A Convent, a Chicken and 40 Cloves of Garlic

July 28, 2011

The Abbotsford Convent Farmers’ Market

Last Saturday Ben and I visited the Abbotsford Convent Slow Food Farmers’ Market with my parents. It was my first time visiting this lovely, earthy, unassuming market, with local produce that is undoubtedly fresh – as displayed by the dirt still very much covering the cauliflower at the first stall. I love that, I like my veg rustic. Straight from the ground.

Beyond the beautiful produce there were stalls selling hot porridge, soups and free-range grilled meat sandwiches. The aromas were incredibly enticing on this decidedly frosty morning, and left me almost (almost) lamenting my breakfast at Three Bags Full earlier. I jest, I could never lament Black Sticky Gingerbread – yes, I ordered it for the fourth time out of my five visits to Three bags Full these past 2 months…what of it?

Here I am at the market with my beautiful mum, buying some delightful Daffodils…a little bit of sunshine during this biting Winter – and I’m not talking about the flowers 😉

While we were at the market Ben and I picked up some heavenly Wholegrain Sourdough Rolls from The Convent Bakery. They were so delicious, the best I have had in a long time. We enjoyed them later that day for lunch, alongside homemade Broccoli Soup (Ben’s favourite) and Goats Cheese. Perfection.

Back to the market…

We also bought a bunch of gorgeous Brussels Sprouts and my absolute favourite vegetable, Cavolo Nero. Cavolo Nero, also known as Tuscan Cabbage, is a type of Kale, and is a powerful antioxidant and full of many vitamins and minerals. I sautéed these fantastically nutritious leaves with garlic and chilli flakes that evening, yet the Brussels Sprouts…well, I saved them for Sunday.

Roast Chicken for Sunday Dinner

Sunday was a bit of a stay-at-home whirlwind. Ben had been working with me all day, getting everything ready for my upcoming USA trip. He even missed his beloved basketball to stay and help keep me sane, teaching me how to use my ipad *blush*. I wanted to reward him with a beautiful dinner using a favourite recipe of ours. Truth be told, come dinnertime I was so far into my planning, Ben actually made our dinner. My man has been supremely amazing lately, with me being very busy getting all organised and with all my different jobs I’m currently doing. Here he is, making the dinner I planned for him…my bad. The sentiment was there though, right?

Self-imposed guilt trip over.

Our beloved recipe, which I planned on making, is Valli Little’s Chicken with 40 Cloves Garlic (recipe link). Yes, you read that correctly. 40 cloves. Forty.

It’s amazing. It’s the first and only Roast Chicken recipe I have used, and every time I make it I am thrilled with the end product. I’d like to try another recipe soon, to develop my roasting skills, as this one is not exactly your traditional roast chook. Yet I still feel I can tick it off my list…well, maybe a half tick (see this post for details on my list of food fears I wish to conquer and dishes I desire to make for the first time in 2011). I implore you to try this roast chicken recipe. It creates a superbly moist bird that just melts. And the sauce…I have no words. It’s a completely easy recipe to make, to boot.

For those beautiful farmers’ market Brussels Sprouts, I selected another of Valli Little’s recipes, her Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta (recipe link) – what can I say, she’s my never fail lady. We didn’t use almonds or breadcrumbs, and instead Ben added Fresh Peas along with the pancetta. He also used French Butter. On the weekends I tend to relax my views around saturated fats and butter – a generous slither or two here and there is fine with me and my lifestyle. And honestly, I think the butter really made this recipe. True story. This dish was utterly divine. Yes, I used the words Brussels Sprouts and divine in the same sentence.

We served the chicken and brussles sprouts with super crispy Roasted Kipfler Potatoes. I find the key to perfect roasted potatoes (other than using duck fat, but that’s just not going to happen on a regular basis) is to firstly use kipfler potatoes. Their waxy, buttery goodness just cannot be surpassed in my books. I will halve them (or quarter them if they’re large) and pop them on a baking paper lined tray, along with a handful of garlic cloves (skin on). I then give everything a quick spray with spray olive oil, before scattering with fresh rosemary, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. I then pop them into a hot hot oven, preheated to 200-220 degrees Celsius. In 25-30 minute they’re pure potato perfection.


And that was the meal that I made for my amazing man…oh wait, that’s right… Either way, it was delicious. So scrumptious, so comforting, so much love.

