I may have mentioned before how much I love recipes where everything is cooked in one tin or pot. The great thing is, Agas are particularly suited to this sort of cooking. At the shop of the beautiful National Trust property Trerice in Cornwall in the summer, I bought Rukmini Iyer’s books The Roasting Tin and The Green Roasting Tin, which are excellent and inspiring. Last night though I had specific ingredients I needed to use up for supper so I made up my own one tin recipe, taking ideas from those books, Jamie Oliver and Meera Sodha.
Cauliflower, Chicken and Potato Traybake
1 large cauliflower
500g potatoes (I used Charlotte but any waxy potato would be fine)
1kg chicken wings
6 tbsps rapeseed oil
30g bunch coriander
2 tsps cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
1 ¼ tsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Chop the potatoes into 3cm chunks
Separate out the cauliflower into smallish florets, about the same size as your potato pieces
Finely chop the coriander stalks, placing the leafy sprigs in a bowl of cold water to keep them fresh until needed
Place all of the above in your large Aga roasting tin
Grind the cumin seeds and mix with the salt, chilli powder, turmeric and rapeseed oil and pour all this over your vegetables in the tin making sure everything is coated in oil. Add a little more oil if you think it’s required
Slide your roasting tin onto the second set of runners of the roasting oven and roast for 15 minutes
Season your chicken wings and add them to the tin, nestling them in between your vegetables but if you run out of space just rest them on top
Return the tin to the roasting oven, this time on the top set of runners for about half an hour but check after 15 minutes and turn everything round a bit so that everything is cooked and some edges are a little charred
Before serving pour over the lemon juice and garnish with the coriander sprigs
NB You could use chicken thighs for this but then I would add them at the beginning because they need a longer cooking time.
This summer our second son is getting married. The excitement is building in the family – it’s the first wedding – and we are all busy in our different ways with preparations. Busiest of all are our daughter-in-law to be and her parents but now that his Part III architecture exams and coursework are out of the way, our son has also got stuck in. He’s been painting signs and designing and printing menus and orders of service. His super-efficient future wife has drawn up lists and rotas so that we all know what we’re doing in the build up to the day. The wedding will be in a church near her family home in Cornwall and the reception in a marquee in the garden. We have rented a cottage nearby so that we can be on hand to help and also have a holiday afterwards. Our son has chosen his brothers as the best men and all being well, they have sorted out a speech and who will deliver it (maybe it will be all three of them, I don’t yet know) and who will be responsible for the ring. Our youngest son is going to read a poem at the service and one of the bride’s sisters will be giving a reading.
Every single one of us will be in the marquee on the day before the wedding, laying tables and decorating it with flowers. The logistics of getting everyone to Cornwall have been complicated but we seem to have cracked that now: youngest son will be arriving there on the eve of the wedding from a week’s walking and camping on the Isle of Arran and my sisters-in-law are going to ensure that my somewhat frail 92 year old mother-in-law gets there too.
We haven’t had a “whole family” holiday for three years so I’m looking forward to this one, even though it will not involve much lazing around. It’s a very happy occasion and a great excuse for us all to be together. I’m sure we will eat out (seafood please!) but I will also cook some meals in our rented kitchen. I want to keep these as simple as possible (nothing new there!). I will miss my Aga of course and hope I haven’t forgotten how to cook on a conventional cooker.
I’ve made this delicious chicken dish by Annie Bell a couple of times recently. It is one I can imagine making in Cornwall, provided the kitchen is equipped with big enough roasting tins.
Serves 6 (I made it first for 4 and then for 3, using two pieces of chicken per person and scaling down the other ingredients)
For the chicken
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 heaped tsps za’atar
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1.8-2kg free-range chicken thighs and drumsticks
50g pine nuts
For the aubergine yoghurt
1 small or ½ garlic clove, crushed
150g natural Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus an extra couple of tbsp to serve
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or coriander, plus extra to serve
Slice one of the lemons, discarding the ends, and juice the other. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, onion, za’atar, cinnamon and sliced lemon in a large dish. Add the chicken pieces and coat thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight.
For the aubergine yoghurt, preheat a conventional oven to 220ºC. Prick the aubergines all over with a skewer to stop them bursting, and roast for 45-60 minutes (in the Aga roasting oven) until wrinkled, blackened and soft, then leave to cool.
Cut off the ends, peel off the skin, halve lengthways and coarsely chop
Place the flesh in a sieve and press out the excess liquid using the back of a large spoon
Briefly whizz to a coarse purée with the garlic and some salt in a food processor
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice and parsley or coriander. Drizzle over the extra oil and scatter over some more herbs. Set aside
If you’ve turned it off, switch your oven back on to 220ºC
Season the chicken pieces and arrange, skin side up in a single layer in two roasting tins (the large Aga ones)
Option: if you have space you could add halved new potatoes to the tins. I did this
Drizzle the marinade over everything and tuck the lemon slices in between
Roast (in the Aga roasting oven) for about 45 minutes, swapping the tins round halfway through and sprinkling over the pine nuts after 15 minutes (I forgot to do this the second time I made this dish; it was still delicious but I recommend you try to remember them)