Recipe of the Month - March 2008

Pintade aux Fruits d'automne (Guinea fowl with apples and dried fruits)

This recipe will feed 4 people, and is delicious served with Chinon.

Serves Four


1 Guinea fowl, ideally with its liver
125g (4oz) sausagemeat
300ml (0.5 pint) vegetable or chicken stock
4 dessert apples e.g. Russets
20 prunes
125g (4oz) raisins
1 onion
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly


Heat oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F or gas mark 4).

Warm the stock in a pan and add the prunes and raisins. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, then strain, reserving the fruits and stock separately.

Stone and roughly chop 6 of the prunes and mix them in a bowl with one of the apples, peeled cored and diced, and half the raisins. Finely chop (or mince) the onion and brown it in a pan in a little butter, then add the minced liver if available, along with the sausagemeat and the prepared fruits. Mix, season with salt and pepper and cook gently for 10 minutes.

Then add a little of the stock to moisten. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the beaten egg to the mixture.

Use to stuff the guinea fowl and close using needle and thread.

Heat some more butter in an ovenproof casserole and brown the bird on all sides. Season well with salt and pepper and add a large glass of the reserved stock. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and leave to simmer in the preheated oven for about an hour, checking occasionally to make sure that there is sufficient liquid to prevent the guinea fowl sticking and burning. If necessary add a little more stock.

Meanwhile core, but do not peel, the 3 remaining apples and cut in half across their length. Bake them in the oven in a buttered dish, cut sides up, for about 30 minutes, loosely covered with a piece of buttered foil.

Fifteen minutes before the guinea fowl is ready, add the remaining prunes and raisins to the casserole. Melt the redcurrant jelly over a low heat.

Serve the guinea fowl on a large platter surrounded by the prunes, raisins and baked apples, the latter with the redcurrant jelly spooned over.

Recipe of the Month - February 2008

Le Lapin Farci (Stuffed rabbit)

This recipe is best served accompanied by a good Claret.

Serves Six


300g (10oz) 100% pork sausagemeat
125g (4oz) bread with the crusts removed
20 ml (2 dessertspoons) milk
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Handful of parsley, chopped
2 eggs
salt and pepper


To make the stuffing, soak the bread in warm milk for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile add the prepared onion, garlic and parsley to the sausagemeat in a large bowl, and mix well. Then add the soaked bread and milk and mix again. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, into the mixture and season to taste.

Use to stuff the abdominal cavity of the rabbit and close using a needle and thread.

Smear the skin of the rabbit with the butter and roast in the preheated oven for approximately one hour, basting occasionally. If the rabbit seems to be drying out, pour a little water into the bottom of the roasting pan and/or lower the heat halfway through.

When cooked, cut the rabbit into 6 portions and serve each with some of the stuffing.

Recipe of the Month - January 2008

Daube Provencale (Beef cooked in red wine)

This recipe will feed 8 people. Use beef with some fat such as top rump, silverside, brisket or chuck steak. A good quality Cote-du-Rhone wine is recommended as the basis of the marinade.

Serves Four


2 kg (4 lb) stewing beef cut into cubes weighing about 125 g (4 oz)
200g (7 oz) pork fat or 125g (4oz) lard
1 onion, roughly chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic
Strip of orange zest
Flour (optional)
Black olives (optional)

For the Marinade

2 onions, quartered
2-3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
Bouquet garni (a tied bunch of bay leaf, thyme and parsley with a stick of celery, optional)
4-5 juniper berries
2-3 cloves
4-5 allspice berries
1 bottle of red wine
small glass red wine vinegar.


Place the cubes of meat with all the ingredients for the marinade into a bowl. Mix and leave in a cool place for approximately 6 hours, or if preferred, in a refrigerator overnight.

When ready to cook, drain the meat and vegetables, reserving the liquid. Place the liquid in a pan and bring to the boil. Boil hard until it has reduced by half, occasionally skimming off any scum which forms.

Melt the fat or lard in a heavy frying pan and, if using pork fat, remove any lumps which remain unmelted. Brown the onion in the fat, remove and set aside.

Meanwhile dry the cubes of meat well. (This is an important step to ensure efficient browning.) Let the fat in which the onion has been cooked get very hot and then brown the meat well on all sides in small batches. At this stage the daube can be thickened by sprinkling the meat, once browned, with a little flour and cooking again briefly. Transfer the meat to a casserole (preferably an enamelled cast-iron one) along with the onions.

Loosen the caramelised juices in the frying pan with a little marinade and pour on top of the meat. Then add the garlic, orange zest, vegetables, herbs and spices from the marinade, along with the reduced marinade and a cup of warm water if there seems to be insufficient liquid. Do not 'drown' the meat.

Cover with foil and the casserole lid to form a tight seal and simmer very gently for 4 to 5 hours depending upon the type of stewing beef used. (Check after 3.5 hours. If the top of the meat shows signs of drying out, baste occasionally with the cooking liquid).

Skim off any fat and remove the orange zest and bouquet garni before serving. (This is easier to do if the stew is left to cool and then reheated when required. Indeed the flavour of the daube is greatly enhanced by doing this).

As an optional extra, black olives can be added at the end of the cooking time.

Serve piping hot with potatoes or pasta.
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