Holly Bell’s roast chicken – win her book!


 Loathe as a I am to gild the gorgeous lily of roast chicken, sometimes a recipe tempts me. It’s rare I want to tamper with the crispy skin of a just-roasted bird, or the succulent breast. But sometimes I can’t help myself. And when I was flicking through my new favourite recipe book by Recipes from a normal mum, this caught my eye. Roast chicken stuffed with olive tapenade. Two of my favourite things in the world, together. How could I resist?

I couldn’t. So I made it. And yum. We devoured it. The kids loved it. I served the leftover tapenade on the side, which I now regret as it all got eaten, and it would have tasted so good on my Monday lunch sandwiches.

This is not the only recipe I’ve made from the book. In fact the book is looking reassuringly full of food stains and turned over pages – always a good sign. I’ve made Stew’s delicious keema matar, which sounds so exotic, but was really very easy. And I’ve just spotted a cake recipe which calls for Malibu. I just happen to have a little bit of Malibu on hand (have you tried it recently? It really is disturbingly nice) and this could well end up being it’s final destination (as it will stop me drinking it neat). 

In fact, my ‘to make’ list gets longer and longer the more I flick through the book. It’s full of brilliant midweek suppers, quick kiddy teas as well as more lavish fare. And of course, there is baking. Because for those of you who don’t know Holly Bell (aka Normal Mum – although I think she is misnamed, her achievements are anything but normal), she was a finalist in the Great British Bake Off 2011. At Crumbs we are HUGE Holly fans (read about it here if you don’t believe us!) so we are very happy to be able to offer a reader a copy of her book. All you have to do is leave a comment here or on Facebook, or tweet us (@crumbsfood) and we’ll choose a winner at random by Sunday. I’m afraid you have to be in the UK for this competition. Look forward to hearing from you.

Claire x

Tapenade black breast roast chicken

Serves 6 with side dishes

1 large chicken

50ml olive oil

90g pitted black olives

28g pack basil leaves

2 tbsp capers

2 garlic cloves, crushed

finely grated zest and juice of one lemon

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Wash the chicken in cold water then pat dry with itchen roll. Place in a roasting tray breast side up.

Make the tapenade by blending together the oil, olives, basil, capers, garlic, lemon zest and juice and mustard in a food processor or using a stick blender. Whizz until well blended but leaving some texture – you need to see that there are little pieces of olives in it it. Keep the remains of the lemon and stuff it into the chicken cavity.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/gas mark 6. Use a pair of scissors to cut two holes in the skin at the top end of the bird. This is the narrow end at the top of the breasts. Using your fingers, gently ease the skin apart from the breast meat, creating pockets between the skin and the meat. Carefully spoon the tapenade into the pockets, massaging the stuffing down so that it covers the whole breast. This will ensure that the flavours permeate all of the meat from the breast downwards.

Calculate the birds cooking time; you  will need to roast it for 25 minutes per 500g plus an extra 25 minutes. Place in the oven and cook for the specified time. The bird is ready when the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced. Please don’t despair if the breast bursts in the oven; this happens very occasionally and whilst it looks a little horror film-esque, the flavour is in no way compromised, and oddly the stuffing seems to stay put. I serve this with ratatouille and a few rosemary roasted potatoes for good measure. 


  1. I’d love to win Holly’s cookbook. I have followed her since appearance on GBBO and use lots of her recipes. From a “normal” Mum who has kids who love to bake – please look at their blog

    • She’s great, isn’t she?

  2. would love to win Holly Bells cookbook!

  3. This sounds delicious! I would love to win the comp, or I’m going to wait a whole two months until Christmas 😉
    Love finding new blogs too, this will be going on my faves list, thank you! X

    • It is definitely worth the wait!!

  4. Sounds gorgeous! Please put my name in the draw for the book! Thanks Sinead

    • Will do!

  5. Mmn sounds delicious. I rarely stray from garlic, tarragon and lemon for my roast chooks. Always a crowd pleaser!

    • I always forget about tarragon, but love it. thanks for the reminder!

  6. Ooo yes please I too love that combination and the thought of it cold is ecstatic !

    • Especially in a sandwich at dreary work. Would definitely perk up your day!

  7. This book like fab, hope I win!

  8. I’m a big fan of Holly as well, I read her blog regularly! Fingers crossed

  9. I started following Holly after GBBC and she recommended your blog as a fab one to follow. And I absolutely love your blog as well #mummy crush. The book looks fab, would be lovely to own xxx

  10. Please enter me into the draw. I would love to win Holly Bells cookbook. Have followed her since GBBO x

  11. Another fan here! Please put my name in the hat!

  12. Cooked the chicken recipe today it was delicious all empty plates!please enter me in the draw


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