CHEMO BRAIN DOES THREE BBQ STYLE RECIPES IN ONE

(SWEET CHILLI SAUCE, SWEET STICKY CHILLI CHICKEN AND LAMB & MINT BURGERS)

So it’s Thursday night, and it’s been six days or so since my last hospital visit. I am standing here in the kitchen. I asked Alexa to play me some music, and she picks Bruce S (Philadelphia) and now Johnny C. I guess if Alexa is true AI, then amazon have cracked it. (or really its just what I happen to ask her to play alot). Right now, after two nights of injections I feel like shit. I wish I had some way of dressing it up, but I guess that one word describes it better than any other.

So all the way through lockdown, I had the release of getting to do the shopping, but because of the chemo and my immune system, that’s now history and it’s funny that even though it was just the supermarket I really miss it. You see cooking is my hobby my release my rabbit hole that I could just nip down when I want or need to forget about everything else, now while I can still cook I have lost my way a bit, you see cooking is only part of the package and it’s only now I realised that the shopping was nearly its equal. I hate shopping lists when I walk down, say the veg aisle. Unknown to me I was doing my menu for the week when I would pick up that broccoli then I was thinking soup on Saturday with the florets for a salad on Sunday, and when I saw sea bass I would then put that on the menu. Monday with the new potatoes and sugar snaps. Whereas now Rachel God help her, has to shop for me, with a list I give her, and then listen to me when she gets home, as I pick things up and ask “what is this for?”, I said beetroot for juicing how can I juice cooked beetroot?? Then she tells me there was no uncooked so though I could do something with it. So now I may need to find another hobby, either that or buy a hazmat suit to go shopping in. Anyway I am going to do a recipe here just not the one I wanted to, because guess what there was no bloody sea bass available today, so I did a fairly boring but nutritious chilli(NO RECIPE WHO WANTS A VEG CHILLI WHEN ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS A BBQ). What I had wanted to do was a nice warm layered salad with pan fried lemon butter sea bass. On a good note and there are a lots of them, apart from me and feeling sorry for myself, while people around me have real suffering I have discomfort that is itself an end to a means but not real pain.Real pain is what happens if the discomfort doesnt work.So lets crack on with a few food ideas shall we and stop belly buttoning.

I will regain my mojo, I just need to vent and sometimes it’s easier on paper or a screen as it is now, and I don’t have to explain it to a screen either I just have to thumb it in while I think of it. Now I know I will wake up tomorrow feeling better and back up for doing pizza Friday with the two boys, and I may look back at this but at the moment I don’t think I will change it, after all it’s just my perspective tonight it’s not set it stone but it is how I feel right now.

As I write this, another donation has hit the just giving for the Royal Berkshire NHS charity and that’s a great thing. I have to admit that doing the blog and the just giving, has actually reenergised me and my belief in the goodness that is in us as human beings. I have been amazed by the outpouring of love and affection for me and my family. Its also only when you get something like this cancer that you actually realise how many people you know have also been touched by this thing in one way or another.

Welcome to Friday and as tradition has it today is Pizza day recipe and photos to follow, but in the meantime its also going to be a really hot weekend so I guess lots of people are going to do BBQs and sunstroke. So here is a handy recipe for a sweet chilly sauce, that can be done as either a marinate on chicken or served as an accompaniment.

Recipe SWEET CHILLI SAUCE

15 Long red chillies (Now you can go mad an use a mix of small Thai chillies and leave the seeds in, but this make for one hot sauce or you can use the normal long red chillies you get in most high street supermarkets. I personally prefer the Thai chillies.

A Lump of ginger peeled and chopped roughly about 4cms long.

6 Cloves garlic Roughly chopped

150ml White wine vinegar

200g Light brown sugar

Dash of Fish sauce (Optional I always use it but if you want IT to be vegan and guaranteed GF then leave it out or buy Gluten Free soya sauce and use instead.

Method.

