Today has been my completely indulgent and utterly useless day. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to have a full weekend to myself of doing nothing whatsoever, since I’ve been working every Saturday (and some Sundays) for the past month and a bit. Yesterday I had decided that today was going to be dedicated to sleeping and recharging my batteries, and you know what? I didn’t get out of bed until 5pm and it was good. Sometimes you just need to say ‘screw it’, and just take that totally lazy day. When I did finally roll out of bed I felt refreshed and happy, totally at peace with the world – just as it should be.
With cooking, too, you should have a little book of go-to meals that are easy to whip up with nary a thought, and for me roast chicken is just one of those meals. What, after all, is better than a golden crispy-skinned bird with soft, succulent flesh that practically melts in your mouth, accompanied by little baby patooties, all buttery and delicious? Very little, my friend. Very little indeed.
Of course today hasn’t been totally useless – I may have spent all day in bed, but I managed to get some very important business sorted out. As I may have mentioned before, I am in the process of re-designing my site as part of my process of re-marketing myself as a food writer, photographer and private caterer. I discovered this morning that my domain server and host for the past six years has, in effect, been a dead hosting service for the past three years since selling the company and firing all the employees (in that order). They were essentially taking my money and providing me with space but absolutely no support, which meant that as long as you wanted to remain on a basic plan you were fine. Unfortunately I do not, but despite numerous attempts at contact there was no response from any of their supposed “dedicated team of customer service representatives”. So I sat there panicking and stressing, decided to sleep on it and in the morning found a solution.
Thanks to Host Duplex I not only rescued my domain from the jaws of a greedy money-grabbing company, but also had the founder of the company talk me through how to do so for over an hour on their site’s live chat support function. He then personally migrated my entire domain over to their servers in mere hours. Absolute blessing – and to think I only checked them out to begin with because they responded to my Twitter rant about the ex-hosting service! Anyway, keep your eyes peeled – I Am A Feeder is moving imminently.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, as well as talking to people “in the business” and getting advice from friends near and far. So for the big news: from January 2011 I’m going to be doing some travelling, and I may even be coming to a town near you! Here’s my current itinerary (but nothing booked yet, so all subject to change!):
Australia: Sydney & Melbourne, possibly more, maybe Brisbane?
San Diego CA
Texas: San Antonio & possibly Austin
New York City
I’m planning on eating, photographing, reviewing, writing and trying to take a couple of cookery classes whilst I’m away, which should be somewhere between 3-4 months or so. If you are from any of these cities and have recommendations for places to eat and visit, or know where I can take a few cookery classes, please drop me an email or a comment! I’d love to hear from you. I’ll update you all when plans are a little more finalised.
Anywho, enough about all that. Go get a chicken and roast it up, baby: you deserve it.
LEMON & THYME ROAST CHICKEN
1 medium free-range corn-fed whole chicken
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 lemon, plus two slices
Handful of thyme
Salt & black pepper
1/4 large onion
For The Potatoes
Handful of baby new potatoes, washed
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsps chopped fresh parsley
Salt & black pepper
1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C.
2. Wash and trim the excess fat off your chicken. This involves running cold water over the bird and through its cavity. Using a pair of meat scissors (they’re much more heavy-duty than regular scissors) remove the bishop’s nose and trim the fat surrounding the area – there are two globules just on the inside of the opening. Be careful, however, not to remove too much skin as it will shrink during roasting, exposing the flesh and drying it out. If there is any of the neck protruding snip this off as well. For the Americans: when I was living in America I discovered that whole chickens are sold with the giblets still intact (or sometimes in a little bag in the cavity). This isn’t a problem for me, after all I have no qualms about touching raw meat, but some of you might not like it so much. If that’s the case, use a rubber glove to pull out the giblets (Google it if you’re not sure what these are) and discard.
3. Pat your chicken dry with paper kitchen towel and place on a baking tray. Pour about 2 tbsps of vegetable oil over the bird – this will help to crisp the skin – then the lemon juice. Massage into your bird, making sure it is well-covered. Season well with salt and pepper, the thyme leaves (run your fingers the opposite way the leaves grow to remove them from the stalk) and place the two lemon slices on top. Stuff the 1/4 onion and 1/2 lemon into the cavity along with a few branches of thyme.
4. Roast your chicken in the oven for about 40-50 mins, depending on the size of your bird, until the skin is golden, the flesh cooked through and white, but still juicy. Chicken is one of those things you don’t want to undercook too much, but a dried-out bird is one of the worst things you could ever put in your mouth. Practice makes perfect.
5. When there are about fifteen minutes to go, fill a pot with cold water and pop your baby new potatoes in (things from the ground always go in cold water, remember). As the pot comes to the boil, add a pinch of salt. When the potatoes are cooked (test with a knife), drain, then mix in the butter and chopped parsley, giving it a good mix through to melt the butter and get the potatoes evenly coated.
6. Serve the potatoes alongside the chicken, with a little of the lemony chicken juices (much more appealing than it sounds) that will have collected in the roasting pan over drizzled over the top. Give yourself a pat on the back for having completed a delicious meal with minimal effort.
That’s all for now. Thank you all for your continued support and lovely comments – you give me the courage to turn a hobby into a career. Until next time, peace and love.
This post made the Foodbuzz Top 9 on Monday 6th August, 2010!