PFJ review, and a simple roast chicken

The end of plastic free July turned into a flurry of activity, as we prepared for not only our first two week holiday in 6 years, but our first big trip with Little Bear in tow.

I didn’t use a single disposable coffee cup, hot or cold, which was a personal target. I avoided plastic at the supermarket as much as possible, but it’s almost impossible to buy certain products without it – tortillas, brown sugar, yoghurt, bread, crackers, snacks. It’s not always feasible to make these from scratch, in terms of time, money or ability.

My biggest shock was how expensive things are. Fruit and veg can be more than double the price loose. It’s far more likely that premium or organic ranges are in “good” packaging than standard or value ranges, taking the option off the table completely for a lot of families. Yes, you’re only buying exactly what you need so you’re not being forced into a years worth of cornflakes, but it adds up over time.

We need to do better. Simple as, really.

Too much rich food, and dessert every day has been lovely but has had an impact, and I’m a couple of kilos heavier this month. We’re keeping it a little more simple on the meals front for a while, for the sake of digestion and waistlines.

I roast a whole chicken very regularly – often one a week. It takes a long time, but there’s very little brain power or active cooking time involved, so it’s a perfect Saturday afternoon thing to do, while pootling around at home.

It’s important that a fridge cold bird gets to warm up before going into the oven. I usually take mine out an hour before I want to pop it in the oven. I make a trivet, by slicing an onion in thick slices, for it to sit on in the roasting tin. Extra flavor for the bird and gravy, and no wrestling a red hot chicken with a wing that’s stuck to the tin.

I don’t truss my bird, and they’re usually around the 2kg mark.

Lemon, halved, and bulb of garlic, halved, into the cavity. It’s a great time to use up any herbs lingering in the fridge. Parsley, sage, thyme or rosemary are particularly good.

Drizzle with olive oil, crack on some pepper, and salt well. Use more salt than you might think, and get it in all the nooks and crannies. You won’t eat it all, but it’ll make a massive difference to the meat. I invested in box of kosher salt, but I really like fine sea salt too. If I don’t have herbs, I’ll sometimes sprinkle on some Old Bay seasoning instead, especially if some of the leftovers are destined for enchiladas or tacos.

180C for about 90 minutes, legs pointing back.

Out, foil, and rest.

We generally have some as a roast dinner of some form on nights one and two, and leftovers will make a pasta or curry or similar. I used to always make stock from the carcass but I’ve gotten a little lax on this of late. Plus a full stockpot means fewer chickeny bits for the dogs, and they are such good doggies!

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