So today I’ve got a food based post for you. Want to know how to make sticky, tender, juicy chicken wings? Then read on…

Also this week I’ve come across what looks like a fabulous Australian made cast iron frypan. I have to admit I’m still a bit dubious about how social media activity translates to actual hard sales, but I found this project on Kickstarter when I was browsing tweets with the #AustralianMade hashtag after my post last week about using Australian made bottles, so maybe it does work. Or am I an easy target? Hmm…

These pans are called FONTE ‘Tough Love’ and will be “Made in Australia”, creating a new line of business for a foundry here. I think the price is really remarkable – $99 each, including delivery within Aus (but extra for elsewhere), and a donation to the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. There are lots of “non-stick” frying pans around which are far more expensive than this, but in my experience anything with a non-stick coating doesn’t last forever, maybe 5-10 years if you’re lucky (and careful). I’m telling you about this project just in case you’re in the market for a new frypan. I’ve been after something like this for quite a while, so I’ve pledged my money for one and will be very disappointed if it doesn’t get funded! Click here to find out more here, or on the picture below.

FONTE Tough Love Made in Australia

Now onto the cooking… Although our olive oil isn’t quite ready for sale yet, we’ve been experimenting with it in some recipes. It’s not an oil for the faint-hearted, as I’ve mentioned it has a very definite pungent and peppery taste with noticeable bitterness. These characteristics are associated with high levels of the antioxidant compounds in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) that go hand in hand with the health benefits – the polyphenols. But they do mean that if you’re after a delicately flavoured oil, this one isn’t for you. It’s the rugged, wild, beautiful Tasmanian landscape in olive oil form! Do you think you can handle it?!

View towards Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania.

View towards Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania.

So, chicken wings – they’re something I associate with North America. I don’t remember eating them as a child in the UK, but I spent a couple of summers at the start of uni doing Camp America and BUNAC in the USA and Canada respectively. For some reason I was intrigued by those chicken wing nights some places do. It seemed like you could get a million chicken (or buffalo?!) wings for a couple of dollars. I’d tried cooking them at home over the years, but never had a great deal of success. I always found that in order to be confident they were cooked, and preferably a bit charred and crispy on the outside, the meat tended to be dry.

Then a while ago I found this recipe for “Sweet Chilli Chicken Drumsticks” in an Australian Woman’s Weekly book, that recommended cooking the chicken first by boiling, then marinating, and then cooking on the BBQ. I find it works really well, resulting in delicious juicy morsels of chicken without the worry of undercooking bone-in chicken. The original recipe was for drumsticks, but works just fine with wings too.

Australian Womens Weekly Best Food book

You can boil the chicken just in water, but I often add stuff like a roughly chopped carrot, an onion cut in half, a bay leaf, salt, and a few peppercorns. Put the chicken in a big saucepan or casserole dish with a lid. I can fit 2kg of chicken pieces in one of my big pots, but it needs a bit of room to move and cook through so don’t cram it in too much. Add any seasoning or veggies you want, and cover with cold water. Put the lid on, bring to the boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Then, and I think this is important, leave the chicken to cool completely in the water / stock. This seems to help retain the moisture in the meat. When it’s cold, drain the chicken (keep the liquid if you think you might use it for soup), and either freeze or refrigerate, or move straight on to marinating…

Because our oil is robust, I wanted a full flavoured marinade to complement it. I found a half eaten jar of harissa paste in the fridge so I decided to look for a harissa marinade recipe. Having started writing this post, I’ve realised that I didn’t save the one I used anywhere. Sigh. And I can’t find it again. Anyway, it probably doesn’t matter too much because there’s such variation between different types of harissa, that what worked well for me might need tweaking for you!

Harissa paste

So my marinade involved roughly:

  • 1/3 cup harissa paste
  • 1/3 cup robust fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil, preferably Tasmanian 😉
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic (or apple cider) vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • juice of a lemon
  • salt, to taste.

This was for 1kg of chicken wings, but would probably stretch to 2kg. Mix the marinade ingredients together, pour over the chicken pieces and stir around to cover the meat. Leave it all in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. Then cook it on the BBQ until sticky and a bit charred, or in the oven – space out the pieces on a baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes at 200ºC, turning once if you remember. Finger lickin’ good!! We had some oven baked potato chips (fries) to go with them this time.

I’m a rubbish food blogger because I forget to take photos, so this one’s after most of them were gone! (Do ‘proper’ food bloggers have little food studios in their kitchens so they’ve got nice backgrounds, accessories, and lighting?)

I wish you a week of happy eating, and maybe you could think about buying a new frypan too*, just to help me out. FFx

*(PS Not sponsored or anything, just really, really want one!)

I think I need a new roasting tray too, although this cleaned up fine after soaking in hot water!

I think I need a new roasting tray too, although this cleaned up fine after soaking in hot water!