Sunday, 24 October 2010

Let's Eat - a roast dinner :-)

If you're here as part of the Let's Eat blog hop, welcome! You should have arrived from Hootings of an Owl. If you've just happened upon this post here, you're welcome too! We've hopping blogs and talking food, yum :-) You can get all the details on Amy's blog (she's our hostess with the mostest today) or scroll down to the end of my post for the full list of participants and details of who to visit next - and if you'd like to read my post along the way too, that would be lovely!! ;-)

Roast dinners are probably my favourite meal to prepare for my family. They're also one of my favourite meals to eat! All the peeling and chopping may feel a little like a chore sometimes, but on the whole I quite like the legitimate reason to shut myself away in the kitchen with my own thoughts, or possibly with some music on so I can dance around like nobody's watching....

Now I've mentioned many of my roast dinner tips already in various posts, but I thought for this blog hop I'd gather all these ideas together in one place - right here :-)

I'm not going to say much about cooking the meat. The sad truth is, I get mine from the supermarket - I don't actually have a local butcher any more - so the cooking instructions are printed on the packaging and I just follow them. We have chicken most often (because it's good value for money and we usually get plenty of leftovers to make another meal or two from) but we really like the flavour of gammon, and sometimes we'll have a piece of beef or pork to vary it up. The general rule though seems to be to cover with foil for most of the cooking time then remove the foil for the last 30 minutes; also, allow the meat to rest for 20 minutes or so before carving, so that the juices can penetrate back into the meat, making it juicier. I make use of this time to turn the oven up to cook the Yorkshire puddings and give the roast potatoes a final crisping - of which more later!

So, having worked out how long the meat will need and when to switch the oven on, I turn my attention to the rest of the meal, starting with the potatoes. We like our roast potatoes crispy and with lots of flavour, and plenty of them! I use King Edwards or Rooster potatoes or sometimes Maris Pipers. To help get them crispy, after peeling and cutting them to size, I put them into a pan of cold water, bring it to the boil, then cook them till they start to soften - longer than just 'parboiling' them. In fact, often the potatoes are pretty much fully cooked before I start to roast them. Then I'll drain them, return them to the saucepan, and shake to rough up the edges.

A couple of minutes before I want to put the potatoes in the oven I put a slug of olive oil and a spoonful or two of butter (or buttery spread) into a roasting tin and pop it in the oven to get it nice and hot. I don't usually roast my potatoes round the meat - except when cooking gammon, because you get a lot of extra flavour from the gammon juices, yum :-) When the fat is hot I tip the potatoes into the tin and turn them over so that all the surfaces have come into contact with the buttery oil. Then they go back into the oven for about an hour (including the extra 20-30 minutes while the meat is resting).

But a roast dinner also requires vegetables, and one of our favourites is roasted carrots - they just need to be topped and tailed and peeled, and popped into the roasting tin with the potatoes. Large carrots kept whole will need about an hour, or you can halve them to reduce the cooking time to 30-40 minutes - or if you're really in a hurry, cut your carrots into sticks and give them 20 minutes in the oven!

Butternut squash or pumpkin can be cooked in the same way - peel, remove the seeds and strands, and cut into wedges.

We also like to have a fresh green vegetable, which I just steam for about 10 minutes - broccoli, or green beans, for example - or maybe some shredded cabbage.

Sometimes I'll boil or steam some thinly sliced leeks or some cauliflower florets, which are fine as they are, but also taste good in a simple white sauce - melt a spoonful of butter (or buttery spread), stir in a spoonful of plain flour and cook for about a minute; gradually stir in some milk and bring to the boil so it thickens, and season lightly.

And this isn't all! Perhaps Yorkshire puddings are traditionally served with beef, but we have them nearly every week, because we love them so much :-) You can find the recipe I use here; I turn my oven up after taking the meat out and cook the Yorkshires while the meat rests. The potatoes and carrots can stay in the oven to finish cooking during this time, too.

But we're still not quite there - a roast dinner isn't complete without the gravy! Now, at risk of puncturing the image you may have of me as a domestic goddess (as if...) I have a confession to make.... I don't make my own gravy. I use gravy granules. Shh, don't tell!!! (Actually I do make my own gravy for Christmas dinner, just not every Sunday. Granules are fine for us.)

