Another take on roast chicken

Yes, it is my favourite Sunday roast – chicken – again. This time, though, the accompaniments are different. Continue reading


Coq au vin

I’ve blogged about chicken and wine dishes before, but it is always worth revisiting them if only to remind people how delicious and versatile they are. Continue reading

Yotam Ottolenghi’s meatballs with celeriac

I claim no credit for this, it was in today’s Guardian magazine, here.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes always look interesting and I am always meaning to cook one of them. This week, I didn’t have any ideas for Saturday night dinner and these looked to be exactly the thing.

Here is the recipe in full. I followed it to the letter;

    Beef meatballs with lemon and celeriac

400g minced beef
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
120g breadcrumbs
20g chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus 1 tbsp extra, to garnish
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp ground allspice
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small celeriac, cut into 5cm x 1.5cm batons
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ tsp each ground turmeric, cumin and cinnamon
1½ tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
¾ tsp smoked paprika
500ml chicken stock
3½ tbsp lemon juice
60g Greek yoghurt

In a large bowl, use your hands to mix the beef, onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, allspice, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Form into 5cm x 3cm kebab-like shapes.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan for which you have a lid, and sear the meatballs all over for about five minutes in total. Remove them and add celeriac, garlic and remaining spices to the pan. Cook on high heat, stirring, for two minutes, return the meatballs to the pan and add the stock, lemon juice, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and leave to bubble away for 10 minutes more, until the sauce is quite thick.

Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to settle. Taste, season as necessary and serve topped with a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkling of parsley.

Yotam suggests serving them with either plain rice or bulghur, we fancied couscous.

Braised leg of mutton, Provençal style

Mutton is such a great meat, flavoursome and rich compared to lamb, but needing a longer cooking time.

I had a lovely thick slice cut off of a leg and after colouring it in a frying pan with olive oil, I put it in a casserole while I sautéed some sliced onion, celery, garlic and carrot in the same oil and then added some salt and pepper, herbes de Provence, white wine to deglaze the pan, tomato passata and black olives and cooked this down a bit before adding it to the casserole and baking this in a Gas Mk 5 oven for two and a half hours.

After this time, the meat was tender and the sauce rich.

I served this with some green flageolet beans and a potato and celeriac purée, garnished with chopped parsley.

This really called for a Rhone wine and we had a bottle of 2009 Chartreuse de Bonpas Réserve, Côtes du Rhône, from Sainsbury’s. This is a lovely rich and full-bodied wine made from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, with plenty of fruit and a nice long finish.

We also had a pudding. I made a Tarte Tatin and we had it with crème anglaise.

I used puff pastry for this and the apples were Cox’s, slowly cooked in a lovely caramel made from soft dark sugar, butter and a little water.

I served the tart with a nice ready-made custard, made with cream, vanilla and free-range eggs.