08 June 2012

Jubilee Extravaganza Day 4 - English Roast

After our lovely curry the night before, we finally reached the end of the Jubilee Weekend and I celebrated by randomly cooking a dinner for my friends!

Sunday Roast - There's not much for me to say on this weekly English dish.  Although, as someone who likes to cook, improvise recipes and present visually pleasing and tasty meals, I've always got to put my own twist on things!

As I was trying to do only British themed activities this weekend, my roast (which is basically a lightweight Thanksgiving dinner to my American readers) couldn't include my staples of mac n' cheese, some form of green veg in pork and vinegar and cornbread. Tragic, I know.

I did make a roast chicken that was meant for 2-3 but fed 5 in the end!

Orange and Herb Roasted Chicken

Orange and Herb Roasted Chicken

I'm not very good at recipes but here goes

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 orange cut into quarters
  • 1 onion cut into quarters
  • 1 sliced clove of garlic
  • fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
  • 2 tablespoons of softened butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (I think I use EVOO)
  • Dried mixed/italian herbs if you want
Pre-heat oven to 210ºC. Run the chicken under cold water, plucking any extra bits that are still on it and rinsing out the cavity completely. If there are any necks or giblet type thingies get rid of that. If you know how to make gravy with it, go for it but I normally have these already removed.

Place chicken on its back on a clean surface or even in the pan you'll be cooking this in.  At this point, I start thinking of the chicken as a little person that's getting a massage and going in the sauna for a bit. (Don't judge me, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen by myself - gotta stay entertained!)

In a small bowl mix the butter, salt, pepper and dried herbs (if you're using them) together. With the cavity facing you, just at the top you should be able to lift up a bit of the skin and fit most of your hand underneath the skin over the breast. (If you're squeamish about touching meat, imagining this as a massage helps!) The slit between the skin should go down to the legs as well. Keep using the butter mix and massaging the chicken under and over the skin, front and back, until you're happy with the seasoning. This butter mix will also help the chicken have nice and crispy skin.

Transfer the chicken to the pan if it's not already there and top with more salt, pepper and dried herbs if you wish.

Take one orange quarter and squeeze over the chicken. Put one quarter inside the chicken, another quarter behind a wing, and the last quarter behind a leg diagonal from the orange wing.

Take one onion quarter and put inside the chicken, use the other 3 to put around the chicken behind the wing and leg with no orange and peel the last quarter to sprinkle around the chicken.

Put several slices of the garlic inside the chicken and sprinkle the rest around him er her er it. :) See, it becomes my little friend before I send it off to the nice warm sauna. 

Decorate it with the fresh herbs as you wish. I normally tuck rosemary sprigs on its legs, and put a mix of the herbs inside the chicken.  Finally prop the wings behind its neck like it's lying back and kicking up its legs to relax (this helps the wing tips not to burn). People wrap up the legs with poultry string for the same reason, but I never have a problem with them burning. 

Drizzle a bit of oil at the bottom of the pan.  Set in the oven, on the middle rack, for however long the pack tells you since it depends on the size. I think this bird took about 30 - 45 minutes but you want it to look like the second picture up there (obvs). If you see it turning brown too fast, turn down the heat. If by 30 minutes it's not brown enough, turn it up to 220ºC for the last 10 minutes or so and it should be good. 


I also had my first stab at Yorkshire Puddings, which must've been created when someone didn't know what to do with their excessively soupy bread mixture. I found this recipe online, followed it to.a.T. and created these bad boys as my cornbread replacement!

Best Yorkshire pudding recipe evar

Gorgeous yorkshire puds on the first try!
I'm stil amazed by how they work, how do they grow like that?!!? Apparently the trick is heating the pan to cooking temp with vegetable oil before adding the batter. The more oil, the more they rise. The hotter the pan, the better they rise.  Give it a try!

Here's the final dinner feast!

Orange and Herb Roasted Chicken, steamed broccoli, roasted carrots and potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy


And finally, I may have broken my 'no American' things rule a bit with dessert. Well technically it's Sicilian, but who cares - it's my beloved Cassata Cake that I blogged about over a year ago.  I haven't made it since moving to England, and to be honest it's a bitch of a cake to make. It takes up your life, but it is WELL worth it once it's done. I normally try to save it as a summer weather cake as it's heavy in fruit and cream ingredients, but, well, like I said I haven't made it since moving to England. (Will it EVER be summer here!?)

I wanted to make a Jubilee themed cake so here are the results.

Cassata Cake

Click here for the recipe: http://arielcking.blogspot.com/2011/03/cassata-cake.html

This was my first time making everything, even the cake from scratch (I normally use box cake)! Very pleased with the results!

Building a Cassata Cake 

So that's that for my English Roast and Jubilee Weekend.

If you have any questions, have tried these recipes before, or have similar dishes to share let me know in the comments!


  1. The cake looks gorgeous (not to mention everything else)! Jon made yorkshire puddings last month after i chickened out for dinner one night-I watched closely and had no idea they were so easy. Love them1

    1. Thanks - I was super proud of myself on that cake it's so epic!!

      I keep wondering if anyone in the States would like those lil puds, or if we'd just want a normal biscuit haha!


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