When it came to food, one of my favourites to share was a basket of southern style fried chicken pieces, juicy chicken pieces in a crunchy coating, served with nothing more than some seasoning.
The weekend is popular for ordering take-away food, but if like me it’s miles to the nearest takeaway, why not try some homemade variations like my puff pastry pizza, very, very simple, just a sheet of puff pastry topped with some pasta sauce or passata, then topped with veggies and slices of whatever cooked meat is in the fridge and smothered with cheese – takes minutes to prepare, and is sure to fill your craving for fast food.
Another very easy dish to make is chicken wings, there’s nothing like a big bowl of wings with a nice blue cheese or chilli sauce. You can flavour the chicken wings with as much chilli as you can bear, or just smother them in a barbecue sauce before placing in the oven.
A few years ago I was involved in a programme called Take on the Takeaway, my task on this programme was to help the participant make her own takeaway, as quick and as tasty as the one from her local takeaway. One of her favourite take-away dishes was fish and chips from her local chipper, but I wanted to show her how to make the crispiest batter, perfectly fried chips (though with no lard!), and lovely crushed minted peas.
I got busy in the kitchen, peeling potatoes (though sometimes I prefer to leave the skins on), boiling peas and making our batter for our fish and though it was tight to complete within the same time as the chippy, I just completed the task on time. It was delicious, when cooked and first cut into, the batter should give a crunch to expose the flakes of soft fish flesh, falling apart from it’s perfectly steamed envelope of batter, and the chips were lovely and crisp on the outside and soft and floury in the centre.
When making chips I like to use a floury potato such as rooster, once you have soaked them in water and just prior to putting them into deep fry, pat them dry with a tea towel or kitchen paper, this prevents the oil from spitting when the chips hit the oil. Once cooked sprinkle liberally with some sea salt and vinegar. She was so pleased with the results she vowed to avoid her chipper and make her own (at least for a while anyway). Many people enjoy a nice tartare sauce to accompany their fish and chips. If you like tartare sauce here's a quick recipe for a homemade version;
Put the mayonnaise into a large mixing bowl and add the chopped gherkins, capers, shallots and parsley. Stir until combined and add a squeeze of lemon juice and some mustard and stir well. Store in the fridge until required. (use within 3 – 4 days).
As Saturday night is an extremely busy night in the restaurant (thankfully!), when I eventually get home, for me I like to get my takeaway from the fridge, a selection of cheeses from the counter at SuperValu - there’s nothing nicer than a decent cheeseboard especially when served with a nice glass of wine with some strawberries and grapes.
So takeaway or not this weekend why not get inspired by some of these great recipes.