Proper Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken Marinating
This is the best Jerk Chicken I’ve ever had. Period. I found it on another site a while ago, modified it a little and here we are. I love jerk chicken, it’s one of my favourite things ever, especilly with Jah Tubby’s system pumping through the pavement at the same time.


  • 1 fat shallot
  • 2 seconds of oil – sunflower
  • a punch of salt
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2.5 punches of brown sugar – demerara
  • thumb of ginger
  • Totally squeezed lime
  • a punch of thyme (no stalks)
  • a punch of all spice
  • Scotch bonnets – I used 1 then added another half – be brave and add more!
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 seconds of soy sauce

It’s such a simple recipe that I’m not going to say too much.

It seems like a lot of salt, if you feel like it’s too much, you’ve probably got it just right. As for the Scotch Bonnets – they are ESSENTIAL. Do not substitute a different kind of chilli, Bonnets have the heat (oh my god they do), but they don’t over power the flavours from everything else. You could call it the secret ingrediant.

The shallots you could replace with any kind of salad or sweet onion really.

If you’re new to MCC a punch is about a table spoon, a pinch a teaspoon and a second of pouring is about a tablespoon. You’ll get used to it. ūüėČ

Ok, here we go. Chuck everything into a blender and whizz unitl a paste. The end. Da daaa

I like it a little bit chunky, you might like it smooth, just keep whizzing.

You can use as a sauce or a marinade. For the marinade, cover the chicken with the sauce, cover with cling film and leave for a few hours. Barbecueing is best, but 35-45 minutes in the oven and then 10 minutes under a hot grill will give you crispy skin and still taste amazing.

We had four bits of chicken each and frankly it wasn’t enough. With the 1 and 1/2 bonnets it was hot but not too hot for my kids.


Authentic fail safe Sushi Rice

Sushi Rice

Sushi is one of those things like Chess; easy to pick up, yet difficult to be good at… The bit that most people think is the easy bit is making the rice. And really it is, sort of. It’s easy and time consuming. So get your zen on.

With this quick “recipe” you’ll get it right every time. In theory!

First you need the right rice. You must use the right rice, not long grain, basmati, or Uncle Bens… Get short grain “blunt” rice.

Once the correct rice is acquired get yourself a mug and measure out two mugfuls into a pan. Now wash it thoroughly. You need to cleanse the starch away as much as possible. Rinse it thoroughly until the water is almost clear. Do NOT use a metal sieve, you will damage the rice, just use your hands to gently rub it. Once its ‘s clear as you have patience for, remove as much of the water as possible.

Now to add the water for cooking. For every one mug of rice, add about a mug and a quarter of water. If in doubt, do less than a quarter, maybe an eighth. So for the two mugs of rice we’ve just done, add two and a half mugs of water.

Cover the pan, stick it on the hob, heat full blast and wait for it to come to the boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat leaving the lid on and leave for ten minutes. After ten minutes, take off the lid and cover with a tea towel and again leave for ten minutes…

By ¬†now the water should be fully absorbed and the rice a nice sticky consistency. I can’t resist having a little bowl with some sweet soya sauce (or Teraki)… After a taste if you find that the rice is still a little “grainy”, add a few tablespoons of water and cover again for a few minutes.

Remove the rice from the pan and lay on a large smooth flat surface. I always use a few chopping boards. Cover the surface with the rice. All we’re doing here is increasing the surface area so that we can cool the rice efficiently. At this stage it’s worth drizzling over a little Sushi vinegar, you can buy this or mix up some sugar, a little rice wine and a mild vinegar. Personally it’s easier to just buy it. The idea is that it makes the rice a little sweeter. Now you need to fold the rice carefully while still warm and with the “vinegar”, use your hands or a non brittle spatula. Spend five to ten minutes doing this.

