In the darkest of January days, the sleet falling outside, we need to nurture ourselves - mind, body, spirit, and of course what we choose to cook - for ourselves and for others - can also nurture that feeling.
Making something good, healthful.
Something that soothes but also that adds so much natural immune-boosting, digestion-friendly, anti-oxidents in one meal ... today, it's this roast chicken.
Roast chicken is a soul-food, a nourishing, soothing, happiness-inducing food.
There's also something about the time it takes to cook that feels right, in these slower times of year, where we hunker down a little and take a little time to cook something good.
It goes without saying but I'll say it anyway - you can't have soul food from an unhappy hen, so choose organic, free range chicken, with a happy life. A chicken's life needs to be honoured too so use every scrap - make stock when you've finished with the meat.
Using all of our ingredients - meat, fish or vegetable - and avoiding food waste is a key part of our overall health and wellness.
So, organic roast chicken for the soul.
Every ingredient in this plays a part in providing these health benefits:
boosts the immune system
promotes heart health
anti-inflammatory (great for the joints in these winter months)
can help to reduce blood pressure
Every ingredient is chosen for their health benefits, and also taste benefits - which of course then also aids overall health by the pure enjoyment of our food too.
For this marinade you just need the following (super-immune-boosting) ingredients:
a thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
another thumb-sized piece of turmeric root, grated (if you can't find it, just add 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder)
a good big garlic clove, squashed and minced, and one garlic clove squashed and put inside the cavity of the chicken
1 lemon, half squeezed into the marinade and the other half cut into two quarters and put into the cavity
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
a small pot of natural yogurt, about half a cup
2 teaspoons olive oil
Mix all the marinade ingredients together and massage into the chicken - and do this with love!
We need love in our cooking and taking a couple of minutes to honour the chicken, massage in the added health-boosting marinade, will all make for something extra special.
Leave the chicken to marinade for a couple of hours or overnight and then roast.
I use my beloved remoska - it's a small electric oven - but on this occasion so small it burnt the edges of the chicken.
But hey - it still reduces waste in electricity heating a huge cavernous oven for one chicken - AND that small space means it steams and cooks and remains beautifully moist.
It takes an hour and a half in the remoska, so probably similar in your oven - just make sure to test it's done and cooked through completely - the easiest way is by putting a knife into the leg and checking the juices run clear.
(Note on the remoska: do look it up HERE. It's not a slow cooker, it's just a tiny, economical electric oven. The initial outlay is quite a lot, yes, but I've used mine several times a week for over 15 years now, so it does end up in cost-per-use - ha, I nearly put cost-per-wear - very economical, without even factoring in the lower electricity/gas costs).
And then just enjoy your soul-food, health-providing roast ... I like it with a rice salad full of herbs and lemon, or with traditional roast vegetables.
Use the leftovers in all the creative ways you can - HERE's some of my favourites.
Make stock from the leftovers and bones.
Make the whole experience one of nurture, thoughtfulness, love, sensuality.
Yes I do find the act of cooking healthful food for my loved ones, beautifully, mindfully ... sensual - it indulges so many senses to choose to do this.
And this is a power-punch of immune-boosting ingredients to stave off all the winter colds too.