Tag Archives: lemon

Roast chicken with garlic, lemon and thyme

16 Oct

Roast chicken with loads of garlic, thyme and lemon, served with green beans.

Coming from a family of 6, we rarely had whole roasts of any kind when I was a child. Chicken was served as an economical dish, braaied or baked as individual cuts in a hearty chutney sauce, or boiled and deboned and served in a creamy white sauce topped with crushed tomato flavoured potato chips (one of my favourites). Both dishes were served on rice, with accompanying veggies. My Mom did sometimes buy whole chickens, but they were always boiled in water, after which I had to debone the cooled birds for my Mother to use in one of her family feasts. I have to confess: I always ate some of the meat while deboning the chickens. I once actually ate a whole chicken on the job – I started with 2, but ended up with only one for the rest of my family. My Mom was NOT impressed!! (PS: those were the days when my teenage metabolism was still as fast as a freight train.)

The first time I ever had whole roast chicken was when I made it myself, about 12 years ago. There are few things as simple and as festive as whole roast chicken. Always use the freshest and best quality chicken you can find. If you have ever tasted real organic farm chickens, large as turkeys, with beautiful brown meat, you would understand the difference. Now, I know that it is simply not always possible to get hold of these chickens, or to afford them. So we buy the specials in the supermarkets and we make the most of them.

With this simple recipe, a cheap small supermarket chicken will taste fantastic. If you can get hold of a free range organic farm chicken, it will change into something heavenly. Buy whatever you can afford!

Ingredients: (1 medium sized chicken will serve about 4 people)

  • 1 whole chicken (cleaned and trimmed)
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 8-10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 whole heads of garlic


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. Mix olive oil with rind and juice of the lemon. Strip the thyme leaves off half the sprigs and add to the mixture. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Separate cloves off one head of garlic, then slice the other head in half horizontally.
  4. Place chicken breast side up in a medium-size roasting tin. Place separated garlic cloves and sliced head of garlic next to chicken, along with the used lemon halves. Now drizzle all over with the olive oil mixture. Make sure the chicken is covered well. Place remaining thyme sprigs in chicken cavity.
  5. Place roasting tin in over, uncovered, and bake for one and a half hours, or until chicken is golden and garlic cloves are dark brown.
  6. Remove from oven, then serve on a large serving platter with blanched green beans and roast potatoes.



This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Tasha Seccombe & Nicola Pretorius


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Grilled, marinated aubergines

14 May

Grilled aubergines, marinated in olive oil, lemon, garlic and mint, on bruschetta.

There are few things I love more than lazy, extended, tapas-style eating. Although the term “tapas” was coined by the Spaniards, I still prefer my snacks mostly Italian, very simple, and served on bruschetta.

I got the most beautiful organic aubergines from Genesis Farm outside Stellenbosch – so richly purple they almost looked painted. I sliced them thinly, grilled them until they softened slightly, then drenched them in a marinade made from good quality olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, crushed garlic, fresh and dried mint, and some salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. They soak up a lot of the marinade, and are simply exquisite served at room temperature on crusty toasted bruschetta. Add a glass of good red wine and I’m in Mediterranean heaven.


  • 2 large organic aubergines, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup good quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of  1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 t dried mint (optional)
  • handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and mint. Add salt and pepper and test seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if necessary – the flavour should be quite intense.
  2. Heat a griddle pan on medium-high heat on the stove top. Fry slices of aubergine in batches untill lightly charred and softened. Remove from grill and arrange in a porcelain dish, covering each batch with a few spoons of marinade.
  3. Add more layers of grilled aubergines, drizzling each layer generously with marinade. If there is any marinade left, spoon it all over the top layer.
  4. Cover the porcelain dish and cool to room temperature. Serve on toasted bruschetta.

This dish keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days, covered. Return to room temperature before serving.

Contact John House from Genesis Farm: 082-215 6968.

