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Spice up a picnic

23 May 2014

by Simon Walsh


PICNIC food is sometimes routine, but this Bang bang chicken is perfect outdoors. Asian flavours in the marinade combine with the peanut coating to give something quite different.

2kg (4 lb) chicken drumsticks and  thighs
1 tablespoon Chinese 5-spice  powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger
juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoon each sesame oil and  olive oil
125g (4 oz) flour, seasoned
2 tablespoon peanut butter
3 eggs
vegetable oil, for frying

Place the chicken, spice, soy sauce, ginger, limes (juice with husks), and oil, with a good twist of black pepper, into a carrier bag, and tie up, massaging and squeezing the chicken all over through the bag to mix. Leave it for at least an hour.

When ready to cook, heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan. Whisk together the eggs and peanut butter in a wide dish, and put the flour on a plate. One piece at a time, coat the chicken in the egg mixture, then roll in the flour, and drop gently into the frying pan. Repeat and cook each one until golden and crispy - but do not put too many in the pan at a time. Drain on kitchen paper, then wrap in foil, which will keep it warm.

Be it a picnic or parish do, this Millionaire's shortbread is rich and delicious, and is always popular.

240g (8 oz) plain flour
115g (4 oz) caster sugar
465g (1 lb) unsalted butter, cubed
397g can condensed milk
4 tablespoons golden syrup
350g (8 oz) mixed plain and milk  chocolate 

Preheat the oven to 170°F/325°C/Gas 3. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and 265g (9 oz) butter. Line a 30×20cm baking tin with parchment, and tip in the mixture, smoothing down to make even. Prick it in a few places with a fork, and place in the oven. After 5 minutes reduce the temperature to 150°/300°/Gas 2, and cook for about an hour, or until golden. Do not remove from the tin.

For the caramel, take a large bowl, and melt the remaining butter in it, using the microwave. Then add the condensed milk and golden syrup, giving a good whisk to combine. Return the bowl to the microwave, and heat for about 3 minutes, removing to whisk, then another 3 minutes. Repeat until the caramel is thick and light brown. (The amount of time depends on the microwave power.) But beware: it will get very hot, and also bubbles up to about three times the initial volume.

Finally, leave it to settle for a minute, then give it a final stir, and pour over the shortbread in the tin. Leave it to set. (If you have no microwave, use a saucepan over a low heat with plenty of stirring.)

Melt the chocolate together gently, and pour this over the toffee, working gently to give an even covering. Chill in the fridge, and, once ready, cut into squares.

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