The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Chicken roast dinner and Japanese topics

We had our Japanese tutor, his girlfriend and fellow Japanese learner over for dinner at our place. I decided to cook a roast dinner (we were aiming for a non-Asian meal, and it's one of the few non-Asian meals I can do!). We had a fantastic time. The conversation ranged from talking about eating whales, horses and raw chicken, to Akai san's attempt at justifying gambling with a highly amusing analogy of gambling with putting chicken in the oven. The conversation flowed really well and we learnt quite a bit more on the Japanese customs and food amongst other various topics. And the best thing (for me as the hostess)? There weren't any leftovers! Which meant that our guests enjoyed the meal :)

Thanks guys for the great company, and thanks Rob for preparing all the veges!

I have previously posted up a blog entry on how we do chicken roast, but it appears that I was lazy and didn't go into much details. Since Akai san is interested in how I made the cheese sauce, I will endeavour to go into a little bit more details this time. Quantities are only estimates.

Chicken prep

Bought a 1.5kg free range chicken - and it's well worth your money. It was a lot less fatty than the standard chicken available and the flesh was nice and firm. Everything was less greasy in general. The chicken marinade consists of:

olive oil (maybe ~1 tablespoon)
the zest and juice of half a lemon
some rosemary (~1 teaspoon)
minced garlic (~4 cloves)
paprika (~1/2 teaspoon)
salt and pepper

Rubbed the chicken with the marinade (including the breast under the skin), stuffed with the stuffing and left in the fridge overnight. Roast in an oven at 180degC for 1.5 hours (allow 30 minutes cooking time per 0.5kg), turning it over halfway through. Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes after removal from the oven to let the juices go back into the meat before serving.


For some reason I always end up with more stuffing than can fit inside the cavity of the chicken. This time I had only 3 slices of wholemeal bread left for crumbing and was worried that it wouldn't be enough. I worry for nothing. The blender is your time-saver friend when it comes to crumbing. It works well and fast. I usually include chopped mushrooms and celery but forgot to get some. If you prefer a drier stuffing, omit the egg.

some olive oil (1/2 tablespoon)
1 chopped onion
minced garlic (~2 cloves)
breadcrumbs from 3 slices of bread (~1.5 cups)
some stock or water (1-2 tablespoon - just enough to 'deglaze' pan but not too much otherwise you'll end up with soggy stuffing)
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Saute the onions until it is translucent and cooked. Add the garlic and stirfry for a minute. At this point, if using celery and mushrooms, add them and stirfry for a further minute. Add breadcrumbs and stir well. Add the water/stock, the egg and lots of parsley and stir well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Roast veges

Had the usual vegetables for roasting: carrots, butternut pumpkin and sweet potatoes. The veges were cut into similar sizes and then I coated them with some olive oil, honey, rosemary herbs and salt and pepper. They were roasted for about 45 minutes - the latter half of the chicken roasting time (we usually put them in the oven with the chicken after turning the chicken over).

Cheese sauce

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon cornflour or flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter, then cook the cornflour/flour for a minute over medium low heat (taking care not to burn). Heat the milk and gradually pour the milk into the butter/flour mixture, stirring constantly to maintain smooth consistency (I found that using cold milk will cause lumps in the sauce). Bring to a simmer and simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cheese and stir until cheese melts and the cheese sauce is thick and smooth. Add salt and pepper, and serve with steamed brocolli and cauliflower.

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