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Mothers Day Special
Fragrant Roast Chicken with Sausage Stuffing
1.5kg (3lb) whole chicken
1 fresh thyme sprig
75g (3oz) butter, softened
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 small carrots, peeled
2 red onions, peeled and halved
2 celery sticks, chopped in half
1 leek, chopped in half
1 garlic bulb, broken into cloves (but not peeled)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp plain flour
120ml (4fl oz) white wine
300ml (½ pint) chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
crispy roast potatoes, to serve
buttered peas, to serve
Sausage stuffing roll:
25g (1oz) butter, extra for greasing
1 onion, finely chopped
100g (4oz) sausage meat
100g (4oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before it goes into the oven. Preheat the oven to
230°C (450°F/gas mark 8).
Finely grate the rind from the lemon and place the rind in a bowl, reserving the lemon. Strip the thyme leaves from the stalks (reserve the stalks) and add to the lemon rind. Mix in the butter and the garlic and then season to taste.
Loosen the skin from the chicken breasts, starting at the cavity end and working your hand
underneath to release it. Spread the butter evenly under the skin and lay the skin back down on top. Slash the chicken legs several times with a sharp knife (this is to help ensure crispy skin).
Place the carrots in a roasting tin with the red onions, celery, leek and garlic, tossing to coat
in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sit the chicken on top of the pile of vegetables and drizzle all over with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, then season well, rubbing it all over and right into the slashes.
Cut the reserved lemon in half and put it inside the chicken’s cavity with the reserved thyme
stalks. Place the chicken in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 200°C (400°F/gas
mark 6). Roast the chicken for 1 hour 20 minutes, basting the chicken halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile, to make the sausage stuffing roll, melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the onion until softened. Leave to cool, then mix with the sausage meat, breadcrumbs and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Place on a heavily buttered double sheet of tin foil and roll up into a thick sausage shape about 2.5cm (1in) thick and 20cm (8in) long, twisting the ends to secure.
Place in a roasting tin and cook above the chicken for 25–30 minutes, until the sausage meat is cooked through, turning it a couple of times to ensure it cooks evenly.
When the chicken is cooked, transfer the chicken to a board and put the carrots and red onions on a warmed plate. Cover each with tin foil and rest for 15 minutes while you make the gravy.
Using a large spoon, carefully remove most of the fat from the tin and then place the tin directly on the heat. Stir in the flour and then holding the tin steady, mash up the remaining vegetables as much as possible with a potato masher. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble down, stirring continuously to blend the flour in. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until slightly reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally.
Take a large jug and set a sieve into it, then pour in the gravy mixture, using a ladle to push all of the liquid and some of the vegetables through with the back of the spoon. Stir in the juices from the resting chicken and season to taste. Transfer to a warmed gravy boat.
To serve, carve the chicken into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with the reserved carrots and red onion halves. Unwrap the sausage stuffing roll and cut into slices, then add to the plates with the roast potatoes and buttered peas. Hand around the gravy boat separately.
Crispy Roast Potatoes
For really crunchy roast potatoes with fluffy middles, choose a floury variety of potato, such as Roosters, and try to make sure that they are all similar in size. Save some fat that’s left over from a roast to use for this dish. To ensure really crispy roast potatoes, drain off any excess fat about 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time. This will help them to go really crispy and golden brown around the edges.
1.5kg (3lb) floury potatoes (such as Roosters), halved
about 100ml (3 ½fl oz) sunflower oil, or dripping,
goose or duck fat
6 garlic cloves, slightly smashed (not peeled)
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/gas mark 7).
Place the potatoes in a pan of cold salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and
simmer for 8–10 minutes, until the outsides have just softened. Drain and return to the pan for a minute to dry out, shaking vigorously to knock off all the hard edges.
Meanwhile, preheat a roasting tin with a 1cm (½in) depth of oil, dripping, duck or goose fat for a few minutes, until just smoking. Roughly prod the outside of the potatoes with a fork and toss them with the garlic and rosemary. Carefully tip them into the hot oil, basting the tops. Roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden.
To serve, transfer the crispy roast potatoes with a slotted spoon into a warmed serving bowl.
Season with the salt and place them straight on the table or use as required.
Mango and Lime Cheesecake
This cheesecake combines a luscious tropical fruit topping with a creamy filling and a spiced
biscuit base. I think gelatine leaves are much easier to use than powdered gelatine. They are
available now from most supermarkets, but if you can’t find them, use 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatine for the filling and dissolve in 2 tablespoons of very hot water and use 1 teaspoon for the topping and dissolve in 1 tablespoon of very hot water.
200g (7oz) ginger nut biscuits
100g (4oz) butter, melted
vegetable oil, for greasing
4 gelatine leaves
175ml (6fl oz) milk
1 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out
175g (6oz) caster sugar
500g (18 oz) Greek yoghurt
finely grated rind and juice of 2 limes
150ml (¼ pint) cream
2 gelatine leaves
400g (14oz) can mango slices in syrup, drained
fresh mint sprigs, to decorate
lightly whipped cream, to serve
To make the base, place the biscuits in a food processor or liquidiser and blend to fine crumbs.
With the motor still running, pour in the melted butter through the feeder tube and mix until
well combined. Tip into a lightly oiled 23cm (9in) loose-bottomed cake tin and press firmly and evenly to form a base for the cheesecake. Chill for at least 10 minutes, until firmly set, or up to 24 hours is fine.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. Place the milk in a pan and add the vanilla seeds, whisking to combine. Cook until it just reaches boiling point, but do not allow to boil. Gently squeeze the gelatine dry and add to the pan with the sugar, whisking until the gelatine and sugar are both dissolved. Pour into a large bowl and leave to cool a little.
Stir the Greek yoghurt into the cooled milk mixture with the lime rind and juice. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it’s just holding its shape, then fold into the filling mixture. Pour into the set biscuit base and chill for at least 1 hour, until set, or up to 24 hours is fine.
To make the topping, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. Place
the mango slices in a mini processor or liquidiser and blend until smooth. Heat 1 tablespoon
of water in a small pan or in the microwave. Gently squeeze the gelatine dry and stir into the
hot water, until dissolved. Add to the mango purée and pour over the set cheesecake filling,
spreading evenly with the back of a spoon. Chill for another 2–3 hours, until completely set, or up to 24 hours is fine.
To serve, remove the cheesecake from the tin and transfer to a serving plate, then decorate with the mint sprigs. Cut into slices and arrange on serving plates with a dollop of whipped cream