It was a very exciting day for us yesterday. Nic's mum flew in from Melbourne and is here to stay for the next three weeks. Lucky for her we have a wonderful friend who has lots of room at her house and has offered to shelter Pam while visiting. Staying in a two bedroom apartment with two very excited little grandchildren might of put Grammie over the edge!
What to cook? Never wanting to disappoint I was wondering what to make. When flying from Australia you feel exhausted, dirty, tired and not really up for much in the way of food (this much I remember). However I am unable to fill Max and Alex these days so I had to come to a happy medium. Good old roast chook! (chicken for those of you who haven't caught on yet). I figure if I serve cold chicken cuts with a couple of salads and a big old French stick that should serve every ones needs.
My favorite way to roast a chicken- slit the skin with a sharp knife, shovel butter into the slits so it rests on the flesh and under the skin, increasing the 'crisp' factor. Rub a mixture of whole fennel seeds, salt and cracked pepper all over the skin and finish with shoving some fresh thyme or oregano up it's bum with half a lemon. Pop it in a preheated oven (400) and roast for about 1-11/2 hours until juices run clear, remove from the oven and leave to cool.
I also love roast beetroot so I placed 4-5 whole beets in with the chook and let them do their magic. Knowing my boys I knew Max would NOT even try the beets because they were a deep purple and that is not on his food radar. I had to come up with a simple salad they would also enjoy. I chopped up some Romaine (Coz for you Aussies) and made a watered down mayo, garlic and parmesan cheese dressing. I figured if I put mayo and cheese together Alex would at least eat one or two bits of lettuce.
For the dressing I got about 2 Tbsp of mayo, added juice of half a lemon and just over 1 tsp of warm water (thins out the mayo), then mixed it with a fork until it was a thin consistency. I then added salt and pepper and grated on my micro plane- one clove of garlic and 2 Tbsp of parmesan. Mix all the ingredients until well combined then pour over the lettuce, add cherry tomatoes and there you have it a delish salad in 5 minutes.
Once the beets were cool I peeled them (with gloves on otherwise you have very pink hands for the next couple of days), cut into a dice and then made a quick red wine vinaigrette (1 part vinegar to 3 parts e.v.o.o). Toss the beets in the vinaigrette then place them in your serving bowl, sprinkle with feta cheese and chopped Italian parsley- finished!
As it happened, Pam loved the meal, boys loved the chicken and bread (go figure!) Alex at least tried the beetroot salad and I think he would of eaten more if Max hadn't been sitting across from him saying how disgusting it was. Alex did eat two lettuce leaves and then proceeded to lick the remaining. Max shoveled down the Romain salad going back for seconds and as you can probably tell didn't touch the beets!
Nic and I ate the lot- I'll be doing this one again.