The Good Life

This book review has been a long time coming because I’ve been busy doing studenty things at university; now it’s lockdown/holiday, let’s see if we can catch up a bit. Actually lockdown has been a good opportunity to catch up on the recipes in this book, because there are like, a lot…

In the early 1930’s Florence White was concerned that the English way of life was going down the drain; people couldn’t cook properly anymore and were eating too much fancy foreign muck. I wonder if she read the Daily Mail too?

Before our precious traditions were “crushed out of existence” she endeavoured to compile a book of traditional and regional recipes. Some came from older books, others were sent in by the man (or woman) on the street. Strangely enough these traditional recipes include various curry and pillau dishes, and lump in Stotch, Irish and Welsh dishes under the general banner of “England” but we’ll gloss over that.

The methods aren’t always clear, some ingredients are nigh on impossible to find, some recipes are just gross; but it was interesting to see how, and indeed how little, English food has changed over the centuries. So here goes..

Good Things in England by Florence White. First published 1932

Why did you buy the book?

I think it’s mentioned as one of the all time classic cookbooks in Nicola Humble’s marvellous book Culinary Pleasures, an excellent reference for beginner collectors.

Judge a book by it’s cover…

It’s naff, but it was the seventies so we’ll let them off. You’ve never seen a less appetizing salmon roll in your life.

Do you use it?

Not necessarily to cook from, but as a useful reference when researching vintage recipes.

What did you make?

A bunch of stuff. There are a lot of sections, so I tried to cover a bit of everything, which is probably why it’s taken me six months. Ok, we tried mock turtle soup (but without the calf’s head) which was nice, could be used a an interesting starter for a themed dinner party; baked fish with bacon and peas, mock hare – basically a fillet of beef seasoned like game – then ‘Hindle Wakes’ a slow cooked chicken flavoured with lemon and prunes, then coated with streaky bacon and finished in the oven, I recall that one being pretty good. For pudding we had apple pie scented with rosewater, Ripon ginger cake, Shrewsbury cakes (actually biscuits), Gypsy bread and Yorkshire mint pasties (more on those later). I wanted to make the older version of Bath buns but you just can’t get caraway comfits anymore!

Image
Hindle Wakes

Is it still in print?

Surprisingly, yes. It must really be a classic then.

Is it worth buying?

That’s a tough question. You won’t find it much good for everyday cooking. Modern tastes and reliable supplies of food mean we’re unlikely to be making brain sauce or rook pie anytime soon; we don’t need seven ways to cure meat or sixteen varieties of gingerbread. However, it is interesting from a historical or research point of view, or if you like collecting vintage books.

Henry I died from a “surfeit of lampreys”, a gross slimey fish.

Korean Food? Yes please!

It’s no secret that I’m slightly obsessed with Korean food, but recipe books aimed at the European Market are few and far between. Yes I could use American ones, but I really don’t get on with cup measurements or directions such as “a scant stick of butter”; surely it’s easier to take away the uncertainty by weighing it? Also why not give the weight as well, like British recipe books do metric and imperial?

I was happy to find this book by Korean American, Judy Joo, who now works as a top chef in London. A lot of the recipes are fusion food, or have “cheffy” touches, so perhaps aren’t quite that simple, but there are still plenty of authentic and traditional dishes to try out.

Korean Food Made Simple – Judy Joo. Jaqui Small LLP, 2016

“Easy and delicious Korean recipes to prepare at home”

So why did you buy it?

Are you kidding? Korean food is awesome, that’s why.

Judge a book by it’s cover…

Actually, I’m not keen on the cover, it’s a bit brash and swirly. I’d prefer something more subtle or more obviously based on Korean art.

Do you use it?

It’s a fairly recent acquisition, so this was a good chance to thoroughly test the book.

What did you make?

Quite a lot! I also made the effort to source some of the more exotic ingredients such as dried anchovies and salted shrimp.

Starting with kimchi, which is the backbone of Korean cuisine, we also tried crispy tteokbokki, Royal tteokbokki, Rappoki (we like tteokbokki)…

Rappoki, a combination of tteokbokki and ramen.

