• Slow Baked Leg of Lamb Read more
    Serves 6

    A firm favourite at Nick Nairn's cook school. "I like to cut the lamb into big chucks. I do this by cutting along the length of the joint, following the bone, and then across into big 4cm/1½ in chunks". Courtesy of Nick Nairn


    Ingredients
    2-3 large sprigs of rosemary

    4 large garlic cloves cut in half lengthways

    1.8 kg leg of lamb

    8 good quality anchovy fillets, halved

    100ml olive oil

    250ml dry red wine

    Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 220˚C/425˚F/gas mark 7




    Method
    Pull the small sprigs off the rosemary branches and set aside with the garlic.

    Using the tip of a paring knife, make up to 20 well-spaced cuts into the flesh of the lamb, about 2.5cm/1 inch deep. Divide the rosemary sprigs, garlic and anchovies and push down into the cuts.

    Place the leg on a large roasting tin and pour over the oil, massaging it all over the joint. Season well with salt and pepper and pour the wine and 250ml/9fl oz water into the tin.

    Put into the oven and sear for 15 minutes, then turn the temperature right down to 130°c/270˚f/gas mark ½ and roast for 4-5 hours, basting every 30 minutes or so. Basting frequently helps to keep the meat moist and encourages the build up of a good glaze on the outside.

    Add more liquid (wine or water) if the tin looks dry - there should always be liquid in the tin throughout this cooking process.

    The meat is ready when it is starts to fall off the bone, at which point it should have a core temperature of 90˚c/190˚f. Remove from the oven, transfer to a warmed carving dish, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 30-45 minutes before carving.

    Pour the juices from the tin into a tall hi-ball glass and allow to settle. Spoon the fat from the top of the glass.

    There should be enough sticky, reduced juices for an intense gravy hit - if not, pour the juices you have back into the roasting tin and put it over the heat, pour in a splash of water or wine and deglaze the tin scraping up all the sticky bits from the base.

    Boil fast until syrupy, taste and correct the seasoning.

  • Roast Loin of Venison Read more
    Serves 4

    "This is a bit of a star dish, but much of it can be cooked a day or so before, making the day itself more of an assembly. The sauce, potatoes and cabbage can all be made in advance, leaving the venison to be prepared on the day. It's not really worth making a smaller quantity of the red cabbage or the game gravy, however both freeze well and are delicious with most game animals or birds. Your butcher should prepare the saddle for you, giving you the two loins and the meaty trimmings. Get him to chop the rib bones into 2.5cm (1 in) pieces. This is a bit of a 'star' dish and requires some pre-planning. Consequently, your starter and pudding should be simple". Courtesy of Nick Nairn


    Ingredients
    1 small roe saddle (1.5kg/3lb 5oz)

    1 tablespoon butter

    1 tablespoon sunflower oil, mixed

    Maldon salt & freshly ground black pepper

    For the Braised Cabbage:
    1 red cabbage, finely shredded

    50g (2oz) redcurrant jelly

    50ml (2fl oz) sherry vinegar

    Zest and juice of 1 orange

    120ml (4fl oz) port

    ½ bottle red wine

    85g (3oz) raisins

    50g (2oz) butter


    For the skirlie potatoes:
    0g (2oz) bacon fat, or beef or duck dripping

    1 medium onion, finely chopped

    125g (4oz) medium or coarse oatmeal

    Maldon salt & freshly ground black pepper

    700g mash

    For the sauce:
    game gravy

    600g venison rib bones

    2-3tbsp sunflower oil

    200g venison trimmings, roughly chopped

    4 shallots, finely sliced

    8 button mushrooms, sliced

    1 garlic clove, crushed

    1 bay leaf

    sprig of thyme

    6 white peppercorns, crushed

    150ml Port

    150ml red wine

    100g blaeberries (blueberries)

    700ml brown chicken or game stock

    1tsp redcurrant jelly

    1tsp arrowroot, if required

    To finish Game Sauce:
    400ml game gravy

    Handful blaeberries to serve

    2tsp Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar warmed through


    Method
    Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. First make the game gravy. Roast the venison bones for approximately 30 minutes in the oven. Meanwhile, heat a medium-sized saucepan, add the sunflower oil and venison trimmings and caramelise for 20 minutes. Add the shallots, mushrooms, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and crushed peppercorns. Gently fry for 5-10 minutes or until dark brown and caramelized. Pour in the Port and red wine. Boil until a thick, syrupy glaze is achieved. Add the stock, redcurrant jelly, blaeberries and roasted bones and simmer for 45 minutes skimming frequently. Pass through a fine sieve into a small, clean pan, simmer again and reduce until required flavour is achieved. Thicken with 1 tsp arrowroot if required, then check the seasoning and set aside. See finishing sauce. (This makes more gravy than you need for this dish; keep the rest in the fridge or freeze it.)

