Chicken with mustard and creme fraiche

This is one of my favourites - so easy and so tasty. I often replace the chicken with turkey steaks, and it's just as good. Serve with baby spinach or salad. The recipe comes from Nigel Slater, writing in the Observer back in May last year. I've made it four or five times since then!

  • 4 chicken thighs or turkey steaks
  • 250ml of creme fraiche
  • 2 or 3 heaped tablespoons of grainy mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 150g of pancetta or lardons
  • 3 or 4 small sprigs of thyme

  1. Set the oven to 200°C or gas mark 6.
  2. Put the chicken or turkey in an oven-proof dish.
  3. Put the creme fraiche into a bowl, and stir in the mustard.
  4. Crush the garlic and add to the creme fraiche mixture.
  5. Pull the thyme leaves off the stalks and add them to the creme fraiche mixture.
  6. Cut the pancetta into short little strips (if you're using lardons, they'll probably be chopped already).
  7. Fry the pancetta or lardons in a non-stick pan until the fat is golden.
  8. Mix the pancetta or lardons with the creme fraiche sauce, then pour it over the chicken or turkey.
  9. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until the sauce is bubbling.
  10. Throughout this process help yourself to a glass or two of chilled New Zealand white.

Chestnut and chorizo soup

So I’m making this recipe as I type… which shows that it’s easy. I’ve made it before and it makes a great Christmas starter. The recipe is by Sam and Sam Clark (no idea) and I got it from the Observer Food Monthly in November 2009… it’s been a scrappy bit of paper in my recipe file ever since. It serves four people.

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 celery stick (I hate recipes with one celery stick - what are you supposed to do with the rest if you don’t like eating it raw? But anyway.)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 120g cooking chorizo
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • The leaves of some sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 small dried chillies
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 500g cooked, peeled chestnuts (fresh or vacuum-packed)
  • 20 saffron threads, infused in 3 to 4 tablespoons of boiling water - or - a teaspoon of ground tumeric
  • 1 litre of water

  1. Chop the carrot, onion and celery into small cubes.
  2. Chop the chorizo into thick cubes.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  4. Add the carrot, onion, celery, chorizo and a pinch of salt.
  5. Fry for 20 minutes until everything caramelises and turns quite brown.
  6. Slice the garlic cloves into thin slices (well, to be honest I used minced garlic from a jar, but then, I’m a lazy toad).
  7. Roughly chop the chestnuts, and crush the chillies.
  8. Add the garlic, cumin, thyme and chillies to the pan and cook for one minute.
  9. Add the tomatoes and cook for two minutes.
  10. Add the chestnuts and saffron or tumeric, and stir well.
  11. Add the water and simmer for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove from the heat and mash by hand with a potato masher until it’s almost smooth.
  13. Season with the pepper and serve.