dimanche 18 avril 2010

Sweet & Tangy Chicken Wings

The skies over Luxembourg have been clear of clouds and airplanes this weekend. The ash from the eruption of Iceland’s Mount Eyjafjallajokull volcano arrived in Europe. In Luxembourg this created a slight haze in the distance and a very light powdery coating over everything. The airport was closed but I’m not sure how much of the Luxembourg closure had to do with the atmospheric conditions here and how much is due to the closure of the usual destination airports. Either way the skies were empty of the usual planes and their telltale trails.

A typical evening sky over Luxembourg

Clear Skies over Luxembourg this Weekend

Tulips are beginning to bloom. Daffodils are almost over. Trees are coming to life. Colour is returning to the world. Birds are sitting in their nests. Spring is really here.

In honour of this, and maybe partly because our local chicken wing ‘fleiten’ restaurant ‘Beim Bär’ will be moving soon to the nearby village of Wellen after about 40 years here in Nittel, I decided to make these sweet and spicy Asian flavoured chicken wings. I served them with a simple coleslaw.

Sweet & Tangy Chicken Wings

1 kg (2 lbs) chicken wings, tips and drumettes separated
10 mL (2 tsp) grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 mL (1 Tbsp) oyster sauce
30 mL (2 Tbsp) mild chile sauce
15 mL (1 Tbsp) honey
7.5 mL (1/2 tsp) cayenne pepper
7.5 mL (1/2 tsp) garam masala (or curry powder)

Combine ginger, garlic, sauces, honey and spices. Pour over chicken wings and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Place wings on a paper or foil covered tray and bake, uncovered, in a 180°C (360°F) oven for 25 minutes. Turn wings and continue to bake for another 25 minutes until browned and cooked through.

dimanche 11 avril 2010

Chocolate Walnut Fudge

Fudge is a wonderful homemade candy. It is easy to make and yet one that I had never tried in its classic form. I had made Divinity Fudge once but this Chocolate Walnut one is better I think. I very rarely ever eat fudge but it is a decadent treat that deserves a try. I made it a batch as an Easter treat for friends and wound up finding that it was too good to resist. I might just have to make some more!

Chocolate Walnut Fudge

500 mL (2 cups) sugar
1 mL (1/8 tsp) salt
180 mL (3/4 cup) evaporated milk
5 mL (1 tsp) light corn syrup (or Golden Syrup)
60g (2 oz) chocolate
30 mL (2 Tbsp) butter
5 mL (1 tsp) vanilla
500 mL (2 cups) walnuts, chopped

Butter sides of a large heavy (2 L / 2 qt) saucepan (to prevent crystals from forming when the syrup boils). Combine sugar, salt, evaporated milk, corn syrup and chocolate in pan; cook, stirring over medium heat until chocolate melts and sugar dissolves. Cook to soft-ball* stage without stirring. Remove immediately from heat and add butter without stirring. Cool to lukewarm 43°C (110°F). Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into a large bowl and beat until fudge thickens and loses its gloss. Mix in walnuts. Spread in a buttered or paper-lined 23x23x5 cm (9”x9”x2”) pan. Let cool completely and cut into squares.

* To test for soft ball stage:
Candy thermometer - Clip thermometer to the side of the pan after the syrup boils. The thermometer bulb should be well covered with the syrup and not touching the bottom of the pan. Thermometer will register 112°C to 114°C (234°F to 238°F) when soft-ball stage is reached.
Cold-water test - Drop a few drops of syrup into a bowl of very cold water. Syrup will form into a soft ball that flattens when removed from water.