Cooking up a storm this Christmas: Three French Hens

For Polyester’s twelve days of Christmas, Gina Tonic’s mum Vicki Jones reveals her winter warmer roast chicken recipe…

In between starving myself and bingeing, my mam’s house has always been a food sanctuary. Sumptuous and sickly, rich and rewarding, eating with my mam and back in the house I grew up will never be a negative. While seeing certain foods as “treats” might arguably be assigning morality to meals, I’ve always found adoration and comfort in the cooking done by my mother. For Christmas especially, my moods only flick between “full” and “drunk”.

Not only did Vicki Jones teach me how to eat well, I’ve inherited a keen eye for cookery from her too. My mam’s pared down recipe for cooking a chicken is my contribution to our Polyester advent calendar – and a delicious one at that.

Get a chicken free range if possible about 1.5kg  and put oven on gas 6/200c/400f then cut a lemon in half and put in the chicken cavity. Put about a tablespoon of oil over the chicken and rub it in the skin you can use olive oil but I like rapeseed – it gives the skin a nice colour and then season the skin with salt and pepper. You can add dried thyme or rosemary too if you like.

Place in a roasting tin and roast for about an hour and a half then take it out and pierce the skin in the thigh check the juices are clear then leave to rest for half hour covered lightly in foil before carving or pulling to bits like I do!

Words by Gina Tonic. Illustration by Sophie Hackett