Coq Au Vin

coq au vin

A classic Sunday dinner, Coq Au Vin is unusual in the fact that the chicken is cooked in red wine, alot of red wine! Continue reading “Coq Au Vin”

Chicken en papillote

chicken in paper


This recipe for chicken cooked in parchment paper, is simple, quick and easy.  First trim the vegetables cutting the carrot and celery into reasonably sized chuncks, a couple of centimetres wide.  Half the potatoes and trim andy skin off the chicken.

Next lay the parchment paper out on a flat surface, you’ll need enough to make a pocket for all the ingredients.  fold the paper in half then turn the side edges in tightly to form a pocket with a hole at the top.

Pour all of the ingredients into the pocket, the wine last, you can also add parsley or any other herbs at this point.  Season well with salt and pepper (about 1/2 tablespoon of salt)

Fold over the final edge so the pocket is now airtight and place on a baking tray, it is very imporant that the packet is tightly formed so that all the moisture stays inside  cook in the oven for around 35 mins or until the potatoes are fully cooked and serve.

Lamb and red wine casserole



Heat a casserole pan until really hot and add about a tbsp of oil. Fry the lamb until browned all over. Make sure and get some good colour on the meat at this stage as it will enhance the flavour of the finished dish. Remove the lamb from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Reduce the heat and add the knob of butter to the pan. Fry the onion, celery and carrot for a few minutes, scraping any bits of lamb from the bottom of the pan.. Cover and leave to ‘sweat’ for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic and rosemary and return the browned meat to the pan. Sprinkle over the flour and stir everything together. Turn the heat up and add the wine. Stir and allow to bubble over a fairly high heat for 5 minutes or so, until the wine has reduced slightly. Add the stock and season. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and leave to simmer gently for 1 and a half hours, checking and stirring occasionally.

Serve with Special Potatoes and lots of lovely vegetables.

Beef fillet with a gratin of mushrooms

Prepare the topping ahead. Gently saute the shallot and garlic in 1 tbsp oil for about 5 minutes until softened.

Remove from the pan into a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add a further 2 tbsp oil to the pan and saute the mushrooms over a high heat, stirring frequently for about 7 minutes until browned and softened. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced away. The mixture should be quite dry.

Add the mushrooms to the bowl with the onions and mix in the herbs. Season and allow to cool.

Whip the cream until softly stiff, then fold into the cooled mushroom mixture along with the egg yolk. Cover and chill until required.

Brush the steaks with the remaining oil and season them. Heat a large non-stick frying pan until it is really hot. Cook the steaks for about 2-3 minutes, turning them to sear all over. Remover from the pan.

Heat the oven to 220C. Put the steaks on ashallow baking tray. Pile the mushroom mixture on top of the steaks and dust with Parmesan. Cook, uncovered, for about 7 minutes or until the topping is bubbling and golden. serve immediately. Good with roast potatoes and a green vegetable.

Scalloped potatoes with bacon and tarragon

Peel and slice the potatoes. Place half in a greased ovenproof dish and season well. Sprinkle with the onion, tarragon and bacon then cover with the rest of the potatoes. Pour   over the cream/milk and cover with greased foil.

Cook in the oven (200C) for about 1 and a half hours or until almost tender. Remove foil and sprinkle on cheese. Return to oven, uncovered for 15-20mins.

Boulangere potatoes


  • 4 or 5 Potatoes, sliced thinly
  • Maldon sea salt and black pepper
  • 4 Cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • Chicken or vegetable stock


Jumble the potatoes in a shallow baking dish with the salt and pepper, garlic onion and bay. Spread them out in the dish so they are evenly distributed.

Pour over enough stock to just come level with the top layer then bake in a pre-heated oven (180C) for an hour or so until they are tender and the stock has been absorbed into them.

Potato chunks with lemon, anchovies and rosemary


  • 900g Potatoes (King Edwards, Maris Pipers) cut into chunks
  • 50g Can anchovies in olive oil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 25g Butter
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • Handful fresh rosemary, chopped


Preheat oven to 220C.  Place all ingredients in a baking dish and add 150ml hot water.

