A roast chicken, for me and I suspect a good many of you too, is the smell of home. Of walking into my Mum’s house on a Sunday afternoon, ready to sit down at a table so laden with food you’d think another twenty people were due round for dinner. It’s an olfactory security blanket- the very best nostalgic comfort food going.

There’s really no bad way to serve roast chicken. With mashed potato and bacony-peas and a nutmeg-laced cheese sauce for total indulgence. Tossed in spices and served in wraps with salsa and guacamole. With full Sunday lunch regalia (Yorkshire’s included, because to hell with the beef-only tradition!). And at the very end of its life, when the scraps are all that remain, tossing them in a little barbecue sauce and adding them to the top of a homemade pizza is a fine way for any chicken to throw in the towel.

These recipes here are a few of my absolute favourites for midweek meals- a generously-proportioned chicken roasted early on in the week will easily stretch to all three of the recipes, and leave enough leftover chicken for a sandwich or two as well!

Thriftiness at its absolute finest.


How to make Truly Perfect Roast Chicken!

1 large chicken (the one pictured above was a little over 2 kilos)
1/2 lemon
4 garlic cloves
Pinch dried thyme
Extra virgin olive oil

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

- Cut up the lemon half into 4 chunks, and give the garlic cloves a smash to release the flavour. Place all the lemon pieces and garlic cloves into the cavity of the chicken.

- Drizzle a coating of olive oil all over the chicken, then sprinkle over some Maldon sea salt and a pinch of dried thyme.

- Cover over the chicken in its roasting dish with tin foil, then place into the oven for 40 minutes. After the 40 minutes are up, remove the foil, and return the chicken to the oven for another 45 minutes.

- Once the chicken has had a total cooking time of 1 hour and 25 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside. Allow the bird to rest for AT LEAST 10 minutes, to make sure it stays lovely and juicy once carved!

Now, for the ‘three ways’…

O N E :: Roast chicken with garlic + lemon grains, & roasted butternut squash.

Cider-with-Rosie-food-styling Cider-with-Rosie-three-ways-with-chicken-recipe

This recipe fits in so nicely with the timings for the roast chicken recipe listed above, I tend to make them at the same time! It makes such a tasty midweek dinner, or can be cooked and then portioned up for a couple of days worth of lunches.

Serves 2/3
Ingredients ::
200g (dried weight) grains of choice {our favourite is a blend of red + white quinoa, and bulgar wheat}
1 small butternut squash
1/2 tsp cumin
Two handfuls roasted chicken meat
Cooked lemon & garlic {saved from the roasted chicken recipe listed above}

- Chop the butternut squash into slices, drizzle them with olive oil, then sprinkle over the cumin and a pinch of sea salt.

- Place into the oven to roast for 45 minutes, during the second half of the chicken’s cooking time.

- When squash is tender, set it aside to cool along with the chicken, if roasting at the same time. Fish out the garlic and lemon from inside the chicken, and put the grains on to boil whilst the chicken rests.

- After 10 minutes or so, when the grains are cooked, drain and dress them in olive oil. Use a fork to scrape the softened lemon flesh off the rinds and smash the garlic cloves into a paste, and mix along with the lemon pulp into the cooked grains. It’s important to do this whilst the grains are still warm, so they absorb the flavour well!

- To serve, top the garlicky, lemony grains with a few slices of roasted squash, and a handful of shredded roast chicken.

T W O :: Superfood chicken Caesar salad.

Kale-caesar-salad-recipe-Cider-with-Rosie Kale-chicken-caesar-salad-Cider-with-Rosie

Serves 2.
Ingredients ::
3/4 large handfuls of chopped kale
50g seeds + nuts {I used a mixture of roasted squash seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and some smashed almonds}.
1 large roast chicken breast, shredded
Caesar dressing to taste {homemade, or Cardinis is the best premade, we’ve found}
Fresh parmesan

- ‘Massage’ the kale for a minute or two to soften up the leaves. Toss in the shredded chicken, and the seeds and crushed almonds. {To roast the squash seeds, I simply dressed them in olive oil, salt, and smoked paprika, then placed them in an oven preheated to 200 degrees for 10 minutes until they puff up a little and turn ‘papery’}

- Dress the salad with Caeser dressing and use a peeler to grate in some flakes of parmesan, then allow the salad to sit for a couple of hours so that the kale softens up. I left mine in the fridge overnight before eating, and it tasted great!

T H R E E :: Roast chicken, leek & bacon pot pies.

