Sunday, August 31, 2008

Finger Licking Chicken Drumsticks

While my kids are now bigger, I still clearly remember the days when anything they ate had to be manageable by hand. Brave girls that they are, there was nearly no food that could not be turned into finger food - I can still picture the result of their finger food approach to spaghetti bolognaise, ice cream and noodles; my kitchen, my children and myself covered in drippy mess. You'll be glad to know that I slowly got smarter and started feeding them food that was designed to be eaten by hand; with chicken legs remaining a favourite 5+ years later.

This recipe was renamed "ice cream chicken" by my youngest, because she used to lick at the drumstick like an icecream because she loved the sauce so much. It is still one of her favourites. The recipe comes from a cookbook for feeding small children called "Family Meal Planner" by Annabel Karmel. Annabel Karmel publishes cookbooks of food to feed infants from first solids onwards. They are always a favourite baby shower gift, and if the recipient is anything like me, they will still be used years later. Make sure you double the recipe for lots of yummy leftovers.
Finger Licking Chicken Drumsticks
4 large drumsticks
1 1/2 tbl white wine vinegar
60ml tomato sauce (ketchup if you are in Nth America)
30ml honey
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Add the drumsticks, making sure they are well-covered in the sauce. Cover and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 220C. Arrange the drumsticks in a shallow baking dish, and pour over all the marinade. Cook for 35-40 minutes, turning the chicken over after about 20 mins. Serve with rice to help mop up any leftover sauce.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Really Good Red Lentil Salad

I have only come to love lentils quite recently. For a long time, I unfairly associated them with poverty-stricken student housing days, and Neil from "The Young Ones" (yes the 80s is still quite fresh in my mind). A stodgy, tasteless, boring mass that needed something /anything to give them a bit of flavour and interest. A year or so ago, I discovered how good they can be with a Bill Granger salad that matched green lentils with beetroot, goats cheese and asparagus (you have to trust me that it works), and I now find myself drawn to exploring more and more lentil recipes. Good for the health and the wallet.

This lentil salad comes from Belinda Jeffrey's "100 Favourite Recipes", and is completely more-ish. Whenever I make it, I find it hard not to keep nibbling. The currants and capers work wonderfully together, giving a hit of both sweet and salty, while the spices lend some warm background tastes. Even better, this salad will keep well in the fridge for more than a week, making it perfect for leftover lunches or encore performances.
Spicy Red Lentils With Capers and Currants
adapted from "100 Favourite Recipes" by Belinda Jeffrey
400g dried red lentils
70g currants
1/4 cup capers
1/4 red onion, slivered
125ml good olive oil
2 tbl red wine vinegar
1 tbl sugar
1 tsp sea salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
sprinkling of nutmeg to tatse
Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl, and whisk until they are combined.
Tip lentils into a sieve and check for any small stones or dark lentils. Run the lentils in the sieve under a tap until the water coming through the lentils is clear. Tip the lentils into a saucepan of boiling water. Stir them well and allow to boil for a couple of minutes, until they are just tender. (You are looking for an al dente slight firmness). As soon as they are ready, tip them back into the sieve to drain, shaking out all excess water.
Toss the cooked, warm lentils in the dressing. Add the capers and currants, and leave the salad to cool, stirring regularly. Mix in the onion just before serving. This salad can be eaten warm or cold.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Butterflied Chicken

Sometimes its the journey not the destinaton, and that was the case for me with this recipe. This week's Barefoot Challenge was Butterflied Chicken, a tasty marinated bird that was boned and butterflied. Chosen by Stefany, from Proceed With Caution, this was a great choice for the group because it pushed everyone (or a lot of us) outside our comfort zones. You can check out what everyone else did here. I cook whole chickens often, so that was no problem, and I have butterflied a few in my time as well. But boning one? Never. (If you are a little squeamish maybe skip the next paragraph...)

So I took it slowly. First I cut down either side of the chicken's backbone with my poultry shears. Then I pressed the chicken flat to butterfly it. And then the tricky bit... I slowly worked my hands between the meat and the bones to remove the central bones, leaving behind the bones in the wings, and legs. I then halved the marinade ingredients for making only one chicken, and once marinated, I rolled the chicken up as directed to absorb the flavours all day in the fridge. All going well... but then I cheated, cooking it under the grill in the oven instead of on the BBQ (too cold tonight to be outside).

Apart from being pleased with my new-found boning skill, I really enjoyed the flavour and so did my husband but eldest darling daughter found it a bit too pungent and herby. I'm looking forward to leftovers tossed in a salad tomorrow. Thanks Stefany.

Butterflied Chicken
adapted from Ina Garten

1/8 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 2 sprigs
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoons lemon juice
Good olive oil
1 roasting chicken, deboned and butterflied
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced

Mix the chopped rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl to make a paste.

