Chicken with white wine, garlic and bay leaves

This dish is not always photogenic, but it is delicious, a very simple standard recipe. I jointed an organic chicken to make this, and used Viognier, and bay leaves and garlic from the garden. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 1.5kg chicken joints, 
  • 50-60 ml Olive oil (4 tbsp)
  • 2 garlic bulbs, separated into cloves with the skin left on
  • a sprig of bay leaves, around 6 leaves
  • 200ml white wine
  • 100ml water
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and leave to stand while you prepare the other ingredients. 
  • Use a large casserole dish or pan with a lid. Heat the olive oil, and fry the garlic cloves over a medium heat, until they start to brown. Remove them from the oil and set aside. 
  • Fry the chicken in the olive oil, for around 3 minutes, until browned all over.
  • Return the garlic to the pan with the white wine and bay leaves, and agitate the pan to mix the ingredients.
  • Simmer for a few minutes, before adding the water, and bring back to a simmer to cook for another four minutes. 
  • Take out the white breast meat, and set aside: the thigh, leg and wing joints will need another 10 minutes. 
  • When the thigh meat is cooked, add the breast meat back in, bring back to a simmer and then serve. 

Salad of flowers

This looks so beautiful, adding flowers to salad, and the extra flavour that they bring just lifts the whole thing. I usually make a basic Greek-style salad and layer the flowers on top. The ingredients depend on what is available. I add the ingredients in layers, only mixing together when serving. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber 
  • Spring onions
  • Chopped tomato
  • Black olives
  • Crumbled feta cheese 
  • Flowers – borage, nasturtium, chives, violas, dill, rocket, rose, rocket, stocks, pinks, kale, chamomile, marigold, dandelion
Salad of flowers

Bucks Fizz, Iochdar style

This Saturday’s cocktail was Bucks Fizz. I like my Champagne really dry for this, and all the ingredients and glasses well chilled. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 bottle of brut Champagne
  • 100 ml triple sec, such as Cointreau
  • 200 ml freshly squeezed orange juice

METHOD:

  • Mix the triple sec with the orange juice
  • Pour the champagne into champagne flutes, and top up with the supercharged orange juice, in a ratio of 2:1. This makes about six moderate glasses of Bucks Fizz. 

No pictures – it is all gone. 

 

Leek and Yoghurt soup with dried mint

This is totally delicious, much more than you’d think. I made this tonight, because of a constellation of ingredients in my fridge that inspired me to try. The trick with the egg and yoghurt really works for keeping the soup smooth. 

INGREDIENTS;

  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1/2 tsp Turkish chilli flakes (pul biber) or paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried miint
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • 150ml greek yoghurt
  • 250ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 20g/person caramelised butter
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Chop the leeks: slice them in half lengthways, rinse and slice finely. 
  • Heat the olive oil and butter together until the butter starts to foam, and then fry the leeks over a low heat for ten minutes. 
  • Add the chilli and dried mint, cover and continue to cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes, checking regularly to ensure that the leeks don’t stick or burn. 
  • Meanwhile, mix the egg yolk with the flour, to a smooth paste, and then beat in the yoghurt and stock. I used a soup wand to do this. 
  • When the leeks are cooked, sweet and soft, pour on the yoghurt and stock, and heat gently, do not allow to boil. Keep stirring as the soup thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  • To make browned butter, put around 20g per person in a small saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. The white milk solids will sink to the bottom. Keep cooking until the milk solids start to turn a gentle brown. Remove from the heat. 
  • Pour a little browned butter into each bowl before serving.

Prawns with caraway, tomatoes and green peppers

This dish is sensational. We bought 3kg of small Dublin bay prawns from a local fisherman, and boiled them for a couple of minutes in batches. The cooking water was flavoured with a pinch of saffron. We peeled them after they had cooled. Then I made this sauce and served them with toasted pitta bread and a green salad, as well as a stupendous white burgundy. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Cooked peeled prawns, as above
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 small dried hot chillies, crumbled
  • 1 green pepper, diced small
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp honey or sugar
  • chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, and fry the garlic over a medium to low heat until it starts to brown.
  • Add the caraway and the chilli and cook for a further 30 seconds before adding the green peppers. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and bring to a slow simmer. Cook for another 20 minutes, so that the sauce is reduced and thickening. Add sugar, salt, and pepper to your taste. 
  • Add the prawns and simmer for another couple of minutes to heat them through. 
  • Serve in a bowl, garnished with chopped parsley. A rocket salad and toasted pitta bread is ideal as an accompaniment. 

