Archie’s been on a two week break from uni. I’m not sure what he’s done with his time but he hasn’t been home much at all. I did drop a few loud hints that it would be nice if he tidied his room and ‘Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if someone cleaned my car’, but subtleties are lost on Archie and attending to chores was clearly low down on his list of priorities.
My sister over in the US emailed me needing a favour. She has a storage unit in Sydney that she had to vacate and needed her things moved to another storage unit close by. Who did I know that could help her. Now when Archie was in New York my sister did a great job of looking out for him and entertained him on many occasions. And who could forget the party Archie threw in her apartment while she was away for the weekend! So Archie certainly owed my sister more than a few favours so I told my sister that all was sorted, help was on its way.
‘Great’, she said, ‘And tell him it’s just a few things; just a few boxes’. She also asked me how much she should pay Archie and I said, ‘Don’t worry, Archie will do it for free’.
‘Thanks mum’, said Archie.
A few days ago Archie went out to the storage unit and I didn’t hear from him until 7pm. ‘Mum, I haven’t finished. I’m still going. And I’ve had to ask Webb to come in and help me. We’ve both been at it; all day’.
‘Good’, I thought. Webb was also over in New York and benefited from my sister’s hospitality so fabulous that he was paying back the favour. ‘I thought it was just a few things, Archie, just a few boxes’.
‘Mum, you’ve no idea. There’s stuff everywhere. She’s obviously forgotten all the stuff she’s got. We can’t get the job finished, we’re going to have to come back, I don’t know, tomorrow or something’.
‘Okay Archie, I’ll let her know.’
‘And mum, I’m bringing Webb home with me. He’s going to stay the night too if that’s okay. It’s just we’ll have to head back in here tomorrow so I told him he could stay with us. That’s okay isn’t it, mum?’
I was groaning on the inside but managed, ‘Oh, fine, yeah that’s fine, not a problem’.
‘Great, thanks mum. What’s for dinner?’
‘Haven’t you had dinner?’
‘Mum, we’ve been moving boxes. We’re starving. It’s okay if Webb has dinner with us, isn’t it?’
‘Well Archie, dinner is in the oven and…’
‘What are we having?’
‘It will be the loaves and the fishes, Archie, I can tell you that much. I have four chicken breasts for six people.’
‘You sound disappointed’.
‘Well, is there anything else to go with it?’
‘There will be some other things but if you want your mates to come for dinner you need to let me know before I’m taking the food to the table’.
‘Oh yeah right. Sorry mum. We’ll we’re on our way, we should be there soon. Chicken sounds great mum.’
I padded out the meal and managed to make the chicken breasts look fairly substantial and fortunately there were a few dessert items on offer so I don’t think anyone starved.
Next time I’ll cook the whole bird and not just the breasts; you never know how many might be turning up.
Chicken Roasted in Sea Water
Degree of Difficulty: 3/5 – because of all that basting you have to do while trying not to burn yourself!
Cost: I think roast chicken is a delightful and very affordable roast dinner
- 150g pork and fennel sausages, skins removed, coarsely broken
- 80g mild pancetta, finely chopped
- 50g chicken livers (about 2), trimmed, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 chicken, about 1.8kg
Lemon and Garlic Beans
- 400g green beans, trimmed
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of 1/2
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Combine sausage, pancetta, liver, rosemary, olive oil and garlic in a large bowl and season to taste.
Rinse chicken under cold running water and pat dry with absorbent paper. Stuff chicken with sausage mixture, truss legs, drizzle with a little oil, season to taste with freshly grund black pepper and place in a roasting pan. Roast, basting occasionally with salt water until chicken is golden and juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a skewer (about 1 1/4 hours). Set aside to rest 10 mins
Meanwhile, for lemon and garlic beans, blanch beans in boiling salted water until bright green (30 seconds). Refresh in iced water, drain well and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, stir occasionally until just tender (30 seconds), add beans and toss until warmed through (2-3 minutes). Add lemon zest and juice, season to taste and serve hot with chicken.
Note: If your property doesn’t back on to an ocean, you can make your own salt water by adding 1 tbspn sea salt to 200ml water and stir until dissolved.
This recipe is from Gourmet Traveller, Italian Regional Classics Cookbook.
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