Monday, 11 May 2015

Buffalo wings for the boyz



I'm going to try hard in the next few years not to become the Woman Who Has Forgotten.

It's already starting to go, to fade - you know... the horror.

I remember the nightmare of two children under 3, in that it was awful, I hated my life every day for weeks on end. But I'm starting to forget why. I remember screeching, the frustration of having to be in two places at once, of doing two completely different things at once, or someone would start crying. The constant bending and wiping. Was that it? Was that what was so bad?

I took a selfie about eight months ago of me sitting in my kitchen looking out of the window because it was the first time since Sam was born that I was just sitting, having a moment to myself, while the kids pottered about. Up until then every moment that both my children were awake, I was on call. I wanted to remember that moment, to remind myself never to take my free time for granted again. I wanted to remember not to forget.


Here it is:


It's not like now I'm just lazing about having my nails done, but I'm freer and lighter. Yesterday I took Kitty and Sam up the road for an ice cream and back and we left the buggy behind. Watershed moment.

But I never want to be that woman, who has forgotten. Who blithely asks friends with small children if they'd like to come round for lunch "Oh the baby can nap upstairs?" I might say airily. No! Never. Least. Relaxing. Thing. Ever. Or offer things like a long walk to someone with a toddler. Or lunch in a pub. Or a complicated trip to some sort of safari park. You must never forget what it's like. I must never forget what it's like.

My mission, in the next few years, as day-to-day life gets easier, while my childrens' emotional and intellectual needs and demands become more complicated, is to attend to those evolving needs, while also Never Forgetting.

There's something else on my mind that you need to know. And that is that it might be time soon to put Recipe Rifle away. Not delete it or anything, but, you know, move on. Write a very last post, say goodbye. Draw a line.

The project is sort of over. The original aim of this blog, to teach myself how to cook, has been accomplished. I am now as good a cook as I ever set out to be, as I could ever functionally need to be. The secondary subject of this blog about having small children, is now fading as they start to get on with their own lives. I know many excellent writers who write about their older children, the hilarious and mad things they say, the challenges of primary school and so on. But I don't think that's for me.

I was traumatised by my children when they were very small - and doubly traumatised when they were both really small, at the same time. It produced huge questions to which I sought the answers from other people, and from inside my own head.

But life now is so prosaic, we just bumble along. And I've completely let go. I don't twist myself up in knots about anything much these days, despite Kitty being a bit of a lunatic and Sam having genuinely the most frighteningly bad diet of any child I know. We can do the things we can do and we can't do the things we can't do. And soon we'll be able to do whatever we want.

It's not that I've answered all the questions, it's that I know now for certain that there aren't any answers.

It's not quite time to say goodbye, though. There's a bit more left to say. But I want to prepare you for the fact that one day, soon, it will be time to go.

In other news about not forgetting to remember, I had some old friends from university round for dinner the other night. And I remembered that I did actually have some friends at university, though I will swear blind that I didn't know a soul and never left my room and had to sleep on the streets because no-one would share a house with me.

But there they were, Tom and Chris and Will, larger than life, on my doorstep. We sat in my kitchen and talked about university and then Tom and I talked about our kids until Will and Chris, who don't have kids, were practically passing out with boredom. Then they all left.

So, Q: do you give boys who come round for dinner? A: beer, wings and ribs.

I came across the most fantastic buffalo wings recipe the other day from a very ambitious book called What Katie Ate At the Weekend, by the very ambitious and super-smiley Australian food blogger princess Katie Quinn Davies.

If you make the sauce, (which you dribble over the wings before serving), for these in advance they are a total pisstake of an easy thing to do for dinner. After a lot of consultation with my butcher, Hot Sam (in order to differentiate him from Baby Sam - but also because he is Hot), we decided that six wings per boy would be enough with a large salad and some ribs on the side. If you don't want to have ribs on the side for fear of meat sweats, then you could have small baked potatoes instead.

The sauce is a very strong, spicy, vinegary thing, which I absolutely love and, (and I don't mean to be sexist here), boys LOVE. But it's not subtle.

Anyway so here we go - I have changed some things about this so as usual this is not Quinn Davies' exact recipe but it's very close

For the wings

12 chicken wings
1 tbs plain flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp garlic granules

For the buffalo sauce

250ml white vinegar
2 tbsp honey
11/2 tbsp hot sauce (I used Encona's hot pepper sauce - do not use tabasco)
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp butter

Please do not be put off by the list of ingredients. This makes a lot of sauce and whatever you don't eat the first time can be frozen and used another time. It's worth it, I promise.

1 Preheat oven to 200C (fan 180C) and grease a couple of baking trays (you may only need one depending on how big your trays are.

2 Cut the wings in half at the joint and discard the tips. This isn't a very nice job.

3 Put the flour, cayenne pepper, paprika and garlic granules into a bag with no holes in it and give it a shake to mix it up. Then put the wings in and shake all over to coat.

4 Spread the chicken wings out among your baking trays and bake for 30 mins. Then turn them over and cook for another 30 mins. This seems like a long time but it's fine.

