23 May 2014

My Crispy Golden Roast Chicken

You are probably thinking, "Goddamn. It was so pleasant having Bella and her darned food blog off my newsfeed and now she's bloody back". Well guys, exams are over, my body has been sufficiently deprived of all and any nutrients and I'm back on the cooking bandwagon. Last night I roasted a chicken. One of the simplest pleasures in life.



Start off by pre-heating your oven to around 190c.



Pull away the skin from the chicken meat and then pat it dry with a paper towel. This is ideal for crispy, golden skin.



Get your butter and place little knobs of it under the skin on the breasts and thighs. Then push down on the skin to try and smoosh it out. As you can see below... my smooshing did not come to much...



Pierce holes in the meat with a knife and shove in little sprigs of rosemary.

Then get a garlic clove and chop into thin slices (about 2mm thick) and shove in the little pockets with the rosemary.

Sprinkle generously with salt.

Take apart the rest of the head of garlic and place the cloves in your baking tray. Place the chicken above the cloves.

Lightly squeeze half a lemon into the chicken and place it inside.





























Shove in the oven for around 1h30 and let the comforting smell of roasting butter and meat fill the house.

When the chicken has finished roasting, you have to let it sit for about 10 minutes. I used this time to make a really simple gravy. Tilt the roasting pan to the side and the clear fat and dark brown juices should separate. Siphon off the fat with a spoon. To the juices add a tablespoon and a half of plain flour, a generous sprinkling of salt and two mugs worth of water. I also like to add red wine to give the gravy depth. Cook this for about 10 minutes on a medium heat (don't let it boil!) and add more flour or water depending on how thick you would like it.

I served this with my favourite salad ever (pancetta, avocado, blue cheese & tomato), roast veg and potatoes and some bread for gravy dipping!







SERVES 4

Ingredients:

Chicken
  • 1 chicken
  • 30g butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 head of garlic
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • Salt, a sprinkling
Gravy
  • 1.5 tbsp plain flour
  • 3/4 glass red wine
  • 2 mugs of water
  • Salt, a sprinkling

7 May 2014

May Ballin'

Dear friends, I wish you the best of luck with your revision... I have not yet found the courage to start but am (hopefully) concluding my procrastination with a blog post.

This weekend I hosted a nibbles predrinks for some pals prior to attending our May Ball.

The weather was grey and drizzly but the bubbles were flowing, Rihanna was singing in the background and my friends dug into the canap├ęs...

* disclaimer: Rihanna was not actually present.



I thought I'd give you a little insight into my menu...


And how I made most of it! But not all of it... unless I have requests for the very tricky things I left out (i.e. Cheese on toast: slice cheese, add to sliced bread, grill)

 I was serving about 40 hungry (and beautiful) mouths...



Lamb Koftas
  • 1,200g lamb mince
  • 40g fresh mint, chopped
  • 6 garlic gloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground garam masala 
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • A few pinches of salt

Really simple! Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl, roll into small meatballs and cook on a medium-high heat, in a non-stick pan for 8 minutes, turning regularly. 

You don't need to add oil cause lamb mince is pretttty fatty, you may even have to drain some off! 


Bruscetta
  • 8 mini baguettes (or 4 large)
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 500g mozzarella
  • 175g parma ham
  • 100g milano salami
  • Basil, to garnish

  • A knob of butter
  • 1 red onion
  • 700g mushrooms, finely diced
  • 150ml white wine
  • 300ml double cream
  • a pinch of salt
  • a grating of parmesan

Preheat oven to 180c, slice baguettes on a diagonal to about 1.5cm wide and shove in the oven until they are crispy on the outside but not brittle (about 4-5 minutes). While the bread is in the oven, peel a head of garlic cloves (this may not even be enough). When they are ready, drizzle the warm breads with a little olive oil, and rub each one with a garlic clove. 

For the creamy mushroom topping (so delicious it hurts), chop up an onion very finely, add it to a pan with a knob of butter and cook until the onions are translucent and soft. Wash your mushrooms and dice them up quite finely. Add them to the onion and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes. Drain off any water that has left the mushrooms. Add two cloves of crushed garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add the 150ml of white wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the 300ml of double cream and a pinch of salt and cook for 6 minutes. The lower and slower you cook this, the richer and more indulgent the creamy sauce will be! 

Don't top your bruscettas until you are about to serve or they will go soggy and mushy. Yuck.

When you are ready, cut the mozzarella into slices, add to half the breads, on top of them add a slice of salami or some parma ham and top with a small basil leaf.

For the mushroom bruscetta, spoon the mixture onto the breads and grate over some parmesan! 

These went down a treat!!



Cocktail Sausages
  • 1,200g cocktail sausages
  • 180g mustard
  • 340g honey
I must say, you probably don't need that much mustard and honey but I wanted to give mine a good coating and a half, so I went all out.

Preheat the oven to 200c, combine the mustard and honey in your baking dish, add the sausages and shove in the oven to caramelise for about 12-15 minutes. I served with some cocktail sticks and ketchup to the side.







































Sweet Potato Wedges
  • 1.25kg Sweet Potato
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • a generous pinch of salt

Pre-heat your oven to 200c, scrub and wash your sweet potatoes (no need to peel them), cut them until into small wedges (I cut mine in half length ways and then into three). In your roasting pan combine the oil, spices and salt, add the wedges and give em a good mix to coat them in the oil. You'll want to roast them for about 35 minutes. I gave mine a thorough shaking half way through, when they were just starting to soften up - to make the edges more floury and to get a crispier outside! 


Mini Meringues with Indulgent Cream and Berries
  • 32 mini meringues
  • 300ml cream
  • 5 tbsp icing sugar
  • 300g summer berries 

These are heavenly and oh so simple to make. Whisk your double cream and icing sugar, until it becomes thick but still soft like Mr Whippy ice-cream. Add more sugar to taste (I always add more... and more.... and more and more). Add your berries and stir them through. I used frozen but thawed berries because they are way cheaper and also because they leave a gorgeous trail of pink and purple through the cream. Spoon this mixture onto your little meringues. 

(You can also do this with normal sized meringues for a dinner party and serve one up to each person!!!!)







































My dreams of drunken munchies on return to the house were shattered by the revelation that EVERYTHING had been consumed. Except for some, by then, stale original pringles and pitta breads... Not ideal. But I'm hoping that's a sign that people had a great time. I know I did. 

Many thanks to my gorgeous flatmate for letting this happen...


** for those of you who have been asking, my dress was from Nasty Gal. They've sold out now but definitely have a peek - it's like a cheaper, sexier Urban Outfitters!