    Next make the skirlie potatoes. Melt the dripping or fat in a frying pan and add the onion. Cook over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes until they just begin to turn golden. Stir in the oatmeal and "skirl" around the pan for a couple of minutes until the fat is absorbed and the oatmeal smells "toastie". Remove from the heat. Place the mash in a large mixing bowl and mix through the skirlie mix. Form the mix into cakes and place on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, until warmed through. Keep warm until ready to serve. Turn the oven heat up to 230°C/450°F/Gas mark 8.

    To make the red cabbage, remove the coarse outer leaves. Quarter it and cut out and discard the root. Finely slice the cabbage using a sharp knife. Heat a large pan and add 50g (2 oz) of butter. When it sizzles, add the cabbage and stir in to coat. Add the redcurrant jelly and allow it to melt. Add the vinegar, orange, port, the red wine and some seasoning. Bring it to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid and cook for 1 ½ hours, then remove the lid, add the raisins increase the heat and reduce the liquid to a syrup. When it's ready check and adjust seasoning.

    For the meat, when you are nearly ready to serve, heat a frying pan until it's hot. Season the roe loins with salt and pepper (you may have to cut them in half to fit the pan). Add the sunflower oil and butter to the pan. Then add the loins and lightly fry each side for 3 - 4 minutes respectively until well browned. Remove the pan to a warm place to relax the meat for at least 10 minutes (but no more than 30). Warm through 4 large spoonfuls of the cabbage in a small saucepans and warm through the sauce. Pour any juices from the relaxing meat into the cabbage, then reheat the meat in the oven for 90 seconds. Have the potatoes ready. Finish the game gravy by taking 400ml of the prepared game sauce, add the vinegar and blaeberries and warm through for 2 minutes.

    Place a potato cake on 4 warmed serving plates and top with a generous spoon of the red cabbage. Carve the meat into approximately 24 slices and lay 6 slices on each pile of cabbage. Check and adjust the seasoning before spooning it over and around the meat.

  • Sautéed chanterelles with courgettes and bacon Read more
    Serves 4

    "My favourite supper dish at this time of year has to be creamy chanterelles, courgettes and bacon; a taste sensation that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Try it with new potatoes, on chunky wholemeal toast or my personal favourite, pasta." Courtesy of Nick Nairn


    Ingredients
    1 tablespoon olive oil

    200 g smoked streaky bacon or pancetta

    250 g courgettes, cut into large dice

    450 g fresh chanterelles, cleaned

    175 ml dry white wine

    300 ml double cream

    Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped.


    Method
    Heat the oil in a medium frying pan and add the bacon or pancetta. Fry over a medium heat, until the slices are nice and crispy. Lift the bacon out and set aside.

    In the same hot frying pan, add the courgettes and fry for 2-3 minutes in the bacon juices. Add the chanterelles and sauté gently until starting to gently colour around the edges. Next add the white wine, and let it evaporate in the pan whilst scraping any tasty bacon remnants off the bottom of the pan. Add the cream and bring to the boil, stirring until nicely thickened. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the parsley and top with the crispy bacon. It's now ready to be served, whichever way takes your fancy.

  • Spanish Chicken Breasts Read more
    Serves 4

    This is an excellent weekday supper for the whole family. I love my Falcon 1092 induction hob because I just know that whatever I cook on it will work the way I expect it to. And if the cooking chicken spits on the hob, it's a doddle to wipe clean.


    Ingredients
    1 whole 1.5kg chicken, cut into joints using a very sharp knife

    3 garlic cloves, crushed

    1 bay leaf

    80ml red wine vinegar

    150ml dry white wine

    80ml olive oil

    1 tsp dried oregano

    120g prunes, diced

    4 tbsp salted capers, rinsed

    24 green olives, stoned

    8 tbsp light brown sugar

    3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

    Maldon sea salt

    freshly ground black pepper


    Method
    The day before, chop up the chicken into joints using a very sharp knife, leaving the skin on each part (or ask the butcher to cut it up for you). Make two or three slashes through the skin on each piece, cutting a little way into the flesh.

    Make the marinade by mixing together the vinegar, olives, garlic, capers, prunes, oregano, salt, pepper and oil. Lay the chicken in a shallow glass or stainless steel dish and spoon over the marinade, rubbing it into the cuts. Cover with cling film and chill overnight.

    The following day, begin by preheating the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Lift the chicken from the marinade and drain well, reserving the marinade.

    Heat a frying pan and add a small amount of sunflower oil to the pan (sunflower oil sustains a higher heat than olive oil and is less likely to burn). When the pan and oil are hot, fry the chicken pieces skin side down until the skin is a light golden brown. Don't be tempted to push the chicken around in the pan or you will end up leaving the lovely caramelised skin behind. Done correctly, the chicken will be easy to turn over, with no part getting stuck to the pan. This is where the controllability of the Falcon hob really comes into its own. Be careful here as the chicken is likely to spit when the marinade coating hits the hot oil (this is where I love my wipe-clean induction hob!). Turn over the chicken, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool a little. Pour the marinade over the chicken then sprinkle on the brown sugar. Adding the light brown sugar helps to clarify the sweet and sour taste in this dish, and also helps the sauce get that really rich, quite thick consistency. However, don't overheat it, or reduce it for too long or that coating consistency will turn into a syrupy caramel.

