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Posts Tagged ‘Cream’

This is all you need with some fresh bread and butter. The simple things are the best.

Wine Suggestion: For a wine to work with this dish you need to balance a crisp, acidity to cut through the cream, body to match the depth of flavour and a minerally-savouriness to compliment the briny backbone of flavour from the mussels. If you look to a good Chablis producer or a top Muscadet then you’ll find your solution. We chose Jérémie Huchet’s lieu dit Les Montys le Parc from a very special vineyard in Muscadet that has that extra depth to match this rich, full flavoured dish.

Mussel, bacon and leek soup – serves 2

  • 750g mussels
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a small handful of parsley, leaves picked and chopped and stalks reserved
  • a knob of butter
  • 75g streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 250ml fish stock (or veg stock)
  • 75ml double cream
  • a small handful of chives, finely snipped

Wash the mussels in cold water and remove any beards. Give any open mussels a hard tap and discard them if they don’t close.

Put 75ml of water into a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Add the parsley stalks and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Add the mussels, clamp on the lid, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Give the pan a good shake now and and then as they cook.

Tip the mussels into a colandar set over a bowl to catch all of the cooking juices, you will need the these later so don’t throw them away.

Wipe out the pan and return to the heat. Add a knob of butter, then gently fry the bacon until begining to crisp. Add the coriander seeds, garlic, and leek and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring now and then, until the leeks are nice and soft.

Add the mussel cooking liquid (watch out for the gritty bit at the bottom which you can discard) and the stock, then simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pick the meat out of the mussels but leave about 12 in their shells to garnish.

Add the cream to the soup and bring back to a simmer. Add the mussel meat, chives and parsley and check the seasoning. Serve in warm bowls, garnished with the mussels in their shells and with bread and butter on the side.

(Original recipe from Outside by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2022)

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Jules’ Mum makes this all the time and serves it with home-made chips. We almost always cook it when we’re camping in France as it all cooks in the one pan and you can easily find all the ingredients. This one is different from our usual with the addition of paprika and dill, it’s very nice served with some plain white rice.

Wine Suggestion: We think this works best with a rich, full-bodied red. For us a treat from the ancient wine world, though a relatively young winery run by some young, passionate Syrians, the Bargylus, Grand Vin de Syrie 2014. Something to be celebrated due to the sheer class of this Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend, and mourned due to all the problems now in this part of the world. Superbly integrated tannins and layered fruit and spice; almost hedonistic in it’s velvetiness. You can taste some heat, but in a very good way with no evidence of alcohol. Mature but maintaining it’s freshness. We just wish this was more easily available for everyone to try.

Beef stroganoff – serves 4

  • 30g butter
  • 600g beef rump steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 400g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 300g double cream
  • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped dill, plus a bit extra to garnish

Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Heat 15g of butter in a large frying pan over a high heat and lightly brown the meat. Do this in batches and don’t overcrowd the pan, remove each batch to a plate and set aside.

Heat another 15g of butter in the same pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook over a gentle heat for about 4 minutes, or until softened. Add the paprika, mushrooms and tomato purée and cook for another few minutes, stirring.

Return the meat to the pan with any juices from the plate. Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 5-7 minute or until the meat is tender. Add the cream and dill and cook, stirring constantly, until heated through. We turn the heat off the second the sauce begins to simmer, don’t take it any further in case the cream splits. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with steamed rice. Garnish with a little more chopped dill.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein at Home, BBC Books, 2021.)

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Pork ribeyes are a bit of revelation for us but they’re excellent on the barbecue and also good value. You cook them low and slow first, then a fast sear at the end. This will give you tender meat with a good browned crust on the outside. You will need a meat thermometer – they’re not expensive and an essential piece of equipment for cooking outside. You also want to start this the day ahead so you can season the meat the whole way through.

Wine Suggestion: We were treated to a gem from the cellar of our friends David & Joyce. The Domaine Tempier Bandol 2006 was at it’s absolute peak. Fresh as a daisy with velvety layers of plums and sloes and a deep, earthy bass note with touches of leather, tobacco and gentle spices. The forceful tannins from the Mourvèdre tamed by time into a silky texture allowing the fruit to emerge.

Barbecued pork ribeye steaks with mushrooms & tarragon sauce – serves 4 generously

  • 4 pork ribeye steaks, about 300g each
  • 1 tbsp flaked sea salt
  • 10g dried mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 175ml white wine
  • 300ml double cream
  • 20g fresh tarragon leaves, picked and chopped

Sprinkle the pork steaks all over with the salt and place on a rack over a tray. Leave uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours (or for as long as you’ve got).