Place the chicken on a sheet pan, skin side up, and loosen the skin from the flesh with your fingers. Place 1/2 of the paste under the skin of each chicken. Rub any remaining paste on the outside and underside of the chickens. Turn the chicken skin side down and scatter the lemon slices and sprigs of rosemary over each chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Roll each chicken up, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a grill with coals. Spread the coals out in 1 dense layer and brush the grill with oil. Unroll the chickens, place them on the grill and cook for 12 minutes on each side.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Never-Ending Quest For The World's Best Choc-Chip Cookies

A chocolate chip cookie is one of those rare recipes that almost everyone will have tried to make at some point in their lives. Even trickier, almost everyone will have an opinion on what makes them really good. The NY Times recently ran a big article on what makes for a good choc-chip recipe, but it does seem to vary person to person.
In our family, we are evenly divided on whether they should be thin and crispy (me and littlest daughter) or whether they should be soft and chewy (husband and eldest daughter). Without question, the chocolate is always semi-sweet, and I like to make them quite small (it feels less indecent when the kids want to have three or four). Choc chip cookies also freeze quite well, so if you make a big batch, you can always stash some away for later - I actually like them straight from the freezer. NY Times would definitely disagree with me on size, and not serving them warm! I would love to hear your suggestions if you have any on this???

I plan to share some more recipes for chocolate chip cookies in the future as my search for a definitive "best recipe" continues, and I will try the NY Times recipe for you as well (yes it is a sacrifice). In the meantime, this recipe from Martha Stewart has been called "quite possibly the best batch yet" by my husband. It comes from a special issue magazine called "Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies" that has a really wonderful range of biscuits in it - sadly I can't find it on Amazon, but look out for it on ebay.
Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
from "Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies"
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
250g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cooking salt
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet choc chips
Preheat oven to 180C. Whisk together flour and baking soda and put aside. Beat butter and sugars together at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 mins. Reduce speed to low, then add salt, vanilla and eggs. Mix until well-combined, about 1 min. Stir in flour mixture by hand then stir in choc chips. Do not overwork the batter.
Line oven sheets with baking paper. Spoon out the dough depending on your preferred size of biscuit. I use a heaping teaspoon to give a nice smallish cookie size. Bake until the edges of the cookies turn golden but the centres are still soft, 10-12 minutes. Cool on trays for 2 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to as week.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lamb With Provencal Vegetables

Mea culpa. I'm offering an apology to anyone who may subscribe to this feed, and felt they were revisiting some old posts today. I was shifting things around a bit and relabelling some items and I have discovered that any editing (even adding a label) means a re-distribution of an old post. Won't make that mistake again in a hurry.

And now to the lamb. As a good Aussie girl, I love roast lamb in any form, and I have been trying to put together some lamb recipes for this blog. Unfortunately, my incompetence with the camera left me with a couple of recipes that resulted in such horrible shots that I binned them. Time to search for a pretty lamb recipe, and where better to find a pretty recipe than a Vogue cookbook, called "Wickedly Winter". Unfortunately I can't find a link to this book - it was published in 2000 and sometimes shows up on Ebay, so maybe try that if you are interested. Anyway, this roast combination creates a lovely vision on the plate - just carve the chops 2 by 2, pink if you like it that way, and lie beside the very pretty vegetable braise, which I am still enjoying as leftovers. Easy and delicious and pretty, and after all, if it doesn't look good no one will want to eat it.

Rack of Lamb With Roasted Nicoise Vegetables
adapted from "Wickedly Winter: A Vogue Entertaining Cookbook"

1 tbl olive oil

1 brown onion, peeled and chopped roughly

500g zucchini chopped

750g potatoes, chopped to rough 3cm cubes

3 tomatoes peeled and chopped roughly

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 tbl finely chopped fresh parsely

1 rack of lamb with 8-10 cutlets (fed 2 adults and 2 kids - get another rack if you are serving more people)

Heat olive oil in a large pot (or a very large frying pan), and saute the the onion, zucchini and potato for 5 mins over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and herbs, season and cook for a further five minutes. Tip the vegtables into a roasting tin.

Preheat oven to 220C. Place the lamb racks on top of the vegetables. If you want to keep the racks looking pretty, wrap each bone in some foil to stop them from charring. Roast the racks for 10mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C and roast for 20-30 mins or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the oven and rest the meat, loosely covered with foil for 5-10 mins. Seve with the vegetables.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pancetta-Wrapped Blue-Eye Cod

Darling husband had a trip to the allergy specialist this week to investigate suspected seafood allergies, which meant a trip to the fish market for me to collect samples of everything we wanted him tested for. Being quite eclectic eaters, I found a very patient staff member and proceeded to circumnavigate one of the larger outlets collecting: 1 clam, 1 oyster, 1 mussel, 1 octopus (damn I forgot the squid), 1 scallop, 1 prawn, 1 crab and 1 lobster. Each went into its own ziploc bag and into a chiller bag. And the great news? He is allergic to none of these, so expect some seafood recipes in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, I picked up a lovely big fillet of blue eye cod for dinner. I like to cook fish at least once or twice a week for the family, and blue-eye cod (or as it is more correctly known, blue-eye trevalla) remains a favourite for all of us. It is a white fleshed fish that is meaty enough to withstand roasting or panfrying without being at all dry or tough. With the freezer challenge from Chris at Mele Cotte in mind, I decided to make a recipe I had spotted earlier on the website for Pancetta-wrapped Blue Eye Cod. I knew I had a parcel of pancetta in the freezer that needed using, and the combination of fish and pancetta is lovely. It creates a pairing of crispy texture with the softness of the fish and salty taste from the pancetta with the creaminess of the fish. This recipe comes from Tobie Puttock who is making a name for himself in Australia as a cookbook author and head chef of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant in Melbourne.

