The Sunday roast. The holy grail of grown-up cooking. Expensive, difficult to cook and only achievable by middle aged women named Doris and your Nan. Until now.The SPG has pulled out all the stops to put together the ultimate guide to the cheap and easy student roast dinner.

1) You are NOT your mum

Unless your mum is a broke student, you will not be able to make a roast just like her on your first go. Things can go wrong, roll with it, laugh about it, and learn from it. If worst comes to worst, order pizza.

2) Plan in advance

It’s hard to cook a roast on the spur of the moment. Organise this around a week in advance. It will give people time to clear their Sunday afternoons.

3) Get people to bring their own booze

Seriously, it’s just easier this way.

4) Get someone else to do the washing up.

Do you think Gordon Ramsey does his own scrubbing? Screw that. Wait ‘til people are full of dinner and enter into a food-based coma and then ask them to do it. They will hopefully be stupid enough to say yes.

Serves 6

Stuff you will need:

To eat with
6 dinner plates
6 knives
6 forks
6 glasses
Napkins if you’re feeling classy

To cook with

Working oven

Large roasting pan (basically a really deep baking tray).
Baking tray x2
Large saucepan
Potato peeler
Big sharp knife
Small sharp knife
Chopping board

Shopping list

We used a well known supermarket which has a recognisable orange logo for this list, but give or take a couple of pennies it should work out the same.

Carrots, Basics 1.5kg
Vegetable Oil 1L
Yorkshire Pudding, Basics x15 230g
White Potatoes Loose
Gravy, Basics 170g
Garden Peas, Basics 1.2kg
British Whole Chicken, Basics (approx. 2.3kg)

Total cost: £11.82

The night before:

Peel the potatoes and cut them up into roast potato sized chunks. Stick them in a big bowl and cover with cold water.

Peel the carrots and chop them into slices and stick into a separate bowl of cold water. You can try sticks, which look fancier but they are a hassle, so just stick with slices for now.

Call someone else and ask them to bring the pudding. Damn, I always forget about the pudding.

The big day:

This plan assumes people starting to eat at 1.30. If you stick to the plan, it should be OK. If not, then just improvise. It’ll be fine!

11.40 Stick the oven on 180 degrees Gas mark 6/400F/200C

11.45 Get the chicken; make sure it doesn’t have any guts or anything inside it. Stick a lemon up its bottom if you have it, and pop some bacon rashers on top if you’ve got any. If you want to, cut an onion into quarters and pop it in the roasting tin with it. Yes, I suppose the bacon, onion and lemon butt-plug should have been mentioned in the shopping list, but whatever. What are you going to do? Sue me? I’d like to see you try! (NOTE: Please don’t sue me).

11.50 Pop the chicken in the oven.

12.00 Put a generous amount of oil on one of the baking trays and stick in the oven to heat up. This will be for roasting the potatoes.

12.25 Carefully put the potatoes onto the baking tray with the oil on it. Make sure you do this on a steady surface. Brush/spoon the oil over them to make sure they get lovely and crispy all over.

12.55 Turn over the potatoes. Again, this is boiling oil. Unless you are researching the part of “burn victim 3” in Casualty, please be careful.

1.10 Take the chicken out of the oven and put it on a CLEAN chopping board. Stick a pan of water on the boil. The juices in the chicken should run clear when pierced with a knife. If not, cook for longer.

1.15 Stick the frozen peas in a microwaveable bowl. Use about a large handful per person along with a tablespoon of water. Stick the timer on for ten minutes. Pop the carrots in the pan of boiling water.

1.20 (This is the hard part) – Boil some water in the kettle and make the gravy according to the packet. Add to the water a little bit at a time to get rid of lumps. Stir with a whisk, or a fork will do. If you can be hassled, pour the meat juices into the gravy for a professional touch. Carve the chicken. Stick a fork in the breast part and then cut off slices. That’s all there is to it. While this is happening, encourage people to help themselves to stuff. Specifically to stick the Yorkshire pudding in the oven. Might as well use the whole packet. Just shove them on a baking tray and keep an eye on them.

(This is a REALLY busy five minutes) drain the carrots with the colander.

1.25 Ask other people to put all the stuff on the table. Enlist the help of various guests and housemates to make this happen. Get things out the oven. Generally flap around.

1.30 Eat! Try to sound modest when everyone says how great it all is.

Written by Jack Shannon.

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