Chicken Caesar Salad
- 1 loaf of ciabatta bread
- 30g fresh Parmesan cheese
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 4 chicken legs
- 1 heaped tablespoon of creme fraiche
- juice of 1 lemon
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 6 slices of smoked streaky bacon
- cos romaine lettuce (outer leaves)
- clove of garlic
- 4 anchovy fillets in olive oil
To make your salad
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6 • Tear the ciabatta into thumb-sized pieces • Pick and roughly chop the rosemary leaves • Place the chicken legs and the pieces of torn-up bread into a snug-fitting flat baking tray • Sprinkle with the chopped rosemary, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper • Mix with your hands to make sure everything is well coated, then lift the chicken legs up to the top, so they sit above the bread (this way the bread will soak up all the lovely juices) • Pop the tray into your preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is nicely cooked (you can make your dressing while you wait) • Take the tray out of the oven and drape the pancetta or bacon over the chicken and croutons • Put the tray back in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes for everything to crisp up • Your chicken legs are ready when you can pinch the meat off the bone easily • When they’re cooked, remove the tray from the oven and put it to one side for the chicken to cool down slightly
To make your salad dressing
Peel the garlic • Finely grate the Parmesan • Drain the anchovies • Pound the garlic and anchovy fillets in a pestle and mortar until you have a pulp • Add the Parmesan, Greek yoghurt, lemon juice and three times as much extra virgin olive oil as lemon juice • Whisk well and season your dressing to taste
To dress your salad
Pull the chicken meat off the leg bones – you can use two forks to do this, or your hands if you’re tough like me – and tear it up roughly with the croutons and the bacon • Wash, spin dry and separate all your salad leaves • Tear them up and toss them with the chicken, croutons, bacon and creamy dressing • Use a speed peeler to shave off a few pieces of Parmesan, if using, and scatter these over the salad
Quick Yorkshire Puddings
For about 12 yorkies:
- 3 eggs
- 115 g plain flour
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 285 ml milk
- 12 tablespoons vegetable oil
Whisk the eggs, flour, salt, and milk together really well in a bowl to make your batter. Pour the batter into a jug, and let it sit for 30 minutes before you use it.
Turn your oven up to the highest setting, and place a 12 cup muffin tray in the oven to heat up for 5 minutes. Place 1 tb of oil in each muffin hole, and put the tray back into the oven and heat until oil is very hot. Open oven door, slide the tray half out, and carefully pour the batter into the muffin holes. Close the door and cook for 15 minutes without opening the oven door. Serve immediately.
Chicken, sausage & prawn jambalaya
- 4 chicken thighs
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- cayene pepper
- olive oil
- 300 g chorizo, skin removed, cut into 1cm thick slices
- 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 green pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 4 sticks celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1-2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 1.5 litres organic chicken stock
- 700 g long-grain rice
- 16-20 raw prawns peeled and deveined
- 1 handful fresh curly parsley
Season the chicken with salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Pour a couple of lugs of oil into a large casserole type pan and brown the chicken pieces and sliced sausage over a medium heat. After 5 minutes, once nicely browned on all sides, add your onion, peppers and celery as well as your bay, thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir, then fry on a medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes stirring every now and again. You want a steady, solid heat.
Once the veg have softened, add your garlic and chillies, stir around for a minute, then stir in the tinned tomatoes and chicken stock.
Bring everything to the boil, then turn the heat down, pop the lid on the pan and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Add your rice. Give it all a good stir, then put the lid on. Give it a stir every few minutes, scraping the goodness off the bottom of the pan as you go. Let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is perfectly cooked. Stir in the prawns. Pop the lid back on and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Incredible roasted shoulder of lamb
Preheat your oven to full whack. Slash the fat side of the lamb all over with a sharp knife. Lay half the sprigs of rosemary and half the garlic cloves on the bottom of a high-sided roasting tray, rub the lamb all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place it in the tray on top of the rosemary and garlic, and put the rest of the rosemary and garlic on top of the lamb. Tightly cover the tray with tinfoil and place in the oven. Turn the oven down immediately to 170°C/325°F/gas 3 and cook for 4 hours – it’s done if you can pull the meat apart easily with two forks.
Remove the lamb from the oven and place it on a chopping board. Cover it with tinfoil, then a tea towel, and leave it to rest.
Steak, Guinness & Cheese Pie
- Olive oil
- 3 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 30g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
- 4 field mushrooms, peeled and sliced
- 1kg brisket of beef or stewing beef, cut into 2cm cubes
- A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 × 440ml can of Guinness (no lager, please!)
- 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
- 200g freshly grated Cheddar cheese
- 500g best-quality ready-made all-butter puff pastry
- 1 large free-range or organic egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. In a large ovenproof pan, heat a glug of olive oil on a low heat. Add the onions and fry gently for about 10 minutes – try not to colour them too much. Turn the heat up, add the garlic, butter, carrots and celery and scatter in the mushrooms. Mix everything together before stirring in the beef, rosemary, a pinch of salt and a level teaspoon of pepper.
Fry fast for 3 or 4 minutes, then pour in the Guinness, stir in the flour and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and place in the preheated oven for about 1½ hours. Remove the pan from the oven and give the stew a stir. Put it back into the oven and continue to cook it for another hour, or until the meat is very tender and the stew is rich, dark and thick. A perfect pie filling needs to be robust, so if it’s still quite liquidy, place the pan on the hob and reduce until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese, then season carefully and leave to cool slightly.
Cut about a third of the pastry off the block. Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll both pieces of pastry out evenly with a floured rolling pin to the thickness of a pound coin. Butter a deep pie dish, then line with the larger sheet, leaving the edges dangling over the side. Tip the stew into your lined dish and even it out before sprinkling over the remaining cheese. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg.
Cut the other rolled sheet of pastry to fit the top of the pie dish and criss-cross it lightly with a sharp knife. Place it over the top of the pie and fold the overhanging pastry on to the pastry lid to make it look nice and rustic. Brush the top with beaten egg, then bake the pie directly on the bottom of the oven for 45 minutes, until the pastry is cooked, puffed and golden. Delicious served simply with peas.
- 1 white onion, very finely chopped
- 1tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 sprigs thyme
- 1.8kg mussels – the best, cleaned & beards removed
- 100g dry white wine, dry
- 30g parsley, flat leaf, picked, chopped roughly
- 30g whipping cream
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 pinches white pepper, freshly ground
A Normandy classic, which has become a worldwide favourite, yet one of the simplest dishes to realise in your kitchen. The secret as ever is in the freshness of the mussels. A fresh mussel is shiny, closed and heavy with seawater. There should be no “fishy” smell, then you are in for a feast. All mussels should be tightly closed and any mussels that are not should be discarded.
Wash the mussels in cold running water. Any mussels that float means that they are not very fresh, so discard them. Remove any barnacles and beards that may be present (do not scrub the shells as, whilst cooking, the colour will transfer to the juices and give a very unappetising grey appearance) and drain.
Sweat the onion, bay leaves, and thyme on medium heat in the butter for 1 minute. Add the mussels and white wine cover with a lid and cook for 4-5 minutes until the mussels open. Add the whipping cream, chopped parsley and stir. Taste and add the seasoning if required.
Serve in a large dish or 4 soup plates. Give finger bowls to your guests and lots of good French bread to mop up the wonderful juices.
Soupe a l’Oignon (Onion Soup)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 8 medium Roscoff or Spanish onions sliced
- 1tbsp plain flour, toasted in a preheated oven 170°C for 30 minutes
- 200ml dry white wine, boiled for 30 seconds to remove the alcohol
- 1.5l of boiling water (beef or chicken stock can be used)
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1tsp sugar (optional)
- 12 slices of Baguette, cut 1cm thick
- 150 Gruyère cheese, grated
On a high heat, in a large non-stick saucepan, melt the butter without letting it brown. Add the onions and soften for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with 10 pinches of salt and 2 pinches of pepper.
Continue cooking the onions for 20–30 minutes to achieve an even, rich brown caramel colour. Stir every 2–3 minutes to prevent burning. Stir the flour into the caramelized onions and mix thoroughly. Gradually stir in the white wine and one third of the boiling water. Whisk well and add the remaining water. Bring to the boil, skim off any impurities from the surface and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding the sugar if required.
Arrange the baguette slices on a baking tray and sprinkle two thirds of the grated Gruyère over them. Place under a hot grill for 3–4 minutes to melt and slightly brown the cheese. Serve the soup in bowls, with the croûtons on top. Serve the remaining Gruyère separately.
- The quality of the onions is crucial in this recipe. We want both high acidity and high sugar levels to create a fully flavoured soup. The best onions are Pink Roscoff; Spanish onions, although lacking in acidity, will also work. If you like a strong onion flavour, caramelize the onions for a further 15 minutes, until very dark brown.
- Toasting the flour cooks the starch and develops a nutty flavour which will add another layer of flavour to your soup