Gone are the days when LEGO, Scaletrix or Micro Machines tripped off my tongue in my late teens...
This year was different. This year I was prepared with the response for the moment my mother asked - "A griddle plan please, and not just any griddle pan" (I'll say no more as to where it came from...).
My latest piece of kitchen equipment is by far my favourite for it's sheer versatility. My girlfriend has been wowed with griddled salmon, courgettes, asparagus, halloumi and used excellent powers of persuasion to talk me back from the brink of griddling a pitta..."think of the flavour" I cried...
For a quick Saturday supper after a busy (aka expensive) afternoon of shopping, chicken fajitas are perfect and lack in any pretence - an arthritic snail could knock them up in under 20 minutes.
To feed two:
2 chicken breasts
2 fajita wraps
2 large handful of lettuce leaves
2 peppers (colour choice is yours)
100ml of creme fraiche
1 spring onion
1 handful of grated cheese
half a pack of fajita seasoning
Dice the chicken breasts into one inch cubes and place in a bowl and pour over the seasoning. For a change we opted for Colman's fajita mix as it was only 50p, which was adequate but go for Old El Paso for stronger, spicier flavour. You could always make your own, but like Thai green curry paste from a quality stockist, it's simpler and far better to buy the product ready made.
Place your fajitas between two plates and warm in the oven on 100c for the duration of cooking (this prevents them drying out). Heat your griddle pan with some vegetable oil and place in the chicken, turning when griddled. Remove the chicken when cooked through (I have to check each piece meticulously after an unfortunate experience at a well known fast food chain) and place in the oven to keep warm. Cut the peppers into strips and the onions into rings, add a splash more oil and cook for a few minutes, before turning. Remove from the heat, and if you love your griddle pan as much as I (or if you wish to save on washing up), place the chicken back in and serve.
For the extras, you can create a salsa or guacamole, but for us creme fraiche with a few thinly sliced spring onion sufficed.
Assembly is a skill; I watch in awe at the speed of the master craftsmen at their street stores in London - failing miserably when I attempt myself. Provided it doesn't leak too badly out of the sides, you're onto a winner.
This recipe has zero difficulty, but the addition of griddling adds great flavour and texture that isn't replicated by using a standard frying pan. There's plenty of variety in fajitas too, the BBQ in particular is great, so get creative.
My new love and I are now off to experiment with baked Alaska...