Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Veal meat again

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Sorry for the title, I couldn’t help it.

This isn’t a recipe, more an assembly job, but the result is delicious. Intensely savoury (let’s face it, a bit fatty) but somehow almost summery.  The recipe/whatever assumes you have access to  “tendron” of veal, which is a strip of veal about 6-7  inches long and about ¾ inch thick. My dictionary translates tendron as flank. Is that either belly or breast of veal? That’s certainly what it looks like. Look at the photo and decide for yourself. Whatever, it’s certainly cheap. If you live in London, I’m sure the Ginger Pig or someone equally lovely will be able to point you in the right direction.

Lovely juicy veal. Yum yum.

Delicious veal – serves one very greedy so and so (see below)

Tendron of veal – two thick slices. In my case the total weight was just under half a kilo, call it a pound. (I feel slightly ashamed as I type that. I’m sure it would have stretched to two people.)

Seasoning and some dried herbs – salt, pepper, herbes de provence (or thyme, mixed herbs, or similar)

A bit of salad – wild rocket and lamb’s lettuce for me.

And that’s it.

First get your grill good and hot and your oven pre-heated to a low heat (mine’s electric, so about 130°C).

Put your two slices of veal in a smallish roasting tray. Try to sit them so that they lean against each other and are skin/rind side up. Drizzle a little bit of oil on them, season with salt and pepper.

Slip the veal under the grill and wait until the skin starts to char/crisp up.

Turn the veal onto a flat side, sprinkle judiciously with the herbs and put it into the low oven and cook just until you’re convinced it’s done all the way through. In my case, the time to drink a small glass of wine and read a magazine article. Let’s say 15 minutes. Anyway, it’s veal, a little pink won’t kill you. If it looks very pallid, slip it back under the grill just long enough to get a bit of colour.

Let the veal rest for a few minutes, during which time it will ooze fat and meaty juices.

Put salad on plate and season with more salt and pepper and a merest sprinkling of red wine vinegar (no balsamic, thank you very much). Put meat on top and pour over all the juices, fat and all, that have leeched out. If you can scrape up the darker (but not burnt) bits from the roasting tin, so much the better.

Eat and enjoy. No carbs required. Call it Atkins and convince yourself it’s healthy.

The vineyards of Beaumes de Venise, near Suzette. Nothing to do with veal, but pretty nonetheless.

As for the wine, well I drank the leftovers from a bottle of local white that I’d opened the night before. But my inclination would be for a lighter red, something juicy, gluggable and perhaps a touch chilled. I thought none of the local Côtes du Rhône wines would be quite right, but it just so happened that a couple of days later Valérie Chaume-Arnaud (click for more info) poured me a cool glass of her vin de pays Marselan (a grenache – cabernet sauvignon crossing). Its cherry and blackcurrant fruit would have been ideal, but a decent Beaujolais Villages would be spot on.



PS You can find more information about local Rhône wines and winemakers at


Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

Friday, May 25th, 2012

I don’t just love wine, I’m equally happy scoffing. And at the moment this is one of my favourite recipes. It is stolen without apology from Simon Hopkinson, who writes some of the finest cookery books around. This comes from Week In, Week Out, a collection of the best writing from his Independent column, although the introduction and notes are mine, as are the slight alterations to his recipe.

Slow-braised Rabbit Shoulders with White Beans and Parsley (Serves 4)

If you’ve never eaten rabbit I urge you to try it. Slightly chicken-like, but a bit more meaty (farmed rabbit, that is. Wild ones are something else again). The one downside for the squeamish is that rabbit is often sold whole, in France at least, with head and internal organs. Having a skinned rabbit staring back at you from the chopping board can be slightly unsettling, but the result makes it all worthwhile.

All that's left

1  large tin/2 regular tins of haricot beans (the sort that go to make baked beans, but sans sauce). Simon Hopkinson uses soaked dried beans but, a – I never plan my meals that far ahead and,  b – however long I cook dried beans I always find them unpleasantly hard. The tins I use are larger than the standard size and hold around 700g, so you may need to buy 2 regular tins.

4 tbsp olive oil

4 rabbit shoulders The shoulders work best but you may struggle to find them alone. The photos show a mix of shoulders and saddle, as that’s what I had. SH suggests you buy two rabbits to get the required 4 shoulders and use the rest of the rabbit in other recipes (there’s a delicious brawn recipe in the same book).

salt and pepper

½ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and slightly crushed

8 cloves garlic, peeled I usually stick to nearer 5 and at the moment I’ve got fantastic new season’s garlic I can use.

2 bay leaves

100 ml dry sherry Not easy to come by around my way. I use a glass of dry white wine, around 150 ml, and the recipe has always worked.

150-200 ml water The original recipe uses 300 ml, but you don’t need anywhere near as much if you use tinned beans. Say 200 ml if you use the sherry, 150 ml if you use the wine, giving around 300 ml of liquid in total (although to be honest I’ve never measured). Essentially, enough to braise the rabbit/ make a sauce/ensure the pan doesn’t dry out.

And that’s it. You will notice here the one flaw in the sainted Mr Hopkinson’s recipe – there’s no mention of the parsley of the title in the ingredients list (or the method come to that). I’ve found the more you use the merrier. Certainly more than the contents of one of those little plastic trays from the supermarket. If you can, get a big bunch from a local market and chop it finely.

Preheat oven to 150°C, gas mark 2

Heat half the oil in a large lidded pan that can go into the oven – I use a wide but shallow Le Creuset.

Season the rabbit and gently fry until slightly golden all over.

Frying the rabbit

Add the corainder seeds and garlic to the pot and stir everything round. Let the garlic get a bit of colour without burning.

Add the sherry/wine, water, bay leaves and beans and stir again.

Beans in, ready for the oven

Add the remaining oil, put the lid on and pop the whole lot in the oven.

Cook for at least an hour-75 minutes, until the rabbit is tender, even starting to fall off the bone.

Take out of the oven and stir in the parsley. It should look very green.

Parsley in and ready to go

Serve right away. Simon Hopkinson says , “A meal in itself; a green salad if you must.” You certainly don’t need potatoes, rice or the like, but I don’t think it’s culinary heresy to have a few garlicky green beans alongside.

On the plate with some green beans. Simon Hopkinson would be horrified.

As for the wine – of course there must be wine – I think heavier and white here. I’ve had the meal with various Rhône whites, from Condrieu to simple Côtes du Rhône, and I think the best match so far has been Domaine Beau Mistral‘s Côtes du Rhône Villages from Rasteau, a lovely blend of viognier, roussanne, marsanne, grenache blanc and clairette with a little (but not too much) oak ageing. Think along those lines and you should be ok: the Rhône naturally; a Roussillon grenache blanc or grenache gris perhaps; a decent white Burgundy or other (tastefully) oaked chardonnay would be lovely.

Bon appetit!

PS If the thought of rabbit is too much to bear, the recipe also works well, just not as well, with chicken.

PPS If you would like to know more about Rhône wines, there’s more of this sort of nonsense on Twitter, Facebook (Rhone Wine Tours) and our shiny, lovely website –