30th October 2016
On A Roll
Harmony At Eyemouth

Had a lovely chicken dinner, lovely.
Though some of that might have been down to the bottle and a half of wine I'd worked through in celebration of leaving wavy Port Edgar and making it the 50 miles to Eyemouth. Hurrah!

I followed Simon Hopkinson's instructions in Roast Chicken and Other Stories except that I felt the chicken wanted to keep going at 230°C for the whole time, or at least as close as I could get my boat oven to it, so I didn't reduce the temperature. Well not deliberately anyway.

My roast potatoes (Charlottes, boiled until soft, halved, seasoned, thrown into an oven tin of hot goose fat) were (almost) ready too early, so I scooped them out with a slotted spoon, wrapped them in kitchen paper until the chicken was cooked, then returned them to the hot roasting tin to finish off.
And they came out perfectly. Who says you can't hold your roasties?!

I thought I already had a bunch of thyme for the chicken, but when I unwrapped it they'd gone mouldy - the trials of living on a boat. So I used some of the coriander dressing (with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil) I'd made up and stashed in the fridge to stop the coriander going the same way. A couple of tablespoons ladled into the chicken along with the crushed garlic cloves and lemon halves.
Oh, and a quartered chunk of ginger that need using up too.
Here's how Simon makes his chicken.

I made creamed leeks to go with and added a sprinkling of epazote to them. Either the wine was really effective, or the leeks were really good. Here's what I did:
Fry a good heaped tablespoon of plain flour in a generous amount of butter. Add fat rings of 2 well-washed, drained, leeks. Fry until softened. Add salt, a generous grind of white pepper, half a teaspoon of epazote. Stir in milk until you get a thick sauce.

Last weekend I cooked dinner for Chic and Nicky - not least in return for the lovely roast pork (and whisky salad) they'd pity-fed me previously.
My second boat dinner was somewhat more chaotic than the first, since I hadn't managed to get everything quite so well organised in advance, what with having to sail down to Granton during the day to pick up a new gas bottle. This Camping Gaz is a bit niche, it seems.

Salmon with Soy Sauce and Yuzu Dressing
Lemon Teriyaki Chicken
with Sesame Broccoli and Coriander Rice
Baked Apples
Stuffed with raisins and dates and served with (leftover) Pear Reduction

So there was a good deal more chopping and prepping in front of the guests, but it mostly went off pretty well. Though I thought my coriander Jasmine rice was terrible. Chic kindly claimed that all the rice he'd had in Thailand was just the same, but I think it would have helped if I'd rinsed the rice more thoroughly (or at all) before cooking, and avoided over-cooking it slightly so it turned to glue.

Speaking of over-cooking, my baked apples completely collapsed. They tasted just fine (I stuffed them with raisins and chopped dates and drizzled them with Calvados), but I should obviously have kept more of an eye on them :)

Salmon (or Tuna) with Yuzu and Soy Sauce
fish starter snack
Another Wishart-inspired creation. I can't actually remember what I had with his yuzu and soy sauce dressing, but it goes very well with solid, rich, non-oily fish.
I made a lunch for myself with tuna (avoid over-cooking!) and it was fine, but I think better with the salmon.

Again my yuzu was somewhat ersatz, but I guess you have to be a big shot restaurateur to get the real thing.

Make up the dressing judiciously mixing the yuzu, soy sauce and walnut oil. You won't need very much yuzu.

Dry the salmon (or tuna!) steaks. Season generously with salt and pepper (and crushed coriander/fennel/etc if you like), and lubricate with rapeseed oil.
Heat a frying pan or griddle until very hot and press in the steaks (skin side down, if they have one).
Fry for a minute or so until the outside is charred, and the flesh has changed colour about a third of the way through the steak. Flip and cook for a minute on the other side, but leave the middle still pink (or very pink for tuna).
Drizzle with a little walnut oil and rest for a couple of minutes before slicing and serving with the yuzu and soy dressing.
Excellent. A little ersatz yuzu juice goes a long way too.

Incidentally, if you're slicing salmon steaks you'll need to start your cutting from an edge in, rather than straight down, if you want to make a nice clean slice that preserves the shape of the fillet and leaves the crispy skin intact.

Lemon Teriyaki Chicken
fowl main oriental
Pretty much following Creme de la Crumb, except for adding some ginger (and a bit more sesame oil). I served this with sesame broccoli: steamed, then fried in the chicken breast pan (while the chicken rested) with sesame seeds, then drizzled with sesame oil. And Jasmine rice, run through with fresh coriander leaves.

