Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Salmon Fish-cakes with Home-made Tartare Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
50g spring onions very, finely chopped
900g cooked salmon fillets
1 tbsp, finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaf
1 small green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
550g mashed potato, leftover mash is fine
Squeeze of lemon juice
Flour for coating
2 beaten eggs 
Bread crumbs

Flake the salmon into a bowl add the herbs, spring onion, lemon juice, chopped chilli and mashed potato, season with salt and pepper and gently mix.

Make the breadcrumbs with 4 slices seeded bread baked in the oven at a low temperature until crisp and then blended to course crumbs.

Form the mixture into patty shapes and dip each one, first into flour and then into beaten egg, coat each fish-cake in breadcrumbs and leave them in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Shallow fry in oil for 20 minutes until they are golden brown, turning them occasionally.

Serve with tartare sauce and a crisp salad.

For the tartare sauce

5 fl oz mayonnaise
1 tbsp chopped capers
1 tbsp chopped gerkin
Large pinch cayenne pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated shallot
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and place in the fridge until needed.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Blueberry Pancakes


150g self raising flour
1 egg
Pinch salt
2 fl oz  whole milk
3 tbsp buttermilk
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
50g caster sugar
A little vegetable oil for frying

75g ripe blueberries

Sieve the flour, salt and spices into a large bowl, add the sugar.

Lightly beat together the milk, buttermilk and egg and add to the bowl with the flour mixture, stir to bring it all together then whisk until smooth, add a little milk if the mixture is too stiff.

Gently stir in the blueberries.

Heat a heavy based frying pan until very hot, add just 1tsp oil and use a piece of kitchen paper to rub it over the base of the frying pan, turn the heat down slightly and add the batter 1-2 tbsp at a time.

Cook in batches for 1-2 minutes each side and keep warm until needed.

Sprinkle the pancakes with icing sugar and serve with cream, ice-cream or to accompany a nice cup of tea.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

  • Duck Liver Pate
  • This was adapted from a James Martin recipe but I prefer it with a little less garlic.

  • 1kg duck livers, left whole, remove any sinew
  • 6 tbsp brandy
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • A few basil leaves
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • Salad leaves to serve

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 3.

Arrange the livers in a single layer in an ovenproof dish, then add the garlic, basil leaves, brandy and seasoning.

Put the livers to the preheated oven and poach for about 30 minutes, turning once. The livers are ready when they are brown on the outside but still pink in the middle.

Transfer the livers and cooking liquor to a blender with 250g of the butter, and combine until smooth. Check the seasoning, then scrape into cling film and roll up to form a cylinder shape and leave in the fridge to cool.

When cool, clarify the remaining butter by melting it in a pan and removing all the curd-like sediment. Spoon the clear liquid over the surface of the pate and arrange a couple of fresh basil leaves on top. Chill in the fridge until set.

Serve the pâté with seeded crackers and  cherries soaked in a little Kirsch.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Raspberry Pavlova


3 egg whites
175g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp white wine vinegar
1tsp cornflour
300ml double cream
350g fresh raspberries, washed and hulled


Draw a 7in circle on a piece of parchment paper and place the paper on a baking tray.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Whisk in half the sugar then fold in the remaining sugar, the vanilla extract, the white wine vinegar and cornflour with a metal spoon.

Spread the meringue mixture over the circle and bake in the oven at 150C/300F/gas 2, for about 1 hour until crisp and dry.

Leave to cool on the baking tray for 2 hours, then peel off the parchment paper.

Whisk the cream until stiff. Slide the meringue onto a flat plate, pile on the cream and arrange the raspberries on top.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Thursday Breakfast

Eggs Florentine

Spinach is available all year round in greengrocers and supermarkets and the freshest and most tender leaves are around right now.  Spinach is well known for its nutritional qualities and is very good for you.  Vitamins A and C are present in significant amounts, as are several antioxidants and folic acid.  If you grow your own spinach, which is suprisingly easy, and can be grown in a pot on the patio and you are looking for new spinach recipes, you will love this recipe for 'Eggs Florentine'. Delicious and nutritious, its a great breakfast recipe and very easy to make.


250g fresh spinach
Freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
4tbsp single cream
A pinch of grated nutmeg
2tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 200C/ gas 7

Wash the spinach and tear the leaves roughly. Put the wet leaves in a saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring continuously until the leaved are just wilted (1 or 2 minutes). Season to taste. Spoon the spinach into 2 gratin dishes. With the back of a spoon, make 2 hollows for the eggs, in each dish. Break an egg into each hollow and spoon 1tbsp of cream over each egg. Season lightly and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake in the preheated oven for 7-8 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return the dishes to the oven for 1-2 minutes more until the cheese melts.

