How to Butcher a Chicken

A brief picture guide and tutorial in how I butcher a whole chicken.

Buying a while chicken is significantly cheaper than buying just single cuts. It also ensures that you purchase the best welfare chicken that you can source.

The other reward from a whole chicken is that you can make a decent and cheap chicken stock from the carcass.

How to Butcher a Chicken : Whole Chicken

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How to Make : Chicken Stock

I prefer to buy a whole chicken as opposed to breasts or thighs. See the chicken butchery guide here : coming soon.

Not only are the individual portions cheaper by butchering the chicken yourself, but you also get the carcass.

Whether you roast the chicken for Sunday roast, or simply butcher it for its component pieces, ensure that you save the carcass.

Chicken stock is so simple to make and costs next to nothing - except time. So many recipes require a little stock - and it is so convenient to pull out a couple of frozen ice cubes. (My ice cubes are about 25 ml, defrosted - helps to know!! Happy).

Time and again in my recipes you will see floating frozen chicken stock. It melts perfectly and adds just the same punch as the fresh stock.

Infinitely better than any cube. So much nicer than the wishy washy supermarket imitations.

If you wish for a clear stock, then do not roast the chicken bones - otherwise the same method needs to be followed.

Vary the herbs depending on what is in season / have in larder.

Chicken Stock : Decant” width=

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How to make Crispy Roast Potatoes

Roast potatoes are a mandatory accompaniment to any
Sunday Roast. They provide a crisp texture that is so essential in balancing the whole meal.

Good potato choice is important, as you want a potato that remains firm on the outside, whilst being melt in the mouth fluffy in the middle.

There is nothing more disappointing in this world than soggy, hard roast potatoes dripping in fat!

The way I make my potatoes, is not dissimilar to the way I make chips. I don’t get into the faff of heating oil in a baking tray prior to cooking. The essential technique is to catch the parboiled potatoes just right - too soft and they will break up, too hard and they will not break off little bits from the corners - just like Goldilocks - you got to get it just right.

The little bits that break of the potatoes are what makes the potatoes crispy. They make a nice sticky coating that crisps up brilliantly. It is for this reason that you need a good floury potato.

Follow this method, and you will never go wrong again!

Roast Potatoes : Roast Beef and Trimmings

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How to make Gravy

If you are having a
Sunday Roast of any description, you really need a good, deep flavoured gravy to go with the meat.

I always make gravy the same way, regardless of the choice of meat. The trivet that the meat cooks on, is the key in my opinion. All the flavours from the vegetables and herbs mingle with the cooking juices from the meat, making a pretty much ready to go jus.

I normally add a glass of wine, red or white to the baking tray, as the meat goes into the oven. This helps to keep everything moist and give the vegetables a good starting point.

To avoid a lumpy gravy, make sure that all the flour has been incorporated into the juices, and no lumps are visible, before you strain in.

How to make Gravy : Beef Roast and Gravy

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How to make Sourbread Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are required for so many recipes, whether coating fish or chicken or as a topping to pasta. It is a good idea to store your left over stale bread, and make into breadcrumb when you have enough ends to make it worthwhile. You can store old bread ends in the freezer, and pull them out when ready to turn into crumb. No need to defrost the bread - simply roughly chop, and follow the instructions.

Why throw away bread again?

I like the slight sour note that the sour bread provides, but any decent bread will provide similar results.

Sourbread Breadcrumbs : Blitz in a Food Processor

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How to Make Pasta

Pasta is so delicious when you take the time to make it fresh.

Unlike bread, it is ready in 20-30 minutes.

Whether to make lasagne, spaghetti or ravioli, for instance, the extra oomph in flavour from homemade pasta never fails to impress guests.

Do stick with the fork method I describe. I tried a couple of times and failed, as I had no patience. The reward in using this method, is that you keep your hands clean!

Investing in a pasta machine really is imperative in order to achieve the best results.

After a couple of attempts, this is really quite easy. At the beginning, however, a second pair of hands is advisable when using the pasta machine!

How to Make Pasta : Pasta Shaped as Ravioli

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