FOR THE SAUCE

1 Put the vinegar, honey, hot sauce, paprika, garlic granules and 125ml water in a saucepan. Bring this to the boil then simmer for 10-15 mins.

2 In a small cup or egg cup mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of water until smooth. Whisk this into the sauce, then simmer it, whisking all the time, for a few minutes until thick.

3 Stir in the lemon juice then reduce the heat and cook for another 2 mins.

4 Take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter to make the sauce nice and glossy

I put these in a large bowl lined with Bacofoil, which is more malleable and user-friendly for this sort of caper than greaseproof paper.

Some celery sticks would be nice with this, too.

Eat, while chatting to your friends about the past and thinking about your future.









36 comments:

  1. It will be a shame to see the blog end, it has been a good read over the years. Still, given your great experience now with children, perhaps I can take this opportunity to ask: what books would you recommend for an expectant, first-time dad who'll be primary carer from day 1? My daughter's arriving in August and I haven't done much prep yet .... There's so many conflicting theories about child rearing out there, but I trust you to have cut through the bullshit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bloody hell!!! That is a lot to take on! I found How to Enjoy Year 1 good, by Rachel Waddilove. Also What to Expect from the First Year was helpful, like a car manual for a baby. Commando Dad by Neil Sinclair is what I would read, if I was a Dad. All of these ought to be read with a pinch of salt. No-one is absolutely correct about anything. Your experience is individual. And FFS get yourself a private paediatrician. GPs know NOTHING about babies, it's worth every penny, trust me xxx

      Delete
    2. Great thank you - I'll look into those suggestions!

      Delete
  2. I've got a bit of a fuzzy brain today, so need a bit of help here. So, the sauce is a dipping sauce and I'm not cooking or basting or spreading it on anything? And, is the vinegar white wine or white malt, or doesn't it make one little iota of difference?
    I can feel a weekend of ribs and wings coming my way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry - that was very badly explained by me... you drizzle the sauce over the wings before serving and have a pot of it on the side for anyone who wants extra...

      Delete
  3. I would be gutted to see an end to Recipe Rifle. Please NEVER stop.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's a shame. Can you not just write about your general observations anyway? - there's just not enough blogs out there which celebrate normality. Most of them are far too aspirational and make me feel like a massive loser. I will miss your little pearls of wisdom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not that my writing is anywhere near as good as Esther's but I blog about my very normal life with young kids and food at www.thedisorganisedhousewifeblog.wordpress.com
      There is imperfect parenting and NO perfect Pinterest projects to make you feel bad!! ����
      And Esther. I will be so sad if you stop, please don't!!! X

      Delete
  5. Please don't stop writing! If not here, then somewhere else! Still my fave food blog.

    Veronica

    ReplyDelete
  6. I only discovered your blog at the start of the year and read it addictively from first to last entry and have loved every minute. I sit here each evening snuffling and giggling and have felt that you've expressed a lot of the same thoughts and feelings about having a family that I've had but never been able to articulate as well. As a Mum of a 2yr old with a baby due in September I'll keep this blog close to hand and remember that it's not always easy but clearly all the tough stuff passes eventually! Thanks so much for sharing.
    xx
    A Mum in New Zealand

    ReplyDelete
  7. From the Netherlands: love your blog! Would like to scream NOOOOOO DONT STOP NOT NOW NOT EVER but that would be rather selfish. Thank you. For, you know. Everything.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love your writing too! It would be a shame not to keep Recipe Rifle or just a general blog going.....

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lovely recipe, will be sorry if the blog stops. You are far too hard on yourself as a mother!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Noooo! Don't stop writing - my two kids are almost the same age as your two and I so look forward to your thoughts, which are almost always exactly what I think but can't put into words as eloquently or funnily!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Grins privately oh she will be back when they are teenagers she will sooo be back. By then you will have forgotten. The bending and the wiping will be recalled with such great fondness when faced with offspring whose mobile phones have grown into their hands through overuse and who live on nothing but Doritos and dip and Cadbury's caramel chocolate buttons because they can't possibly eat that "healthy birdseed crap" they so obligingly consumed all through their childhood 😊. Have enjoyed reading - have a good few years off!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wholeheartedly agree! Smiling smugly as i am almost through this parenting hell that I embarked on 21 years ago!!
      I of course would do everything again in a hummingbird's heartbeat!

      Delete
  12. noooooooooo!!!! please continue to write in some capacity. will so miss this blog. will still never forget you describing having a baby as being like having a very strange pet. so perfectly articulated my own feelings of early parenthood.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I really enjoy how you write, it's so clear and precise and just makes sense! Yes, the never forgetting. I am going to try really hard to do that too, to be the friend who says 'you know what, I'll come to you between the hours of 12-2pm and bring lunch with me...' or book a table for 9pm when the little bastards are all settled and you can actually have 20mins to get ready before leaving the house. I really don't want to be the friend who says 'your mum will be able to put them down...' because that is utter shite and bollocks and won't be tolerated!
    I'd be really sad if you stopped writing. Yours is the only blog I keep on my bookmarks list and check daily even though you hardly ever post, because I really really love it when you do xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Aaaaw that would be such a shame for you to finish your blog. I'm approaching grannydom (perhaps) and have loved it. Had all the same feelings as you so it was bitter sweet for me. Now my kids are grown up AND I SURVIVED! Would make a much better mum now than I did when I was 30something. Anyway, thanks for the blog and the recipes - it's been a pleasure.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh no, I've only recently started to follow your blog and I love it. Hope we'll be able to continue reading you elsewhere and at least we'll still have the recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Noooooo! You must never stop.