Cider-with-Rosie-pastry-recipe Cider-with-Rosie-chicken-leek-pie-recipe  

Serves 2.
Ingredients ::
{For the pastry}
200g plain white flour
100g unsalted butter
Pinch salt
1 egg, to glaze

{For the filling}
6 rashers smoked bacon
3 large leeks
3 large handfuls shredded roast chicken meat
1 tbsp plain flour
Pinch of thyme
3 heaping tbsp creme fraiche
200ml chicken stock
Grating parmesan cheese

- Begin by adding the flour, cubed butter, and salt into a large bowl. Gradually add in iced cold water until the dough just comes together into a rough ball, then turn out onto a floured work surface.

- Roll the dough out into a long rectangle, then fold the bottom third into the centre, and the top third over the top of the bottom and middle thirds. {Step by step photographic instructions can be found HERE!} Turn the block of dough by 90 degrees, then repeat the rolling out and folding process 4 more times, until the dough has become smooth. Wrap in clingfilm, then chill in the fridge for an hour.

- Slice the bacon and cut leeks into rounds, then transfer to a large frying pan with a knob of butter and a drizzle of olive oil.

- Slowly cook the bacon and leeks on a low heat, so that the flavours meld and mingle without adding colour to the leeks. I added in a splash of white wine partway through cooking, but don’t worry if you’ve none to hand. We just had dregs in an old bottle lingering in the fridge that needed using up!

- When the leeks and bacon have cooked right down and turned soft, add in the shredded chicken meat, dried thyme, and tablespoon of plain flour. Stir to combine the flour well with the leeks and bacon.

- Turn the heat up to medium, then add in the creme fraiche and chicken stock. Allow to simmer and thicken for 5 minutes or so, then grate in some parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat off under the pan, and set aside.

- Roll out the pastry dough to about a centimetre thick, then stamp out rounds about a centimetre wider than the top of the pie dish. Fill each pie dish with filling and then press the pastry into the top of the dish, crimping the edges slightly as you go.

- Brush the tops with a little beaten egg, piece with a knife to let out steam, then transfer into an oven preheated to 200 degrees celsius for 35 minutes, or until the pastry is a rich golden colour. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes or so before digging in- we’ve wound up with burnt mouths more times than I’d care to admit from being to eager to dive in to these babies! ;)

Chicken-pot-pie-recipe Cider-with-Rosie-chicken-pot-pie-recipe

As ever, I’m always so glad to see photos of your recipe recreations! Nothing makes me more excited! :) Find me on Twitter, and Instagram (@ciderwithrosieblog), and tag #ciderwithrosiecooks! :)


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Last week, my little Mum and I took an impromptu afternoon trip in to Richmond, for a little midweek sale shopping and a date with Whole Foods. (Sidetone: I don’t think I *ever* go to Richmond without it being totally impromptu and off the cuff! What’s going on with that?!) Even though, as I said last week, my only resolution for this year is to go gentler on myself and not to makes any great changes to my diet or get healthier or anything of that sort, there’s still something about January that always makes me want to eat lighter, more organic foods. Maybe all those ’10 healthy meals to make this January!’ articles I read on Buzzfeed at 1am when I can’t sleep are being osmosed into my psyche! ;)

We wandered across the green (stopping to admire the few remaining Christmas trees and wreaths brightening up the beautiful houses that line the edges of the park), before swinging by Anthropologie for a quick check in on the sale. I tried on some 15-odd dresses, all of which looked glorious on the hanger but horrendous on me (why does this happen? I always feel so duped!) before heading over to Whole Foods for lunch. And I know I’ve mentioned it on the blog already once or twice, but that salad bar? It’s magic. Top tips of what to pick out? The black olives (so salty, so great), the pickled beetroot (just be sure not to spill any down your top), the super creamy feta, and the aubergine from the hot food counter, that comes marinated and cooked in some sort of sweet and spicy sauce that tastes like total heaven.

After lunch we went on a mad dash round the grocery aisles (a mad dash because we were keen not to get caught in rush hour traffic), and bought up one of pretty much everything in the shop. Like sugar snap pea crisps (the caesar flavour is the best!), spelt crisp breads with pumpkin and cheese, chia seeds (I’m finding them pretty repulsive so far, I can’t tell a lie…), freshly ground peanut butter, and some flavoured matcha iced tea. It’s a total feast for the eyes, Whole Foods, don’t you think? We stayed in there for almost two hours- wondering how on earth quinoa flakes can be so incredibly expensive, weighing up the merits of one almond milk over another, sniffing the ripest and mouldiest cheeses, and debating whether or not to try a matcha cupcake.

