The French method of roasting chicken is to add wine and stock to the roasting pan and it turns into a delicious jus as the bird cooks. The flavour of this liquid can be intensified by reducing it right down. Always buy the best-quality bird you can find: it will generally come with giblets, which make excellent gravy, and the flesh itself will be beautifully moist and flavoursome. The best way to carve a chicken is to remove the whole breasts and cut them into slices across the grain. Then take the leg and thigh off the carcass and cut them in half to share out the brown meat amongst those who like it.
1 large free-range chicken (1.75–2kg/3½–4lb)
50g (2oz) unsalted butter
a few bushy sprigs of thyme or tarragon
1 onion, halved
1 celery stick, cut into chunks
1 carrot, cut into chunks
200ml (7fl oz) white wine
400ml (14fl oz) chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the roast potatoes
1.25kg (2½lb) floury potatoes, e.g. King Edward
75g (3oz) duck or goose fat
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 sprigs of thyme
After buying the bird, remove the giblets from their bag and put them in a small bowl. Cover and place both bird and giblets in the fridge. Take the bird out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking so it isn’t fridge-cold.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
Prepare the potatoes: if they are large, cut them into quarters; if not, cut them in half. Simmer them for 5 minutes or so in boiling salted water, then drain and rough up the outside with a fork. Sprinkle with the flour if you wish and toss to roughly coat.
Smear the breasts of the bird with butter and season well with salt and pepper. Put the thyme or tarragon in the cavity, where it subtly flavours the meat as it cooks.
Put the onion, celery and carrot in a roasting tray. Sit the chicken on top and place in the oven for 20 minutes to brown. To get a richly coloured gravy, pour in half the wine and 100ml (4fl oz) of the stock. Allow the liquid to evaporate almost to nothing and start to caramelize, but take care it doesn’t burn.
When the chicken has been cooking for almost 20 minutes, start the roast potatoes. Put the duck or goose fat in a separate roasting tray and place in the oven for a couple of minutes, until melted and smoking. Add the potatoes and seasoning, then roll them around in the fat. Scatter in the garlic and thyme. Put the potatoes in the oven below the chicken and lower the temperature to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Baste the bird with any juices in the tray, then pour in the remaining wine and stock. Continue cooking for 20 minutes per 500g (1lb). Test for readiness by sticking a small sharp knife into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear rather than pink, the bird is ready.
Transfer the chicken to a carving board or platter. Cover with foil and a couple of clean tea towels and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes. If the potatoes need further crisping, increase the heat to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7 and blast them for another 10 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, strain the roast vegetables and discard. Return the liquid to the roasting tray, place on the hob and bring to the boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits stuck in the bottom of the pan. Boil hard to reduce slightly if you wish.
Serve the chicken with the roast potatoes and plenty of freshly steamed vegetables.
Roast rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding & red wine gravy
Rib of beef is the ultimate roast, magnificent to set on the table and fantastic to eat. This one has three ribs and will feed a family for Sunday lunch, leaving some juicy cold meat to eat during the week. A four-rib joint will feed a dinner or lunch party, and at Christmas, for a real showstopper, we sell huge seven-rib joints that include part of the sirloin. We always cut off the back bone and some of the other muscles to leave just the round central rib-eye. This means that the meat cooks evenly and is easy to carve. However, we leave in the fingerbones and also plenty of luscious fat in order to add flavour to the meat.
3-rib joint of beef, back bone removed and fingerbones trimmed (about 3–3.5kg/7–8lb trimmed weight)
2 onions, halved
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
2 celery sticks, halved
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Yorkshire batter
300g (10oz) plain flour
pinch of fine sea salt
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
350ml (12fl oz) milk
350ml (12fl oz) water
3 tablespoons dripping or olive oil
For the gravy
400ml (14fl oz) beef stock and/or vegetable cooking water
1 tablespoon plain flour
about 150ml (¼ pint) red wine
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Take the meat out of the fridge 1 hour before roasting so it doesn’t go into the oven stone-cold.
Meanwhile, make the batter. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack in the eggs and extra yolk and pour in a little of the milk. Start mixing the flour into the liquid, and continue mixing as you add the remaining liquid bit by bit, stirring hard to get a smooth batter. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge.
