A Week of Soups. And a Recap. And the Secret to Roasting a Chicken

You read it right. A week of soups ahead. Actually five workdays. I’m omitting the weekend because, well, because it’s the weekend!
The reason for this social and culinary experiment is two-fold:
1) Still on our healthy eating kick, I need to detox Paul from the Sloppy Joes that he ate yesterday (note to Paul: the salad doesn’t make it healthy, it just (admittedly) makes it very pretty) and the Southern Comfort that we consumed Friday and Saturday Night (note to self: corn nuts and Southern Comfort don’t mix).
2) Soup is not just healthy (and sometimes not healthy at all), but nourishing to the body and the soul, it is easy to make and can be filling. But mostly it’s easy to make.
Ok, so that’s more than two reasons but cut me a little slack here, it is Monday! The days of Sloppy Joes are gone now for the week, more is the pity (though Paul had COLD Sloppy Joe mixture on toast for his breakfast today!). Tea and Biscuits replaced by Cereal. Ice Cream binges relegated to...well, I’m only human.
Firstly though, some recaps.
The weekend passed by quietly. No meals out this week but perhaps that’s for the best. On Saturday I made a British traditional meal, Roast Chicken for the main course, with a Victorian style Lemon Curd Trifle for dessert.
After much experimentation, I do believe that I have found the perfect way to roast chicken. I have tried many ways, all involving the insertion of a lemon into the chickens unmentionables (but it infuses the chicken with such moistness and a wonderful delicate flavour, so unlike that of shop bought lemon chickens which taste like washing up liquid) and often a sprig of Thyme and some cloves of garlic. My secret is simple. Firstly, have faith in Nigel Slater. Secondly, use a proper organic chicken. Thirdly, for the first half of the cooking time, cook the chook on its bosom. Logical really; you would cook any other piece of meat on both sides, but this ensures that the tricky leg area is cooked from the underneath first.
For the second half of the cooking, flip the chick over, baste well and resume time in the oven. No tinfoil involved. No remembering to turn the oven up or down part way through. All cooked at 200c. The chicken was perfect: moist and well-flavoured. Of course, the exact cooking time plays the most important role: it is as elusive as a hens tooth: too little and you’ve scared off your guests, too much and you’re just making stock tonight. Lots and lots of stock. This time, however, I must have gotten it right.
The dessert, a lusciously rich but tangy Old Fashioned Lemon Trifle (borrowed from Nigel Slaters Kitchen Diaries) is ideal for the trifle hater. You don’t even have to mention the word trifle. Call it a cold lemon pudding if you will. There is no jam, no jelly and no egg based custard just cream boiled with sugar and thickened with lemon juice. Any custard that eschews eggs is fine by me.
The sponge base is made unctuously tart with lemon curd and the whole thing is topped off with yet more double cream, this time gently whipped and decorated with pistachios and orange zest. Beautiful, quick and simple.

Sunday I wasn’t feeling very well so the lovely, delicate soup I had planned to make for Weekend Herb Blogging was off the menu (good for next weekend though!). This is partially why Paul went crazy eight bonkers with his Sloppy Joes, he didn’t have me to restrain him! All I could manage was nibbling on a Syrup Waffle and an Egg Sandwich. However, I am back on board today and looking forward to the five wildly differing soups that we will be making. I am not going to spoil the fun by revealing my soup menu for the week (mainly because I don't yet have a menu), however, tonights soup will either be clear or creamy. It will be smooth or it will be chunky. It might be sweet, but it will probably be savoury. It might be...ok, ok. It will definitely be soup.


Freya said...

Freyaey, if I hadn't eaten the sloppy joe for breakfast, it would have just ended up being mixed into the soup tonight. It was for your benefit.

Ros said...

What is it with supermarkets and their crazy washing-up flavoured chickens?

That's a great tip about cooking the chicken on both sides. I've never tried that before, but I will next time I roast a chicken.

Ever tried stuffing a chicken(or guinea fowl or poussin for that matter) with orange or other citrus fruit, like orange or lime? They seem to have a similar effect on the moistness of the bird, although they obviously give a different flavour.

Ros said...

Hah, just re-read that last paragraph of my previous comment. I had a couple of glasses of vino with lunch today - can you tell ;)?

Saffron said...

chicken, trifle!!
2 of my favourite things!!!
Have a nice week!!

tim @take3eggs.com said...

Love roast chicken and yours looks too good to eat. I'm interested in knowing how the cream and double cream and lemon curd fit into a healthy eating plan - all at once!

Kathryn said...

Isn't the healthy eating regime just for the weekdays, Tim?

Anyway the trifle looks yummy (and I don't like trifle, but I'd tuck into this one).

Interested to hear about the soups! Bet they won't be common or garden soups...

Kathryn x

Julia said...

Oooh lovely, roast chicken and lots of soup. Lovely! Looking forward to seeing your soup recipes.

Sara said...

Freya, I am going to try your method of chicken roasting soon, it sounds perfect. Also sounding perfect? That no-egg custard and trifle. Yum!

Toni said...

Love the roast chicken. Marcella Hazan has something like that in one of her cookbooks (don't remember which one). I've made this before, stuffed with lemons, but never thought to turn the beast over. I'll try that next time.

Secondly, the soup thing seems to be in the air these days. My post for the day was Cioppino. Needed soup, needed fish. It worked for me!

And lastly, I adore your sense of humor! Years and years ago I knew a woman named Freya, who looked kind of like a 6' version of Ringo Starr. But she wasn't as much fun as you are!

Actually, one more thing. I'm tired of looking around for your blog, so I'm putting a link to it on my blog. I just love reading it! (And I love the name!)

tammy said...

Freya, great blog. You're so right about the roasted chicken technique. I accidentally roasted a chicken upside-down once (my husband will never let me live it down), but the breast meat was so moist.

That trifle sounds divine. Visit me again, anytime!

sher said...

I have to de-tox too.Too much chocolate cake yesterday! Boy, that trifle is lovely!!

Christine said...

Bring on the soup! I'm a big fan myself, even in summer (as it is right now)!

Kristen said...

Oh you are killing me...that looks fantastic!

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

Yum! That chicken looks great! I recently learned the trick of roasting the chicken breast side down as well and it does make for a tasty chicken.