When Couple O Loveliness, Donncha and Karen, were over for tea and what remained of my orange polenta cake, Karen happened to be sitting right beside my heaving shelf of cookbooks. She couldn't resist having a bit of a nosey - she's a woman after my own heart, a shared love of food and cooking is probably one of the many reasons why we are friends - and noticed the pretty and slightly underused Apples For Jam By Tess Kiros. They both then started to pretty much salivate as they recalled a delicious food memory involving TK's recipe for chicken wings. I was cautioned that these beauties took quite some time to cook, but the rave reviews were such that I felt I needed to cook them as a priority, and figured that they would make perfect Sunday Night Food. You know, a bit of a comfort eat-in to round off the weekend, making the most of Sunday night, fending off that Monday-is-looming feeling and treating yourself one last time before a week of smart and sensible meals. After my first foray into mountain running the next day, there could be no more fitting reward.
Maybe the reason why I haven't used Apples For Jam so much is because it's such an oh-so-pretty, please-don't-cover-me-in-food book; it's dripping with delightfully styled photos, as well as some lovely fonts and cute childlike scribbly drawings. The only recipe I've really tried from it up until now has been the ricotta gnocci with tomato sauce - melt-in-the-mouth fluffy pillows of cheese that I really must make again soon. I guess it is slightly off-putting that the book divides recipes according to colour, which is very cute and quirky, but doesn't make it so much of a speedy reference. That's a bit of a lazy excuse though, so I must spend some quality time with it one of these evenings and pick out lots of recipes I want to try.
The wings are quick and easy to prepare, but, as I was warned, they do need to spend quite a deal of time in the oven - the perfect opportunity for scrubbing off all the muck that I managed to accumulate on my run up Annagh Hill. For the sauce, combine 110g light brown sugar, 375ml orange juice, 185ml tomato passata, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce in a pot, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. As I 1) am greedy and 2) love sauce, in general, I decided to double up on quantities. I also used a combination of fresh orange juice and juice from a carton, as I had leftovers from the orange polenta cake I had made the night before and nobody would be drinking the stuff from the carton any time soon.
The oven was, of course, heated to 160 degrees in preparation for the wing-fest that lay ahead. Check out the pasty Irishman-on-a-beach state of the uncooked wings. Yeuch!!! Not pretty. But in 120 - 180 minutes time they will be oh-so-very appealing and appetising.
Along with the these-take-feckin-ages warning, I had also been cautioned that the sauce doesn't get quite as thick and syrupy as would be desirable. After two hours in the oven it wasn't going to happen any time soon, and the chicken was nicely cooked at this stage, so I took matters into my own hands. I chucked the wings on a large pan, crisped up the skins for a minute, then poured in the sauce and got it bubbling away. After a few minutes I took out the chicken, then turned the ring up high and let the sauce reduce down so that it became sticky and gloopy and just generally amazing, really. Because the wings were steaming hot, and would be covered in sauce before long again anyhow, I wasn't particularly concerned about them cooling down too much while the sauce was thickening up.
With some hastily-assembled green bits for a salad and shop-bought garlic tear-n-share bread stuff (couldn't find nice bread to make it myself, grrr!), what a very perfect way to round off the weekend.