Mix well and cook at the top of the oven for 1 hour, turning occasionally, until tender and lightly browned. All the liquid should have been absorbed into the potatoes.

Good with chicken, lamb chops, cod steaks and winter vegetables.

Potato and fennel dauphinoise


  • 1 kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1cm thick
  • 1 Bulb fennel, finely chopped
  • 1 Clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 300ml Double cream
  • 300ml Milk
  • 100g Gruyere, grated
  • 75g Parmesan, grated
  • Salt and pepper


Heat oven to 200C.

In an ovenproof dish, layer the potatoes, fennel and garlic.

In a bowl, mix together the cream, milk, 75g of the gruyere and the parmesan. Season then pour this over the potatoes and fennel.

Cook in the oven for about 50 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Sprinkle over the rest of the gruyere and finish off under a hot grill until golden brown.

Serve with chicken, pork and fish dishes.

Provencal Tomatoes


  • 2 Large beef tomatoes
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • Selection of fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley)
  • Handful of fresh breadcrumbs
  • Large handful of grated parmesan
  • Salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 180C.  Slice tomatoes in half across the way. Fry (cut side down) in olive oil until caramelised. This will take 10 mins or so. Once caramelised, place in a roasting tray.

Finely chop the garlic and herbs and sprinkle some onto each tomato half.
Season. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs onto each tomato half and then some parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 10 mins until the tops are brown and bubbling.

Pumpkin, sage and parmesan gratin


  • 1kg Pumpkin or other squash such as butternut, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 Garlic cloves chopped
  • 6-8 Sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 150ml Double cream
  • 50g Parmesan grated


Heat oven to 200C. In a large gratin dish, toss the pumpkin or butternut squash with the olive oil. Season and roast for 40 mins until soft.
Meanwhile, heat the cream, garlic and sage leaves in a small pan until almost boiling. Remove from heat.
Remove pumpkin from the oven and pour over the infused cream.

Scatter on the cheese. Return to oven for 20mins until bubbling and golden.  Ideal served with roasts, steak or sausages.

Duck salad with hazelnut dressing


  • 50g Hazelnuts, roasted
  • 25g Sultanas
  • 200g Celeriac
  • 1 Large Cox’s apple
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the dressing:
  • 3 tbsp Groundnut oil
  • 3 tbsp Hazelnut oil
  • 1 tbsp White wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Sherry vinegar
  • A squeeze of lemon juice


Make the dressing:
Put all ingredients in a small jar, cover and shake well to blend. Set aside until ready to use (shake again before using).

Chop the hazelnuts roughly and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Score the skin on the duck breasts and season.

Place the duck breasts, skin side down in a dry pan over a medium heat. Bring up to heat and allow to brown for about 12 minutes, checking to ensure the skin does not brown. Turn them over and cook for 1 minute before transferring to the oven to finish off cooking – another 6 minutes or so depending on the size of the breasts. You want the meat to be quite pink and juicy. Rest the duck meat for at least 5 minutes befroe cutting it.

While the duck is cooking, peel and finely shred the celeriac (you cannot do this ahead of time as it will discolour). Core and thinly slice the apple, leaving the skin on. Mix the celeriac and apple with the sultanas, most of the hazelnuts (keep some for the top) and half of the dressing. Place an equal amount on 4 serving plates.

Thinly slice the duck, on the diagonal and arrange some on each plate on top of the salad. Add any duck juices to the remaining dressing and pour this over the duck. Sprinkle over the remaining hazelnuts and serve at once.

Classic French onion soup


  • 6-7 Large onions
  • 1-1.5 Litres chicken stock
  • Good slug white wine (about 2 glasses)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • Butter and oil for frying


Peel and slice the onions.  Heat butter and oil in a large pan and add sugar and bay leaf.  Add the onions and fry on medium heat for 15-20 mins, stirring, until well caramelised.

