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The Weekly Cook Up – Roast chicken with the best crispy skin EVER!

As much as we are told that eating chicken skin is bad … isn’t the skin just the yummiest bit?

Provided it’s cooked right and lovely and crispy, the skin is something people fight over – just like really good pork crackling.

But, like crackling, perfectly crispy skin can be a bit of a challenge to achieve.

The trick is to bring the chicken to room temperature before roasting, and to ensure the skin is really dry by patting it with some kitchen towel. Where did I learn this? Neil Perry, of course 🙂 This dish is inspired by a recipe of his on the Rockpool website. The chicken is flavoured with lemon and thyme and served with his beautiful aoli – which you can buy in the fresh food section at the supermarket. YUM! I also roasted potato, parsnip, swede and carrots making this an amazing one-pan dish.

Crispy-skinned roast chicken with lemon, thyme and roast potatoes

  • 1 x 1.6 – 1.8kg chicken
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A few knobs of butter
  • ½ bunch thyme
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 carrots, washed, cut in half and then sliced lengthways
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into rough pieces
  • 3 potatoes, washed and cut into rough pieces
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes


An hour before you begin cooking take the chicken out of the fridge and pat dry with paper towel. Place the thyme and lemon inside the chicken cavity. Drizzle all over with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat you oven to 220°c.

Heat a roasting pan in the oven. Add enough olive oil to barely cover the tray and a few knobs of butter, then add all of your vegetables except the tomatoes and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, toss well and place the pan in the oven. Cook the vegetables for about 20 minutes – they should be just starting to brown.

Remove the tray from the oven and add the cherry tomatoes and whole garlic cloves. Place the chicken face up into the pan and return to the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. I found I needed to cook my chicken for an extra 10 minutes, as it was still a little pink.

Remove from the oven, lightly cover with foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving. This step is really important as it allows all the juices to calm down from the cooking, making it lovely and moist.

Cut the chicken into quarters, and serve with the roasted vegies and Neil Perry’s fresh aoli on top. Some crusty sourdough bread is perfect too 🙂

My dog, Angel, got the leftovers. After a good feed, he was feeling pretty tired 🙂

As for a groovy tune to go with this delicious Sunday roast – I’d suggest this track by the Freelance Whalers. I came across this song on the Offspring soundtrack. I am totally addicted to this show and thought the music was amazing too! It’s kind of chilled and yet has this really cool rhythm to it. I think I love this song too, because it’s called Hannah, which is my favourite name 🙂 Hope you enjoy it as much as I do – although the video clip is a little weird 🙂


Cous cous – Perry style

Today, I am feeling nervous and excited – because today is the day one of my Christmas presents comes to fruition – to have a cooking masterclass with one of the Geelong region’s best chefs. I am sooo excited to be cooking lobster, oysters and mud crab. Not only that, but I’ll get to eat the food, with matching wines, as well. It’s going to be the most incredible experience. I can’t wait!

In the coming days I’ll be blogging about the experience, everything I learned, and I’ll be taking some photos too! Hope I can make the food taste wonderful and look sexy. I’d be mortified if I burn something, or chop my finger off!!

But, in the meantime, here’s a recipe from another great Masterchef – Neil Perry.

Cous cous is one of those things I am just soooo happy I discovered.

I was always a bit scared of it, for some reason. It looked complicated to make. Not only that, it looks like sand on a plate. Not exactly appetising.

However, when my brother gave me a Neil Perry cookbook a few years ago, I was flicking through and he had a really simple way of preparing it. I thought, if Neil reckons it’s a good idea – so do I.

So, this is how Neil does basic cous cous – it’s a great accompaniment with stews and casseroles. I mean I am a rice girl at heart – but cous cous is right up there for me.

Cous Cous – Perry style

  • 100gm of butter
  • 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • 400ml of boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups of cous cous


Combine the butter olive oil and boiling water in a large mixing bowl. Once the butter has melted in the water, while stirring – add the cous cous. Leave until the cous cous has absorbed the liquid, then fluff it gently with a fork.

Put the cous cous in a steamer, which you’ve lined with a clean tea towel. Put over a saucepan of fast-boiling water and steam for 20 minutes.

This makes enough cous cous to serve 4 to 6 people. But – here’s a very important tip. Use a white, or light-coloured tea towel. I once used a blue one, and it turned the cous cous blue! Needless to say, I had to throw it away. You can also use some muslin cloth, if you have it handy.

This is a good base recipe to add other flavours. So, get creative.

Be back soon to blog about the Masterclass. Woo hoo!!

Be Inspired – because I know I will be!


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