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Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
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Kit meal-lovers, take note: the Six By Nico Home-X offshoot have come up with the ultimate Sunday roast for two. As most of us have realised by now, kit meals can be a delicate operation. All too often they aren’t suitable for the average kitchen, and some of the more high-end ones are overly-rich and feel a bit odd eaten at home, in the same place you had supermarket own-brand beans on toast breakfast, rather than a candlelit restaurant with a suitably intoxicating atmosphere. However, this kit meal, titled Roast by The Loveable Rogue, is a pitch-perfect kit meal on every level.

As the name suggests, it’s a Sunday roast, designed for Easter Sunday. And no matter how good your kitchen skills are, you’d struggle to come up with something as effortlessly brilliant as this. All the ingredients are included, other than a glug of olive oil, and you don’t need any fancy, complicated utensils, just a few pans and baking trays. (Tell a lie, I did lack a six-holed tin for the Yorkshire pudding mix but as part of the Blue Peter generation, I fashioned one out of a roll of tinfoil that did the job, no problem.)

A light, comforting soup, with bright, sunny flavours, this has no right being as good as it is

The starter is a caramelised cauliflower and apple veloute. Simply heat in a pan then add the accompanying curry oil and cubes of fresh apple before serving. A light, comforting soup, with bright, sunny flavours, this has no right being as good as it is. It’s wonderfully smooth and creamy, set off with by tang of the curry oil and crunchy chunks of apple. An instant hit.

But then it’s the main course and I admit some trepidation. Far from a world-class cook, my usual Sunday dinners are fine but never anything to boast about so I was worried about messing this up. Thankfully, the instructions are bang-on – everything is scheduled down to the minute and it’s easy to set the cooking time with two clicks of a timer. The chicken is of a different class to the ones we’re used to, slender but plump in all the right places, with a robust, healthy skin – we’re talking about a chicken that lived a happy life.

There’s also a hefty side of cauliflower cheese; some ready-prepped roast potatoes, covered in beef fat, garlic and rosemary; some colourful, crunchy honey-glazed root vegetables; a vegetable écrase consisting of celeriac, carrot, chives & carrot crumb; and a whole lot of Yorkshire pudding mix. It’s all prepped in a way that requires a little more effort than simply sticking everything in the oven, while being well within the skill set of even the most inexperienced cook. This serves a dual purpose: you’re less likely to screw it all up, but you also feel more involved in the process, learning new things at every step. It ties in perfectly with the Six By Nico mindset, where it’s accessible to everyone, even in price terms, but without ever sacrificing on quality or patronising the diner.

Every single element is in its right place, cooked correctly and, in truth, better than any restaurant Sunday roast I can remember

The results? Perfect. A little rub of garlic butter over the chicken meat at the end made a world of difference, and I’ll be gleefully appropriating this technique from now on. The accompanying gravy is no less than marvellous, rich with multiple flavours, including hints of wine, herbs and meat, but also complementing the meat and not overpowering the meal. The Yorkshire puddings are touched with some kind of magic, thick and chewy with crunchy edges, just how they should be. Every single element is in its right place, cooked correctly and, in truth, better than any restaurant Sunday roast I can remember.

The final course, a pear and vanilla custard trifle with almond crumb, is a delightful end, bringing to mind the English countryside at its best. This isn’t a light, easy meal, mind. Don’t expect to go for a five-mile run after this. It’s a lazy, decadent meal and you’ll probably end up deep in blissful sleep minutes after the last mouthful. Kit meals have had their problems but the Roast by The Loveable Rogue is a sign that they truly have come of age.

This is available from the Six By Nico Home-X store, see link below, for £55. There’s also a beef option for £65.

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