An easy sauce to lift your pancake game, a fresh blueberry maple sauce. Ready in under 5 minutes.…
There is a little story behind my creation of these chipotle maple lime chicken wings. It actual goes back to before I moved to the UK, and was still living in Halifax. One of the first things I bought in my first apartment in Halifax was a barbecue. I must’ve picked it up for about 75 bucks from Walmart. It didn’t do anything fancy like a rotisserie or side grill, and looking back on it I’m pretty sure having it on my balcony violated the health and safety rules of my building. It was great when you can come back from rowing practice, just turn on the propane chuck on a few burgers or sausages and relax while drinking a cold beer.
Before I moved back to Halifax I have lived in the States for school, where my roommate was Tex (take a guess where he was from), was also a keen cook. His family was from San Antonio, and were passionate about barbecuing and deep-frying. With all that knowledge in the apartment I’m still not sure how I managed to lose weight that year. Tex’s knowledge on how to go and marinate chicken before frying it was revolutionary to me. And when I got my barbecue in Halifax I wondered if I could take that same principle to chicken wings.
‘Juicy, spicy, sweet, smoky and tangy . Chipotle maple lime chicken wings are the perfect relaxing food.’
Just before the summer ended I was decided the test my theory. Admittedly I also knew that that time I was going to be given my barbecue to my cousin before moving to the UK. And I figured if worse came to happen, I wouldn’t have to worry about cleaning it up. As it turns out the method of marinating the wings in milk before barbecuing them makes them really really nice. They were the last thing I ever cooked on my first barbecue. To top it off, I needed to use up ingredients I had kicking around in my fridge, hence the chipotle maple lime chicken wings were born. Juicy, spicy, sweet, smoky and tangy . Chipotle maple lime chicken wings are the perfect relaxing food. It was well bittersweet eating those wings while sitting on a cardboard box filled my crap, but they along with the sauce were brilliant.
Sure, I had this originally with beer. However, its better with some fresh lemonade like this from Raepublic.
Well, I’m going to have to go local with this, and suggest listening to The Trews. Specifically their song Hollis and Morris. Mostly, because this is the corner I lived on in Hali.
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Chipotle Maple Lime Chicken Wings
- 1 cup milk semi-skinned or whole
- ½ red onion into slices
- 1 TB your favorite hot sauce
- Two garlic cloves crushed
- 1 lb of fresh chicken wings preferable with the skin still on
- 1 TB chipotle pepper puree
- 1 TB maple syrup
- 1 TB tomato paste
- ½ Red onion finely diced
- 1 garlic clove finely diced
- ½ cup water
- ½ tsp veg oil
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp herbs de provence
- ½ tsp salt
- Juice of half a lime
- Mix all the ingredients for the marinade, and place in the chicken wings. Put this in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight. When ready to use, take the wings out and pat them dry.
- For the sauce, heat the oil in a pot, and add the onion and garlic. Saute for a few minutes. Then add the chipotle puree. Finally add the other spices, maple syrup, tomato paste and half the water. Simmer for 10 minutes, it should be smooth and glossy but also coat the back of a spoon. Add a bit more water as needed. When you think you have the right consistency, take it off the heat. Before using, add the lime juice.
- Pre-heat the barbecue, and place the wings on. Slowly grill them, until they are cooked to your liking. Just before taking them off, dunk them in the sauce and place them on a cooler part of your grill before serving.
- Top with any leftover chopped red onion and some chopped cilantro. For good measure, grill half a lime and squeeze the juice over the fresh wings before serving.
For added fun, I added this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday!
The delicious, sweet, spicy and tangy black forest barbecue sauce.
Oh, summer, you are here in the UK. Finally. That means, it is time again for barbecues, which as previously discussed the British are only really waking up to. While there are lots of important parts to a barbecue (eg the source of heat, the quality of the ingredients), the sauce for me is paramount to a good barbecue – for me it is the perfect time for the Black Forest barbecue sauce.
Too many barbecue sauces are so loaded down with sugar, they just don’t taste good. Just sickly sweet. I like a rich sauce, that adds to the beef or chicken or whatever it is you are grilling. Not overwhelm it.
My black forest barbecue sauce is inspired from visiting the valley in Nova Scotia in the summer and having loads of fresh cherries and fruit which I needed to use. Turns out it was really addition to a barbecue sauce, because while it has sugar in it, it relies on fruit for the bulk of its sweetness. That, along with the spices gives you a warming sweet spicy and fruity taste in one punch.
Pulling this sauce together is dead easy, just takes a bit of time. As it is a black forest barbecue sauce, you start with some brilliant sour dark cherries plus other black and red berries (fresh or frozen, it makes no difference). Add to that tomatoes, molasses, onion, and some smoky spices. Then go low and slow (this is a brilliant book if you are so inclined).
What is key with this sauce, is how you reduce it. As with any sauce, when you put the ingredients together is will be quite soupy. When you make this, you gotta let it reduce low and slow until it is nice and thick. It helps the fruitiness compete with the rich tomato and spices, and develop that deep flavour.
I like this on chicken and burgers, but anything your barbecue will probably be made better with a sauce like this.
Black Forest Barbecue Sauce
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups passata or 2.5 cups of crushed tomatoes
- 1 cups roughly chopped cherries
- 1 cup other mixed berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and redcurrants.
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Hot smoked paprika powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a large, heavy pot melt butter and add onions. When onions are soft add garlic.
- Once you can smell the garlic in the pan, add all other ingredients. I start with the cherries and other fruit so they break down a bit first.