Pancetta-wrapped Blue-eye Cod
adapted from a Tobie Puttock recipe on

1 600g blue-eye trevalla fillet, skin removed and pin-boned
grated zest of 1 lemon
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
10 thin slices flat pancetta
50ml extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C. Season the fish with zest and pepper. Place fish on an oven tray, and wrap slices of pancetta around the fish, overlapping each one and tucking the edges underneath. Drizzle with good extra-virgin olive oil. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until fish is cooked through. (NB The original recipe calls for panfrying the pancetta wrapped fillet before baking, but I didn't, and my pancetta was still crisp and my fish was cooked, so my advice would be don't bother).

The original recipe was served with salsa verde, but I forgot to buy my verde, so I created a salsa from pickle, anchovies, olive oil and lemon juice whizzed together in a blender. Delicious!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Grilled California Pizzas

My second challenge for the Barefoot Bloggers group was a grilled pizza, chosen by Rebecca from Ezra Pound Cake. This was a really great choice for me because I had always dismissed making my own pizzas on a "why bother?" basis. And now I know the answer - because they taste great and are fun. The dough, which had always intimidated me, was really simple to make, and I think you could flavour it to lift it even further (maybe onions?). In fact, if you were having an afternoon drinks / BBQ party, I think it would be perfect to have a whole pile of dough, a range of toppings and let people make their own. Roll on summer!
This week I made the pizzas for the kids with the leftovers of our leg ham and mozarella as they are not yet into anything too tricky on a pizza. They were great, and I reckon an adult version would be even better. In the meantime, I have just one suggestion for you - don't let your grill get too hot because the bottom of your pizza can burn before the topping is bubbling and melting.

Grilled California Pizzas
Ina Garten recipe on
For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 teaspoons kosher salt
For the toppings take your pick:
red onion, thinly sliced
fresh mozzarella
Italian Fontina, grated
mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet, sliced
red or yellow capsicum
prosciutto, thinly sliced and julienned
rocket, cleaned and dried
plum tomatoes, sliced
salami, sliced
basil leaves, cleaned and dried

For prep: 1/2 cup good olive oil Cornmeal
For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each one into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature. Roll and stretch each ball into a rough 22cm circle and place them all on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal.
Light your grill and wait until it's hot. Place the pizzas directly onto the grill and cook on 1 side for 1 minute. Turn the pizzas over and brush with olive oil or garlic oil.

Top the pizzas with any toppings you wish, piling them high. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put the lid on your grill and cook for 5 minutes more, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sukiyaki - The Simple way

Sometimes, late in the day, I just don't feel like doing anything more than grilling a chop...which would be fine, if I hadn't already committed myself to something a little more exotic. Like Saturday, when I suggested sukiyaki for dinner, because I was feeling inspired in the mid-morning. My family loves anything that involves noodles and asian flavours, so it seemed like a good idea. At least until I ran out of puff mid-afternoon, and decided that anything needing a sauce and two pans was too hard (yes I know, v. lazy). However, long faces + mother guilt = making the sukiyaki. No regrets - it was easy, fast and yummy. A definite recommendation for anyone wanting a noodle meal for the whole family. (And sorry the pic isn't better, I was stirring a bit enthusiastically for the noodles!)

The recipe derives from Jill Dupleix's Beef Sukiyaki recipe from her book "Simple Food". Jill is an Australian chef / writer who was The Times Cook in London from 2000-2006, and now freelances and writes cookbooks. I like Jill's recipes, and not just because the quote from her on the back of this book says "I love to cook but not when I could be eating or drinking." Incidentally, in future, I will follow dearest husband's advice re advertising in advance what I will be cooking for the family - "just under-promise, and over-deliver".
Beef Sukiyaki
adapted from "Simple Food" by Jill Dupleix
200g rice noodles
4 spring onions
1 onion, peeled
400g beef fillet
250 ml water
10g instant dashi powder (aka bonito powder - try an Asian supermarket)
3 tbl soy sauce
3 tbls mirin
1 tbl sugar
2 tbl peanut oil
200g green beans, blanched
Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover them and let them stand for 3 minutes to soften. Chop spring onions and onion and slice beef as thinly as possible.
Combine water, dashi powder, soy sauce and mirin in a pot over medium heat. Add sugar and stir gently until dissolved. Rinse the soaked noodles in cold water and leave to drain in a colander.
Heat half the oil and cook all onions until soft (in a wok if you have one, or a large pan). Scrape into sauce pot. Heat the remaining oil and sear the beef slices for about 30 seconds on each side until just cooked, but still pink inside. Remove from heat. Tip sauce, noodles and beans into the wok and simmer for a minute or two. Toss through the beef and serve into warmed bowls or a warmed platter.

Monday, August 18, 2008

If I Knew You Were Coming I'd Have Baked .... an Apple Cake

We're as deeply into the Olympics here as anyone, with the swimming a particular highlight. Back in 2000, dearest husband and I were very spoiled and got to the final day of swimming at the Sydney Olympics, when Grant Hackett won his first 1500m gold. Ever since, I love watching these hard men of the pool as they churn through the swimming equivalent of a marathon. So there was no question that we would be glued to the box to see if he could take out his third consecutive gold. And seeing the amazing Michael Phelps crowned with his final gold was another highlight - if only he were swimming for Australia! Too bad Hackett just missed out (although silver is great too), but it was a fantastic race. If only it went for 1550m I think Hackett might have won...

A friend dropped in to help us cheer, and I decided that cake was required. Mid-winter means lots of lovely crunchy Granny Smith apples, and as the Granny Smith apple is Australian, it felt a good way to support the Hackett campaign (OK I'm stretching; I just like the cake). So here is an easy peasy apple cake adapted from "Modern Classics 2" by Donna Hay.

