It will come as no surprise to hear that the subjects of cooking, crafting and table decor occupy much of my thoughts, my internet surfing and my correspondence, and I love how one creative culinary concept can quickly spark off another.
Like attracts like and so it's only to be expected that I seek out the company of fellow foodies who take as much pleasure as I do in sharing recipe finds, bouncing food and table styling ideas about, or debating the merits of one dish or ingredient over another.
Living in the digital age has meant that creative input is never more than a mouse-click away, and not a day passes that I am not in contact with one or more members of my panel of food-focused friends .
This panel comprises of my ex-'Cupcake Academy' student and now fellow cooking teacher Debbie, frustrated marketing man and soon-to-be cooking teacher Gary, ever-helpful, informed friend and ex-student Melanie and, more recently, famed deli owner and caterer Julie who are all as passionate about food as I am.
It was in discussion with my most active email friend Debbie that I first heard of 'Beer Butt Chicken' and she was amazed that I had never heard of this simple cooking method.
Gary was equally astounded at this gap in my culinary repertoire - he tells me this is his favorite party trick and a guaranteed topic of lively, dinner table conversation - and it's with their combined input that I am able to share this much talked about recipe with you today.
No doubt your mind is boggling as mine did at the name alone so let me kindly end the suspense and pass on this not-so-secret cooking method without delay.
OPEN YOUR MIND BEER BUTT CHICKEN
1 large, whole chicken, cleaned
1 can of beer
1: Rub the inside and outside of the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper and chicken spice.
2: Pour half the beer out of the can and discard and then push the fresh herbs and lemon wedges into the can.
3: Push the entire beer can UP the chicken as far as it can go - you'll need to use your imagination here - and place can with chicken perched on top in the middle of a kettle grill with the coals built AROUND the grill and not in the middle where it could burn the chicken.
4: Cook over medium to hot coals for 1 hour 20 minutes and then remove and allow to stand for a few minutes before lifting off can.
5: Chicken will be extremely moist and succulent and infused with the flavor of the fresh herbs and lemon.
COOK'S NOTES: Fruit juice can replace the beer and chicken may be cooked in the oven instead of a kettle grill if necessary. Be sure to write and tell me your guests' responses!