Greetings from Australia!
Australia has many great things, including my parents, my sister, my friends and a full-size kitchen. Before I left London, I dreamed of the big oven in my parents’ kitchen and had plotted and schemed many dishes that I wanted to cook – one for each day of the week – a captive set free at last, if you will.
Of course, I underestimated the strength of pent-up parental affection, which is taking form in a tidal wave of soups, stir-fries and special cakes that I ‘just don’t get in London’. (It’s true. There’s nothing quite like braised pork made with mushrooms and love.)
My presence has kept both my parents in the kitchen for weeks, toiling away, and I’ve been begging to have a turn at the stove if only to give them a break. Tonight, I got my chance… so I went all-out with the ultimate winter meal: a roast with all the trimmings.
If you’re not fortunate enough to have an oven in your tiny kitchen, just commandeer a friend’s. Who doesn’t love a roast bird?
1 large chicken (or 2 small chooks)
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of mixed herbs
2 tablespoons of butter (or Proactiv)
Take the chicken out of the fridge and let it rest for an hour before preparing it. This helps it to stay moist.
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 180°C.
Wash the chicken and pat dry with kitchen paper. Make sure the skin is really dry because it will help it to crisp up.
Finely chop the onion and garlic, then mix with the herbs and butter. I used Proactiv Light, and it worked just fine.
Place the lemon into the cavity of the bird (or chop in half and place into the two smaller birds). Take the Proactiv mix and place a small amount into the cavity, then slide the rest under the skin of the bird.
Place the chicken breast-side-up onto a roasting tray and bake for 90 minutes. Turn it over at 60 minutes, and then again at 80 minutes. Test that the bird is done by poking a skewer or fork into the thickest part of the breast and checking that the juices run clear.
If you want to serve with the holy trinity of the roast vegetables – roast potatoes, honeyed roast carrots and peas – then the best time to add the potatoes and carrots to the oven is at the 30-minute mark. When you take the chicken out of the oven to rest (15 minutes), flick the grill on high to crisp the potatoes up.