"As for those grapefruit and buttermilk diets, I'll take roast chicken and dumplings."
- Hattie McDaniel
So...Christmas has come and gone. Somewhere around 8am on Sunday I found myself sitting in the middle of a lounge strewn with discarded wrapping paper, watching while Miss 7 tried on earrings and Mr. 1 zoomed around on his toddler-size skateboard eagerly clutching a toy car in either hand. I suspect that if not for the two of them it may have ended up feeling like just another day. I would like to be all virtuous and say that I slaved over a hot stove all day but that would be a blatant lie. Instead, we had brunch, mooched around for a couple hours, had a celebratory glass of wine (or two), and then everyone took nana naps. Such is life in your mid-thirties, apparently. Eventually, somewhere around 2pm, we realised that somebody was going to have to cook or we were all going to starve (although not really but it would sure feel like it). Ugh. Luckily, I drew out actually getting to the kitchen for so long that my sibling and her husband volunteered. Nice save, what? It has just occurred to me today, though, that that means I will be cooking New Year's lunch. Turnabout is fair play and all that. Huh. I've checked the freezer and we have a very large chicken, and lamb. Roast it is, then. Only, it's been over ten years since I had to cook a roast anything, and I'd like to do something a little flasher than just shove them in the oven. I'm just not quite sure what. Rosemary? Thyme? Garlic? White wine? Orange juice? Gah so much to decide. So, I did what I usually do...requested some books. Seriously, that's my answer for most things I want to try. In this instance, I'm fairly certain this selection of titles will give me some ideas for where to start with cooking a roast. Hopefully. If you're looking to find your way back to cooking like I am (only probably with a lot more skill and a lot less haphazard luck) then feel free to use these books as suggestions. I took my cooking skills for a test drive on Tuesday night and made dinner: roasted lamb chops with herb potatoes. Nobody gagged and nobody suffered food poisoning, but I didn't count it a successful evening until I noticed that nobody had asked for bread. I'm not sure if it's a Kiwi thing or a Māori quirk that bread and butter be at every meal. Either way, it bodes well for this Sunday :)
All about roasting : a new approach to a classic art / Molly Stevens
This book presents a thorough explanation of the principles of good roasting and explains many essential processes from preparatory techniques to carving. It includes a list of sauces, condiments, relishes and vinaigrettes as well as wine and beer suggestions to accompany the meal.
Masterclass : how to make the perfect roast / food director Pamela Clark
This book has everything you need to know to make a perfect roast. If you can roast it, we've got the perfect recipe for it. There are recipes for roast chicken in all its guises, roasts quail, duck, turkey, and even goose. Roast beef, lamb, including the shanks, pork and vegies are all covered. Every question you've ever had on roasting is answered here - should you use a rack or not? When and how to baste meat, protect wings, cover with foil, rest meat and how the make the perfect gravy.
Roasts / Good Housekeeping
Although eating habits have changed dramatically over the years, a traditional roast with various trimmings forms the centrepiece of a perfect weekend. This guide presents recipes from ginger and honey-glazed ham to goose with roasted apples - and the techniques section covering fish, poultry, meat, vegetables and sauces.
Roast : classic + contemporary / food director, Pamela Clark
The most traditional of family dinners, roasts have never lost their charm. From roast beef with Yorkshire puddings to spicy Portuguese chicken and that beautiful Indian roasted lamb dish, Raan, there's something here for everyone. You'd expect to find lamb, beef, pork, chicken and veal roasts in this book, but there are also recipes for roasted vegetables plus roasted duck, turkey, baby chicken, and fish. If any book will tempt you back to the Sunday roast, this is it.
Sunday roast : the complete guide to cooking and carving / Clarissa Dickson Wright and Johnny Scott
Here, Clarissa Dickson Wright offers guidance on the traditional Sunday lunch with both familiar and new recipes. Johnny Scott, meanwhile, shows just how to carve and serve joints of beef, lamb and pork and of other meats and the birds and fish that may also grace the Sunday table.