Category Archives: Main Meals

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks and why you shouldn’t wash raw chicken

Driving home from school the other day, my 5 year old daughter asked me what I’d been up to that day. “I went into London,” was my response. That caught her attention. “Cool, did you go to the Aquarium?” “Uh, no, nothing that exciting,” I told her. “Oh, so did you just go and take some photos then?” “Well no it wasn’t even that exciting,” I said. “I went to listen to some people talk about chicken.” “What! Why would you do that?” I could have just ended the conversation at that point but I thought I would tell her anyway. “Well, they were explaining how to cook chicken properly so that people don’t get sick or worse, even die.” “Well that was a waste of time then because you’ve never killed anyone – have you?” And no I haven’t ever killed anyone or even given them food poisoning but I did find the talk very interesting and I did learn more about the correct way to handle chicken when preparing to cook it.

There is going to be a lot of information in the media this week about this very subject. It is after all, Food Safety Week and the emphasis is on making the public aware of Campylobacter which happens to be the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. I’d never heard of it before but there are more cases of Campylobacter poisoning that Salmonella and E.coli put together. The symptoms of Campylobacter poisoning are abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting but what can be really nasty is the possibility of reactive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Of course not everybody will suffer to the same degree but I personally don’t want to ever be responsible for putting someone in that position.

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks 2

Now I’m not one to be overly fussy about germs. Our house is clean but not sterile. We are generally a healthy family and I can say this because we have lived in our current house for 6 years and neither my husband nor my two children have ever had to visit our local doctor. I have always been aware of the risks of raw chicken and I think I do take more care when handling chicken than with any other raw meat. I have never been one to wash chicken before cooking it but I do know of people who do. We have had many debates about why you should and shouldn’t with each one of us as passionate about our reasons as the other. It would seem that at least 44% of people surveyed said they do wash chicken and their reasons vary from removing any bacteria to removing the slimy stuff or just because their Mother used to do it. The FSA and local authorities are now campaigning to raise awareness about the dangers of washing your chicken. One of the main ways to get and spread campylobacter is through cross-contamination and by washing your raw chicken you can actually spread the bacteria by splashing it onto hands, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment. As the talk progressed I was feeling very pleased with myself and gave myself a pat on the back for not ever having washed my chicken. After listening to both the FSA and a doctor from the Institute of Infection and Global Health we had a demonstration from Sue Ashworth who is a trained home economist. After Sue had cut open the packaging and removed the chicken she threw the packaging straight into the bin and made the comment that “of course you don’t want to rinse the packaging.” That was me brought down from my pedestal – I always rinse my packaging before binning it. I found myself sitting up straighter and paying more attention after that.
So what can we, as home cooks do to reduce the risk of cross-contamination?

1. When buying chicken, make sure the packaging is not damaged and the meat is sealed adequately.
2. Make sure your chicken is not put in with any fresh produce when packing your bags at the supermarket – just in case it does leak.
3. Keep the chicken as cold as possible on the way home from the supermarket.
4. Place it in the fridge as soon as you get home and preferably in the coldest part of the fridge which is the bottom shelf.
5. Try to leave the chicken in the original packaging and always place it in a separate container – again just in case it does leak.
6. If the chicken is frozen, give yourself ample time to defrost it in the fridge – not on your countertop.
7. Before preparing your chicken, fill your sink with hot soapy water. By doing this it means you don’t have to touch your taps to wash your hands.
8. Cut your packaging and remove your chicken either into your baking dish or on to your chopping board.
9. Throw any packaging straight in the bin.
10. Wash any utensils and your hands in the hot soapy water as you go.
11. If you test your chicken with a skewer and the chicken is not yet cooked, make sure you wash the skewer before using it again. This applies to a basting brush as well.
12. Follow the instructions for cooking times given on the packaging. There should be no pink meat visible and all juices should run clear when tested with a skewer or knife.

Remember – thorough cooking will kill any bacteria.

So there you have it. Most of us will instinctively follow good food hygiene but there may be just one or two things that we can improve on to help our families enjoy the food that we give them and above all to stay healthy.