Serves 4

Grease a large pan or skillet. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts in your skillet and cook over medium heat for 5-8 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through. Rest for 5 minutes before slicing to serve.

Add sugar, water, soy sauce, lemon juice, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and honey to a medium sauce pan. Stir over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Stir together corn starch and water, add to sauce and stir until thickened.

Serve chicken over rice and/or with your favorite veggies and top with lemon teriyaki sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.
The sauce is very good, though perhaps the chicken breasts need a crispy coating of some kind.
Goes well with coriander rice. That's just rice with some chopped coriander mixed in before serving.

Simon Hopkinson's Roast Chicken
main fowl
Simon Hopkinson's famous treatise on the deceptively simple matter of roasting a chicken.

I actually adapted the seasoning order slightly since if you squeeze over the lemon juice after the salt and pepper you'll only wash it all off. It's unfortunately true that once buttered, not much of the lemon juice sticks to the skin either.
What you can do to best effect, however, is to first squeeze over the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper, then pour over melted butter. Of course you then don't get to enjoy all that buttery chicken fondling. You pays your money, you takes your choice.

Serves 1 Family

Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C/Gas Mark 8. Smear the butter with your hands all over the bird. Put the chicken in a roasting tin that will accommodate it with room to spare. You might also want to add a couple of tablespoons of water/wine to the tin to prevent inital burning before the chicken juices begin to run. Squeeze over the juice of a lemon and season liberally with salt and pepper. Put the herbs and garlic inside the cavity, together with the squeezed out lemon halves - this will add a fragrant lemony flavour to the finished dish.
Now you really won't hear me say this very often, but that is just too much butter. You end up with about half an inch floating on top of the juices in the bottom of the roasting tin, which makes them too greasy to use as a sauce or jus. I'd recommend using about half the amount, and keeping some melted in a small bowl so you can more easily baste the chicken as it cooks.
Just to mention that substituting a clementine for the lemon doesn't turn out too badly either!

Roast the chicken in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Baste, then turn the oven temperature down to 375°F/190°C/Gas Mark 5 and roast for a further 30-45 minutes with further occasional basting. The bird should be golden brown all over with a crisp skin and have buttery, lemony juices of a nut-brown colour in the bottom of the tin.
I haven't achieved this golden colouration yet, but the chicken tastes none the worse for it.
Turn off the oven, leaving the door ajar, and leave the chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. This enables the flesh to relax gently, retaining the juices in the meat and ensuring easy, trouble-free carving and a moist bird. With this roasting method, what you end up with in the tin is an amalgamation of butter, lemon juice and chicken juices. That's all. It is a perfect homogenisation of fats and liquids. All it needs is a light whisk or a stir, and you have the most wonderful 'gravy' imaginable. If you wish to add extra flavour, you can scoop the garlic and herbs out of the chicken cavity, stir them into the gravy and heat through; strain before serving.

Another idea, popular with the Italians, is sometimes known as 'wet-roasting'. Pour some white wine or a little chicken stock, or both, or even just water around the bottom of the tin at the beginning of cooking. This will produce more of a sauce and can be enriched further to produce altogether different results. For example you can add chopped tomatoes, diced bacon, cream, endless different herbs like coriander :), mushrooms, spring vegetables, spices - particularly saffron and ginger - or anything else you fancy.
Who knew that roast chicken could be so good when you get it right, and so awful when you don't?
Simon Hopkinson does!

Sesame Broccoli
veg vegan side oriental
For when you want a fast, simple dish that you can make without taking up any more hobs.

Steam the broccoli to part-cook (you can do this over your rice, if you're making some).
In a frying pan, heat some neutral oil, gently fry some sesame seeds, add the broccoli until it takes some colour, drizzle with sesame oil and serve.
Quick and easy.
Tastes OK too.

Comments (3)

Newest first Oldest first


    #3 – 6 September, 2017 at 2:24 pm

  2. You're very welcome mamta. Glad to have been of service, even if it was definitely not all my own work :)

    #2 – 13 August, 2017 at 2:37 pm

  3. wow.. such a nice recipe. You know chicken is my hubby's weakness. He always asks me to make varieties, thanks for one more variety.

    #1 – 7 May, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Post a comment (Optional)
  • Allowed markup: <a> <i> <b> <em> <u> <s> <strong> <code> <pre> <p>
  • All other tags will be stripped, unless they are in a <pre> (use this for blocks of code)