Juicy yet crispy thighs

I've been a stay at home mum for less than 2 weeks and already I've managed to introduce my own special stress and anxiety into the average mummy's day. The issue is the park, or rather, park etiquette.

Having been raised by two police officers I probably have a slightly more acute sense of justice than your average person. Couple this with what can only be described as a bit of a temper, and a simple trip to the park results in extra cortisol coursing through my veins.

You see, the other mums, on the whole, don't seem to be watching what their kids are doing. They sit and have a chat but don't monitor the turn taking on the ever popular swings. One mother let her small daughter sit in one swing for 20 minutes, (without actually pushing her - the poor thing dangled inert, smiling inanely) whilst my son, being terribly British, sat on the floor and waited his turn. I started to mutter under my breath in anger. It seems so unfair that other kids are deprived of their turn just because some mums are oblivious, lazy parents. Charlie took the opportunity to have a Richter scale 10 tantrum which I thoroughly endorsed.

Now I know I should stop sweating the small stuff, and probably need to get out more (without a toddler in tow) but fortunately or unfortunately this is my reality. So Charlie and I now attend the park either at 9am when said annoying parents are probably still in their dressing gowns ignoring their children, or as we did yesterday, in the rain. We were drenched but happy.

On less wet days, this recipe works well on the BBQ and it's easy to boot.

- chicken thighs, skin on (I used the cheap ones from Sainsbos and they were lovely to eat though probably not as lovely for the poor old chickens. We're down to one and a bit salaries so the chickens have to suffer, sorry Hugh.)
- 3 lemons
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 tbsp dried tarragon
- Rapeseed oil or groundnut or sunflower but not olive

Right, first thing to mention here is that the thighs need ages to marinate so make sure you buy a pack with a few days left on their use by date and get them marinating asap.

Mix the garlic, oil and tarragon together, then cut all the lemons in half and squeeze. Don't throw the lemon skins away, instead add them, along with the lemon juice to the oily marinade.

Take the tray of chicken and slice open leaving the cellophane top on, with one flap. Then add the marinade mix and make sure the thighs are coated on all sides and in every crevice. Give them a bit of a massage. Pop the cellophane top back over the tray and cover with more foil or clingfilm if required. Leave in the fridge at least overnight and if you can for 36 hours.

When ready to barbecue, remove from the fridge about 45 mins before to allow the fridge chill to wear off. You might see that the lemon has 'cooked' the chicken somewhat but don't worry about this, carry on regardless. Take each thigh out and brush off the excess marinade so you don't get a flare up on the grill. Barbecue the chicken on each side for around 10 mins. You need the skin to be crispy so don't bugger about with the chicken constantly by moving it about. If you do then the skin will tear and stick to the barbecue rather than the chicken. Which means less calorific skin for the recipients.

Check the chicken is cooked before you serve it by cutting into one thigh. We had to pop ours back on as they were still raw inside. Serve with kitchen towel for juice mopping, and cold beer.
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