Chicken Bouillabaise

Serves: 4

This is a classic, classic French dish and this version is superb.

It is from my mother and it is one I had as a child and have then cooked as an adult.

It is pretty impossible not to love and served with the aioli-buttered toasts and the boiled baby potatoes, this is a warm, rich dinner in.

I sometimes substitute chicken thigh for a jointed chicken, though this isn’t a substitute you should make in this instance. Cutting the chicken off the bone is half the romance of the dish, if that can in anyway be a romantic thing.

If you’re after a French theme, you can do a whole lot worse than a Bouillabaise.

Get jointing.

Ingredients

1 cup chopped leeks
1 cup chopped fennel
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups peeled and finely chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup Pernod (we used Ouzo)
6 sprigs thyme
Sea salt
Good pinch of cayenne
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp saffron threads
Chicken pieces from jointed chicken (including skin)
Olive oil
Baby potatoes, boiled
Toasted baguette slices
Aioli

Method

  1. Bring the stock to a simmer, remove from the heat, add the saffron and set aside.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, auté the chicken in a little olive oil over a medium heat until golden all over; remove and set aside.
  3. Pour off the fat, lower the heat and sauté the leeks, fennel and garlic until soft. Add the stock and saffron and deglaze the pan.
  4. Add the tomatoes, wine, Pernod and thyme, bring to a fast simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Return the chicken to the pan together with any juices and simmer for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Lower the heat, season with salt and cayenne; add a little olive oil.
  7. Serve with the potatoes, baguette slices and aioli.

Grilled Lamb Shoulder Provencale

Grilled Lamb Shoulder Provencale

Serves: 6

We’re in the middle of pretty big house renovations at the moment… so anything complicated in the kitchen has been ruled out.

Having taken on the project management role of the project, we are on-site pretty much every night and certainly every weekend whilst we connect the building dots.

Which of course means we are tired at night and cooking has naturally/unfortunately taken a backseat.

Hello marinated meat and BBQ.

And plenty of baked potatoes and salad.

I can’t say I am not enjoying the BBQ-ed meat phase and when baby #3 arrives in two or so months, I suspect the BBQ will go into overdrive.

This particular marinade is a keeper and will be used again over the coming months.

Nothing beats lamb on the BBQ and marinating in this overnight is awesome.

And certainly, nothing is more satisfying that putting meat in the fridge overnight to marinate. There is such a sense of accomplishment and cooking maturity/preparedness about it.

This marinade is why you do it.

Ingredients

1kg boneless lamb shoulder
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup lemon juice
⅓ cup white wine
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bay leaf
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp salt
Freshly cracked pepper

Method

  1. Slice and open the lamb shoulder like a book; you want an even piece of meat to grill. Place in a large, zip-lock bag (or bowl) ready to marinate.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over the lamb, massaging the marinade into the lamb. Remove any air from the bag (or cover the bowl with cling wrap) and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Cook the lamb on a hot grill for 10 to 15 minutes per side. Baste with the reserved marinade often.
  4. Allow to rest, slice and serve.

Blue-eye baked in a bag

Serves: 4

I love fish baked in a bag.

Easy, full of flavour, fun and generally, really healthy.

This particular number from Tobie Puttock is especially good. As far as weekday dinners go, it is a complete win. (A 240 calories per-serve win.)

We served this with steamed beans and twice cooked and roasted baby potatoes: steam your potatoes, lay them flat on a baking-paper lined tray and half-flatten them with a large spoon, drizzle with olive oil, season and cook until golden.

You will enjoy.

Ingredients

4 blue-eye cod fillets or similar (we used ling)
100ml white wine
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Long strips of the zest of 1 lemon
2 birdseye chillis, cut in half and partially seeded
Small handful of dill sprigs
Sea salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. Tear off 4 pieces of foil, about 30cm long, then 4 pieces of baking paper, 25cm long. Lay the baking paper on-top of the foil. Fold and crease into wells with walls all around to hold the fish and liquid.
  3. Combine the wine, olive oil, lemon zest, dill, chilli and a good pinch of salt and peppe. Stir to combine and then carefully add the fish fillets and turn them to coat with the marinade.
  4. Place a fish fillet into each well; share the dill, chilli, lemon zest and remaining liquid with each fillet. Close and seal the foil bags.
  5. Place the bags on a baking dish and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Let sit for a few minutes, transfer the bags to serving plates and open carefully at the table.

Mussels in Tomato Basil Wine Sauce

Serves: 4

This is a pretty classic dish and I put it up mainly to remind you that you do not cook nearly enough mussels and should rectify that.

Mussels are cheap, healthy, tasty (well, the sauce) and easy to cook.

Mussels also look pretty fancy and give the impression you have gone to some effort with some level of skill to boot.

We didn’t have these with crusty bread which would have been awesome; though we did make a cracking green salad (asparagus, avocado, cucumber, butter lettuce and a great dijon/white wine vinegar vinaigrette) and some simple, twice cooked potato wedges.

Really fun and really tasty.

Ingredients

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1.5kg fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Warm crusty bread to serve

Method

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over a low-medium heat and gently cook the onion and garlic for 10 minutes until coloured. Turn up the heat and add the wine and tomatoes, bring to the boil and then simmer for another 10 minutes.
  2. Add the mussels, cover and cook for 3 – 5 minutes or until mussels open.
  3. Remove the mussels into serving bowls and stir the basil through the tomato sauce. Season and ladle over the mussels.
  4. Enjoy.