Reader, on Sunday I made a truly awesome roast dinner. It took me six hours (not including the prep work I did the night before), but it was so ridiculously amazing that there were no left overs. None. Not even a scrap. So I felt it only right that I share with you how to make some of the best bits of it.
Lemon and Garlic chicken
Wheat free Gruyère and caramelised onion tartlets (we also have these at Christmas, they're a fab veggie alternative to meat for a roast as they work brilliantly with gravy and trimmings)
Twice roasted potatoes
Wheat free apple and date pie
I'd never made a roast chicken by myself before, what with becoming a veggie at 16, but it was actually a lot easier than I thought. I completely ignored the cooking time on the package and prepared it three hours in advance, then kept it warm in the oven. Before that I stuffed the chicken with half a lemon and three crushed garlic cloves and rubbed it all over with said ingredients. I then massaged it with olive oil and poured a little inside. I baked the chicken on gas mark 6 for an hour and a half before turning it over (there were quite a lot of juices at this point) and cooking again for 20 minutes, then I raised the chicken above the residual juice left in the baking tray and kept it on a low heat of gas mark 2 till we ate. The carnivores of the family said it was very moist, flavoursome and perfectly cooked so something went right!
The pies are slightly more work, I originally found the recipe in Delia Smith's Christmas Cookbook, which is an old one we've had since either the late 80s or early 90s I think. It makes 8 small tartlets
YOU WILL NEED
175g plain flour
75g butter (room temp)
50g strong cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
For the filling-2 eggs (beaten)
175ml single cream (I used low fat)
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
75g Gruyère cheese
240g red onions
salt and pepper to season
Heat oven to gm 4 (180 degrees C). Firstly make up the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour till it looks a bit breadcrumby, then add grated cheddar and mustard powder plus enough water to turn the make a smoothish dough. Shove it in the fridge for 20 mins (ten mins will do in a pinch). Roll out really thin and line greased patty tins, before baking in the oven for 15-20 mins or till pastry is airtight but still pale. Cool to the side, while you caramelise the onions in butter and sugar over a low heat, till they've turned all gooey and golden brown, then take off heat. Brush pastry with a bit of the beaten egg, then put back in the oven for 5 mins (stops them getting soggy). Mix beaten eggs with cream, mustard and salt and pepper. Spoon the onions onto the pastry, top with grated Gruyère and then carefully pour the eggy mix over each tart. Bake for 30 mins or till golden. I tend to do mine the day before and then reheat them, they are also amazing cold with salad.
With the potatoes, I boil them till practically falling apart. While this is happening, I'll have a deep baking tin (Or two) in the oven doused in olive oil, salt and pepper on full temperature. Drain the potatoes, let them dry for five mins, then (wearing oven gloves and standing away from the oven) pour them into the tin. Be careful at this point, hot oil is really not your friend. Stir them round the tin and flick some knobs of butter on the top, then leave cooking for 45 minutes. Come back and toss them and then leave in oven on middle shelf for up to 3 hours on gm 3. They're ridiculously crunchy and soft on the inside-killer!
Hope you guys enjoy if you get round to trying these little methods!