Enjoying a roast with your family or friends is a satisfying way to finish off the weekend.

Many of us will have fond memories of the Sunday roast. When I was growing up, a roast dinner was something special which brought the extended family together around the dining table. Beef, lamb or a golden glistening roast chicken wasn't an everyday occurrence but a special treat.

Everything about a roast spelled food prepared with time and love - we'd utter oohs and aahhs as we walked into a house filled with delicious smells, and were presented with a glorious cut of meat, loads of seasonal vegetables and a rich gravy - often the most relished component.

So I was excited to hear that Selaks has created National Roast Day which takes place on August 1. It's chance to celebrate the best of our produce and spend time with friends and whanau enjoying music, wine, cooking, eating and lots of talking. A perfect weekend day. Of course, someone has to do the dishes but let's not dwell on that. (Mind you, in our house, many a great discussion has taken place over the soap suds.)

We can't think of a roast dinner without involving chicken. Hunt out an organic bird or at least free range. The flavour is undeniably superior - and the welfare of the chook should be a consideration when using our purchasing power. Check out those from Clevedon's Kipdale Farms; they are delicious chickens with fine flavour.

Roasting a whole fish is simple and impressive. Rich-tasting salmon works well paired with the flavours of fennel and lime, red onions, bay leaves and sprigs of thyme. It's not such an ideal candidate for a gravy, but you can whisk up a hollandaise sauce to accompany it.

When considering a roast, lamb is an obvious choice. Look for smaller cuts that are easier to handle and take less time to cook.

CHEF'S TIP

Gravy is such a highlight, it needs to be made well. A crucial step is to make sure you deglaze the roasting dish with wine while scraping up all the delicious bits. This will give you a super-tasty base that you can add to.