Ireland's 'gourmet grande dame', Darina Allen, fills in the cooking gaps that may have passed us by.
Darina Allen runs a world-renowned cookery school at Ballymaloe, Ireland, and is that country's most famous cook and food author. Her Forgotten Skills course was the inspiration behind this book, which simply explains cooking skills that may have missed a generation or two in your family.
Learn how to smoke fish, cure bacon, make yoghurt and prepare food from the wild. Old favourites include toffee pudding and scones and strawberry jam. Darina has included growing tips for gardeners, and how to make the best use of your home-grown produce. To quote English chef Nigel Slater: "There's not much this gourmet grande dame doesn't know."
Traditional roast stuffed chicken
This stuffing is equally good with roast turkey - just multiply the quantity by 3 or 4. It is also good a with a boned loin of lamb.
1.5kg free-range chicken
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Sprigs of flat parsley, for garnish
For the giblet stock
Giblets from the chicken (the neck, heart, gizzard - the liver will make the stock bitter so use for a pate)
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 celery stick
Parsley stalks and a sprig of thyme
For the stuffing
75g onion, chopped
75g soft white breadcrumbs
2 Tbs fresh herbs, e.g. parsley, thyme, chives or marjoram, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Weigh the chicken and calculate 20 minutes per 500g and 20 minutes over for the cooking time.
2 Remove the wishbone from the neck end of the chicken - this isn't essential but it does make carving much easier later on. Tuck the wing tips underneath the chicken to make a neat shape.
3 To make the stock (which you will use for the gravy) put the wishbone, giblets (apart from the liver), carrot, onions, celery and herbs into a saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil, skim and simmer gently while you prepare and roast the chicken.
4 Next make the stuffing. Sweat the onions gently in the butter until soft - about 10 minutes. Then stir in the breadcrumbs, herbs, and a little salt and pepper to taste. Leave it to get quite cold. If necessary, wash and dry the cavity of the bird, then season and half-fill it with cold stuffing. Season the breast and legs, smear with a little soft butter and put in the oven.
5 Baste the bird a couple of times during the cooking with the buttery juices. To test if it's done, prick the thickest part at the base of the thigh and examine the juices: there should be no trace of pink. Remove the chicken to a carving dish and keep it warm.
6 To make the gravy, spoon off the surplus fat from the roasting tin. Deglaze the pan juices with the giblet stock (you will need about 600ml, depending on the size of the chicken).
7 Using a whisk, stir and scrape the pan to dissolve the caramelised meat juices. Boil it up, season and, if you like, thicken with a little roux. Taste and correct the seasoning and serve in a warm gravy boat.
8 Serve the chicken on a nice carving dish surrounded by crispy roast potatoes and some sprigs of flat parsley; then arm yourself with a sharp knife and bring it to the table. Carve and then serve with gravy, roast vegetables and whatever else you fancy.
Be in to win this cookbook
Forgotten Skills of Cooking - the time-honoured ways are the best. More than 700 recipes show you why. By Darina Allen, published by Kyle Cathie $79.99. Available from Cook the Books, 81 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, ph (09) 360 6513, cookthebooks.co.nz
They have one copy to give away. To enter the draw, email your name and address to email@example.com by Monday, December 13. The winner will also receive two tickets to Darina Allen's only public event while visiting New Zealand this month - an evening at Cook the Books on Thursday, December 16.