Crispy tteokbokki, a snack to die for!

Royal Tteokbokki.

… Galbi jjim (beef short ribs), sweet and sour beef, and for desert, doenjang salted caramel ice cream. Yep, we love Korean food alright.

Koreans love Chinese food too.

This ice-cream is intense!

Is it still in print?

I’m not sure. New copies are still for sale from some sellers, but it’s mostly used copies at the moment.

Is it worth buying?

I would definitely recommend this book to experienced cooks who want to try something different, or who already have a basic knowledge of Korean food. If you are a beginner then you might find some of the recipes a bit daunting, some are very labour intensive and complex, but then again some are very simple. For me, it’s a keeper.

Say Kimchi!*

As promised, here is my super quick and easy, not too spicy kimchi, for wimpy Western palates.

For those not in the know, kimchi is a fermented vegetable side dish originating in Korea (they eat it with every meal). It’s usually knock-your-socks-off-spicy and a little bit stinky (trust me you get used to it). My version lets you choose a spice level you’re comfortable with. The stinkiness comes from the fermentation process, which is what preserves the kimchi and makes all those wonderfull prebiotics that get the healthy eating fanatics so worked up!

Apparently eating chillies can increase your life span by up to 13%, coupled with the benfits of fermented food, I’m surprised Koreans don’t live forever.

According to the internet (and scientists, presumably) the benefits of eating kimchi on a regular basis include:

  • aiding digestion and preventing constipation
  • regulating cholesterol and blood sugar levels
  • high in vitamins and antioxidants
  • aiding weightloss
  • encouraging a healthy immune system

Though be warned, it’s made from cabbage, so it can give you some fearsome wind. Don’t eat it for the first time with people you can’t comfortably let rip in front of.

Any large supermarket will stock the ingredients needed, though if you live near an oriental supermarket it’s worth buying the authentic chilli powder and some rice vinegar.

Fish sauce, gochugaru and rice vinegar.

The chilli powder (centre) will be labelled as “red pepper powder” or “gochugaru”, look for the “coarse” type. Gochugaru is a lot milder than regular chilli powder, so it’s used in quite large quantities. If you can’t get any – substitute with normal chilli flakes, but make sure you measure it in teaspoons, not tablespoons! Rice vinegar can be replaced with malt vinegar or distilled (white) vinegar. As for radishes, you can use mooli/daikon radish or a packet of normal salad radishes The long ones are easier to prepare.

Easy Mild Kimchi

  • 1 large chinese cabbage also known as “Chinese leaf”, “pak choi”, or “Napa cabbage” OR a sweetheart cabbage
  • 1 medium sized carrot
  • 1 mooli/daikon radish OR a pack of salad radishes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • a bunch of spring onions
  • Gochugaru powder: 2 tablespoons = mild, 4 tablespoons = medium, 6 tablespoons = hot OR chilli flakes 2 teaspoons etc.
  • 60g or ¼ cup of coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce (found in the Thai food section of the supermarket)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar OR malt or distilled vinegar

You will need a large mixing bowl or Tupperware type container (this is a better option as they have lids), a colander and a very sharp knife.

1. Cut up the cabbage into medium sized chunks and rinse well in the colander.

2. Put the cabbage into the container and sprinkle with the salt. Cover with water. Some recipe books tell you not to use tap water, but I find you get a better fermentaion with tap water rather than bottled. Leave the cabbage at room temperature for at least 24 hours, but no longer than 48 hours.

3. Drain off the brine, reserving half of it (you will need it later). While the cabbage is draining, in the same container, mix the chill powder, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar and sugar into a paste.

4.Cut the carrot, radish and spring onions into matchsticks and add to the paste.

5. Add the cabbage and mix well. Cover with equal amounts of fresh water and reserved brine.

6. Taste a bit of cabbage. If you think you can handle  more spice, add a bit more chilli. Otherwise, put the lid on and leave to ferment at room temperature for three days (unless the room is hot, in which case find somwhere a bit cooler, but not the fridge). It is essential that you stir the kimchi every day, or the top layer will go grey and weird. After three days put it in the fridge. Your kimchi is now ready to eat.

