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Posts Tagged ‘Nigel Slater’

Much more filling than the tinned variety but unlike a number of other baked bean recipes, you don’t have to start with dried beans. This is quick and still pretty handy for lunch.

Beans on toast – serves 4 to 6

  • 200g bacon lardons or pancetta cubes
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins of beans e.g. pinto, haricot or butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp black treacle
  • sourdough toast, to serve

Fry the bacon in a deep pan over a medium heat until golden, then add the onion. You can add a splash of olive oil if you need it.

Add the carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes, until softened.

Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Next add the beans and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the treacle and season with salt and black pepper.

Serve with toasted sourdough.

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2012.)

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Every now and again we take one of Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries off the shelf for a bit of inspiration, and this is what we chose from the February chapter. We like Nigel’s recipes as they’re tasty but rarely require too much shopping. We served this with rice, a few greens on the side would be nice too.

Wine Suggestion: A dry, or just off-dry Alsace Pinot Gris or similar. Tonight Zind Humbrecht’s Pinot Gris Roche Calcaire from the Clos Windsbuhl has all the texture and layers of fruit we were looking for and more; superb.

Pork with garlic & oyster sauce – serves 2

  • 5 tbsp of flavourless oil, we use groundnut oil
  • 350g pork fillet, cubed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 4 small hot red chillies, two chopped finely with the seeds left in and two left whole
  • 150g mushrooms, roughly sliced
  • 3 heaped tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing wine

Heat your wok until very hot.

Add 2 tbsp of the oil and when it starts to smoke, add half the meat. Toss, until browned then remove to a plate and brown the rest.

Add the remaining oil to the wok and heat until smoking hot, then add the garlic, shallots and chillies. Toss for a minute or two until starting to colour. Add the mushrooms and continue to fry until they are soft and starting to colour, then return the meat to the pan. When the meat is hot, stir in the oyster sauce and Shaoxing wine and bring to the boil.

Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce for a couple of minutes, then serve.

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2012.)

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This is a little different given the use of the milky poaching liquor which makes this creamy and rich. Not that we partake in the cheese and fish rule anyhow, but cheese was genuinely not required. 

Wine Suggestion: Choose a white with a higher acidity to match the creamy stock and a bit of body as this is quite rich. We chose an alpine/cool-climate Chardonnay from Cantina Colterenzio from north-eastern Italy in the foothills of the Alps. Melon and apple fruit flavours with hints of buttery toast; refined and characterful.

Smoked Cod & Spinach Risotto – serves 2-3

  • 450ml full fat milk
  • 400g smoked cod or haddock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 450ml hot stock
  • a small onion
  • 50g butter
  • 250g risotto rice
  • a glass of white wine
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves, washed and torn into small pieces

Pour the milk into a saucepan large enough to take the fish in a single layer. Put the fish into the milk and add the bay leaves and peppercorns, then bring to the boil. When the milk starts to foam, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside with the fish left in the milk to infuse. 

Heat the stock in a saucepan until gently simmering.

Peel and finely chop the onion, then fry gently in the butter in a heavy-based pan. When the onion is soft, but not coloured, add the rice and stir to coat. 

Pour in the wine and allow to evaporate, then start adding the stock, a ladleful at a time. Keep stirring continually until each ladle of stock has been absorbed, then add some more. Keep the heat low to medium. When the stock is finished, start adding the poaching liquid from the fish (discard the peppercorns and bay leaves). Start tasting when almost all the milk has been absorbed. The rice should be soft but still have a little bite and it should take about 20 minutes. 

Stir the spinach into the rice. Break the fish into big pieces and gently fold into the rice, trying not to break them up too much. Check for seasoning before serving. 

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2012.)

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We love recipes like this; perfect for using up bits and pieces and super tasty. 

Wine Suggestion: There’s a vibrancy to this food and we matched it with Ventenac’s “Dissidents” le Paria, a fresh-fruited, minerally grenache. Lovely light spices, a stony core of texture and bright plums and cherry flavours.

