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Chicken & apple pieChicken pie is an autumnal dish in our house and we usually try a different version every year. We particularly liked this one flavoured with cider and apples.

Wine Suggestion: A natural suggestion is to drink the cider you used to make the pie, and we finished the remainder of the bottle likewise. Our choice this evening was from Normandy, courtesy of our last trip to France. When matching a wine, we think the appley character of Chenin Blanc is what to go with. If your prefernces are French wine, then a Vouvray is a good choice; tonight we chose the Secateurs Chenin Blanc from Swartland in South Africa; a country that really excels with this grape.

Chicken, Leek & Cider Pie – serves 4

  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 250ml dry cider
  • 250ml full-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 3 medium leeks, sliced into rings
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 500g cooked chicken, torn into pieces
  • 50g extra mature cheddar, grated
  • 375g puff pastry
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten with 2tsp milk

Melt 40g of the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Continue to stir over a medium-low heat for a minute to make a roux. Remove from the heat and gradually add the cider, mixing carefully with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until all the cider has been added, then gradually add the milk. Season and return the pan to the heat and, stirring continuously, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, lemon juice and crème fraîche and taste for seasoning.

Melt the other 20g of butter in a frying pan and gently fry the leeks and apples for 5 minutes. Add 2tbsp of water, season, cover and cook over a gentle heat for 8-10 minutes or until tender. If there is a lot of juice you can increase the heat to reduce it.

Add the chicken and half the cheese to the sauce, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and heat the chicken through. Gently stir in the leeks and apples. Taste and add more mustard or lemon juice if needed.

Spoon the chicken mixture into a 25 x 20cm pie dish or a round dish 25cm across. The dish should have a capacity of 1.3 litres. Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and leave to cool completely.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a euro coin. Cut off a strip the same width as the lip of your dish. Wet the lip and press the strip onto it. Brush the strip with water and place the rest of the pastry on top. Press the edges to seal, then cut off the excess. Crimp the edges and decorate the top with the trimmings.

Make 3 small slits in the pastry close to the middle, then brush the top with the egg mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffed up. Serve immediately.

(Original recipe by Diana Henry in BBC Good Food)

 

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Albondigas

These spicy Spanish meatballs are delicious and just the sort of casual thing we feel like on a Friday night with some patatas bravas, a green salad, and a glass of wine.

Wine Suggestion: Our choice for this tonight was the Dominio de Tares Baltos, a Mencia from Bierzo in Spain. Velvety and dark fruited with a fresh finish and medium body.

Albondigas – Spanish Meatballs – serves 4-6

  • 600g lamb mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • small bunch of flatleaf parsley, finely chopped plus 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley to serve
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 50ml double cream
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp honey

To make the meatballs put all the ingredients, except the oil, into a large bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper and mix with your hands. Shape into 16 meatballs of about 50g each.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Put the meatballs onto an oiled baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes or until browned and cooked through, keep them warm.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan, then add the onion and fry gently for about 10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, spices, and bay leaves and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring, then add the tomatoes and honey. Pour in 200ml of water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes.

To finish the dish, put the meatballs into a large, deep frying pan, and cover with the sauce. Simmer gently for 5 minutes to heat the meatballs through and reduce the sauce a little. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure, Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

We love these crispy potato cubes with spicy sauce and this version roasts the potatoes in the oven rather than frying them in heaps of oil. Serve as a side dish or just on their own for a snack.

Wine Suggestion: We love a dry sherry with these, but can’t decide between whether we prefer Fino, Amontillado or Oloros – we recommend them all.

Patatas Bravas – serves 4

  • 800g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-4cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley, to serve

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp sugar or honey
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tsp hot paprika, plus extra to serve

Put the potatoes into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, add plenty of salt, and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until starting to soften. Drain gently so they don’t break up too much.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a roasting tin and heat in the oven. Add the drained potatoes, toss in the oil, and roast for 40-45 minutes.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and add the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic has started to soften but not coloured. Add the vinegar and sugar or honey and stir until dissolved. Stir in the sweet and hot paprikas.

Pour the sauce over the crispy potatoes and sprinkle with a little extra paprika and some finely chopped parsley.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure by Si King and Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

Lemon & Pistachio Chicken

Diana Henry is one of our favourite food writers and we can’t recommend her book of chicken recipes, A Bird in the Hand, highly enough. This lemon & pistachio chicken from that book is nothing short of delicious. She cooks this every year, and we think we may too.

Wine Suggestion: There’s a richness to this dish that demands an equal wine like Zind Humbrecht’s Pinot Gris Calcaire from Alsace that had an excellent balance of depth, fruit, freshness and texture.

