Tag Archives: roast chicken

Flying and eating, two chickens

Roast chicken

I’m about to get on a plane and I already know that I am going eat too much. Worse still, I know that I am going to eat too much stuff that should never, under any circumstance, have ever passed my lips. It’s totally and utterly inevitable. We all do it – we can have a beautiful meal no more than a couple of hours before we get on a flight, with the promise of another, excitingly exotic culinary adventure in a strange city waiting for us just minutes after we land and yet, when faced with an (unexpectedly) wet, plastic tray of largely unidentifiable and almost totally inedible fodder, we feel compelled to consume it.

And why do we do this? Why do we have this unshakable need to eat anything put in front of us when we’re on a plane, regardless of its (dubious) nutritional merit? Perhaps it’s some sort of innate survival instinct that we still posses from times where famine was commonplace – we’re held captive in this overcrowded bus in the sky and we’re suddenly coming on all “hoardy” and searching out the only source of nutrition immediately available. Or maybe it’s simply driven by a misguided attempt to derive the maximum value from the arse-clenchingly huge sums of cash that we’ve already piled into making the journey., despite the fact that the food served on the flight probably accounts for less than 1% of the cost of the ticket. And yet, knowing the fallacy of my actions, in just a few hours time, I’ll be sitting in my designed-for-discomfort, baby vomit-stained, dog-eared faux leather seat with a full belly and a deep sense of regret.

And what’s worse, it’s equally inevitable that just a few hours later and an hour before we land, they’ll pass by one more time with a soggy cheese and tomato sandwich sitting uncomfortably beside a diminutive KitKat and it will take all my strength to turn it down (by the way, why is it that everything on a plane is half the size it should be? Cans of coke – of which they always give you two – pretzels, nuts, the aforementioned KitKats, cutlery, pillows, vodka – they all seem to come in dwarf-like sizes. All evidence, (as so eloquently argued in this very post), is that we eat more on a plane so why on earth is the only good stuff presented to us in minuscule portions?)

And while I’m at it, why do we consume an order of magnitude more tomato juice on planes than we do in real life? How often do you ask for tomato juice when you’re not on a plane, except when you’re hung over and there’s half a bottle of vodka in the glass with it? So why do we invariably ask for it when we’re flying? It makes no sense to me, and yet I play along happily…

I’m going to be strong. I’m going to make a stand and beat these urges once and for all. Well I’m going to try (mind you, there is something so magical about peeling off that wet foil to unveil the greasy wonders within…)

Anyway – to business: chicken seems to play a major role in this little blog of mine, and no less so today as I come at you with two wonderful ways of cooking our feathery friends, both requiring a little basic butchery skill, but nothing that should scare you…

Roast chicken with lemon and onions

Take a whole chicken and cut it into pieces: two legs, two thighs, two breasts and two wings, leaving the top part of the wing attached to the breast – in posh circles this is called a supreme.

Now take the pieces and put them in a large roasting tin with a quartered onion, a bulb of garlic roughly crushed, a quartered lemon and lots of salt, pepper, olive oil and white wine. Roast it in an oven at 220c for about 40 mins, turning twice throughout, but making sure you finish cooking with the skin side up so that it gets nice and crispy. Perfect with mashed spuds and some green stuff.

Roast chicken pieces with a spicy dry rub

Get another chicken, and chop it up in the same way as above, then rub generously with olive oil and a mixture of the following: two cardamom pods, two star anise, two tablespoons each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds and sea salt, one tablespoon each of peppercorns, fennel seeds, and half a cinnamon stick, all ground into a powder. Stick them on a baking tray (on oiled tinfoil if you want to avoid the worst washing up session of your life) and cook in an oven at 220c for about 40 mins, turning twice throughout, but making sure you finish etc etc..

Serve with lots of chips. To be honest it’s pretty much the same as KFC. But in an edible way.

Roast rubbed chicken

Postscript:
I’ve just landed. I peeled the foil and ate the meal – every last bit of it. I had tomato juice. I awoke to find the devious bastards had placed one of those breakfast boxes right in front of my face but I DID NOT SURRENDER…

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Sunday lunch

More crossants and pain au chocolat – I really have to get them to try something different for breakfast. I’m not worried though because it’s merely a prelude to the main event – Sunday Lunch…

Roast chicken with mashed garlic swede, cabbage, roast spuds and parsnips

Firstly prepare the chicken by stuffing with half an onion a handful of rosemary and thyme and a stick of celery, then slash the thighs and cover the whole thing with lots of salt, pepper, tarragon and olive oil. put it in a 220c oven – it needs to stay in there for about an hour and twenty minutes then pull it out out and rest it in foil while you make the gravy with the juices from the bottom of the pan, some flour, a glug of wine and the water that you used to cook the veg.

A few things to mention about the veg (although I’m not going to take you through it step by step – this isn’t a cookery book).  To get perfect results you must par-boild the spuds (10 mins) and parsnips (5 mins) before you put them in the oven (this time I used extra virgin rapeseed oil – bright yellow and beautiful) for about 40 mins. 

The cabbage should also be cooked in boiling water for a just a few minutes before dropping into cold water and leaving until ready to reheat in a pan with butter and lots of seasoning. The swede just needs to be cut into chunks and boiled in the water you used from the spuds. When the swede is cooked, take it out of the pan, and drop in a good chunk of butter with a couple of cloves of garlic finely chopped. Then put it back into the pan and mash – perfect…

Of course – all of this is for nothing without a big bowl of bread sauce – milk heated to simmering point with an onion and a few cloves, left to cool a little then strained into another saucepan. Add a few handfuls of breadcrumbs, lots of butter, a few glugs of cream and season…

Very simple but loads of work and loads of washing up. It’s well worth it though – especially for the chicken sandwiches later that evening. And DON’T forget to keep the carcass – put it in a saucepan with an onion, a few peppercorns and a carrot, then add boiling water and simmer for about forty minutes – perfect chicken stock and none of those rubbish stock cubes in sight.

Lunch is over and the weekend is drawing to a close – just enough time for a quick outing on the bikes and more wii (although no more wii sports which was an unfortunate casualty of the weekend – left on the floor and scratched to death by a careless short…)