Green Spiced Rice – serves 2-3

  • 150g frozen broad beans
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • 200g basmati rice
  • a slice of butter
  • a few sliced mushrooms
  • a large carrot, coarsely grated
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • a handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • a few handfuls of spinach

Cook the broad beans in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and pop them out of the skins. 

Wilt the spinach is a saucepan, then leave to cool. Squeeze out any excess liquid if necessary and chop. 

Pour the vegetable stock into a saucepan, then add the curry paste and the rice. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until almost tender and most of the liquid absorbed. 

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, then fry the mushrooms until lightly coloured. Add the rice and carrot to the pan with the broad beans. Stir until the rice is moist but no longer wet, then add the eggs and season. Keep cooking, stirring now and then to break up the egg, until it is lightly cooked. Fold through the chopped spinach and coriander, then serve. 

(Original recipe from Eat by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

 

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We’ve been making a soup most weeks. This one is from The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater. Suitably seasonal.

Cauliflower and leek soup with toasted cheese – serves 4

  • 3 medium leeks, discard the coarse part of green leaves and roughly chop
  • 30g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg cauliflower, trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (we use Marigold Swiss Bouillon powder)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10g parsley leaves
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 100g of cheese, something that will melt, we used Gruyére

Warm the butter with the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and cover, then cook over a low heat, until the leeks are soft but not browned. 

Add the cauliflower to the softened leeks. Stir briefly, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the bay leaves and a little salt, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until soft. 

Process half the soup in a blender until very smooth. Add a handful of the parsley to the rest of the soup and blend this batch to a thick, rough texture. Mix the two together and season with salt and black pepper. 

Spread sourdough with a little butter or oil and toast under a hot grill. Turn the bread over and cover the other side with thick slices of cheese, then return to the grill until melted. Divide the soup between bowls and float the cheesy toasts on top. 

(Original recipe from The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2017)

 

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This is very rich and luxurious, and needs a sharp salad to go along with it. Nigel Slater’s addition of basil sauce is a great idea and makes a super tasty dish.

Wine Suggestion: We suspect a good Nebbiolo would work with this but in the absence one in our rack tonight we chose Domaine Jamet’s Cotes du Rhone. Made from 100% Syrah in the Northern Rhone it still has a hint of richness and spice as if it has a Gigondas influence but also the earthy, leather spice of the North. 

Mushroom lasagne with basil and cream – serves 6

  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 small cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • a thick slice of butter
  • 10g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 750g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • a good handful of chopped parsley
  • 5 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan, plus an extra 3 tbsp for the top
  • 150ml double cream
  • 750ml béchamel sauce (Nigel suggests you can use ready-made for this but if you want to make your own we’ve included a recipe below – a pint should be plenty).
  • 350g fresh lasagne sheets (dried can be used either)

FOR THE BASIL SAUCE

  • 60g pine nuts
  • 50g basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan

To make a pint of béchamel sauce, melt 2oz of butter in a medium-sized saucepan, then stir in 2oz of plain flour and cook for a minute or two. Gradually add a pint of full-fat milk, stirring continuously and only adding a bit more when the previous bit has been absorbed. Keep stirring until all of the milk has been added and the sauce comes to a simmer and thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a deep frying pan, then add the onions and garlic and cook gently for about 20 minutes, or until softened and translucent.

Meanwhile, cover the dried porcini with warm water – no more than 100ml – and leave to soak.

To make the basil sauce, whizz the pine nuts, basil, garlic, some olive oil and Parmesan in a food processor. You need enough oil to form a sloppy paste. Alternatively you can crush the garlic with a little salt in a mortar, then mash in the basil, pine nuts, cheese and olive oil.

Stir the sliced mushrooms into the onions and partially cover with a lid. Leave to colour and soften, then add the dried mushrooms with their soaking liquid, the parsley, 5 tbsp of Parmesan and the cream. Season well with salt and black pepper, then simmer until the mixture has reduced and thickened a bit.

To assemble the lasagne, take a large casserole dish and spread a few tbsp of the béchamel over the bottom. Cover with a layer of pasta, then half the mushroom filling. Add another layer of pasta, then a second layer of mushrooms. Top with a final layer of pasta, then spread over the basil sauce. Cover the top completely with the rest of the béchamel and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 180C/Gas 4 for 50 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2005.)

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This is Nigel Slater’s dark and sticky fruit chutney from Kitchen Diaries II. The chutney is nice with cheese or cold cuts. Figs are expensive but they don’t keep for long so you often find them reduced to clear in shops. 

A dark and stick fruit chutney – makes a few jars

  • 250g soft brown sugar
  • 8 large figs, about 1kg, roughly chopped and stalks removed
  • 150ml malt vinegar
  • 150ml cider vinegar
  • 250g chopped onions
  • 250g sultanas
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • half a tsp black peppercorns, cracked
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

Warm the sugar in a bowl in a low oven. 

Put the chopped figs into a large, stainless steel or enamelled saucepan. Add the vinegars, onions, sultanas, salt, allspice, cracked peppercorns and coriander seeds, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, until the onions and fruit are soft. 

Stir in the sugar. Bring slowly to the boil, then turn the heat down and allow to bubble very gently. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring now and then to prevent it sticking, until thick and jam consistency. Bottle while hot and seal. 

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2012.)

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Sometimes on Sundays we do a sort of a roast dinner but without the roast. It usually consists of a few different vegetable dishes, something green and something creamy, and roast potatoes are essential. We really loved this recipe by Nigel Slater as it gives the pumpkin a super soft, almost fudgy texture, and the creamy sauce is delicious.

Wine Suggestion: This meal goes great with richer reds or whites. Jerome Coursodon’s Etincelle Blanc, a blend of Roussanne and Viognier from the St Joseph vineyards in the Northern Rhone, was super expressive and had a wonderful balance of being rich and powerful while at the same time being crisp and taught.

Pumpkin with mustard & cream – serves 4

  • 2kg of pumpkin, leave the skin on – our favourite variety is Crown Prince
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 litre of hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

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

Cut the pumpkin in half and cut the halves into large wedges. Scoop out the seeds.

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, roasting tin over a medium heat. Lightly brown the pumpkin on the cut sides.

Pour the hot stock over the over the pumpkin, then cover with tin foil and seal tightly. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil, turn the pumpkin wedges and baste well with the stock. Return to the oven and cook for another 45 minutes.

Lift the pumpkin from the stock and keep warm. Put the tin with the stock over a high heat and let it reduce to about 200ml. Pour in the cream, stir in the mustards and season. Spoon the sauce over the pumpkin wedges to serve.

(Original recipe from Greenfeast by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2019.)

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Creamed Carrots

This is a lovely side dish to serve alongside lamb koftas or something similar. We had it for dinner with just some brown rice and that was surprisingly good too.

Creamed Carrots – serves 4

  • 400g carrots, coarsely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely shredded
  • 3-4 small, hot green chillies, finely chopped
  • a thick slice of butter
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp cashew nuts, toasted in a dry pan or in the oven, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 4 heaped tbsp natural yoghurt
  • a good handful of coriander leaves
  • a squeeze of lime

Melt the butter in a frying pan, then add the garlic, ginger and mustard seeds and cook for a minute before adding the chopped chillies. Stir together for a minute then add the carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Stir the cream and yoghurt together and fold into the hot carrots with some seasoning. Immediately tip into a serving dish and top with the cashew nuts, coriander leaves and lime.

(Original recipe from Tender Volume I  by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2009)

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Spicy fish soup

We often have fish on Fridays. It’s quick to cook and light enough that we’ve room for cheese afterwards. Mussels are a favourite too and they’re fantastic value. This soup by Nigel Slater is crammed with them, and full of flavour.

Wine suggestion:  an old favourite white wine, the always versatile ALLO by Quinta Soalheiro. Light bodied so it doesn’t overwhelm the delicate play of flavours in the dish, but textured and concentrated at the same time. A wine that is the sommeliers’ secret weapon for matching.

Spiced fish soup – serves 2

  • 1kg mussels, scrubbed, de-bearded, chuck any with broken shells or that don’t close when you give them a sharp tap
  • 2 large banana shallots, peeled and separated into layers
  • a splash of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 250g white fish fillet – we used hake – cut into 4 pieces
  • a handful of chopped coriander

Put the cleaned mussels into a large pan and add 500ml of water. Cover with a lid, bring to the boil and cook until the mussels have opened (a couple of minutes).

Remove the mussels from the liquid but keep the cooking water, you need to strain this through a fine sieve. Remove the mussels from the shells and set aside.

Heat a splash of oil in a deep frying pan, then fry the shallots over a gentle heat until softened. Add the mustard seeds, chilli powder and turmeric, and continue cooking for another few minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.

Pour in the reserved mussel stock, bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Lay the pieces of fish in the liquid and cook briefly until opaque (just a couple of minutes should do it). Return the mussels to the pan, season to taste with salt, and stir in the coriander.

(Original recipe from Eat by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

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Nigel's Bolognese

We love cookbooks that divide recipes up by the month of year. You can pick them off the shelf and get some instant inspiration that suits the weather conditions and what’s available. This is how we came to make this spaghetti bolognese, from Nigel Slater’s original Kitchen Diaries, on a cold night in January. We don’t usually add mushrooms to our Bolognese but they were really good here. Serve with some sort of long pasta (or penne if that’s what you’ve got) and loads of Parmesan.

Wine suggestion: we really enjoyed Michele Biancardi’s Ponteviro Primitivo from Puglia with this: wonderfully fresh and with a herbal spice as opposed to jam which appeals to our tastes.

A really good spaghetti Bolognese – serves 4

  • 50g butter
  • 70g cubed pancetta
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 large flat mushrooms (about 100g), finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g beef mince
  • 200ml passata
  • 200ml red wine
  • 200ml stock
  • a nutmeg
  • 200ml full-cream milk or cream
  • spaghetti or tagliatelle (to serve)
  • grated Parmesan (to serve)

Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan, then stir in the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes to soften, then add the carrots and celery and continue to cook. When they have softened a bit, add the mushrooms, tuck in the bay leaves and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring now and then.

Turn the heat up and add the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Leave to cook for 3-4 minutes until the bottom starts to brown, the stir again and leave to colour.

When the meat is well browned, add the tomatoes, red wine, stock, a grating of the nutmeg and some salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a bare bubble. Partially cover with a lid and leave to cook for 60-90 minutes, stirring now and then. Add a bit of extra liquid if it looks dry at any point.

Gradually add the milk/cream, then continue to cook for another 20 minutes. Season to taste and serve with the pasta and Parmesan.

(Original recipe from

 

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We’re all about creamy sauces, gratins and roasts at this time of the year. This is a great Friday night pasta dish by Nigel Slater with all the roast chicken flavour but quick to put together.

Wine suggestion: this really needs a full bodied white wine with texture. We naturally fall towards Chardonnay when thinking this, but the Languedoc one we had in the fridge we knew was easy drinking but not able to stand up to the food despite it being fuller bodied. Luckily we also had Vouvray made by Vincent and Tania Carême from our holidays earlier this year, and despite it being “tendre” or off-dry, it was a delight and an excellent match. The key was the texture even with the residual sugars left in the wine.