When ready to cook you need to set up the barbecue for both direct and indirect heating. This means piling up the charcoal on just one side. You can then put the meat on the opposite side (without charcoal underneath) and cover with the lid to cook indirect – this will cook the meat slowly. When you want to finish over a high heat, you transfer the meat to the other side.

Put the dried mushrooms into a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to just cover. Leave to soak until soft, then finely chop the mushrooms and return to the soaking liquid. Set aside.

Put the pork steaks on the opposite side to the charcoal and allow them to cook gently for 30-40 minutes. You want the internal temperature to reach 50C.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-based frying pan and add the fresh mushrooms. Fry until soft, then add the garlic and fry for a few minutes. Add the wine and the dried mushrooms along with their soaking liquid. Allow to bubble until the liquid is almost completely reduced, then add the cream, tarragon and seasoning. Allow to heat through, then cover with a lid and set aside.

Remove the steaks to a plate and, if you need to, add a bit more charcoal to the barbecue to get it super hot again. Then sear the steaks over a really high heat, with the lid off, turning them every 30 seconds until really well browned. Keep cooking like this on the internal temperature ahas reached 63C for medium or 71C for well done.

Warm the sauce a little if you need, then serve the steaks with the sauce poured over. Potatoes and green veg are good on the side.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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We made this on a rainy Sunday last year in an effort to entertain Orlaith for a while. It’s light and buttery, and easy enough for little helpers. You will need 2 x 20 cm round sandwich tins.

Orlaith’s Strawberry Cake

  • 225g butter, at room temperature
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • icing sugar, to dust

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 100ml double cream
  • 175g strawberries, sliced

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

Line two 20cm round sandwich tins with baking parchment.

Mix the butter and sugar with an electric whisk or stand mixer until light and creamy.

Whisk in the eggs a little at a time, then sift in the flour and gently fold it in using a metal spoon.

Divide the cake mixture between the prepeared tins and bake for 25 minutes.

Cool briefly in the tins then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Whisk the cream, then spread it over the flat side of the first cake and cover with the sliced strawberries. Place the other cake on top with the round side up. Dust with icing sugar.

(Original recipe from the Complete Cookbook for Children, edited by Claire Lloyd, DK – Penguin Random House, 2017.)

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A lovely fiskesuppe with delicate flavours and delicious chunks of seafood. You can use whatever mix of fish and shellfish you like, clams would be nice. Serve with lots of steamed potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: Fish, cream, brandy … demands a richer white with a touch of oak and Quinta Soalheiro’s Alvarinho Reserva fitted the bill. Textured and buttery, but at the same time bone dry and vibrantly fresh and full of citrus fruit and salty crisp peaches. A wine so fresh and pure, and yet round and embracing.

Norwegian Fish Chowder – serves 4

  • 100g cooked shell-on prawns
  • 1 litre fish stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, plus a handful of parsley leaves, chopped, to serve
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 2 carrots, roughly diced
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly diced
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 50ml brandy
  • 300ml double cream
  • 100g skinless salmon fillet, cubed into 2cm pieces
  • 150g haddock fillet, cubed into 2cm pieces
  • 20 mussels, cleaned
  • steamed potatoes (to serve)

Shell the prawns and put the shells in a large saucepan with the fish stock, bay leaf, parsley, peppercorns, carrot, celery and leek. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes. Pour in the wine and brandy and boil for another 5 minutes, then strain into a clean pan.

Add the double cream and bring back to a simmer. Add the salmon, haddock and mussels and cook for 3-4 minutes, adding the cooked prawns for just a minute to warm through at the end. Season and scatter over the chopped parsley. Serve in warm bowls and add potatoes.

(Original recipe by Signe Johansen in Olive Magazine, January 2014.)

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Adapted from Claudia Roden’s Tagliolini with lemons, but as we couldn’t find this pasta chose another thin version with great success. Perfect for lunch or in small portions for a starter.

Wine Suggestion: Paired with Sartarelli’s Sparkling Verdicchio which captured the sunshine and joy of the Adriatic coast. Full of pure fruit flavours, hints of almond and lemon and a real balance between a crisp, fresh acidity and fruit.

