The Recipe That Saved Christmas

17 December 2019
Culture, Kitchen, Recipe, Festive, Christmas recipe, Chefs Nick Avis, Chef Scott Price, Christmas lunch, Marks & Spencer
Image: Marks & Spencer
Legendary Dubai chefs Nick Avis and Scott Price tell you how to cook the perfect roast

Look, we get it, Christmas is a time for eating, and eating well. But while we hold no issue with those who decide to eat out on Christmas day (we do really), those cooking at home just need to get one thing right. The main event... the roast. Thankfully, two of Dubai’s most renowned chefs have your back here, with a bit of help from a legendary food hall.

Consider this a rescue mission for your Christmas lunch, courtesy of Nick Alvis and Scott Price, owners of Folly by Nick & Scott and Verve Bar & Brasserie, ably assisted by a collaboration with Marks & Spencer and the finest its food hall has to offer. But while their in-house menu is clearly the business, we’re talking home cooked here, so this is how to cook the bird yourself at home. Probably saving Christmas in the process.

Good luck.

Ingredients for roasted chicken

□     1 whole fresh British chicken (+/- 1.5kg)

□     Sunflower oil

□     Salt

□     Black pepper (in a mill/grinder)

Ingredients for roasting trivet

□     ½ bunch of fresh thyme

□     2 clementine (peeled and cut into chunks)

□     1 onion cut into same size pieces as clementines

Ingredients for brine solution

□     3 litres water

□     75g sea salt

□     2 clementine (peeled and cut into chunks)

□     ½ bunch of fresh thyme

□     Frozen whole cranberries

□     3 sticks of cinnamon

□     12 cloves of garlic 

□     10 black peppercorns

□     10 coriander seeds

□     5-star anise

□     3 bay leaf


  1. Preheat oven to 220 C
  2. Prepare the brine by warming the water, whisking in the salt, and bringing it to boil with all the ingredients. Set it aside and let it infuse for 60 minutes
  3. Place the whole chicken in the brine for 12 hours and place in the fridge
  4. Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the rest
  5. Prepare the trivet in a thick roasting tray, sprinkle it with thyme sprigs, and place the chicken on top of it
  6. Lightly drizzle sunflower oil over the chicken and rub it to make sure it is fully covered, then season evenly with salt and pepper
  7. Place in the oven and cook for 50 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 160 C and cook for another 20 minutes
  8. Remove from the oven and with a skewer, pierce through the thigh joint. When the juices run clear, it’s cooked. Set aside for at least 30 minutes before serving