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Posts Tagged ‘Gill Meller’

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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We don’t make a roast dinner every week but we do like one occasionally, especially in the brighter months when you can lighten them up a bit with some spring veg. Ask your butcher to score the pork skin for you, then leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin, which will help with the crispy crackling.

Wine suggestion: Quite often we have an oaky white with roast pork but tonight we had a notion for red and a 6 year old Olga Raffault Chinon Les Pucasses which was just hitting it’s stride and will be drinking nicely for another 10 years we think. Deep , complex and brooding and yet the limestone soils give it an immediate freshness and vivacity.

Roast pork belly with herbs & new potatoes – serves 4

  • 3-4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1.5kg thick end of pork belly, bone in, skin completely dry (see above)
  • 300g new potatoes
  • a few sprigs of mint, leaves picked and finely chopped, stalks reserved
  • a knob of butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a small bunch of parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • a small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of peas or broad bean tops if available (we didn’t have these but we served with some double podded broad beans instead)
  • juice of ½ lemon

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan until fragrant, then tip into a pestle and mortar and coarsely grind. Score the skin and fat (but not the flesh) of the pork with a sharp knife if your butcher hasn’t done this for you already.

Put the pork into a roasting tray and rub allover with the crushed fennel seeds and some salt.

Put the pork into the oven for 30 minutes to crisp up the skin, then reduce the heat to 160C/315F/Gas 2-3. Add half a glass of water to the tray and roast for a further 2 hours, until crispy and tender. You will need to keep checking the water and ensuring that the pan doesn’t dry out.

While the pork is roasting, halve the potatoes if they’re big and put into a saucepan with the mint stalks. Cover with salty water and simmer until just tender, then drain and return to the pan, discarding the mint stalks. Add the butter and 1 tbsp of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Remove the cooked pork from the oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. Add the chopped herbs to the potatoes and stir gently to coat, then spoon onto a warm platter. Slice the pork and arrange on the platter with the potatoes, then skim the fat from the juices in the roasting tin and spoon the juices over the pork and potatoes,.

If you have pea or bean tops, put them into a bowl and dress with the 1 tbsp of olive oil and the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Scatter these over the pork and serve. (We dressed our broad beans with some olive oil and lemon and served these alongside instead).

(Original recipe from Gather by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2016.)

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We don’t cook with sorrel very often, perhaps once or twice a year when we see it and grab a bag. It has an unusual sour and citrussy flavour that always reminds us of holidays in France. Sorrel sauce is an excellent match for fish and goes particularly well with brill as expertly suggested by Gill Meller. A few crispy potatoes on the side would be a good addition.

Wine Suggestion: This goes great with a dry Chenin Blanc, like one of our favourites the Chateau du Hureau Argile which always has great depth of flavour alongside a crisp zestiness and dry texture, bound together with a lemony, citrus zing – very complimentary to the sorrel and able to match the rich cream and fish.

Brill with sorrel sauce – serves 4

  • 4 brill fillets (120-150g each), skin on
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2-4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin on and bashed
  • a small knob of butter

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • a large knob of butter
  • 1 shallot, very finely diced
  • 100ml fish stock if you have it though water will be fine
  • a large bunch of sorrel (about 150g), stalks removed and cut into rough ribbons
  • 150ml double cream

Make the sauce first. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the chopped shallot and cook until soft but not coloured. Pour in the stock/water and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated.

Add the sorrel leaves and stir a few times until wilted. Add the cream, stir, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook for a couple of minutes to thicken it slightly. Season with salt and pepper, then cover with a lid and set aside.

Season the fish all over. Heat the oil with the bay leaves, thyme and garlic, in a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Put the brill into the hot pan, skin-side down and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the fish is cooked at least three-quarters of the way up its edge. Turn the fish with a spatula and cook for a minute more on the other side, then add a small knob of butter and remove from the heat. Rest for a minute as the butter belts.

Serve the brill with the sauce on the side.