Add the wine. Deglaze the pan and leave until wine has reduced by half.  Add stock and simmer for 15-20 mins.  Remove bay leaves. Take 2-3 ladles of soup and blitz to a smooth puree. Add this back to pan and stir to thicken.

Season well with salt and black pepper.  Serve with garlic croutons and grated gruyere cheese

Pork, apricot and pistachio terrine

This is my favourite Christmas terrine, pistachios and pork work perfectly together and the addition of apricot adds a lovely sweetness to the recipe.  This is worth the effort and is relatively straightforward to make Continue reading “Pork, apricot and pistachio terrine”

Arctic zone cappucinos


  • Thick chocolate sauce
  • 180g dark chocolate, 70% solids
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 280ml milk
  • 160ml single cream
  • Chantilly cream
  • 500ml whipping cream
  • 70g icing sugar
  • half a vanilla pod
  • Coffee granita
  • 480ml hot espresso coffee
  • 80ml hot, diluted chicory essence (Camp coffee)
  • 60g caster sugar
  • Chocolate brownies
  • 80g unsalted butter + some for greasing
  • 120g plain flour + some for dusting
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 40g good quality cocoa powder
  • 100g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
  • 100g good quality chocolate drops or chips (or a bar cut into small chunks)


Make the coffee granita
Mix all ingredients together while the coffee is still hot. Leave to cool completely before pouring into a shallow tray or tub and placing in the freezer for 3-4 hours (can make the day before). Just before serving the ‘cappucino’, break up the frozen mixture by running the prongs of a fork along the surface, resulting in coffee ice crystals.

Make the brownies
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a fairly deep rectangular cake tin and dust with the extra flour, tipping out ant excess to leave a thin coating.
Beat the butter vigorously with the caster sugar using electric beaters (this is easier if the butter is at room temperature) until very pale and light. Then beat in the eggs one by one before adding the sifted flour and cocoa powder. Fold in the pecan nuts and the chocolate drops.

Turn this mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cut into 6 large squares in the tin while still hot. Leave to cool a little and take them out of the tin while still slightly warm. They will turn ‘fudgy’ as they cool. To serve, dust with icing sugar and cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles. Can make the day before.

Make the Chantilly cream
Mix the cream and the icing sugar. Scrape the seeds from half the vanilla pod and add to the cream. Chill in a bowl. When very cold, beat until stiff. return to the fridge until needed.

Make the thick chocolate sauce (ganache)
Break the chocolate into a food processor and whizz until finely grated. Put this into a heatproof bowl. Bring the milk and cream to the boil (but do not allow to boil or it will split) and pour this onto the chocolate. Stir carefully with a wooden spoon until completely smooth and glossy. Keep warm until needed over a bowl of hot (but not boiling water).

Chicken liver parfait


  • 500g Chicken livers, rinsed and trimmed of sinew
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Clove garlic, finely chopped
  • A couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Port or brandy
  • 100g Butter, melted (plus extra for frying)
  • 4 Tbsp double cream
  • Salt and white pepper


Fry the onion, garlic and thyme in the extra butter (about 1 tbsp) gently until soft but not coloured – about 10-15 mins. Remove from pan and leave to cool.

Put the chicken livers in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Add the cooled onion mixture, the Port or brandy and the double cream. Whizz and, with the processor running, pour in the melted butter. Season generously with the salt and black pepper.

Pass this mixture through a sieve into a jug, scraping it through with a spatula. Discard what’s left in the sieve – there should only be about a teaspoonful.

Heat the oven to 180C. Pour the mixture into 8 individual ramekins and cover the ramekins with foil. Place these ramekins in a baking tray. Pour just boiled water from the kettle into the baking tray so it comes halfway up the ramekins.

Cook in the oven for about half an hour. Leave to cool completely before transfering to the fridge. Chill until required – will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

If you prefer, you can make it in one large dish rather than individual ramekins – just increase the cooking time to about 50 minutes.