Sunday, 15 February 2015

Recipe - Fakeaway - Chicken Doner Kebab... Round TWO!

Ding ding!  Round two...

One of my most popular posts of late is my Chicken Doner Kebab Fakeaway (find that post here).  I don't know if anyone is making it, but you're certainly looking at it.  It was a relative success.  I say that because it was nice... But it didn't taste quite like I wanted (needed?) it to.  So, a nice meal, a very nice meal, but not an exact copycat, like for example, the Chinese curries are.  If I want a Chinese curry, I now know that I can make it at home and be satisfied.  If I want a Chicken Doner, I know I have to buy it.

It was my curiosity about the popularity of my post that led me to this recipe retry today.  I looked on Google, to see where my post ranked; I looked on Google images.  And I found something.  Think Friends. Think Janice happening across Chandler Bing.  Think - Oh.  My.  Gawwwwwwwwd.  This is the blog post that I found, specifically scroll down to the picture of the cooked meat being sliced.  I looked at this, and - in addition to drooling - something clicked.  Of course! 

If you've never seen an uncooked Chicken Doner, then you'll be none the wiser.  If you have, you'll know that it's a humongous mound of chicken, proper skinless, boneless seasoned chicken pieces, on a huge spit.  Chicken upon chicken upon chicken, about two feet tall.  Cooked vertically, rotating, as is a Lamb Doner, then sliced.  And the sliced meat is... bitty?  Small?  But OMG tasty.  Now, I'm a breast kinda girl.  If you know me, you can laugh at the irony, but I am talking chicken here now, mmmmkay?   I'm breast for two main reasons.  I don't like skin (fat) and I don't like meat on the bone.  Can't eat it.  Chicken wings. Drumsticks. Quarters. Thighs.  No.  I like my chicken to be as clean looking and ready prepped as possible, if I have to start taking skin and bone away... This recipe uses thighs.  And I think back to every Chicken Doner I have ever had, from Platt Bridge, to Tamworth, to Llangefni and places in between.  And I realise that mistake number one has been to use chicken breast for this recipe.  It's not chicken breast - or at least, not solely chicken breast.  It's too tasty to be breast meat, it's not pure 'white' meat and it's not breast meat texture either, which has a tendency to be a bit dry.  Financially, it's not going to be breast meat alone, the dearest part of the bird?  You can pay more in some places for two chicken breasts than you would a whole chicken.  So this huge chicken kebab is going to use all the so-called 'cheaper' cuts.  And as I'm sure most people know, that doesn't necessarily mean the least tasty where chicken is concerned.  So, I reckon, this is going to be skinless and boneless legs, thighs and possibly, but not definitely, chicken breast.   This blog post, or rather the pictorial evidence of the meat being sliced was a huge lightbulb moment for me.  It probably isn't for everyone, you could be reading this thinking 'Well, duh!'.  But in my search for the Holy Grail of Chicken Doner, this is a big moment for me.  I was never, ever going to come close to replicating this recipe with chicken breast.  Yes I'm stupid.  No, I don't know how I've survived on this planet for so long either. Yes, that is four children with my thinking that I'm releasing into the next generation.  You're welcome. Humour me.  

The next issue I have is the taste.  Just what the heck is that seasoning on the chicken?  It's tasty, but not spicy.  Is it just herby?  Does the taste simply come from the way it's cooked?  Is it just that simple?  Olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper and the charring of a kebab spit?  Or is there cumin, or paprika or... WHAT? What is it?  I have searched and searched online.  I've searched recipe forums.  I've viewed blog posts.  I've searched question and answer sites, other desperate people wanting to know the same thing.  And believe me, we are desperate too.  Plenty of well meaning people post Chicken Kebab recipes, which are quite often Tandoori chicken, but they don't seem to grasp - this is not kebab shop Chicken Kebab, this is Chicken DONER kebab.  There is a huge difference.  I have even searched kebab shop suppliers in the hope that their website state the ingredients in the product.  Foiled there as well.  What do they think, that we're going to try and replicate it at home or something?  Oh... yeah, anyway.   So, this new recipe.  I think the cooking method is fab!  Basically making a miniature version of the doner, cooking it in the oven, rotating occasionally.  This, my fellow cheapskate takeaway loving fakeawayers, is how I got on.  I won't give the ingredients, blah, blah... they can be found on the original site (click here), but here is how mine ended up.  Not quite as 'foodporn' as the other one, but still...