 

Pork chops in a cream and mustard sauce

We had guests round, and I had some pork chops in the freezer. This was delicious, nothing left at the end. Here are quantities for two. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pork chops
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • around 150ml white wine
  • around 150ml double cream
  • 1 tsp grain mustard
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Cornichons (optional, around 4 per serving)

METHOD:

  • Before cooking, season the chops with salt and pepper and set aside for at least half an hour
  • In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil together, and add crushed garlic, and then the chops. Brown the chops on each side and then cook until they are no longer pink inside, taking care not to over-cook them. 
  • Set the chops on a warm dish and keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, pour off any excess fat and oil, and then add the wine to the pan. Bring to the boil and scrape any delicious sediment in the pan so that it dissolves. 
  • Pour in the cream, bring to a gentle boil for a very short time, stir in the mustard and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  • If you are using cornichons, you can add a tbsp of the liquor from the jar to the sauce. 
  • Pour the sauce over the chops and serve with mashed potatoes. 

 

 

Gin Julep

Another Saturday evening cocktail with gin. Still working through the gin gifts from last Christmas. This time I used the Ramsbury gin from my brother. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 to 10 fresh mint leaves plus a separate wee sprig for a garnish
  • 1/4 floz (1 tsp+) fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 floz (1 tsp+) fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 floz (50ml) gin

METHOD:

  • Put the mint, lemon, lime and sugar in the bottom of a tumbler and crush them together
  • Add ice, and then the gin. 
  • Add a garnish of mint

Death in the gulf stream

Saturday cocktail hour. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 floz gin (50ml)
  • 1 1/2 floz lime juice (35ml) – about 1 small lime
  • pinch of caster sugar
  • 3-4 splashes of Angostura bitters

METHOD:

  • Put a load of ice in a tall highball glass
  • Pour in the gin and the lime juice and stir
  • Add the bitters and sugar and stir again
  • Twist a strip of lime peel over the drink and then drop it in

Chicken, pepper and mushroom stew

We were given a marrow, a vegetable that I am not that confident with. We made stuffed marrow rings, and I didn’t get it right, so you’ll need to wait for a more successful version. Just to say that the marrow was not well-cooked. The redeeming feature was this stew, which I made to be the stuffing. We ended up eating it with couscous. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g chicken
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 250g mushrooms
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 can chopped tomatos
  • 500ml stock
  • 2 tsp cornflour (I mixed marigold stock powder with the cornflour before adding water)
  • salt and pepper
  • a good pinch of paprika
  • a good handful of chopped mint and dill (or 1 tsp each of dried mint and dill)

METHOD

  • Prepare all the ingredients. Chop the chicken into small pieces. Chop the onion finely. Core the pepper, remove the seeds and slice. Prepare the mushrooms and slice coarsely. 
  • Heat the oil in a casserole dish, and when it is hot,  gently fry the onion and peppers until soft. 
  • Add the chicken and mushroom, and fry for a further 4 minutes or so until the chicken is sealed. 
  • Meanwhile, mix a little stock with the cornflour to make a smooth paste, and then add the paste back to the stock and mix. 
  • Add the tomatoes to the chicken in the pan, and bring to a simmer
  • Add the stock, paprika, salt and pepper and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the stew starts to thicken. 
  • Cover the casserole and cook in a moderate oven for 20 minutes max.

Serve with couscous and garnished with chopped herbs, such as parsley and dill. 

Elderflower Collins

Last Christmas was the Christmas of Gin. I’ve just opened the bottle from my sister Louise, very nice Dockyard Gin. It came with a recipe for Elderflower Collins. Very good. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50ml gin
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 25ml elderflower cordial
  • 10ml simple syrup, or to taste
  • Soda water, or sparkling water

METHOD:

  • In a tall glass, over ice, add the cordial, syrup, lemon juice and gin, and stir together. 
  • Top up with soda and garnish with lemon peel. 

Very refreshing.