Apple and Cinnamon Tea Cake
adapted from "Modern Classics 2" by Donna Hay

185g butter, softened

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2/3 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup milk

4 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and halved

1 tbl sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Line the base of a 22cm (8 inch) springform tin with baking paper.

Preheat oven to 160C. Beat butter, sugar and cinnamon until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Sift the flour and baking powder over the butter mixture, and add the milk. Stir to combine.

Spoon mixture into tin. Cut a row of deep slits into each apple, and arrange the apples on top of the cake. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Serve warm with cream.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Roasted Garlic Chicken

As I have been writing this blog, I have realised that one of my cooking holy grails is to find the ultimate roasted chicken recipe. I love roasting a whole chicken because it tastes great; it feeds my little of family of four plus leftovers for the next day; cooking on the bone makes for something that is moister and tastier than cooking fillets, and it is generally easy and fast to prepare, with most of the work done by the oven. And the smell of a roasting chicken in the house has to be smelt to be believed (try it if you have never done it!).

This recipe is an old favourite from "The New Basics" by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. These two published the Silver Palate cookbooks in the 80s, after setting up a deli in NY, and had a very big following in the US. They were less prominent in Australia, although I have seen their books at specialty cookbook retailers. I have had three of their books for at least ten years and refer to them often, especially for great salad ideas, and a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I still make at least once a month. And of course, fantastic roast chicken.... (By the way, any suggestions for the ultimate roast chicken recipe will be gratefully received!)

Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Rosemary
adapted from "The New Basics" by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

2 heads garlic (don't be afraid, roasted garlic is altogether different to raw garlic!!)
1 large onion
1 roasting chicken
salt and pepper
1 lemon quartered
6 sprigs rosemary
olive oil
1 cup chicken stock

Remove the paper-like outer skin from the garlic, and separate the cloves. Do not peel them. Set aside. Cut the onion in half and them into slivers. Set aside.

Rinse the chicken well and pat it dry with paper towel. Place the lemon and rosemary sprigs in the cavity. Tie legs together (forgot to do that!). Preheat oven to 180C.

Put garlic and slivered onion in a roasting pan. Place the chicken on top. Add stock to the pan. Drizzle olive oil over chicken. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, remove the foil, stir the onions and garlic in the stock and baste the chicken. Bake uncovered for another hour, basting with pan juices every 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan. Discard the lemon and rosemary and slice the chicken. Serve it with garlic cloves, onions and pan juices. The garlic cloves will be very soft and sweet, and squeeze out like a paste to smear on your chicken. Mmmmmm.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ginger & Chilli Chicken Skewers

Usually I try to plan on Sunday night what I will cook for the week ahead, firstly, so that I don't find myself in a panic, and secondly, so that I don't have a daily trip to the supermarket. But some weeks the wheels fall off. This week I have had two kids sick (on three separate days), a funeral to attend and a sick friend to help. Organisation has gone out the window. So this week's meals have had to be from the school of minimal effort for maximum taste.

Take a bow Donna Hay. Donna is the queen of this sort of cooking. She has published at least six cookbooks, first in Australia and then overseas as well as her own magazine. All of her work seems to revolve around good tasting meals that are usually fast and not too difficult. Her magazines are beautifully styled and photographed as well. I tend to turn to her when I feel swamped by chaos - thank you Donna. This recipe is from the Aug/Sep 2008 Donna Hay Magazine. The ginger and chilli flavour the chicken but it is not overly spicy at all. And by the way, the dipping sauce is quite sour - up the amount of brown sugar if that is more to your taste.

Ginger and Chilli Chicken Skewers
adapted from Donna Hay

4 Chicken thigh fillets, halved
1/3 cup oyster sauce
1 long red chilli, seeded and chopped finely
30g ginger, chopped into matchsticks
2 tbl Shaoxing wine (replace with sherry if you need to)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup coriander leaves

Peanut Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped mint.

To make the dipping sauce, whisk ingredients together. Set aside.

Combine the chicken, oyster sauce, chilli, ginger, shaoxing, garlic and coriander, and toss to coat. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Thread the chicken onto skewers. Chargrill or BBQ for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Serve with the dipping sauce and some steamed rice.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Milo and Malteser Biscuits

Last Saturday, I had a Mother Daughter weekend away in the country with darling oldest daughter, and thought a batch of biscuits would be good for Dad and darling youngest daughter at home as well as the other Mums and Daughters at our weekend away. Flipping through my new Dorie cookbook(Baking From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan), I came across Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops, which looked like the right biscuit for this particular weekend. I was right. By Monday they had been demolished.

Yum, yum, yum and yum! I played around with the recipe a little. My youngest daughter, who adores chocolate couldn't believe her luck when I told her I had made biscuits containing two of her favourite things in the world - milo and maltesers. She adores both, and dessert for her is often a glass of milk with milo. Maltesers are a less common treat - but one she really loves. Translation for any readers overseas: Biscuits = cookies; Milo = chocolate ovaltine but better; maltesers = honeycomb balls in milk chocolate.

Chocolate Milo Malteser Drops
(adapted from Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops from "Baking" by Dorie Greenspan)
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup milo
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
170g unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups maltesers, coarsely chopped
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Line baking sheets with baking paper. Sift the flour, milo, cocoa, baking powder and salt together. Beat butter and sugar together until light and floffy (about three mins). Add eggs one at a time beating well (1 min) after adding each one. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add half the dry ingredients, then add the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients. Do not overbeat! Mix in maltesers and choc chips by hand.

