Thursday, 26 January 2012

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Griddled lamb cutlets with cannellini beans and baby leeks

It seems like a perpetual sneer of drizzle has trained itself against the kitchen window this morning. It paused briefly at about eleven, but resumed its sulk hastily when I dared step into the garden. The parsley is nonplussed; in fact it seems to be flourishing in this mild, wet weather. I use this yoghurty marinade for Lamb all year round - on the barbeque is best, but until that time arrives the griddle pan is a sturdy and reliable friend.

12 Lamb cutlets, French trimmed
8 Baby leeks
400g Tinned cannellini beans, drained
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Red onion, finely chopped
1 Red chilli, finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, finely sliced
Fresh parsley, to serve

A small 170g tub of natural yoghurt
A small handful of chopped fresh mint
4 Large garlic cloves, finely grated
2Tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 The night before, mix the marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish, then coat the cutlets in the mixture. Cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge.
2 Melt a knob of butter in a saute pan on a low heat, then soften the onion, chilli, thyme and garlic for about 20 minutes. Add the leeks and keep everything on low for a further 15 minutes, stirring regularly.
3 Heat a griddle pan until scorching hot (brush with oil). Remove the cutlets from the marinade (spoon off any large blobs of yoghurty mixture), then sear for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and leave to rest.
4 Stir the cannellini beans into the softening vegetables, season well and leave on the heat for a final 5 minutes. Add an extra knob of butter just before serving, for a bit of gloss and extra butteryness. Serve the cutlets and veg with a scattering of fresh parsley.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Moules eclade

A bitterly cold January night left a dusting of frost across the garden this morning; the darker corners clinging on icily as I arranged the mussels on the board. Wonderful, resinous smoke plumes through the shellfish as the pine needles burn - I can honestly say that this has become my favourite way of cooking mussels.

Fresh mussels
A large bag of pine needles (they need to be tinder-dry, otherwise they won't light)

1 Balance four mussels hinge side up in a cross shape in the centre of an old wooden board or large flat stone (a piece of bread in the centre is handy if they keep falling over. Build up a concentric circle of mussels around the cross, making sure that they're all hinge side up.
2 Add a three inch layer of pine needles on top of the mussels. Light the needles; once they have all burnt away, blow away the ash and eat the mussels. Great with crusty bread - oh, best not to eat any mussels that haven't opened...

Sunday, 8 January 2012

French onion soup

Why has it been so long since I've made this oniony wonder? The inclination to throw everything into the soup pot at this time of year is a strong one; especially when there's a wealth of wintry root veg in season. Lest we forget that often, simplicity is best.

A small knob of butter
5 Large brown onions, thinly sliced
2 Bay leaves
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
A splash of dry sherry
500ml Beef or vegetable stock
2Tsp mustard powder
Salt and pepper
1 ciabatta loaf, sliced
Finely grated gruyere cheese

1 Melt the butter in a pan, before adding the thyme, garlic and bay. Stir gently for a few minutes, then add the onions. Soften gently on a medium heat for about 10 minutes.
2 Stir the mustard powder into the onions, add the sherry and then pour in the stock (I used vegetable stock in this instance - prefer beef though). Simmer on a relatively fast bubble for about 20 minutes.
3 Toast the ciabatta slices, then top with grated Gruyere. When ready to serve, spoon a portion of soup into a bowl, float a ciabatta on top and then grate in a bit more cheese for good measure. Pop under the grill for a few minutes, then serve.

Friday, 6 January 2012


Shot for BBC Good Food Magazine, Feb '12 issue
Prop styling: Jo Harris

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Shot for BBC Good Food Magazine, February '12 issue
Recipes & food styling: Jo Pratt
Prop styling: Jo Harris