Coq au vin and boulangere potatoes (French)

Coq au vin and boulangere potatoes

Cooked for the French entry of the Euro Cup and Plate challenge.

Coq au vin

8 organic chicken drumsticks
1/2 bottle red wine
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
250g bacon, diced
60g organic butter
1 large onion
1 tbsp oil
30g plain flour
1 litre chicken stock
125ml Rosso Vermouth
2 tsp tomato paste (puree)
1½ tbsp softened butter
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp chopped parsley

  1. Divide chicken into pieces, if needed.
  2. Put the wine, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl and add the chicken. Cover and leave to marinate, preferably overnight.
  3. Saute the bacon in a frying pan until golden. Lift out onto a plate. Melt a quarter of the butter in a pan, add the onion and saute until browned. Lift out and set aside.
  4. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade,and pat the chicken dry. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining butter and the oil to the frying pan, and saute the chicken until golden. Stir in the flour.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a large saucepan or casserole dish and add the stock. Pour the Vermouth into the frying pan and boil, stirring, for 30 seconds to deglaze the pan. Pour over the chicken.
  6. Add the marinade, onion, bacon and tomato paste.
  7. Cook over moderate heat for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serves 4.

Variation: Saute a handful of button mushrooms in butter and add to the mixture with the bacon.

Boulangere Potatoes

1 kg potatoes
1 large onion
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
25g organic butter, cubed

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Thinly slice the potatoes and onion (drag out the mandolin, if you have one).
  2. Build up alternate layers of potato and onion in a 20 x 10cm deep dish. Between each layer sprinkle with parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Finish with a layer of potatoes.
  3. Pour the hot stock over the top and dot with butter.
  4. Bake, covered with foil, on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes. Check the potatoes and add more hot water or stock if needed to the potatoes remain submerged. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the top golden brown.

Serves 4.

Chicken and lamb souvlaki (Greek)

chicken and lamb souvlaki

Cooked for the Greek entry in the Euro Cup and Plate challenge.

We usually cook this on the Weber over hot coals to bring out the flavours.

400g lean lamb, chunks
400g organic chicken breast, chunks

4 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp dried or fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
black pepper

  1. Dice the lamb and chicken into 2.5cm pieces
  2. Make the marinade: mix the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, garlic and season with black pepper. Place the meat in a bowl, pour the marinade over and mix well so that all the pieces of the meat are coated. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
  3. Fire up the BBQ. Thread the meat on to 6 skewers. Grill the kebabs quickly until browned on all sides; the chicken will need longer than the lamb.
  4. Serve with warmed pita bread (put it on the grill briefly to absorb the burnt juices!) and a Greek salad.

Serves 3-4.

Beef stew with beer and dumplings (Dutch)

Dutch beer stew

Cooked for the Dutch entry of the Euro Cup and Plate challenge.

500g gravy or stewing beef, cubed
½ cup flour
3 tbsp oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp black pepper
1 cup of beef stock
330ml dark beer (German Hefeweizen Dunkel would be perfect)

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp organic butter
2/3 cup milk

Red cabbage and apple
We used ‘The Dutch Company’ from a jar

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C
  2. Cover the beef chunks in flour, then brown in oil in a Dutch oven. Remove and set aside.
  3. Brown the onion and garlic in the same oil. Add the brown sugar, half the wine vinegar, thyme, pepper, bay leaf and chopped parsley.
  4. Pour the stock over the stew and then add the beer.
  5. Cover and bake for 2 hours at 160°C
  6. While the stew is baking, make the dumplings. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together. Mix the butter in (melt first), and then stir in the milk. The batter should be a little dry but fluffy.
  7. Take the stew out of the oven and drop the dumpling batter by the tablespoon into the stew.
  8. Put the stew back in to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
  9. Serve with warmed up red cabbage and apple.

Serves 2-3.


Wiener schnitzel (Austrian)

weiner schitzel

Cooked for the Austrian entry of the Euro Cup and Plate challenge.