Marinated and ready to cook


...and sliced

Admittedly, I know enough about herbs and spices to realise before I made this that it wasn't going to be 'The One'.  The inclusion of cinnamon and allspice let me to the conclusion that this would have almost a Jamaican Jerk type taste to it, and it did, however, not overpoweringly so.  Was it lovely?  Definitely.  It was bloody gorgeous!  Was it well received?  Not a scrap left over.  Would I eat this over the takeaway version?  No...  The quest goes on for the perfect Fakeaway Chicken Doner.  Although the cooking method, and using the chicken thighs has taken me a tiny step closer.  That was something that I gratefully takeaway (pardon the pun) from this little experiment.  

We ate this on naan bread, with salad and Sriracha sauce drizzled over.

M x

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Happy Anniversary and Birthday, Mr G!

A little belated by now though, this week just flew by in a whir of celebration, cooking, cake, cards, chocolate and... codeine, for my recurring back pain.  Monday saw our 13th Wedding Anniversary and we had lovely cards, chocolates, and some money that we'll use for something when Mr G is back on his feet.  I had gorgeous flowers from Mr G as well, apparently I am not the only one who can sneak around and arrange things!  We'd bought each other a small anniversary gift when we went to The Hand a few weeks ago, he bought me a new dowsing pendulum, and I gave him the horn... *drum roll and cymbal clash*.  It was a Celtic pendant, a unicorn horn.  Ah, no matter how I phrase it, it looks filthy to me. 

They say 'The way to a man's heart is through his stomach' and my husband is definitely testament to that fact.  If I wasn't such a good cook, he probably would have left me long ago (clarification needed there, Mr G?).   He's also spoilt rotten, pretty much anything he wants, he gets.  What can I say, I'm a sucker for a blue eyed boy.  So our 'special' meals are catered to him, 99% of the time.  I know he loves Steak Pudding (or 'Babbies yeds' as they're known in Wigan), I can't abide the shop bought ones, slimy and horrible, but a homemade one, a homemade steamed suet pudding?  Now that's different.  That was our main course sorted, and I decided to cook that with homemade chips and mushy peas.  For pudding, I remembered that the other day he had randomly muttered 'I shouldn't have thought about that then'.  When I asked him what, he told me 'Scones'.  So that was dessert sorted too!  

When I woke on Monday it was snowing!  Not excessively, but just enough for the boys to get so excited that I had to give them a snow day.  On our anniversary.  Yeah.  

It looked like I was spending the day in the kitchen anyway, so... 

I didn't really follow a recipe for the Steak Pudding, I had 400g of diced stewing beef, and a pack of mushrooms.  I cooked these with onion in a pint of Guinness and beef stock, in the slow cooker until the meat was really tender.  I (for shame) then thickened the mixture up with Bisto Best Roast Beef gravy granules.  I made the suet pastry as normal, half suet to the amount of self raising flour, bit of salt and water to make the dough.  Steamed for 2 and a half hours or so.  

Happy Hubby

These were absolutely lush, but far, far too big.  My eyes were bigger than my stomach, definitely.  One of these would have easily served two people with the chips and peas, or one of these would have done on it's own with no chips. 

For afters I'd made scones and we had these with clotted cream and strawberry jam...

The recipe I use for scones can be found here.  It's ridiculously simple and they're so good.  I have made them with cherries and sultanas in the past but this batch I left plain, as most of the children just end up picking the dried fruit out anyway...

Ordinarily on our birthdays - we have a takeaway as a treat.  With Mr G being unable to drive, this left us with very few options, only the takeaways that deliver.  Knowing the children would pull a face at this, and whinge about wanting KFC or McDonalds, he asked me if I would do a fakeaway for him, a Beef Curry and Fried Rice.  So, I went off to the Asian Supermarket in Upper Bangor and bought some curry pastes.  I also bought a new Maneki Neko - couldn't resist, it was huge.  I won't post a recipe for the fakeaway, it's the same as the last one which you can find here, only this time I used thinly sliced frying steak, with thickly chopped onion and peas.  The only other difference being that for this curry, I used the Goldfish brand of curry paste as opposed to the Maysan.  The Goldfish paste will give you the 'brown' Chinese curry, I find this more suited to beef, even if it is just aesthetics, and the Maysan will give you a 'yellow' Chinese curry. 

Chicken Curry made with Maysan brand

Beef Curry made with Goldfish brand

Mr G reckoned that it was the best Chinese Beef Curry he'd ever tasted, and would never buy another one from a takeaway.  I enjoyed it so much that I'm tempted to make it again tonight... it was one of those meals that I think I could happily eat every day for the next month. 

Spot on

And for dessert on his birthday, he had asked me (with big blue puppydog eyes) if I would make him a birthday cake, his favourite Victoria Sponge.  How could I say no.  Even though I had mislaid my preferred cake tins, I found a way. 

So, that was what we scoffed this week as we celebrated two very special occasions.  Next up - Valentines Day, Pancake Day and Chinese New Year!  Best get my thinking cap on for those!

M x