Pork shoulder is suited to slow cooking and will be melt-in-the-mouth tender given time. The cider braising liquid, lightly pickled leeks and punchy horseradish make this a surprisingly clean and bright dish. Serve with potatoes or pearled rye or spelt.
Other beetroot risotto recipes call for boiling or roasting whole beetroot before chopping and adding them to the risotto. That’s fine if you remember to get the beetroot on two hours before dinner. But if you want an easy one-pot thirty minute meal, then try it this way. The raw grated beetroot is cooked just enough by the time the risotto is ready.
Coq au vin is traditionally made with a one-year-old cockerel – full flavoured and perfect for the stew pot. If you can get a real coq, brilliant (a few good butchers supply them – in London try the Ginger Pig, delivered to your door by Hubbub). Otherwise use the legs of regular chickens – one per person. Legs have more flavour than breasts, and are more suited to slow cooking.
To get 10 pieces from the bird: Cut out the spine and save for stock. Take the legs off and divide into thighs and drumsticks. Take the wings off, remove the wingtips and save them for stock. Remove the breast plate and cut the breast in half, then divide each breast piece into two. You should have 10 pieces. Or ask your butcher to do it.
Waldorf salad was invented at the very end of the 19th century in New York’s Waldorf Hotel. Originally it was just celery and apple, dressed well. Over time other ingredients have been added – walnuts (or pecans), grapes, blue cheese, leaves such as watercress and sometimes chicken breast. To be quick, you could use shop-bought mayonnaise, or plain yoghurt flavoured with mustard and lemon juice.
Artichokes are a bit of a faff to prepare, but once you’ve tasted the results you’ll realise it was worth it! Once you’ve braised the artichokes, instead of putting them in a gratin you could add them to a salad instead, or marinate them in herbs and olive oil and serve them cold as antipasti. How much of the artichoke you cut away and how much you save to eat totally depends on the artichoke’s size and maturity. Cut off anything that you imagine will still be tough after cooking.
This is a lovely way to use butternut or other sweet orange autumn squashes. You could omit the red peppers if you like, and use soft, tangy goat’s cheese instead of the Feta. To spice it up further, roast the squash with a sprinkling of ground cumin, coriander and nutmeg.
This recipe is just a guide. You could use water or dry white wine and more sugar or honey instead of the dessert wine. And the flavourings are optional and really up to you. Go easy on them as their flavour will intensify when you reduce the syrup. Instead of pears, you could use quinces.
Aka quince cheese, membrillate (Spanish), cotognato (Italian), pate de coings (French) and marmelata (Portuguese), this has to be one of my favourite things to do with quinces. It is the classic accompaniment for manchego cheese, but also very good with aged cheddar.
The trick is to avoid graininess, a common flaw. Quinces have tiny rock-hard grains in their cores, which will pass through just about any sieve. Most recipes tell you to cook whole quinces then blitz and sieve the lot, but this results in grainy membrillo. So remove the cores before or after boiling the quinces. I prefer after, as a) cutting cores out of raw, hard quinces is tricky, and one of these days I will slice right into my hand, and b) the cores and pips help add colour and pectin, so better to leave them in until just before you sieve.
The other tip is to add some acidity in the form of lemon juice or tartaric acid, to balance all that sweetness.