The last step and the one that will make you feel as mad a hat is the fanning of the rice. Yes… Fan the rice. If you don’t have an authentic Japanese fan to hand (who doesn’t?) use a flimsy chopping board or a magazine. Then gently fan the rice for another five to ten minutes. This process helps remove the moisture while keeping everything moist. Ideally you would do this while you are folding as well in the previous step. This is a tradition. Whether it improves the taste or texture is up to you to decide. It does however definitely put you into the rice zen master class…

When the rice is cool you’re ready to roll (sorry). Chilled rice is the worst so don’t refrigerate unless you have to.

[featured image by quinn.anya]

Quick Octopus Salad

Octopus salad in a bowl

I bought an Octopus. It was more bravado with the kids than a culinary choice. The super duper fish counter at Morissons drew me in and the kids wiped the floor with me. I bought the Octopus.

The preparation

Once we got it home we had to decide what to do with this alien beast. It wasn’t like a little squid that needed a bit of de-inking and bone removal (is it a bone?). This was a beast.

So. I turned its head inside out and watched as it eyes bulged the wrong way. Very frickin’ weird even by my standards. I then pulled, scraped and cut out any bits that I could. There were weird sacks of stuff (eggs?), general goo and a little beak. Pretty amazing really.

The Cooking

Grab a big pan and pour in about three seconds of red wine vinegar. Get it hot in the pan without gassing out your kitchen. Open the windows. I’m sure this is how you make some nasty gas…

Once the vinegar is nice and hot chuck in the octopus and put the lid on. I added a little salt and pepper. Leave it for about 10-15 minutes, giving it a little poke every now and again so that all sides are browned.

You know when it’s cooked as it will be quite easy to pierce with a fork, almost soft.

Once soft, remove from the pan and leave to cool. Then chop into little pieces. I added chopped black olives (Crespo) and poured a little olive oil with a few more crunches of black pepper. A little squeeze of lemon juice and you’re ready to serve.

Very nice and it makes you feel like you’re on holiday!

Two Greedy Italians Pork, Ginger and Honey… Amazing and Simple

I’ve been watching the the “Two Greedy Italians” on BBC 2 for the last few weeks. It’s one of those weird programmes that shouldn’t be good. It just is. I love Italian food, always have. If I was stranded on a desert island with a chef, they’d be Italian and I’d be fat.

These two old geezers though as they travel around their homeland have displayed a simplicity and a passion that’s got me properly fired up. The recipe that really got me salivating was their Pork, Ginger and Honey hot pot stew thing… I’ve never liked “English stews” (ready for the flames on that one), but this just looked amazing…

I made it with the kids, nice and easy, although I couldn’t find for love nor money a pork fillet the size that they did! I’ll post the recipe as we did it; with less pork.


  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 100g Pancetta
  • 2 Carrots
  • 4 Small Parsnips
  • 4 Shallots
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 4 tbsps Honey
  • 2 x 300g Pork Fillets
  • 300 ml of stock
  • Fresh ginger
  • Salt & Pepper

Before starting it’s worth getting prepared. Chop your carrots and parsnips into nice fat chunks. Slice the shallots into nice thick slices, if they’re too fine they’ll disintegrate. Your ginger needs to be sliced¬†coarsely, about 6 or 7 slices, each one the size of a thumbnail and a few¬†millimeters¬†thick. Lastly crush your garlic, nothing fancy. I peeled mine, you don’t have to if you’re feeling all rustic.

Get a nice large deep frying pan (with a lid) and drop in a few table spoons of oil. You want it to be about a millimetre or two deep across the whole pan. Get this hot, put the lid on to make sure it’s really hot and then chuck in the Pancetta. Careful, it will spit.

Once golden, put the Pancetta in a bowl and leave somewhere convenient (Note: not in reach of the dog. Doh!) Now add in your pork and sear for a few minutes. It should be really hot, sealing in the flavour of the pancetta. While this is happening stick the kettle on for your stock. I used vegetable stock. It worked well.

