Truffles: The Cheapskate’s Fix

Image of black truffle

Black Périgord truffle, image courtesy moi-même

Truffles are divisive … you either love them or hate them, so if you’re looking ahead for a Valentine’s Day recipe for your beloved, it’s as well to check with them first. My husband once watched, with bemusement and possibly just a tinge of horror, as I troughed through an entire truffle-based menu at a French restaurant, from starter through to dessert. Continue reading

Basics: Chicken Stock

When I first launched this ‘basics’ series I asked for suggestions from readers. Quite a few people asked how to make stock. I must admit I’ve been postponing a response as it’s a thorny subject.

If you’d like to know how to make a restaurant-standard demi-glace, or a bone broth that’s simmered for 24 hours, you’ve come to the wrong place. I don’t have the patience for the first or the inclination for the second. Continue reading

Turkey, Ham and Cranberry Raised Pies

Image of turkey, ham and cranberry raised pies

Personally, I’m very partial to cold cuts in the aftermath of the Big Christmas Day Blow-out and it’s rather nice to have a breather from all the cooking. But if you still have ham and turkey sitting in the fridge after that, these little pies are a real treat and the cranberry sauce gives them a lovely flavour lift. Continue reading

Duck, I’ll Be Waffling

Image of Aldeburgh food and drink festival

Image courtesy of Aldeburgh Food and Drink

It’s the annual Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival this weekend, where Suffolk producers gather to showcase what they grow, rear and make. I say Suffolk, but we let a few other East Anglians in too, if they ask nicely. I’m biased but I think it’s the best food festival in the country. For sheer quality it’s unbeatable. Continue reading

Chicken Agrodolce

Image of giant jar of olivesI have been putting olives in nearly everything recently, thanks to this generous gift from a house guest (thank you, Tim). It’s a whopping 1400g jar of my favourite sort of black olives, fruity, wrinkled and salty. Any friends who suggest that could equally describe me should consider themselves removed from the Christmas card list.

Regular readers will know that my sister-in-law Sarah crops up often in these pages. She’s an exceptional cook and when we were scratching our heads over something interesting to do with a plate of chicken joints the other day, Continue reading

Spatchcocked Poussin with Harissa

Spatchcocking poultry is one of those things that many cooks avoid because they think it’s difficult, but it’s actually very easy. All you’re doing is removing the backbone so the bird can be flattened out for speedy roasting. It means you can have supper on the table remarkably quickly.

I’ve used poussins here, baby chickens which will cook in about three-quarters of an hour Continue reading