lemon and garlic chicken

This one is based on a Nigella Lawson “forever summer” recipe. Makes a great friday evening supper for neighbours … you arrive in the early hours of Thursday … go for a quick swim Thursday evening … and invite them to dinner. Then you haven’t time to go shopping so look to see what’s in the fridge and freezer.

2 to 3 hours cooking – so you can bung it all in and carry on with the phone calls, emails, work stuff that might be happening – or else retire back to the shade to finish the book you’re reading …

It’s perfectly easy and basically storecupboard (if the chicken joints are in the freexer) (for 6): 6 chicken joints, 2 lemons, whole head of garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, white wine.

I separate out chicken pieces into smaller parts; bung them in an oven roasting dish (no pre-frying – yeah!); chuck in the rest of the ingredients; cover with lid or foil, and slow roast at 160 for 2 hours (or 210 for an hour and a half); take the foil off and give it another 30 mins.

You could be fancy and add black olives, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon and ginger and honey for a moroccan feel. But honestly – why bother? (well, then you could serve a storecupboard tabboulet mix if you want).

I then chopped up a few carrots, potatoes and onions and roasted them in a side dish; or you could do an epauture risotto; or just a salad and fresh bread.

then a local cheese that you bought alongside the bread at the local boulangerie.

And get the neighbours to bring the pudding (tonight it was my own greengages returned in the form of a crumble).

And if you’ve, for once, pre-laid the table, and you’re still on the phone when the neighbours arrive – make sure you’ve left the corkscrew out and they can sort themselves out till you arrive to pull dinner out of the oven.

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