Place tablespoons of the dough on baking sheets, a couple of inches apart. Bake for 11-13 mins, rotating your baking sheets half way through. When done, the biscuits will feel soft and puffy (don't worry, they firm up as they cool). Allow to cool on the trays for 2 mins before moving to a rack for them to cool.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Panzanella - A Barefoot Challenge

This week's challenge from my new group, the Barefoot Bloggers was to create a beautiful salad called Panzanella from "Barefoot Contessa Parties" by Ina Garten. Thanks to Melissa from It's Melissa's Kitchen for such a wonderful choice. On looks alone, this salad is worth creating. The flavours are a wonderful Mediterranean mixture, and they really bounce off each other. The raw garlic in the dressing also packs a punch (I might exchange it for roasted garlic next time). Definitely notes of summer for a very cold mid-winter dinner!

I basically followed the recipe as given, although I baked my croutons in the oven with a little olive oil, garlic and parsley, instead of pan-frying. I think this helps them maintain their crunch for a little longer, when they are nestling in with the vegetables and dressing. Next time, I will also flash fry the capers as I think this really lifts them. I might also add some olives...

from "Barefoot Contessa Parties"

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 3cm cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 3cm cubes
1 hothouse unpeeled, seeded, and sliced into 1 cm slices
1 red capsicum, seeded and cut into 3cm cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3cm cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Very Best Chicken Sandwiches

You can tell by recent posts that I have been doing a lot of entertaining lately. I love the whole process of cooking for others: hunting high and low for new recipes; creating a menu that works; the shopping and the preparing. Last week, I was helping with a cocktail party, when we received a sudden influx of late RSVPs, and I started to panic that we wouldn't have enough food. There is no doubt that this is my one great fear of entertaining, so I decided to whip up some cocktail chicken sandwiches to supplement the other offerings.

I have been making this sandwich recipe for more than 20 years, and people always comment on how good they are. I think it is the unexpected crunch of the celery and the sweetness of the sultanas. My best tip for good sandwiches is to keep the sandwiches covered with a damp teatowel while you are assembling the platters so they don't dry out. There is also no need to butter bread.

Chicken Sandwiches

1kg chicken breast fillets

500ml buttermilk

1/4 bunch celery, chopped thinly

1 bunch green onions, white chopped thinly, greens discarded

200g sultanas

150g slivered almonds, toasted


sandwich bread (white always feels indulgent and naughty - perfect for a party)

Spread chicken out in a baking tin, and pour over the buttermilk. Cover with foil and bake at 180C until chicken is cooked through, 30-40 mins. Allow chicken to cool in the tin, then chop it into 2cm cubes. (If you are that way inclined, save the chicken juice/buttermilk in the tin, and freeze it for later use in a soup.)

Put all ingredients in a bowl, and stir in mayonnaise, pepper and salt to taste. Be quite generous with the mayonnaise so the filling is lovely and moist. If you can, leave this mixture in the fridge overnight for the flavours to develop.

Fill the sandwiches generously, then slice off the crusts and slice each sandwich into thirds to make ribbon sandwiches. An electric knife is great for this as it will cut through the sandwiches without dragging on the bread or the filling.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Judy's Glazed Ham For A Party

Glazed hams conjur up many memories for me: Christmas, 21st birthday parties and especially my Aunty Judy, who was the official keeper of the family recipe. Every year, Judy would present the most beautiful glazed ham at Christmas, enormous and golden and that perfect balance between the sweet glaze and the slightly salty flavour of the ham. And at the end of Christmas lunch, we would all line up to get a care package of leftover ham to take home. Unfortunately, Judy's eyesight failed her and, eventually, she had to stop cooking. And so, the recipe was passed to me, and I am now the official keeper of the ham. (My mother remains the official keeper of the turkey).

I try not to leave ham only to the festive season. In my opinion, it is the perfect thing to serve at the end of a drinks party, when people are still a bit hungry but don't want a meal. Just slice up some baguette, pull out a couple of different mustards and chutneys, and let everyone tuck in. You will be amazed at how much people enjoy it, and the leftovers are great. Stored properly, still on the bone, ham will last a couple of weeks in the fridge, or you can freeze it in small bundles to be pulled out for sandwiches, quiches or whatever takes your fancy. I love it all the more at other times of year because it is unexpected.
Judy's Ham
1 leg of ham (Your butcher will be able to advise on what size you will need depending on how many people you are feeding).
3/4 cup apricot jam
1 1/2 tbl white vinegar
1 tbl honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger
whole cloves to garnish
If your ham still has a skin on it, very carefully peel up a small corner, without pulling off the fat, and work the skin off, by slowly sliding your hands underneath, edging further and further. Try to keep the skin in one piece as it is useful to cover the ham during storage, to stop it drying out.
With a sharp knife, carefully and lightly score the fat of the ham in a diamond pattern. Don not cut all the way through the fat to the meat. You can then insert a clove into each corner, if you are that way inclined.
Combine apricot jam, vinegar, ginger and honey in a small pot. Heat gently for five minutes, until the jam has melted. If the jam has pieces of apricot in it, sieve them out - you want a nice smooth glaze. Brush over ham. Bake ham in a 200C oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C and bake for a further 1 1/2 hours. Baste with the glaze every 20 minutes. If the pot of glaze gets too thick, heat gently. Serve with bread, or a crunchy green salad.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The World's Easiest Quiche Recipe

Without wanting to alienate any real men out there (where were you in the 80s if you missed that reference?), in my opinion, a quiche is a great, simple meal. Fillings are limited only by your imagination and palate, and they are fast, and failsafe to make. Tradition suggests either ham or spinach with cheese, but you can really play with whatever you have in your fridge (maybe sun dried tomatoes and cheddar or pear and blue cheese or smoked salmon and ricotta or asparagus and bocconcini, just go for it!) The attached picture shows caramelised onion and goats cheese.

