Roast Chicken with Lemon & Herbs

Roast Chicken with Lemon & Herbs

Photography by Darren Bester

 

In my top 5 favourite meals of all time … Roast Chicken is definitely up there!  I remember as a child, as I’m sure we all do, finding the wish bone and then finding someone to snap it with, the winner received the honour of making a wish.  I took my wish making very seriously.  Still today, very little comes close to a roast chicken just out the oven, with its crispy skin and tender meat, throw in some of my Mom’s famous roast potatoes, some veggies and gravy and I am one happy lady!  I’m a leg & thigh kinda gal … so if you ever round at my house for dinner and I offer you the leg & thigh … you can be sure that I’m a fan of yours. This recipe has served me well for years, the lemon and herb combo bring a freshness to the roast without compromising on the crispy skin.

Yield: 4

Ingredients:

1 large free Range Chicken

2 large handfuls of fresh Rosemary & Parsley, chopped

1 lemon, halved 

2 extra sprigs of Rosemary for the cavity of the chicken

Coarse Salt & Black Pepper

Couple of glugs of olive oil 

Method: 

Remove chicken from the fridge half an hour before cooking & discard packaging.  Pat dry with some carlton towel and set aside in a safe place

Preheat the oven and roasting tray to 190ºc

Pull up the skin at the tip of the chicken breasts, being careful not to tear it.  Separate the skin from the meat of the breast bone by using a sharp knife to cut through the little bit of tissue holding the two together in the middle.  Mix together the mixed herbs with some salt and a small dash of olive oil and then stuff into this pocket you have created, spreading it down and all around this side of the bird.  Pull the skin back to where it was to ensure none of the flesh is exposed as this will dry out during cooking.  Put the lemon halves (removing any visible pips) and the Rosemary sprigs into the cavity of the chicken.   Use cooking string to tie the legs of the chicken together, to help keep the stuffing inside the bird.  Rub the chicken generously with olive oil, salt & black pepper.  Remove the roasting try and add a few glugs of olive oil before adding the bird and roasting for plus minus 70 – 80 minutes. 

Chicken is cooked when the juices from the thigh run clear. 

Cooks Note: Use whatever herbs you have handy – I’ve tried many combinations by simply using what I had available and haven’t had a disappointment yet.   Remember, all ovens are different so start checking your bird from around the 60 minute mark.

 

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Chocolate Almond Brownies with Strawberry Coulis

Chocolate Almond Brownies with Strawberry Coulis

Who doesn’t perk up when they hear that chocolate brownies are on the menu? It is a fail safe people pleaser … So if you are having friends round & need a quick, easy and delicious dessert … This is it ! WARNING: These brownies are addictive !!!

 

Yield: 25 – 30 Brownies

 Chocolate Brownie Ingredients:

500grms Unsalted Butter

600grms Dark Chocolate (chopped)

200grms White Chocolate (chopped)

200grms Blanched Almonds (chopped)

3 Cups Brown Sugar

8 Eggs

70grms Cocoa Powder

370grms Cake Flour

1tsp Baking Powder 

Method:

Measure out & prepare all your ingredients before getting started 

Grease 2 x 22cm square cake tins with butter / ‘Spray & Cook’ and line with non-stick baking paper – Set aside

Preheat the oven to 150ºc

On a low heat, melt the butter and 400grms of the dark chocolate in a small pot, stirring continuously until smooth.  

In a large mixing bowl, stir the eggs and sugar to combine.  Now add the melted chocolate and mix again.  Sift in the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder and stir gently to combine.  Fold in the remaining 200grms of dark chocolate, white chocolate and almonds.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tins and bake for 20 – 30 minutes.  The brownies should be set on the outside and still slightly gooey on the inside, so keep your eye on them and touch them to get a feel for how firm they are towards the end of the cooking time.  Once out the oven, you can allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and cutting into squares.  Allow to cool on a cooling rack if not serving immediately. 

