How to Make a Delicious Sunday Roast.

NOT

You are not your age,
Nor the size of the clothes you wear,
You are not a weight,
Or the colour of your hair.
You are not your name,
Or the dimples in your cheeks,
You are all the books you read,
And all the words you speak,
You are your croaky morning voice,
And the smiles you try to hide,
You are the sweetness in your laughter,
And every tear you’ve cried,
You’re the songs you sing so loudly when you know you’re all alone,
You’re the places you’ve been too,
And the one that you call home,
You’re the things that you believe in,
And the people that you love,
You’re the photos in your bedroom,
And the future you dream of,
You’re made of so much beauty,
But it seems you forgot,
When you decided that you were defined,
By all the things you’re not.
~e.h

Sundays are my poetry days and today’s offering is a poem that is often wrongly attributed to Ernest Hemingway, given the writer’s initials. It is in fact written by a young female poet named Erin Hanson. It is a poem that resonates with me because I think that too many of us are similar to the subject of this verse…distracted by what we are not, at the expense of what we are!!

Human beings, it seems to me, default to insecurity all too often. Rarely do we judge others with the forensic cruelty we focus on ourselves. We put ourselves under immense pressure to be something more than who we are. We want to look different, sound different, be different.  Now I am not suggesting we should not aim high and constantly want to be better versions of ourselves but, as I think the poem suggests, we also need to realise the beauty in who we actually are today. We are our thoughts, our words, our actions – the sum of our individual experiences. We should never wish that away, even on tough days – it is what make us unique. “You’re made of so much beauty”. Try to see it.

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And of course reading poetry and the papers, going for a long walk with the dog and generally just pottering about, all naturally give way to slow food preparation on Sunday afternoons.  Today, I decided to inject a little more creativity into how I make our favourite roast, the humble but delicious chicken dinner. And so it was elevated somewhat with the addition of chorizo stuffing, honey and balsamic glazed veggies and lemon and garlic potatoes.

Here is how it all took shape. Firstly, the stuffing.

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Thyme and Chorizo Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 25g of butter
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 70g chorizo, chopped into small dice
  • 70g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp of chopped, fresh thyme
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion and chorizo, cover and cook on a low heat for about 10 mins (until the onion is soft). Remove from the heat, add the breadcrumbs and herbs.  Season and leave to cool before stuffing the carcass of the chicken.  Simple but so tasty!

Once the chicken was stuffed and roasting in the oven, I turned to the potatoes.

Lemon and Garlic Roast Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 3 fairly large potatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • 10 garlic cloves sliced (seems like a lot but trust me!)
  • A large handful of fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Peel the potatoes and chop them into smallish chunks. Parboil them in salted, boiling water for about 3 minutes.  Allow them to cool for a further 5 minutes.

In the meantime squeeze the juice of the lemon into a bowl. Toss the potatoes in the lemon juice before adding the garlic, basil and olive oil. Mix well. Transfer the potatoes to a pre-heated oven dish in a single layer. Season generously and roast for 1 hour or until the potatoes are cooked and have started to turn golden.

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I then served the golden roast chicken with the potatoes and roast vegetables. I dressed the vegetables in a honey and balsamic glaze which was delicious. It simply involved softening some butter in a small pot and whisking in some honey and a couple of spoons of balsamic.  I drizzled this over the veg for the last few minutes of cooking time.  I also made a simple gravy just by adding some stock to the roasting juices.  A little scraping, a little straining and some rapid boiling to reduce, produced a really great chicken gravy. A labour of love well worth the effort and enough left over for chicken and rocket pittas for tomorrow’s workday lunch.

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