Tag: roast chicken

Lunch with my husband

Friday was the last day before the Toussaint. It is a Christian holiday to honor and pray for the deceased (All Saints day – November 1st and All Souls day November 2nd), where relatives gather and visit family graves, decorating them with chrysanthemums, which is the official flower for Toussaint. The kids get to have a well-deserved two weeks holiday from school, the best treat they could ever get. This time of the year is all about union and family, celebrating fall with all the pumpkins, squashes, mushrooms, brown ferns, acorns and pomegranates.

My husband and I realized it was the last Friday before a two-week fanfare parade at home with les enfants, so we decided to have late romantic lunch. Our days are filled with non-stop activities, from work, dogs, gardening, cooking and kids, so we really value a bit of quiet time together. We were thinking of going out to a nearby bistrot, but luckily I had a duet of coquelets in the fridge, and lots of squashes on my kitchen table, almost too pretty to eat. As much as I enjoy eating out, I had a great recipe in mind for those little chickens so we just had to stay in. I layed an elegant yet rustic table, opened a bottle of St Julien wine, and we happily savoured coquelets à la moutarde (spring chicken with mustard), roast thyme potatoes and baked squashes with garlic cream. Sometimes simplicity works best. This meal is inspired by all the countless lunches we had in Paris at Yves Camdeborde’s ‘le Relais du Comptoir‘ (9 Carrefour de l’Odéon 75006 Paris). It’s one of our regular (and favourite) places to eat for numerous reasons. The food is excellent, we adore Yves Camdeborde, the terrasse is charming, they have given me the best seats throughout my pregnancies, seen all our kids grow up and you can eat there at any time of the day. The menu is fantastic and we always order the same dishes. ‘Coquelet à la moutarde’ or ‘Joue de boeuf with coquillettes’ (beef cheeks with small shell pasta). When we are back in Paris, it’s one of our first obligatoire stops.

The squash with garlic cream was a little last-minute idea. Baking it nearly naked (only with one garlic clove, salt & pepper) was simple, so I wanted to add crème fraîche for extra density (I just can’t help it, I love cream and butter so much). The cream melts in the squash and does the job all by itself creating a perfect garlic cream mash. It was a real hit!

Roast coquelets à la moutarde (serves 2)

2 coquelets (spring chickens, or you can roast 1 chicken)
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp strong classic mustard (I use Maille)
1 tbsp Savora mustard (it’s a special mix of mustard and spices – available at supermarkets – I also love using this for my quiche lorraine)

Preheat oven 180°C/350°F.

In a bowl, mix 3 tbsp of mustard, 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Place chicken in a roasting pan. Spread the mustard marinade all over the chicken including the cavity. Place one garlic clove in each chicken and a 2-3 small sprigs of thyme. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Halfway in cooking time, pour some of the dripping on the chicken. Repeat if necessary. Bake for 35-40 minutes for a coquelet (spring chicken) or 1 hour-1 hour and a half if you are using a larger chicken.

Baked squash with garlic cream (serves 2)
2 squashes (I used carnival squash, but you can use any small-sized variety)
2 garlic cloves (peeled)
120 ml/ 1/2 cup crème fraîche per squash (alternatively you can use sour cream)
Salt & pepper for seasoning

Preheat oven 180°C/350°F

Slice the top part of the squash (leaving you with a lid), remove the seeds. Season the inside of the squash with salt and pepper, add one peeled garlic clove and close the lid.
Place squash in a roasting pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until soft. When ready, remove the lid and leave to cool on a plate. Scoop out the garlic and 2 tsp of squash and add to the crème fraîche. You can mash it up with a fork or place in a food processor and mix for a few seconds for a creamier sauce. Pour cream back into squash and close the lids. Serve on a plate with a spoon.

Roast thyme potatoes

Preheat oven 180°C/350°F
10-12 small potatoes, roasting types (I count 5-6 small potatoes per person)
Sprigs of fresh thyme (or dried thyme)
Coarse sea salt
60 ml/ 1/4 cup olive oil
Rinse potatoes, slice them in half or quarters depending on size. Place in roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprigs of thyme and coarse sea salt. Mix well and bake for 35-45 minutes (give the potatoes a good stir halfway).

