Sunday, 23 October 2011

Roast Chicken

It's probably one of the best known truths that a roast chicken is comfort, so it really needs little introduction. Everyone loves it and it cures lots of ailments and elevates spirits - it's synonymous with lazy Sundays and feeding someone a roast chicken is one of the greatest acts of affection around.

Of course it's lovely with all the trimmings, but it can be even better when eaten with plainer accompaniments. Roast chicken with mashed potato and gravy is an excellent cure for hangovers, broken hearts and general low spirits. And, roast chicken served with salad and a good loaf of bread to mop up the gravy is an equally as good provider of sustenance for those hungover or melancholy souls.

To Cook
Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees.
Rub butter, a small bunch of chopped herbs (parsley and marjoram or thyme, etc) salt and pepper all over the chicken (This will give a golden colour and produce really tasty skin.) At this stage you could also stuff half an onion or lemon into the cavity.

Put the bird in a roasting tin and add a glass of water and a glass of wine (this will later become gravy.) Roast for 15 minutes. Baste the bird then turn down the oven to 190 degrees and return the bird to the oven to cook for 45 minutes.
Check it's cooked by piercing a meaty part of the bird with a knife, if the juices run clear then it's done, if not, return to the oven for longer and check at 5 minute intervals (a larger bird will take longer.)
Let it rest for 10 - 15 minutes and carve however you like - even a slap dash manner will be fine for this.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Lady Grey Cupcakes

These are a variation of a Primrose Bakery recipe which uses Earl Grey tea. The flavour is delicate and so they make an especially elegant treat for female guests / housemates. These were made for a certain birthday celebration a week or two ago.

125 ml milk
4 Lady Grey teabags
110g unsalted butter
225g sugar (caster will work the best)
2 eggs
125g self-raising flour
120g plain flour

To Make:
1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until it begins to boil. Remove from the heat and allow the teabags to steep for 30mins
2. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs - one at a time.
3. Add the flour to this mixture, little by little, then add a little milk and repeat this process until everything is well combined.
4. Put the mixture into cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 25 mins. They will be done when they are springy to touch. Leave in the tin for 10mins then place on a wire rack to cool.

The Icing:
(This is The Humming Bird Bakery frosting recipe - it's really good)
250g icing sugar (seems like a lot, but trust us)
80g unsalted butter
25ml milk
A few drops of food colouring

Beat the icing sugar with the butter in a mixer (this may take a while and the butter:sugar ratio may seem off - but it isn't) Add the milk and continue mixing.
Once it has all been incorporated, it will be smooth - then you can add your food dye and mix it all together.
Smear all over the top of the cupcakes in whichever fashion you wish and maybe add some cake decorations.