Roast chicken: one girl’s story

Friends for Sunday lunch today, and I finally got to cook Simon Hopkinson’s eponymous bird. Masses of butter + lemon up the bum + initial blast of heat + a good long rest = great roast chicken. Fed up of potatoes and root veg, so served it with a version of a jewelled, nutty Ottolenghi wild rice salad and – current green salad of choice – watercress dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.

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Ottolengh-ish wild rice saladg

Combine 250g cooked red camargue / wild rice mix with: 35g roughly chopped pistachios; 70g dried cranberries; 70g roughly chopped dried apricots; roughly chopped big handfuls of tarragon, mint and parsley; fat crushed garlic glove; juice of half a lemon; slosh of olive oil; splash of roast chicken juices.

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Dessert was also courtesy of Mr O: a glossy pear and cranberry cake – sticky and sweet but light – served with creme fraiche, and let down only by the fact it could have done with another five minutes in the oven (baking skills need work).

Guests called lunch elegant. Score. Too embarrassed to make them wait while I photographed their lunch, but fyi, my cake looked like a cheap knockoff of this:

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credit: Ottolenghi

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