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  • Writer's pictureSARAH


This time last week I was waxing lyrical about the beautiful weather, the glorious sunshine and our semi alfresco family F.N.Ds (Friday Night Dinners).

Scroll forward seven days and although the weather has taken a downturn, our need to congregate as a clan has not diminished even though the thought of eating outside or even having the doors open makes me shiver!

Last time, I gave you my fail-safe take on Nigella's pulled lamb with pomegranates and mint and gave you a rough outline of what we usually serve with it. The addition of a chicken dish or two helps to make this kind of entertaining more economical, as one large shoulder will feed 8-10 with plenty of sides and salads and will ensure nobody goes hungry.

Today I'm spoiling you with not one but two chicken recipes. As promised, I am publishing my mother Elaine's sticky wings, which our boys just can't get enough of. To be honest, when the wings are on offer, they would rather eat a pile of them than the main course!

The wings are a great freezer stand-by; we - and by that I mean my mother, make a huge batch of these beauties and freeze them in bags ready to be taken out, thawed, cooked and then devoured. The last time we made these the grown-ups didn't even get a lick of the sauce. The only evidence left that we had cooked them (and they were not indeed a figment of our imagination,) was a mound of stripped clean bones and three very sticky faces!

The second dish is my green herb roasted chicken with lemons and garlic. This is a

great recipe as it can be adapted at will to accommodate different taste preferences and whatever herbs you have to hand. If you don't like garlic leave it out; not fond of coriander, don't add it.

This chicken is just as delicious made with whole jointed birds cut into 1/8s but for preference I use thighs and drumsticks as they are more forgiving and will remain juicy if you need to leave them in the oven for a bit longer than you might like to.

The other beauty of this dish is that it is, to my mind, even better when it's eaten warm rather than hot straight out of the oven, and the leftovers (if there are any) are delicious at room temperature the next day. Allow them to come to room temperature, so take them out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you want to eat them.



Elaine always takes about 25 wings and cuts them in half for this quantity of marinade.

The marinade keeps well in the fridge (with the omission of the garlic) in a screw top jar; just add the garlic when you are ready to marinade the wings.

4 Tablespoons Ketchup

4 Tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

4 Tablespoons dark soy sauce

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

4 cloves crushed garlic

Whisk this all together and then marinate the wings for at least 3 hours, preferably 24.

Please please please line your pans with at least two layers of foil as the marinade is sticky and welds itself to the baking tin. Alternatively use foil dishs on baking sheets.

I have had to throw away at least one tin as I couldn't get the caramelised sauce scrubbed off it.

Roast the wings at 180c/ Gas 5 for around 45 minutes to an hour turning frequently until they are stickily bronzed and slightly charred at the edges. Do not over crowd the pans as they will steam in the sauce rather than roast and crisp. Eat as soon as they are cool enough to handle and serve with plenty of napkins!



I'm really not a very prescriptive cook, unless it comes to cakes where exact weights are a must for good results, so this is a 'recipe-ish'. By that I mean it is a rough guide with pictures to help you prepare it. You will see the rough jumble of herbs, lemons, garlic and onions and how much olive or rapeseed oil I usually drizzle on and how far apart I like to place the thighs but that's about as far as this goes. If you have an abundance of fennel tops or chervil, snip that over the top of the cooked chicken instead of the parsley and coriander. You may have your own favourite chicken seasoning so feel free to replace the more ubiquitous salt and pepper with it. Once you've made this dish a few times you will develop your own version, whether that involves varying the seasoning, leaving out some of the components or adding some extras which will make it your own. No matter how many times you make it, it will always be slightly different but ALWAYS moreish and delicious.

A quantity of chicken thighs - I usually allow two per person plus a few extra. If you are making the lamb then allow one per person plus some extra.

A roasting tin large enough to take the thighs in a single layer not too crowded together.

Sliced onions or shallots

Garlic cloves cut in half

Sliced lemon

Olive or Rapeseed oil

Salt & freshly milled black pepper

Fresh herbs:





Bay leaves

Chopped fresh parsley

Chopped fresh Coriander

Toasted pine nuts.

Pre-heat the oven to 190c/Gas 6.

Prepare the roasting tray as above. I usually slice an onion or two into the tray and then the lemon and then add the fresh herbs. I ALWAYS add thyme and parsley and sage as we like those best and then whatever I have to hand.

Place the chicken thighs skin side up on top of the herbs and then season the chicken and drizzle it with olive oil. Roast in a hot oven until the skin is crisp and golden and the flesh tender and cooked through.

Place the chicken on a serving dish and spoon over a little of the cooking juices and then scatter with the chopped herbs and pine nuts.

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