Put the onions, carrots and celery in a roasting tray. Place the meat on top, fat-side up. Season well all over with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3 and continue cooking for one of the following times per 500g (1lb), depending on how you like your meat:
15 minutes for rare
20 minutes for medium
25 minutes for well done
About 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time, you can use a meat thermometer to help get the beef to your liking:
45–47°C (113–117°F) for rare
50–52°C (122–126°F) for medium rare
55–60°C (131–140°F) for medium
65–70°C (149–158°F) for well done
Make sure the probe goes into the thickest part of the meat, and take the joint out of the oven when it is 5°C (40°F) under your target, as its temperature will continue to rise for a while.
Put the joint on a carving board, cover with foil and a couple of clean tea towels and set aside to rest while you cook the Yorkshire pudding. Alternatively, if you have a double oven, warm it to 110°C/225°F/Gas Mark ¼ and pop the meat inside.
Turn the main oven back up to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Put the dripping or oil in a baking tin and place it in the oven. When the fat is smoking hot, pour in the batter and bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the gravy. Place the roasting tray still containing the veg over a medium-low heat. Pour in the stock and stir well, scraping up the tasty bits stuck in the bottom of the pan. Strain the liquid into a jug, discarding the vegetables. When the fat has risen to the top, spoon or pour it off into a bowl.
Return 1½ tablespoons of the fat to the roasting tray, place over a medium heat and sprinkle in the flour (you can add a teaspoon or so more if you like thickish gravy). Stir well for 1 minute. Add about 90ml (3½fl oz) of the hot stock and/or vegetable water and stir well to combine. Now add the wine and let it bubble up. Gradually add the rest of the liquid and let the gravy simmer until it has thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep the gravy warm until needed, pouring in the juices from the rested meat just before serving.
To carve the joint, hold it firmly with a carving fork and cut off slices, starting at the end of the lowest bone, as this will come away the most easily. Cut away the bones and string as you go, not all at once, because they hold the joint together and make carving easier.
Serve the meat on warm plates with the Yorkshire pudding and gravy, along with potatoes and vegetables of your choice, such as steamed leeks and carrots.
Won Ton Soup
The name won ton means swallowing a cloud, and the wonton floating in this popular soup are thought to resemble clouds. This recipe for Won ton Soup serves 4.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
18 – 24 won ton wrappers
Filling: 1/2 pound boneless lean pork, chopped finely
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce a few drops sesame oil
1 teaspoon sherry
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 green onion, finely minced 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 dashes of white pepper Other: Water for boiling won tons 4 1/2 – 5 cups chicken stock green onion, thinly sliced, as desired a few drops sesame oil (optional)
Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Lay one won ton skin in front of you. Cover the remaining won ton skins with a damp towel to keep them from drying out.
Filling the won tons: Moisten all the edges of the won ton wrapper with water. Place a heaping teaspoon of won ton filling in the center. Fold the won ton wrapper in half lengthwise, making sure the ends meet. Press down firmly on the ends to seal. Use thumbs to push down on the edges of the filling to center it. Keeping thumbs in place, fold over the won ton wrapper one more time. Push the corners up and hold in place between your thumb and index finger. Wet the corners with your fingers. Bring the two ends together so that they overlap. Press to seal. The finished product should resemble a nurse’s cap. Repeat with remaining won tons. Alternate method: Place the teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper and twist to seal. The final result should resemble a money bag or drawstring purse. Boiling the won tons: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the won tons, making sure there is enough room for them to move about freely. Let the won tons boil for 5 – 8 minutes, until they rise to the top and the filling is cooked through. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.
To make the soup: bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the won tons and bring the soup back to a boil. Add the green onion, remove the pot from the heat and add the sesame oil, stirring. Ladle into soup bowls, allowing 6 won tons per person
How to make Turkish Coffee
This traditional method of brewing coffee using decoction produces a rich, dark, strong cup. Domestic blade and burr grinders are rarely able to grind the coffee finely enough, but if you are unable to find a specialty Turkish grinder, grind the coffee as finely as your grinder can manage.
YOU WILL NEED
Ibrik (Turkish coffeepot), digital scale with metric readings, Turkish Coffee cup, heat source, spoon, Turkish hand coffee grinder, water, freshly roasted coffee beans, sugar (optional)
1 Place the coffeepot on the scale and tare or set to zero. Measure out the water you need by filling your Turkish coffee cup with cold water and then pour it into the pot. The water should just reach the neck of the pot so, if necessary, add more water to make a little extra coffee, but make sure that the water does not rise above the water line marked on the inside of your pot. Make note of the total weight of the water.
