It’s intimidating coming back here after so long. It would be terrifying returning with the single excuse that I had been experiencing a bout of food bloggers block. It’s happened to me before but never for this long. I don’t let it get so bad. Instead I prefer to force myself to write a terrible post. Somehow it helps. In any case there has been no creative block but there are many reasons for my absence. It all began when I handed in my notice at work, no easy feat I can tell you but I did it. In return for such guts and a four week notice I was kept off my feet for those final weeks with lots of work which left me drained and the kitchen empty by the time I got home. A planned two week holiday to Zanzibar appropriately followed to cushion my jobless state after which a last minute two week visit back in London helped iron out feelings of regret and despair. All the while I ate fantastic food, saw how spices grow in their natural habitat, got to bake with my sister, visit friends and family, learn all about Peppa Pig with my Nephew and even managed to catch a cold.

Which somehow brings me to Teriyaki and Orange Chicken. It’s the first thing I’ve cooked in ages and while it isn’t anything authentic and original it is something I put together on my own (I’m trying to break free from religiously following recipes), and it tastes unbelievably good. It grew from a craving for oranges and Asian style food. In oranges I actually mean small green-orange clementines as they were all I had in my fruit bowl and as a result my main source of inspiration. A good tablespoon of marmalade was also added to allow the sauce to get thick and sticky. The Asian food craving stems from a healthy dose of Asian food in London plus the fact that I discovered my bottle of Teriyaki sauce while clearing out the fridge (when you live in a hot climate most things end up in the fridge). Finely chopped ginger, garlic and chili, a prerequisite to any Asian recipe, were incorporated together with some sesame oil to balance the sweetness of the oranges.

Teriyaki and Orange Chicken
Serves 2-3 (simply double or triple for more diners)

• 4 boneless chicken thighs (or chicken breasts), cut into bite-size pieces
• 1 TBSP corn flour (corn starch)
• 3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
• A knob of ginger, crushed or finely chopped
• 1 small chili, finely chopped (optional)
• 1 TBSP orange marmalade
• 3 TBSP freshly squeezed orange juice
• 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
• A few spring onions, chopped
• 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil, for cooking

1. Mix the chicken pieces together with the tablespoon of corn flour. I usually do this by putting both ingredients in a freezer bag and give it a good shake.
2. Heat the sesame oil in a heated wok (or large saute pan), on a high flame. Add the chicken pieces and brown, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken pieces from wok onto a reserved plate. Meanwhile mix together the sauce ingredients; orange juice, marmalade and teriyaki sauce. Set aside
3. Cook the garlic, ginger and chili (if using) until fragrant, about a minute. Add the chicken pieces back in and cook for another minute before adding the sauce ingredients.
4. Stir fry for a couple more minutes until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat and mix in the spring onions. Let sit for a few minutes and then serve on a bed of rice.

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