Sunday, 23 November 2014

Sunday Roast

A recent survey has shown that fewer families today are cooking a roast dinner at the weekend.  This seems such a shame as a roast dinner is very easy as you just bung the meat in the oven and leave it to roast.Sitting around a dining table enjoying a roast dinner is a marvellous opportunity to spend time as a family and for children to learn consideration and table manners and communication skills,  and it is a good time for the family members to exchange news about their day.  In March 2013 researchers at Loughborough University published a study showing that regular family mealtimes are associated with fewer eating disorders and a lower incidence of depression in adolescents. It may not be easy, but try to have at least  some meals together as a family and make sure that computers, mobile phones and televisions are switched off then. Sit around a table, not in front of a television.  All family members can eat together. I have never been a fan of feeding the children fishfingers or nuggets and putting them to bed before the adults eat. Have your baby sitting at the table in their high chair and when they see everyone eating they will want to try your family cooking and you will have no trouble getting them to eat vegetables and everything else. 

Roast Chicken


1 chicken
4 potatoes
2 carrots
cabbage, sprouts or broccoli
1 tsp cornflour
sausages wrapped in bacon

2 roasting tins
Vegetable knife

1 Place the chicken  in a roasting tin and  season with salt and pepper and smear with butter. Wash your hands thoroughly.  Put the meat into a hot oven at 200 for 20 minutes than turn the heat down to 180 and roast  for  about an hour.
2.   Peel the potatoes and put in a saucepan of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Put 1 tbsp sunflower oil or goose fat into a roasting tin  and put in the oven to get hot.  Drain the potatoes and put in the roasting tin ensuring that they are coated in fat.
3.   When the meat is cooked remove the meat from the oven and put it on a plate, covered with foil, to rest. Use that tin to make the gravy.
4.   Turn the  oven  heat up to 190 to crisp the potatoes. Pop the sausages in bacon on a baking tray in the oven for 20 minutes.
5.  Peel carrots, cut them into circles or matchsticks  and place in a saucepan of water. Bring it to the boil and cook the carrots for 5 minutes. Shred a cabbage or cut up broccoli or peel sprouts and place in a steamer over the carrots to steam for 5 minutes. Drain the carrots, reserving the cooking water.

6. Using the roasting tin in which the chicken was cooked, skim off any fat and place on the hob. Heat and add a tablespoon of wine or water, scraping up the tasty bits in the pan.   Pour in the water from the carrots and bring to the boil.  Add 1 tsp cornflour mixed to a paste with a little cold water.  Stir well until you have a smooth gravy. Season with salt and pepper.
7.  Place the chicken on a board and using a sharp knife remove the legs.  Then carve the breast meat downwards into thin slices.  Slice the meat off the legs.  Serve with vegetables and gravy.

While you have your oven on, don't waste the opportunity to pop something else in there to cook.  How about some baked apples?


This is a simple way of using apples, particularly when there is a glut in the Autumn and this dish can be popped in the oven while something else is cooking.

4 cooking apples
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon raisins
Golden syrup

Sharp knife
Apple corer
Baking dish

1.   Preheat oven to 180/Gas4.
2.   Wash and dry the apples. Remove the cores with the corer or a sharp knife and score the skin  in a horizontal line around the middle of each apple.
3.  Place the apples in an ovenproof dish and pour 1 tablespoon of water around them.
4.   Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and raisins and stuff this mixture into the cavity of each apple.  Squirt a little syrup over each apple.
5.  Bake for about 30 minutes then remove from the oven and serve with chilled cream, custard or yogurt.

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