My husband sacrificed a lot to come and settle in Somerset when we got married - he left his job, his family and friends, and the country he was born in! But most important and sacrificial of all were the foods he left behind, staple favourites which cannot be found here in England. Namely:
Pear-picking Porky and Polly Pineapple ice lollies from Dale Farm (no, not the travellers' site, it's a dairy!)
Veda bread (malted bread, no fruit, delicious toasted with butter and cheese)
Tayto crisps (cheese and onion crisps that taste like no other!)
Fifteens and top hats (tray bakes which grace the table at every single child's birthday party)
Sausage and egg sodas (no, not a drink - sausage and egg on a toasted soda bread)
And..... honey chilli chicken
Honey chilli chicken can be found on any Chinese takeaway menu in Northern Ireland. It is one of the most popular dishes, and yet it seems to be exclusive to Ulster. Since moving to England hubby has yet to see it served in any Chinese restaurant either here or in Devon where my parents live. He has had frequent tantrums about this, believe me. So in a vague attempt to
Honey Chilli Chicken
(serves 4 - 6)
Cut up some chicken - you can use any type you want. Auntie Vi recommends drumsticks, we used thighs. You could use breast as well. As long as you have enough for 4-6 portions (we used 12 thighs). Cut it up nice and small so it is bitesized, then toss it in some flour seasoned liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat 3 TBSP sunflower or groundnut oil in a wok or deep saucepan. Fry the chicken in batches and then put in an ovenproof dish. The flour will make it nice and crispy. Just fry it til it is brown and then transfer to a 150degC oven to keep warm.
Discard the oil from your wok, give it a wipe, and put in 2 TBSP of fresh oil. Fry 2 chopped onions, 3 crushed garlic cloves, and 3 tsp grated ginger until soft. Add 5 TBSP honey, a diced red pepper, a diced green pepper, and 2 chopped red chillis (we deseeded ours, you might feel a little more brave!). Fry for a few moments.
Mix 1 TBSP soy sauce, 4 tsp cornflour, 2 TBSP lemon juice, 3 tsp hot chilli powder, and 1 pint water in a jug (we did this beforehand so it was ready to go) and pour into the wok. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the sauce has thickened. Give it a taste to see if you want to add more honey or chilli.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and put back in the oven for 10 minutes to bubble and thicken.
Serve with boiled rice.
Hubby declared it a success, and although it still doesn't beat a takeaway from Little Fat Buddha in Ballyhackamore, it's a close second!