Easter is just around the corner and you can almost smell the succulent spring chicken or lamb roasting in your oven.
Delicious food and lovely company make for memories that last - but somehow you always forget about the clean-up until you're faced with a towering pile of pots and pans. However much you wish you could just pop everything in the dishwasher and forget about it, crisping up your roast usually means that you're left with burnt-on food and the prospect of a dull afternoon scrubbing away.
Why does an Easter Sunday roast seem to leave us chained to the sink for longer than usual? It's not a figment of your imagination. There's a scientific reason why we pay a price for those delicious roast potatoes and gravy when it comes to cleaning up the baking trays. Luckily, there's a scientific solution too.
The science behind burnt-on food
It's a stroke of bad luck, but the recipe for a crisp, delicious roast and an hour spent scrubbing at the sink is the same: fat (in the form of butter or lard), protein (that tender spring lamb), sugars (like the starch in your potatoes) and, crucially, water. It's the moisture that keeps everything from sticking to the roasting tin.
At least until you fire up the oven, anyway. Creating golden, crunchy roasties and beautifully browned meat means evaporating the water. The heat creates chemical reactions in the remaining parts of the food that cause it to caramelise and turn sticky. And without the layer of water between it and the pan, it clings to microscopic crevices, making the clean-up a pain.
What can you do about it?
When your roasting tin emerges from the oven encrusted with burnt-on food, the natural reaction is to pre-rinse or soak it before it goes in the dishwasher. That seems to make sense - after all, if the food sticks because the water evaporated, won't adding more water help?
Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that. Adding water causes the burnt-on food to swell up, but not enough to get those tough-to-clean foods to slide right off. Some starchy foods can even become more sticky when you add water.
How Fairy can help
Thanks to years of research by Fairy, help is at hand. Its scientific formula is designed to accelerate hydration, working with your dishwasher's cleaning cycle. Then once the burnt-on food is soaked, active components come in to break down even the toughest marks, removing them from your dishes and leaving them spotless. Even better, it helps to keep dishes looking like new by maintaining their shine and preventing limescale build-up.
So now you can put away sparkling dishes in record time and head out to join the family Easter Egg hunt. (Who said the grown-ups can't get involved?)
Recipe: oven-baked cauliflower and broccoli cheese rice
Need some side-dish inspiration for your Easter roast? Try this yummy cauliflower and broccoli cheese rice recipe - it'll go perfectly with your roast lamb or chicken. And there's no need to worry about cheese and rice sticking to the dish, because Fairy Platinum will handle the tough food cleaning effortlessly.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Difficulty: 1 (easy)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
350g large cauliflower florets
250g large broccoli florets
250g cooked white rice
500g readymade cheese sauce
2 medium eggs, beaten
25g wholegrain mustard
100g grated mature Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan oven, 350F, gas 4). Melt the butter in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for 10 minutes to soften. Stir in the rice and spoon into the bottom of a 1½ litre shallow baking dish.
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the cauliflower and broccoli, bring back to the boil and cook lightly for 2 minutes. Drain well and arrange over the rice.
Mix the sauce, eggs and mustard together. Season to taste and pour over the vegetables. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
Put the dish on a baking tray and bake for 50 minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve immediately, straight from the dish.