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Glazed lemon and coconut loaf

11 May

Zesty lemon & coconut loaf with a lemon glaze

My second Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday – our beautiful daughter is 1 and a half years old. My husband will be returning from Johannesburg on Sunday morning and we have decided to spend the day at home, treating the three of us to the most delicious tea-time, lunch and dinner treats. For morning tea we will be having this fabulous zesty lemon & coconut loaf, topped with a sharp, sweet lemon glaze. It is light and fluffy, yet moist, and is perfect with a comforting cup of rooibos tea. I used Sasko Quick Treats Vanilla Flavoured Muffin Mix as a basis for the loaf – it takes all of the effort out of baking!

The rest of our menu is already planned: it involves proper Greek Lamb Moussaka for lunch, cheddar scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam for afternoon tea, and spinach & feta soup for dinner. I can’t wait to treat the 2 most special people in my life…

Ingredients for loaf:

  • 1 x packet Sasko Quick Treats Vanilla Flavoured Muffin Mix
  • 140 ml vegetable oil
  • 120 ml milk
  • 2 XL eggs
  • grated rinds of 2 large lemons
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Ingredients for glaze:

  • 60 ml icing sugar
  • 1 and a half teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix oil, milk and eggs well using a whisk or electric beaters. Add muffin mix and whisk for 1 minute.
  3. Add lemon rinds, coconut and lemon juice, then fold in with a metal spoon. Pour batter into a greased loaf tin (+- 20 x 10 x 7 cm) and bake for 50-60 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  4. Turn out on a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  5. Make glaze: mix icing sugar and lemon juice together, then drizzle on cooled loaf. Serve at room temperature with tea.
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Marinated chicken with lemon, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs

5 Mar

Poached chicken, marinated in lemon, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs, served with bruschetta (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

One of the very hot new trends on the food scene is tapas-style eating. And may I say: it is my favourite way to feast! Sharing platters full of snacks, dips, bruschettas and bites with friends around a big table is such a fantastic way to celebrate.

This recipe for poached chicken, marinated in fresh garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs, is seriously one of the tastiest ways to eat chicken. The poached chicken becomes so soft that it almost melts in your mouth while the juicy sauces run into the crispy toasted bruschetta. And best of all: you can make it a day ahead and dish it up at room temperature when lunchtime arrives.

The recipe is an adaptation out of Ina Paarman’s book “The Good Food Cookbook”. I bought it 12 years ago while I was still studying Consumer Science in Textiles at the University of Stellenbosch. It was a cheap little book back then, but has remained one of the timeless classics in my cupboard, along with Phillippa Cheifitz’s “Lazy Days”. These books have played a big part in inspiring me to follow my passion for food and cooking.

Recipes are meant to be shared, so here’s my version of Ina’s superb marinated chicken:


  • 1 large whole free-range chicken
  • 2 large carrots, cut into thick chunks
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 litre good quality chicken stock (if you don’t have access to fresh stock, use dissolved cubes)

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup great quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 big tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 big tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken stock, reserved from the cooked chicken
  • 1 cup organic cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)


  1. Skin the raw chicken by simply pulling the skin off the body and thighs. Don’t bother too much with the wings. Place it, breast side up, in a large heavy-based saucepan with the carrots, onions, garlic and chicken stock.
  2. Cover with greaseproof paper, pushing the paper down to the level of the liquid. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, then simmer on low heat for 1 and a half hours until the chicekn is very tender and starts to come away from the bone. Remove from the heat, then turn the chicken over (breast side down) to cool in the liquid – this takes an hour or 2.
  3. In the meantime, mix the ingredients for the marinade together and leave to stand at room temperature to allow flavours to develop.
  4. When chicken has cooled, remove from pot and reserve 1 cup of stock for the sauce (keep the rest in the freezer for your next recipe). Discard the onion and carrot.
  5. Tear the meat from the bone into long strips and add the cherry tomatoes. Beat the reserved stock into the marinade, then pour over chicken and tomatoes in a porcelain dish and cover with clingfilm, pushing the clingfilm down onto the mixture to expel as much air as possible. Refrigerate overnight to let the flavours mature. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  6. Serve with toasted bruschetta and a green salad, or as part of a tapas style menu.


This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe selection & development, testing and preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photographed by Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Ilse vand der Merwe and Tasha Seccombe

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