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the nights draw in, so do our social lives, and

we begin to spend more and more time with our most loyal companion of all; the telebox. We like to deny it. We like to think that really we don’t watch much TV, or that we only use it for the news or BBC4 documentaries, but more often than not, it ends up chattering away in the corner of the room.

Te TV companies know this all too well, and Autumn is when we start to see the big-budget-ratings-busters return to our screens. Why would you want to go out when you can solve murder cases, look around £1m houses and debate the latest bunch of warbling, questionably dressed, 18-30s in pursuit of a Christmas number one? Screw friendships and fresh air, I’m staying in with Dermot O’Leary.

A classic accompaniment to this seasonal viewing – along with a heightened sense of self-loathing and slovenliness – is a takeaway. Chinese, Indian, Fish ‘n’ chips; anything goes as long as it’s high in sat fats and low in effort. On Friday and Saturday nights we like nothing better than to let someone else do the hard work and stuff us to the gills like a Foie Gras Mallard.

But should we be so quick to order in? Te Jamie Olivers of this world will tell you that you can make yourself a delicious alternative at home, for a fraction of the time and price. My response to this? Well, it would be

36 /October 2013/

accompanied by a mouthful of expletives and chow mein. Yes, you might be able to whip up a no- knead dough and a smattering of tomato puree in the time it takes Mr Dominoes to hop on his scooter, but who’s going to do the washing up, eh? Or run to Tesco in their pyjamas to buy some buffalo mozzarella? Not fucking Jamie, that’s for sure.

On a laziness front, a takeaway will always win, as far as I’m concerned. But what about taste? Granted, there is a certain flavour of takeaway food which cannot be recreated at home (MSG, largely). But I find that nine times out of ten those little foil containers, so full of promise when they arrive at your door, turn quickly to disappointment. As you stare down at the collection of orange sauces - which all sounded so unique on the menu - you wonder whether it is worth the new selection of stains on your favourite white t-shirt, or the inevitable Bad Poo you’ll experience the following morning. And it’s on these grounds that I think it’s sometimes worth just getting in the kitchen.

So this month I’ve tried to recreate for you one of the most popular fast foods – fried chicken. Often the greasiest, saltiest, and most dubious in its composure of ingredients. Not to mention, it generally involves the lowest standards in animal welfare for the poor chooks. Terefore, I think in this case it’s worth putting down the telephone and taking a DIY approach. It’s by no means healthy or quick and easy, but at least you know there isn’t a deep- fried mouse under that crispy coating.

Morgan Pickard


Serves 3-4

INGREDIENTS 8 pieces of free-range chicken (thighs, wings or drumsticks) 450ml buttermilk (if you can’t find buttermilk then add the juice of half a lemon to regular full fat milk and allow a couple of minutes to curdle) 2 cloves garlic, bruised 1 cup plain flour 1 tsp salt 2 tsp smoked paprika 1tsp cayenne pepper Vegetable oil for frying

METHOD In a bowl, cover the chicken pieces and garlic with the buttermilk and leave to marinate overnight.

Combine the flour, salt and spices in a bowl. Drain the chicken, discarding the milk, and dry the pieces with kitchen towel. Ten roll the pieces in flour, making sure they are all well covered.

Now, if you have a deep fat fryer you can do these at a temperature of about 160 degrees, for around 10 minutes, finishing off at a higher temp to crisp up. If you don’t have a fryer then use a high-sided pan and fry in about 1-2 inches of oil, turning frequently. Cut into one to make sure it is thoroughly cooked, all the way to the bone.

Morgan writes her own, hilarious blog on the internet. You can visit it and do a laugh wee wee at

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