My sister is a fabulous cook, she’s always fed me tasty, healthy and creative feasts, and this year when she presented me with my ‘Birthday Tortilla’ I was delighted. As a welcome diversion from the overdose of cake I’ve been eating recently, she topped the butternut squash, grated courgette and cumin ‘little torta’ with candles and sliced it like the real deal.
She’s just finished baking our Easter chicken. Her husbands a vegetarian and so she relishes the opportunity to justify cooking a whole bird. Just because she doesn’t do it every week, it doesn’t faulter on quality, the skin is crisp, the flesh moist and the juices herby. Her sides of roasted beetroot, sweet potato and butternut squash are lightened by fresh thyme and the minted potato salad sharpened by some delicious Spanish sherry vinegar and fresh mint. The cumin heavy coleslaw is light, creamy and fresh. All together it is to die for.
For a 2 kg chicken:
1. Herb butter: A chunk of butter (approx 50g) flavoured with 5 crushed garlic cloves, a drizzle of olive oil, a teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of sea salt, grate of black pepper and nutmeg, a handful of fresh thyme and parsley, juice of 2 lemons and the zest of 1.
2. Stuff the butter under the skin and rub a little over the breast and a little over the top.
3. Put the skin of the two lemons in the cavity of the chicken, along with a couple of fresh bay leaves.
4. Layer streaky bacon on top of the breast and roast on 220c for 20 mins, then turn down to 180c and roast for an hour and a half or until the juices run clear.
5. Leave to sit for at least half an hour.
For the roasted veg:
Chop whole fresh beetroot into chunks, skin on, and add to a baking tray with, butternut squash and sweet potato. Roast with olive oil and salt and roast for 40 minutes. Add cauliflower and roast for another 15 minutes.
For the mint and chive potato salad:
Chop new potatoes and boil for ten minutes. Leave to cool and add fresh mint, chives and a dressing of olive oil, sherry vingear, sea salt and cracked black pepper.
For the coleslaw:
Grate 1 apple and 1 large carrot. Add to half a shredded white cabbage and 100g of finely sliced sugar snap peas. Mix a handful of fresh parsley and chives into creme freche. Toast cumin seeds and mustard seeds and stir all ingredients. Salt, grate pepper and a squeeze of lemon to taste.