Here is a quick recipe for barbecued chicken drumsticks – a perfect summer snack and an opener for another whole debate about barbecues and food safety :-)

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks

Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 8 portions

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 4 tblsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tblsp tomato puree
  • 2 tblsp soy sauce
  • 3 tblsp honey
  • 1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Slash the chicken skin 2 - 3 times with a sharp knife.
  2. Place the chicken in a shallow glass container,
  3. Mix the vinegar, tomato puree, soy sauce, honey, Worcestershire Sauce, garlic and cayenne pepper together and pour over the chicken.
  4. Cover with cling wrap and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  5. Cook the drumsticks on a preheated barbecue grill for about 20 - 30 minutes or until all the juices run clear.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2014/06/16/barbecued-chicken-drumsticks/

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks

For more information on the FSA’s campylobacter campaign, and for guidance on the safest way to handle chicken, visit food.gov.uk/chicken

I’m adding this post to Supergolden Bakes’ Cook, Blog, Share linky.  Come and join in.

and to Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesdays Linky
9VwhltV

Turkey Burgers and Monkeygland Sauce

What a week!  The poor kids have had rain nearly every day of their school holiday. They have done well to get outside at every given opportunity but it’s not quite the same as if the sun were shining and the grass dry enough to play on without turning into a swamp. We did have one dry afternoon so I quickly made up a batch of these turkey burgers and some delicious Monkeygland sauce, packed them up in a bag and headed off to the village green with a selection of bats and balls and let the kids burn off some energy before tucking into these delicious burgers.
The burgers are low fat and make a nice change from the usual beef burgers. I nearly always use turkey mince if I’m making homemade burgers as it is both cheaper and healthier than beef.  The key is to not overcook them, keeping them as moist as possible.  Once you’ve added all the extras and some delicious sauce,  you’ll hardly notice that they are not beef burgers.  Now the sauce may sound a bit odd and I have no idea where the name came from as it has nothing to do with monkeys or glands.  It is a typical South African sauce and is found on nearly every menu which has burgers on it.  It is sweet and rich but with a nice kick from the chilli.  Every South African is familiar with Mrs Ball’s Chutney so we would typically use this brand of chutney. It is available in most of the UK supermarkets and is definitely worth a try.  The recipe makes more sauce than is needed for 6 burgers but it stores well in a sterilised jar and if kept in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Turkey burger and Monkeygland Sauce

Turkey Burgers and Monkeygland Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 6 portions

Turkey Burgers and Monkeygland Sauce

Ingredients

    For the Monkeygland Sauce
  • 2 tblsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 125ml Worcester Sauce
  • 250ml chutney (preferably Mrs Ball's Original chutney)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 10ml tomato paste
  • 45ml white wine vinegar
  • 60ml brown sugar
  • For the burgers
  • 500g turkey mince
  • ½ an onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 slices of bread, crusts removed
  • 125ml milk
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Additional extras
  • Burger buns
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Red Onion

Instructions

    To make the Monkeygland Sauce
  1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat.
  2. Fry the onion, garlic and chilli until the onion is soft and nicely browned.
  3. Add the Worcester Sauce, chutney, tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar and brown sugar to the cooked onions and mix well.
  4. Continue to cook over a low heat until the sauce has reduced down to a jam-like consistency (about 15 to 20 minutes).
  5. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool down while you make the burgers.
  6. To make the burgers
  7. Combine the mince, onion and garlic in a mixing bowl.
  8. Soak the bread in the milk and then gently squeeze out any excess milk.
  9. Add the bread mixture to the mince and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Knead the mixture together with your hands until well incorporated.
  11. Mould the mixture into 6 patties. The mixture is very wet but if handled carefully they will hold together nicely.
  12. Using a small amount of sunflower oil, fry gently until cooked.
  13. Assemble burgers, using additional extras and top with a generous helping of Monkeygland sauce.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2014/05/30/turkey-burgers-and-monkeygland-sauce/

Turkey burger and Monkeygland Sauce 1
I’m submitting this post over to A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week linky.
recipe-of-the-week
and over to Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesday linky which is being hosted by Franglais Cooking this week.
9VwhltV

I’m also adding this post to Supergolden Bakes fab new linky, called Cook, Blog, Share
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Sticky Asian Pork

Sticky Asian pork is one of our standard weekly meals normally saved for a Saturday or Sunday night treat.  It’s good, really, really good!  The only thing I would say is that you have to choose your pork carefully.  Use the wrong cut of meat and it can be tough and dry.  I have suggested shoulder steaks which is our favourite but they do have a bit of fat on them which might not be to everyone’s liking.  A nice piece of pork fillet would work well too but is that bit more expensive.

Enjoy!

