Citrus, ginger and honey roast chicken
This easy spin on roast chicken makes a perfect Sunday lunch dish. I like it with Tropical Fruit and Rice Pilaf. All you need apart from that is a green veg or a big bowl of crisp, green salad.
Serves 4 1 orange 2 limes
4cm (1½in) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated 1.5kg (3lb 5oz) chicken salt and black pepper
5 sprigs of thyme, plus an extra sprig to garnish (optional) 250ml (9fl oz) orange juice 5 tbsp clear honey 30g (1oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan)/190°C/gas mark 5. Finely grate the rind of the orange and the limes. Put into a bowl with the grated ginger and mix together. Cut the orange and limes into wedges.
2 Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper and rub it with half of the citrus rind and ginger mixture. Put the thyme sprigs inside the chicken together with 1–2 orange and lime wedges.
3 Add the orange juice, honey, melted butter and some salt and pepper to the remaining citrus rind and ginger mixture and mix together.
4 Put the chicken into a roasting tin into which it fits quite snugly and drizzle a little of the flavoured butter over it. Season the outside with salt and pepper. Add the rest of the orange and lime wedges to the roasting tin, scattered evenly around the bird.
5 Roast for 1 hour 20 minutes, basting the chicken every 20 minutes or so with the flavoured butter. Check to see if the chicken is cooked – pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a sharp pointed knife and the juices that run from it should be clear with no trace of pink. If they are still pink, roast for another 5 minutes, then test again. If the chicken gets too dark (the honey does make it darken), cover it with foil. 6 Leave the chicken to rest for 10 minutes then serve it with the cooking juices from the tin, garnished with a thyme sprig, if you like.
Almond cake with Chilli spiced syrup Serves 8
160g (5¾oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 70g (2½oz) light muscovado sugar 70g (2½oz) caster sugar Finely grated rind of 1 lime 1 tbsp dark rum 3 large eggs 100g (3½oz) ground almonds 85g (3oz) self-raising flour, sifted For the spiced syrup 200ml (¹/³ pint) water 40g (1½oz) granulated sugar 1 vanilla pod, cut in half crossways ½ chilli (ideally a red or yellow Scotch bonnet), with seeds 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half 4 cloves
2 bay leaves 2 tbsp dark rum (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to 140°C (fan)/160°C/gas mark 3. Lightly grease a 23cm (9in) round spring form cake tin with butter.
2 Beat the butter and sugars together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the lime rind and rum. Stir in the eggs one at a time, alternating with a third of the ground almonds and a third of the flour. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and bake for 35–45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
3 While the cake is baking, make the syrup. Put the water and sugar into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring a little, until the sugar has dissolved. Slit each vanilla half lengthways with a knife and scrape the little black seeds into the syrup using the handle of a teaspoon or the tip of the knife, then add the pods too. Add the chilli half, cinnamon halves, cloves and bay leaves and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes so that the syrup thickens slightly and takes on the chilli heat and the fragrance of the spices. Turn the heat off and stir in the rum (if using).
4 Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool slightly, then release it and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Recipes excerpted from Levi Roots’ new book ‘Spice It Up’ Out Now via Mitchell Beazley
5 Set the cooled cake on a serving plate. Strain the spices from the syrup and reserve. Prick the cake all over with a fork and pour the syrup over slowly so that it is absorbed into the cake. Decorate the top of the cake with the reserved spices before serving.
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