Another milestone was reached today in the life of this blog as it has had over 2,000 page views so, once again, thank you very much to all of you who are reading! I get emails and messages about how addictive it has become but all in the name of culinary fun!
Tonight, I made Spring vegetable roast chicken and although it took 1.5 hours to cook, it took minimal time to prepare. I chopped up some new potatoes, carrots, fennel and garlic and put them all in a roasting dish. I then added olive oil, salt and pepper. I just tossed everything then to make sure they were all covered in the oil. I set the chicken on top of the vegetables and squeezed half a lemon into the cavity along with one chopped half of the lemon. I added the other chopped half of lemon in along with the other vegetables. Yes, as you know me by now, I had the Latex gloves on for this part and had the squeezed lemon juice in a jug to ensure minimal time of having to handle the chicken. I was supposed to have sage leaves for this recipe but no luck so the recipe had to do without them.
This was my first time cooking with a fennel bulb which reminds me of liquorice although having looked it up on Google, fennel is not related to liquorice although it does taste similar. I had to put a lot of peeled garlic cloves into the dish (10 in total!) but I have a handy wee trick which I must share. While I was off work on maternity leave last year, I watched a lot of cooking programmes when I was feeding Baby Daughter as I needed something to keep my mind busy. Anyway, this tip comes courtesy of Ina Garten aka The Barefoot Contessa. In one of her programmes, she had quite a number of cloves of garlic to peel so she put them in a bowl of boiling water for 30 seconds and then they were so easy to peel. Try it. It definitely works.
Dear Husband gave the meal 7.5 marks out of 10. He said it was very similar to last night’s even though I explained that the only vegetable common to last night’s was potatoes. I never let on about the fennel because I thought he wouldn’t eat it if I said anything. That is a trick my mother uses on my father. She will put something in a meal that she doesn’t normally use and doesn’t let on and then Daddy doesn’t notice until she then brings it up, by which time, he has eaten it and enjoyed it. Aw, the antics of the Irish mammy! By the way, Dear Husband has no recollection of having eaten the fennel!
Getting back to tonight and Dear Husband said the chicken was very ‘orangey’ even though I said it was lemons I used. Also, it turns out that he actually ATE the chopped up lemon wedges!!! Is it any wonder he thought it was orangey or ‘lemony’ or whatever! Lol! I don’t know – how would an oven-cooked lemon wedge taste like really?!!! I’m thinking fair play to him for powering through – all in the name of being my guinea pig!!! Dear Son ate some of his chicken but not much of the vegetables. I strongly suspect that had something to do with his Dear Uncle and Dear Aunty sneaking him crisps and chocolate though!!! If you are both reading this - yes, I am on to the two of you!!!
To conclude, I probably shouldn’t have made two versions of roasted chicken two nights in a row but I’ll make this again. One of the many things that Rachel Allen and Nigella Lawson seem to have in common is their love of the roast chicken. Another good thing about roasting a chicken is that I then use the carcass to make home-made chicken stock which I use for Baby Daughter’s dinners. You might think that making home-made chicken stock is a bit OTT but it’s the simplest thing in the world to make and a lot healthier than the packet stuff which is substantially made of salt. That chicken goes some distance in the food chain as then our doggies get to share it. And I know that our dogs love chicken. So, all round, roasted chicken is a winner in our house and, I suspect, in most Irish houses. Except of course, my father doesn’t eat chicken (as he keeps live ones in the garden) so Mammy – don’t be trying to sneak chicken into Daddy’s dinners!