One of the things I always enjoy in an izakaya with a nice frosty Asahi beer, is Yakitori chicken. It has been demanded that we use the barbecue this year and so we did.
It turns out yakitori is not the hardest thing in the world to cook. put strips of chicken on a skewer, alternating with a couple of centimetres of spring onion. When preparing the sauce, reduce it by half so it’s nice and sticky. The sauce is nothing special, just the usual soy, mirin, sake and sugar combination. Once the chicken is on the grill, keep brushing it with sauce to add to the glaze.
I’m British. I love sweet and sour. Bite me. Last night we had chicken in the fridge, and a small can of pineapple chunks in the cupboard so what better to do but sweet and sour chicken? Actually, sweet and sour pork would have been marginally better, but whatever.
Dinner was actually a mashup of two recipes. This one gave lovely, crispy, chicken balls:
I was quite surprised at how good they actually where. The combination of self-raising flour, cornflour, garlic powder, salt, pepper, sugar and bicarb made for a really crunchy exterior. Definitely keep the sauce apart from the chicken otherwise it’ll go soggy.
For the sauce, it’s basically a sweeter, more vinegary version of a barbecue sauce. It’s similar in the sense it excites my taste buds just as much, and we go to the great BBC for this one, which was on point:
I have fond memories of taking a walk in the evening with my then girlfriend and future first wife, passing the Chinese takeaway, getting a couple of spring rolls and a cup of sweet and sour sauce. Good times.
Taiwanese Sweet and Sour
My new wife doesn’t regard Cantonese as “proper” Chinese, it’s just some regional thing and nowhere near as good as Taiwanese cooking. I beg to differ. I’ve also had sweet and sour in Taiwan and that was REALLY good. Less sweet and LOADS of garlic in the sauce. So maybe I’m agreeing.
This is the legendary Taiwan Duck’s Taiwanese take on it:
Autumn is like lady bountiful, great food every where. But for me, spring is the one, when we’re emerging from an impossibly long winter, blinking into nice light evenings, sitting outside the pub or cafe, maybe, and enjoying the coming of the summer. Oh, and the seeds for autumnal bounty are sprouting. For me, the joy of spring was reflected partly in the bounty from this week’s farmers market and partly from the greengrocer:
English asparagus. Early in the season, costing maybe £3.50 from the farmers market, later on, £1 from the supermarket for a bunch
Jersey Royal potatoes. Those creamy, earthy nuggets slathered in butter
Rhubarb. Preferably the slim, forced type, cook to a compote and then put in a crumble
Then, the usual farmer’s market bounty:
Cavolo Nero, kale, purple sprouting broccoli
3-seed brown bread like a brick
Eggs. Always better than anything you can get from a supermarket
Sausages and bacon, the same
The butter was disappointing!
So, 2-3 days locavore-ish eating, for not much more than we’d pay in the supermarket. Score!
Do you use a farmer’s market? What do you like to get? Share your thoughts in the comments below!