As a food blogger, I’m constantly concerned that something big might escape my notice, and that I’m going to walk into a café and ask very naïvely for those “tiny red cakes with the white icing”. How could I have not heard about red-velvet cupcakes? You get my rather dramatic drift..

(Un)fortunately for me though, I get a regular influx of email updates (mostly against my will) from numerous food magazines and blogs that assure me that there are new ingredients and recipe ideas popping into the market at an alarming rate, and that it’s impossible to be fully up-to-date with the nuances of this dynamic industry. Reassuring yes, but you ought to know about the red-velvets though!

Speaking of ideas popping up, using maple syrup instead of honey in this recipe came as a bit of a revelation to me. Basically you want the chicken drumsticks to caramelize in the heat, and the sugars in the syrup do just that for you. Also, sugar tends to caramelize at a higher temperature than maple syrup, so that only means more crunchy, charred bits on your chicken. It also lends its subtle woody taste to the smokiness of the paprika, which is a combination to die for. Kitchen alchemy at its finest.


6 chicken drumsticks

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 cloves of garlic, minced into a paste

3 tablespoons maple syrup




Rinse the chicken drumsticks and pat dry with paper towels. Score the chicken on either side for the marinade to go through and to allow for even cooking.

Mix all the ingredients together and evenly coat the chicken with it. Marinate for a few hours, or overnight for best results. I find it easy to do this in a zip-lock bag.

Pre-heat oven to 200 C (400 F) and place a rack in the centre of the oven. Tip the chicken and marinade into a baking tray and cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until they start to char slightly and are cooked through. Flip the drumsticks and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes.

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