And my Mum and I played our favourite game the whole day, which is to make dream-plans about where we each might live in the future and the houses we might buy, and what fun it’ll be when she can retire and we can have more time for days like this one. And more time for my Mum to play photographer’s assistant to me, which I know she’s secretly the most excited about ;)

Richmond-Cider-with-Rosie Richmond-front-door-Christmas-wreath-Cider-with-Rosie Cider-with-Rosie-Richmond-1

What I wore :: Jacket (similar) || Jumper || Shirt || Jeans || Loafers (originally from Boden, identical HERE)

Whole-Foods-salad-Cider-with-Rosie Whole-Foods-salad-boxes-Cider-with-Rosie   Rosie-Whole-Foods-Cider-with-Rosie Cider-with-Rosie-Whole-Foods-juices Whole-Foods-butchers Whole-Foods-dairy Whole-Foods-fruit-pots


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Too often, when the time comes to do my weekly food shop, I find myself staring at a blank page headed up with the words ‘Meal plan for week beginning … ‘, thinking, what on earth do I normally cook?

I tend not to cook the same things over and over since I get bored pretty quickly, which, since variety is the spice of life and all, is great! But it also means that I’m often left stumped, since I’ll have cooked 40 different things in the past month and a half, and not written a single one of them down. Not so great! And so, this new little series I’m heading off today on Cider with Rosie, featuring different ways of working with some of my favourite central mealtime ingredients, is as much for me as it is for you. A compendium of my favourite recipes, if you like. I hope you won’t mind about that?

First up, hummus! When I mentioned to my Mum that I was putting together a ‘three ways with hummus’ post, she said ‘like hummus with pita, hummus with carrots, and hummus with cucumber?’ Ha ha Mum. Very funny. ‘No!’ I said! ‘We can do better than that!’. The first recipe is a light one (ideal as a starter, light lunch, or fancy afternoon snack), the second is virtuous and delicious and filling all at once (a dinnertime staple), and the third is the ‘showstopper’- a weekend special!

Before we get to the goods, let’s talk hummus for a moment. I buy it in as often as I make it fresh, and this recipe, by the marvellously talented Molly, is my favourite to use. When buying, I tend to go for the organic stuff, only because I usually find it tastes better. But really, when it comes to hummus, you can’t go too far wrong, can you?


 O N E :: Garlic-rubbed toasts with hummus, sun-dried tomatoes + feta

Cider-with-Rosie-Three-Ways-with-Hummus-Bruschetta Cider-with-Rosie-Three-Ways-with-Hummus-Tomato-and-feta-Bruschetta Cider-with-Rosie-Three-Ways-with-Hummus-Tomato-feta-toasts

Serves 4.
Ingredients ::
4 slices sourdough bread {I used a loaf that came pre-sliced into these halves, which worked great}
1 garlic clove
100g {about 1/2 block} feta cheese
200g sundried tomatoes
150g hummus
Pinch dried thyme

- Heat up a griddle pan until it’s searing hot, then place the four slices of toast {completely dry, no oil} into the pan. Keep an eye on the toasts, flipping them over now and again. When they’re hot and have beautiful charred lines criss crossing over them, remove from the pan. Straight away rub one side of each slice with the cut side of a clove of raw garlic, and then leave to cool slightly.

- Spread each toast with a layer of hummus, then top with sundried tomatoes. Crumble over the feta, and finally top with a dusting of dried thyme and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil too, if you fancy.

- Serve as a light lunch, or as the first course of a main meal.

T W O :: Vegan hummus ‘abundance’ bowl

Vegan-abundance-bowl-Cider-with-Rosie Cider-with-Rosie-Abundance-bowl-three-ways-with-hummus

Serves 2.
Ingredients ::
1 large aubergine
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
4 tbsp runny honey
150g mixed bulgar wheat + quinoa {or any grain of choice}
Pinch salt

1 large courgette
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp sesame seeds
Squeeze of lemon juice
Pinch of dried oregano

1 ripe avocado
Handful of fresh spinach

150g hummus
Extra virgin olive oil
Sesame oil

- Combine the dark soy sauce, honey and pinch of salt (omit if using regular soy, as it’s much less sweet than dark soy sauce) in a wide dish. Slice the aubergine into rounds just shy of 1cm thick, and place into the honey+soy mixture. Leave for at least 15mins to marinade, turning the rounds over frequently so they coat evenly.

