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Posts Tagged ‘Sage’

A bit like a classic lasagne but there’s no béchamel and definitely less fuss altogether. It tastes absolutely amazing too. The recipe is from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage; a book full of delicious things.

Wine Suggestion: we grabbed the first thing in the fridge which was the Zuani Bianco Riserva, an oaked Collio from North Eastern Italy which is a blend of Friulano, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Stunning, with so much complexity and layered fruits, savouriness and creamy textures. An under-rated part of the world. If you can’t find something like this, look for a lightly oaked white with a fresh acidity and a nutty finish.

Squash and sage lasagne gratin – serves 4 (generously)

  • half a large butternut squash, peeled and seeds discarded (about 500g)
  • 400g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2¾ tsp fine salt
  • 5g fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped, plus 10 extra leaves to serve
  • 6 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 220g double cream, plus extra 2 tbsp to serve
  • 80g Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • ¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 250g-300g dried lasagne sheets
  • 400g chicken stock (you can use veg stock if you prefer)

Heat the oven to 220C fan/240C.

Finely slice the butternut squash into very thin half moons – a mandoline is best for this or you could use the slicing attachment on a food processor.

Mix the squash slices, tomatoes, garlic, tomato purée, fine salt, chopped sage, 4 tbsp olive oil and lots of black pepper, together in a large bowl. Your hands are best to toss it all together.

Mix the cream, Parmesan and nutmeg together in another bowl. Set 80g of this mixture aside for later.

Cover the bottom of a baking dish (approx. 28cm x 23cm) with a layer of lasagne sheets, then a layer of the squash mixture. Spoon over some of the cream mixture, then continue the layering until you have used everything. Pour the stock evenly over everything in th edish, then cover tightly with foil and bake for 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven and remove the foil. Spoon over the reserved 80g of cream mixture and return to the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Mix 2 tbsp of the oil with the 10 sage leaves in a small bowl. Spoon this over the lasagne and return to the oven for a final 5-6 minutes, or until the sage leaves look crisp and the lasagne golden-brown.

Rest for 10 minutes, then finish with the 2 tbsp of cream, a good drizzle of olive oil and plenty of extra grated Parmesan, sea salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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We are cooking our way through Persian Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour. We struggle like everyone to eat well on busy days but this book is perfect for just that.

Wine Suggestion: White, lemony and medium bodied. Maybe a youthful Verdicchio, or our current fave, Zuani’s Ribolla Gialla Sodevo, from Collio in North East Italy. A grape that was so higly regarded by the Romans they implemented laws to protect it from adulteration … possibly the world’s first appellation laws …we’ll need to investigate further.

Pasta with sage butter, feta & pine nuts – serves 2

  • 200g pasta shells
  • 75g butter
  • 20 sage leaves
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 2 pinches of pul biber chilli flakes

Cook the pasta in lots of very salty water according to the timings on the packet.

When the pasta is almost cooked, put a large frying pan over a gentle heat. Add the butter and sage and allow the butter to melt gently but don’t let it sizzle much. Keep stirring so the sage flavours the butter.

Roughly drain the pasta (you want a little bit of water still on the pasta) and add to the pan with the butter and sage. Turn up the heat and season very generousy with black pepper and a little sea salt. Add the pine nuts and toss everything together, then add the feta and stir until melting and starting to coat the pasta.

Serve spinkled with extra black pepper and a pinch of pul biber.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

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Today was a sunny Sunday so we grilled aubergine slices on the barbecue, made this delicious veggie bake, and ate it outside. Happy days! Serve with garlic or crusty bread and salad.

Wine Suggestion: We think youthful, fruity reds are a joy with this dish and can’t pass up a chance to open a good Beaujolais. For this dish Domaine Rochette’s Régnié, a cru that is often overlooked and unfairly so. Bright and almost crunchy fruit that shouts just as much of sunshine as the Parmigiana.

Melanzane Parmigiana – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing over the aubergines
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 8 large sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 6 large aubergines, sliced very thinly, lengthways
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 85g white breadcrumbs
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 x 125g mozzarella balls, torn into small pieces
  • a handful of basil leaves

Get the sauce on first. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wide saucepan, then add the garlic, thyme and sage and cook for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, vinegar and sugar, and simmer gently for about 25 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, light your barbecue – a gas barbecue is particularly good for this as it’s easier to control the heat, you don’t want the aubergine to char before it’s softened. If you don’t have a barbecue (or if it’s not barbecuing weather) you can use a griddle pan instead.

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, then barbecue in batches until softened and lightly charred.

