Thursday, 28 February 2008

Toasted twister home recreation: attempt 1

Sometimes, as Albad rightly pointed out, a trip to KFC, no matter how tempting, is simply impossible. You might be in an area with no KFC's within the minimum 20 mile radius, you might be unable to leave the house, or, like me; you were curious- you wanted to walk the zen path of KFC and recreate the colonels early experimental years yourself, attempting to make delicious chicken dishes nearly as good as could be served to you in any upstanding kfcookery in the kfcountry.

Ingredients for attempt 1 (again, all available at Sainsburys for the sake of tradition (not every ingredient is necessary for variants))

Southern fried chicken breast fillets
Sainsburys hot salsa
Ranch dressing
Cheese -here I'm using red Leicester
Mayo, pepper (for KFC's signature pepper mayo, see right)
tortilla wraps.

I had more than enough ingredients pictured here to make multiple toasted twister variants - namely the original, salsa and the new melted BLT. Obviously ingrediants will vary based on your choice of what to construct.


This was a more experimental affair than previous documentation
on this site of reKFCreations, so subsequent attempts should prove neater and more reasonably portioned than this. I'll initially describe how to prepare the new melted BLT variant.

Begin by starting to cook the chicken, which should take around 20 minutes. Around the last 5 minutes of cooking, you should be putting on the bacon to cook - ensure that it's crispy and firm by the time you want to place it in your wrap. I advise grilling, especially as you'll need to gently toast your wrap later.

While you're waiting for all your ingredients to cook, it might be a good idea to start preparing the wrap. Wash your salad and chop your cheese (or remove it from it's packaging) as well as laying out your tortilla wrap.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it and slice it thinly enough to fit in your wrap. Add a little salad on top, the bacon slices, a little
salsa to recreate the original dishes tomato, and finally a drizzle of ranch dressing for authenticity. Now close up the wrap and toast it gently (overtoast it and it will become brittle as an osteogenesis imperfecta patients bones... have I been watching too much House again?). And... voila! it should be finished.

The verdict 6.5/10 + 7.5/10

While obviously the same complaints as always apply - chiefly the chicken not being up to the colonels high standards, the overall effect, taste and presentation-wise was extremely similar to the real wraps. The original toasted twister salsa recipe had a slight edge over it's rival however (just remove the cheese and bacon and add the pepper mayo seen above), but this may have been due to the fact that both the portion size and cooking times were slightly adjusted for the latter wrap, whereas the melted BLT was a giant even by stomach standards - the thing took two hands to lift, two tortilla wraps to hold it and literally two people to eat it. Hold back on the portions used KFC fans - you'll end up with a better wrap out of it. Subsequent attempts might show the melted blt to be the superior wrap with the greater experience gleaned from this experimental feastery.

This weekend, while in the process of seeking out the vast amounts of food necessary to support my titantic, KFC-and-lager wrought body, I'll be providing both a review of one of Brighton's 2 KFC branches as well as an overview of the real melted BLT toasted twister at the same time. See you then!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

'The Stomach' Takes On Boneless Box Meal

After Dave's incisive thoughts on the Boneless Box Meal challenge, Obad 'The Stomach' Sanders and chums decided to bravely (some say foolishly) take on the beast that is the deluxe 12pc meal. Below, he recounts the events that took place in what proved to be a monumental occasion.

"Obad here. After a long nights drinking the other night, the only sane recourse the next, hungover morning was seeking refuge in the warm glow of the colonels welcoming bosom. Being present with a group of friends, the subject of the Boneless box inevitably came up, and like fools, we gamely split the larger, 15:99 box between three hungover adults.

What fools we were. Almost immediately upon starting the meal, and despite the excellent quality of the plethora of food and drink available to us, each of us started to flag, slowly munching our way through the mire of the colonels finest foodstuffs.

Eventually, only I battled on, and finally reached the end of the last crispy, soft boneless piece of delectable chicken. My compatriots nodded their heads sagely at my glorious achievement, for every time you waste an item of KFC, the colonel cries a single tear.

But wait! A lone tub of beans remained, untouched! What devilry was this? Each of us was thoroughly ill, one man was near comatose, the other near paralytic, and I thought I heard the soft voice of the colonel in my ear, calling me towards the bright light that I saw before me to reign forever by his side in the great franchised food chain in the sky.

But did I surrender? No! Someone had to be man enough to eat those beans, and I, "the stomach" had to be that man! I flipped open the plastic cap, and in one mighty motion slammed a plastic straw, into the beans and drained the crimson fluids within, then jammed my mighty spork of justice into them, spooning them heroically towards my mouth, before finally putting the upturned pot upside down upon my head, a rightful crown for my righteous acts. The meal was completed!

...But never to be repeated. Meals such as those were too much for any three men. (four might be alright and you could stretch it to five easily)."

