How to put on a show at Easter

Jan Bennett from A Glug of Oil, provides some top tips & advice here

Cooking a roast dinner for two is really no different to cooking for eight; all you need is the confidence,  the right equipment for the job and a bit of organisation.   Usually there are only the two of us, but on occasions such as Easter or Christmas there’s usually more people to cook for.  I love entertaining and find that having good kitchenware is essential and certainly makes life easier. 

When it comes to roasting I love this Judge Induction Granite Enamel High Oval Roaster JS02, but they have quite a few to choose from.  it’s made from heavy grade steel so is much lighter than cast iron.  It’s perfect since it can easily hold an extra-large chicken or a leg of lamb.  The ridges in the bottom and lid make it self- basting which means you don’t have to keep opening the oven door to baste so you can get on with preparing and cooking the rest of the dinner.  You can even use the lid (upside down) and it becomes a roasting dish.  It’s also handy if you’re making a lot of gravy as it is quite large.  The roaster is also suitable for every hob type including induction

A good set of saucepans is a must have.  I’ve used Judge saucepans for ages now and use them all the time.  I’m a bit lazy so most times I tend to put them in the dishwasher but they still look like new.  They’ve never lost their shine and I think all their pans are suitable for induction hobs too.

Top  Tip - here we share Jan's top tip how to keep  your veg lovely and bright

Of course everyone has their own ideas but to keep the colour in vegetables and so you can clear away all the pots before the dinner is served is to cook them early, then drain and run under cold water and drain again.  This stops them from cooking any further and keeps the colour in.  Not only will your peas stay bright green and carrots nice and orange, but you will have all the veg prepared and cooked in advance.  Just tip them into a suitably sized dish and cover with cling film.  This way the when the dinner’s done the veggies only have to be heated through in the microwave. 

Top Tip - Cook your meat ahead of time too - both poultry and meat need to rest before carving and you’ll find they’ll stay perfectly hot for a good while if you wrap in kitchen foil.      

When it comes to carving there’s nothing better than an Electric Carving Knife, it slices through chicken or meat with ease and I love the nice neat slices you get with an electric knife.

Top Tip -  Roasties - par boil,  drain, shake and fluff!

The secret to crispy roast potatoes is to par-boil them for a few minutes till they just start to fluff a bit around the edges.  Then drain. With saucepan lid on, give them a gentle shake to fluff the edges, as it’s the fluffy bits that make them nice and crispy when roasting.  Pop the saucepan back onto the stove top uncovered with the heat off so they dry out a bit. 

On special occasions I use either duck or goose fat but for the usual Sunday roast I use Cookeen!  Yes you read right.  Cookeen does a marvellous job of roast potatoes.  Add the fat to the roasting tin till nice and hot then add the potatoes and spoon over the hot fat to coat them. 

Cook in the oven 220C / 425F or Gas 7 for about 30 minutes then using a spoon, turn them over and coat once more with the hot fat and leave for about another 20 mins.  

Essential for good roast potatoes is a decent roasting dish and this Judge Black Enamel Roaster JS06 does a great job as I think you’ll agree.

Tip Tip - Gravy - You can't beat a bit of Bisto!

Now as far as gravy goes I have to admit I’m a bit of a fan of good old Bisto gravy powder; I say it’s a brilliant invention!  Just mix it up in a jug and it’s ready to heat in a saucepan whilst stirring of course or you’ll get lumpy gravy.  

Once your gravy is done it will stay nice and hot in the Judge Insulated Gravy Jug TC299

Top Tip - Serve with Yorkshires puddings

I don’t know about you but I think Yorkshire puddings are the best thing since slice bread!  Although they’re probably suited to a roast beef dinner rather than chicken, I always make Yorkshire puddings.  Mix the ingredients together in a good sized mixing bowl so you can whisk the batter without it going over the edge.  I used the Judge Porcelain Mixing Bowl, its a nice size and I think it would be great for making Summer Pudding; now there’s a thought I think this weekend I’ll do that!

  Judge 4 cup Yorkshire Pudding Tin

Judge 4 cup Yorkshire Pudding Tin

As we both like big Yorkshire puddings, I use the Judge 4 cup Yorkshire Pudding Tin JB16 it’s non-stick inside and out and made from heavy duty steel.

Top Tip - Be organised and have the right equipment, sit back, relax and enjoy!

Thank you Jan for helping us with this - please follow this link to Jan's Site - A Glug of Oil