Mix 25g of the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs and pine nuts, and set aside.

Spread a little of the tomato sauce over the base of a large baking tray or lasagne dish. Top with a layer of aubergine slices, then season well. Spoon over some more sauce, then scatter over some mozzarella, Parmesan and bssil leaves.

Repeat the layers and finish with a layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle over the cheesey breadcrumbs. You can bake the dish now or stick it in the fridge for up to 24 hours and bake when you’re ready.

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

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is crispy and golden and the tomato sauce bubbling. Rest for 10 minutes, then serve with salad and bread.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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This makes a delicious weeknight dinner. Serve with some greens on the side.

Wine Suggestion: really nice with a dry, artisan cider like the Cockagee keeved cider from Slane. This retains a natural sweetness when first brewed but when aged and because of the apples used it ends up being full bodied and dry with a great bittersweet twist. A cider for food like some of the Breton ciders we’ve tried in France in past years

Baked pork & parsnips – serves 4

  • 4 large parsnips (about 500g), peeeled and cut lengthways into 6
  • 2 red onions, each cut into 8 wedge through the root
  • 2 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ wholegrain mustard
  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 ½ clear honey
  • small handful of sage leaves

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

Put the veg into a large roasting tin, season and toss with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 1 tbsp of the mustard. Roast for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a high heat. Season the pork chops and rub with the last ½ tbsp of oil. Fry for 30 seconds on each side or until just browned – turn onto the sides too to brown any fat.

Stir the veg, then put the chops on top and rub with the rest of the mustard. Roast for another 15 minutes, then drizzle with the honey and scatter over the sage. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, then serve with the pan juices.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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We usually only cook with chestnuts around Christmas but we’ve been trying to use up an extra pack, and they are delicious in this soup recipe by Gill Meller.

Parsnip, roast garlic and chestnut soup – serves 4

  • 6 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 bulb of garlic, halved around the middle
  • 150g cooked chestnuts
  • 10-12 sage leaves
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 litre vegetable stock

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

Spread the parsnips over a roasting tin. Add the garlic bulb, chestnuts, sage, onion and olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper and toss together. Cover the tin tightly with foil and bake for about an hour, shaking the tin now and then, until the parsnips are soft and caramelised.

Remove the foil and pour in the stock, then return to the oven for another 30 minutes.

Ladle everything except the garlic bulb halves into a blender (or a pot if you’re using a hand blender). Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh out of the skins and add to the rest. Whizz the soup until smooth.

Pour the soup into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low heat, then cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste, then serve.

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

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This has a crunchy crust and makes a great wintery side dish for a roast dinner or sausages. For clarity, when we refer to turnips we mean the large yellow-fleshed things that some call swedes, not the little white ones.

Baked turnip mash with sage & Parmesan crumbs – serves 6

  • 1kg turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 50g butter
  • 150ml double cream
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 200g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 75g Parmesan
  • 8 sage leaves

Boil the turnip and garlic in salty water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain well and allow to steam dry in the pot, then mash with half the butter and the cream, a pinch of cayenne and lots of salt and black pepper. Spoon into a baking dish.

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

Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and some black pepper. Melt the rest of the butter and fry the sage leaves untli they crisp up, then crumble them into the breadcrumbs and cheese. Sprinkle the mix all over the turnip and spoon over any melted butter, then bake for 40 minutes or until crisp and golden.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, November 2012)

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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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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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We won’t tell you how to make pizza dough again but you can find the recipe we use here if you need. This is just a nice idea for an Autumnal veggie topping.

Wine Suggestion: We think you needn’t stress about finding the ultimate match when making pizzas as there’s a casual nature to the dish. Choose a wine of the moment, like a Langhe Nebbiolo rather than a Barolo, or a Bourgogne Rouge, or other Pinot Noir than a Grand Cru. Enjoy the pleasure of more simple fruit. These two grapes would be our suggestion too.

Wild mushroom & sage pizzas – serves 2

  • 2 pizza bases
  • 250g ricotta, tipped into a sieve to drain
  • 75g Parmesan, grated
  • 400g mixed wild mushrooms, trimmed and halved or sliced if large 
  • 12 sage leaves

Heat the oven to 220C fan/200C/gas 7.

Place the pizza bases onto oiled baking sheets. Scatter the ricotta over the bases, then sprinkle over the Parmesan. 

Fry the mushrooms briefly in a little olive oil until just starting to cook and coated in the oil. Scatter the mushrooms over the pizza bases. Dip the sage leaves  in a little oil and lay onto the pizzas. 

