Perfect Football night grilled soy and maple syrup chicken drumsticks for your true love


Barbecued soy, dijon and maple syrup chicken drumsticks

You know how Facebook tells you what happened on the day a year or more ago. "How long is this football nonsense going to last this time?", my younger self was wondering at the start of the 2010 Worldcup this week. A relevant question once more with the Euro 2016 getting started.

The answer to the question would have been: "With that guy? Forever."

It became quite clear early on in our relationship that football was husband's great love, so I can only blame myself. I remember the 2006 Worldcup where Portugal beat England on penalties at the quarter finals. We watched the game with husband, then boyfriend, in a Battersea sports bar and as the game ended many men were in tears including husband. "It's ok, it's only football", he was consoling himself between heaving sobs and teary hiccups with me patting him awkwardly on the shoulder thinking "Really?". OK, maybe he wasn't heaving or hiccuping, but there were tears.

Every year when the Premier League is done I breathe a quiet sigh of relief forgetting that there is still Champions League, Europa league, FA cup, Worldcup, Euro etc and if nothing else is going on they will considerately put together the odd friendly. And this year we will also get some Olympic football.


But I don't really actually mind too much. Buy me a drink and I'm happy in a pub whatever's on the screen. Unless it's cricket or Mariah Carey.

And at home I usually keep husband company half-following the game half-reading a book, writing the blog, checking my emails, checking out recipes or playing candy crush, or all of the above.

Sometimes husband gets all needy though and wants me to prioritise football over my other sofabound activities. Like yesterday when he was watching the commentary before the much anticipated and riveting Albania-Switzerland game while I was surreptiously leafing through a little book of Buddhist wisdom on the other sofa.

Here is the scene:

(Husband is watching and talking back to the pundits, I am flicking through my book and pretending to follow the program making quite believable sounds that someone following a foodball program might make, I think.)

Husband: That's why they get angry!
Me: Mmm. Yes.
Husband (eyes narrowed): What did I just say?
Me (smug): That's why they get angry!
Husband (not fooled): Who?
Me (slightly less confident): Erm... Switzerland.
Husband: No. Fans.
Me: Yes, fans. That's what I meant.
Husband: What makes them angry?
Me: Albania... No?... Thierry Henry?
Husband: No.

Jeez. Inquisition.

It was something about a pair of brothers, one playing for Albania, one for Switzerland. And fans having a problem with players with dual nationality playing for the other country. Glad to know this now. Much more important than my pursuit of Awakening the Heart according to the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn.

But actually according to Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who gives the Dalai Lama a run for his money, although of course monks don't run for money, the first element of True Love (I'm not very far into the book yet, because of football) is called maitri, loving kindness. This means the willingness and most importantly ability to bring joy and happiness to the other person. This requires profound understanding of the other person, because in order to bring someone joy and happiness you must understand their deepest troubles, aspirations and suffering.

In husband's case, football. The source of much of his suffering is the England football team.

Thich Nhat Hanh also reminds that Buddhism teaches that love is above all about being there, being present. So feeling gently admonished by the minute monk, I put away the book and focused on husband asking some further questions about the general state of football in Albania and Switzerland, to which husband gave animated answers and listed each of the main players in the two national teams and in which European clubs they played.

It could be worse. He could be into cricket.

So here's a great little BBQ recipe that goes down well with the football watching menfolk. Serve with the starch of your choice and some veg if your man is agreeable. If not, give him reprieve from  the rabbit food for once, woman.

Barbecued soy, mustard and maple syrup chicken drumsticks

Barbecued maple, mustard and soy chicken drumsticks

10 chicken drumsticks
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 heaped tbsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Mix all the marinade ingredients. Cut a couple of slashes into the drimsticks to allow the marinade to get into the meat. Place the drumsticks in a bowl and pour marinade on top. Mix well massaging the marinade into the chicken. Leave to marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours.

You can cook these in the oven (200C for about 30-40 min), but my favourite way is on a charcoal barbecue. Prepare your barbecue, place the chicken on the grill, slightly away from the hottest heat, so that they cook nicely without burning on the outside. Keep turning every few minutes until they are cooked through.

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