You can roast both the potatoes and the chicken at the same time. I start with the potatoes first for 15 minutes, then add the chicken to the pan – this saves space & time.

Pirate chicken

Last week-end, I was really in the mood for something tasty, juicy, something fun. My son Hudson made a request for ‘Pirate chicken’ (he named this dish because eating chicken with your hands is just like a pirate). This dish is very Caribbean influenced, with coriander, clove, cinnamon, lime, nutmeg and chilli. Drenched in squeezed lime, this is exactly what you need to slip into holiday mode.

After this satisfying meal, the kids begged for a beach outing, which was just about the best idea of the day. When we first moved here, little did we know that there was a beautiful untouched ‘secret’ beach ten minutes away from our house. The route is quite a maze, as some of the roads have no names. You will need a compass, a good memory and a dash of adventurous spirit to get there.

As you approach the destination, the smell is infused with a mixture of ocean air and warm pine trees, making you feel like you entered the most endearing spa. You are challenged to climb a large dune before seeing the ocean. And there you have it – freedom. It’s the only place that has the power to take my breath away and rock my dreams to paradise. It is rare to see anyone, and when you do, you just throw a glance and a knowing smile, as if you are saying ‘It’s our secret, I shall not reveal this beach to anyone’.

16 chicken drumsticks
6 shallots (sliced finely)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
8 crushed cloves
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp chilli powder or crushed dried chilli
2 tbsp ground coriander seed
2 cinnamon sticks
6 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
A large handful of chopped coriander
4 limes (quartered)
Honey (drizzled over each chicken thigh halfway through cooking)
40 ml olive oil
Salt to taste

Slice shallots finely and place chicken thighs in a roasting pan. In a large bowl, mix sliced shallots, garlic, olive oil, soya sauce, all the dried spices, salt and pepper. Mix well and pour marinade over chicken. Cover with aluminium paper and leave to marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In a pre-heated oven 190° celsius, place chicken in oven and cook for 30 minutes. You can add half a glass of water in the roasting pan if the sauce dries up. After 30 minutes, turn each chicken thighs, return to oven. After 15 minutes, drizzle chicken with honey all over. Return to oven and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Place on a serving dish, add the chopped fresh coriander. Serve immediately with plain white rice, sliced cucumbers and lime.

Roast chicken with rosemary, lemon and thyme

Summer night dinner at home.

My daughter Louise climbing the apple tree during dinner.


1 whole farm chicken
A few rosemary and thyme sprigs
1 lemon (cut in quarters)
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves (skin on)
olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

For the gravy:

All the juices from the roasting pan
Half glass white wine
1 tbsp plain flour
Salt & pepper

I roast a chicken at least once a week. In France, I always buy the poulet fermier jaune (farmer’s yellow chicken – it basically means that it is corn-fed chicken). The flesh is yellower and richer in taste.
Take the chicken out 2 hours before roasting. Cooking meat straight from the fridge dries it out. I have learnt how important it is to roast meat at room temperature – that really is the secret to a great juicy chicken, therefore a successful gravy. Place the chicken on a roasting pan, salt and rub olive oil all over the poultry, salt lightly in the cavity and stuff the rosemary, bay leaf and thyme sprigs, the garlic with the skin on and the lemon cut in quarters. Leave to rest.
In a full-on 240°C pre-heated oven, place the chicken in the center. Then lower the heat to 190-200°C and cook for 1 hour. I don’t do anything to it for 1 whole hour.
When ready, take out the chicken, cover with a tinfoil then a tea towel. Place the roasting pan filled with the chicken juices on to a stove on medium heat and add the wine. It should be bubbling away so let it reduce for a few minutes. Sprinkle the flour and whisk the sauce until it thickens to a perfect gravy. Pour in a serving dish and there you have a delicious gravy flavoured with lemon, thyme, rosemary and wine. Simply divine.

I serve this dish with roast potatoes, a corn salad and sucrine lettuce. I usually roast two chickens because there is nothing better that cold chicken sandwiches for the next day’s lunch.