Food for a large gathering

This is the time of the year when there are a lot of family gatherings for lunch especially with the confirmation and communion season.

This is the time of the year when there are a lot of family gatherings for lunch especially with the confirmation and communion season.

If you are having people for lunch the last thing you want is to be stuck in the kitchen cooking food so have everything done in advance.

I follow a few simple rules, the main one being don’t try and be everything to everyone when it comes to a selection of food keep it simple, decide to have two meats and a couple of salads instead of having too big of a selection. So for this I am giving you a couple of recipes for chicken and beef.

The chicken is a roast chicken which has been rubbed all over with some curry powder and olive oil, and then I roast it, allow it to cool and carve it all up and serve it on a nice big platter. Full chicken is great value in the shops at the moment.

Then some rare sirloin of beef with rocket leaves, a fresh salsa verde which gives a nice tangy fresh flavour to the beef, some crusty bread and a sweet potato, feta cheese and cherry tomato bake.

Follow it up with a nice desert like rhubarb crumble which is in season now and some good vanilla ice cream.

Roast Sirloin of Beef with a Salsa Verde

3½lb/2kg Sirloin (Striploin) of Beef

2tbsp Olive Oil

1Packet Rocket

1 Crusty Loaf of Bread

Salt & Black Pepper

Salsa Verde

2tbsp Capers, chopped

2tbsp Gherkins, chopped

3 Spring Onions, chopped

4tbsp Olive Oil

1 small Bunch of Parsley, chopped

1 Lemon, juice & rind

Mix all together with some salt & pepper, place in a bowl or sauce boat until ready to serve.

To cook the beef: Preheat the oven to 200º. Rub the beef with salt & black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, place on a roasting tin and cook for 20 minutes.

Turn the heat down to 180º and cook for 15 minutes per lb for rare, 25 minutes per lb for medium and 30 minutes per lb for well done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To serve slice the beef, place on a platter, scatter the rocket over it with some of the salsa verde, serve with crusty bread.

Curry Spiced Roast Chicken

2tbsp Olive Oil

2tsp Mild Curry Powder

Salt & a twist of Pepper

1 Large Chicken 1½kg to 2kg

Preheat the oven to 180º. Mix the oil with the curry, a pinch of salt and a twist of pepper then rub the curry mix all over the chicken.

Place on a roasting tray and cook for about 2 hours until the chicken is cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Sweet Potato with Feta Cheese & Tomato

4 Medium Sized Sweet Potato

2 Red Onions

Few Sprigs of Rosemary

Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil

1 250g Punnet of Cherry Tomatoes

1 x 200g Packet Feta Cheese

Peel and dice the sweet potato and spread out on a roasting tin or casserole dish.

Peel and cut the onion in thick slices, scatter them over the potato, season with salt & pepper and sprinkle with some chopped rosemary then drizzle with olive oil. Place in a hot oven 180º to 190º for about 20 minutes until the potato and onion are nearly cooked then place the halved cherry tomatoes on top return to the oven for about 10 minutes until all is cooked.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle or crumb the feta cheese all over.

This is a very nice vegetable dish to serve with a steak or some grilled lamb cutlets or very good as a vegetarian main course served with pasta or cous cous.