- Slice the courgette about 1cm thick, and place into a dish with a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch each of dried oregano and salt, a smashed garlic clove, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Leave for at least 15 mins.

- Rinse the grains in cold water, then cook for 10-12 minutes (or according to packet instructions).

- Whilst the grains boil, heat a splash of sesame oil in a frying pan, and carefully fry the aubergine a few slices at a time. Try not to put too much of the marinade in the pan, or else the honey will catch. When the aubergine is dark golden, set aside to cool (they taste better after they’ve rested a little while!).

- Drain off the cooked grains, and immediately dress with the aubergine marinade and add salt to taste.

- Heat up a griddle pan, and grill the courgette slices (taking care to drain off as much of the oil mixture as possible) until they’re nicely charred but still al dente. Set aside once cooked, and then use the leftover marinade from the courgettes to dress the chopped spinach.

- Serve in large bowls, with a heaping spoonful or two of paprika-dusted hummus!

T H R E E :: Spiced chicken, roasted pepper, + hummus homemade flatbread wraps

Cider-with-Rosie-flatbread-recipe-three-ways-with-hummus Cider-with-Rosie-spiced-chicken-flatbread-three-ways-with-hummus 1Chicken-pepper-hummus-flatbread-wraps-three-ways-with-hummus-Cider-with-Rosie

Serves 4.
Ingredients ::
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
350ml warm water
5g fast acting dried yeast
10g salt

3 or 4 skinless chicken thigh fillets
Spice mix of choice
2 red peppers
150g hummus {with a little extra cumin + lemon juice}
Handful of rocket

- First, make the bread dough by putting the flour, yeast, and salt into a bowl, then mixing in the water. The dough is **supposed** to be really quite wet and sticky, sticky enough that you’ll want to remove any rings you might be wearing before starting the kneading process!

- To knead, I use a technique called the ‘accordion method’, which involves holding the sticky dough in your hands, repeatedly stretching it long in mid-air between your hands, then bringing them back together. The quicker you can go, the better! It takes about 10 minutes, and in that time the dough will transform from being lumpy to smooth, and will become considerably more elastic. Another great technique for kneading a soft dough like this one can be viewed here.

- After 10 minutes of kneading, put the dough into a lightly floured bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and then leave at room temperature to prove for a minimum of 1 and a half hours, and up to 4. I left mine for 2 hours, and the difference in flavour in comparison with a 1 hour prove was amazing!

- Coat the chicken thighs in a fine drizzle of olive oil, and then dredge in your spice mix. I use a mixture of chilli powder, cumin, paprika, dried oregano, and a pinch of salt. Leave to infuse for at least 15 minutes.

- Slice the peppers into thick pieces, place into a roasting dish along with the chicken, give everything a drizzle of olive oil, and then roast at 200 degrees for 30 minutes.

- When the dough’s had a good couple of hour’s prove, knock it back, knead in a little extra flour if it’s still to sticking to roll out, and then divide into 6 pieces. Whilst you work on the first piece, cover over the remaining dough balls with the damp tea towel and set a large frying pan (without any oil in) over a high heat.

- Use your hands to begin flattening out each piece of dough in turn, giving them a moment or so to relax to make the stretching process easier. When the dough has become wide and flat enough, drape it over the backs of your hands, and gently pull outwards to stretch the dough until you can almost see through it when held up to the light. Set aside on a floured work surface, and continue with each piece of dough in turn.

- Working with one flatbread at a time, lay it carefully into the preheated and oil-free frying pan. After a minute or so, when the underside has turned a dusty pale brown colour, flip over the flatbread using tongs. After about 30 seconds, when the second side has become slightly charred in spots, remove it from the pan.

- Keep the cooked flatbreads covered over with a tea towel whilst you finishing cooking the remaining ones. This will stop them going firm, and keep them pliable and easy to roll up later on!

- To assemble the wraps, spread a layer of hummus down the centre of the flatbread, then top with finely sliced strips of chicken and red pepper. Top with a sprinkling of rocket, and then roll up!


Now tell me, how do you eat your hummus? :)


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I’m going to put a stake in the ground here, and say that this might just be my new favourite ‘Christmas’ cake.

