Spanish chickens still seem to taste better than most of the anaemic-looking specimens found in Britain and the rest of Europe. | Marc Fosh

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A simple roast chicken is just about my favourite dish, with a little care and effort it can be a revelation. If you fill the cavity with lemon wedges, crushed garlic cloves, fresh thyme and lots of seasoning you will add a wonderful flavour and aroma to the finished dish. Start by roasting the chicken in a hot oven (220 ºc/gas 7) for 10 minutes then lower the temperature to around 190ºc/gas 5 and cook for 30-40 minutes, with the occasional basting. Pierce the thighs with a trussing needle or fork to test if the chicken is done by watching to see if the liquid that escapes is clear, then let the chicken rest for 8-10 minutes before carving.

Spanish chickens still seem to taste better than most of the anaemic-looking specimens found in Britain and the rest of Europe. The best are free range, corn-fed chickens. This imparts a good flavour and gives them a more appetizing orangey- yellow colour. Chicken is great to cook with because its mild flavour doesn’t compete with other ingredients and buying a whole chicken is often much cheaper than buying individual cuts.

One of the more popular ways to buy chicken, but also the most expensive, is to buy a breast. Chicken breasts are ideal sizes for a single portion, are easy to use and there’s no wastage, but two breast pieces can sometimes cost as much as a small whole bird. The meat on a breast is very lean and is at its best when cooked in a sauce or gently poached as in my Goan Chicken Curry. Chicken breast tends to dry out if it’s roasted or grilled without fat, so the legs or drumsticks, although dark and slightly fatty, are a better option for the barbeque as well as casseroles and stews.

Because chicken breasts can sometimes be very bland, marinating them for a couple of hours before cooking can transform them into something special. Try anything from garlic, parsley and olive oil to ginger, lime and coriander.

If you are fed up with chicken dinners, or fancy a change for your Sunday roast, why not give guinea fowl a try. Known as “pintada” in Spain and sometimes called an African pheasant, guinea fowl is similar to chicken, but has a mild game flavour. For those who are looking for healthy alternatives it is leaner than chicken and rich in essential fatty acids. Guinea fowl is unusual in that it is neither totally wild nor truly domesticated and has been reared for the table in since Elizabethan times.

You can substitute guinea fowl for just about any chicken recipe. Try this simple herb roasted guinea fowl with couscous salad. For more recipes & info, check out our Fosh Food blog www.foshonfood.blogspot.com

Goan chicken curry

Goan chicken curry

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 large skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1x400ml can coconut milksalt

For the marinade:

  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric1
  • ½ tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 75ml water

Method:

1 Mix together all the marinade ingredients to give you a loose, smooth paste.

2 Add the chicken pieces and marinate for around 30 minutes to 1 hour.

3 Heat the oil in a deep-sided frying pan and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop and jump about in the pan, add the onion and garlic.

4 Cook until they’re golden brown before adding the chicken and any extra paste from the marinade.

5 Fry over a gentle heat for about 8 minutes before adding the coconut milk. Increase the heat slightly and bring to a simmer.

6 Cook for a further 10-12 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly before seasoning with salt if necessary and serve with Basmati Rice.

Herb roasted guinea fowl with couscous salad

Herb Roasted guinea fowl with couscous salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 guinea fowl breast
  • 2tbsp flat leaf parsley and tarragon
  • chopped a pinch of flor de sal
  • drizzle of olive oil

For the salad:

  • 3 green asparagus, cooked and chopped
  • ½ red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped juice of 2 lemons
  • 200g couscous
  • 1tsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 200ml boiling chicken stock

1 Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

2 Stuff the chopped herbs under the skin of the guinea fowl and season with flor de sal.

3 Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan and fry the breasts for 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for a further 6-8 minutes.

4 Place the couscous, asparagus, red onion, parsley, lemon juice, rosemary and olive oil into a large bowl and mix together. Pour over the boiling chicken stock, cover with cling film and allow to steam for 3-4 minutes.

5 Remove the guinea fowl from the oven and transfer to a serving plate.

6 Remove the cling film from the salad bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well using a fork.

7 Spoon the couscous salad alongside the roasted guinea fowl and serve.