Capellini with lemon – serves 2 to 4

  • 200g capellini (or tagliolini or whatever long and very thin pasta you can find)
  • 1 lemon, grate the zest and juice
  • 6 tbsp double cream
  • grated Parmesan or Grana Padano, to serve

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling water according to the timings on the pack.

Mix the lemon zest and juice with the cream in a serving bowl and season with salt.

Add the cooked and drained pasta into the serving bowl and mix with the sauce.

Serve with lots of black pepper and cheese.

(Original recipe from Med: A Cookbook by Claudia Roden, 2021)

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Creamy Pork & Pears

As I type I realise that we’re cooking with fruit more than we usually do. Perhaps Autumn is always like this. This super simple dish is good for mid-week. Serve with greens and potatoes or just some crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: With the cider and pears this demands a full-flavoured Chenin Blanc, like a good Vouvray or Saumur Blanc where the richer elements complement each other, and then the backbone of acidity elevates it to reveal the fruit flavours even more. One of our favourites, the Chateau du Hureau Saumur Blanc Argile; especially if you can find one with a couple years on it.

Creamy Pork & Pears – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 400g pork fillet, cut into strips
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a handful of sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml apple cider
  • 2 medium pears, cored and each cut into 8 slices
  • 100ml double cream

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan, for which you have a lid, over a high heat.

Season the pork with salt and pepper, then fry in batches for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add another tbsp of oil and the onions. Cook for 8 minutes, then add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the sage and flour, stir and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat again, then pour in the cider and bubble for 4 minutes. Return the pork and any juices to the pan, seaon, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the pear slices and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir through the cream and bring to a bubble, then season again and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Yummy sauce for using up leftover pesto and perfect for mid-week.

Green Spaghetti Sauce – serrves 4

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 140g frozen peas
  • a small bunch of basil, leaves picked
  • 3 tbsp green pesto
  • 150ml single cream
  • 50g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

Cook the spaghetti in lots of salty water for the time stated on the packet.

Meanwhile, put the spinach and peas in a bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Leave for 3 minutes, or until the peas are tender, then drain well.

Tip the peas and spinach into a food processor, then add the basil, pesto, cream and Parmesan. Whizz to make a smooth sauce.

Drain the pasta, but reserve a mugful of the cooking water, then return to the pan. Pour over the green sauce and place over a low heat to cook for a few minutes, you want the sauce to cling to the spaghetti. Add a little pasta water if it looks dry, season to taste and serve with extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This really is just the most delicious treat; the perfect beginning of a meal for 2. You will need bread!

Wine Suggestion: an excellent match for a well made Chardonnay with deftly handled oak. Without spending huge amounts Rustenberg’s Stellenbosch Chardonnay is a go to wine for us. With wild ferment in barrels this is complex, nutty, rich and smooth. Power and restraint in equal proportions.

Scallops with green peppercorns and garlic – serves 2

  • 6 scallops, you can remove the corals if you like but we recommend eating them
  • a knob of butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp green peppercorns (you buy them in jars with brine)
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2-3 tbsp double cream

Heat the grill as high as it will go.

Put the scallops onto a small tray or dish that can go under the grill. We used a small oven-proof frying pan.

Dot the butter over and around the scallops, along with the garlic, peppercorns and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Put the dish under the hot grill, fairly close to the element. Grill for 2-3 minutes, then flip over, add the cream, give the tray a shake, then return to the grill for another 2 minutes or untl the scallops are cooked and the sauce bubbling.

Eat with lots of good bread to mop up the sauce.

(Original recipe from Gather by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2017.)

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Mussels are a Friday night staple in our house, they’re such good value and sustainable too. We find a creamy, garlicky sauce hard to resist. You will need some fries or crusty bread to go alongside.

Wine Suggestion: It’s a while since we had Muscadet but mussels cried out for some, so Domaine de la Chauviniere’s signature Muscadet sür lie Sèvre et Maine was duly opened and thoroughly enjoyed. This wine is so reliable, plus not too expensive so you won’t mind using some in the dish too much.

Moules à la Crème – serves 4

  • 20g butter
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, very finely chopped
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1kg mussels, scrubbed
  • 350ml white wine
  • 75ml double cream
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • a large handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan, then add the garlic, shallots, thyme and bay leaf and cook gently for 5-8 minutes or until softened and starting to brown.

Add the mussels and wine, then cover and cook for a couple of minutes or until the mussels have opened. Strain the mussels over a bowl to catch the cooking liquid.