Serve immediately with buttered wholemeal toast.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

  • Biscotti with Fruit and Nuts

     Biscotti are delicious with ice-cream or dipped in a frothy Cappuccino coffee or   
  • sweet dessert wine.

  • 500g plain flour
  • 500g unrefined caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 100 g  sultanas
  • 100g raisins
  • 100g  pistachio nuts, shelled
  • 50g pitted dates, chopped
  • 100 g flaked almonds
  • 100 g skinned hazelnuts, halved
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 7eggs,  lightly beaten

 Preheat the oven to 180°C/ gas 4. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. 

Add the fruit, nuts and lemon zest, mixing well.

Add the beaten eggs, a little at a time but you don't want the dough too wet.

Divide the dough into sausage shapes, 3-5cm thick. Lightly flatten and place on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a bit.

Reduce the oven temperature to 140°C/gas 1.

While the biscuits are still just warm, slice them through the middle and place on the baking sheet. Return to oven to dry out for about 12 minutes. Turn them over and leave to dry for 10-12 minutes more.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Mackerel and Gooseberry Sauce

Serves 4

Tangy fruit and oily fish go well together. This marinade is perfect with mackerel.

175g gooseberries, topped, tailed and sliced
1 stick lemon grass, bruised and broken up
2 cloves garlic,crushed
½ red chilli, deseeded and chopped
4tbsp olive oil
2tbsp lime juice
Piece of lime rind
1tbsp chopped coriander
Salt and black pepper
4 medium mackerel, scaled and well cleaned
4 tbsp Pernod 

Place the mackerel in a long gratin dish with the lemon grass, garlic and chilli. Add the oil, lime juice and rind and seasoning, mix well and then add in the fish.

Turn once to cover well and then leave for up to one hour.

Remove the fish from the marinade and grill or barbecue fast for 2-3 minutes each side.

Place the marinade in a small pan with the Pernod and cook only until the liquid bubbles and the gooseberries begin to fall. Then serve a little with each fish.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Tabbouleh Salad with Fried Salmon

For the Tabbouleh

Serves 4

400g Bulgar wheat, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes
200g flat leaf Parsley, chopped
50g Mint leaves, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
1 large tomato, skinned de-seeded and chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Freshly milled black pepper

In a large bowl, stir together the Parsley, mint, tomato and onion.

Drain any liquid that has not been absorbed from the bulgar wheat, fluff it up with a fork and season with salt and pepper.

Add the bulgar wheat to the herb and tomato mixture, dress with the lemon juice and olive oil and mix well.

Place in the fridge until needed.

For the fried salmon

4 salmon fillets
2tbsp olive oil
25g butter
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, season the salmon and cook for 3-4 minutes each side.

Serve warm with the Tabbouleh,

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Weekend Food

Bring back the Picnic

A family picnic is the perfect way to eat out together, especially if accompanied by sunshine, a quiet spot in the countryside and some delicious picnic food. Just pack a travel rug, a cool box or bag, with ice packs, picnic food and cold drinks.

Whether it is finger or fork food it will taste better for being eaten outdoors.  For a planned picnic the food possibilities are endless whether you want simple rustic fare or a gourmet picnic.

Below are a few ideas for a family picnic.

Mini chicken pasties

4 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg beaten lightly


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion chopped finely
1 clove garlic
75 grams coarsely grated potato
75 grams coarsely grated sweet potato
200g chicken mince
1 tbsp finely chopped Mint leaves
1 tbsp finely chopped Parsley


Heat oil in a medium frying pan
Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft
Add potato, sweet potato and chicken, cook, stirring, until chicken is lightly browned
Stir in mint and parsley

cut 5 x 9cm rounds from each sheet of puff pastry
Place level tbsp of filling of each round and brush edges with egg
Fold edges together making a semi circle
Pinch edges and seal with a fork
Place on greased oven trays and brush with beaten egg
Bake at 200c for 15 minutes till golden brown.

