But this must change! We're moving out of the city centre in just a few months, and won't be surrounded by shops. So I reckoned learning how to cook would be a pretty good new year's resolution.
I thought I'd jump in the deep end and try to roast a chicken. Here's how I did it.
First, find yourself an amazing recipe blog! I stumbled across a Wee Bit of Cooking, and I'd definitely recommend having a read of this if you are looking for food inspiration (she also likes dogs, bonus). I used the roast chicken and root vegetables recipe and tweaked it a little bit.
Gather your ingredients!
- one small chicken (mine was 1.2 kg)
- 6 - 8 smallish potatoes, cut in half
- couple of carrots, peeled and chopped into large bits
- couple of parsnips, peeled and chopped
- one onion, chopped into sixths
- one lemon, cut in half
- olive oil
I think you are meant to use salt, pepper, thyme and garlic, but I didn't have any of those, so just winged it.
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees and look out a big oven dish! Prepare your chicken by squeezing the lemon juice all over it. Once it's totally covered, pop both halves of the lemon into the cavity, and put the chicken in the middle of the dish.
Now lightly cover your vegetables with oil (I found the easiest way to do this was popping them into a separate bowl, so I could just use a little oil and stir it around). Arrange the vegetables around the chicken and try to space them out as much as possible (I may have got a little carried away with potatoes).
Pop into the oven for 1 hour 20 minutes. I opened the oven twice to turn the vegetables (as there were so many!), and cover them with the juice that was nicely bubbling in the bottom of the dish.
& that's it! To check if the meat is ready you can either use a meat thermometer (I didn't) or give it a wee prod to check if the juices run clear. If it's cooked, move the chicken to another plate, cover with tinfoil and leave for about 15-20 minutes (this apparently lets the meat settle and makes for a nicer dish). I put my vegetables back in the oven while this was going on to get them nice and crispy.
Carve up your chicken, serve with veg & voila! I didn't attempt to make gravy on this occasion (I will next time), but I didn't even notice it was missing. I'm so pleased that my first roast was a success! The chicken is really soft and has lovely lemony undertones, and the vegetables were crunchy on the outside but nice and soft on the inside.
Here's hoping that the rest of my cooking attempts in 2012 go as smoothly!