Sunday, February 08, 2015

The disappointing first pancake

Why, you may reflect on Shrove Tuesday (17 February), is the first pancake out of the pan so often a flabby, ragged mess? My theory is that the pan may not yet be hot enough.

After making your batter, put a knob of butter or a tbsp of oil into a frying pan over a medium heat, and leave it for five minutes. The oil or butter will have burned, so throw it away (if it’s butter, not down the sink), wipe the pan with a paper towel, and return it to the heat with a little more of your frying agent. Give the batter another quick whisk (some of the flour may have sunk), and proceed.

Gluten-free crespolini, with spinach and cheese

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Roast chicken at a high heat

I have always subscribed to the view that to cook a perfect roast chicken you need to cook it at as low a temperature as possible while also finding a way to brown it. Starting it off at a high heat and then lowering the dial is the standard method. I like the leg meat to be well done and tender, but of course I don’t want the breast meat to dry and toughen.

I bought a small Cotswolds chicken (1.4kg). I put it in the top of the oven at gas mark 6, 200C. Forty-five minutes later, I transferred it to the bottom shelf, replacing it with a roasting pan of potatoes. I took the chicken out of the oven 40 minutes later.

It was perfect. The legs were very tender, and the breast – I had massaged butter in between the skin and the meat – was still moist.

Sometimes, or rather quite often now I think about it, food does not behave how science says it should. I do recommend Cotswold chickens.

Roast chicken, with its stock
Heston's roast chicken