    ReplyDelete
  17. No!!!!
    I understand your reasons for retiring Recipe Rifle but oh my God please still blog!! Somewhere! On something! Your refreshing hysterical take on life has been an absolute lifesaver (and a right good belly laugh when I needed it) I for one would really miss that. You could even do the odd recipe now and then???!!!! Just please don't disappear from the blogasphere :'(

    ReplyDelete
  18. You have ruined my day.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm with all the rest, I've so enjoyed reading your blogs. I survived 3 kids all under five so I knew exactly what you were talking about but I made it through and have just got my first grandson ��. Like someone else said, I definitely make a better mum now than I did then. I really hope you keep it going or at least just the cooking part.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Love this. I know exactly how you feel...about the 'not forgetting'. That's why we only have one kid. I was determined not to forget how hard I found it...and either no one admits to it (except you) or they DO forget, or else they find it much easier somehow.

    I also understand the wondering about ending the blog journey. I often wonder if I have taken mine as far as I can and don't want to continue doing it under some sense of duty. I have loved your blog but would understand if you come to a natural end with it. Whatever you do, well done for standing up and saying it all, with honesty.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Esther, Vicky and I have enjoyed seeing our son Harvey grow up through the prism of your forensic child-rearing eyes... You have provided us (especially Vicky) with the confidence to focus on the real priorities in life and you have allayed many of our fears in the process; your recipes have been great (and funny) and we have often laughed ourselves stupid, when your blogging has resonated with our own experience with Harvey. We shall miss you when you finally stick your pen back in the inkwell. Many thanks, Vicky & William.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Chill out people it's obvious Esther is just doing a Farage.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Elizabeth Medovnik13 May 2015 at 21:29

    I'm really glad things are going well for you. I'd be very happy to carry on reading your stuff if you felt like blogging on a different topic...(no pressure!) X

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have loved reading Recipe Rifle - you've done both cooking and baby-wrangling a great service. But as a journalist I agree: don't write about your older kids (mine forbade me); and stop giving away your words for nothing (sorry people but Esther should be paid for her writing!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nici - yes I think it's probably time to earn some money! That's a big part of it... xxx

      Delete
  25. I'm always late to the party. Only just discovered your blog and now it's ending. Loved catching up with it though.
    Good luck with future stuff. Don't get complacent though and think it would be nice to have another baby. Never forget! X

    ReplyDelete
  26. It will be sad to see the blog go Esther, you have worked very hard on it despite having to look after little ones. I have had my blog now for a little over 3 years, and i'm very proud of it so much so I don't think I would ever wnat to be without it now. I've had my moments though trust me, I've though about jacking it in numerous times to free up my time to do nothing, but I then realise that I love what I do and it's the only thing keeping me sane, otherwise i'd be sitting in a corner drinking cheap wine, chewing my fingernails and panicking about what drudgery will face me in my day job - which I hate - tomorrow. I wasn't very fortunate in my upbringing, neither did I have the oportunities that many take for granted. Sexual abuse, alcoholism was rife in the home, domestic violence were some of the more prominent memories, so much so I began to think it was normal behaviour for a time. You can also probably tell from my severe lack of good grammar that I didn't get the chance to go to university and my schooling was lacklustre at best.

    I won't bore you anymore about me, but whatever you decide to do make sure its for you and you only, I don't want you to end the blog but thats just my view. I wish you all the best in whatever future projects you embark on, and thanks for giving us the blog.

    All the best

    Adam x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adam thank you for taking the time to write such a supportive and touching comment.

      Esther xxx

      Delete
  27. Having been a bag of neurosis for many years now, I always enjoyed your absolute honesty in feeling (unlike other bloggers, who tend towards the 'oh look, I fell over, I'm so dumb!' while remaining immaculate, brand). Despite being chronically single and without child, I have always felt reassured reading your blog, because it seems like something I could feel, instead of making me feel even worse. That being said, you probably deserve a better outlet than blogspot, so thanks for the entertainment over the years. However, pleas don't take it down - I need someone to give reassure me that my diet is going brilliantly, whether I haven't had a carb in a week, or I'm wolfing down a quarter pounder with cheese x

    ReplyDelete
  28. You're going, I'm so sad :( I love your blog and your books and I empathise with everything you write despite being single and childless and deeply deeply lazy about cooking.

    I'm also 99.9% sure I'm the Claire B who tweeted you all those years ago about where Recipe Rifle had gone (unless there were two of us). I'm so glad I did, and I'm so glad it re-inspired you.

    You're the best! x

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm very sad that I've only just discovered the blog and soon it will be gone!
    Catt

    ReplyDelete