David Quinn’s Recipes for Successful Lockdown
Despite the very obvious downsides of the Coronavirus pandemic, we, like so many, have been trying to make the best of a bad situation. Food, being so close to our hearts, seems like a good place to start because while staying in is the new going out, there’s no reason to deny yourself a decent meal. Whether you’re a budding master chef or simply want to feed an ever- hungry family, Head Chef, David Quinn’s isolation recipes could be just the ticket to lift your mealtimes and your spirits!
Slow Cooked Pulled Pork
Sometimes people can be reluctant to leave things cooking all day unsupervised, even in a slow cooker, so low and slow cooking is ideal for lock-down. This recipe allows you to start cooking in the morning and carry on with your normal routine, all the while enjoying the smells of slow cooked BBQ pork wafting through the house as you deep clean the cupboards, do PE with Joe Wicks, or catch up on that box set!
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp brown sugar or golden syrup
100 ml of BBQ sauce
1 tsp white pepper
The glory of this recipe is it’s so versatile, allowing you to utilise whatever you have in the cupboard or fridge. If you’re missing the ingredients above, try using some dark soy sauce, honey, garlic and chilli for an oriental twist, or 400ml cider, some dried herbs and garlic for a more traditionally English flavour.
Cooking wise, it couldn’t be simpler, place all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix together thoroughly. Place your pork shoulder in a deep dish, pan, or slow cooker and cover with the marinade. Because we’re going to cook it for a long time there’s no need to marinade the meat prior to cooking. If using a slow cooker, use the high setting and cook for 6-8 hours or until the pork pulls apart easily with a fork, baste periodically with the marinade. If using a deep dish, loosely cover with silver foil and cook in a moderate oven (130oC) for 6-8 hours.
Serve with crusty bread rolls, corn on the cob, garden salad, coleslaw, BBQ beans… or pretty much anything you like. It also makes the centre-piece for a nice Sunday roast with a twist and will keep in the fridge for days making an ideal boredom snack!
It’s a crisis, but let’s try to find a silver lining…. How rare is it that we get this kind of weather and are home with the family to enjoy it? Dust off the BBQ, jet wash the patio and grab the sun block, and try some of these great BBQ recipes, all of which can be tweaked or adapted to save you an unnecessary queue at the supermarket.
Lamb Kofte Kebabs (or burgers)
300g minced lamb
1 garlic clove, minced
Handful of fresh mint and or fresh coriander
2 tsp curry powder (or ground cumin and coriander)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp salt
Methods don’t get much easier…. Everything goes in a big bowl and using your hands (thoroughly washed of course) massage the ingredients together until the entire mix looks the same, shape into sausages and insert a kebab skewer, or into patties for a stunning lamb burger. They work great on a BBQ but almost as well under the grill if the weather takes a turn for the worst! Serve with a minted yoghurt and cucumber dip or be a little more adventurous and mix 1 tsp of harissa paste and a squeeze of lime juice with a pot of cheap humous… Thank me later!
Peri Peri Chicken
Here’s a variation on a peri peri chicken recipe that you’ll be making over and over again. The marinade is fantastic, but you may not have all of the ingredients kicking about the cupboard. If you have a bottle of Nando’s sauce or even a sachet of one of their dry rubs there is no shame in using them (or buying one).
Peri Peri Marinade:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chilli flakes (ancho if you have them)
4 cloves garlic (or the equivalent amount of garlic puree)
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Squeeze of fresh lime juice.
So, mix it all together and we have our spicy marinade… now the fun starts. There’s a number of ways to use this recipe and at the moment you may need to let meat availability dictate which one you go for!
Chicken wings: Easy, cover with the marinade, leave for a couple of hours and get them straight on the BBQ.
Chicken breast: Remove the skin, dice into chunky cubes, marinade for an hour or so, and thread onto kebab skewers (alternating with red pepper and red onion). Alternatively, pop the breast between two sheets of cling film, bash with a rolling pin (not too violently, but feel free to relieve yourself of some of your isolation frustration at this point) cover with the marinade for an hour, and grill yourself a peri peri chicken burger.
Chicken drumsticks / legs: Another very easy one, marinade for 1-2 hours and get on the BBQ. If you have a food probe it’s a good idea to check that the centres of the chicken legs are safe to eat (you’re looking for 73oC or above). If you don’t, pop the oven on at around 180 degrees before you start the BBQ, get a great Smokey BBQ flavour over the coals, but then pop your chicken legs in the oven for 12-15 mins, insert a sharp knife right to the bone and check that the juices run clear…. Don’t take any risks, the NHS is busy enough!
Whole chicken: People are scared of barbecuing whole chickens so they’re usually in good supply even when simpler cuts are unavailable. There are three ways of turning your whole chicken into a peri peri sensation;
1: Break it apart, use a sharp knife (there are some great YouTube videos showing just how easy it is to break a chicken into drumsticks, thighs, wings and breasts). The follow the tips above.
2: Spatchcock it! Grab a decent pair of scissors and with the bird on a stable surface, breast side down, cut through the backbone and open the chicken right out. Again there are some easy to follow videos online that you may prefer to follow.
3: And my favourite, Beer-Can it! Marinade it whole, for 3-4 hrs and drink some beer, as many as you like, but make sure to leave one can half full (yep, unfortunately you read that right, tough times require some sacrifices!). Place the can on a stable tray and ease your marinated chicken onto the can with the drumsticks pointing downwards. Place the tray on your BBQ or into an oven pre-heated to 170oC. The theory behind all this is, the chicken cooks indirectly, so you get all that great BBQ flavour without charring the meat too much, also the beer will heat up and steam the cavity, cooking the bird from the inside. Depending on the BBQ you’re using, the chicken will cook in 60-80 minutes, but as with our chicken legs, don’t risk it! Use your probe, or cook it for a bit longer, you don’t want to see cloudy or pink juices, they should run clear, and no pink flesh. If in any doubt, or you’re just impatient, cook it as above, allow to rest for five minutes and pull your chicken apart, pop all the pieces onto a baking sheet and cook in the oven for an extra few minutes.
An essential part of any good BBQ spread, and one of the few things that should, even in times of crisis, be homemade! Even the premium stuff is a poor substitute for homemade.
Go classic, with a nice white cabbage, carrots, white onion and a good quality mayonnaise.
Go healthy, no need for mayo, mix in a few extra veggies and some alfalfa shoots if available and dress with natural yoghurt and a teaspoon of cider vinegar. There’s no need for mayo.
Go purple, with some red cabbage, red onion, raw beetroot instead of carrot, and pimp it with a dash of balsamic vinegar and some pomegranate seeds.
Go Asian, and use crunchy julienne vegetables to replace some of the carrot (still use carrot, but add peppers, beansprouts, mangetout and radish), chuck in some salted peanuts, chilli, lime juice and a dash of soy sauce.
I could go on and on. Make it your own, try new ideas, but make it at home.
So, there we have it, a BBQ spread fit for a king, you’ll be tempted to invite everyone round…. don’t! No matter how tasty it looks and proud you are of your food, stay at home, stay safe, and save lives! Oh, and remember to wash your hands, often, and thoroughly! Enjoy with your family, or whoever you’re isolating with and look forward to the day when you can show off your new tricks to friends and loved ones.