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(Lemon, Honey and Ginger Chicken) Roasts and Rituals

So if I google image rituals, I get pictures like this 

and this

and this

Fyi in this post I am not talking about a witchy-style ritual, this post is not about how I sacrificed a chicken, a lemon and some honey. That is the next "things to do with your lover" post. Rituals, as the Oxford English dictionary describes it are "a series of actions or type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone", so encompasses everything from worship rites, and rites of passage to shaking hands at the beginning of a meeting.

Rituals is also sort of a blog thing - all over blogosphere there is information on other people's rituals, routines repeated every day, posts about skincare rituals, bedtime rituals, coffee rituals, blog-writing rituals.

For me, when I think of rituals, I think of those little good things that we repeat often and through that become big good things.

Often a lot of something however good can be bad, it makes us bored of it, ungrateful, or we go into autopilot and barely realise we're doing something. As the Spice Girls said, "too much of something is bad enough".

But rituals are the anomaly to that rule, something we do repeatedly, but with each repeat the experience somehow becomes nicer, almost as if that niceness compounds with each act. As you carry out a ritualised act, you're not just enjoying the good stuff in that moment, but you also feel all the sweet nostalgia for when you've carried out those acts before and also a touch of excitement for the next time.

Here are some rituals - past and present - I have had (still have) and liked (like):

  • A Cadbury's curly wurly after swimming lessons (a ritual ages 4-9, before they became as expensive as a normal chocolate bar!)
  • Fresh pyjamas on a Sunday
  • Monday house night, where someone cooks a meal, and the others buy 2 for £5 bottles of red wine (a ritual ages 22-24)
  • Watching "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve with my family
  • Advent Calendars
  • Actually most things I do in December
  • Taking my make up off with a hot flannel before bed every night
  • Playing cannister and getting to drink a coca cola on Saturday nights (a ritual from 11-15)
  • Hot water with lemon first thing in the morning
  • Using my pink highlighter on Mondays
  • Getting in to BBC Strictly Come Dancing every year
I recently read an article found through Cup of Jo (one of my faves) about a ritual a lady had started, which was far more life changing for her than any of these have been for me (though they have been lovely). She began - or more her husband did - to cook meatballs every Friday, and anyone was welcome to come round for them (as long they let her know by Thursday evening). 

Her Friday meatball cooking and hosting ritual she says has "transformed [her] family's life". It got her out (well in but) socialising after kids, it stopped her (as a stay at home freelance writer) feeling isolated and helped her interact with her community, it allowed her to spend quality time with her daughter, and it gave her something nice to look forward to and help her relax each week.

So here is my new Sunday ritual - a roast chicken and a great film.

oh hey there crumby belly 

Now, I would love to eventually have the confidence (in both myself and my cooking) to extend my roast and movie invitation to neighbours, friends and family though I am not sure I am there quite yet. But I do want something to look forward to each week, and make sure I spend my Sundays in a way that sets me up for the week: A Sunday well spent equals a week of content - as little heart shaped wooden placques you hang in your home say.

I also thought it would be a nice thing for Will and I to do, our own little ritual to have centred around our new home. Sunday roasts are the ritual of many a family up and down the country, and we've also been muttering for a while about watching all of AFI's top 100 films from 100 to 1, in part in an attempt to end our ususal movie night stand off of romcoms vs dark, sci fi films. 

So my new Sunday ritual is to cook a roast and watch a movie (at least for the next 2 years whilst I have AFIs films left to watch). I would love it to grow to a thing where friends and family know it is happening, and drop by, or even I'd love to be doing it in 10 years time with my own kids (would obviously have to choose something more age appropriate than Blade Runner) don't.freak.out.Will! 

For now though, it is just nice to set the table, open a bottle of wine on a Sunday and enjoy my home and my boyfriend, before I leave it for a week at work.

My favourite roast - a recipe: 

Once I read an interview with Holly Willoughby where she said her favourite roast is always chicken because if she is going to eat a nice piece of beef she'd prefer it in steak form. I don't know why but that really stuck with me, I too love steak, and therefore I always opt for a roast chicken.

The recipe below is for a roast I like that gives a lovely comforting lemony chicken, and the honey sort of makes all the veg around it taste like honey roasted veg too. Also apparently the combo of lemon and honey is a real flu fighting one, so I figure it is good for my health to eat lots of this roast chicken this time of year.


1 heaped tablespoon of coconut oil (any butter or oil really, I just like coconut because of the consistency you can spread it on the chicken and it is not as bad for you as goose fat)
1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic
A good grinding or 3 of pepper
A good grinding of salt. Gosh a grinding of something sounds dirty, sorry.
A thumb of ginger
A little squidge or spoon of honey.
A small chicken (just up this ingredients if you have a bigger one)

I am not even going to write a step by step recipe for this, as that would be ridiculous as it is so easy, I can do it. 

Start by using Jamie Oliver's clever method of rolling the lemon until it slips slightly (a sign you're starting to release the natural oils) and at this point grate the lemon zest into a little bowl. Then grate your ginger, and smush one of your garlic cloves into this bowl too. 

Add the coconut oil to this and mix together, seasoning it with your salt and pepper too.

Spread this gingery lemony mix all over the skin of your chicken, massaging it in a little. 

Take your left over lemon, cut it in half and squidge a little bit of honey onto each half. Stuff these and your 2 left over garlic cloves (also each cut in half) up the chicken, going garlic, lemon, garlic, lemon.

Put in the oven and roast for as long as the instructions on the packet (normally about 1 hour 15 for a little one), maybe taking it out part way through to baste and add your veg you want to roast, these will too get all lemony and honey-y.

Serve to happy people who are impressed you cooked a roast.
Fyi. It is very difficult to take a picture of a raw chicken which looks very appetising. It is also harder than you think to take a picture of a cooked chicken, next to a bottle of wine, bathed in candlelight that looks as good in a photo as it does in real life. I hope you'll use your imagination on both counts!

Copyrights for pictures of rituals - top io9.com, second fiveforhowling.com, paulnolandsound.com

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