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

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We loved this mussel dish from Gill Meller’s book, Gather. Mussels, watercress and bacon are a truly fabulous combination, but not one we’d thought of before. Our farm shop had landcress rather than watercress available so that’s what we used, but it’s very similar, just not grown in running water. Cleaning mussels is a job I love and hate in equal measure, same with cleaning mushrooms. 

Wine Suggestion: A new find – the Quinta de Chocapalha Arinto from near Lisbon in Portugal; zesty citrus and hints of saltiness. So fresh and tasting of days at beachside restaurants eating mussels, helpful when travel is restricted.

Mussels with watercress and bacon – serves 2

  • 2-4 rashers streaky bacon
  • a small knob of butter
  • ½ a small onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1kg mussels, cleaned
  • 150g watercress, plus extra to serve

Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan, then cook the bacon for 6-8 minutes, or until crispy. Keep warm.

Put a knob of butter and a spoon of bacon fat from the pan into a large sauce pan. Heat until bubbling, then add the onions and garlic and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes or until the onion is soft but not coloured, then add the mussels with 2 tbsp of water. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan with a lid and shake gently. Cook the mussels for a couple of minutes or until the shells are just open. Throw away any that don’t open.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the mussels from the pan into a warm bowl, leave the onion and cooking liquor behind on the heat. Cover the mussels with a tea towel and put somewhere warm. You need to work quickly now to make the sauce while the mussels stay warm.

Put the watercress into the pan and cook for a minute or two until wilted, then tip into a  food processor and purée until smooth. This should be quite thick so if it’s too liquid, put it back into the pan and boil off the excess liquid over a high heat.

Put a generous spoon of purée on each plate with the mussels, crispy bacon and a little fresh watercress.

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

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A genius combination by Gill Meller, unusual and totally delicious. Gill deep fries the artichoke skins and some extra nori sheets as a garnish, which looks fab but too much for us to manage on our lunch break.

Jerusalem artichoke, almond and seaweed soup – serves 4

  • 500g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 100g whole almonds, soaked overnight in water
  • 2 nori seaweed sheets
  • 1.2 litres of vegetable stock

Put a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat, then heat the olive oil. Add the artichoke slices, the onion, leek, garlic and soaked nuts. Season generously, then cook, stirring often for 8-10 minutes. 

Tear the nori sheets into the pan and add the stock. Bring to a simmer, then cook gently for 20-30 minutes or until the artichokes are soft. 

Whizz the soup to a smooth purée, then season again. Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving in warm bowls with some of your best olive oil drizzled over. 

(Original recipe from Root Stem Leaf Flower by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant, Quadrille, 2020.)

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It’s about this time of year when we usually get a bit tired of root veg and starting craving food more associated with Spring. Not so this year and largely due to Gill Meller who can do wonders with winter veg. Baked potatoes stuffed with celeriac didn’t sound super appealing to us but we can assure you these are delicious!

Wine Suggestion: a winter white called tonight: Jean-Michel Gerin’s La Champine Viognier from a young vineyard near their Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu vineyards. Great value from this top maker and while not as rich as their Condrieu it has charming fruit and a fresh purity.

Celeriac baked potatoes – serves 4

  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
  • a handful of dried ceps (or any dried mushrooms)
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100ml full-cream milk
  • 1 tsp dried seaweed flakes (these are optional but we used Dulse Flakes from Aran Islands Seaweed which you can buy online)
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
  • a handful of grated cheddar cheese

Start by baking the potatoes. We like to scrub them, then rub in a little olive oil and sprinkle over some salt. Bake at 220C for 20 minutes then turn the heat down to 200C and cook for 40-60 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, cut them in half and scoop out the flesh, taking care not to damage the skins. Return the empty shells to the oven for 10 minutes to crisp up.

Meanwhile, heat a heavy pan over a medium-low heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and start to bubble, then add the onion, garlic, celeriac and dried mushrooms. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring often, until the celeriac is soft. If it starts to catch just add a splash of water and lower the heat. When the celeriac is nice and soft, add the cream, milk, scooped out potato flesh, seaweed flakes and parsley. Stir to combine and season again if needed.