I learnt this recipe doing counter lunches at the Kay Bee Hotel in Surry Hills (hello Tina if you are out there). You can use whatever pastry you have to hand, but I like filo for home, because it is thin, I always have some in the freezer and if you leave the ends overhanging your tart tin, you get a very dramatic effect. If you are entertaining, spare yourself some of the work by buying pre-baked tart shells.

Quiche - the Easiest Recipe

600 ml thickened cream
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
filo pastry or tart shells
salt and pepper
butter or olive oil spray
grated cheddar or other cheese

Mix cream and eggs together, and season to taste. Grease a flan or tart tin with a removable base, and place it on a baking sheet. Lay 6 or 8 sheets of filo in the tin, leaving overhanging edges, and making sure the whole tin is lined. Brush the top sheet with melted butter (or spray lightly with olive oil spray). If you are using a cheese, sprinkle it over the base, then place your fillings on top. Depending on the shape of your fillings, you may want to create a pattern, or maybe just a random sprinkling. Carefully pour in the batter. You can sprinkle some more cheese or herbs on top if you like. Bake at 180C for 30-40 mins (less for small tart shells) or until puffed and golden, and the batter is set in the middle. Allow to cool in the tin. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

There is something about winter that makes you feel the need to spoil yourself. Whether that means another long hot bath with a current book, or sneaking an extra ten minutes doona-time in the morning, it is definitely how I sustain myself through the chilly season. And then there is, of course, chocolate....

Somehow chocolate to me is much more a winter food than a summer one. Lovely crisp bites of Lindt in winter vs. warm and slightly melted in summer? No competition. Summer is for icy desserts and fruit; winter for warm puddings. Even better, warm molten chocolate puddings. This one is from Bill Granger's "Bill's Food", and, like most of his recipes, it is dead easy, and very good.

Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding For 4
adapted from "Bill's Food" by Bill Granger
1 cup plain flour
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 tsps baking powder
4 tbls cocoa powder
1 cup milk
85g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup soft brown sugar
2 tbls cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
thickened cream to serve
Preheat the oven to 180c, and butter four pudding moulds (or coffee cups or mugs if you don't have moulds). Sift flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the milk, butter, egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Pour into the moulds.
To make the topping, stir the brown sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl to combine then sprinkle it over the pudding batter, creating quite a thick crust. Do not worry that it is too thick, this will melt down to become the sauce. Pour boiling water carefully and evenly over puddings, then bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with thick cream.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dorie and the Black and White Banana Loaf

One of the largest cooking groups on the web is known as Tuesdays With Dorie, devoted to baking their way through "Baking: From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan. This cookbook, although not familiar in Australia, is worth seeking out. It is beautiful to read, and by the sounds of the posts on the web, beautiful to cook as well. It is big and heavy, but beautifully photographed and produced. Despite the temptation of baking something amazing each week, I am resisting joining the group for the time being for a few reasons:
- based in the US, every fruit dessert is most likely out of season for us
- a weekly commitment seems a lot at this point (hey, I'm new to this stuff!!)

However, where I spot something that fits life here, I am planning to bake alongside the group. This week's recipe for a Black and White Banana Loaf*, was a revelation. I played around slightly with the recipe, using three bananas instead of the 1 1/2 prescribed, because I tasted the batter with 1 1/2 in it, and it wasn't banana-y enough for me. This meant however, that my batter was a little runny, especially the vanilla/banana half. Because it is important for the batter to hold its own a bit in order to marble successfully, I put the batter into the fridge for 20 mins to firm it up before I put it into the tin. In the tin I alternated splotches of dark and white batter, in three layers, then following Dorie's suggestion, ran my knife like a zig zag through the tin once only (repeat at your peril because the colours will mix together). It was lovely.

* Click the link for the recipe - I am respecting the rules of the Dorie Group by not posting the recipe here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Ugly Can Be Beautiful Too...Chorizo Soup

I'm a great believer in being open to what the universe delivers you. This soup happened completely by chance. I had left some old food magazines lying around, and my husband was flipping through one (very odd behaviour from him; our house is full of food magazines and I don't think I have seen him even cast a glance at one). Next thing, he had spotted a soup that I never would have picked, and asked me to make it for him. And I did. And it was sensational.
And the reason I would not have picked it? It is called Sausage, Butter Bean and Cabbage Soup. Not very appealing in my opinion. Maybe better to have been called Spanish Winter Soup or something even more poetic? Anyway, this is a soup that I will make again as it ticked all the boxes for maximum flavour and minimum effort. It came to us via the "Vogue Entertaining Cookbook: Short Order + Seasonal" Autumn / Winter 2001.

"Sausage, Butter Bean and Cabbage Soup"
adapted from "Vogue Entertaining Cookbook: Short Order + Seasonal" Autumn / Winter 2001.