And then, you just need to carve the meat and dish up! Enjoy :-) Will it be chicken this week? Or maybe beef? Or perhaps pork?

One more thing though, before I finish. Deb commented a few days ago to ask if The Children were good eaters. Oh Deb, if you could have heard the hollow laughter..... The Girl will basically eat about 4 different meals, and I rotate them through the week. The Boy is practically vegetarian, but is great at eating vegetables - however, he hates cheese and can be fussy about various other foods. And then there's me and The Doctor - we have very different tastes, too! The food pics I share as part of my Project 365 are just what I eat, and often the rest of the family is having something completely different. What I try to do is coordinate the meals so we're all having pasta or we're all having potatoes, and vary the other ingredients, sauces etc to suit....

Roast dinners are an example. The Doctor and I will generally have the full meal, but The Boy doesn't have the meat - he has extra potatoes and veg; The Girl has a bit of meat if we're having chicken, gammon or pork, but the only vegetable she'll eat is carrot. And it has to be raw carrot. And she doesn't like gravy. *sigh*...

Next we're off to Jennifer's Jumbles to find out what treat she's cooked up for us! If you get lost, or if any links are broken (which may happen, due to time differences and Blogger's peculiarities!) you can pick up the trail from this list of links:

Over At Our Place
Be Glorious
Captured On Film
Chatty Crafty Arty Pig
Cupcake Queen World
Curly Scrapbooker
Deb's World
Diane's Everyday Moments
The Linar Studio
Everyday Life Of A Suburban SAHM
Faith Hope & Cherrytea
From High In The Sky
Gallo Organico
Helena's Creative Maven
Hootings Of An Owl
I Speak Melsh <- You are here!
Jennifer's Jumbles
Liberty Cottage
Life Behind The Purple Door
Life In General
Paper Turtle
Random Reflections
Scrap Dreams
The Quiet Life

Bon appetit! xx

This is my post for the 24th day of Blogtoberfest - 24 days and still on track!


Jennifer Grace said...

mmm, roast dinner is one of my faves. Especially Christmas dinner when I cook the full works.

Your roast looks delicious. It's a shame the girl and the boy don't appreciate it to it's full worth! I really should cook roast more often! xx

Ruth said...

I love a good roast! Those roast potatoes look delicious; how come mine never look like that?

helena said...

so impressed by your yorkshire puds - I have given up trying to get them to work

K said...

your roasts look GORGEOUS! The girl is similar with her roasts to my eldest son, he has a little of the meat, raw carrot, sweetcorn and stuffing - I know he'll also eat roast onion and yorky puds so usually add those to bulk it up a bit.

Amy said...

Yummo Mel .... I really want to come over for your roast - especially the potatoes!
Thanks for putting this all together, I love having all your roast secrets in the one place now ;-)

furrypig said...

This was like reading about what happens in my family! DD is a vegetarian and a really fussy one at that! But a roast is a good meal for us and she'll eat all the stuff bar the meat (but no gravy!) I only have gravey that my dad or hubby make as I don't like gravy granules and those sorts of tasting gravys ...sorry! I really fancy a roast today now but we're away so there won't be an amazing roast for dinner (Hubby mormally makes ours) maybe next week??!!

Diane said...

heheh...ops....commented on the wrong post...sorry :)

scrappyjacky said...

Roast dinner is definately a favourite in our house...everyone loves it....though DD1 only eats the meat if it's chicken.
I have great admiration for your patience....on feeding different people different things.....I'm afraid in my house we all have the has to eat it....but there's no alternative!!
DD1 will spend hours picking mushrooms out of I put them in whole to make it easier for her!!!

alexa said...

Nothing like a roast dinner, even for vegetarians like us! (Although I make a meat-free alternative.) Your Yorkshire puddings are wonderful - my mother-in-law said hers would never rise properly if she was cross! So that's probably the problem with mine, and NOT the situation in yours!

Anne said...

I love roast dinners. When the weather turns colder I always start making these. They just can't be beaten.

Miriam said...

I love your post and gorgeous photos (as usual) Mel & the story of the differing family tastes! how on earth do you cope?