300g veal steak
1 organic, free range egg
dry breadcrumbs
lemon, quartered
salt and pepper
1/3 cup grapeseed oil

  1. Select veal steaks that are cut very thinly – about 5mm thick. Pound out the meat thinly with a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
  2. Coat steaks lightly in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Shake off any excess flour. Dip each steak into a bowl of lightly beaten eggs. Then dip them into another bowl with the breadcrumbs, pressing breadcrumbs on firmly. If possible, refrigerate the steaks for 1 hour to set the crumbs.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the steaks, cook quickly on both sides until golden brown. You could cook the steaks one at a time. Use tongs for turning the steaks to preserve all the juices.

Served with potato dumplings, steamed carrots, and a slice of lemon. Alternatively serve with a hot potato salad. Absolutely delicious.

Serves 2.

Tonno in umido – Tuna stew with polenta (Swiss)

swiss plate

Cooked for the Swiss entry of the Euro Cup and Plate challenge.

1 x 400g can Italian peeled tomatoes, broken up with your fingers
2 x 100g can tuna in oil, drained
100g freshly shelled peas
25g unsalted organic butter
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium carrots, chopped
bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
50g tomato paste
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan and saute the onion until softened, then add the garlic, being careful not to let it brown. Add the carrots and herbs and cook for a further few minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste and cover over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and turn the heat down to low. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  3. Add the tuna to the pan, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with the spoon, and add the peas. Cook until the peas are tender – about 10 minutes).
  4. Taste the stew and season with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf and serve over a bed of cheesy (mozzarella and Parmesan) polenta or mashed potato.

Serves 2.

Adapted from Winter in the Alps, a Swiss cookbook by Manuela Darling-Gansser.

Reuben sandwich

Reuben Sandwich

The reuben sandwich was created by Arthur Reuben, owner of Reuben’s Delicatessen, which no longer exists but was one of New York’s more well-known delis in its day. Jared Ingersoll does his take on a toasted Reuben sandwich in “Danks Street Depot”. I’ve tried to take it back to its original recipe, but this is the first time I’ve eaten one so I can’t guarantee its authenticity!

Take two slices of rye bread and spread each one with dijon mustard. On each slice of bread layer: a slice of pastrami (or corned beef) and a slice of swiss cheese. Then put the Sauekeraut on one side, so that when you combine the two halves it is in the middle. Fry the sandwich in a frying pan. You’ll know it is ready when the cheese starts to ooze. Garnish with a pickle on the side.

Big M has taken to these sandwiches, but I suspect he’s just trying to use up the large bottle of sauekeraut in the fridge!

Leeky welsh rarebit


This was the first time I’ve eaten Welsh Rarebit. If you are going to try it I recommend a mild beer and big thick slices of bread. The recipe is adapted from “The River Cottage Year” by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Some may call it a fancy cheese on toast. The leeks are optional.

Leeky Welsh Rarebit

1 leek
25g butter
25g flour
150ml beer
75g mature Cheddar, grated
1 teaspoon of English mustard
1 splash Worcestershire sauce
black pepper
4 thick slices of bread

  1. If you fancy the leeky option, wash and finely slice one leek, and sweat it a little butter and oil for about 10 minutes, until tender but not coloured.
  2. For the cheese mixture, melt 25g butter in a small saucepan over a low heat, then stir in flour to make a thick roux. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to prevent the roux burning. Stir in hot beer (bitter or pale ale, not lager) by degrees, until you have a very thick, smooth sauce. Add the grated Cheddar and stir until melted. You should now have a thick paste. Season well with a blob of English mustard, a good splash of Worcestershire sauce and a dash of black pepper. Now stir the leeks into  the mixture if you ‘re using them.
  3. Lightly toast the slices of bread, then pile up the cheesy mixture on each slice. Flash under a hot grill for a few minutes, until brown and bubbling.

Serves 2

Welsh Rarebit is a classic British dish with Lancashire, Cheddar or Double Gloucester used for the cheese sauce, although sometimes Red Leicester is used.

There are a number of variations:

  • Buck rarebit – same with a poached egg on top
  • Yorkshire rarebit – same with bacon and a poached egg
  • Irish rarebit – topped with onions, vinegar, herbs and gherkins
  • American rarebit – uses whisked egg whites
  • English rarebit – uses red wine
  • Scotch rarebit – Dunlop cheese on toast
  • King rarebit – same with a fried egg on top

[Miss] Abbot. “….Bessie, I could fancy a Welsh rabbit for supper.”

“So could I–with a roast onion. Come, we’ll go down.”

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte