We have been missing a key ingredient in the Jabberwocky project thus far. I have been keeping you informed on the life and times of the Beast and the many guises in which van-based love can be expressed, but despite all my culinary rambling there has been precious little on the subject of actual food. This oversight was kindly pointed out on twitter last week, and led to much discussion at Jabberwocky HQ as we tried to find a solution. I appreciate that much as you might indulge me as your Jabberwocky historian, it’s Barny’s food we are all here to see, so we cruised to Asda and he set about making history.
As we were paying I casually asked our chef what he had planned, and was told it wasn’t Caesar salad. Initially I thought this was a shame, as Barny’s Ceasar salad is as close to perfect as anything can be. I will try and get us a recipe for that as well, but be warned, it will ruin the shop-bought stuff for you. At any rate that was one meal I could rule out, which only left everything else he had ever cooked. I tried to make a case around needing to plan the blog post, or at least the pictures, but by this time he was having far too much fun not telling me.
I therefore propose a new type of recipe format, where the eventual outcome was a complete mystery to me, although the ingredients might give you a clue.
Chicken Something or Other, Serves 2
1 fresh, free range chicken
1 large onion
2 whole peppers
3 cloves of garlic
1 bag of salad
1 tsp each of honey, mustard, lemon juice and everyday spice (morrisons and some tescos stock it, not to be confused with allspice)
1/2 tsp each of paprika & coriander seeds
1/4 tsp chilli powder
pinch of mace and nutmeg
Salt and pepper (henceforth referred to as “seasoning”, because he’s a chef and can’t call it salt and pepper. I believe it’s some sort of affliction of the brain.)
Remove the fillets from the chicken, followed by the legs and the wings. Set the breast meat aside, and then confuse everyone by freezing the legs and wings. Apparently we are only using the breast meat, cutting it into strips and then “seasoning”.
In a bowl, mix the honey, lemon juice and mustard into a paste, then slowly add olive oil, stirring all the time to form an emulsion. You are looking for the consistency of double cream. Give the narrator enough time to briefly wonder about some sort of marinade, then whisk it away again.
Slice the onions, peppers and garlic thinly, then grab another bowl and pop the onions in there. Remember at this point that a proper chef has other people to tidy up after him, and must engage in the practise known as “using every utensil just once” for a truly professional appearance.
To the onions add the everyday spice, paprika, chilli, nutmeg and mace. Crush the coriander seeds (either in your fingers or with a pestle and mortar) and bung them in too. If you have fresh nutmeg and a tiny pretentious grater, be sure to use this here. Give the onions a stir to ensure an even coating, then collect everything onto a tray and wander off into the hallway.
It was only when he opened the front door and exited with my potential dinner that I worked out what was going on. So we flung open the hatch of the Jabberwocky and fired up the flat grill. Barny doused it in olive oil and then threw the onions on once it was hot. We cooked with a dusky view out over Leamington and a procession of confused stares from passers-by. The chicken went on and was sizzled until cooked (you may wish to “season” here again), then everything was heaped into tortillas, smothered with cheese and melted to the point of perfection.
Serve with salad and the honey dressing (I’d forgotten it by this point) to perfectly balance out the spice from the onions. I’ve not tried this recipe without the view of Leamington, but if you can’t find a suitable catering van I’m pretty sure a frying pan will still work.