Cooking From My Cook Books – Karen Martini’s Roast Chicken with Green Olives, Almonds and Oregano

Today I’m starting a new Wednesday series. Click on the yellow text for links to my past two series which were conserves and pickles and lots of recipes for different beverages. I’ve also changed the menu up above so that if you hover over ‘recipes’ you get a drop down list of all of my series as well. Hope you like :)

My new series will be Cooking From My Cook Books. Each week, I’ll tell you a little about one of my cook books and then I’ll cook a recipe from it for you.

The first cook book I’ll be showing you is Karen Martini’s Where the Heart Is and I will be cooking her roast chicken with green olives, almonds and oregano.

karen martini where the heart is

You can tell from the paper tabs in this cook book that it is well loved. In fact, this one even lived at mum’s house for a few months where she added her own tabs and even my brother has tabs in this one with his name on it so he has also had a go at it at one stage.

This was my first Karen Martini cook book and from memory I got it around the time she was just starting to pop up on TV shows like Better Homes and Gardens. There are some really beautiful recipes in it like honey dumpling doughnuts with rosewater and pistachio and a smoked trout, kipfler and avocado salad with horseradish mayo that I must make soon.

My initial plan for this series was to replicate the recipes from the cook books in their entirety but unsurprisingly I couldn’t even do it for my first recipe today. I’m a big believer in adapting a recipe to suit your preferred cooking methods and tools, the availability of groceries and produce and other changes to suit your tastes as well of course.

For example, Karen’s recipe asked for the chicken to be browned in a frying pan and then transferred to another dish for the oven cooking. I don’t have a dishwasher but even when I did, I didn’t want to mess up too many heavy pots and pans that are hard to wash. So I changed this slightly so that all the cooking is done in one heavy casserole dish. I also used a russet potatoes instead of the Desirees in Karen’s recipe because that’s what I had access to at my supermarket. Finally, I drastically reduced the chilli amount because while we love it, both Key and I are sensitive to chilli at the moment for unknown reasons.

The results were delicious and I was really glad that I held back some of the zesty and crunchy almond and olive mix to use as a garnish in my version. I’ll be making this one again.


Lemon, olives, almonds and oregano. You know this is going to be good.



I cut my potato into wedges with the skin on and the onion into thick rings. You could really cut it however you like, but bear in mind it will cook for a while so if you cut it too small it will start to completely fall apart.


blanching almonds

Karen’s recipe asked for blanched almonds but I wasn’t really sure what they were. I asked Mr. Google and apparently you just need to soak almonds quickly in boiling water to blanch them. I included instructions in my recipe below.



I kept picking at the olive and almond mix before it got mixed it with everything else. It’s absolutely delicious.


I chose to do both the sealing of the chicken and the final bake in the oven in my heavy based enamel casserole dish. If you love washing up (yeah right) feel free to brown the chicken in a frying pan and then do the roasting in a wide baking dish.


roast chicken with green olives

Don’t forget that final garnish with the reserved almond and olive mix. Yum!



Karen Martini’s Roast Chicken with Green Olives, Almonds and Oregano – Adapted From Where the Heart Is


Ingredients – Serves 3-4

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 2 chicken marylands with the skin on
  • 2 chicken drumsticks with the skin on
  • 2 russet potatoes, skin on, scrubbed clean and cut into wedges
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced into thick rings
  • ¾ cup of almonds
  • 1 long green chilli, sliced
  • ½ cup of pitted green olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • ⅓ cup of parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup of oregano leaves, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup of white wine



    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
    2. In a large, non-reactive bowl, combine the garlic, juice of the lemon and the mustard with a good pinch of sea salt flakes and freshly cracked pepper.
    3. Add the chicken pieces, potato and onions and toss altogether to evenly coat the chicken and vegetables. Set aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
    4. While the chicken is marinating, blanch the almonds by placing them in a small bowl and then barely covering them with boiling water.
    5. Let them sit for 1 minute and then drain well and roughly chop.
    6. In a medium bowl, combine the blanched and chopped almonds, the green chilli, olives, olive oil, herbs and lemon zest.
    7. Once well combined, remove 2 tbs of the mixture from the bowl and set aside to use for garnish later.
    8. Once the chicken has marinated for 10 minutes, heat a splash of olive oil in an ovenproof heavy based saucepan or an enamel casserole dish over a medium to low heat.
    9. Shake off any excess marinade from the chicken pieces and then cook them in the casserole dish just until they are browned all over the outside.
    10. Remove the chicken from the pan momentarily and then deglaze with the wine and ½ cup of water. Scuff up any caramelised bits on the bottom of the pan.
    11. Bring the liquid up to a simmer and then add the almond and olive mix into the casserole dish with the potatoes and onions and all of the remaining marinade.
    12. Gently mix the vegetables together in the casserole and then place the chicken back on top of the vegetables.
    13. Cover the casserole dish or saucepan with a lid and place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes.
    14. After 15 minutes, remove the lid and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender.
    15. Garnish each serve with the reserved almond and olive mix and spoon over the sauce from the casserole dish. Delicious served with pearl couscous.


roast chicken with green olives



Like The Wooden Spoons on Facebook

Subscribe by Mail

Follow on bloglovin


Hi! I’m Taryn. The Wooden Spoons is a food blog and collection of wooden spoons, recipes and stories. I’m a Canberra fan-girl with a passion for all things food. I love South East Asian food, fusion food done well and slow cooked anything. I don’t get quinoa, have a mild phobia of milk touching my skin and custard from a package freaks me out. Thanks for joining me on my cooking and food adventures.
  1. Mum Reply

    Woo Hoo! Karen is my favourite food writer (next to you of course). I have never had a fail. Her recipes sometimes look complicated but are usually very straightforward.

    I have cooked this and can confirm it was delicious !

Leave a Comment


captcha *