Stuff the crispy potato skins with the celeriac mixture, then place on a baking tray and scatter over the grated cheese. Return to the oven for 12-15 minutes or until hot. Serve with a dressed green salad.

(Original recipe from Root Stem Leaf Flower by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2020.)

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A truly delicious veggie main. Perhaps best made by someone else if you would prefer not to see the amount of cream and butter involved. It’s cold outside, and we really didn’t feel like a salad tonight.

Wine Suggestion: A homely, oaked chardonnay is our choice. In our rack both the Rustenberg from Stellenbosch and the Domaine Ventenac in Cabardes are vying for attention. The latter won out tonight, but it could have gone either way. Nice to have choice.

Potato, leek & blue cheese pie – serves 6

FOR THE POTATO TOP:

  • 1kg large potatoes, peeled (use a variety good for mashing)
  • 175ml full-cream milk
  • 100g unsalted butter

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 4 leeks, sliced into 3cm rounds
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 50g plain flour
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 180ml double cream
  • 150 frozen peas
  • 100g blue cheese, crumbled into small chunks
  • a small handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

Start with the topping. Cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces, not too small. Put into a large saucepan and just cover with cold water, season with salt. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes, then return to the warm saucepan and leave to steam for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, gently heat the milk and butter together in a small pan until the butter has melted.

Start mashing the potatoes, then gradually add the hot milk and butter mixture. Keep mashing until well combined and smooth. It will seem like you have too much milk and butter but keep going. Season well with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Next make the filling. Put a large pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks, half the thyme leaves, 25g of the butter and the garlic. Add 100ml of water, season with salt and pepper, then cover with a lid and steam until just tender, about 8 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/400 F/Gas 6.

Put a colander over a bowl, then drain the leeks in the colander and reserve the cooking liquid.

Rinse the pan and return it to a medium heat. Add the rest of the butter and when melted, stir in the flour and cook for a minute over a low heat. Add the leek and cooking liquid, plus the milk and double cream. Whisk the sauce well until it is thick and creamy, it’s ready when small bubbles are just starting to break on the surface.

Stir in the peas, leeks and half the blue cheese. Add the parsley and lots of salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into a dish and level it out. Heap the mash on top but don’t worry about being too neat. Dot the remaining cheese over the top, then sprinkle with the rest of the thyme leaves. Season the top with salt and pepper, then bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from Root Stem Leaf Flower by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant, Quadrille, 2020.)

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Leeks usually end up in a soup or supporting other ingredients in a pie or something, but they are the star of the show in this veggie main course dish by Gill Meller. Here they are cooked in olive oil with orzo pasta, lemon, rosemary, parsley and cheese and it is most certainly a “leek dish”. By all means serve as a side dish too if you like. 

Wine Suggestion: We chose a wine to lift the winter mood; with friendly fruit, a nutty and stony twist and hints of sunshine – the La Sonrisa de Tares. A Godello from Bierzo which brought a smile to our faces.

Leeks with Orzo, Lemon & Herbs – serves 4

  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 3 leeks, sliced into 1cm rounds
  • 250g orzo pasta
  • 100g pecorino (we used Parmesan), finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • 125g mozzarella cheese

Heat the oven to 190C/170 fan/375 F/Gas 5.

Put a large, wide, heavy-based casserole over a low heat. Add the olive oil and when it has warmed, add the garlic and rosemary. Allow the garlic to sizzle for a minute or so, then add the leeks, orzo, half of the grated pecorino, the chopped parsley and the lemon zest. Season generously with salt and pepper and stir gently but try not to break the leeks up too much.

Pour over the vegetable stock, then stir again and use a wooden spoon to push the leeks down into the stock. Tear over the mozzarella cheese and scatter over the remaining pecorino. Season the top with some flaky salt and extra black pepper, then bake for 35-45 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed and the top is golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving with a bit more pecorino if you like.