Roast chicken pasta – serves 4 generously

  • 4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves stripped
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg chicken thighs
  • 300g fusilli or trofie pasta
  • 7g tarragon, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 10g parsley, leaves stripped and chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 75g pine nuts, toasted
  • 500ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.

Bash the rosemary, peppercorns and a tsp of sea salt in a pestle and mortar until you have a coarse powder, then blend in the olive oil.

Put the chicken thighs in a roasting tin, then pour over the rosemary mixture and rub to coat all over. Put into the oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Cook the pasta in plenty of salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Remove the chicken from the bones, keeping it in large chunks if you can and catching any meaty juices.

Mix the tarragon, parsley, lemon and toasted pine nuts together.

Put the roasting tin over a medium heat, add the cream to the tin and stir to scrape all the crusty bits off the tin. When the cream starts to bubble, add the cooked pasta and chicken. Season with black pepper.

Serve the pasta in bowls with the pine nut and herb mixture scattered over the top.

(Original recipe by Nigel Slater in The Guardian, Sunday 1st December 2019)

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Brussel sprout & smoked cheese gratin

We need no encouragement to eat more Brussels sprouts, but we will certainly be making this dish again from Nigel Slater’s Greenfeast. It is super indulgent and would work well in small portions as a side dish – though we just had huge platefuls for dinner.

Wine Suggestion: A fresh and young Chardonnay with a hint of oak  would be our choice. Tonight the Domaine Ventenac, Les Dissidents Préjugés from Cabardès in the Languedoc, made in large oak barrels (20hl) and grown on clay; crisp with mineral textures and a round vibrant core. A wine to help break the prejudice some people have for this grape.

Brussels sprouts, smoked mozzarella and dill – serves 3 (or more as a side dish)

  • 300g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
  • 40g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 15g dill, chopped
  • 250g smoked mozzarella, cut into thick slices
  • 250ml double cream

FOR THE CRUMBS:

  • 40g butter
  • a handful of coarse breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp chopped dill

Heat the oven to 200ºC/Gas 6.

Warm the butter and olive oil in a shallow pan, then add the sprouts and cook for 2 minutes. They should turn bright green. Stir in the dill and season with black pepper.

Put half the sprouts in a baking dish and add most of the mozzarella. Put the rest of the Brussels sprouts and cheese over the top.

To make the crumbs: warm the butter in a shallow pan, add the crumbs and cook until golden, then stir in the dill. Pour the cream over the sprouts and cheese and top with a layer of breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes or until browned and bubbling.

(Original recipe from Greenfeast: autumn, winter by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2019.)

 

 

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Haricot Beans with Rice & Onions

Another dish made for no other reason than half a bag of fresh dill in the fridge, threatening to go to waste. This is a big bowl of buttery deliciousness and the perfect comfort food for a cold night.

Wine Suggestion: to match the cold and damp evening, and this comfort food you need to look at a comforting, juicy red; tonight the Altosur Malbec, a wine that genuinely outperforms its pricepoint.

Haricot beans with rice and onions – serves 2

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into thin rings
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g white long-grain rice
  • 2 cloves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 x 400g tin of haricot beans, drained
  • 60g butter
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • a handful of chopped dill

Warm the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic, then the onions, and leave to cook over a moderate heat until soft and golden. Remove from the heat, scoop out the onions and keep the pan for later.

Wash the rice in warm water, then drain and transfer to a saucepan and pour in water to cover by 2cm. Add salt, the cloves and the peppercorns, then bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer, then cover tightly with a lid and leave for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on for a further 5 minutes.

Melt the butter in the onion pan, then cook the cumin seeds and turmeric for a minute or until fragrant. Add the beans and heat through.

Fork through the rice, check the seasoning and pick out the cloves. Stir in the dill and divide between two bowls. Spoon over the hot beans and top with the fried onions.

(Original recipe from Greenfeast: autumn, winter by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2019.)

