1 hour to 1 hour and ten minutes. Test in the usual way for doneness, preferably with a meat thermometer, looking for at least 88 Deg, C. It’s quite likely that both birds will be at over 95 degrees and thoroughly cooked after just an hour, but ovens do vary……..


The lower bird here in the roasting pan needed longer cooking, so I moved the pan beneath it. Next time I will give each bird its own oven shelf, swapping them over after 40 minutes or so. The marinade means they don’t stick to the shelves, nor do they make a lot of washing up…just a wipe in situ and the shelves were clean again. Phew!


Our supermarket ‘small’ birds are a bit too big here in the UK and a smaller poussin costs more money..perhaps half a small bird is enough for one person, served with chips, some cool dip and some hot sauce.

The marinade, provided it is boiling, can be poured off into a gravy jug, the fat poured away, and the remaining sauce poured over the birds. If it isn’t boiling, turn it out into a saucepan after removing the fat as above and bring it to a hard rolling boil to make sure there are no raw chicken juices in it. It tastes pretty good and looks the part!


Bom apetite!

you can guess what that means


This is rapidly becoming a favourite in the Hun tent.


An old song, written for a campaign of a hundred years earlier, but re-worded by John Tams for the Peninsular War:




Remove the fat from inside the cavity and chop off the legs at the elbow. Discard or save for stock.



Cut down one side of the backbone with pinking shears, kitchen scissors, a boning knife, or a chopper.



Starting at the other side of the p[arsons nose, remove the entire backbone.



Open the bird out and wipe away any offal or blood with a paper towel.



Cut either side of the central breastbone with the tip of a small sharp knife.



Using the tip again, cut close to the bone on either side until you can lift out the entire breastbone.



Turn the bird over and make three deep cuts each side; the thighs, drumsticks and breasts as shown.



Marinade the bird for later cooking.

You are now a master-butcher…give yourself a pat on the back and a pay rise! OK, it looks complicated, and it might take you ten minutes the first time. The second one will take you three minutes, the third two minutes🙂

Don’t forget, UK chickens are riddled with Salmonella and Campylobacter. Clean everything like there is no tomorrow…or there just might not be! Read this….” a hundred deaths a year…..”




French Dogs


Sometimes hot dog stands in France use a heated ‘horn’ to push a hole through a baguette and make a hotdog bun that doesn’t leak. Genius!


Rather than muck about with a hair curler or something I made a reamer from food grade plastic instead….the plastic is just white plumbing tubing:


I simply used a junior hacksaw to  give it some serrated teeth. You also need a long wooden spoon or similar to push the plug of compressed bread out.


Sometimes the dog is bigger than the bun………….



It worked.  Hotdogs that don’t squirt ketchup or mustard all over your shirt. Bravo France!

The Maharaja’s Grill

A sort of Indian restaurant mixed grill




Onion bhajias warming, Bombay Aloo keeping warm and some mint sauce too. On the plate we have, from the front,


Lamb Kofte,  Lamb Tikka,  Vegetable kebab ( pre-cooked mushrooms, onions and green pepper)  King Prawn Tikka ( shell-on)  and finally Chicken Tikka.




Really simple…..all the ‘prep’ is done earlier…just fire up the grill when you’re hungry!









International Kebab Day

No, not an international day to celebrate the humble kebab……rather a day when we ate an ‘international kebab’ with meat styles from Greece, Turkey and India……….


We ate outside, of course………

The Usual Suspects;…. Indian Lamb sish kebab, chicken tikka,, Greek chicken skewers, vegateble and mushroom kebab, Greek lamb kebabs and Turkish lamb shish kebabs:


With the usual accompaniments: lemon wedges and pickled chillies, lettuce and cucumber, Mexican chilli sauce, onion salad, garlic and onion dip and red cabbage salad.


Almost ready!









le Déjeuner au Jardin

A four-course meal in the garden;


First course, rillettes de porc avec cornichons et cidre de Bretagne




Main course, Steak-Frites avec legumes Française, champignons et sauce poivre vert ( with a nice Bordeaux red)



Dessert course, Rhum-baba:


And to finish, cheese and fruit…with Calvados:



This might look like a lot of hard work, but it was simple!

