Sunday, 31 March 2013

Week 9- Sunday Lunch

The great Easter cookathon has begun- and kicked off in style with Easter Sunday lunch.

Although I love other cuisines- indeed this blog is testament to all the different recipes from around the world that I like to try- you can't beat a British Sunday lunch.

Cooking one is not a Herculean task- it is just simple fare cooked well- but I do love to let someone else
do it and go out every now and then for a pub roast : log fire crackling, rosy cheeks from wine or beer and hearty food. A pub Sunday roast is one of life's great pleasures.

Here are a few roasts I have known and loved:
Roast Turkey at the Pilot

Rolled Roast Belly of Pork at the Royal

Roast beef and yorkshire pud at The Bridge

But  for today, I am doing the cooking and we are having roast chicken.

Today's three course menu starts with an entree gourmand: just like the desserts gourmands that I often feature but with a savoury theme (seafood in this case), followed by roast chicken with all the trimmings and chocolate cake to finish.

For the starter, I laid out little tastes of different seafood entrees- a small prawn cocktail in sauce marie rose (ketchup, tomato sauce and a squeeze of lemon), a smoked salmon parcel ( filled with salmon mousse: 1 cup of smoked or flaked salmon, 1 cup of low fat cream cheese and a squeeze of lemon blitzed together) and blinis topped with creme fraiche and onuga caviar. (Click on the cloud at the top of this blog for the blini recipe from 2 weeks ago- these were made then and frozen. They reheat in a minute or two in a hot oven.)

entree gourmand

To roast chicken to perfection- I like to part-steam/part-roast mine. I place the bird in a casserole dish (glass is best), squeeze lemon juice over it, strategically place the squeezed lemon (in the cavity), drizzle over some olive oil, herbs and salt and pepper- then add a full glass of water to the dish. Pop on the lid and roast for 1- 1and a half hours at 170 degrees depending on the size of the chicken. The water makes the roast beautifully moist and produces a large quantity of jus for gravy- and the glass top ensures that the bird browns nicely in the oven. The chicken is cooked when a knife inserted into the thickest part of the thigh comes out with only clear juices (not pink) bubbling out of the hole.
Cauliflower cheese

Chicken ready for roasting

The secret to a successful Sunday roast is - gravy and vegetable accompaniments. We had cauliflower cheese, steamed leeks with spring greens, maple glazed parsnips, carrots and roast potatoes. (The parsnips are par boiled, then fried in butter and maple syrup and put in the oven to finish browning and crisping). For cauliflower cheese- lightly steam a head of cauliflower and break it into florets. Place in a gratin dish and pour over 500ml of bechamel sauce and 125g grated mature cheddar. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes alongside the roast chicken and the roast potatoes.

Maple glazed parsnips
Pudding has to be something chocolatey for Easter- so I opted for a chocolate cake. The only choc cake I am any good at is a dense French one not unlike a chocolate brownie (called a moelleux au chocolat)- but so delicious and simple:
You need
 200g of dark chocolate
150 g soft butter
100g sugar
50 g self raising flour
2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites

Beat the egg whites until just forming soft peaks, beat the butter with the sugar and then add the whole eggs one by one. Melt the chocolate in the microwave with a splash of water for 1 minute. Mix it into the eggs and butter, then add the flour. Carefully slide in the egg whites, folding them into the mixture rather than stirring them in. Pour into a greased cake tin and bake at 150 degrees for 25-30 minutes- crucially, until the top is firm but a cocktail stick inserted into the very centre still comes out with some gooey mixture on it. That way you have a chocolate cake with a squidgy centre which is the key to it success.
Straight out of the oven

Moelleux- ready to eat

A meal like this one generates loads of leftovers- I have half a chicken, some cauliflower cheese, vegetables of all sorts, gravy and half a chocolate cake to finish up.

With the chicken, leeks and gravy, I plan to make a Chow Phan (Chinese rice dish with chicken, spring onions and leeks, bacon, egg, mushroom and anything else I have to hand. Type it into the search box for the recipe).
Chow Phan
I also plan to use the carcass to make a chicken, noodle and vegetable soup for later in the week.
Noodle soup

With the leftover vegetables, I could make soup or bubble and squeak as you know I often do- but this time I am going to experiment with a vegetable crumble. If it works, I'll post it up on the blog with the recipe.

As for the chocolate cake- it will keep on being munched until the last few slices which I plan to chop and make part of chocolate and caramel ice cream sundaes. Photos will follow!

But for now, it's time to curl up with the Sunday papers, a cup of tea and nibble a little Easter egg from my edible table centre piece:

Don't look so sad little chick- I'll take the cocktail stick out later!

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