Eaten straight away, it has a zingy fresh flavour. With time the flavours mature and calm down, and the kimchi will develop a sourish fermented flavour. Serve shredded like coleslaw (it’s fantastic with melted cheese, burgers and hotdogs), as a side dish for Korean or Chinese food, or chopped and fried to add to stir fries.

A classic meal would be Kimchi Fried Rice, really quick and easy to prepare. Allowing a couple of heaped serving spoons of kimchi per person, slice finely, drain well, fry in a little oil until caramelised around the edges. Mix into cooked rice, moisten with a little kimchi juice and gochugaru paste and top with a fried egg.

*When taking a photo in Korea, instead of “cheese” you say “kimchi”!

Autumn Musing and Soup

Personally I’m glad when the season changes, bringing saner temperatures, colourful leaves and an abundant harvest. It feels good to wear boots, scarves and gloves again and to have an excuse to indulge in the rich and hearty cold weather foods that seem a little out of place during the summer. What could be better than a brisk walk along the canal, followed by a steaming mug of hot chocolate and the expectation of a huge bowl of beef stew and dumplings with plenty of Worcester sauce?

I’m looking forward to sharing some rather filling and indulgent recipes over the coming weeks! Let’s start with a family favourite – Tortellini Soup, actually Small Boy doesn’t like it, but everyone else does. I can’t remember where it came from, maybe the Sainsbury’s Magazine? Anyway, depending on how big a serving, you could enjoy it as a light or a main meal. Because of the pasta you don’t really need bread with it. Vegetarian if you choose a meat free pasta.

Tortellini Soup   serves 4-6

  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 litre veg or chicken stock (from a cube is fine)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes or passata
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 180g frozen or fresh peas
  • 250g pack of tortellini or other filled pasta
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil (optional)

Finely dice the carrots and onion. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the carrots and onion for 5 mins.

Add the stock and tomatoes (I always whizz the tomatoes in a food processor to break them down a little) add the garlic either chopped or crushed. Simmer until the carrots are almost soft (aroung 10 to 15 mins, sometimes longer). Add the peas and simmer until the veg is all cooked through.

Add the pasta and cook for the length of time indicated on the packet, you may need to add a little extra water at this point. When the pasta is cooked through –  stir in the basil and serve.

 

 

Korean Spiced Pork

Slow cooked, sweet and spicy. I don’t know how “authentic” this would be considered, but who cares, it’s so good we fight over the leftovers!

If you want to build up an appetite, try watching a Korean Drama first. Food plays a large part in the stories. What you eat, when you eat and who you eat it with is as important to Korean culture as it is in Italy, neither Nonna or Halmoni will ever let you go hungry. One traditional greeting, roughly translated as “How are you?” literally means “Have you eaten?” or rather “Have you eaten rice?” Watch out though, the food and the drama is highly addictive!

Really though, go and watch some Korean Drama, Netflix have a good selection at the moment. I recommend Beating Again (also known as Falling for Innocence), Playful Kiss, This is my Love (also known as My Love, Eun-Dong), Schoolgirl Detectives (also known as Seonam Girls High School Investigators) Tomorrow’s Cantible, Click Your Heart and Noble, My Love. Expect to laugh, cry, cheer, learn important life lessons and develop an insatiable desire to eat ramen, all in the course of one episode.

Back to the food….For me it’s tastier than Japanese cuisine and with a lighter, fresher taste than the Chinese food we are used to in the West. Use Gochujang chilli paste if you can get it. It’s available online or from Asian supermarkets. Sainsbury’s have a Gochujang sauce which works, otherwise use regular chilli paste, which comes in little jars in most supermarkets.

A typical Korean meal would involve sticky rice, marinated strips of meat and a variety of little vegetable side dishes known as banchan. Kimchi, a spicy fermented condiment made with cabbage and radish, recently took the world by storm, though I still had to travel to the nearest Chinese supermarket to find some!

