Sunday, 30 July 2017


These are highly addictive and it's probably a good job they are a bit of a faff otherwise we would be eating them all the time.  These chicken wings are coated in cornflour, fried, coated again, fried again and then doused in a highly addictive hot sweet spicy sauce. You get messy eating them and messy cooking them but they are well worth the trouble.  I don't have a deep fat fryer so cook them in a high sided sauté pan which is probably the best way as they would make a horrible mess of any fryer!

I like to serve them with a very simple coleslaw. Shred half a cabbage and a couple of carrots, along with a finely sliced shallot - I have one of those plastic mandolines which makes all this very easy.  Lots of black pepper, a sprinkle of sea salt and enough mayonnaise to keep it all together. The end result shouldn't be creamy, the mayonnaise should just be enough to bind.  A squirt of lemon juice lifts it all.

A word about quantity - my husband can eat chicken wings until he explodes so this amount is dinner for the pair of us...adjust to your own appetite!


800g chicken wings (usually two packs and you don't want the wing tips)
8 tblsp. cornflour
1 tblsp. rice wine

1 tblsp. soy sauce
3 tblsp. rice wine
2 tblsp. white wine vinegar - or apple cider vinegar
I tblsp. gochujang, Korean red chilli pepper paste - most Chinese supermarkets carry it, it usually comes in a plastic tub
3 tblsp. honey
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tblsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. grated garlic
2 tblsp. chopped peanuts for garnish


Joint the chicken wings into little drumsticks and the flat two boned wing piece. Put them in a big bowl, add the vinegar and toss them together. Leave for half an hour.

To make the sauce put all the ingredients in a saucepan, slowly bring up to the bowl making sure the sugar has all melted. Simmer for ten minutes until the sauce is thick and glossy.

Prepare a grill pan or similar by lining with foil and putting on top the grill rack.

In a wide deep frying pan heat up half an inch of oil.  I use rapeseed oil (not the cold pressed expensive stuff, the ordinary cooking oil) because it gets to a nice high temperature for frying.

Bring the oil up to a medium frying heat then dip each chicken wing in cornflour and put into the pan to fry.  Don't overcrowd the pan.  Fry on each side for three to four minutes then put on the grill pan rack to drain.  They don't have to be brown at this stage but the cornflour should look crisp.  Dredge the draining wings with another coat of cornflour.
Once all the chicken wings have been fried and are draining let the oil cool then strain it to get rid of the residue.  Put the strained oil back into the pan, top up with clean oil and then prepare to start frying again.  At this stage I put my oven on so that the first batch of wings I have second fried keep hot but I am a bit of a fiend for hot food - up to you!

Fry all the chicken wings again at a medium heat until they are golden brown.  Transfer them to a hot wide shallow bowl, pour over the hot sauce, then toss and toss until the wings are thoroughly coated.  Sprinkle over the chopped peanuts and serve with the coleslaw, a bowl for the bones and a lot of kitchen towel.  Enjoy!

Sunday, 2 April 2017


I have been trying to eat at Dishoom for ages but I am not a natural queuer (is that a word?) and as I never seem to be in the right place at the right time the joys of their delicacies have been denied to me.  And then the stars aligned...

My good friend Buz and her man Euan had promised to buy Mr Redding and I dinner at Tom Kitchin (which was utterly delightful) and we thought this would be a good time to catch up with some of the people I was at Stirling University with - people I haven't seen for over *cough* 30 years.  So we had a big enough party to book a table!  O frabjous day!  Between the seven of us we got through four bowls of Dishoom's trademark black dal as well as their crispy okra, squid, chicken, lots of other stuff - it was all delicious.  I was very struck by the daal so began to try and find a recipe - this is my most recent version, and I thoroughly recommend it.  I use a pressure cooker, a utensil I am using increasingly to cook both meat and pulses.  Meat seems to retain more of its flavour whilst becoming beautifully tender and both meat and pulses take a fraction of the time.  The pulses you need are Urid beans - KTC Foods do them, I bought mine in Morrisons.


200g Urid beans
Twice the amount in volume of water
Tsp. grated ginger
Tsp. grated garlic
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
Tsp. ground cumin
Tsp. ground coriander
Tsp. turmeric
Knob of butter
Tblsp. cream
Tsp. salt
Good couple of grinds of black pepper


Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil. If using a pressure cooker it will take around 25 minutes, if conventional cooking probably a good hour.  Once the lentils are soft take off the heat and mash half the beans.  Stir together then add another knob of butter and maybe a splash of cream before serving.

This also responds well to being stuck in a low oven for further cooking - seems to add to its unctuousness!

Last night I served this with pork with garlic, vinegar and chilli (a vindaloo) from Madhur Jaffrey  and crispy fried okra. 

The okra are so delicious and so easy - just mix 1/2 teaspoon each of ground coriander, ground cumin, chill powder and turmeric with a couple of tablespoons of gram flour.  Cut the bhindi in four lengthwise and toss in the mixture.  leave for half an hour than heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and shallow fry in batch.  The finishing touch should be a sprinkle of amchur, dried mango powder, which add an amazing tartness.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


I am overweight.  I feel like I have always been overweight but when I look back at photographs I see I wasn't. It was all in my mind.  But I am now.  I am also in an extremely stressful job where I am having to make people redundant and the future of my organisation is in the balance - and it's a good organisation, it's been looking after charities in London for 110 years - but I digress.

Before Mr Redding and I got married we followed the Sirt diet for a few months - it did the trick. Almost no fat, kale juice deadening the appetite, and no carbs led to a gratifying but not silly weight loss.  We tried it again last month but suddenly swamp water wasn't cutting it for us.  So I have decided to off piste, inspired in some way by a fellow food blogger @thefoodjudge. Her plates of spiralised vegetables and protein looked interesting, delicious, and a fabulous antidote to Christmas food.  So I bought a spiraliser, looked to Sabrina Ghayour for some middle eastern flavours and set off.  I will say up front that I am not counting calories but I am avoiding carbohydrates and saturated fat.

First of my recipes is a soupy noodly prawn dish - it is deeply satisfying, a bit hot, very tasty. This recipe is for two people.


1 tblsp. oil
400g kings prawns, cut down the back and intestinal track removed
Tblsp. soy sauce

1 tblsp.oil
6 spring onions, white part sliced diagonally, green part shredded
Inch of ginger, sliced and shredded finely
Garlic clove, sliced finely
2 red birds eye chillies, sliced finely

2 stalks celery sliced
Tin of sliced water chestnuts drained
Handful of coarsely chopped coriander
2 medium courgettes, spiralised or cut into long fine strips
2 medium carrots, spiralised or cut into long fine strips
Chicken stock cube

1. Heat the oil and soy sauce together. When hot add the prawns and cook until they have just turned pink all over. remove from pan and set aside with juices.  Wipe out pan.

2. Add oil to pan, out on medium heat and add spring onion whites, ginger, garlic and chilli - sweat down until soft.

3. Add the celery, water chestnuts and the stock cube along with a mug of water. Bring to boil for five minutes.  Add the spiralised vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes, adding the prawns in the last 30 seconds to warm through.

4. Serve in two bowls, sprinkling over the green bits of spring onions and coriander.