Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Citrus Marinated Spatchcock and the Demise of the Meal

An article in The Guardian sent to me yesterday (thanks Stew), has prompted me to think about the huge focus on the when, where and how of our meals and the enormous vested interests involved. Food at its most basic is our first pleasure as infants, it is literally our lifeblood, figuratively our cultural barometer, the mark of our celebrations and our commiserations. But it is different for all of us. Like many others, I think family meal times are invaluable, as a time when everyone gets heard, and we can all talk about serious issues or nonsense. It is a time to connect with each other, laugh, shout, tell, even whine. But at other points in my life, it has not always been possible. When your partner travels a lot, or you have small children who eat at 5pm, or you and your partner are working different hours or even when you live in a tiny flat with a kitchen the size of the proverbial postage stamp, a home cooked meal can feel completely unattainable. Instead, you have to work hard at building the connections that come so naturally over a shared meal - and frankly it's a lot more work than the making of a meal.

This meal wasn't for a special occassion for us apart from a return to health and normality. It comes from "Feedback" by Michelle Scamps, a cookbook that is hard to find and definitely deserves wider publication. While it is one of my husband's favourites and something I have made for dinner parties, I decided to indulge all of us. And the results on the night: husband very happy, one daughter liked it; the other found the orange marinade a little overwhelming. (Incidentally the reason I like spatchcock for a dinner party is that it is so easy and fast to plate and has a bit of a "wow" factor when it hits the table).

Citrus Roasted Spatchcock from "Feedback" by Michelle Scamps

4 spatchcock
2 oranges sliced into wedges
olive oil

For the marinade:
1 orange, zest and juice plus juice of 3 more oranges
1 lime, zest and juice
90 ml balsamic vinegar
125 ml olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 sprigs of thyme, chopped
2 tbsp dried oregano

Mix marinade ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Put the spatchcocks into the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Turn the spatchcocks in the marinade every 1/2 hour or so (or when you remember).

To cook, preheat oven to 180C. Remove spatchcocks from the marinade (save marinade for basting) and put them into a roasting tin with the oranges. Drizzle some olive oil over the oranges, then put the roasting tin into the oven . Roast for 50 minutes or until the spatchcocks are cooked, basting with the leftover marinade every 15 minutes. Tip the pan juices into a small saucepan and reduce to become a tasty sauce.

Serve with couscous or rice to sop up the juices.


Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Absolutely, home cooked food is the ultimate comfort food. Especially when you're in less than stellar form-you're tired, sick or the weather outside is unseemly, there's nothing better. said...

Suzie, my daughter Sophia and I made the spaghetti with meatballs last night for dinner and it was a big hit. We added olives to the sauce (we love olives) and with some cheesy bread and salad it was an excellent dinner all around.

Tonight after Family Kung Fu class we are having leftover night: the spaghetti, some soup, some fritata..all perfect on a cold night. Thanks for the recipes...