These pasties can be made the night before and stored in the fridge

Satay chicken drumsticks


200 grams crunchy peanut butter
160ml chicken stock
2 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
12 chicken drumsticks
250 ml coconut milk


Combine all the ingredients, except chicken and coconut milk, in a bowl and mix well
Line an oven tray with foil
Place the drumsticks on the tray and brush with about a quarter of the mixture
Cook chicken in a moderate oven for 20 minutes
Turn the chicken and brush them with another quarter of the mixture
Cook for a further 20 minutes until browned and tender
Place the remaining peanut mixture in a small saucepan stir in the coconut milk
Bring to the boil; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes
Serve satay sauce with drumsticks

The same satay mix can be used for satay skewers: Cut 1 kg of chicken thigh fillets into strips thread onto skewers and marinate before cooking under a hot grill for 5 minutes each side.

Homemade Lemonade


6 large lemons
150g granulated sugar


Wash the lemons in warm water
Thinly pare the outer zest from 3 of them, using a potato peeler or a zester
It is important not to include any white pith as this will make your lemonade bitter
Place zest in a large bowl with the juice of all 6 lemons
Add the sugar
Pour in 2 1/2 pints of boiling water, stir well, cover and leave in a cool place overnight
Next day, stir and taste, add a little more sugar if it needs it
Strain through a sieve
Pour into bottles and chill thoroughly
Serve straight or diluted with fizzy water

Try serving with a thin slice of orange and if you can transport it, lots of ice.

More picnic food for thought

Rice or Couscous based salad with olives, peppers chopped spring onion and a few capers.

Picnic pie (shortcrust pastry with layered meat, cheese, vegetables, tomatoes etc)
Terrine (Chicken or Salmon)

Tuna and mixed bean salad with celery and apple. Take a little french dressing with you and add to the salad just before eating.

Sandwiches or small rolls (it just isn't a picnic without them) but carry salad fillings separately, nobody likes soggy sandwiches.

Fresh fruit and fresh fruit jellies (Summer berries are particularly nice in jelly)

Banana Nut Muffins


280g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 ripe bananas
110g granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g chopped hazelnuts
70ml milk
90ml vegetable oil

Pre-heat the oven to 190C / 375F / gas 5

In a large bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder and bicarb.  In another bowl mash the bananas add the sugar, egg, milk and oil, mix well.

Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until evenly mixed bur still lumpy.

Spoon into muffin tins or cases, sprinkle the chopped nuts over and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and risen.

Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Try to avoid taking anything chocolate on a hot day

If you can, use disposable cutlery and plates, Take them home to recycle.

Remember to take some travel wipes and wash your hands before eating.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Tagliatelle with Peas Cream and Ham


200g Tagliatelle pasta, cooked
1 tbsp olive oil
150g fresh  or frozen peas
50g parma ham, chopped
100ml double cream
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the olive oil over a medium  heat and add the ham and thyme, cook for 2 minutes, add the peas and cream and cook for a further 4 minutes, add the tagliatelle and heat until warmed through.  Season to taste.

Serve immediately with warm garlic bread.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


If you have ever visited Greece or Turkey you have probably seen or eaten Baklava.

Baklava is a rich sweet dessert made from filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with honey, it looks very impressive but is a lot easier to make than it looks.


225g sugar
225g honey
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp rose water
450g filo pastry
225g unsalted butter
125ml olive oil
175g pistachios
175g hazelnuts, toasted
175g almonds
175g walnuts

Pre-heat the oven to 190C / 375F / gas 5

Make the syrup by dissolving the sugar and honey in 300ml boiling water, boil for 10 minutes and add the lemon juice, zest and rose water, remove from the heat and cool.

Melt the butter in a saucepan stir in the oil and allow to cool.  Brush a rectangular roasting tin with some of the butter oil mixture then cover the base and sides of the tin with a double layer of pastry, overlapping the edges.  Brush the pastry all over with the butter and oil mix and add another double layer of pastry, repeat once more to make a third layer.

Put the nuts into the pastry and fold over all the edges, cover the nuts with the rest of the pastry brushing each sheet of filo, including the top one, with the butter mixture.

Cut the Baklava, using a sharp knife, into diamond shapes.

Bake for 20 minutes then lower the heat to 170C / 325F / gas 3 and bake for a further 20 minutes.

Remove the Baklava from the oven, pour over the syrup and leave to cool.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Pecan Pie

Pecans are native to America, with most of them grown in the South and South-west.  Pecan pie is a genuine southern speciality.


3 eggs, lightly beaten
100g sugar
322g dark corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g pecan halves
9" pie case, uncooked
60g butter, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 180C
Stir eggs, sugar, melted butter, syrup and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended.

Arrange pecan halves over the bottom of the pastry case and carefully pour the mixture over.

Bake for 50-55 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and reheat when ready to serve.

Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream or chilled double cream.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Courgette and Dolcelatte Soup

Dolcelatte cheese is a milder version of Gorgonzola and has a lovely creamy texture, it compliments the fresh tasting courgette soup perfectly.


500g courgettes, sliced
25g butter
150g Dolcelatte cheese, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
850ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp crème fraiche
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan , add the courgettes, garlic and onion, gently fry for 5 minutes, add the stock and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer until soft.

Cool the soup slightly and blend until smooth.  Reheat gently and add the crème fraiche and Dolcelatta cheese.

Serve with crusty bread.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Chocolate Chip and Orange Muffins


280g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2tsp salt
1 egg
110g granulated sugar
Grated rind of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange + water to make 180ml
110g dark chocolate chips
90ml vegetable oil


Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg, stir in the sugar, orange rind, juice plus water, and oil.  

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry mixture, stir to combine (mixture should be thick and lumpy) .  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon into muffin tins or paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.

When grating the orange rind, be careful not to grate any of the white pith, it will make your muffins very bitter.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Tomato Red Onion and Goats Cheese Tart 
with Wholemeal Cheese Pastry

For the pastry

200g plain wholemeal flour
Heaped tsp mustard powder
Pinch of salt
50g butter
50g white cooking fat
50g cheddar cheese, finely grated
A little cold water

Sieve together the flour, mustard powder and salt, rub in the fats until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, stir in the finely grated cheddar.  Add enough cold water to mix to a stiff but pliable dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas 4

Roll out the dough on a floured surface and line a large flan tin with the pastry.  Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

For the filling

4 large eggs
3 tbsp crème fraiche
2 large tomatoes
1 medium red onion
1 tbsp olive oil
100g goats cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the olive oil over a medium heat, add the onion and cook until softened.

Whisk the eggs and crème fraiche together and brush some of it over the pastry base, place it in the oven for 1 minute, remove and spread the softened onions over the base.  Pour in the egg mixture and add the goats cheese, arrange tomato slices over the top, sprinkle the chives over and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Serve warm with salad and coleslaw.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Rhubarb Chutney


2 kg rhubarb, cut into chunks
450g onions, finely chopped
1 kg Demerara sugar
450g raisins
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp curry powder
900ml malt vinegar

Put 1/2 of the malt vinegar in a large heavy based pan along with the rest of the ingredients.  Cook gently until the rhubarb softens then add the remaining malt vinegar and cook until the mixture thickens.

Pour into warmed jars, seal and label.  Store in a cool place.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Seasonal Recipe of the week

Strawberry Jam

The Strawberry season is here and what could be nicer than making your own strawberry jam. With scones for teatime, for breakfast with wholemeal toast, or a filling for sponge cakes. You could still be eating it when the sun has long gone, and the taste of Summer will still be there.


1kg small firm Strawberries
0.75kg jam sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Knob of butter

Hull the Strawberries and place them with the sugar in a large pan.

Place a saucer in the freezer you will need this to test if the jam is ready.

Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, there should be no visible sugar crystals, add the lemon juice, bring to a brisk boil and boil for 5 minutes.  Test by dropping some jam onto the saucer leave a minute or two and push the jam with the edge of your finger, if it wrinkles and appears set, your jam is ready to pot, if it is still a bit runny boil for another couple of minutes then test again.

Stir the butter into the jam this will disperse any scum that may have formed.

Pour into warmed jars (approx 6) and place a waxed disc on the top.  Put the lid on the jar , label  and store in a cool place.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon


1 large whole chicken or 8 chicken thighs

For the marinade

10 sprigs  fresh rosemary, leaves only, bruised in a pestle and mortar.
Juice and zest of 4 lemons
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.

Cut the whole chicken into 6 portions and place in the bowl with the marinade, mix to cover the chicken portions.  Leave in the marinade for 4 hours or, ideally, overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

Remove the chicken from the marinade and sear in a griddle pan for 4 minutes each side.  Place in a roasting tin on the middle shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden.  Rest the chicken for 10 minutes and serve warm with new potatoes and salad.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Afternoon tea

Buttermilk Scones with Cream and Jam

This scone recipe was originally one of Delia's but I have changed it slightly replacing the butter with soft margarine and adding slightly less sugar.  The scones are very light (which is good if you are packing them with jam and cream)  5 minutes to make, 10 minutes to bake and make sure you have the kettle on.


8 oz self-raising flour + a little for dusting
Pinch of salt
3 oz soft margarine
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp buttermilk

Sieve the salt and flour into a bowl.  Rub in the margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar.

