After a long day at work, roasted chicken is one of dishes that I really like to cook for dinner. First, it is easy to make – you just need to rub the chicken and put it on the oven, meanwhile you can have some rest and watch telly until your meal is ready. Second, lots of left over when you cook for yourself. So, you can bring it to work and re-heat it in the microwave, and your lunch is ready.
I found the original recipe (again) from Jamie Oliver (please don’t blame me if I like his recipes a lot, in fact most of them are really easy to make and taste good too).
The way of cooking roasted chicken with beer is originally found in the US. The beer itself give very tasty juicy results.
1 x 1.5 kg of whole chicken
300 ml can of beer (I used 1664 Kronenburg)
4 tbs sweet & mild barbecue sauce
2 fresh green chilies, deseeded.
1/2 bunch of fresh coriander
For the rub:
1 tablespoon of cayenne powder
1 teaspoon of espelette powder
1 tablespoon of paprika powder
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 dried red chilies
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil
To have a better taste roasted chicken, I always buy fresh whole chicken from the butcher couple hours / an hour before cooking.
Wash the chicken and put in the large casserole tray. Bash the rub ingredients to a fine powder in a large pestle and mortar, then drizzle the chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle over the rub and use your hands to massage all those lovely flavours inside and out.
Crack open the beer and pour out around two-thirds of it, then carefully lower the chicken cavity onto the can so it looks like it’s sitting up. Position the chicken so it’s upright on a roasting tray, then place in the oven and cook for around 45 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. To check it’s done, insert a knife into the thickest part of the thigh – the juices should run clear.
Brush the chicken all over with the barbecue sauce, then return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, then re-brush again with the barbecue sauce and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
In the mean time, finely slice the chilli and shallots and pick the coriander leaves. Once ready, carefully remove and discard the can, then carve up the bird, scatter over the chilli, shallots and coriander leaves, then serve with homemade chips.
Inspired by the movie The Holiday , I decided to travel alone to some cities I’ve never been before, so I would not feel kind of alone during the Christmas – NYE holiday. Sounds sad, but when your family is living in another continent of the world – spending the holiday and bumping at friend’s house or friend family’s christmas party is kind of tradition for me for 8 years already.
So I booked the train passes for two countries for 5 days journeys from Eurail (PS. This is only eligible if you do not have EU nationalities, and if you have EU nationalities you need to buy your passes from Interrail).
My first stop was Grenoble, France.
Is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps. It took only 4h to get to Grenoble from Paris Gare de Lyon with TGV.
If there’s one place I always come back to, over and over again, it’s Bastille Hill. I’ve been dreaming to visit this landmark since a long time. The Bastille, an ancient series of fortifications on the mountainside, overlooks Grenoble on the northern side and is visible from many points in the city. The Bastille is one of Grenoble’s most visited tourist attractions and provides a good vantage point over both the town below and the surrounding mountains (source: wikipedia). To get to the Bastille hill, you need to take Grenoble-Bastille cable car, or wellknown as “Les Bulles” (the bubbles) as it mostly looks like a transparent egg-shaped cable car.
My second stop was Milan, Italy
I actually only had one day out in Milan, well I kind of booked the train tickets at the last minute during the holiday season. So, I didn’t have much choice only to spend whole day in Milan. Here I’ve gathered a few of places that I’ve visited in one day.
It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, on the remnants of a 14th-century fortification. Later renovated and enlarged, in the 16th and 17th centuries it was one of the largest citadels in Europe. Extensively rebuilt by Luca Beltrami in 1891–1905, it now houses several of the city’s museums and art collections. (Source : wikipedia)
Is the main city square of Milan. It is named after, and dominated by, the Milan Cathedral (the Duomo). The piazza includes some of the most important buildings of Milan (and Italy in general), as well some of the most prestigious commercial activities, and it is by far the foremost tourist attraction of the city.
If you like historical buildings, this is the perfect place to visit.. What I did was standing in the middle of the city square and look all the stunning buildings surround you.. it was really breathtaking.
Honestly, I would not recommend you to visit Piazza del Duomo & the Cathedral during the holiday. Well, I was hardly enjoyed the walking and sight seeing in this area as it was too crowded and too many people did the same thing (read: taking pictures).
Last time I went to Italy, I tried deep-fried seafoods, it was really delicious, and it made me promise to myself, if one day I take another trip to Italy, I will eat the same dishes. So, I did! I went to the local pizzeria, not really far from the landmark Castello Sforzesco di Milano. I ordered Gran Fritto Misto, it was mix deep-fried seafoods with fried courgette (zuccini).