- Simmer for at least 40min, although I found longer better. Stir to ensure it isn’t catching on the bottom of the pan. The point is to reduce the moisture content.
- Use a hand blender to make it smooth. If should have a dark colour to it, and be thick and cling to the spoon, and without any excess water.
For added fun, I’ve added this to FiestaFriday! Worth having a look at what others are cooking up!
A few years ago I was really privileged to be asked to attend a research trip to Vancouver. I had been to Vancouver before many years ago, and I really loved it. However it was a very brief weekend, which when you are flying across the country means you can only take in so much. This time around we were going for just shy of a week, so more time to explore. I was very excited, like my home of Nova Scotia, the West Coast of the country is also famous for its seafood. Albeit, while in the East Coast we are fond of our chowders and grilling/smoking, on the West Coast you are more likely to find yourself tucking into smoked salmon in sushi than on a bagel.
Safe to say, the visit had me falling in love with the other coast. The vibrant mix of cultures, the amazing scenery and of course everyone being slightly more relaxed than you find people in cities like Toronto or Calgary. I think it must have something to do with being next to the ocean. Although, it is safe to say that Vancouverites would not be as laid back as their counterparts on the east coast of Canada.
Anyway, one day I was walking with my colleagues into the area of Vancouver called Gastown. It is a cool place, that seemed like it had reached the stage in its development where it has surpassed being the hip trendy area and now people attempt to move and visit there because it was hip and trendy. I could be wrong, but that was the sense.
In any case, we were hungry so we hopped into a restaurant for some lunch. Nothing particularly special about this place, just a pub/restaurant on the corner of a busy street. Slightly peckish, but craving seafood, I ordered a bowl of penne with smoked salmon. It came, I ate it, but I was left feeling like I could make a better version. When I got back home, I set about doing just that. So here is my creamy smoked salmon pasta.
Key rule of thumb, the quality of the smoked salmon is the crucial to this dish.
The ingredients are incredibly simple. You need good pasta, good smoked salmon, full fat cream cheese, dill, maple syrup and some chicken stock. You may also want some salt, or if you have it some dried dulse (extra taste of the ocean). You cook the pasta until it is just to the point of al-dente, in the mean time your carefully slice your salmon into strips (or flake it depending on the fish). When you noodles are ready, strain it and set aside. In the pasta pot, place your cream cheese and slowly heat, gradually add chicken stock to turn the entire concoction into a delicious sauce of your chosen consistency. Add the salmon and the pasta, mixing to ensure everything is covered. Finally, a quick drizzle of maple syrup and severe with the dill sprinkled on top.
The end result is a delicious, and quick, lunch. Goes really well with white wine, or maybe a lighter style beer.
Creamy smoked salmon pasta
- 150 g dried pasta
- 50 g full fat cream cheese
- 1-2 slices of good quality smoked salmon
- 1 cup of warm chicken stock
- Spring of fresh dill
- 1 Tbsp of Grade A maple syrup
- Cook the pasta until just al-dente and then drain and set aside.
- In the warm pasta pot place the cream cheese on a low heat until it starts to melt. Slowly add the chicken stock until you have a sauce of consistency your like. You will not likely need all the stock.
- Slice the salmon into bitesize strips, and add to the sauce with the pasta. Toss to combine.
- Finally, stir through the maple syrup. Plate and sprinkle the dill over top.
It is Christmas time!
Like any respectable person I revert to a child around Christmas time. I love this season, the baking, the cranberry sauce, relaxing with family, the movies and the snow. Well, expect the last one this year as the UK seems to be enjoying spring time in December.
A lot of UK households like to buy as much as they can at Christmas time. Sometimes for ease and sometimes to ‘splash out’ Yesterday I ended up watching an episode of ‘Eat Well for Less‘ and one family spent nearly £1400 at Christmas. I nearly fell of my seat. How??! Over the Christmas period we are having family over for Christmas, Boxing Day and a variety of friends over the rest of the time. I’m probably going to spend 1/10th of that family’s budget.
A lot of my cost reduction comes down to planning and how much I am making from scratch: vegetables, cookies, salads, canapés, cheese boards, pigs in blankets, bread, charcuterie and the sauces. Its cheaper, and frankly tastes a hell of a lot better too. Plus, with so many people having dietary restrictions it is just easier.
None the less, I have now spent time trying to work out the quantities of food we need over the holiday period. How much turkey to order, how many sides etc. There are some aspects of Christmas which are very British (pigs in blankets were a brand new idea to me, and Christmas pudding), but I have taken the opportunity to bring some Nova Scotian ideas over here. Namely, I have a bunch of Nova Scotian wine and chutneys from the summer. Alas, I am still endeavouring to make as much from scratch that I can.
Probably the easiest thing people can make at Christmas is the cranberry sauce. You can make it in advance and there is a noticeable difference between the jarred stuff and the fresh stuff. My thyme and orange cranberry sauce makes use of herbs and sherry to add a lovely flavour to complement the turkey. Plus it is cheap to make, and can be frozen if need be. Plus I’m intending to use the leftovers in some homemade cranberry sauce sausage rolls!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Thyme and Orange Cranberry Sauce
- 200 g fresh cranberries
- 80 ml of fresh orange juice
- 2 tsp Orange zest
- 80 g of sugar
- Bunch of thyme
- 1 Tbsp Sherry
- Melt the sugar into the juice
- Add the cranberries, zest, sherry and thyme. Bring to a quick boil and then reduce heat to let simmer. The berries will eventually 'pop' releasing their juice.
- After about 10min, take off the heat and cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools.