6 chicken portions (legs and thighs)
1½ cups prunes, pitted
½ cup green olives, pitted
¼ cup caper berries
¼ cup red grape vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp finely chopped thyme
3 bay leaves
1 cup white wine (optional)
2T chopped parsley, to garnish
1 Place the chicken pieces in a bowl with the prunes, olives, caper berries, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Season with some black pepper, cover and refrigerate overnight.
2 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat a little more olive oil in a shallow baking dish or casserole and brown the chicken pieces, starting skin side down, for about five minutes on each side.
3 Arrange the chicken in a single layer, then add the white wine – or a cup of chicken stock or water – and deglaze the pan. Add what’s left of the overnight marinade and enough chicken stock to cover the chicken.
4 Cover the baking dish with a lid or some foil and bake for about 30 minutes.
5 Season with salt and garnish with parsley. Serve with couscous or rice.
Baked fish in a dill and orange juice
1T olive oil
500g shallots, sliced
700g new potatoes, thickly sliced
125ml fish or vegetable stock
125ml additional stock
125ml orange juice
2 leeks, sliced
4 thick, skinless fillets of firm white fish
15g dill leaves, chopped
Zest of one orange
1 Preheat the oven to 190°C.
2 Heat the olive oil and butter in a shallow oven-proof casserole dish and cook the shallots until soft and translucent. Add the potatoes in a single layer and cover with the stock. Simmer for about eight minutes, then add additional stock and orange juice and sprinkle leeks over.
3 Lay the fish over the leeks, season with salt and pepper, cover with a lid or foil and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
4 Sprinkle the dill and orange zest on top and serve immediately.
1T olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 each red and yellow peppers, seeded and chopped
1t ground cumin
1t ground coriander
1T tomato paste
2 × 410g tins chopped, peeled tomatoes
4 free-range eggs
2T chopped coriander, to garnish
2T chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
1 Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan and sauté the onions until they begin to brown.
2 Add the garlic and cook until softened, followed by the peppers and cook for about two minutes. Add the spices and tomato paste and sauté until fragrant. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and when the mixture is bubbling reduce the heat to a simmer.
3 Let it cook for about 30 minutes and season with sugar, salt and black pepper, topping up with a little water if necessary.
4 Crack the four eggs into the tomato sauce and cover with a lid. Poach the eggs for about five minutes or until cooked to desired wellness. Alternatively, divide the tomato sauce between four ramekins and break an egg into each one. Cover each ramekin with foil and bake at 180°C for about eight minutes or until they are cooked through.
5 Garnish with coriander and parsley and serve with crusty, fried bread or toast.
Bangers and mash
3T olive oil 8 sausages, any kind
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into wedges
2 large onions, sliced
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1t brown sugar
1t English mustard
1T plain flour
350ml cider or unsweetened apple juice
700g potatoes, cut, boiled and mashed with butter and milk or cream
1 Heat the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan. Brown the sausages, and set aside.
2 Add the apple, onions, thyme and bay leaf to the pan and sauté until the onions begin to caramelise. Add the sugar and mustard, then the flour and cook for about a minute.
3 Gradually pour in the cider or apple juice, stirring so that there are no lumps. Bring to a simmer and add the sausages.
4 Cover and cook for a further 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with the mashed potatoes.
Lamb shanks with creamy polenta
4 lamb shanks
2T olive oil
½ cup seasoned flour
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 rosemary sprigs
2T tomato paste
2 cups non-alcoholic red wine
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 × 400g tin chopped, peeled tomatoes
1 cup tomato purée
500ml lamb or beef stock
2 cups polenta
2.25 litres chicken stock • 100g butter, at room temperature
2T finely grated Parmesan
1 Preheat the oven to 160°C. Trim any excess fat and gristle from the meat of the lamb shanks.
2 Heat the olive oil and butter in a large casserole dish or oven-proof saucepan.
3 Dust the lamb shanks in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Brown each shank well on all sides, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4 Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and rosemary to the saucepan and sauté until the onion is translucent and beginning to brown. Add the tomato paste and cook through for about a minute, then add the wine and balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes to thicken slightly.
5 Return the shanks to the saucepan and add the tomatoes, tomato purée, lamb or beef stock and enough water to cover the shanks. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid or foil and place the saucepan in the oven.
6 Braise the shanks for about two and a half to three hours, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
7 Remove the shanks from the cooking liquid and set aside. Discard the rosemary sprigs. Simmer the liquid for about 10 minutes until reduced, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
To make the creamy polenta
1 Place the chicken stock in a large heavy-based saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
2 Gradually add the polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 35 minutes or until the polenta is thick and creamy and begins to splutter.
3 Add the butter and grated Parmesan and stir until melted. Season well with salt and black pepper.
4 Serve the shanks on the bone, or off, with plenty of sauce, creamy polenta and shavings of Parmesan.