Begin by taking the chicken from the fridge about an hour before you intend to cook it (obviously if it's a hot day, only give it about 30 minutes), and remove the string that holds the legs of the bird together so that the joints are loose – this will take the chill off the bird and help it to cook in the shorter time.
Pre-heat the oven to 230°C, gas mark 8.
Then place the bird in the roasting tin and season well with salt and freshly milled black pepper and then pop it into the lower third of the oven. Now let it roast for 45 minutes without opening the oven door. Put a timer on to remind yourself. When this time is up, remove the bird from the oven and check that it’s cooked by gently tugging the leg to see if it has some give and inserting a skewer in the thickest part of the leg and if the juices run clear the chicken is cooked if not give it another 5 minutes.
Next use slice or wooden spatula to loosen the chicken underneath then insert a wooden spoon into the body cavity and using a cloth to protect your hands turn it up to empty all the juices into the roasting tin to make a sauce, then transfer the bird on to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes. Carve the chicken onto a warm serving platter, serve with Delia's Perfect Gravy .