1 large onion, peeled and diced
olive oil
400g sliced chorizo sausage
1/4 whole cabbage, outer leaves discarded, the remainder shredded
2 tbl tomoato paste
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock
400g can butter beans, drained
4 medium tomatoes diced
3-4 tbl finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Fry the onion in a little oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until soft. Add the sausage and cook stirring until some of the fat is released. Pour off any excess, add the cabbage, and cook, stirring until it wilts.

Add the tomato paste and the bay leaf, cook over low heat for several minutes, then add the stock. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the beans and tomatoes, season to taste and heat the beans and tomato through. Stir in parsley before serving.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Coconut Fish Scented with Ginger & Lemongrass

I have noticed in my wanderings around the web, that very few people seem to mention cooking fish in their blogs. It's hard to know whether fish is generally unpopular, or whether it is not "pretty" enough for blog photos. Regardless I love eating fish, and it has certainly come a long way from the greasy, non-descript take-away that I remember as a child.

I think fish deserves a place in everyone's repertoire because apart from the excellent health benefits, it is very fast and easy to cook. It also lends itself to all sorts of flavours, so whether your preference is more Mediterranean or more Asian or more whatever, there is a simple fish recipe out there. This recipe comes from Matthew Evans' "Weekend Fare". He is a food writer extraordinaire who has maintained a column in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend Magazine for as long as I can remember (and is now also blogging for Grazia magazine). This recipe would be perfect as part of a long buffet lunch.
Coconut Steamed Whole Fish
adapted from "Weekend Fare" by Matthew Evans
1 x 2kg whole white fish like snapper, gutted and scaled (or a very large fillet)
100 ml coconut milk
2 tbl fish sauce
1 stalk of lemongrass, smashed with a rolling pin, to open it up and let out the flavours
5 cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thinly (a teaspoon does a great job of peeling ginger)
3 green onions trimmed
Wash and dry the fish, and season to taste. Mix the coconut milk and the fish sauce. Place two large sheets of extra strong foil on top of each other. Put the fish on top, and scatter it with the lemongrass, ginger and green onions. Fold up the sides of the foil, then pour on the coconut milk. Cover with another two sheets of foil and press together to seal.
Place the fish on a baking tray and bake at 190C for about 30 minutes or until the flesh comes away from the bone easily. Serve hot, without the herbs, but with the juices.
(I do this with fillets of fish as well, especially when there are too few eating to justify a whole fish).

Monday, August 4, 2008

Spaghetti Carbonara - The No Cream Recipe

I would like to pretend to anyone reading this blog, that I am organised and know what I am doing, but sadly this is often untrue. I have the ability to forget wet washing in the machine for days at a time (ewww...the smell!). I have the ability to lose anything within 20 seconds of having it in my hands (drives my family insane). I have also been known to forget to go to the shops to buy anything for dinner. But for this problem, I have a solution which makes it look like I am relatively in control.

Spaghetti Carbonara is probably familiar to many of you as a particularly creamy, gluggy pasta that is almost always on the menu of suburban Italian restaurants. In fact, as I learnt from Ruth Reichl in her book "Garlic & Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Restaurant Critic in Disguise", real carbonara contains no cream. To quote Reichl, "I think of this as bacon and eggs with pasta instead of toast. It's the perfect last-minute dinner, and I've yet to meet a child that doesn't like it." Her recipe is wonderful. And fast.

- 500g spaghetti
- 125-250g thickly sliced good quality bacon
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 large eggs
- Black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for the table

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When it is boiling, throw the spaghetti in.

Cut the bacon into pieces about 1cm wide. Reserve the rind. Put the bacon in a frying pan and cook for 2 minutes, until fat begins to render. Add the whole cloves of garlic and cook another 5 minutes, until the edges of the bacon just begin to get crisp. Do not overcook; if they get too crisp they won't meld with the pasta. While the bacon is on the stove, put the rind on a plate in between two sheets of paper towel, and cook on high in the microwave for 1-2 mins, or until crisp.

Meanwhile, break the eggs into the serving bowl, and beat them with a fork. Grind in some black pepper. Remove the garlic from the bacon pan. Drain off some fat if it looks too much for you.
When it is cooked, drain the pasta and immediately throw it into the beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly. The heat of the spaghetti will cook the eggs and turn them into a sauce. Add the bacon and remaining fat, toss again, add cheese and serve. Garnish with the crisped rind.

Risotto The Easy Way

Risotto is one of those dishes that is fantastic to make because it is so versatile, and so easy to play with flavours. The downside is too long standing in front of a pot of boiling stock stirring rice (does anyone else wind up feeling like they are getting a facial at the same time?) This risotto eliminates the half-hour of stirring, but still delivers a great risotto, that is neither too wet or too dry. And it reheats well for lunch the next day!