Return the liquid and bay leaf to the pan, bring to the boil and reduce by half. Add the cream, lemon and plenty of black pepper, then return the mussels and shallots to the pan and add the parsley. Put the lid back on and bring up to the boil for another minute. Serve in warm bowls with fries or crusty bread.

(Original recipe from Restore by Gizzi Erskine, HQ, 2020.)

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We made a vat of this last night, which is fine because it is really nice. Still, we’re looking forward to sharing dishes with other people again. Our preferred pumpkin is a Crown Prince but you can use butternut squash if that is what’s available. We served this with a cabbage dish and some roast potatoes but it would be super with sausages or chicken or any roast really.

Pumpkin, mustard & Gruyère gratin – serves 4 to 6

  • a small knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and squashed
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 300ml pot double cream
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • pumpkin, about 1kg prepared weight
  • 100g Gruyère, grated

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add the onions and cook gently for 10-15 minutes or until soft and golden.

Meanwhile, put the garlic and half the sage into a saucepan, add the cream and milk and heat gently for 5 minutes but don’t let it boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then throw away the sage and garlic, stir in the mustard and add plenty of seasoning.

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Layer the pumpkin slices, onions, most of the cheese and the cream in a very large baking dish or roasting tray, finishing with a layer of cream and some cheese scattered on top. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Uncover and increase the heat to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cook for another 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and completely tender. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Barbecued Pork Chops with Mustardy Greens

The veg really make this dish and all in season right now. Blanch all the vegetables individually before you get going with everything else and cook them until just done, then drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop them cooking further.

Wine Suggestion: chosen for no other reason than it was in the fridge –  a bottle of Olim Bauda Gavi di Gavi which we found a little fuller than other Gavi we’ve had recently and a good match. A fortuitous choice.

Barbecued pork chops with mustardy greens – serves 2

  • a knob of butter
  • a small onion, sliced
  • 75ml white wine
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 2 thick-cut pork chops
  • 75g mangetout, blanched
  • 75g green beans, blanched
  • a handful of peas, blanched

When you get home from the butchers, take the pork chops out of their wrapping and season all over with fine sea salt (we use kosher salt). Leave in the fridge but take them out a good half hour or more before you want to cook them.

Heat the knob of butter in a frying pan, then cook the onion until soft. Add the wine and simmer for a minute before adding the mustard and cream. Simmer for another few minutes.

Heat a barbecue to very hot. Rub the chops with oil and season generously. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Turn on the side and sear the fat also. Rest for a few minutes while you finish the veg.

Reheat the sauce and stir in the blanched vegetables until piping hot. Season, then spoon the veg onto warm plates and top with a chop.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, July 2013)

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Steak Diane

Remember this!?!?

We’re not sure if we’ve definitely had it before but remember it on every restaurant menu when we were kids and it has ingredients we’d choose. However, we were probably opting for the Chicken Maryland or something just as classy! It tastes reminiscent of those old fashioned dishes you still get in French restaurants. Bring it back we say – it’s absolutely delicious and you get to flambé, which is always very exciting! We served this with a rib-eye steak cooked rare on the barbecue, but it’s up to you for cut and doneness. Some watercress or other greens work for a side too.

Wine Suggestion: It was a special occasion for us so we raided the our dwindling cellar and chose a classic Bordeaux, the Chateau Haut Bages Averous 2005. Even if this isn’t to hand we’d suggest a Cabernet dominant blend and you’ll be happy.

Sauce Diane – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 150g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 120ml brandy
  • 150ml white wine
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 150ml cream
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • a good pinch of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Heat a large sauté pan and heat the olive oil and the butter until foaming. Add the shallot and mushroom and cook for a few minutes to soften.

Pour over the brandy, then light the pan with a match and allow the flames to subside. Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by half.

Stir in the stock, cream, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and some seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until thickened to a sauce consistency. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice.

(Original recipe from Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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Tagliatelle with Prawns and a Creamy Brandy Sauce

We bought a pasta machine when we were on honeymoon in Italy … quite a while ago now. We had a delicious lunch in a tiny Tuscan village, probably with a bit more wine than we needed, and bought a pasta machine from the window of a little shop that sold hardware, cookware and everything else. We have used it only a few times since then, but we took it out of the box this evening and made fresh pasta, and very satisfying it was too. So, if you’ve got a pasta machine we suggest you dust it off and give this a go. We haven’t given the recipe and instructions for making the tagliatelle – widely available online or in any Italian cookbook you might have on your shelves; though roughly 1 egg for 100g flour plus a little salt and olive oil.