(Original recipe from Root Stem Leaf Flower by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2020.)

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This is a fish dish but the star of the show is definitely the Jerusalem artichokes, which soak up all the bacon fat. A stunner of a winter fish dish by Gill Meller who is fast becoming one of our favourite recipe writers.

Wine Suggetion: You need a good white that suits both fish, the rich bacon and earthy Jerusalem artichokes. Soalheiro’s Alvarinho from northern Portugal is a firm favourite and is both minerally-fresh and also texturally full-bodied.

Roast bream with Jerusalem artichokes, onion, smoked bacon & thyme – serves 4

  • 500g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 2 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 250g smoked bacon lardons
  • a small bunch of thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, bashed, no need to peel
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bream (about 1kg) or another white fish, we used two small bream to serve 2

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 6.

Scatter the artichokes, onion, bacon, thyme and garlic over a large heavy roasting tray or dish. Drizzle over the olive oil and season well with salt and black pepper.

Cover loosely with some baking parchment, then roast for 35-45 minutes or until the artichokes are tender, give everything a toss occasionally.

Slash the fish 3-4 times on each side, then lay on top of the artichokes. Baste the fish with some bacon fat, then season the fish with salt and pepper. Turn over onto the other side and baste and season again.

Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. The flesh should come away easily from the bone.

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

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This recipe by Gill Meller has to be one of the nicest things you can do with a turnip. By turnip we mean the large, orange-fleshed variety that some call swedes. We’re so busy cooking new things that we rarely do things again, but we’ve made an exception for this dish already. It goes without saying that you should use top quality sausages!

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs the comforting, warm spices of a Southern Rhone red with a good dollop of Grenache, some Syrah and possibly other varieties thrown in. Given the festive season we opened a bottle of Les Palliéres Racines Gigondas. Made by the Brunier’s of Domaine Vieux Télégraphe this is velvety and deep; a real treat.

Turnip with fried sausages, green peppercorns & Parmesan – serves 2

  • 1 turnip (or swede), cut into 2cm cubes
  • top quality sausages
  • 50g butter
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 2-3 tsp green peppercorns in brine

Bring a large pot of salty water to the boil. Add the turnip and cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add a little bit of oil, then add the sausages and cook slowly until well browned on all sides and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Don’t be tempted to speed up this process.

When the turnip is tender, drain and leave in a colander to steam. Put the pot back over a low heat and add the butter and cream. When this is bubbling, return the turnip to the pan. Mash the turnip until smooth, then season generously with black pepper, salt and most of the Parmesan.

Spoon the turnip onto a platter, pile the sausages on top, scatter over the peppercorns and sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan.

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

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We had to try this idea from Gill Meller’s book Gather in order to use some dulse flakes from Aran Islands Seaweed. The dulse flakes give a smoky umami flavour to the dish. It takes a while in the oven but it otherwise very simple and tastes even better if made in advance, as stews often do. We served with creamy mash, cabbage and turnip for a hearty Sunday lunch.

Wine Suggestion: A dish that needs a suitably rich red wine to match; one where the rich fruit has high levels of anthocyanins and phenols in a ripe framework. The Altosur Malbec from Tuppangato (the highest part of the Mendoza area) in Argentina came out of the rack and its blackberry, blueberry and plum flavours with brambly, rich tannins was an ample choice.

Beef shin with dulce – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 800g beef shin, sliced thickly
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • ½ a glass of red wine
  • 2-3 tsp powdered smoked dulse (we used dulse flakes, see note above)
  • 300ml chicken stock or water

Heat the oven to 120C/Gas 1.

Heat the oil in a heavy flameproof casserole. Season the beef shin well with salt and pepper, then brown on all sides until it takes on a really-good colour all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, celery and thyme and cook gently over a low heat until the onions are soft but not coloured. Return the meat the pan, then add the wine, dulse and stock or water and bring to a gentle simmer.