Address: Piazzale Baiamonti, 2 20154 Milano Italia
I found this place by chance in the chinatown, as I supposed to go to Korean restaurant that permanently closed. It’s a very fine fusion japanese restaurant with reasonable price. I ordered different kind of dishes and everything tasted amazing.
Last stop before going back home – Paris, France
For some people spending NYE is very important, for some people might be not. But me, I like spending quality time with my closest friends, like most of French people do.
Where to stay:
I kind of booked the hotel couple weeks before the holiday started, so this was the one I found that pretty affordable during NYE. It situates in 11th arrondissement of Paris and pretty calm area. The room was comfortable and modern for Parisian hotels, but the most important thing is they provide you free mineral water and kettle for tea/coffee for each room.
Got inspired by another Jamie Oliver’s recipe, I tempted myself to make one of his seafood platter that I thought I might like to eat for summer dinner. You can see the original recipe on this link, as I changed some ingredients that likely I found in the nearest grocery store.
sunflower oil , for deep frying
fresh calamaries rings
shrimps , shell off and butterflied
100 g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
red pepper powder
freshly ground black pepper
a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon , cut into wedges
2 larges potatoes
For the sauce (makes 500ml):
20 fresh red chillies
4 garlic cloves
1 cup caster sugar
Prepare the sweet chilli sauce
Finely chop the chillies, I prefer not to have the seeds with.
Finely chop the garlic
Put the sugar and one cup of cold water in a medium saucepan over a high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the chillies, garlic, a pinch of salt and some splash of malt vinegar. Then cook over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. You can whiz the sauce with plunging blender to have smoother texture.
Prepare spicy chips
Cut the potatoes into chips
Place a deep-fat fryer over a medium-high heat. Fill it with three-quarters full with sunflower oil and leave it to heat up.
Fried the chips until it turns golden. Transfer the potatoes into double layer kitchen paper to drain the fat.
Place the fried chips into a large tupperware, drizzled with some salt, chilli powder and pepper powder, then shake it and set aside.
Prepare the crispy calamary and shrimp
Wash the calamaries and shrimps, place it in a large bowl. Finely grate over the zest of the lemons and squeeze over most of the juice, then toss to coat.
Place the flour and a good pinch of salt, black pepper, chilli powder and pepper powder into a large bowl, then add the calamary and shrimp and toss to coat. Mix it well.
Carefully lower the calamary and shrimp into the hot oil and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden and crisp on the outside and cooked through.
When the last batch of seafood is almost done, squeeze a little lemon juice over the parsley sprigs, then dip into the flour and lower into the oil for a few seconds – be careful as it’ll spit.
Serve the crispy calamary and shrimp straight away, with crispy spiked parsley, lemon wedges for squeezing over and the sweet chilli sauce on the side for dipping.
This takeaway restaurant just opened in 2017, and they serve authentic english fish & chips with mashy peas and tartare sauce. Apparently the owner had spent couple years in England and worked at the English pub, I think that’s the reason why they know how to cook a proper fish & chips. If you don’t really like fishes, they also have fried chicken & chips, and it tastes amazing.
Le Comptoir des Halles – Place du Vieux Marché, 76000 Rouen
This place is one of my favorite place to eat fresh oyster without going to a fancy restaurant. We also call the place “bar a huitres”, which literally means “oyster bar”. It is located inside the Vieux Marché, so it is very easy to find. I used to come here after rush hour, so the place was less busy and I can enjoy my oyster and a glass of white wine quitely.
Hot dog Corner Rouen – 8 rue Croix Verte, 76000 Rouen
Funny things, I found this hot dog shop by mistake when I was at Kebab shop nearby. My favorite menu is the classic American with mustard and fried shallots. What make the hot dog tastes amazing is because the owner makes the bun by herself. Not only the hot dog, you need to taste their milkshakes. You can decide whether to eat your hot dog on the spot, in the restaurant, or take your menu home with you.
If you want to eat homemade hand-drown chinesse noodles, this is the best place in town. Price is affordable for a good quality.
Le Pied de Poule – 16 Rue Victor Hugo, 76000 Rouen
It is not very well located but finally I found not very fancy french restaurant in Rouen. Don’t be surprise if it looks pretty quite from the outside, I think it is simply because it is not located in popular area in Rouen. Yet, the food was delicious, the price was affordable, the decoration is also fine. I ordered the foie gras for starter, then mussels and chips for maincourse.