An hour ago, I took a whole – 1,5kg kind of whole – chicken out from the oven. Just for myself.
You see it started this morning when I first opened my curtains to a day where clouds blanket everything we see. I french-pressed more coffee than you could imagine and toasted some left-over baguette.
And the day went by. Word after word, coffee mug after coffee mug. I could hear the klaxons from trains passing by in the far.
It’s funny how those days when there is no rain but it feels like it can be productive. In a slow peaceful way. And also, how they invariably call for roast chicken, with plenty of root vegetables around.
So this is what I did. I cut thick slab of butter and pushed them under the skin. I cut some carrots, and potatoes, and onions into thick chunks. I cut the top of a whole garlic head. I stuffed the chicken with the onion skins and half a lemon, just because I seem to have plenty in my fridge right now. I drizzled with some good olive oil and rubbed it onto the skin of the chicken and on the vegs. I sprinkled with lots and lots of Maldon sea salt; and some freshly-ground black pepper too. I poured one cup of water at the bottom of the pan.
And I waited for one hour and a half, while the oven (190°C) would fill the house with a scent that no matter in the world I’ll be, will always remind me of Sunday lunches at home. I drew some vegetables, they’re right here, above. I cut into the tigh, and clear juices ran. I scooped the vegs on a plate. And a big fat breast too. All that was missing was the sauce at the bottom of the pan.
I hadn’t planned to write about this. But somehow it felt right to tell you that it’s ok to roast a chicken whether you’re on your own or not. I mean, who wants to miss out on crispy salty chicken skin?
And you’ll have lunch for the days to come. And really, it made you feel warm inside-out.
Now, tell me all about the much decadent/generous/luxurious treat you make even if you’re eating alone?
Give me more:
There is something about flour bond with water. Something that possibly goes back to those afternoons spent sat on the kitchen counter, watching my grand-mother making pâte brisée [shortcrust pastry], which I would – of course – nibble on.
Of the unbaked kind.
So the prospect of mixing flour and water to a dough, then sprinkled with a generous handful of chopped spring onions – and a pinch of Maldon sea salt – felt like music to me.
Of the indie kind.
I followed this recipe. For those of you who prefer to use scales – and may the gods of pastry bless you for that – I’ve written the quantities I’ve used below.
The resulting pancakes are chewy and yet flaky. And the drawing above should have given you a hint, but they’re rather delicious when served with a drizzle – or more – of Sriracha sauce.
Of the hot kind.
Chinese spring onion pancakes
Makes eight pancakes, or four huge ones.
Mix 315g of plain flour with 180g of warm water, and knead until smooth. Brush with a little vegetable oil, cover with clingfilm and allow to rest for half-an-hour.
Cut the dough into four. Lightly oil your work surface and roll out one of the balls of dough into a thin rectangle at least 30x35cm.
Finely chop a bunch of spring onions and sprinkle on top of the dough along with a pinch of Maldon sea salt.
Starting from the long end, roll the dough up tightly, then cut in two. Coil each part into a bundle.
And finally roll out the snail into a flat circle.
Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil into a frying pan and cook the pancake for two mintes on each side.
Cut into wedges and serve with a dipping sauce. And when I say dipping sauce, I really mean Sriracha.
Now, what’s your favourite use for Sriracha? And have you tried making your own?
Give me more: