Roast Chicken

For me, nothing beats a good Sunday roast and chicken is one of my favourites. I have to say, my fiancé does a mean roast chicken, but this week, it was my turn.

I start by putting some roasting dishes in the oven with dripping in them – I used leftover dripping from the Christmas turkey this time – and let them get good and hot on 220C.

Whilst that’s warming up, peel and chop the potatoes – I do mine quite small – rinse to remove excess starch and pop in boiling water for around 10 minutes. After that time, check with a sharp knife to see if they’re on their way to being done. If they are, drain them and carefully tip them into the hot fat in one of the roasting dishes. Gently make sure the potatoes are all coated in dripping and season with pepper and rosemary. Pop them back in the oven for around 10minutes.

Whilst the potatoes are getting a head start, get your chicken and put in a cool roasting dish. Smother generously with butter or far – I use goose fat – and season with plenty of pepper and a slight grinding of salt. Cover loosely with foil and pop Mr Chicken in the oven, turning the temperature down to 180C.

Every 20 minutes, I take the bird out and baste with the juices in the pan. After an hour, add sliced carrots, leeks and florets of broccoli and cauliflower into the second roasting tin that’s been getting nice and hot. At this point, you also want to uncover the chicken so the skin can crisp up and continue with regular basting – you will thank me!

Give everything around 20minutes, then test the chicken with a sharp knife or skewer and if the juices run clear, it’s done. Whilst it’s resting, make some gravy – I was lazy this time and just used instant. Serve and enjoy.

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Chinese Slow-Roast Pork Belly Strips

This evening, I cooked up one of my partner’s favourite dinners – Chinese slow roasted pork belly strips.

The name may sound daunting, but really, it’s super easy to make.

Start with some pork belly strips. I always get mine from the butcher, so I know they’re nice and thick and of a good size, which allows me to do one strip per person. However, if using supermarket meat, you may need two or three pieces each, as they are considerably smaller in size.

Line a roasting tin with foil and pop in your meat. Splash in a generous amount of soy sauce and sprinkle the meat generously with Chinese five spice. Slice up one clove of garlic thinly per belly strip and pop these on top of the meat, before pouring runny honey over the pork and if you want to, add a sprinkling of chilli flakes – add as much or as little as you like of this. Cover the tin with foil and allow the meat to marinade for a good few hours, or overnight if possible.

Pre-heat the oven to 140C, putting another large roasting tin in at the same time with some lard or oil if you prefer. Par-boil some potatoes, chopped up relatively small. I had some leftover new potatoes, so I didn’t even bother peeling them today. When the lard is nice and hot, strain the potatoes and add to the roasting tin, before sprinkling with some rosemary. Return to the oven and put the pork in too.

After an hour, add some carrots and red onions to the potatoes turn the oven up to 170C. Remove the pork from the oven and turn the meat over. Pour over some extra honey for added stickiness and return to the oven, uncovered for another 30minutes. When this time is up, take the meat out of the oven and cover over again to keep it warm. Crank up the oven to 200C and give the veggies another 10minutes.

Then just serve up and enjoy! (Remember you will have a ready-made sauce in the meat roasting tin made from the honey, soy sauce and meat juices.)

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