Look out for future posts from Obad, soon to be fully fledged KFBlogger.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

KFC London: Oxford Street (The Plaza)

A popular restaurant in one of London's busiest shopping areas, the Oxford Street KFC located in The Plaza's food court is frequented daily by 1000s* of shoppers, city workers and tourists. Many a hung-over Saturday shopping trip has begun in ernest at this branch, so it's about time we conducted a full review - myself and fellow KFBlogger Albad head down to check it out. (*estimated amount)

My Order: Fillet Tower meal, large
My Opinions: Service was very swift, which was pleasing to see and is typically the case at these high profile locations. My burger was well constructed and warm to the touch, while both mayo and ketchup had been added in the appropriate quantities. The chicken seemed to be slightly dry but still perfectly edible and forgiveable considering the generous amount of chips I was given. Overall, a pleasing experience on this occassion, but on previous visits I have found the quality to be quite variable - this may come down to the staff that are on duty and time of day.
Score: 7/10

My Order: Zinger Tower meal, large
My Opinions:
Like Paulbot I have had a variable past with this particular branch. I remember one fateful afternoon trip during which I was served a Zinger Tower with chicken so overcooked and hard it would be better described as some kind of meat–flavoured biscuit rather than the succulent chicken fillet piece we are used to. However, on this occasion all was well in the world of Oxford St KFC. The chicken juicy, the salsa spicy and the bun fluffy. Incredibly, the chicken technician on duty out back in the kitchen even avoided the all too common over-enthusiastic mayo application. The main problem with the meal was merely the size: being in an incredibly hungover state as I was, it was necessary to replenish my body with vast quantities of liquid. As such, a large Pepsi Max was the only option. Sadly, the accompanying large fries got the better of me once again.
Score: 7/10

Zinger Tower Home Recreation: Attempt 1

You know how it is. You've had a hard slog at the office, headed back to the house for an evening in front of the TV and a sudden KFC hunger pang strikes. Trouble is, your nearest outlet is far from easily accessible and your utter lack of energy prevents you from taking the walk into town. The solution: create your own Zinger Tower burger.

Ingredients for attempt 1 (all Sainsburys brand unless otherwise indicated):
Southern fried chicken breast pieces
Processed cheese slices
McCains hash browns
Hot salsa
Iceberg lettuce
Soft, sesame seed topped white baps

Construction Poor construction is an all too common problem with the Zinger Tower. Start with the buns. Spoon a small amount of salsa onto the bottom bun, place the chicken on top and quickly add the cheese - you'll want it to start melting slightly. Next: hash browns (we had to use 2 of this variety). Top off with lettuce and a moderate spoonful of Mayo for the lid of the bun.

The verdict: 6/10
Don't get us wrong, this was a tasty burger indeed. However, without the secret blend of 11 herbs and spices it just wasn't quite right. The hash browns were slightly too thick, causing their flavour to overpower the burger. We also found the buns slightly too noticeable. In the real deal, the bun's main function is to hold the other ingredients in place. Here, it was too large.

For the inevitable next attempt we'll be using the finest quality Marks and Spencers ingredients we can lay our hands on

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Melted BLT Toasted Twister

Get down your local chicken eatery because the colonel has a special treat in store for you: the Melted BLT Toasted Twister. Promotional material suggests this fresh addition is a variation on the long-standing Toasted Twister, but with added bacon, cheese and ranch dressing. Conceptually, the bacon-cheese combination is a firm favourite amongst us KFBloggers, while the new ranch sauce (presumably replacing the Twister's signature pepper mayo) seems like a natural accompaniment. So how does the new kid on the block taste? Watch this space for our full review, coming soon!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Challenge to KFC's Crown from Korean Fried Chicken Chain

South Korea-based fast food chain BBQ Chicken are looking to steal the colonel's thunder with their special cooking process and snack-portability innovations. The fried chicken merchants have invented a convenient drink cup/food container combo which allows hungry customers to have a snack on the go, while their olive-oil based frying technique ensures perfect delicious chicken every time.

The Col-Pop combines a standard fast-food drinks container with a handy tray located at the top containing bite-sized chicken balls (their version of Popcorn Chicken). In "fast-food" terms the concept is a winner, but I can't help wondering if the combination of cold Pepsi and hot chicken in such close proximity may create problems. With BBQ Chicken restaurants currently only located in the US, we must rely on the opinions of fast food bloggers at Serious Eats, who remark that the temperature difference did result in some moisture build-up in the chicken repository. Still, top marks for effort.

Finally, Reports suggest that BBQ's olive-oil frying process delivers chicken that is "crisp, crunchy, greaseless, and has just enough peppery bite" while the meat is "perfectly cooked, [and] moist". While it is difficult to comment without a true taste-test and comparison, it seems that BBQ Chicken may certainly provide good competition if they were to ever land in the UK.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

KFC Manchester: a lesson in excellence

There we were, waiting in line, hungover and drooling with anticipation. I say waiting in line but in fact, the efficiency of Manchester's branch is such that a line barely exists at all. Here's the system: Attendant A takes the order and deals with payment, attendant B meanwhile is busy assmebling the order. To the extent that as soon as I uttered those famous words: "Large Zinger Tower Meal please", B was already scouring the heating racks for the finest fried chicken. And what great fried chicken it was. Perfectly assembled burger, not too much mayo (an all too common error) and left just long enough so that the cheese had started to melt.

Sadly my fellow chicken-loving compadré was somewhat unimpressed with the level of grease on his wings. Serves him right for ordering a box meal as far as i'm concerned.