Miriam said...

...sorry I wanted to say to mother-in-law says that too!

Tracey said...

Yum - roast dinners are wonderfully comforting.

I must say, those potatoes look delicious beyond belief!! :)

JO SOWERBY said...

wow dinner in your house sounds dead complicated what with the children's different tastes. i can go with the raw carrots but when it's a roast i eat the lot!!!
Jo xxx

Anonymous said...

Delicious! My kids love roast meals - but in different proportions like yours. We enjoy it a lot. I have no idea what to do with the leftovers so we have plenty of sandwiches!

Jimjams said...

Oh the joys of fussy eaters - I could have written that last bit myself! If it's any consolation my lot have improved with age, and independent living at university has improved what they eat no end!

Jimjams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sian said...

You absolutely can't beat a roast dinner - it's an alltime favourite over here (tho funny we have no tradition of yorkshire puddings here, you almost never see them) and I rank roast potatoes as my most favourite food in the world. Perfect.

Anonymous said...

This was always our Sunday dinner growing up. I don't often make it anymore, but I'm not sure why. Tracy and I both love it. Although I've had Yorkshire pudding, I've never tried to make it. I think this will be added to my "must try this fall" recipe list. We had very picky eaters at our house, too. The older one has gotten much more adventuresome, but the one who is back living with us remains very particular!

debs14 said...

You can't beat a nice roast dinner! This all looks delicious, and I love how you adapt it so everyone has what they like! The only way things differ in our house is that the husband likes gravy everywhere and over everything and the rest of us only like it over our meat. We sometimes have the yorkshire made in a square tin and then cut into slices, but more often than not, I've forgotten to make it and have to do individuals as they cook faster! Your roast potatoes look far nicer than mine, I may have to pop over to try them out for myself!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

It all looks delicious!

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Well, yes, that does answer my question. Ha! Here I was feeling SO impressed that your kids were so adventurous with food. :o)

Your roasted food looks really yummy - and I had to Google what a gammon was...learned something new!

And BTW, the tops of your Yorkshire Pudding (which I have never had) look kind of similar to the "biscuits" we make in the states that are typically served at breakfast time with either jam/jelly on them, or sausage gravy on top.

Tracy said...

I love roast too and your potatoes look perfect!

Unknown said...

Your roast dinner looks yummy!

Abi said...

mmmh, your pictures have made me hungry Mel! especially those roast carrots! Bit of a guilty pleasure over here! hehe! xxx

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

FanTasTIC post! loving the tips and xtras :)
thx for your visit & chat at FHC as well! great to meet you in the hop :) as i've also entered your cool giveaways..

Linda said...

The perfect meal for a cool October day. Looks delicious!

Beverly said...

ohmygoodness Mel!!!!! pass those potatoes, they look divine! Thanks for the detailed instructions, they will be on the table this week and now that dh has googled gammon I have my word for the day :)

nicole s said...

Wow I learned a lot about how to roast potatoes, and my husband has been asking for Yorkshire puddings for 15 years, so now I know how to do them!!!! Thanks!!

emhowl said...

This is so appetising. I'm shocked about the granules - completely against my parents' principles so I've never tried them (but I hate making gravy). Do you have a preferred variety?

Because I'm lazy we rarely have roasts these days but we do love roast vegetables.

I do like scrappyjacky's suggestion of using whole mushrooms in casseroles for easy removal. My daughter's boyfriend doesn't like them but I would usually add them to so many meals. Now I'll not have to leave them out and Alice can eat his!

Cheri said...

I had to laugh when I read this... both because your kids are as finicky as mine... and because you blogged about "old people" food! ;)

Maria Ontiveros said...

I want to come eat with you! We normally only manage three items . . . Meat, veg. and rice(or pasta).
My kids would looove those potatos.

Rachel Brett said...

Wow, that roast looks delicious, thanks for sharing :)

Liberty :) said...

bless the children!! looks delicious this missis thanks for sharing!

Marti said...

I can smell your house from here! An old commercial here in the states says "Nothing says lovin' like something from the oven" and this definitely looks like love! I MUST try Yorkshire pudding!

Marti - Mom to Deb @ Paper Turtle