And then I started baking, from packet mixes at first before slowly becoming more adventurous. It stemmed from my love of cakes and the fact that my Chinese mother does not bake.
The light in the oven had died so many years ago that I don’t have any recollection of it ever working, but no one cared too much as the oven had mostly just been a tool with which to heat up frozen pizzas and fish fingers. Oh, how I envied other kids at school when we had fundraising cake sales on. Them with their plastic containers full of yummy sweet goods prepared lovingly (or, perhaps, cursedly – you never know) by their mothers and me with my packet of whatever purchased from the supermarket.
Along with no baking, there was also no roasting in our household. Our poor neglected oven! However this also meant that our oven remained remarkably clean even as the rest of our kitchen grew more and more used. Not that I had a chance to experiment with our oven for savoury dishes as ours was pretty much strictly a Cantonese food household. So picture my delight when Monsieur Poisson and I were dating and I started frequenting his place to discover a pristine oven due to his no-cook (skills and) habits. I am proud to say that I christened his oven and have been using it on a regular basis ever since.
So when this recipe card said to pan-fry then oven-cook the cuts of chicken, I thought that I’d just throw it in the oven from the start to save myself the trouble. Of course if I had bothered doing this step then I would have ended up with much crispier skin but I am lazy, you see. The recipe also asks for spring vegetables to be blanched then dressed with a walnut oil vinaigrette. Not being the correct season for these vegetables and with me not wanting to invest in a bottle of walnut oil for which I would have limited future use, I instead roasted some vegetables I had in the crisper and threw in some walnut pieces for toasting at the end. (Not actually following these recipe card recipes is starting to turn into a habit of mine, hmmm.)
We had a serve of vegetables left over as we had some bread with our meal as well. The bread you see above alongside the chicken is from my wonderful baker friend, Ms Sourdough, spread with the remains of anchovy chilli butter.
Roast Chicken with cauliflower, beans and peas (serves 2)
(adapted from The Age – Epicure 50 Best Recipe Cards, recipe by Jill Dupleix)
· 2 chicken Marylands
· 1 tbs olive oil
· 1 tsp mixed dried herbs
· ½ medium cauliflower, separated into florets
· 250g round beans, topped and tailed
· 1 cup frozen peas
· handful of walnut pieces (optional)
- Preheat oven to 220°C. Rub skin of chicken Marylands with olive oil and dried herbs before placing cut-side down in a roasting pan. Season liberally and roast for 35 minutes.
- Add cauliflower and beans, season, and roast a further 10 minutes. Throw in peas and walnuts (if using), turn the oven off and allow the lot to sit in there for 5 minutes. Remove the roasting dish from the oven and let sit 5 minutes for the chicken to rest before serving.