Summer food is better. It just is.
I’m sure that some of you disagree, in fact some people who are very close to me indeed may have some strongly differing opinions on this, but I’m pretty confident I’m right.
Here are some of the reasons why:
1. Eating outside. There’s no contest between eating inside (meh) and sitting outside in the mild warmth left over from a hot summers day. Some carefully chosen music, the clatter of cutlery on plates, the smell of barbeque smoke from a neighbour’s garden and if you’re really lucky the soft scent of jasmine in the air as the evening settles in. I wait patiently all year for the three or four evenings that it’s possible to do this in the UK. Food tastes better when its eaten outside. Full stop.
2. You don’t really need to cook! It’s so easy to cobble a meal together in the summer months. Often food just needs chopping up, putting in a nice bowl and then drizzling in olive oil. At most you have to shove a lovely tray of veg into the oven for a short while and put a nice bit of cheese on the side. Dinner sorted.
3. Some things actually grow in the UK! I’ve mentioned my issues with supermarket shopping before and one of the many things I get into a pickle about is trying to find things with the least air miles – ideally grown on British soil. It’s so hard in the winter, for obvious reasons, to keep an interesting and varied diet going if most of what’s available is grown under the ground. There’s a lot of brown involved. I breathe a sigh of relief when I start to see the union jack popping up in the veg isle as the summer sets in.
4. Everyone gets involved. When it comes to a barbeque has anyone else noticed that even the biggest kitchenphobe will get stuck in? Those who all year round are unable to tell the difference between a pea and a pie suddenly don an apron and wave a spatula around with confidence. Cooking becomes the collaborative task that it always should be.
I could go on but I think it’s time to get to the task in hand and tell you about today’s lovely summer recipe. We (well meat eaters anyway) all love a bit of chicken and you can pop these on the barbeque or roast them in the oven. But they are definitely best eaten outside! This recipe was inspired by Melrose and Morgan’s photo on instagram – I had to improvise with the quantities but it worked out well. Feel free to adjust for yourself!
4 free range chicken thighs, skin on
1 large garlic clove
1/2 cm knob of ginger
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon muscovado sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed chilli (or alter to suit your taste)
Squeeze of lemon
A good glug (about a tbsp) of olive oil
Trim the chicken thighs of excess skin then put into a bowl big enough to stir them around a bit.
Either finely grate or finely chop the garlic and ginger and add to the chicken. Add all of the other ingredients to the bowl and make sure the thighs are completely coated.
For best results marinade for a couple of hours or overnight.
Once the chicken has been marinated, put into a roasting tin. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and once ready, cook the thighs for approximately 30 minutes or until the skin is becoming nice and charred in places.