These past two years saw my poor hubby flying from Sydney to Melbourne and back every week for work, sometimes twice a week if there was a meeting that couldn’t be fitted in at the beginning of the week. As you can imagine the thrill of airports and flying wore a little thin after the first 50 times, and the romance died altogether by the second 50 flights!
So when we needed to be in Melbourne as a family for 3 days for an occasion not connected to work, I was excited and looked forward to jumping on a plane, only to be told he was so sick of flying, we were going to drive all the way down and back!!! Well that wasn’t too bad a suggestion as we decided to take a few days either side of those dates and have a bit of a holiday.
The only problem is that people tend to forget just how large Australia is, and that driving for 5 hours to get somewhere, then unload the car to stay the night, and then pack the car the next morning to drive another 5 hours to get somewhere else, isn’t necessarily the most relaxing of holidays, especially when you have a teenager that has his learners licence and wants to drive, and his mummy (that’s me) is a total “freak-out mum” and can’t relax while he is behind the wheel!
Anyway we finally arrived in Melbourne and had a great time, especially meeting up with friend that we hadn’t seen for years.
Only having a small kitchenette in our hotel room, meant coming up with quick and easy recipes with limited ingredients, and so here is one I made, simply served with a green salad.
Pollo al Limone e Aglio
Roast Lemon and Garlic Chicken
- 2 fresh lemons, preferably organic
- 1 whole head of garlic
- 2 kilos chicken legs and/or thighs
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 bay leaves (dry or fresh)
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs (leaves pulled off the hard stalk)
- 12 to 16 small new potatoes, partially peeled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh parsley to garnish
- Preheat oven to 180oC.
- Par-boil the potatoes for about 10-15 mins, (just long enough to tenderize), drain and set aside.
- Rinse the lemons and chop them, skin and all, into 8 pieces each.
- Peel garlic and gently squash each clove but keep it whole.
- Place olive oil, chicken pieces, bay leaves and rosemary in a baking dish.
- Add the lemon sections, squeezing each one slightly to release the juice, sprinkle quite liberally with salt and pepper, and give everything a good mix.
- Place into the oven and bake for 20 mins.
- After 20 mins, remove the chicken from the oven, raise the temperature to 220oC, add potatoes to the chicken and gently mix everything around to coat with the pan juices. Return to the oven and roast for about 30 to 40 mins longer, or until the chicken and potatoes are crisp and brown.
- Remove from oven, cover with foil and rest for 10-15 mins, then garnish with parsley and serve.
TIPS AND VARIATIONS
You can of course use any spices or herbs to create your own dish. Try these combinations…
- Fennel seeds, thyme, oregano, marjoram, onion, fresh fennel bulb slices, cherry tomatoes etc.
- Or give it an Asian twist with lemongrass, ginger, chilli and fresh coriander.
- Lebanese spices of sumac, red onion slices and za’atar.
- How about Indian with cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ground turmeric, mustard seeds, chilli, etc.
- Or just a tbsp. of curry spice and ½ cup yogurt in place of the oil and lemon, omitting the potatoes and serving with rice.
Most of all… don’t be afraid, be creative, and have fun!