Friday, 24 March 2017

Crispy Chinese Chicken Drumsticks with Sesame Pak Choi

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This post was supported by Farmer's Choice.

This is one of my new favourite things to eat. Oh my goodness. 


Crispy, Chinese-5-spiced chicken drumsticks roasted and then eaten with lightly stir-fried pack choi with a tiny dribble of sesame oil. It works so well. New favourite dinner, right here. 

You have to get in there with your hands - no fiddling about with a knife and fork here - which makes this a great dish to serve up for kids. They love all that caveman-style gnawing on a chicken leg, don't they? Who doesn't? 

Paleo Chinese Chicken Drumsticks with Sesame Pak Choi

And did I mention they'd be absolutely perfect for cooking on a barbecue? It's currently not even April and the rain is lashing down on the window outside as I type but, hey - I'm feeling positive. 

Basically this is perfect whatever the weather's doing outside. 

The drumsticks were sent to me for this recipe by Farmer's Choice - they're an online butcher specialising in free range meat, fish and seafood - they do storecupboard foods, too - and I've been cooking with their food for over a year. I've always found it to be of top quality. 

Add this to your weekly meal plans and you might find that this is your new favourite dinner, too. 

Paleo Chinese Chicken Drumsticks with Sesame Pak Choi

Crispy Chinese Chicken Drumsticks with Sesame Pak Choi
Serves 4
8 chicken drumsticks, defrosted overnight in the fridge if frozen 
one and a half teaspoons Chinese Five Spice
half teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp honey
half teaspoon of olive oil, enough just to make a thick paste
1 pak choi cabbage, base cut off and the leaves washed well
half teaspoon olive oil
half teaspoon sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds and 1 chopped spring (green) onion to serve - optional

Line a shallow roasting tray with a little foil and arrange the chicken drumsticks out in one layer. 

To make the coating, mix together the Chinese Five Spice, ginger, salt, honey and olive oil and stir. Slather this all over the drumsticks, making sure they're thoroughly coated, and then wash your hands. 

Slide the chicken into an oven set at gas mark 6/200ºC/400ºF and leave to roast for 25-30 minutes, until sizzling, golden and cooked all the way through (cut into a drumstick to check if you're not sure). 

Once the chicken is cooked, quickly make the pak choi. Heat the half teaspoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and stir fry the leaves, whole, until they start to darken in colour and wilt slightly - this usually takes about 30-60 seconds. Season with a pinch of salt and then turn off the heat. Add tiny drops of sesame oil to taste - you might not need to add the whole half a teaspoon. 

Arrange the pak choi leaves on a serving plate and arrange the hot, cooked drumsticks on top. The juices from the chicken will mingle with the cabbage as you serve. Sprinkle with chopped spring onion and sesame seeds and take it, hot, to the table. 

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I received the chicken and a contribution towards the ingredients for this recipe from Farmers Choice. I've been working with them for over a year now, and I've always found their meat, fish and game of fantastic quality. Do go check them out!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Online Workout Review: Flex TV

We're all being told we should be exercising more. Leaflets for gym membership find their way through our letterboxes from the first days of January. We make resolutions. Friends invite us along to Zumba at the local school hall. But for some of us, getting to a gym or a yoga class at a specific time is pretty impossible to begin with. What about childcare for little ones? A partner who works shifts? What if we're working all day and there are no classes or gyms near us that we can get to, in the hours we're free? 

What do we do then? 

The world of online fitness recognises this problem and has been only too happy to cater for us. We have YouTube videos. Short workout demos on Instagram. Video services like Yoga Glo and Eckhart Yoga. And now, we have Flex

Review of Flex TV Online Home Workout
Photo credits:; Dominic WycisloJakob OwensMikayla Mallek

Flex is a UK run service, where you pay a subscription for a year and then can access classes around the world in whatever genre of fitness you like. Notice I say classes and not videos. What makes Flex unique to many of the other online fitness services out there is that when you log on, you're attending a live class, with other people at the same time. Yes, you can see all the action on a screen but it's live. You can actually see how many other people are in your class, in real time. This all adds to the feeling that although you're in your bedroom doing tree pose in front of a mirror, you're coming together with others, at least virtually. It has more of a social aspect than, say Yoga Glo, where your subscription lets you stream pre-recorded videos. It's good, but you do feel disconnected a little bit. Flex brings more of the social side of exercising to you. 

You can link your Facebook account too, to recommend and invite friends to classes you think they might like. 

Review of Flex TV Online Home Workout

The instructors are there to chat with you too, so you can leave a message to thank them when you're done, suggest improvements or just say hello. You can even go for 1-1 personal training, if you think you need it. 

See what I mean? It's really social. 

There's a huge range of classes, too. To try it for myself, I was given a login and logged on for a few weeks, following classes such as Burlexercise, which is kind of like Zumba but with saucy pin-up style routines. Fun. Also I took part in a few yoga classes, which I liked because they varied in intensity and addressed some of the things I was looking for at the time - easing a stiff neck and shoulders, for example. There's also HIIT, cardio, dance, pilates and classes to help you meditate. And, because it's all there on your screen, there are no restrictions as to what you can try. You access all of it. You don't just sign up for cardio, or yoga. Try barre. Or a barre and pilates fusion. Or have a go at dance. You might discover something new. 

Review of Flex TV Online Home Workout

It works the other way, too. Book yourself in for a class when you know you'll be free. Or, if you haven't booked any classes, but find yourself free at 3pm on a Friday afternoon? Just log in, click 'live and upcoming classes' and take your pick. 

In my mind, it's a good thing to encourage people to enjoy their exercise and make time for it in their day. It's a lot easier - and cheaper - to put the kids to bed and take part in a class in your bedroom with your laptop than it is to try and arrange a babysitter and go out to a class outside of the home. Classes are scheduled throughout the day and into the evening, so you're bound to find something that suits you. The social aspect of the site makes you feel welcome and somehow valued - you're working alongside others, at the same time. 

I can't think of any downsides to the site - perhaps one day there will be more types of classes to try, say, boxercise, for example. I'm sure as the site grows there will be more choice added. 

With the accessibility of the site, the easy to use interface and the range of classes on offer, there will no longer be any excuses not to have fun, try something new and increase your fitness. 

Have a look at Flex TV here

What do you think? Have you tried Flex TV? Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

Disclosure: I received a free login to access the site for the purposes of this review, so I could give an honest opinion for you on the workouts. All opinions are my own.