Bake one pizza at a time for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and crisp at the edges and the toppings are cooked. 

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, October 2013.)

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We recently bought Skye McAlpine’s book, A Table for Friends, which has lovely menus for each season. We’re well and truly into Autumn now and the farm shop is full of potatoes, pumpkins and beetroots. Tonight we made Skye’s suggested autumn menu of buttery lemon roast chicken, beetroot & mint salad, butter & sage roast pumpkin and roast potatoes. A perfect combination of dishes and all can be prepped in advance. Unfortunately we were minus the friends but hopefully those days will be back again before too long. 

We ignore all timings for roast chicken these days and stick to Diana Henry’s failsafe instructions to roast for 20 minutes at 190C for each 500g plus an extra 10 minutes. 

Wine Suggestion: Quite often with roast chicken we lean towards oaked Chardonnay as it’s such a classic match but tonight we remembered that another great match is good red Bordeaux from the Left Bank, so Cabernet Sauvignon dominant, and also with a little age, but not too much. We continued our lockdown habit of dipping into the cellar once a week and pulled out a Domaine de Chevalier red from 2010. It still has years, if not a couple of decades of life ahead of it but at 10 years old it still has a spriteliness of youth while all components have come together harmoniously into a smooth, elegant wine.

Buttery Lemon Roast Chicken – serves 4

  • a large bunch of sage
  • 1 lemon, finely zested
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 free-range chicken

You can prep the chicken early in the day and keep in the fridge but make sure you take it out an hour or two before you want to put it into the oven so it’s at room temperature.

Heat the oven to 190C.

Finely chop half the sage and mash in a bowl with the butter, lemon zest and salt.

Put the chicken into a roasting tray. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze some of the juice into the cavity, then stuff the halves into the chicken with the remaining sage.

Gently lift the skin over the breast and smear a quarter of the butter mixture under the skin over each breast. You should be able to push the butter quite far down with your fingers, but careful not tear the skin. Rub the rest of the butter over the chicken and sprinkle with some extra salt.

Roast the chicken according to the timings given above. When cooked the legs should feel loose and the juice should run clear when you pierce a thick bit with a sharp knife.

Leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving and served with some of the juices spooned over.

(Original recipe from A Table for Friends: The Art of Cooking for Two or Twenty by Skye McAlpine, Bloomsbury, 2020.)

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Fontina, Prosciutto & Sage French Toasts

One benefit from working at home is all the nice lunches we can make. Mostly using bits and bobs from the fridge. These French toast sambos are great and you can experiment with the filling, though we reckon cheese is a must.

Fontina, prosciutto and sage-stuffed French toast – serves 4

  • 8 slices of crusty bread
  • 300g fontina (we used Gruyere), sliced
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • a few sage leaves
  • 2 eggs, beaten and seasoned
  • butter for frying

Put layers of the cheese, prosciutto and sage onto 4 slices of the bread. Cover with the rest of the bread to make sandwiches, then dip into the beaten egg, soaking on both sides.

Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan and fry the sandwiches. Press down on them as they cook until browned on both sides and the cheese has melted.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2014.)

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Linguine with garlic mushrooms & sage

Nothing fancy here but might be the break you need from all the Christmas festivities. Minimal effort required!

Wine Suggestion: a light red wine was our choice today; the Domaine Bellier Cheverny Rouge, a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay from the Loire in France. Earthy and fresh plums and cherry flavours with fine, light tannins.

Linguine with garlic mushrooms & sage – serves 2

  • 150g linguine
  • 25g butter
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • a handful of sage leaves, chopped
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated

Cook the linguine in loads of salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms until very soft and golden and the any liquid has pretty much disappeared.

Add the garlic and chilli and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the sage and cook for another minute. Season generously.

Drain the pasta but reserve some of the cooking liquid. Add the cooked pasta to the mushroom pan with the lemon juice, Parmesan and enough of the reserved water to make a sauce. Toss everything together until the pasta is coated.

Serve with a bit of extra Parmesan over the top if you like.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, November 2015)

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Mussels with red onions, cider and creme fraiche

We associate mussels with cold weather and cook them often in the darker months. Makes no sense really when we’ve no issue eating buckets of them in the sunshine on holidays. We loved the creamy sauce on these – crusty bread essential!

Wine Suggestion: it feels natural to use the cider you cook with as the accompaniment. Our choice was the artisanale and organic Cidrerie le Maitre, a very new, young producer in Brittany we stumbled upon by following little signs off the main roads into a winding, forgotten lane in the middle of the French countryside. Daniel le Maitre uses 12 ancient local varieties of apples and the result is dry, very fruity and appley but with a wonderful texture of apple skins and a great depth of flavour which makes it a great food match. A happy discovery, and their Cider Vinegar is also a good addition to our cupboard too.

