I can’t believe this is my final menu of the year… 52 weeks done! I feels like I only started doing this yesterday. Over the weeks and months I hope you have found some fun and interesting dinners on here. Perhaps you have tried new things and experimented a little with different cuisines, or styles of cooking. Or maybe you have just enjoyed reading what we eat in our house on a weekly basis. I have really enjoyed writing this blog and next year brings with it a whole new set of ideas and recipes but not weekly menus. So without further ado, here is your final weekly menu… Enjoy! 🙂
Saturday: Goose risotto
Sunday: Roasted duck with quick gooseberry jam
Monday: West Country gratin
Tuesday: Sausage and lentil soup
Wednesday: Beef and apple tagine
Thursday: Tuna linguine
Friday: Garlic crusted chicken
3 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, peeled, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 litre chicken stock
400g risotto rice (such as arborio or carnaroli)
1 tbsp whole green peppercorns
2 tbsp butter
250g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
500g leftover goose meat, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, parsley, tarragon, chives)
4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
salt and freshly ground black pepper
dressed green salad, to serve
In a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat, heat two tablespoons of the oil and gently fry the shallots for 2-3 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
Meanwhile, place the stock into a pan and bring to a gentle simmer.
Add the rice to the pan with the garlic and onion and stir to coat in the oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the rice is translucent.
Add a few ladles of the hot stock to the rice and stir well, then add the peppercorns. Cook until most of the stock has been absorbed before adding another ladleful. Continue cooking until the rice is creamy but is still al dente, about 20 minutes (you may not need all of the stock).
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil with one tablespoon of the butter in a frying pan until foaming. Add the mushrooms and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until tender. Fold the mushrooms into the cooked risotto, followed by the chopped goose meat, fresh herbs and parmesan cheese. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, spoon the risotto into serving dishes. If desired, serve with a green salad alongside.
Roasted duck with quick gooseberry jam
For the gooseberry jam
500g fresh gooseberries, washed, hulled
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
20ml white wine
For the duck
4-6 duck breasts
400g broccoli, cut into florets
Heat all of the gooseberry jam ingredients apart from the wine in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the gooseberries have started to break down (approximately 15 minutes).
Pour in the white wine and bring the to the boil, scraping up any burned bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer until most of the wine has evaporated and the mixture had thickened slightly. Set aside for a few minutes to cool slightly. Strain the jam mixture through a fine sieve, collecting the strained liquid in a clean saucepan. Reserve the strained pulp.
Bring the strained liquid to the boil, then reduce the heat until the liquid is simmering. Continue to simmer until the volume of liquid has reduced by half and thickened. Transfer the strained pulp to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the reduced liquid to the jam as necessary, blending to combine, until the consistency of the jam is to your liking (you may not need all of the reduced liquid).
For the duck, heat a large griddle pan over a high heat. Score the skin of each duck breast in a criss-cross pattern using a sharp knife. When the pan is smoking, add the duck breasts, skin-side down, and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the fat is crisp on the outside and has started to melt.
Turn the duck breasts over and fry for a further 3-4 minutes, or until the meat has browned on the outside but is still pink in the centre. Remove from the pan and set aside on a warm plate to rest for five minutes.
While the duck is resting, blanch the broccoli in a large pan of salted water for 1-2 minutes, or until just tender. Drain well. To serve, carve each duck breast into thick slices and arrange each on a serving plate. Spoon a dollop of the gooseberry jam on top. Serve the broccoli alongside.
West Country gratin
250g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5cm/1in cubes
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 7.5mm/⅜in thick rounds
1 leek, trimmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
200g cooking bacon pieces/diced cooking bacon, larger pieces cut into cubes
50g plain flour
200ml apple juice
salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
2 tbsp olive oil
In a saucepan of boiling water, boil the potatoes for seven minutes, or until half cooked. Add the carrots and continue to boil for a further 7-8 minutes, or until both the carrots and potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and drain.
Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the butter and, once melted, gently fry the leek and bacon together for 7-8 minutes, or until the leeks are soft and the bacon golden-brown.
Preheat the grill to hot. Sprinkle the flour into the pan with the bacon, stir and cook on the heat for one minute. Gradually add the apple juice and milk, stirring as you add until you have a smooth sauce. Bring to a simmer and simmer for two minutes. Add the cooked potatoes and carrots to the pan and mix well so that everything is coated in the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tip into a medium ovenproof baking dish (approximately 28x22cm in size). Sprinkle generously with fresh thyme leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Place under the preheated grill for 10 minutes, or until golden and piping hot.