2 Place the pot on the heat source and heat the water until warm.
3 Measure out your coffee, using slightly more than with a French press (see here)—start with a ratio of 8 grams (about 5 teaspoons) of coffee per 100 grams (scant ½ cup) of water. Adjust to more or less coffee if you like your drink stronger or weaker, but note that the Turkish coffee method produces a relatively strong brew.
4 Grind the coffee to a fine powder using the Turkish hand grinder.
5 Place your coffee grounds on top of the water but do not stir them in. If you are adding sugar, add it on top now.
6 Heat the pot over low heat, and after a few minutes you will notice the coffee foaming up the neck of the pot. Take hold of the handle and remove the pot from the heat source, letting the foam subside.
7 Once the foam has subsided, repeat step 6. You can then repeat one or two times, or stop at this point; try your coffee at different stages of the process to determine your preference. If you like, you can stir the coffee each time it subsides; again, you can try your coffee both ways and compare
8 Most of the coffee will have fallen to the bottom of the pot at this stage. Distribute the coffee evenly by pouring a little into each cup in turn and then returning to the first cup and repeating until each is filled.
9 Wait for a few minutes for the foam and coffee to settle before you drink
Here is step by step
(How to make coffee ebook)
How to make cowboy coffee
This is one of the easiest ways of brewing coffee, using the decoction method of extraction, where water is boiled with the coffee grounds in a pot for a few minutes to make a crude brew. It is ideally suited to camping or backpacking, because a small grinder is compact enough to carry with you and there is no need to measure the coffee accurately. In the worst-case scenario, you can buy freshly roasted beans and coarsely grind coffee before you leave home.
YOU WILL NEED
Small burr grinder, measuring spoon, large mug, pot, heat source, timer, coffee cups, water, freshly roasted coffee beans
1 Grind your coffee beans coarsely using the burr grinder.
2 Measure out 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per large mug of cold water (220 g / just under 1 cup). Pour the measured water into the pot.
3 Bring the water to a boil over a heat source. Remove and let stand for 30 to 60 seconds to lower the temperature slightly.
4 Add the Coffee to the hot water, stirring to wet the grounds.
5 Let the pot stand for 2 minutes, then stir again and let stand for another 2 minutes. Cover the pot to retain the heat.
6 The grounds should have sunk to the bottom of the pot, so without disturbing the water too much, carefully pour the coffee into cups. If any grounds transfer, let the coffee sit in the cups for 30 seconds or so to let them settle to the bottom
Here is step by step:
Lancashire hotpot is a classic all-in-one dish in which meat chops and their bones flavour vegetables and gravy under a crowning layer of crisping potatoes. We’ve poshed it up slightly to make this ‘Holland Park’ version. It uses meaty chops cut from the shoulder (you get 4–5 from a block-end shoulder joint). Unlike standard chops, these are for slow-cooking, not frying. Chump chops (from the rump) are also delicious in this dish. We’ve included pearl spelt, which adds a certain silkiness, or you can use traditional pearl barley instead. We’ve also added some pickled walnuts for extra flavour, but these are not essential.
2½ tablespoons beef dripping, olive oil or vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
1½ tablespoons plain flour
4–5 lamb shoulder chops or large chump chops (about 1kg/2lb in total)
700g (1lb 6oz) potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
2 bay leaves
25g (1oz) pearl spelt or barley
2 large carrots, cut into large chunks
3 pickled walnuts, each cut into 6 pieces (optional)
500ml (17fl oz) lamb or chicken stock
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Heat 1 tablespoon of the dripping or oil in a large frying pan. When hot, soften the onion in it over a medium-low heat (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, season the flour and dust the chops with it.
Transfer the onion to a plate and set aside. Add another ½ tablespoon dripping or oil to the pan, turn up the heat and brown the chops on both sides. This is best done in batches so the pan doesn’t become overcrowded and lose heat.
Put another ½ tablespoon dripping or oil into a 25-cm (10-in) flameproof casserole dish and heat briefly to spread the fat around the bottom of the dish. Cover with half the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the onion over the surface and add the bay leaves. Arrange the browned chops on top and sprinkle with the pearl spelt or barley. Tuck the carrots and walnuts (if using) in amongst the chops. Arrange the remaining potatoes over the top.
Heat up the stock, add the redcurrant jelly and stir until melted. Add the Worcestershire sauce, then pour the gravy over the hotpot. Dot the surface with the remaining ½ tablespoon dripping or brush with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper
Place the hotpot, uncovered, in the oven for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3, cover and cook for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Serve with seasonal greens.