    Pour the wine around the chicken in the pan, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes (a little more if the breasts are thick), basting two or three times during the cooking.

    To test if cooked, prick the chicken at its thickest with a skewer and check that the juices run clear with no trace of blood. Or, even better, use a thermoprobe, ensuring the thickest piece of meat is above 80C. Lift the chicken onto a warm serving dish and place the pan on the hob. Bring the juices to the simmer and add the parsley. Reduce until you have a coating consistency, but don't allow the sauce to go syrupy. Mix well and check the seasoning, then pour the contents of the pan over the chicken. Serve immediately with basmati rice.

  • Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Fragrant Herb Couscous Read more
    Serves 4

    A firm favourite for the summer months, which can be cooked on a barbeque, or if the weather takes a turn - on your Falcon range cooker!


    Ingredients
    4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (organic, free range)



    for the marinade:

    3 tablespoons light soy sauce (preferably Kikkomans)

    2 teaspoons runny honey (Scottish Heather)

    finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime (unwaxed)

    1 fresh red chilli, halved, seeded and chopped

    5 tablespoons sunflower, plus extra for brushing

    freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    small knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

    250 g quick-cook couscous

    4 tablespoons (or more) chopped fresh herbs like coriander, mint, parsley

    finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

    Tsp sesame oil (optional)


    Method
    Cut the chicken into 2.5 cm chunks. For the marinade, put the light soy sauce, runny honey, grated lime rind and juice, chilli, 3 tablespoons sunflower oil, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a bowl and whisk well. Do taste this to and check the balance of hot, sweet, salty and sour - no one taste should dominate this mix. Stir in the chunks of chicken, cover and leave to marinate at room temperature for 2 hours or for up to 24 hours in the fridge to allow the chicken to absorb the flavour. Soak bamboo skewers, if using, in cold water for at least 30 minutes to prevent them burning on the griddle.

    If you are going to barbecue your kebabs, allow 40 minutes for the coals to reach the right temperature. Alternatively preheat your griddle pan to medium hot. It's important to get the coals or griddle to full heat, otherwise the chicken will simply poach. To check the temperature, hold you hand over the griddle and it shouldn't be too hot, causing you to pull your hand away. Nor should you be wondering if it is heated at all. Thread the chicken chunks on to the bamboo skewers, brush with a little sunflower oil and cook for about 8 minutes in total. Leave the kebabs untouched for a minute without fiddling to allow a nice crust to form and thereafter turning now and then, until the chunks are lightly browned but still moist and juicy in the centre. The kebabs should quietly sizzle - don't let them burn. This is where the pan heat is important - if it's too hot, the kebabs will burn on the outside but raw in the middle. While these are cooking, make the couscous. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a small pan and cook the garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes just to release the aroma. Put into a heatproof bowl with the couscous. Pour 300 ml boiling water over the grains and cover with cling film. After 5 minutes, remove the cling film and, using a fork, fluff up the grains so that they separate. Stir through the herbs, and lemon rind. Season to taste with lemon juice, sesame oil, is using, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with the kebabs and spoon over any remaining marinade. Garnish with limes to squeeze over.

  • Nick Nairn’s Classic Haggis, Neeps an’ Tatties with Whisky Gravy Read more
    Serves  4

    A traditional Scottish feast on Burns’ Night


    Ingredients
    200g rooster potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized pieces
    3 tbsp warm milk or cream
    40g unsalted butter
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 Nick Nairn haggis, cooked according to the pack instructions
    800g turnip, peeled and cut into even-sized pieces (by the time it’s mashed this reduces down to about 400g)


    For the gravy
    100ml chicken stock
    knob of butter
    dash whisky
    salt and freshly ground black pepper



    Method
    Place the potatoes into a pan of salted cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook gently for approximately 20 minutes. Check the tenderness - the point of a sharp knife should feel little resistance when pushed into the potato. Drain in a colander and return to the pan to dry out over a low heat for a minute. Mash them with a potato masher or pass through a mouli or ricer into a bowl. Using a wooden spoon beat in the warm milk or cream, then the butter vigorously, making the mash light and fluffy. Do the same to mash the turnip – minus the cream or milk.

    To make the gravy, reduce the chicken stock and whisky in a pan over a high heat to thicken. Stir in the butter and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for a further few minutes to thicken further.

    Heat the haggis thoroughly according to the instructions and serve arranged neatly on warm plates between a helping of neeps and a helping of tatties and a little gravy spooned onto each plate (with an additional dram on the side if you fancy). Slange!

    Notes

    Try a Falcon Induction hob out at one of Nick’s Cook Schools (www.nicknairncookschool.com; 01877 389 900), either in beautiful Port of Menteith an hour north of Glasgow and Edinburgh, or in central Aberdeen. There are classes for everyone from toast burners to soufflé kings, those with a day free and those with only a couple of hours to spare. Prices from £39 upwards. For all info about Falcon go to: www.falconappliances.com