I normally hand chop all of the ingredients but I understand that this is tedious and also can be dangerous, touching chillies and then scratch a nose or other parts of thier anatomy. So either wear gloves or simply put all the ingredients minus the vinegar in a blender and hit go until pureed. Pop in a pot and add vinegar, bring to the boil and then simmer for about twenty minutes. now bear in mind that you either need to have all the windows open in the kitchen or the vents on full as this is a strong sauce and will affect some. Another word of warning (in Fact this is a dangerous sauce to make) this sauce can reach temperatures of about 180C as it goes through a carmelisation process with the vinegar and sugars so dont stick in a finger to taste it. So now i am going to do some simple recipes or ideas for some easy food based around using this sauce and bearing in mind the weather we are due to have this weekend.

SIMPLE STICKY CHILLI CHICKEN I marinate the boneless chicken thighs with the spices listed below before I fry and brown them for about four minutes on each side.Then I add some sweet chilli sauce on top before I pop them in the oven to finish while I get my veg and noodles ready. This is an easy recipe that takes twenty minutes. The sweet chilli sauce gives the chicken a great flavour and if you want you can add a few drops of water to the dish as it goes into the oven and this gives you some excess sauce aat the end for pouring over the chicken.

INGREDIENTS

6 Boneless chicken thighs sprinkled with salt and pepper and some smoked paprika you can crush some garlic and ginger in with the chicken as well if you like. Panfry on both sides for four minutes and the put two spoons of sweet chilli sauce on each and pop it in a oven at 140C for approximately 10 minutes.

For the noodles you will need to allow about 80g per person and presoak them in hot water.

Take two medium onions and five cloves of garlic plus a lump of ginger about 3cm long and slice all roughly and panfry slowly, without colour for approximately 6 minutes then drain and add your noodles plus a dash of either soy sauce or fish sauce. Remove from the heat and add sliced spring onions and coriander and arrange in a serving bowl with the chicken on top and pour over any excess sace with an additional spoon of sweet chilli sauce and sprinkle sliced spring onion on top. This is a easy dish and its fast to make and with all of the ginger garlic and onion is really good for you and it also packs a lot of flavour which if you are like me at the moment its got to have flavour otherwise i cannot eat it.

With the sauce recipe there are other sauces you can make from that, such as double the recipe and just as I take it off the heat I add in a good cup of frozen sweetcorn which cooks out with the heat and gives you a great sweetcorn relish. You can leave it cool down and add a dice of cucumber to it with a small squuze of lemon and it makes a great cucumber and chilli relish which is great with BBQ fish or a Lamb and mint burger.

Here is the recipe for the lamb and mint burger this is a tasty burger and only needs a few minutes on the BBQ to take that smokey flavour.

Lamb and Mint Burger Recipe:

375g Minced Lamb this make four to five super Burgers

2tsp smoked paprika

2tsp Ground cumin

2tsp Ground coriander

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

1/2 medium onion finely chopped

small bunch fresh mint finely chopped( You decide how much you like personally it needs about twenty small sprigs or leafs)

1 Egg

5tsp breadcrumbs

3tsp Rose harissa paste

salt and pepper to taste

Method

Simply combine everything in a bowl and mix well.

Portion into balls about 60g to 70g each and pat down to a depth of about 2cms. Now I normally put a frying pan on the BBQ to start these off and then just give them a few minutes directly on the coals to finish. As these are not shop bought they dont contain any ingredients that are used to bind. My burgers are loose but that is also what gives them a great texture. Once cooked serve with a brioche bun and some chilli relish or any relish that you have made using the sweet chilli base.

I will get back to more formal style recipes at some stage this week so stick with me as I am going through a phase of chemo brain this week.

Thank you and look after yourselves and slap on the sunscreen dont get burnt its not cool!!

Liam

Below are the photos of the sea bass!!!Cooked with candied beetroot and new potatoes and sugar snap!!The dressing is a butter orange with mint!! See I can actually cook and plate! Recipe some day soon!

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