Mussels with Red Onion, Cider & Crème Fraîche – serves 2

  • 1kg mussels
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 150ml dry cider
  • 2 tsp finely chopped sage
  • 150ml crème fraîche

Scrub the mussels, and discard if open and they won’t close when you give them a sharp tap.

Melt the butter in a large pan, cook the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic. Pour the cider over and add the sage, then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until reduced by half.

Add the mussels, then cover and cook over a medium heat (shaking the pan occasionally) for 3-4 mins or until they have opened. Lift the mussels into a bowl and keep warm.

Bubble the cooking liquid in the pan for a couple of minutes, then gradually blend in the crème fraîche. Heat the sauce through and pour over the mussels to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Pork tenderloin with madeira & sage

We cooked this just before we went on holidays and were determined not to buy any ingredients that needed used up. We have a huge sage bush in the garden that we definitely under-utilize and there are always bottles of all sorts of beverages lurking in the back of our cupboards. Madeira lasts forever, even when opened which is very useful.

Wine Suggestion: The madeira sauce with the sage is richer than you may expect and we find it works with juicy Côtes du Rhône reds, especially with a good dollop of Grenache. We had an uncomplicated Reserve des Armoiries which was juicy and had hints of Southern French spices made without oak; complimentary and almost celebratory of our impending holiday with its joyful fruit.

Pork tenderloin with madeira and sage – serves 4

  • butter
  • 1 pork tenderloin c. 400g
  • 100ml madeira
  • a small bunch of sage, leaves picked and chopped

Heat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.

Heat a knob of butter and a splash of olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan. Season the pork and brown really well on all sides to form a crust. Add the madeira then transfer to the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the meat from the pan, cover with foil and leave aside to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce the pan juices with another knob of butter on a low heat, and season.

To serve, cut the pork into thick slices, then dress with the pan juices and lots of chopped sage.

(Original recipe by Alex Szrok in BBC Olive Magazine, May 2016.)

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Chicken Saltimbocca

This is an easy version of an Italian dish which is perfect for a tasty mid-week dinner. A great combination of chicken, ham & sage. Also easily halved if you are only two.

Wine Suggestion: When considering a match for the salty prosciutto and savoury sage we thought of two wines straight away. The first a good Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from the Marche in Italy, like Sartarelli. The second a choice between a good Pinot Blanc or Gris from Alsace. Each should have a minerality, nuttiness and textural spices on the palate with a good balance of vibrant fruit.

Chicken saltimbocca – serves 4 

  • 4 chicken breasts (skinless & boneless)
  • 8 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Flatten the chicken breasts between two sheets of cling film by bashing with a rolling pin. Cut the flattened chicken in half lengthways. Put a piece of prosciutto and a sage leaf onto each piece of chicken and attach with a cocktail stick. Coat the chicken in the flour.

Heat half the oil in a large frying pan and cook 4 of the chicken pieces at a time for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown but a little undercooked. Set aside and cook the rest of the chicken in the remaining oil.

Wipe out the frying pan with a piece of kitchen paper, then add the butter. Heat until frothy, then add the wine and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Bubble the sauce for about a minute before adding all of the chicken back to the pan and cooking for a further 2 minutes. Sprinkle the parsley over the top and cook for another minute, then serve immediately with the sauce.

Serve with new potatoes or green veg.

(Original recipe by Aldo Zilli IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, May 2001.)

 

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Roast Guinea Fowl with sage and lemon mash

Our butcher had some guinea fowl on the counter and February is the month for a two person dish. This 1.2 kg bird gave enough for two people plus delicious sandwiches the following day.  Guinea fowl tastes like really flavoursome chicken so a good way to try out game birds with tastes that aren’t too unfamiliar. Don’t worry too much about the size of your bird, just follow the usual timings for roast chicken.

Wine suggestion: if you’d like a white wine seek out the Sartarelli Verdicchio Superiore Tralivio or for a red an earthy Pinot Noir like the Sylvain Loichet Cotes du Nuits Villages. Neither will disappoint.

