I had a very interesting childhood but didn’t have the privilege of our family ever keeping chickens. I grew up on the slopes of Signal Hill in Tamboerskloof at the top of the last road where it meets the forest. There lived our neighbor in a large spooky dark house surrounded by trees, the owner of Mullers Music shop in those days. The house still stands, as does my old house, but most of the forestry is gone.
Our son Stephen and his wife Ridza keep chickens on their property in Rondebosch. It’s lovely to see the chicken and the kids (with their mom keeping an eagle eye open in case one escapes out of the gate) running around freely, chasing each other with much laughter in between. The kids get to clean the chicken coop and feed them before bed, then gather the eggs the next day with much glee. They never eat the chickens, in fact, it’s their friends and our grandchildren even have names for them and were very upset when one went ‘missing’! The children also have 3 cats which, much to my relief don’t bother at all with the chickens. The chickens have their own fenced-off area into which they are herded when they need to be out the way. This is a very practical and great way of a ‘back to nature’ approach to bringing up a family.
My Recipe – Chicken
- 1 clean free-range chicken
- 250g streaky bacon
- Stuffing as follows:
- 1 egg, ½ onion
- 2 cloves garlic, 125g bacon
- 1 large cup ciabatta crumbs
- Salt & ground black pepper
- Blitz together the garlic, bacon, egg & onion. Mix into crumbs and spoon into the chicken cavity. Tie a piece of string around the legs to keep all together.
- Place chicken in a roasting pan, pour over 1 cup Esona Chardonnay wine, and grind on salt & pepper. Arrange the rest of the bacon over chicken and place a few sprigs of rosemary over and around the chicken.
- Cover and cook for one hour at 180°.
- Remove from oven and baste the meat with pan juices.
- Return to oven uncovered for another 30 – 40 min till done, then make a sauce from the pan juices, thickening with cornflower.
- Serve with yellow rice and garden peas – delicious!
- Enjoy with Esona Shiraz or Chardonnay wine – both delicious!