Sunday, 23 October 2011


I am extremely fortunate in that I am on good terms with my ex-husband - we meet every couple of months for a catch up over a couple of cocktails and some nice food. When we were together I rarely let him cook (I am very selfish in the kitchen) but he is now free to exercise his natural talent and shared this recipe with me. Living in Peckham fried chicken is everywhere and is a favourite late night snack chez nous but there is no comparison with homemade – and this recipe has been given an unreserved thumbs up. So here, for your delectation, is…

*Alan’s Gourmet KFC*

Measurements are for two pieces so multiply as necessary. 

For the marinade: 

½ tsp coriander
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 red chillies (seeds removed if you don’t like it spicy) - finely chopped
½ small onion, finely chopped
Fresh coriander

2 chicken pieces, skinless (I like thighs and drumsticks with the bones in)

For the coating: 

Plain flour
100ml milk
1 egg
½ tsp celery salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp ground black pepper 

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and then add the chicken pieces making sure that they are completely covered in the marinade. Cover and leave to marinate for several hours, ideally overnight. 

Mix the egg and milk in a bowl, then mix in all the dry ingredients except the flour.

Scrape the marinade off the chicken pieces then dip them in the egg mixture, and then dip in flour. Dip the chicken back in the egg mix, and then in the flour for a second time. Put chicken pieces to one side on a plate.   

Deep fry the chicken pieces at 150C for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and cooked. Put the chicken on a rack in a low oven (150C) to keep warm and crisp until everything is ready.  You may want to make some chips, coleslaw, baked beans or corn cobs to accompany…. whatever floats your boat!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Wine Discovery with Eszencia

Mr Redding and I recently spent a highly enjoyable day at The Princess of Shoreditch partaking of a Wine Discovery Day courtesy of Eszencia.  The philosophy at Eszencia is simple.  We don’t apologise for our taste in music, we don’t apologise because we don’t like olives, but many of us feel we need to apologise for our ’uneducated’ taste in wine.  Dan and Alice from Eszencia want to help people to feel comfortable talking about wine, and to recognise the basics of flavour, aroma and body but don’t weigh you down with lots of information about chateaux, vintages and cru.  

The day kicked off with a pear bellini cocktail, just to get the ice broken.  We then swooshed and swallowed our way through 16 wines over the course of four hours, accompanied by canapĂ©s, chicken and tarragon pie and cheese.  

Before we got down to the wine we sniffed a variety of aromatic oils to try and identify them and discover which grapes and wines were most closely associated with them.  We sampled tannin in a glass, which was pretty horrible.  And we held our noses and rolled sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami flavours round our mouths to see where we felt the sensation each produced. We also explored body and texture….

And then we moved on to the real stuff.  We tasted the wine in pairs, contrasting different styles of wine, those from hot countries and cool countries, oaked and unoaked, wines that smell sweet and fruity but taste dry. The stand out wine for me was a Sicilian white, Cometa from Planeta made with the Fiano grape, which blew the sock off the Sancerre it was paired with.  A great example of the contrast in colour, body and flavour between a ‘warm’ wine from Sicily and a ‘cool’ wine from France. 

Eszencia offer a variety of wine tasting experiences, and also offer corporate events, so check out their websites. For an unpretentious but extremely informative wine tasting experience I thoroughly recommend them.