Lemon & Red Onion Chicken – the recipe

I’m not a foodie, I just love experimenting with and photographing flavour, but seeing that you asked and this one’s made it into my recipe book, here goes:

Some notes:

  • the original recipe uses oranges – I had lemons, you get to choose what you want to use (Oranges or Lemons – sounds like a song.)
  • The original was for an oven bake – we went for the Weber Braai, no Weber braai? Buy one!!! Or pop it in the oven at 180 degrees for 45 min – 1 hour, uncovered and surrounded by chopped potatoes and carrots and onion and rosemary, covered in olive oil and… I think you have the idea.


The Weber version: 


1 x wonderful husband, who prepares and lights 2 piles of coal on either side of a drip tray, puts grid back

      over the top, and waits for the chicken. (Indirect cooking method)

1 x large happy chicken (we’ve made the mistake of explaining Free Range chicken to our daughters –

                                                                                                             Mom, was this a happy chicken?)

75g butter

5ml paprika and some extra

couple of cloves of garlic, chopped as fine as your patience will allow

salt & pepper

Red Onion, peeled

1 lemon

some sprigs of fresh rosemary

olive oil


  • Lightly grate the rind of the lemon. Once you have a couple of teaspoons of zest, collect it in a pretty little blue bowl (or similar).
  • Add in the soft butter, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic. Mix into a paste.
  • Ok, this is the gross part but it IS worth it! Slice some slits into the chicken skin, (randomly all over) and with a teaspoon lift the skin off the meat. Squeeze in lots of paste through these slits, (I use the teaspoon) so that your butter paste sits between the skin and the meat. That’s what makes it so yummy!
  • Add some tiny sprigs of rosemary into these slits.
  • Put whatever garlic, rosemary and paste that you have left into the cavity of your chicken.
  • Add your red onion and your lemon into the same cavity. I cut the lemon into 2 halves.
  • Pour some olive oil over your chicken and coat it with lots of extra salt, pepper and paprika to make that skin go crispy!
  • The chick’s ready! Put her onto the grid, put the lid on and do not even steal a peak for 1 hour!!!
  • Now sit back and pour yourself a glass of wine. Once those mouthwatering smells come out, quickly set the table with your salads or roast veggies and wallah!





On Sunday, I was preparing a chicken to roast on the braai (braai = barbeque =wir wollten grillen), when I saw such wonderful colours and flavours on my chopping board. I was slicing through a beautiful purple and white striped red onion and next to it lay the bright yellow lemon, with garlic cloves, salt and pepper. I found myself at the door about to race off to fetch my camera, when I had to say NO! Stop! It’s Sunday. AND if you fetch your camera, nobody will get fed.

I’m back on the PAUSE – thing. There’s just a time to switch off. We can’t be creative unless we occasionally stop to breathe.

We suddenly have a whole lot more technology at home and it’s my main means of communication these days, so I’m finding it more and more difficult to do. But there comes a time when you have to switch off the iPads, the iPhones, laptops, TV and even the camera. Not everything needs to be recorded. Not everyone needs to know what you’re doing. Even if it is a miracle that you CAN share what life is like here today, with someone on the opposite side of the globe. Sometimes some of it needs to be your little secret.

Some of it just needs to be savoured and enjoyed. There’s also a time when you have to stop cleaning and tidying, even put the book down! Come back to the present moment and just sit together and be. Why is that so hard to do?

So I finished preparing the food. I went outside. I sat on the bench. I drank a glass of wine with my husband. I admired the tulips I’ve planted and we watched our girls giggling on the trampoline.

And it was good.


And the chicken was good too! (Pop me an email if you’d like me to send you the make-shift recipe.)

I took these images a couple of days later, when it was work time.

I’ll find the balance again, somehow. And you?