Roast guinea fowl with sage & lemon mash – serves 2

  • 1 small guinea fowl, about 1kg
  • 1 onion, thickly sliced with the skin left on
  • ½ a small bunch of sage
  • 75g softened butter
  • 1 small lemon, zested
  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 350ml strong chicken stock
  • 350g floury potatoes peeled and cut in to large chunks
  • 2-3 tbsp cream/milk
  • 2 handfuls of watercress to serve

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

Put the onion in the bottom of a small roasting tin that will fit the guinea fowl snugly. Finely chop 5 sage leaves and mix with 50g of the butter, the lemon zest and seasoning. Push some of the butter mixture under the skin of the bird, then rub the rest all over. Stretch the bacon strips over the breast, then halve the zested lemon and put inside the cavity with the remaining sage. Place the bird on top of the onions and roast for 15 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and continue to roast for another 35-45 minutes or longer if your bird is bigger than 1kg. Check the bird is cooked by piercing the inside of the thigh and making sure the juices are clear.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until tender, then drain and mash with the remaining butter and a splash of milk/cream.

Lift the bird onto a platter and keep warm. Scoop the lemon halves from the cavity and keep aside. Pour the roasting juice into a jug and leave to settle, the fat will rise to the top. Spoon 1 tbsp of the fat back into the tin. Put the tin over a low heat and stir in the flour. Gradually add the stock and any meat juices (discard the extra fat from the jug). Mash some of the reserved lemon pulp into the mash with some salt and pepper.

Carve the bird and serve with the lemon mash, gravy and watercress.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, February 2014.)

 

Roast Guinea Fowl with sage and lemon mash 2

 

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Penne Stilton

We often have lumps of leftover Stilton in the fridge after the weekend and particularly after Christmas. If you find yourself in a similar situation try this simple pasta dish for a mid-week dinner. If that doesn’t solve the problem here’s a few other ideas:

Broccoli and Stilton Soup

Creamy baked Brussels sprouts with stilton

Pasta with Blue Cheese Cream

Roussillon Baked Potatoes

Pork and Pears

Wine Suggestion: delicious with the Bott-Geyl Points Cardinal Metiss, a dry but rich and full white made from all the Pinot varieties you can think of, including the red and pink ones. When young this wine is fresh and enticing but with an extra year in the bottle it fills out and the aromas seem to ramp up a bit more with hints of honey, pears and apples and a lovely dry spice on the palate. More than a match for the powerful flavour of Stilton.

Stilton & Penne Pasta – serves 4

  • 400g penne pasta
  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
  • 100g Stilton, cubed
  • handful toasted walnuts, chopped

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then gently fry the onion until golden. Add the garlic and sage, fry for a further 2 mins, then remove the pan from the heat.

Drain the pasta and reserve some cooking water. Stir through the onions, Stilton and 2 tbsp cooking water, then sprinkle with the toasted walnuts to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Sage brings an unexpected element to this soup that really works. Super warming and homely.

Pumpkin and sage soup – to serve 8

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped sage
  • 1.4kg of pumpkin or squash flesh
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock

Melt the oil and butter in a large pot. Add the onions and sage and cook gently for about 15 minutes or until really soft. Add the squash and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the honey and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is soft.

Cook before processing until smooth. Season and add a bit more stock if its too thick. Reheat to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This chicken in this is so juicy and flavoursome and would be great for crowds as well as a quiet night at home. You could grill them but we recommend you get the barbecue out – it will warm your hands against all this cold winter weather!

Sage & Lemon Chicken Skewers – to serve 4

  • 3 skinless chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • a handful of sage leaves

Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized cubes and toss with a little olive oil, the garlic and the lemon zest and juice. Season well. Thread onto 4 metal skewers, alternating chicken with sage.

Grill for about 5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked.

Wine Suggestion: Something simple, light and lemony is all that is required here. We had an Italian white, made from the Falanghina grape, which was yummy.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, January 2013)

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Simple dishes like this show off the flavours of the ingredients so well. This is a perfect dinner party side dish. Don’t worry too much about the sprout haters – more for us!!

Buttery Sage & Onion Sprouts – to serve 8 

  • 85g butter
  • 3 onions, cut into thickish slices
  • 8 sage leaves, chopped
  • 350g Brussels sprouts
  • 200g frozen peas

Heat half the butter in a large frying pan and soften the onions over a low heat for about 15 minutes. You want them really soft but not brown. Add most of the sage.

Meanwhile, cook the sprouts in a pan of boiling water for about 4 minutes, add the peas and cook for another minute or until just tender.

Drain, reserving splash of water, then add the sprouts to the peas and onions, along with the rest of the butter, stirring well so everything is coated in butter. Add the reserved cooking water if you think it needs it.

Season with loads of black pepper and some salt and sprinkle the reserved sage on top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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