Shared memories and a labour of love

One of the most challenging differences that my mother had to overcome when she moved to UK in 1984 was the relatively little entertaining people did in their homes. Our life in Singapore was very social and the expat community mainly entertained in their homes. We were privileged to live in spacious houses or apartments, with live in help, so that made entertaining at home far easier. It also reflected the inherent Asian warmth and hospitality where people welcomed you graciously to their homes and eating is the centre of any entertainment. Little has changed now, and the warm generous hospitality is always around the corner.

When we moved into what became the family home, my mother had the opportunity to build her social circle of friends, and living in a suburban cul de sac was quite conducive to that. So over the years, these neighbours became good friends and in some cases, their children became good friends with us and are still in touch today. Friendships like that are precious, especially those that transcend the generations.

Recently my parents neighbour invited us for lunch and I started telling her about my blog, She had fond memories of the dinner parties at my parents – lavish feasts served either buffet style or sit down. There was one dish she wanted to try and recreate, providing I could find the recipe – Thai style stuffed chicken wings. I didn’t have the recipe amongst my files, but luckily my father still had all the originals he typed up… in the world before Microsoft and Windows.

So on this wet and grey Saturday, Jenny and I decided to tackle these stuffed chicken wings! She kindly bought all the ingredients and had those prepared. We lamented the fact that its not really easy to get the chicken wings with the winglets attached, as its that which makes the dish really eye catching, but we had a selection of both. Jenny had watched a you tube video about deboning chicken wings… i hadn’t… but having jointed chickens before, i had a vague idea of where to start – plus we had my mothers instructions. Well… our 20 or so chicken wings took us almost 2 hour to debone and stuff, but we had a really enjoyable afternoon chatting as we tackled out task. On more than one occasion we wondered how my mother would have had the patience to make these for a Christmas party for 20 guests…and we felt she was definitely looking down on us and chuckling at our attempts to not pierce the skin or damage the structure.

Once deboned, we had to tackle the issue of stuffing those wings! This was a delicate job, but with judicious use of toothpicks, we were able to ‘sew’ up the pouches, dredge them in flour and leave them to rest for an hour. (Recipe is on the images below) The final task was to deep fry until golden brown, and then remove the toothpicks and serve with a dipping sauce (sweet chilli sauce works best). The verdict from our tasters who had tasted the Renny Wheatley original was resoundingly good! Both Jenny and I admitted it was worth the effort and would do it again…and perhaps we will tackle another challenging recipe together one wet afternoon.

Just as an aside – you can be flexible with the filling and add to it depending on your taste – perhaps a little chopped lemongrass, or extra chilli, or a hint of grated ginger and garlic.  Its a labour of love, but definitely worth the effort. In memory of my mother.

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