Cornichons from Waitrose, Rillettes de porc from Lidl.


Steak, pepper sauce and oven-chips from Sainsbury. Tinned veg from Waitrose


Rhum-baba , fruit and cheeses from Sainsbury.


What a cheat! It was all out of tins and jars!!


Pommes de Terre au Montagne avec Steak Aloyau



Small new potatoes are peeled and boiled until just cooked. They are then allowed to cool fully, before being sliced and set aside.

Double cream is mixed with garlic puree and dried thyme with some pre-fried bacon bits added.

The potatoes are lined vertically in a small oven-proof pot and the cream poured over them, followed by some grated Emmenthal cheese with a few extra bacon bits.



The potatoes ready for the oven…30 minutes at 200Deg C. and a sirloin steak with seasoning ready for the grill.




The Kebab of Thunder!

A thundering great kebab that I had to cook indoors as there was a storm outside………..

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From Top left, left to right there is:

Roasted Peppers on Onions

I used a jar of red and yellow peppers, fried some onion in a little oil and then some green pepper with a little salt and sugar added before water was added to the pan to steam them.

Pickle Cucumbers

Sliced cucumber was salted for an hour, then rinsed, dried with kitchen paper before being added to spiced malt vinegar for four hours..the spices were mixed dried peppercorns, chilli flakes and two allspice seeds.

Pickled Chilli Peppers and lemon wedges.

Carrot Salad

Grated carrot had honey, garlic puree ands salt added to it.

Fried new potatoes

These  were pre-boiled first.

Cabbage Salad

Thinly sliced white cabbage was dressed with olive oil and white wine vinegar before a pinch of salt was added and a touch of parsley.

Onion Salad

Thinly sliced onion was dressed in olive oil and white wine vinegar…no salt on this one!

Green Salad with Tomatoes

Garlic and Onion Dip

Chilli Sauce

Tomato puree was loosened with water and a dash of olive oil, … garlic puree and salt were added before adding bottled chilli sauce to taste.

The meats:

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Top left, left to right:

Marinated Lamb.

Seam-butchered and then rested in olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of ‘chicken seasoning’ a pinch of meat tenderiser, a pinch of ground cumin and a dash of tomato and garlic purees.

Sliced Donner meat.

This was bought in from Tesco as a frozen kebab with everything but the meat discarded……it was that or a trip to the kebab van!

Flat breads

These are from Sainsbury…they look like folded pitta breads but they are far better

Marinated Chicken.

Butchered and then marinated in olive oil and white wine vinegar, chicken seasoning and a dash of ketchup.


Kofte Kebabs.

Minced lamb was bound with some plain breadcrumbs before a teaspoon of curry powder, and some  ground cumin was added. A little salt and chopped coriander leaf was added too.

Due to the storm I warmed the peppers through in the microwave, toasted the breads and the meat was cooked in pans! The potatoes were fried in a little olive oil.

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I cooked the meat very gently then turned the heat up high to colour, chopping the kofte into bits:

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The assembled kebab:

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Did we finish them all?   ……no, not quite, but the dog was very happy!















Mixed Grill, …made easy……

Mixed grill

This isn’t a recipe, more an idea. From time to time I buy a decent pack of sausages, some small sirloin steaks and some lamb chops along with a small cooked ham joint.

hamSainsbury’s British roasted ham joint. I slice this and freeze the slices. Some gets diced for Special Fried Rice, some gets frozen with half a sirloin steak, a sausage and a lamb chop.

Put them in a freezer-bag and squeeze all the air out so that the meat doesn’t get ‘freezer burnt. Freeze until needed.

Fry the sausage , warm the oven for oven chips and onion rings. When the fries go in light the BBQ or heat a cast iron frying pan hot with no oil in. Add half a tomato to the sausage in the frying pan.

When you turn the fries add the onion rings and cook the lamb chop. When you turn the lamb chop turn the onion rings too. Then add the sirloin half-steak. Then add the ham steak. Turn as needed…….


Put some petit pois to warm through in a saucepan.

You could also fry an egg with the sausage and tomato half and you might like some fried mushrooms too….maybe some herb butter for the steak…..


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