There is nothing quite like the perfect roast chicken and veggies that says “comfort food” to me. My mum always made the best roast chicken, so it reminds me of our hilarious family dinners.

My dad was the ‘Manners Police’ because he enforced things like no elbows on the table and only allowing us to leave the table when we said “I’ve had sufficient” instead of “I’m done” or “I’m full”. I’m pretty sure I always said “I’ve had sufficient” in a overly sweet or sarcastic voice.

Then there was mum, who would always ask if everyone else wanted some of the food from her plate.  Even if you said no, she would still push it onto your plate in a selfless way. I think this is a mum thing, or as I call it, her s’mothering instinct – smothered by motherly love.

My brother was relatively well behaved from memory, aside from feeding his cat bit of meat (although honestly, we all did that). Or provoking me and teasing mum … although I think again, we all did that too.

Now, our family dinners have changed a little when we visit my parents in Melbourne. They have extended warmly to include my partner John and close friends. The Manners Police seems to have relaxed with age. The cats still get treats occasionally. We still tease my mum and of course, a roast is always the center piece.

My mum’s roast chicken had delicious stuffing in it, and I will have to ask her for the recipe, but I have always just stuffed a whole lemon and herbs into my roast chickens. It’s super quick, keeps it moist and adds a beautiful flavour.

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The Perfect Roast Chicken

Ingredients
1 large chicken (organic or free range)
1 whole lemon
Handful basil leaves
4-5 dried bay leaves
1-2 tsp dried mixed herbs
Himalayan sea salt
1-2 tbsp macadamia oil
1 leek
1 stick of celery
2 brown onions
2 carrots
3 garlic cloves

Method

  1. Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes prior to roasting and preheat the oven to 240°C.
  2. Roughly chop up the veggies into pieces. Leave the garlic unpeeled and whole.
  3. Add all the veggies to a roasting dish/tray, drizzle with macadamia oil and season with sea salt.
  4. Place the chicken on top of the veggies. Stuff the herbs and whole lemon inside the cavity (prick the lemon skin with a knife first).
  5. Drizzle with macadamia oil and sprinkle herbs and sea salt on top, rub into the skin.
  6. Place in the oven and turn the heat immediately down to 200°C for about 1 hour and 20 minutes (depending on how large your chicken is). Baste the chicken a few times during cooking with the juices in the pan.
  7. Remove from the oven, place the chicken onto a separate tray and rest about 10-15 minutes covered in foil.

Note: add any other roast veggies i.e. pumpkin in the last 45 minutes or so of roasting.

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