Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Perfect Sunday roast for one

White haikus

Cream carpets, huge rooms.
I roam through sunlit stillness.
All this space, for me.


Guitar notes pluck smiles.
Light as leaves, I drift through days.
Sleep before the storm.


I live in white mist.
My mind-palace echoes, creaks.
Whole shelves are missing.


Wide, white, silent bed.
Bulbs burrow, birds leave, trees wait.

When snow melts, I’ll know.

I sat alone in a wide, white bed, and read. The wide whiteness was peace, but I feared to look at it too much. I hid myself in A Song of Ice and Fire. And read. And read. The TV show of Game of Thrones is all about the sex, but the books are much more concerned with food. Whole roasted fowl. Drowned in wine. Swimming in butter. I got up, I showered, I dressed, I went downstairs to an immaculate and immaculately empty house, and sat on the sofa, and read. Dornish peppers. Crispy, greasy skin. Wheels of cheese. I needed a roast. NOW. I put the oven on to heat, went to the Co-op up the road, and 45 minutes later was devouring roast lemon-and-rosemary chicken with crispy skin, herby butttery potatoes, and fresh buttery salty veg. And reading. The beauty of a roast for one is that you don't have to wait several hours for it.

You will need...

  • 1-2 pieces of chicken, skin on
  • 6 or so baby potatoes (your appetite depending)
  • fresh green veg - on that particular day, it was a fancy mix pack of mange touts, broccoli florets, and asparagus; here, it's broccoli and kale
  • 50g of butter
  • 1 lemon
  • herbs: a stick of rosemary, and the equivalent in leaves / herbs of what will be a chopped tablespoon each of parsley, mint, and chives

All the ingredients, assembled, and the oven turned to 180 degrees. While it heats...

The garlic, rosemary, and 25g of butter are for the chicken. Pull the rosemary leaves off the stalk, and grate the zest (the outside peel) off the lemon.

Mix those together with the butter - I do that with my pestle and mortar, but a bowl and fork might be better.

The mint, chives, and parsley are for the herby potatoes, which comes from Delia. The parsley was a bit sad, so there's not as much of it here as I'd like, but more would've destroyed the plant.

Chop those three together.

Put the baby potatoes on to boil: in cold water, which you bring to the boil. (As you'll see from the number, I'm actually cooking for two here.) They'll take about 20 minutes.

Line a pan with tinfoil and smear butter over it. (I save butter papers in the fridge, for greasing pans.)

Pop the chicken in, and smear the buttery-lemony-rosemary mix all over it. For years I faithfully buttered and herbed / spiced the undersides of roast things, before it finally dawned on me that the stuff all slips down anyway, into all the delicious cooking juices, and the underside is in the least need of attention.

Pop it in the oven, and set an alarm for 15 minutes. (It needs 25, but you'll put the veg on 10 minutes before it's ready.)

While the oven's on, you should also roast some garlic. If you're doing the cooking-for-one week-2 menu plan, that's what those two heads are for. Here's how.

Broccoli florets always look so seductive, in the shops, but if you buy a thinnish stalk of broccoli, it's easy to chop florets. Just carve off each little head with a long strip of stalk.

Pop the kettle on for the broccoli... Remember, underground-veg goes in cold water and is brought to heat; above-ground veg goes in boiling water.

All the broccoli florets! It won't all get eaten, but the rest will be saved in the fridge for later in the week. (I'm doing my own cooking-for-one week-2 menu plan, so I'll have it with the Moroccan stew.)

While I'm waiting, I juice the lemon I zested. I love my lemon juicer. It's not essential, but it brings me great joy.

Alarm goes; the broccoli commence their synchronised swimming. (That back-arching one is about to get rudely shoved back in the water.)

Ten minutes later, the chicken is perfectly crisp, and I take it out to rest, and...

Pour the lemon juice over. As a rule of thumb, cook with lemon zest and save lemon juice for the end.

The potatoes are also done (a fork goes through easily), so I've drained them, and chucked in the other 25g of butter, their herbs (parsley, mint, chives), and a good grinding of salt.  I put the butter in and then the lid back on to let it melt.

The kale is quicketysticks, so I do that last when everything else is ready. Heat some oil up in the pan (roast-garlic oil if you already have it, normal oil if you've only just roasted your garlic)...

Chuck half a bag of kale in (about 100g) - greens always look like far too much before they collapse down - and fry it briskly. Grind some salt over when you get a chance between stirring.

You want it to collapse a bit, but still be bright green - that takes about two minutes,

I've chucked all the lovely meaty chicken juice over the broccoli, because THAT IS AWESOME.

A perfect, beautiful roast for one, in half an hour's cooking time. May I recommend a glass of wine, a kindle perched in front of you, and eating the chicken pieces with your hands?

1 comment:

  1. Lovely! I do like the surgestions to: what to do while waiting and eating.