There is no need to slave over a hot stove on a Sunday morning any more, in order to create your tasty Sunday lunch, when there are so many convenient, ready-to roast meat and vegetables available now, plus a huge selection of chilled desserts that you can serve straight away or warm through quickly.

If you use these, you’ll cut down the preparation time considerably and still end up with a really tasty meal, and no one will know the difference!

Crispy, or home roast potatoes and ready roasted sliced parsnips are available from all the major supermarkets. I can personally recommend Morrison and Tesco for their own brand products as well as Aunt Bessie’s roast potatoes as being particularly tasty. If you follow my guidelines, they’ll end up nice and crispy at dishing up time too!

For this recipe I would recommend using either Tesco’s chicken crown with stuffing and chipolatas, or one of their boneless chicken joints with stuffing.

Any boneless, turkey, pork or lamb joint with or without stuffing etc, will work just as well as long as it weighs between 1lb (450g, to a little over 1-and-a-half lb, 680g, to fit in with the preparation and cooking times.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t use chicken drumsticks or pork and lamb chops too, but please disregard any cooking instructions on the packaging.

Use other frozen veg to serve with the roast, by all means, but I think that fresh veg taste the best! Please see glossary of vegetable preparation techniques for more information.

Most major supermarkets sell chilled, ready-made gravy, and packs of frozen stuffing balls, plus chilled or frozen sausage and bacon rolls.

Here we go then, prepare in half the time, sit back and wait while it’s cooking, and then relax and enjoy!

Sue’s Twenty-first Century Sunday Lunch

This 21st Century Sunday Roast will serve three to four people according to how much you choose to prepare, and upon your appetite!

You will need:

  • 2 or 3 medium-sized onions, peeled, topped and tailed and cut into small chunks.
  • 1 chilled or defrosted, small to medium boneless, stuffed, joint, weighing no more than about 1 and a half lb, 680g. My recommendation is (Tesco’s chicken crown with stuffing and chipolatas 680g). or alternatively, pork or lamb chops or chicken drumsticks.
  • 1 bag of frozen, crispy, home roast potatoes.
  • 1 bag of frozen ready roasted parsnips.
  • 1 bag of frozen stuffing balls if you are using a joint that doesn’t already incorporate it.
  • a pack of ready-made sausage and bacon rolls.
  • a drum of chilled ready-made gravy.
  • 1 medium cauliflower, outer leaves and stalk removed and discarded. The head broken or cut into medium-sized chunks, dropped into salted water to clean them.
  • 3 or 4 medium sized carrots, peeled, topped and tailed, then dropped into the bowl with the cauliflower.
  • about 3-quarters of a pint of water to add to the roasting tin.
  • a little salt and pepper.
  • olive oil to coat the roast potatoes and parsnips.
  • a squirt of Jif or real lemon juice to dispel the smell of cauliflower while it’s cooking.
  1. Begin by pre-heating your oven to Gas Mark 5, 375 f, 190 c, 160 fan. this usually takes about 15 minutes for conventional gas and electric but it will not be necessary to pre-heat fan assisted ovens.
  2. Line a large, deep sided roasting tin with baking foil and after removing any packaging from your joint, put it in, spreading out the stuffing and sausages, adding extra stuffing balls if required, together with your prepared onions and about 3-quarters of a pint of warm water.
  3. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, then cover the top of the tin with foil. The onions will enhance the flavour of the joint and most of the liquid will be absorbed while it’s cooking, any juices that remain can be added to the gravy.
  4. Count out enough slices of frozen parsnip, (the larger more chunky pieces would be best, about three per person) and put them on a baking sheet with slightly raised sides, it will make lifting them in and out of the oven easier.
  5. Now count out 4 or 5 chunks of frozen roast potato per person and add them to the tray. Drizzle over enough olive oil to coat them, sprinkle over a little salt and ground black pepper, and cover the tray with foil.
  6. When the oven has reached its temperature, put the joint in just below the top, and the potato and parsnip tray in a little below it, and start timing. They need to cook for an hour and a quarter.
  7. Now, line a small tin with baking foil, add your sausage and bacon rolls to it in a single layer, cover the tin with Clingfilm or foil and leave in the fridge to keep cool.
  8. Transfer your prepared cauliflower into a large saucepan, add just enough water to partly cover it, plus a shake of salt, and a little lemon juice, add a tightly fitting lid and put the pan on top of the stove so that it’s ready to turn on later.
  9. Now you can either slice your carrots and put them into a microwaveable bowl with a few tablespoons of cold water and cover with a plate or pierced Clingfilm, or, alternatively, into a saucepan with just enough water to cover them, put on a tightly fitting lid, and transfer them to the stove along with the cauliflower ready to turn on later.

That’s all the preparation done now, why not go and have a cup of tea or take it easy until your hour and 15 minutes has gone by? At which time, turn your oven up to Gas Mark 8, 450 f, 230 c, 190 fan.

  1. Lift the tins from the oven, remove the foil from the tops of both of them, and swap the position of the tins round, the potato and parsnips will now be on the higher shelf with the joint, a little below it.
  2. Now uncover the sausage and bacon rolls and put the tin on the same shelf as the potatoes.

    It will not be necessary to alter the position of your tins if you are using a fan assisted oven, just remove the foil, and turn up the temperature.
  3. Set your timer for another half an hour, and while things continue cooking, put your carrots into the microwave and set it for 12 minutes on fairly high, not full power, and vary your cooking time accordingly. They need to be just soft, when tested with a fork. If you are using your hob to cook your vegetables, turn on the cauliflower and carrot saucepans, bring to the boil, turn down to simmer and cook gently for 15 to 20 minutes, until just soft.
  4. Remove the lid from the drum of gravy and tip it into a microwave jug, or a small saucepan.
  5. Put your dinner plates to warm, with one extra for serving the joint, and lay the table.
  6. After the half hour is up, check that the potatoes and parsnips are crispy by lifting out the tin, removing one oven glove and feeling the top of them, if they are firm and crispy to the touch, put them still in their tin, back into the oven and turn off the heat.
  7. Remove the tin containing the joint on to a clear work surface, spread out your plates, and using a fish slice, transfer the joint onto one of the warmed plates.
  8. With a large, sharp knife, slice off pieces of meat, and lift them on to each plate with your fish slice.
  9. Now add chunks of onion, sausages and stuffing to your plates, you will recognise each one through touch by their texture.
  10. If there are any juices left in the tin, they can now be added to the gravy, by standing both tin and gravy jug or saucepan on a worktop and either add it with a tablespoon or lift the tin carefully and pour it in from one corner.
  11. Take the carrots out of the microwave and heat the jug of gravy for 2 or 3 minutes on high power, until piping hot, or gently heat the gravy in the saucepan, stirring occasionally, for several minutes until it’s bubbling.
  12. While the gravy is cooking, stand a colander in the sink, strain your carrots into it and divide them between your plates, either with clean fingers or a serving spoon.
  13. Drain your cauliflower in the same way and add to your plates.
  14. Take the tin of potatoes and parsnips out of the oven and, use your fish slice and fingers to evenly distribute them, you should recognise the long parsnip pieces quite easily.
  15. Don’t forget to add the sausage and bacon rolls.
  16. Spoon or pour over your gravy, and that’s it, all finished, take it to the table, sit down and enjoy it.

Serve it with a nice bottle of wine, and for afters, why not try a ready-made Tesco’s finest strawberry cheesecake or pop a Tesco’s family apple pie in a moderately hot oven to heat through while you are eating the first course?

Let someone else do the washing up for you afterwards while you relax with cheese and biscuits, coffee, and a box of after dinner mints. What could be nicer?