 

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Chicken patties with rosemary & pancetta

Try these delicious chicken patties by Nigel Slater. Some of our favourite dishes are those where a sticky caramelised crust forms in the pan. Nigel suggests some lemon wedges and a spinach salad to serve.

Wine Suggestion: a 100% Grenache red actually is the business with this dish. While we see Grenache in quite a lot of blends when on it’s own it has a lovely spice, and if not too alcoholic and jammy (it ripens to high levels if untamed) a wonderful lightness of touch with soft, velvety tannins. If you’re exceptionally lucky an old (15-20yo) Chateau Rayas would be a treat. We drank, instead, the delightful l’O du Joncier Cotes du Rhone made by Marine Roussel in Lirac; a biodynamic, wild yeast treat that both treads lightly on the earth and tastes great.

Chicken patties with rosemary & pancetta – serves 2-3

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • a thick slice of butter
  • 100g cubed pancetta
  • leaves from 3 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 450g chicken mince (if you have a mincer buy some chicken thighs and mince your own)
  • groundnut oil for frying
  • 250ml chicken stock

Warm the butter over a medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the onions and cook until softened and golden. Stir in the pancetta and rosemary and cook for a few minutes or until coloured. Empty the contents of the pan into a large bowl and allow to cool a bit.

Add the chicken mince to the onion mixture, season generously with pepper and a little salt, and mix well (your hands are the best tool for this). Shape the mixture into six little burgers and set aside for about 30 minutes to rest.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/Gas 5.

Wipe the onion pan clean with a piece of kitchen towel and put back on the heat until hot. Add a small amount of oil and brown the patties for about 3 minutes on each side, then transfer to an ovenproof dish. Pour the stock into the dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the patties are sizzling and the stock bubbling. Serve with some of the hot stock spooned over.

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2005.)

 

 

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Smoked Haddock witha creamy green lentil stew

The pictures just don’t do justice with how delicious this dish tasted; highly recommended!

Wine Suggestion: Try complementing the smoky fish with an oaked white such as a New World Chardonnay.

Smoked haddock with lentils – serves 2

  • 250ml double cream
  • 350g piece of smoked haddock, skin removed
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • a thick slice of butter
  • 150g green lentils
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • a large handful of chopped parsley

Put the cream in a shallow pan. Add the haddock, peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then turn off and cover with a lid.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Cook the carrot and onion in the butter for about 5 minutes, then add the lentils and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are almost soft, then stir in the cream from the fish. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced to just cover the lentils.

Add the parsley and season. Divide the lentils between two dishes and serve the haddock on top.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater’s Eat: The little book of fast food, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

 

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Creamy Madeira Chicken

The inspiration for this dish comes from Nigel Slater who has written a book full of ideas with very few ingredients and lots of flavour.

Wine suggestion: Madeira is a fortified Portuguese which tends to have good levels of acidity and is noted for lasting forever, even when open. This is a wine which is also nice to drink and would pair well with this dish, otherwise we would try a southern white Burgundy for a round, richer touch, or a very good New World Chardonnay where the ripeness and balance is is in great harmony.

Creamy Madeira Chicken – to serve 2

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • a little seasoned flour
  • a thick slice of butter
  • a glass of Madeira
  • 4 tbsp double cream

Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of cling film and bash with a rolling pin, or similar weapon, to flatten.

Dust the chicken with the seasoned flour.

Melt the butter in a shallow pan, add the chicken and cook briefly on both sides until golden. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the Madeira to the pan and let it bubble while you scrape any chicken residue from the bottom of the pan. When the liquid has reduced by half, stir in the double cream, then season and simmer briefly.

(Original recipe from Eat: the little book of fast food by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

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A very easy and delicious cake that’s perfect for using the bananas that have gone black in the fruit bowl. It’s even worth letting them go black for! We made this twice in a week and are tempted to make it again soon.

