You know that an aunt has your best interests at heart if thirty years ago she gave you as a birthday present a copy of Simon Hopkinson’s Roast Chicken and Other Stories. According to the card that is still inside it arrived late but no matter.
I have it beside me now and will be following his recipe for roast chicken later this afternoon. As he says ‘the better the bird, the better the dish cooked.’I have one of my favourite birds in the fridge downstairs, a bag of potatoes and some dirty carrots.
In an hour or so’s time I will start up the oven and take the chicken out of the fridge. Butter will be rubbed and a clove of garlic will be crushed lightly and popped inside together with some straggly herbs from the garden. Salt and pepper will be applied liberally and a lemon will then be squeezed over it before it gets shoved in the oven.
No gravy will be made. I will simply serve it with the juices left in the bottom of the pan.
In the meantime outside in the garden there has been a suggestion of spring. The sky has been blue all day and although it has been cold there was a lightness in the air. I took this as an opportunity to annoy all the neighbours and have a damp bonfire at the end of the garden. It has been burning for the last couple of hours sending out billows of thick grey smoke across our garden and all the other gardens up and down the road. Hopefully no-one thought to take advantage of the sun to put their washing outside. If they did then it will be tinged with the smell of burning leaves. Perhaps not a bad thing.
Happily I found some beetroot still lurking in the veg patch and a thick end of horseradish which should do for the cold roast beef left over from last night.