August has ended up being pretty full on for me, somehow. Normally it’s the down time at work – a time to clear cupboards and finally recycle the mountain of coke bottles on my desk – but this year, I’m not really around.
It’s not like I’ve got some mad stressful month coming up, because I haven’t. This week, I’m off to a festival with work (can’t complain, right?), so I’m mostly going to be sitting outdoors reading and swimming in lakes. Following that, I’m back for a week before heading up to Edinburgh. Hanging out at Fringe is technically my summer holiday, I suppose, though I can’t imagine it’s going to be relaxing. Even just visiting Fringe is exhausting.
It’ll all be fun, though. It just means I won’t be at home much. Let’s not forget, I am a quiet mess of a person. I get a bit stressed when I don’t sleep in my own bed for a while, or when I’m constantly in crowds. Sometimes, I need to take some time for me, and this dinner – which is simple, but has enough elements to feel fancy – was me taking a breath. Calm before the storm and all that.
This is also a bit of a tribute to Tooting, having been inspired after I had some totally incredible sweetcorn fritters for brunch at Antipodean Tooting hotspot MUD. I’d been thinking of them for a while, and what I could serve them with, and then stumbled up this recipe in Diana Henry’s A Bird in the Hand (which is a marvellously warm cookbook that I wholeheartedly recommend). Her fritters used polenta, though, which I just haven’t yet found a way to abide – so I did my own. I’ve also changed up the spice blend on the chicken just a little. It’s wonderful – though it is spicy, which is gorgeous when married with the creamy avocado mix. If you’re not serving it with something to tone down the spice, you might want to use a bit less cayenne.
This is a good meal for you and mate in the middle of a busy month. Take a moment to stand over frying fritters and feel the heat of the chicken taking over your tastebuds. Then go and party and see shows. Top summer.
- 1 1/2 cups frozen sweetcorn
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 heaped tbsps plain flour
- 1 or 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- A pinch of chilli flakes
- 2 avocados
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp cyder vinegar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 4 tbsp double cream
- A few sprigs of coriander, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsps English mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 chicken legs (that's both thigh and drumstick)
- 1. Make corn fritter mix. Defrost the corn just a little in the microwave, then put it in a bowl with the spring onions and chilli flakes. I like to take a potato masher and mash this just a bit, but that's probs unnecessary. Add the egg and the flour and mix until it's all a big corny batter.
- 2. Preheat oven to 180°C. In a wee bowl, mix the turmeric, cayenne, cumin, oil, sugar, butter and mustard into a paste. Pop the chicken in a roasting dish, and smother it in the spicy paste. Pop it in the oven and roast for about 40 mins, or until it is cooked through.
- 3. It's avocado time: cut the avocados in half, remove the big stones and scoop out the flesh. Mash it a bit with the red wine vinegar, cyder vinegar, lime juice, cream and coriander- it's best when it's not too smooth, so there's variety in the texture, so don't get too keen with the mashing.
- 4. Heat a fair bit of vegetable oil in the pan (I got for about 5mm deep, I think - could go more, but I live in fear of heating large amounts of oil). It is hot enough when, if you drop in a bit of corn, it sort of fizzes. Drop in heaps of the mixture (you should get four big fritters, plus a change), and fry until the underside of the fritter that forms is a deep golden colour, then flip and wait for the other side to match.
- 5. Remove the chicken from the oven, serve up with the fritters and avocado.