Introducing: Ideas for legs by Stephen Rötzsch Thomas 

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Here’s how I eat: first with my mind, and then with my body.

I’m the sort of person who is thinking about what’s for dinner while they’re still munching on their breakfast. A planner who plots a big shop at the beginning of the week, and an improviser, who then adapts those plans as the days unfurl around him.

I am also – whisper this – not exactly rolling in cash. I don’t know if anyone’s told you, but shit is expensive right now. And so a lot of my cooking is based around the food that will offer me the most value. Affordable ingredients are a key part of my eating at the moment, and this is what led me to launch a new recipe newsletter called Ideas with Legs.

Chicken legs are easily the best bit of the bird. Full of flavour, the perfect size for an individual portion and, above all else, really affordable. Even Waitrose and Ocado will sell you a pair of the bad boys for less than £1.50. 

Annoyingly, though, the leg doesn’t get a whole lot of attention in cookbooks. Plenty of room for skinned, boned thighs, yes. Not so much for the simple, cost-effective full leg. 

Ideas with Legs has been born out of my ongoing quest to find fun, varied recipes that make the most of this underappreciated ingredient. As I toy around with different dishes from all around the world, I’ll be sharing what I find and, hopefully, offering up some new ideas that will help you to enjoy affordable, flavour-filled dinners.

Each month, subscribers will receive a new recipe centred on chicken legs. Last month I opened the Ideas with Legs account by sharing a recipe for a Filipino chicken adobo. Later this week, I’ll spin the globe and explore a Brazilian rice dish called galinhada that I’m enjoying so much I keep forgetting I’m supposed to be working on other recipes too. 

If you want to delve into food a little deeper with me, I’m also offering a cheeky subscription version of Ideas with Legs. You’ll get extra recipes that go beyond the leg: I’ll share Offally Good Ideas that make the most of some of the most overlooked cuts of meat. Occasionally I might offer up Ideas with Veg(etables) too. Oh, and everything I share will be gluten free. Mainly because I don’t get a choice in the matter.

I don’t expect to make much money from the paid part of Ideas with Legs, and I’m not really doing it for that reason anyway, so subscriber fees have been set at the minimum Substack will let me get away with. I know this because I tried to make it cheaper and they told me off. 

Having spent three years reviewing cookbooks here, it’s probably about time I put my best (chicken) leg forward and offer something up myself. Hopefully some of you will join me. I’ve plenty of delicious ideas in the works, and have even managed to get some gorgeous artwork for the newsletter by the Observer newspaper’s political cartoonist and former Children’s laureate Chris Riddell. Now, I suppose, I just need to get cooking. 

You can sign up to receive Ideas with Legs here.