CLICK HERE FOR STRAWBERRY COULIS RECIPE

 

Raw Candy – Striped Beet, Baby Marrow, Feta & Pomegranate Salad

Raw Candy – Striped Beet, Baby Marrow, Feta & Pomegranate Salad

With Summer rapidly approaching and the fear of ‘bearing all’ around the swimming pool re-emerging after hibernating all winter long, I decided it was time to start cutting out the carbs to slim down that stubborn waist line.  I was inspired when I saw the beautiful candy-striped beetroots in the veg section at my trusty Mothership and this salad just evolved from there.   I must say, I’m quite pleased with the end result … not only is it super healthy but its eye catchingly vibrant in colour, tasty and not so predicatlbe. 

Ingredients:

3 Candy-Striped Beetroots (washed & scrubbed, top & tailed)

1 Pack Baby Marrow (washed, top & tailed)

1 Pack Snap Peas (washed & halved)

2 or 3 Radishes (washed, top and tailed)

1 Generous Handful of Pomegranates 

1 Generous Handful of Sunflower Seeds 

1 or 2 Rounds of Feta Cheese (Goats Cheese or Buffalo Mozzarella Balls would also work well)

1 Pack Mung Bean Sprouts

1 Packet Rocket 

Juice of 1 or 2 lemons 

For the Lemon Zest Dressing: 

30mls Olive Oil 

15mls Balsamic Vinegar

Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

10mls fresh lemon juice 

Pinch Brown Sugar

2 Cloves Garlic, crushed and finely chopped 

Sprinkle of salt & black pepper 

Method: 

Using a mandolin, carefully slice the candy beetroots into thin rounds and submerge in a bowl of lemon juice for 10 minutes.  In the mean time, slice each baby marrow in halve lengthways and run down the mandolin creating thing strips, set aside.  Now run the radishes along the mandolin, creating beautiful thin little rounds, place in a bowl of cold water until required.  

Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together.  Place rocket leaves on platter, coat with some of the dressing & toss.  Remove beets from their lemon bath and scatter over the rocket, togther with the baby marrow slices,snap peas and radishes.  Sprinkle over the pomegranates, feta & sunflower seeds. Give another good toss & garnish with Mung Beans.   Either Pour over the remainder of the dressing just before serving or serve separately, along side the salad. 

Poached Perfection!

Poached Perfection!

Photography by Darren Bester

 

Have you watched the movie Run Away Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? Where she likes her eggs however her boyfriend at the time likes his… I would do a lot of things for love, but I would not compromise how I like my eggs …! 2 soft poached eggs please and don’t be shy with the Hollandaise Sauce!

Last week, I gave you my top tips on frying the perfect sunny side up egg. This week, we look at tips on poaching to perfection! Poaching the perfect egg can be daunting but if you follow these guidelines, you should be plating up poached eggs to be proud of:-

 

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  • Fresh eggs are a non negotiable! Even if you follow all the other steps but your eggs are not fresh, your end result will be disappointing
  • Ideally, eggs should be room temperature
  • Use a deep large pot
  • For every litre of water, add 15ml vinegar (aim for close on 2 litres of water if possible). The vinegar helps the white of the egg to set. Lack of vinegar will result in your egg not shaping nicely so it is a vital ingredient
  • Bring the water to the boil and then add your vinegar
  • Drop the heat to a gentle simmer
  • Stir in a circular motion inside your pot to create a whirlpool
  • Crack your egg and gently drop from the centre of the pot into the whirlpool
  • Set a timer for ± 2 minutes (for soft poached)
  • Leave the egg alone – do not be tempted to touch it
  • When the timer go’s off, remove your little beauty with a slotted spoon and if not serving immediately, carefully place in a bowl of cold water (this will stop the cooking process)
  • If serving immediately, trim the egg white by cutting off any stragglers and season with salt & pepper
  • Never add the salt to your pot during the cooking process –this breaks down egg proteins
  • If you placed your eggs in cold water and you are now ready to plate up – all you need to do is gently place your poached eggs in hot salted water for 30 seconds to heat through, drain with a slotted spoon, trim the egg white, season and enjoy!
  • Note: You can poach your egg a few hours in advance and leave in cold water in the fridge until required – this helps eliminate pressure & ensures everyone can have breakfast at the same time 🙂