Tag Archives: dinner party recipie

Rabbit with Mustard and Tarragon

23 Apr

Now I’m not trying to kill off the Easter Bunny, but what happened to the rabbit? Instead of searching for Easter eggs under your hedges I vote going native, you won’t regret it…this recipe is my edited version of the Sunday Times Recipe.



4 tbsp plain flour
Salt and Pepper
2 x large rabbit cut into 6. (or 12 rabbit thighs)
6 tbsp olive oil
3 medium leeks (finely chopped)
2 medium carrots (finely chopped)
6 cloves of garlic crushed
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of rosemary
4 bushy sprigs of thyme
400ml of dry white wine
600ml chicken stock
150ml double cream
4tbsp dijon mustard
2 large handfuls of tarragon leaves
secret ingredient: lots of dry sherry and nutmeg

1. Heat the over to 180C

2. Put the flour in a large bow, season well and toss the rabbit pieces in it. Heat 2tbsp of the olive oil in a casserole or large, deep frying pan. Add half the rabbit pieces and brown for about 2 minutes on each side. Move to a plate, then add another 2 tbsp oil and repeat with the remaining batch. Add them to the other pieces.

3. Pour the remaining 2tbsp of oil into the pan, throw in the leek, carrot, garlic, bay, thyme and rosemary. Cook over a gentle heat for 4-5 minutes until the leek is soft. Tip in the wine and sherry, turn up the heat. Let things bubble away for 5-6 mins and the liquid is syrupy.

4. Put the rabbit pieces back in the pan, add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot with a sheet of foil, then with a lid, and place in the oven. Cook for 1hr 15mins to 2 hrs, or until the rabbit is tender to the bone.

5. Remove the rabbit, then place the pot on the hob and bubble the juices to thicken them a little if necessary I added double cream and creme fraiche to make it creamy. Taste and season. I also added some nutmeg at this stage for some warmth. Once seasoned add the cream and mustard, splash of Worcestershire sauce and bubble again until thick. Stir in 2/3 of the tarragon, then the rabbit and bubble for a minute more.

I served it last night with Rosmary Potatoes Boulangeres. Yummy.


Strawberry, Balsamic and Mint Cheesecake

1 Apr
This tempting number is an original take on the cheesecake, taken from Fiona Curtis’ fabulous book ‘Bake and Decorate.’ It’s a great one to be served after a heavy main as it feels light but has a good kick. Particularly good in the spring/summer months….

For the base
50g unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
300g dark chocolate digestive biscuits
10 large mint leaves, finely chopped
For the strawberry filling
300g strawberries, thinly sliced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
10 large mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp icing sugar
For the cream cheese filling
3 tsp gelatine crystals
250g unsalted cream cheese, at room temperature
300ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
45g golden caster sugar

To decorate
150–200g strawberries
Few sprigs of mint

For the chocolate sauce
80g butter
350ml double cream
450g milk chocolate, roughly chopped (preferable galaxy)


Preheat the oven to 170C / fan 160C / 340F/gas mark 3½. Butter very well the base and sides of a 23cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round springform tin, making sure the flat side of the springform base is uppermost (the lipped side makes it hard to remove the cheesecake).

Put the biscuits in a polythene bag, seal, then bash with a rolling pin until very fine. Tip into a bowl and mix in the butter and mint. Lightly press into the tin with a spoon. Bake for 15 minutes, then leave to cool.

For the strawberry filling: simply mix everything together in a bowl and leave for 1-2 hours for the strawberries to absorb the flavours. Drain the strawberries, reserving all the delicious juices.

For the cream cheese filling: in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. In another bowl, lightly whip the cream and vanilla. Using an electric mixer (or handheld whisk), whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick, pale and doubled in volume. Carefully fold in the cream cheese, then the cream.

place 3 tbsp cold water into a small, wide-bottomed heatproof bowl and sprinkle over the gelatine. Every single crystal must be wet, or it will turn to lumps later on. Set the bowl over a pan of hot (not boiling) water until every crystal has melted. Don’t let it get too hot or it won’t set properly.

Take the strawberry juices and mix them into the gelatine liquid, sieve out any lumps, then fold in a spoonful of the cream mixture. Once well blended, gently fold in the remaining cream. (When I made it I didn’t find the balsamic flavour came through enough so I would add  an extra 1 tbsp of balsamic to taste.)

Spread the marinated strawberries over the centre of the biscuit base, ensuring they do not reach the edges. Spoon on the cream, level the surface and place in the refrigerator overnight to set.

When you are ready to serve, dip a knife into hot water, release the spring and run the knife around the edge of the tin. Ease off the base with a warm palette knife and transfer to a serving dish. Finally, decorate with the sliced strawberries and mint sprigs.