Chocolate and Banana Cake 

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 125g softened butter
  • 235g muscovado sugar
  • 400g (peeled weight) very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g dark chocolate

You need a non-stick loaf tin approx. 24cm x 12cm x 7cm deep, lined with baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 4.

Sift the flour and baking powder together.

Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar together until light, fluffy and pale coffee coloured.

Put the bananas in a bowl and mash with a fork, lumps are ok as you don’t want a purée. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Beat the eggs lightly with a fork then beat them into the butter and sugar mixture. If it threatens to curdle add a spoonful of flour.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and fold them and the bananas into the butter and sugar mixture. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder.

Scrape the mixture into the baking tin and bake for about 50 minutes. Check that it is cooked by inserting a metal skewer into the centre. If it is moist but clean then the cake is ready. If there is any sign of wet cake mixture on the skewer, return the cake to the oven for a few more minutes. Cover the surface with foil if it starts getting too dark.

Leave the cake to settle in the tin for about 15 minutes, then loosen sides with a palette knife and carefully lift the cake out. Leave to cool for a bit longer before peeling off the paper. Serve cool.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries II, Fourth Estate, 2012.)

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We made this sauce as an incidental side to some duck legs and the side trumped the main … so much so that the legs will not be reviewed but this sauce definitely will! The revelation for us is the baking of the apples whole which seems to add something special.

Apple and blackberry sauce – to serve 4 (or more) on the side

  • 4 large Bramley apples
  • 150g blackberries
  • a little icing sugar
Score the skin of the apples round the middle to prevent explosions and put them in a baking dish. Bake at 180ºC/Gas 4 or thereabouts for about 40 minutes or until they have puffed up and the apple is soft and frothy.

Put the blackberries into a small pan with a tbsp of water and bring to the boil. Crush lightly with a fork.

Scrape the apple flesh off the skins into a bowl. Beat the sugar in with a fork and stir in the crushed blackberries.

(Original recipe by Nigel Slater, Tender: Volume II, Fourth Estate, 2010).

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Jono liked this so much he swears that if he’d been on his own he would have scoffed the lot! The combination of lamb shoulder, spices, apricots and preserved lemons give this dish such richly and multi-layered flavours that are all exceptionally well balanced and moreish. Make the most of fresh apricots while we can get them!

This needs time to marinate which will add even more depth of flavour and tastiness, but if you forget even a short marinating time will still give a very nice result.

Lamb Tagine with Apricots (serves 4)

  • 1kg lamb shoulder, diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 60g sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 750 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 350g fresh apricots
  • 1 preserved lemon, pulp discarded and skin finely chopped
  • 1 handful coriander leaves, torn
  • 1 small handful mint leaves, torn

Mix ground spices thoroughly together then toss lamb in half the ground spices and leave for at least 4 hours, but try to marinate from the night before (we didn’t read the recipe properly so didn’t marinade it at all and it was still fab!).

Heat oven to 160C/Gas 3. Warm olive oil gently in a deep, heavy-based casserole and add seasoned meat in small batches; brown on all sides and then remove. Next add the onions and garlic with the remaining spices and soften, stirring regularly. Add a little more oil if it dries too much because of the spices. Be careful to moderate the heat as you don’t want to burn the spices.

Add sultanas, honey, saffron, stock, tomatoes and whole apricots and then return the meat to the pan. Bring to the boil, season with salt and black pepper, cover with a lid and place into the oven.

Cook for 2.5 hours.

Remove tagine and stir in the preserved lemon. Lift meat out with a slotted spoon and boil sauce over a high heat until reduced and thick.

Return meat to sauce and stir in the coriander and mint.

Serve with couscous.

[Original recipe from Nigel Slater: Tender Volume II (fruits)]

Wine suggestion: a lighter Pinot Noir from New Zealand’s 2009 vintage. This vintage is excellent all the way across NZ so that even the €6.00 Tesco Finest: Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009 was a delight; and a complete bargain! (Thanks Michael!)

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