As a child, Mum was never really ‘allowed’ in Nonna Maria’s kitchen, as it was mainly her eldest sister, Gerardina, who helped with food preparation. Mum would keep Nonna company in the garden. So as a result, Mum has only picked up her cooking skills by watching others cook.
In addition, Mum is dyslexic, so she does not read recipes. But I think that it is because of dyslexia, and not in spite of it, that she makes wonderful food! She cooks by ‘eye’ and ‘taste’. However, she does not necessarily ‘enjoy’ cooking – she will only cook when the mood takes her or if she really needs to!
Mum is able to cook on a budget. Whilst Mum loves good food, she has been able to compromise only on cost without compromising on taste. This is one of Mum’s go-to recipes because frozen portions can be used as all the flavours accumulate in one pan for taste and succulence.
455g (1lb) potatoes, peeled * 8 chicken portions or one whole chicken cut into 8 pieces * 4 tbsp olive oil * 5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped into large chunks * 1 tbsp fresh rosemary * 1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried parsley * 1 tsp dried thyme * salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Peel the potatoes and cut up into chunks or thick slices, as you would the size of roast potatoes. Wash and pat dry the chicken portions with a kitchen towel. Pour 2 tbsp of olive oil into a large, deep, baking tray, add in the garlic, then place the potatoes on one side of the tray and the chicken pieces on the other side. Sprinkle on all the herbs, season with salt and pepper and pour on the remaining oil. Then with clean hands, mix in the herbs and seasoning into the potatoes and then do the same with the chicken pieces.
Cover the baking tray with foil, ensuring that it is securely fastened all around. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes. Look at it and it should be almost cooked. If not, put back in the oven for a further 15 minutes. Then take out of the oven, remove the foil, move the chicken and potatoes around a little to loosen them and then put back into the oven for 20-30 minutes to brown off. Just keep checking towards the end of this time to prevent them from burning. Serve with the roasted vegetables: Verdura Mista al Forno.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
This recipe comes from the section THE ITALIAN JOB, a selection of authentic Italian recipes.