Cover the casserole with a lid and place in the oven for 4-5 hours, or until the meat falls apart easily. Season to taste and leave to rest for 25 minutes before serving with mash and other veg.

(Original recipe from Gather by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2016.)

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If you like ham and parsley sauce, you will love this! May come in handy in a few weeks time.

Smoked ham, cheese & parsley toasts – serves 6

  • 30g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 225ml full-fat milk
  • 50g Cheddar cheese, grated, plus extra for grilling
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • a small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 6 thick slices of good-quality bread, buttered on both sides
  • 6 large slices of smoked ham (or regular ham if you like)

Heat the grill to medium.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, when it bubbles, add the flour and stir to combine. Cook for a minute or two , then gradually add the milk, stirring continually. Keep stirring until all the milk has been added, the sauce comes to the boil and starts to thicken. Add the cheese, mustard, chives and parsley. Stir for a few minutes, until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth, then season well and set aside.

Lightly toast the buttered bread on both sides and then put under the grill. When lightly toasted on both sides divide the ham between the toasts, then spoon over the thick sauce and scatter with a handful of finely grated cheese. Return to the grill and cook until the sauce is bubbling and turning golden. Serve on hot plates.

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

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Red Onion, Mushroom & Blue Cheese Pizza

We’ve been experimenting with our new Ooni Pro pizza oven. This is the very first pizza we made and it turned out pretty good. The recipe is by Gill Meller (of River Cottage fame) and we’ve since seen that he’s working with Ooni – a match made in heaven!

Wine Suggestion:  a joyful red, preferably Italian to match the mood. Tonight the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico, but we’ve equally enjoyed wines from Abruzzo, Piedmont and Sicily to name a few with pizzas like these. Just make sure it isn’t too heavy or alcoholic though – light to medium bodied.

Gill’s Favourite Pizza – makes 3 large pizzas

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (good ones!)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf

FOR THE BASE:

  • 500g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g salt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 320ml lukewarm water

FOR THE TOPPING (PER PIZZA):

  • 3-4 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, torn
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 75g blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 or 3 thyme springs, leaves picked

To make the sauce, heat a medium pan over a moderate heat. Heat the olive oil in the pot, then add the garlic. Sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes,  half a tin of water and the bay leaf. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring now and then. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make the base, put the flour, salt and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough hook. Combine the yeast and water in a jug and whisk to dissolve. Pour this over the flour and allow the machine to run for 4-5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. You can also knead by hand but it will take a lot more effort and about 10 to 12 minutes.

Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to prove for 3-4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/gas mark 9½ (or if you have a pizza oven you can get it going).

Heat a baking sheet or pizza stone inside the oven.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knock it back, then left it rest for a few minutes. Dust the dough with more flour, then roll each ball out thinly. Remove the hot baking sheet or pizza stone from the oven and lay on the pizza dough. Top the pizza as quickly as you can. Gill suggests tomato sauce followed by mozzarella, mushrooms, onion, blue cheese and thyme. Trickle some olive oil over the top and season well. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crispy and golden. Serve straight away and repeat with the remaining dough.

(Original recipe from Time: A Year & a Day in the Kitchen by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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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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Mushrooms baked on toast with herbs, butter & garlic

Roasting this entire dish in the oven is such a good idea. The mushroom juice soaks into the toast and it all comes together in a truly magical way. Yet more breakfast inspiration from Gill Meller.

Mushrooms baked on toast with garden herbs, butter & garlic – serves 5

  • 5 slices of good country-style bread or sourdough
  • 10 large open-cap mushrooms e.g. Portobello
  • 50g cold butter
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • a small bunch of parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • ½ a small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, skin on and bashed with the flat of a knife
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 6½.

Arrange the bread on a large baking tray. Put the mushrooms on top; no matter if they hang over the edges.

Slice the butter thinly and put pieces on each mushroom. Scatter over the herbs and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.

Bake the mushrooms for 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms are completely soft and the toast is crunchy at the edges.

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

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