Sausage and lentil soup
1 tbsp olive oil
8 thick pork sausages
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme
1 x 410g tin cooked lentils in water, drained and rinsed
1 litre chicken or veg stock
salt and pepper
Preheat the grill to medium setting. Place the sausages on a shallow baking tray and grill for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown all over. Turn half-way through cooking. Allow the sausages to cool slightly before slicing into bite-sized pieces.
Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the onion and carrot and fry for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent and the carrot softened. Add the garlic and thyme sprigs, and fry for two minutes or until they become aromatic. Pour in the lentils and stir round with the vegetables. Add the stock and roughly mash the lentils with a potato masher, then add the sliced sausages and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently over a medium low heat for 10 minutes or until the soup has thickened slightly. Add hot water if the mixture is becoming too thick. Remove the thyme sprigs, then season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.
Beef and apple tagine
750g braising steak (ideally chuck steak)
4 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp hot chilli powder
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp clear honey
1 beef stock cube
1 cinnamon stick
1 medium sweet potato
2 large eating apples
25g bunch fresh coriander
75g no-soak dried prunes, halved
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the garnish
1 large red-skinned eating apple
1 tbsp clear honey
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Trim the beef of any hard fat and cut into roughly 3cm/1¼in chunks. Season all over with salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the beef in three batches over a high heat until lightly browned on all sides, adding a little more oil to the pan when needed. Transfer each batch to a large flameproof casserole once browned.
Reduce the heat and add two tablespoons more oil to the frying pan. Fry the onions for five minutes, or until softened and lightly coloured, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and sprinkle with the cumin, coriander and chilli powder. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
Tip the onions and spices into the casserole with the beef. Stir 150ml/5fl oz cold water into the frying pan and stir vigorously to lift the sediment from the bottom. Pour into the casserole.
Add 350ml/12fl oz more water, the tomatoes and chickpeas to the casserole and stir in the honey. Crumble the stock cube over the top, add the cinnamon stick and stir well. Bring to a simmer on the hob, stirring a couple of times. Cover the dish with a lid, transfer to the oven and cook for 1½ hours.
Ten minutes before the time is up, peel the sweet potato and cut into roughly 2.5cm/1in chunks. Peel the apples, cut into quarters and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 2cm/¾in chunks. Trim the coriander and roughly chop half of the leaves.
Carefully take the casserole out of the oven and remove the lid. Stir in the sweet potato, apples, prunes and chopped coriander. Cover once more and return to the oven. Cook for a further 45-60 minutes, or until the beef is very tender. Roughly chop the remaining coriander leaves just before serving.
To make the garnish, cut the apple into quarters and remove the core. Slice each apple quarter lengthways into five. Season with ground black pepper. Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the apple slices over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Remove from the heat, drizzle with the honey and toss lightly.
Scatter the fried apples over the tagine in the casserole, scatter with roughly chopped coriander and serve.
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 small chilli pepper, finely chopped
1cm fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
450g carton or bottle passata
1 x 400g tin of tuna fish in oil, drained and roughly chopped
375g dried linguine
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil and gently fry two tablespoons of the parsley, the garlic, chilli and the ginger for a few minutes until slightly soft. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook for another few minutes. Stir in the tuna and salt.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes or until al dente, and drain. Toss with the sauce and serve sprinkled with the remaining parsley and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Garlic crusted chicken
2 chicken breasts, skin removed
20g parsley, finely chopped
150g taleggio cheese, cut into strips
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 rashers smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
two handfuls breadcrumbs
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Score the chicken breasts four times, diagonally across the top to within 2cm/¾in of the bottom.
Finely chop the parsley and cut the taleggio into strips. Roll the taleggio in the parsley and then stuff the cheese into the scored gaps in the chicken breasts.
Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the chopped garlic and bacon to the pan and cook for three minutes. Add the breadcrumbs to the pan and cook for a further three minutes. Pour the olive oil over the chicken and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Scatter the breadcrumb mix over the chicken breasts, patting them down lightly. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
(Credits: Hairy Bikers, Mary Berry, Jason Atherton, Gregg Wallace, Antonio Carluccio, Nigel Slater, JJMoola’s Kitchen)