Whisk the buttermilk and egg together and add to the mixture, bring together, first with a knife and then use your hands to form a ball of dough.

Pre-heat the oven to 220C / 425F / gas 7

Dust with flour and roll out to no less than 1" thick.  Cut rounds out with a 2" cutter and place them on a baking sheet, brush with a little buttermilk and dust the tops with flour.  Place them on the top shelf of the oven for 10 minutes until they are golden brown.

Transfer them to a wire tray to cool.

This would be a good time to put the kettle on.

Whip some double cream until it just starts to thicken, place a teaspoon of jam on one half of each scone and top with some cream before replacing the top.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

with Rocket, Red Onion and Edam Cheese


1kg lean minced beef
2 large onions, finely chopped
50g brown breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg, beaten
2tbsp chopped parsley
6-8 large, seeded rolls
250g Edam, sliced thinly
125g rocket
1 large red onion, thinly sliced

To make the burgers

Mix the minced beef, onions, breadcrumbs and Parsley together in a large bowl, season well and add the beaten egg to bind together.

Form into 6-8 patties. Cover the burgers with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Grill, or barbecue the burgers for 4-5 minutes each side.

Lay a slice of cheese on top of each burger and grill for 1 minute.

Toast the inside of the rolls, spread with a little mayonnaise or relish, put in some rocket and red onion then a burger, top each burger with tomato relish.

Serve with potato wedges, tossed in olive oil and roasted in the oven until tender and golden.


For a spicy burger add, 1tsp ground cumin and 1tsp ground coriander to the meat mixture and replace the chopped Parsley with chopped Coriander.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Syrup Sponge Puddings
with Custard

We are going through a cool spell weather-wise so cheer yourself up with this great sponge pudding.


100g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
100g soft margarine or softened butter
2 large eggs
Grated zest of 1 lemon
6 dessert spoons golden syrup
Butter to coat the pudding tins

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, margarine, eggs and lemon juice together, using a hand-held mixer.

Butter 6 small pudding tins and spoon 1 dessert spoon of syrup into each one.

Fill each pudding tin 2/3 full with the sponge mixture and cover them with greaseproof paper or tin foil with a crease folded over the top to allow for the expansion of the sponge.  Tie with string or use a thick elastic band to keep the foil in place.

Steam for 20-25 minutes until the top feels springy.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Coq au vin
then Left-over Coq au vin Pie

Coq au vin dinner Saturday then left-over Coq au vin pie Sunday, I really must try to down-size meals on bank holiday weekends when 60% of the family have gone off enjoying themselves...  That said, the Coq au vin pie was a tasty triumph under wholemeal pastry.

For the Coq au vin

18 chicken portions, drumsticks and thighs, skinless, bone in
200g smoked bacon, chopped
100g Chorizo, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
18 shallots, left whole
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
3 sprigs Thyme, 3 sprigs rosemary, 3 sprigs parsley and 2 Bay leaves, tied together with string
2tbsp seasoned flour
3tbsp olive oil
1tsp tomato puree
1 pint red wine
150ml chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
250g Button mushrooms, whole

Toss the chicken thighs in the seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole or lidded saute pan. Brown the chicken on all sides, until golden brown, this is best done in two batches rather than overcrowd the pan.

Remove the chicken and set it aside.

Heat the olive oil in the same pan and add the chopped bacon, shallots, celery, carrot, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes then add the tomato purée.

Pre-heat the oven to 150C /  300F / gas 2

Return the chicken to the pan, place the herbs in the middle and pour over the wine and chicken stock. bring up to a simmer put on the lid and place in the oven for 1 1/2-2 hours.

Remove and discard the herb bundle.

Serve with mashed potatoes and crusty bread.

Coq au vin pie

For the pastry

100g plain flour
100g plain wholemeal flour
50g butter
50g white cooking fat
A little cold water
1 egg, beaten

Sieve the salt and flours together and rub in the fats until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Add water a little at a time until you have a stiff but pliable dough.  Place the dough in cling film and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C / 375F / gas 5

Divide the pastry into 2 pieces and roll 1 half to fit an 8" round pie dish.

Remove any bones from the left-over Coq au vin and spoon into the pastry lined pie-dish.  Roll out the remaining pastry and place on top of the pie, seal the edges with a little beaten egg.

Make a few holes on the top of the pie and brush all over with the remaining beaten egg.

Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until deep golden brown

Seafood Paella

Paella is the taste of Summer for me.  As soon as the sun is out so is the paella pan. I cooked this one on the hob, using two burners but i...