Ok, now add in the garlic, ginger and honey. Keep this cooking until¬†caramelised, it shouldn’t really be longer than a few minutes. It look so amazing at this stage. Now you can add in the rest of the¬†ingredients. Leave this cooking for 30 mins with the lid on. Then take out the vegetables and set aside. If they’re not tender leave them in for a bit longer,¬†although¬†they should be. I used a pair of tongs, which made it bit like playing Operation but in reverse…

Now this is the bit where we changed the timings. As we had to 300g pork fillets instead of one mammoth 800g piece we had to adjust the cooking time. So while originally the cooking time is an hour, we went for 20 minutes. Perfect. Take the meat out and let it cool for a few minutes, then slice into nice chunky pieces.

Finally add everything back into the pan to just heat through. You are not cooking anything here, just making sure that it’s hot.


Literally hold on to¬†everymouthful. This is so tasty, easy, cheap, healthy…

Black Pudding and Poached Egg Salad

I originally had this at Harvey Nichols for lunch and figured it must be easy to make. The dressing was the hard bit, in that it took longer than three minutes for my brain to process.

This is my favourite quick recipe at the moment. It’s so simple, healthy, tasty and cheap and… Fuuuuuucckkkkk, I love it. ūüôā Now that we’ve got fresh eggs from our chickens this is even better than before (and Harvey Nicks).


  • Black pudding – 3 big slices per person or 5 fat little slices
  • Rocket and some mixed leaves
  • 2 FRESH eggs per person
  • A squirt of virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar

Get a sealed jam jar to mix up your dressing. Add half an inch of balsamic vinegar, a quick squirt of the olive oil, some ground pepper and crunchy salt. Put the lid on and shake… A lot. That’s the hard bit done. Nice.

Poached eggs next. This is the bit that everybody has an opinion on.

“Use cling film”,¬†“Use cookie cutters”, “add salt to increase the boiling point“, “blah blah blah”…

The trick to poached eggs is to use the freshest eggs that you can. The end.

Get a large frying pan, fill with water and heat until just boiling. Not vigorously boiling, just gently boiling. Crack your eggs and drop them in as quickly as you can, as close as you can to the water without burning yourself. Then simmer for a few minutes and then… Turn off the heat and leave for ten minutes… Its the bubbles that¬†disperse¬†your egg whites so we need to minimise that.

Once your your eggs are in, fire up a frying pan, add a drip of oil and add the black pudding when the oil is hot. Black pudding should be crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, hence the thick slices. Once crispy, turn the heat down. Decent black pudding makes all the difference. Good black pudding you can eat raw. Honest.

Grab your leaves, chuck in a bowl and wait for your eggs. After your ten minutes of poaching, pull out your eggs (!) and lay on kitchen towel to drain. Put the black pudding on top of your leaves and drizzle some of your dressing over, then gently place your eggs on top and drizzle a little more of the dressing. Depending on how many people you;re feeding you’ll probably have some dressing left.

Personally I don’t like runny eggs, I’d rather sleep with my fur pillows. Although there is something about the yolk mixing in with the dressing and then covering the peppery rocket and black pudding that somehow tastes more than what it is…

Oh god, I need to eat this now… ūüėČ

Cluck cluck go the sound of the hens

We finally did it. After Phatty helped us with the chicken coop we’ve acquired a couple of¬†beautiful¬†hens. We’ve named them Burt and Ernie.

Already after only one day they’ve started laying; two eggs so far. I’m poaching them for breakfast! I’ll post my new favourite recipe to celebrate. Black pudding and poached egg salad…

This will be an interesting experiment. We live in a small terraced house with a very small back garden, just enough for the chicken coop. One thing I really wasn’t prepared for is the volume of the clucking. Who knew chickens cluck so bloody loudly.?

Five thirty this morning they started. The neighbours already are plotting ways to leave the coop door open for the foxes I’m sure. Apparently they’ll settle down… We’ll see…