It’s a departure from tradition. There’s no dried fruit. No brandy. No candied peel. Heck, there’s not even any flour! But to me, this cake is everything that we could ever want a cake to provide us with at Christmas time. It’s dark, rich, and indulgent. It feels like a ‘special occasion’ bake, thanks to it requiring four odd bars of dark chocolate and eight eggs to put together. The fresh mint and rich chocolate flavours are about as festive as you can get, especially when paired with an airy dollop of sweetened, freshly-whipped double cream. And even more especially when that cream too has been spiked with peppermint essence, to bring out the minty notes in the cake. It’s Christmas cake, reinvented!

The recipe (which I’ve adapted ever so slightly with the addition of mint), comes courtesy of Karina Allrich’s new book ‘Gluten-Free Goddess’. I was sent the book last week to review, and even as a die-hard recipe book junkie (it’s a good job Jason built our kitchen shelving units to be extra strong, or else they’d be groaning under the weight of my cookery book library) this one was especially intriguing to me. See, Karina’s recipe book is entirely self-published! I’d not come across the idea of self-publishing before now, and it’s such a fascinating one.

‘Gluten-Free Goddess’ was published via Blurb, a company that enables anyone and everyone to create and market their own book. It’s the marketing side that I think is especially unique and exciting- Blurb have a system that enables authors to distribute their books via Amazon, as well as sell directly through their own online ‘storefront’. One of the things I think is most empowering and liberating about the digital age we’re living in is the freedom of expression we now have. We can write updates, statutes, tweets, blogs, and now even books, and share them with the world right from the comfy spot on our living room sofa. I’ve spent a good while sussing out Blurb’s site, and they seem to make publishing so very accessible and user-friendly. I even spied a book for sale on the site that was written and collated by a 13 year old! She’d written in her bio that all proceeds from sales would be put towards developing and furthering her writing skills, and the publishing of future books. And if you ask me, if a service that enables young people, and really, people of any age, to pursue their passions and take charge of their creative endeavours in such a real and exciting way isn’t worth celebrating, I don’t know what is!

Collecting-eggs-Cider-with-Rosie-Rosie-Reynolds Melted-chocolate-Cider-with-Rosie Cracking-eggs Flourless-chocolate-cake-recipe

‘Gluten-Free Goddess’ has some gorgeous looking recipes inside it, the vast majority with clear photographs to go alongside them (always a major plus point for me, when it comes to recipe books). Being self-published, of course, it’s not as sleek and elegantly branded as the recipe books we see on the shelves of Waterstones and the like, but there’s something quite charming about its rustic and ‘from the heart’ feel. My most treasured recipes are the ones given to me by loved ones- the recipes narrated to me by friends over the phone that’re scribbled hastily in the back of my recipe binder, or the little cut-up cereal box scraps I keep tucked in a folder that my Grandma wrote down all her favourite recipes on. Gluten-Free Goddess, with all its friendly warmth and imperfect charm, has that same sort of ‘from one friend to another’, ‘from my kitchen to yours’ feeling to it. Hats off to Karina for this recipe, and the awesomeness of publishing her own recipe book. It’s a beautiful one!

Flourless chocolate cake {recipe by Karina Allrich, adapted minimally by me}.
Ingredients ::
16.oz 70% cocoa dark chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup soft light brown sugar
1/2 caster sugar
3/4 cup hot strong coffee
2 tbsp cocoa powder
8 large free range eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1tsp peppermint extract

- Line the base of a 10″ round springform cake pan with foil, and grease the edges with a little softened butter. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

- Break the chocolate up into a large bowl, and set it over a pan to melt. Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugar in a mixer until soft and light, and then mix in the cocoa powder.

- Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, beating as you go. With the beaters still running carefully pour in the hot coffee, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

- Beat the 8 eggs together with the vanilla extract, and again, slowly pour into the chocolate mixture with the beaters running. Lastly, add in the peppermint extract and mix to combine.

- Empty the mixture into the greased and lined cake pan, then bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top is cracked and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake come out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Leave the cake to cool completely before cutting- it will sink and deflate as it cools, and become even more beautifully cracked and rugged.

- Dust with icing sugar, and serve with a little freshly whipped, sweetened, and mint-spiked whipped cream, plus a few berries to go alongside.

Chcolate-and-mint-flourless-cake-recipe Karina-Allrich-Cider-with-Rosie-review Gluten-free-chocolate-mint-cake-recipe-Cider-with-Rosie  

** This post was sponsored by Blurb, who asked me to review one of their self-published books and share my honest thoughts here on Cider with Rosie. My opinions, as always, are my own.

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