Wine Suggestion: Tonight a bottle from our holidays last year in the Loire, the Charles Joguet Chinon Rosé. Delightfully dry, mid-weight and with light flavours of red fruits; a good match and a good memory of summer holidays in a tent in France.

Tagliatelle with prawns and a creamy brandy sauce (Tagliatelle con Gamberi e Brandy) – serves 4

  • 30g salted butter
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 60g walnuts, chopped
  • 300g uncooked prawns, peeled
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 60ml brandy
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 400g fresh egg tagliatelle (look it up online, it’s easy)
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley

Melt the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a gentle heat. Add the shallots and walnuts and cook gently for 2 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium and add the prawns and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds.

Add the brandy and cook for a minute to allow the alcohol to evaporate, then add the cream and balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a loads of very salty water until al dente – a minute or two. Drain and tip back into the pasta pan.

Pour in the creamy sauce, add the parsley, and toss gently for 30 seconds to combine.

(Original recipe from Gino’s Pasta by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2010)

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Pork, bacon & mushroom stew

A rich and delicious dish from Time by Gill Meller. This is the second outing for this recipe, the first being for friends on Jules’ birthday when we served with jacket potatoes and salad (Gill suggests salad and good bread). You can make it ahead and reheat on the hob, adding the cream and mushrooms, on the day. You may need to order the pork in advance from your butcher.

Wine suggestion: such a rich dish needs a wine with good body and also freshness to cut through the rich layers. To our mind this demands a good oaked Chardonnay so we opened a Pernand- Vergelesses white from Domain de Montille. It may have been youthful but it didn’t lose anything for this as we think an older wine wouldn’t stand up to the richness; an enjoyable choice.

A stew of pork, bacon & mushrooms with cream, cider & parsely – serves 4

  • a piece of cured pork belly (streaky bacon) about 350g, cut into 4-5cm cubes
  • 500g fresh pork belly, cut into 4-5cm cubes
  • 1 large leek, halved and sliced
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 to 6 bay leaves
  • 2 to 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 to 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 450ml cider
  • 450ml pork, chicken or veg stock
  • knob of butter
  • 250g wild or chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • 200ml double cream
  • small bunch of parsley, chopped

Heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 3.

Heat a splash of oil in a heavy-based casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add all of the pork and cook until well browned – about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the leeks, garlic, herbs and a little seasoning to the pan. Sweat for 10 minutes before returning the pork to the pan, sprinkle over the flour and stir well. Cook for another few minutes, then pour in the cider and stock and bring to a simmer. Cover with a tight lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours, or until very tender.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add the knob of butter. When the butter is bubbling, add the mushrooms, season lightly and sauté until cooked through – 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.

Remove the casserole from the oven after the 2 hours and add the fried mushrooms and double cream. Stir well, then put the casserole back into the oven for another 15 minutes without the lid.

Stir in the chopped parsley and season to taste.

(Original recipe from Time by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Cheesy leek baked potatoes

We’re regularly left with a rogue leek in the bottom of the fridge and it usually finds its way into a dish like this, particularly if there is some cream lurking as well. Quantities don’t matter too much here so use what you’ve got.

  • Baking potatoes
  • Butter
  • Leeks, sliced finely
  • Cream
  • Cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 220°C.

Rub the potatoes with olive oil and place on a tray in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 200ºC and continue to cook for about another hour.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan and gently sauté the leeks until they are meltingly tender. Add the cream and bubble together until you have a thick sauce.

When the potatoes are soft, cut them in half and scoop out the centres, leaving a thin layer of potato on the skins. Mash the removed potato, mix with the creamy leeks and season with salt and lots of pepper. Pile this mixture back into the potato skins and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Return to the oven for a few minutes until the cheese has melted and started to brown.

Serve this on its own for a midweek supper or as a side dish with chargrilled chops or sausages.

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Mussels in a creamy sauce

We can’t get enough of mussels and love them in any kind of sauce. This is a nice easy one to serve 2 with some crusty bread (or hot chips!).

Wine Suggestion: try to find a good Alvarinho from Vinho Verde in Portugal. We’re big fans of Soalheiro whose wines have a delicious vibrancy and freshness that really work with mussels.

