If somebody tells me they can’t cook, I think it is a big load of codswallop (is that even a word?).  How much skill do you need to whack a few ingredients on a tray and pop it in the oven?  None.  If you are a person that lacks confidence in the kitchen, then a tray bake is the perfect place to start.  The oven does the cooking while you sit back with a glass of wine and watch the process.  However the oven won’t be hailed as the masterchef……you will!


Prep time:  15  Minutes              Cooking time:  35  Minutes                $$  Medium budget


Serves 4-6


Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

8 chicken thigh cutlets, skin on and bone in

1/2 a small Japanese pumpkin, skin on and cut into 8 wedges

2 tsp of dried oregano

1 tsp of dried chilli flakes

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

8 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves removed and stalks discarded

8 small truss tomatoes, cut the truss into pairs

1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts

4 handfuls of baby rocket

1/4 cup of good quality Balsamic vinegar (I use Mazetti 4 leaf brand, it is really good)

100gm of feta, crumbled

Sea salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°C.


Line a large baking tray (I use the grill tray out of the oven) with baking paper.  Place the chicken on the tray, skin side up and dot the pumpkin around it.  Drizzle over a decent lug of olive oil and then season with salt, pepper, chilli flakes, dried oregano, fresh oregano and lemon zest, trying to get the majority on the chicken and pumpkin and less on the actual baking paper.  Squeeze over the lemon juice and drizzle with half of the balsamic vinegar before placing in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.


At the 20 minute mark, place the tomatoes on the baking tray and drizzle with a little more oil.  Don’t be too precious about where they go, this is the equivalent of Jackson Pollock cooking.  Pop the tray back in the oven for a further 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are starting to blister.


While the chicken is in the oven, place the rocket in a bowl and drizzle with a little oil, the remaining balsamic and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine and set aside.


To serve, divide the rocket between four serving plates and top with the chicken, pumpkin and tomatoes.  Scrape up any leftover bits on the tray and place it on top.  Sprinkle over the pine nuts and fetta and drizzle over any remaining dressing from the rocket.


Leftover oregano?  You might want to cook this……