I love my slow cooker, so I adapted the flavours of Bulgogi (marinated and barbecued beef) for a slow cooked shoulder of pork. Serve with sticky or normal rice. If you have enough time, you can prepare some vegetables on the side, carrots, beansprouts and so on. Otherwise you can pop some carrot strips in the slow cooker at the beginning.

Korean Spiced Pork

  • a large pork shoulder or rolled rib joint
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 onion or a bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • a thumb sized chunk of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp (or more if you like it really spicy) gochujang or a couple of tsp chilli paste. Taste half way through cooking and add a little more if you need to.
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 pear, peeled and grated

My slow cooker has a sauté option, if yours doesn’t, start off the cooking in a large frying pan. Heat the olive and sesame oils in a large pan, brown the pork on all sides. Remove from the pan and put to one side.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pan and stir fry for about 3 or 4 mins. Add the sesame seeds and stir around till they start to pop.

Put everything, pork, onions and remaining ingredients, into the slow cooker. Add 120ml of water. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Taste the sauce, add a little more soy sauce, honey or chilli depending on what you think it needs. If necessary thicken the sauce with a little cornflour blended with cold water.

Eat up, and remember that sarangae!*

 

*I love you

 

May Contain Nuts

It has been implied and not without reason, that I tend to focus on sweet rather than savoury dishes. I can’t help it, sweet toothed doesn’t even begin to describe my obsession with the sweet and sugary. Not that I can’t appreciate savoury food, a top notch roast dinner for example, a selection of British cheeses or a good spicy curry. It’s just that I have to have redcurrant jelly with the meat, a nice bit of fruit with the cheese, mango chutney with the curry and so on. I prefer sweet wines and take sugar in my tea, it’s just the way I am.

Facebook follower and dear friend K. suggested maybe trying to post something for those (un-natural freaks) who aren’t that keen on cake!

So here goes.

This is a vegetarian dish that takes a little preparation but is super tasty. You can serve it as a main course (of course) but it also works really well as a side dish for roast chicken. I lurve it with lots of gravy, mashed potato and green peas, though I guess you could opt for a salad or a tomato sauce.

Mushroom And Herb Nut Roast

Serves 6-8   Based on a recipe in Jekka McVicars Herb book

  • olive oil
  • 150g brown or white rice
  • 275ml boiling water from the kettle
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 110g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 110g breadcrumbs
  • 175g mixed nuts (you can buy packs of mixed chopped nuts, these are ideal)
  • 3 tbsp chopped herbs eg. parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (lovage is good if you can get hold of some, but only use a teaspoon as it’s very strong)
  • sunflower seeds for decoration (optional)
  • seasoning

Start by cooking the rice in the hot water with the teaspoon of salt. Cook in a covered saucepan on a low heat until cooked through.

Meanwhile, grate the carrots, chop the veg and herbs and roughly grind the nuts in a food processor.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. add the onions, mushrooms, carrot, coriander and soy sauce and cook on a medium heat for 10 mins.

In a large bowl or in the pan if you want to save on washing up, combine the nuts, breadcrumbs, rice and herbs with the vegetable mix. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

You can cook it in a loaf tin, casserole dish or in individual ramekins. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and bake in the oven at 180ºc (160 fan / gas mark 4) until well browned on top (up to 45 mins).

 

Vintage Recipe: Saagwalla Dhal the Comfort Curry

Does 1993 count as vintage? It’s 23 years ago, so not exactly contemporary. Let’s say sort of vintage then.

One of the most useful books to come my way has been “Indian Cooking”, published in 1993 by Parragon. You can tell how well used it is by the enormous grease stains on the pages!Just a cheapy discount book from now defunct Woolworths (a moments silence please) It can’t have cost very much as we never had much money to spare in the early day’s of marriage. Unlike many cheaply produced books this one is full of delicious, authentic and reliable recipes and well worth buying if you see it in a charity shop somewhere.

