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Roast a big fat chicken

For Sunday lunch, or any day really as we are 'at home' all the time, source a large (about 2 1/2kilos) local chicken, - free- range if possible - they taste so much better.

Simply wash inside and out, dry with kitchen towel, and rub all over with a cut lemon (put this half lemon into the cavity together with a small peeled onion).

Now chop up a mix of fresh herbs (you should by now be growing them in your garden or in pots on your window sill?!) say parsley, basil, thyme and rosemary. Chop these up and blend with a half packet of butter softened. Carefully insert your hand under the skin covering the chicken breast, move your fingers from side to side to create a space between the skin and flesh. Into this, carefully insert most of the butter/herb mix, pull the skin over this, and tuck under. with the rest of the butter, slash the legs with a knife, and insert some butter mix into the skin inserts.

Once this is done, generously season the chicken with freshly ground pepper and rock salt.

cover with bacon strips if you have them, pour over some olive oil and a tablespoon of Maltese honey. Tie the legs up together. Now put the prepared chicken in a pre-heated (180c) oven and roast the chicken for about 2 hours till skin is a dark brown and when tested, the thickest part of the leg, shows no blood. allow to settle, lightly covered in foil, then serve with potatoes and vegetables of your choice. To make an amazing gravy, put the roasting pan on the hob and heat up, add two tablespoons flour to the fat in the pan, then a good glug of either, wine, sherry or if you have it, some Calvados, let this bubble and evaporate then add some water that you boiled the potatoes or vegetable in, continue to stir over heat adding some salt and pepper to taste, and some Worcestershire sauce.When blended and thick, sieve into a gravy bowl and voila, the perfect roast chicken meal!

you will probably have quote a lot of chicken left over as this is a large bird. So in the evening, make toasted chicken and mayo sandwiches for supper adding a bit of that amazing gravy which by now has almost jellied.

The next day, if you still have some chicken left over, strip it off the bone, and set aside to make a chicken risotto or chicken filled vol-au-vents. Recipes to follow.

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