Heidi xo
  • hollypop July 28, 2011 at 8:51 am

    oooh. i've seen tuscan cabbage about loads lately. i'll have to pick some up. yum!
    your chicken look amazing. i love me some brussell sprouts + cured meat. mm.
    your cape is AMAZING and your mum is gorgeous.
    it's so nice that your ben can cook and likes to. yay 🙂

  • pippa July 28, 2011 at 10:06 am

    I love roasted brussel sprouts, now I'll have to try them with some delicious pancetta! And you can't really go wrong with 40 cloves of garlic.

    where did you get your cape from? I want it!

  • Michelle Chin July 28, 2011 at 10:07 am

    you really look like your mom!!! And it's nice to have a guy prepare a meal for you. I want a man who can do the same for me too! But best not to keep my expectations too high! hehe

  • Blithely Unaware July 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

    yum yum yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

    Should totally whip this baby up for Hamish on Sundee.. I'm keen to try Maggie Beer's roast chook recipe too, she uses verjuice (duh, her signature ingredient) we have a bottle and I have no other clue of how to use it!

    How awesome are brussell sprouts!! yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm so, so, good!! I'm a sucker for green vegetables.


  • Ali July 28, 2011 at 10:15 am

    40 cloves? holey moley! i love that brussel sprout recipe! yum!! thanks

  • Julia @ Boredom Abounds July 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Oh wow, 40 cloves of garlic in a roast chicken? That sounds amazing!

  • Lisa July 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I've been meaning to try that 40 cloves of garlic chicken recipe for ages as Faux Fushia always writes about it. Your review has tipped me over, I think I will try it this weekend.

    Your brusell sprouts remind me of a gorgeous side dish a friend made for Christmas in July – sauteed leek and bacon. Just those two and some olive oil, so simple but so delicious.

  • Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi July 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Keen to give this roast a try. A friend cooked a roast chicken for me the other day (she roasts up a garlic bulb for each person!) and I'd love to pay her back in kind. Thanks for the tater tips too!

  • Hannah July 28, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Brussels sprouts are even divine when you microwave them and eat them plain (guilty as charged :P). It's so, so, so very truly wonderful that you and Ben can ebb and flow in taking care of each other throughout your relationship. It's nice to know that kind of thing actually exists in the world 🙂

    P.S. Oh. My. Squeezy. Pants. USA SOON!

  • Heidi July 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    hollypop – naw thanks for the super super lovely comment! & it's my mum's cape. it' amazing.

    pippa – wise words, no you can't go wrong with 40 cloves of garlic 🙂 it's my mum's cape, not sure where she got it from! She has told me…

    Michelle – hehe fingers crossed for you! Yes, my mum & I look sooo similar 🙂

    Blithely Unaware – yes I am so keen to try Maggie Beer's recipe!

    Ali – you're welcome 🙂

    Julia – oooh it is!!

    Lisa – sounds delicious! I adore leek.

    Keely – a garlic bulb per person, you're friend is a genius.

    Hannah – oh oh what an awesome comment & YESSSS! I just finished work. woop, better go pack, I leave tomorrow morning!!

    Heidi xo

  • msihua July 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    You guys just looks so happy and great together 🙂

  • The InTolerant Chef July 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    What a nice way to spend the morning at the markets. I'm sure Ben didn't mind cooking for you, and I'm sure he appreciated you having thought it all out for him too.
    Have an amazing trip, and make sure you let us know all about it!

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    I love the chicken with 40 cloves too! 😀 And that's so sweet how he missed his sport to help you get ready!

  • Sherilyn @ Wholepromise July 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    How fabulous is the Convent Bakery? I would highly recommend their breadmaking courses. They are the best I have ever done. Loving the 40 cloves of garlic also.

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) July 30, 2011 at 12:59 am

    What a wonderful market! And I've never used 40 cloves or garlic for a single dish, but I imagine it to be awesome! 😀

  • Bartenders License Online January 18, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    This really looks delicious with lots of twists. I'm definitely craving for a plate of that right now. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. This is definitely a must do recipe this weekend since I got my Food Handler Certification.

  • Roast Dinner, our way. - Apples Under My Bed - A food diary. March 10, 2014 at 6:07 am

    […] roasting chicken and potatoes and other vegetables has changed over the years. I am a huge fan of Valli Little’s chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. And for an everyday roasted vegetable assembly, I’ll simply chop then toss them in the oven, […]