Recently my poor dear mother had to have most of her insides taken out (seriously, they took everything going spare) and was indisposed for a good few weeks. Feeling weak and nauseous, food was a difficult subject. When asked if there was anything at all she imagined being able to stomach, she said the only thing she could think of was the “lentil” curry I had served up several years ago. Great on two counts: I was going to make it anyway and Wow! What an ego boost, Mother doesn’t give praise lightly!

So my dear Crumbies, tonight I share a recipe that is healthy, tasty, vegetarian and a curry night stalwart. Rather than lentils, it calls for moong dhal (skinless, split mung beans) which have more substance than lentils but are much nicer than split peas. I haven’t fed anyone who didn’t like this curry, even the children love it! Moong Dhal are available from the larger supermarkets or try your local Asian corner shop.

Sagwalla Dhal  serves 6-8

  • 6oz (170g) moong dhal (soaked for 2 hours)
  • 2 heaped tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 green chilli, cut in half (remove the seeds if you want it milder)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ tsp ground tumeric
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped (or a couple of tinned tomatoes)
  • 20 floz (570ml) warm water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 or 2 dries red chillies, chopped or crushed chilli flakes to taste
  • a pack of fresh baby spinach or 4oz (100g) frozen
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (optional)

You remembered to soak the dhal right? You can get away with only 1 hr if you’re short of time. Drain well.

Melt the ghee/butter in a large pan (if using butter, add a splash of oil to stop it burning) Fry the onion, green chilli and cinnamon till the onion is lightly browned. Add the tumeric, garam masala, chilli powder and cumin. Fry for 1 min.

Add the dhal, turn the heat down a little and fry for about 5 mins, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook for 3 mins. Add the water, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 mins, stirring now and then.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a seperate frying pan and cook the mustard seeds until they begin to pop. Add the garlic and dried chilli, cook till the garlic is lightly browned. Add the spinach and cook gently for 5 mins or until thoroughly wilted.

Add the spinach to the dhal and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in some chopped coriander leaves if you like.

This is a very forgiving curry, it will happily sit aroung waiting for late guests and any leftovers freeze well. I love to serve it with homemade roti or chapatties, though rice or naan bread will do just as well. Enjoy!

Saag is a Punjabi word for spinach.

 

Curry Night

It’s pretty exciting to have curry week and chocolate week at the same time, two of the greatest comfort foods of all time. I’m using it as a prompt to get me to try some of the recipes that have been building up in my magazine cuttings file.

Here is a lovely posh lamb balti that would work as a romantic dinner for two, a family meal or scaled up for a curry night with friends.
Based on the “All in one posh lamb balti” from an old issue of BBC Good Food magazine. I skipped the marinade part and adapted the recipe for the slow cooker.

Slow Cooked Lamb Balti

Serves 4 to 6

  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 2 onions
  • 1.5 tsp each of ground cumin, ground tumeric and kalonji seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 tbsp garam masala
  • 6 tbsp balti or other curry paste
  • 3 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • A can of tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • Half a bunch of coriander leaves
  • A small pack of pomegranate seeds

Brown the lamb shanks. Fry the onions in a little oil till soft. Add the spices and toast for a minute. Add the curry paste and cook for another minute.

Peel and chop the ginger and garlic. Add to a food processor with the tomatoes and whizz to a paste.

Put everything, lamb, onions, tomatoes and remaining ingredients into the slow cooker. Add a couple of pinches of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice if you have some. Put the lid on and cook for around 6 hours. Test for seasoning and thicken the sauce with ground almonds. Add the chopped coriander. Plate up and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

I served it with rice, poppadoms and The Bytham Kitchen’s award winning carrot, ginger and garlic chutney, one of the treats we picked up at the Melton Mowbary food festival.

http://www.thebythamkitchen.co.uk/

All about that pizza base

Pizza has to be one of the most popular fast foods in the world, Americans alone consume 350 slices per second! What do you picture when you think of pizza? Probably a triangular wedge of lovely chewy dough, laden with grease dripping cheese and pepperoni (36% of all pizzas are ordered with pepperoni on top) not exactly a healthy choice, at least not from a takeaway. My personal favourite is a Pizza Hut deep pan pizza with anchovies, pineapple and sweetcorn, and yes I am aware that two of those toppings would cause many people to condemn me as freakish and disgusting. It does mean choosing a pizza takeaway for the whole family can take hours of heated argument!