Oven-baked Chicken and Asparagus Risotto

2 tbl olive oil
500g boneless chicken breasts cut into thin strips (I used thighs)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
250g arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock
175g asparagus sliced on the diagonal
1/3 cup grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
sea salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 180C. Heat 1 tbl olive oil in a large flameproof casserole over high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the casserole and set aside.
Add remaining olive oil and the onion to the casserole and cook, stirring occassionally for five minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the rice, and stir to coat in the oil. Add the stock and bring to the boil, stirring occassionally.
Cover the casserole and put into the oven for 15 minutes. Remove pot from oven, add the asparagus and chicken, and bake for a further 3-4 minutes until asparagus is bright green and tender. Remove from the oven, stir in the parmesan, and season with salt and pepper, continuing stirring until some starch has been released from the rice and it is at your desired level of creaminess. Serve with extra parmesan.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers and Smoked Salmon Dip

I have decided to join a cooking group that blogs the same recipe every fortnight for a bit of fun and company. There are a lot of great groups out there doing this sort of thing, some blogging together weekly, some fortnightly or monthly. Anyone interested just needs to pick a group that seems to fit the type of food they like to cook. The one I have picked is the Barefoot Bloggers, who are working their way through the recipes of Ina Garten, (aka the Barefoot Contessa) an American cook who makes really delicious do-able food.

While I have a couple of recipes to complete for the group in the next month, I decided to start with one they have all just posted: Smoked Salmon Dip from the "Barefoot Contessa Family Style" by Ina Garten. A friend was unexpectedly coming to visit from interstate and this seemed a perfect opportunity to hop into action as a Barefoot Blogger. The dip was easy and fantastic, and my daughter is even having it on her school sandwiches today. My one slip-up was forgetting to buy dill - I'm sure it would have tasted even better had I remembered.

Smoked Salmon Spread adapted from "Barfeoot Contessa Family Style" by Ina Garten

250g cream cheese, at room temperature 1/2 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish -- drained 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 250g smoked salmon, minced (the original recipe only called for 125g but I love a stronger balance of salmon than cream cheese).

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bananas about Chocolate Banana Bread

If you were that way inclined, you could tile most of Sydney with the slabs of banana bread that appear on almost every cafe counter. Too often they are bland, soggy and old; saved only by toasting and slathering on the butter. This banana bread, from Sydney's unofficial cafe king, Bill Granger is better. Much, much better. The slices do not need buttering (but go ahead if you are that way inclined), and the loaf stays fresh and moist for at least 3 or 4 days. Or, I imagine it would if only it lasted that long in our house. The recipe comes from "Bill's Food" by Bill Granger, a great cookbook, beautifully laid out and photographed. And I think this bread is a great way to use up bananas that are starting to look a little old, as well as any odd bits of chocolate floating around the house.

Choc Banana Bread
adapted from Bill's Food by Bill Granger

250g (2 cups) plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
125g softened butter, unsalted
250g (1 cup) caster sugar (superfine)
4 ripe bananas mashed
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g (1 cup) good quality milk or dark chocolate chips (I chop up whatever is around)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Mix the butter, sugar, banana, eggs, vanilla extract and choc chips in another bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine being careful not to overmix.

Pour the batter into a non-stick, or lightly greased and floured 19cm x 11 cm loaf tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until bread is cooked when tested with a skewer. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve.

Everyone Likes Roast Chicken

Roast chicken is one of those fallback recipes that I would make at least once a week. Your approach can be as complicated or as basic as your life dictates, and regardless you are rewarded with a delicious dinner, and a house that smells of contentment and good things. My husband is also convinced that things cooked "on the bone" always taste better.

So how do you make a great roast chicken? The simplest version that I make is no more tricky than:

- Rinse medium-sized chicken under the tap, and dry with paper towel
- Pop it into a baking tin
- Give it a good sprinkle of pepper and salt
- Shove it into the oven for 1 hour at 200C (drop to 190C if you think the skin is getting too brown). Check it is cooked by piercing the thigh and looking for clear juices.
- Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes (or if you live in my house, serve straight away because everyone is too starving to wait a moment longer for dinner)
- Serve with whatever takes your fancy: vegetables, salad, potatoes rice
- NB no added oil, butter or anything else, and the chicken comes out with delicious skin and moist flesh.

But some days, I want to do something a little fancier, and this recipe delivers a great roast chicken and lovely vegetables as well. I found it when I was looking for the Sizzling Beef recipe in "Heart and Soul" by Kylie Kwong. The chicken is beautifully moist and tender, and the vegetables are delicious.

Kylie's "Radical" Roast Chicken
adapted from "Heart and Soul" by Kylie Kwong

1 x 1.5kg chicken (free range if available)
1/2 bunch tarragon
4 sprigs rosemary roughly chopped
100g unsalted butter (I used only about 25g)
1 whole garlic bulb
10 fresh bay leaves
1 tbl sea salt
2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into wedges
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
6 medium sized kipfler potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
5 small golden (aka french) shallots, unpeeled but cut in half
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch cracked white pepper

Preheat oven to 220C. Rinse chicken under cold water. Place chicken in roasting pan, breast side up. Place tarragon, and half of the rosemary inside the cavity. Using your hands carefully separate the skin from the meat over the breast and thighs (this is easier than it sounds - just slide your hands in between). Spread butter under the skin ( or lay very thin slices of butter).

Lightly crush garlic cloves and scatter over chicken with bay leaves, salt and remaining rosemary. Place carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes and shallots around the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper.

Cover roasting tin with foil and roast for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce temperature to 180C. Take off foil and bake for a further 20-30 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through and vegetables are tender. To test the chicken, insert a skewer into the thigh and press against the meat. The chicken is cooked when the juices run clear. The chicken should be lightly browned. Remove chicken from oven, cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. (If you would like to brown up your vegetables a bit more, remove the chicken from the tin for resting and return the vegetables to either a hot oven or put them under the grill briefly.)

Remove the chicken from the tin and serve with the roast vegetables.