Chicken thighs with hot Sunday sauce

I recently spent the day with some of my lovely friends who I don't often see these days. I dusted off my old Oyster card (and was relieved that it still works after 3 years in retirement,) I reserved my train seat as last time I had to stand for an hour and I arranged for Charlie to spend the day with my Mum, AKA Nan-neeee. This is no hardship for him as 1) he adores her and 2) her house is a kind of toddlers version of Alton Towers, though without the need to queue.

Spending the day without Charlie is a curious thing. I enjoyed choosing food because I wanted it, rather than because he might like it. I enjoyed having a conversation uninterrupted, without being presented with a small car or a book to read. I enjoyed going to the loo without an audience pointing and shouting 'what's that?' Most of all though I felt like I'd lost a limb. I missed his sticky little hands gripping mine, his habit of humming nursery rhymes as he eats. I even missed his tantrum-face and vigorous head shaking every time I ask him if he'd like to help Mummy with something. Is it like this forever I wonder. Will I sit at home draining glasses of gin when he's 25, feeling like I've lost an appendage and boring people with tales of what a beautiful baby he was?

Carrying on with the grown up theme, here's a recipe with a hot chilli chicken kick perfect for the Sunday blues. Be more careful than I was when you handle the scotch bonnet chilli. The stuff is lethal. One brush on my index finger and it tingled for hours. I think sensible people advise wearing washing up gloves.


- chicken thighs with the skins on
- 1 scotch bonnet chilli
- 5 small green chillis
- 5 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp molasses
- 3 tbsp of sunflower oil

Put on some gloves! Cut the tops off the chillis and throw away, then throw everything except the chicken into a food processor and whizz for 2 mins until finely chopped and mixed together. Cover the chicken with the marinade, remembering only to use a spoon rather than your hands to mix it and then refrigerate for 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Depending on the weather, cook for either 20 mins each side on the barbecue or 40 mins at Gas 5 on a baking tray. Crisp the chicken skin if you used the oven, by finishing under the grill for 5 minutes. Serve with something mellow like a simple green salad or some steamed basmati rice.

NB: The chilli mellows with time and cooking so that your mouth doesn't explode or tingle or do anything else unpleasant.
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