In my opinion pizza gets bad press, what’s that wrong with a meal of bread, cheese, meat and vegetables? Obviously making it yourself is a better option, pizza dough is super easy to make and doesn’t have to have any oil added to it. You can use wholemeal flour to bump up the fibre content (I use half white, half brown) Make your own tomato sauce by cooking down a punnet of tomatoes or a tin of passata, with a pinch of salt and pepper, teaspoon of sugar, fresh or dried herbs and maybe a pinch of cayenne.

I top with a blend of mozzarella and emmental cheese which are both mild tasting and melt well. Then add your choice of vegetables: sweetcorn, onions, pepper, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes all work well even sprouting broccoli and shredded salad leaves! If you’re a meat eater add some lean mince, chicken, tuna or whatever, it doesn’t have to be processed meat.

How is it sounding now? You can enjoy a healthy pizza…unless it’s Fast Food Day, in which case deep fry that baby! Bliss.

Simple Pizza base

Enough for two adults and two children

  • 14 oz (420g) strong bread flour
  • 8floz (230ml) warm water
  • 1½ tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • semolina or polenta for sprinkling

Put the water in a large bowl and stir in the yeast.

Add one third of the flour and mix to a paste. Add another third of the flour and the salt and combine to make a soft dough.

Using the remaining flour to dust the work surface and your hands as needed, knead the dough for ten minutes. Pop it back in the bowl and cover with clingfilm/ a damp tea towel/ a shower cap, and leave in a warm place for forty minutes.

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes to knock out the larger air bubbles. Roll out to fit a baking tray or divide up to make individual pizzas. Sprinkle the baking tray with semolina or polenta to stop the base going soggy.

Top with tomato sauce, cheese and whatever else you fancy and bake in a medium hot oven till the cheese has melted and is starting to brown. Or roll out rounds of dough, top, then fold over like a pasty and deep fry until golden, you won’t regret it!

Final Food Fantasy

Biting winds, sleet, rain and hail are harsh reminders that winter is not over yet. On a day like this you need extra comforting comfort food, something rich and slow cooked. Preferably with a sticky chocolatey pudding for afters. The stuff of life style magazine fantasy, where the slow cooked lamb is safely in the Aga while you and your similarly attractive and wellington clad friends leave the comfort of the wood burning stove in your stone built cottage in an historic market town, to go for a bracing walk in the country. On the way back you stop at a charming pub to sample the excellent local ales and ciders. Arriving back at the cottage with cold cheeks but warm bellies, it’s time to put the finishing touches to the meal. Someone opens a bottle of wine and to a background of soft music the evening flows by in laughter and amusing conversation…..

What do I get eh? Trusting my tiny and unpredictable electric oven to do the job and hoping the “vintage” gas fire will keep the living room warm, I dash out through deepest suburbia on the school run. Stopping at the local Co-Op for some peas and carrots. The meal time conversation is centered on Minecraft and other video games, no wine, no music, but at least there is laughter and good food.

Slow cooked Lamb

This works best with a whole leg but a half leg or shoulder would be just fine, but will take less time to cook.

Brown the meat all over in a large casserole dish. Pour over 300ml of white wine 300ml of stock (vegetable, beef or chicken would all work). Surround with whole carrots, the peeled cloves of a bulb of garlic and 2-4 onions, peeled and halved. Cook on a low heat, 120°c or equivalent, for up to seven hours. Reduce the juices in a saucepan by about a third, add a splash of sherry and a spoonful of redcurrant jelly, season to taste. Serve the meat in chunks, with the vegetables and some roast or mashed potatoes.

If you don’t have a casserole dish large enough for a whole leg, use a large roasting tray and give it a tin foil hat, which has the added benefit of stopping mind reading aliens from knowing what you are having for dinner.

based on a recipe in the book: BBC GoodFood Slow-cooking recipes