Sticky Asian Pork 1

Sticky Asian Pork

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 generous portions

Sticky Asian Pork

Ingredients

  • 2 tblsp vegetable oil
  • 600g pork shoulder steaks, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • 4 tblsp clear honey
  • 2 tblsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tblsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp chilli powder

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a wok, add the pork strips and fry for 3 - 4 minutes or until lightly coloured on all sides.
  2. Remove the pork and its juices to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add more oil to the wok if necessary and add in the onion and ginger. Stir fry for 2 - 3 minutes until soft.
  4. Stir in the orange juice, honey, peanut butter, soy sauce and chilli powder, bring to the boil and stir to combine.
  5. Return the pork and its juices to the wok and mix well. If the sauce thickens too much, add enough water to thin down.
  6. Once the pork is piping hot - serve immediately.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2014/03/02/sticky-asian-pork/

Sticky Asian PorkAs this is a super quick meal I am going to submit to Speedy Suppers which is run by Feeding Boys and a Firefighter and Dinner with Crayons.
speedy-suppers-veg-impand over to A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week link up.
recipe-of-the-week

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Half term is over and Spring is just around the corner.  I’m already starting to think of lighter, fresher meal options and this chickpea and spinach curry is one of my favourites.  It’s packed full of flavour and is so quick and easy to make.  A perfect mid-week meal – although I must admit that my kids are not yet convinced that ‘ the green stuff’ is edible.

It’s worth a try – enjoy!
Chickpea and Spinach Curry 8

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 portions if served with rice or 2 portions if served without rice

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 tblsp ghee or sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 tsps. curry powder
  • 2 tsps. garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tin (380g) chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tin (390g) chopped tomatoes
  • 4 medium sized (300g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 400 - 500ml vegetable stock
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100g fresh spinach

Instructions

  1. Heat the ghee/oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until softened.
  2. Add all the spices and cook for a further 1 minute.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, potatoes, salt and about half of the vegetable stock. Stir well and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked adding more stock as needed.
  4. Add the spinach and cook for a further couple of minutes or until the spinach has wilted.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2014/02/25/chickpea-and-spinach-curry/

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Chickpea and Spinach Curry 7This chickpea and spinach curry is a substantial and delicious meal but it is also an extremely low cost main meal option which I am going to submit to this month’s Credit Crunch Munch challenge which is run by Camilla over at Fab Food 4 All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and which is being hosted by myself this month.
Credit-Crunch-Munch-Just-PicI’m also going to submit to Recipe of the Week over at A Mummy Too
recipe-of-the-week
As this is also a healthy, low fat meal I am going to submit the recipe over to The Spice Trail’s latest challenge which is Temple Food.
spice-trail-badge-square

Chicken Paprika

Well My Golden Pear has had a good start to the New Year.  My January rating for Foodies 100 was high enough to push me into the top 500 blogs (just) which is a first for me and a great incentive to carry on.  My blog is purely a hobby but I use it to push myself to try new and interesting recipes and most of all it gives me a great subject with which to practice and improve my photography.  In January last year I set myself a goal to take part in some of the blogging challenges out there and I’m so glad I did.  It is a great way to get involved in the food blogging community and I have tried and discovered so many new things as a result of some of the themes that have been set for us.  I look forward to all the new and exciting themes for 2014.

Today’s recipe is not a new one to me but it is deliciously tasty and so easy and fits in perfectly with two of my favourite monthly challenges.   Succulent chicken thighs are coated in a mixture of breadcrumbs, cheese, paprika and garlic and baked until golden and crispy.  A grownup version of chicken nuggets, I guess.  You don’t get much sauce with this dish so I normally serve with a mushroom sauce and veggies.

Comforting, homely and quite delicious.
Chicken Paprika

Chicken Paprika

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken Paprika

Ingredients

  • 1kg skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 egg
  • salt & black pepper
  • 60g white breadcrumbs
  • 40g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Lightly beat the egg together with a pinch of salt and pepper and set to one side.
  3. Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, paprika and garlic together in a shallow dish and set to one side.
  4. Dip each chicken thigh into the beaten egg and then coat completely with the breadcrumb mixture.
  5. Place the chicken into a baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumb mixture over the chicken and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Cover and bake for 40 minutes.
  8. Remove the cover and continue to bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2014/01/10/chicken-paprika/

The theme for this month’s The Spice Trail challenge is cooking with Paprika and is hosted by Vanesther over at Bangers & Mash.
spice-trail-badge-square
Little Thumbs Up is run by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and Doreen from My Little Favourite D.I.Y. This month it is hosted by Alice of  I Love, I Cook, I Bake and the chosen theme is cheese.
th_littlethumbups1-1The queen of frugal, Camilla of Fab Food 4 All, suggested I submit this recipe to the Credit Crunch Munch link up which she runs together with Helen of Fuss Free Flavours.
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