Pure and Simple

Here is Coco, 

Kids love cooking classes in the school holidays

My four year old,  shewon’t step out of the house without a dress on (even her bathing suite has a skirt on it! “Its so pretty with big pineapples on it, I just love it” she says). She wants to grow her hair as long as Rapunzel’s and needs a pink or purple item to feel human and thinks her mother’s short hair and pant wearing is simply “not that pretty mum”. This girl, usually ultra ‘lady like’ on the verge of annihilating all that has been worked on by the feminist movement, is different today.She asks me to use the stove to “make something real” I deny her this wish since I’m too busy with my toddler who thinks jumping off coffee tables is ‘the’ thing to do. It’s at this point that things start to change. My daughter’s eyes latch onto me and her mouth opens and out comes“if you don’t let me use the kitchen I will spit on you!”. Excuse me? What have I just heard my little girl say so viciously?How is it that I know it’s not good yet at the same time it makes me want to break into roaring laughter? So the next thing I know, here I go: ”Coco that’s not something you say to your mum or to anyone. Would you like someone to say that to you? You are in time out!”

She gets into position and I have to run to the other room in order to let the laughter evacuate my body. It’s not something I want my daughter to say to me or to anyone yet she is expressing her frustrations and being human and this is also thrilling to see - a break from princess mode. Sometimes I hate the taming civilization requires! But do I want her spitting all over the place and most importantly all over me?

I think balance is a good thing to model and after years of personal imbalance I do try but hey, I tip at times in moodand in food. I love Coco’s little obsessions developing and making her who she is. When it comes to food, the fact she desires smoked salmon in her lunch box every day and then when it actually happens, watching that extra pep in her step on the way into pre-school is something I adore. Her demanding of bucheron cheese on her rye bread for aperitivo (no she does not know its called bucheronshe calls it “my favorite cheese” and no you can’t fool her, she knows an imposter.) I don’t always have this in the house because if I did modeling balance would go out the window for me. But the fact that she asks for it fills me with pride, yes because it’s my favorite too! O my ego…

Life, my life, such a blend of wild desire and refined taste, such a wish for pleasure in measure. So much for a person, a woman, a mum to think about. I need nothing else to complicate my thoughts, so tonight requires something unmistakable, pure and simple:

“Pollo Arrosto e patate!” (roast chicken and potatoes)

This dish in our family is loved, cherished, used to make bad days good ones, to welcome the worm summer or the cold winter, and some times the days in between. Any day can be roast chicken day!


For Pollo:

One chicken (this time butterflied)

Rind and juice of one lemon

½ garlic cloves

Tablespoon of olive oil

Fresh rosemary

Oven bag (optional)

Salt pepper

For Patate:

Olive oil, lots of it!

Par boiled potatoes (I like Dutch cream or Desiree)




A squeeze of lemon juice

Tonight I butterflied the chicken (if you don’t like doing this ask the butcher to do it for you). I like to butterfly because every little inch of the skin gets crunchy and sticky and spectacular.

I squish up the garlic and salt in the mortar and pestle add olive oil, pepper a bit of lemon juice and rosemary stalks ,then rub it all over the chicken. I then stick the emptied lemon under the chicken. I put the chicken in an oven bag and then into the oven at 200C.

The bag seems to keep the chicken moist and deliver a very tender bird at the end of it all.

When the chicken is almost ready (about 50 minutes for a medium one) I open the bag take all the juice out, poor it into a pan so Mike (husband) can make the gravy. I then put the chicken back in the oven so it gets a last browning up without bag (its ready when you can insert a skewer in the breast and the juice runs clear).

“Pollo Arrosto e patate!” (roast chicken and potatoes)

For potatoes:

I boil them until they are completely soft then drain and pour lots and I mean lots of olive oil over them. Add salt, pepper, rosemary and a bit of lemon. If the chicken is a little one I put the potatoes in at the same time as the chicken and usually every thing is ready at the same time. If the potatoes get ahead of themselves then just cover them with tin foil towards the end.

I serve this all with salad sprinkled with pomegranate seeds (since they are in season now in Sydney.) BUONISSIMO!

Learn to cook Pollo Arrosto e patate! roast chicken and potatoes