On Christmas day we began proceedings with a couple of Clew Bay oysters from Padraic Gannon before enjoying a soup of roasted parsnips and apple from the Ryder family in Kilmeena and our own apple tree. Sprinkled with roasted and crushed walnuts from my brother’s neighbour in Slovenia.
Main course vegetables were superb sprouts, slow cooked long-cut leeks and delicious chucky carrots, and our best version yet of roasted Kerr’s pinks from the Ryders again. By bringing the peeled and cut potatoes to a boil, draining and bashing them around in the pot with a lid on and then roasting the fully dried potatoes in olive oil, we had our best result in years.
Meat was provided by a roasted organic chicken from Western Shore farm in north Mayo. We sat for three hours, time slipping away to eternity, and it felt good. Non-traditional dessert was homemade brownies provided by sister Louise. Simple foods, local foods, natural foods. All contributing in no insignificant way to our feelings of well being. Fresh foods have higher nutritional values too.
For 2021 the message remains the same: Eat fresh, and eat local where possible. Buy with your eyes, and don’t be afraid of trial and errors with recipes. Avoid processed foods or those not in a natural state. Find your local producers and prepare as much as you can yourself. You will not go too wrong with that. Happy New Year wishes from all of my family to one and all.
Brined Roast Chicken
So, it’s Christmas Eve, and the Brunette arrives back from the last of the messages, telling me how some of her friends were preparing a brine to soak their poultry in over night. I had no definite plan for my cooking (surprise surprise) so I said ‘If it’s all about brining the birds this year I’d better give it a go!’ A quick Google and I tried this method, which I have to say was an absolute winner, easy to comprehend and implement, and definitely producing a top-class dish. Here you go. We used a chicken because a turkey would have been surplus to our needs, so it’s a chicken-brining recipe here.
Brining works by submerging the chicken in a salty and sugary water solution overnight. This tenderises the meat and infuses flavours, leading to a tasty and succulent result.