Mussels in a Creamy Sauce – serves 2

  • 1kg mussels
  • 250ml white wine
  • 25g butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 parsley stalks
  • few thyme sprigs
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 100ml single cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves

Scrub the mussels under cold water, scraping off any beards or barnacles. Discard any that are damaged or those that don’t close completely when tapped against the sink.

Put the mussels in a large pan with the wine, butter, bay leaf, parsley stalks, thyme and shallot. Cover, bring to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Drain, keeping the cooking liquor, and discard any mussels that have not opened. Discard the parsley stalks and bay leaf.

Put the cooked mussels into two serving bowls and keep warm. Return the cooking liquor to the pot and boil rapidly until slightly thickened. Now pour in the cream and add the chopped parsley and cook gently until thickened further. Season, then pour over the mussels and serve immediately.

(Original recipe by Greg Wallace for BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2008.)

 

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Chicken Forestiere

Our first autumnal dish of the season. We can suffer the colder weather when it means mushrooms, pumpkin, squash, game birds, mussels… we could go on!

Wine Suggestion: Rich, creamy and earthy … we picked a German Pinot Noir, the Salwey Reserve “RS”Spätburgunder 2012 which balanced perfectly with the chicken, complimented the mushrooms and had enough freshness and earthy spice for the creamy madeira sauce. We’ve become converts to German wines over the past decade and think that the best, like Salwey from Baden, provide a great alternative to Burgundian Pinot and would recommend giving them a try.

Chicken Forestière – serves 4

  • 20g dried wild mushrooms
  • 8 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, halved and sliced
  • 75ml Madeira (or dry sherry)
  • 215g carrots, peeled and cut into batons
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 1tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour over 50ml of boiling water, leave to soak for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the chicken thighs and heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Brown the chicken thighs well on both sides (don’t be tempted to turn them early or the skin will tear). When the chicken is well-browned remove it from the pan and set aside. Pour off all but 1tbsp of the chicken fat from the pan into a bowl but don’t throw it away.

Heat the fat left in the pan and sauté the onions until soft and golden. Deglaze the pan with the Madeira.

Add the carrots and the stock, plus the wild mushroom and their soaking liquid. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan, along with any juices, and keep it skin-side up. Cover and cook gently for 20 minutes.

Remove the lid, stir in the cream, return to a simmer again and cook for an additional 10 minutes with the lid off.

In a separate pan, heat 1 tbsp of the reserved chicken fat and sauté the mushrooms until golden brown and the liquid has evaporated. Season the mushrooms and stir into the chicken. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon at this point.

Scatter over the parsley and serve with potatoes and green veg.

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

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Leek Gratin

 

A true comfort food if there ever was one, and a versatile side for simply barbecued meats, roast chicken and a whole host of mains. It’s fairly rich so a little goes a long way.

Baked Creamy Leeks – serves 6 as a side dish

  • 800g leeks, roughly chopped and rinsed well in a sieve
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • olive oil
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 200ml single cream

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°C/gas 6.

Warm a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter with a splash of olive oil and the garlic.

As soon as the garlic starts to colour, add the leeks and thyme leaves and stir. Turn up the heat and continue to cook for about 10 minutes or until the leeks have softened.

Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the cream and half the cheese. Mix well in a suitably sized baking dish (you want a layer about 2.5cm thick). Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake for about 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Ministry of Food, Penguin, 2008.)

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Courgette Pasta

This dish is so simple, and yet completely satisfying and delicious. It features regularly on our table during the summer months and has also become our daughter, Orlaith’s, favourite dish alongside Moussaka.

Wine Suggestion: A lovely and fresh wine but with depth and reasonable body works well with tis; something like a very good Verdicchio – try Sartarelli’s Talivio or Umani Ronchi’s Casal di Sera. If you feel like a red try a Cabernet Franc from the Loire, like the thoughtful and expressive Chinon’s by Charles Joguet.

Courgette Sauce for Pasta – serves 4

  • 1kg courgettes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp of cream
  • 50g freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • pasta of your choice (long or short works), 75-100g per person

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the garlic and courgettes, and a pinch of salt.Cook gently to soften without browning. Continue to cook until the courgettes are completely soft and almost all of their water has evaporated (20-30 minutes). Then bash the courgette mixture to a rough purée with a wooden spoon or masher.

Stir in the cream and Parmesan and allow to bubble for a minute or so until the cream has reduced a bit.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente.

Serve with extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Collins, 2001.)

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