Lemon & Pistachio Chicken – serves 6

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • 120g shelled pistachio nuts
  • 40g white breadcrumbs, plus extra if needed
  • finely grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • good pinch of caster sugar
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 6 large skin-on boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 300ml chicken stock

Put the shallots, garlic & half the thyme into a pan with 50g of the butter and a pinch of salt. Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, then tip into a large bowl.

Chop the pistachio nuts or blend in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the breadcrumbs and nuts to the shallot mixture. Add the lemon zest and juice, oil, sugar and parsley. Season well and stir to make a stiff, coarse paste. If the mixture is too dry add a little more oil and it too wet a few extra breadcrumbs.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

Put the point of a sharp knife into the thicker end of each chicken breast and cut a cavity that runs along the length. Season the chicken inside the pocket, then use a teaspoon to fill the hole with the stuffing. Squeeze the sides together to close the incision as much as possible. Season the chicken on the outside, drizzle with a little olive oil and put into a roasting tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked remove the chicken from the tin and skim off the fat from the juices. Put the roasting tin over a medium heat and splash in the white balsamic vinegar and stock. Bring to a rolling boil and reduced until slightly thickened. Add the rest of the butter and thyme and serve poured over the chicken.

(Original recipe from A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

Mallorcan Spiced Pork

Mallorcan Spiced Pork

This spiced roast pork by the Hairy Bikers is a really good value roast and feeds lots of people. We served with Tumbet (a Mediterranean vegetable bake) but it would also be great with any seasonal veg. If you have leftovers we recommend this easy pork chilli.

Wine Suggestion: Richer, oaked white wine to work with the richness of the pork. We opened a bit of a treat, the Tyler Santa Barbara County Chardonnay from California and it was beautiful.

Mallorcan Spiced Pork – serves 6 to 8

  • 2-2.5kg boned pork shoulder, rolled and skin scored (ask your butcher to do this)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 onions, thickly sliced

FOR THE RUB

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 4 cloves, ground
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • salt

FOR THE GRAVY

  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 100ml white wine or fino sherry

Preheat the oven to 230C/Fan 210C/Gas 8.

Mix all the ingredients for the rub together and season well with salt. Use your hands to cover the pork with the rub, pushing it into the scores. Wipe off any excess, then rub the pork with the tbsp of oil and pour over the lemon juice. Sprinkle the skin with salt.

Scatter the onion over the base of a roasting tin and put the pork on top. Add 250ml of water. Roast the pork for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4 and continue to roast for 25 minutes per 500g.

Remove the pork from the oven and leave to rest, lightly covered with foil, for at least 15 minutes. Strain off the liquid from the roasting tin and wait for it to settle, then skim off the fat.

To make the gravy, sprinkle 1 tbsp of flour over the roasting tin and stir well over a medium heat to scrape up any sticky bits from the tin. Add the wine or sherry and mix to form a paste. Add the skimmed pan juices and thin with some more water if you need (you can also do this in a pot).

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

Leftover Pork Chilli

Pork Chilli

We love cooking roasts on a Sunday and are often left with heaps of leftovers. This is an easy chilli which uses cooked pork – perfect for mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: We think that youthful, juicy and medium bodied reds are a good match here. For us it was a Joven Rioja made by Martinez Bujanda which is finely judged to celebrate the fruit without over-powering tannins. Chilled in the fridge for half an hour too.

Leftover Pork Chilli – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 500g cold roast pork, in 2cm cubes

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan with a lid. Fry the vegetables over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until softened.

Add the spices and oregano and cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and stock. Season.

Bring to the boil, then turn down to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add the pork, cover, and cook for another 30 minutes.

Serve with rice.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)

 

Spicy Thai Fishcakes with Dipping Sauce

These take literally minutes to make and they make a super tasty starter or snack.

Wine Suggestion: our favourite wine with dishes like this is dry Riesling, with the limey, citrus flavours of wines from the Clare Valley, like those made by Pikes, coming to mind first. They are zesty and thrilling in flavour with the bracing acidity working perfectly with the citrus fruit to make a wine that is both thirst-quenching and hunger inducing at the same time. Aperitivo!

Spicy Thai fishcakes with dipping sauce – serves 2

  • 200g raw peeled prawns
  • 2-3 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • a small bunch of coriander, stalks separated
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Put the prawns, curry paste and coriander stalks into a food processor and whizz to a paste. Form 4 to 6 flat cakes.

Heat a non-stick frying pan, heat a drizzle of oil, then fry the cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through.

Mix the vinegar, sugar and chilli together in a small bowl.

Serve the cakes with the coriander leaves and sauce for dipping.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, October 2012.)