Food for the Family

I have had more time at home this week. Making soups, cakes, bread, bagels and braises. Even though we have had several family members sick the ‘good’ food has kept coming. Maybe somehow I unconsciously figure good home cooking restores our body and soothes our soul.

Braised Lamb Shanks with white wine and anchovies
Coq au vin – using root vegetables and free range ‘lovely legs’
Chicken and Potato Pot Pies/Lamb Shank Pies
Beef and Sweet Potato Curry – with coconut and raisins
I don’t know about you but I am not afraid of leftovers. Stewed meats become pies. Excess vegetables are used in soups. Leftover rice steamed to eat with a curry will become Fried Rice tonight.
This way each meal ‘talks” to the next. We try not to waste food. We use and add and revamp. It is what the best thrift, scratch cook would have done. What does your weekly menu look like?

Modern Classic

A friend made me a meal for me this week. She showed me some generous hospitality. Life has been crazy with a few extraordinary stresses. She made Coq au Vin, but not the old fashioned version. Rather Bill Granger’s modern take on an old French Classic that our parents perhaps made in the 70s. Not only did it taste great, it looked fabulous and she claims it is simple to prepare. So as the weather continues to be bitterly cold, consider this dish for the weekend ahead and maybe invite someone to share it with you. Enjoy!

Coq au vin

Impress your mates at a dinner party – or just show off at home – with this easy eight-stage coq au vin recipe made with white wine and served with creamy mash.


For the coq au vin
For the crème fraîche mash

Preparation method

  1. For the coq au vin, preheat the oven to 220C/430F/Gas 7. Arrange the chicken pieces in a large roasting tin and scatter with the bacon, shallots, thyme, rosemary and chilli flakes. Season, to taste, with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Drizzle the contents of the roasting tray with two tablespoons of the olive oil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. When the chicken has been roasted, add the wine to the tin and cook for another 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  4. Heat the butter and remaining tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms and garlic and fry for 3-5 minutes. Tip the mushrooms and garlic into the tin and scatter with the parsley.
  5. Meanwhile, for the crème fraîche mash, boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water until tender. Remove from the heat, drain well and return to the hot pan.
  6. Mash the potatoes until smooth.
  7. Heat the milk and butter in a small pan over a medium heat, until the butter has melted (do not allow the mixture to boil). Beat the hot butter and milk into the potatoes, then fold in the crème fraîche or cream. Season, to taste, with sea salt.
  8. To serve, pile some of the crème fraîche mash onto each of four serving plates and spoon the coq au vin on top.