Prawn risotto

A modified BBC Good Food recipe.
Serves 3.
15 minutes to prepare, 40 minutes to cook.

This would also work well with mixed seafood (squid, mussels, prawns, etc).


  • 350ml white wine
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 250g peeled prawns (raw – but you can used cooked too).
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • a handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 bag rocket (80g)
  • butter for frying
  • salt and pepper


  • Prepare the stock.
  • Melt the butter in a large pan and add the onion and garlic. Sweat over a low heat for ten minutes until softened, but not coloured.
  • Add the rice, and stir for 2 minutes until the grains are hot and may begin making a cracking noise.
  • Increase the heat to medium and begin adding the stock and wine, one ladle at a time. Begin with the stock, and start using the wine when perhaps half the stock has been used. Stir constantly and ensure that the liquid is absorbed by the rice before adding more.
  • When the rice is almost cooked, add the prawns and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Continue adding more liquid for another 3 or 4 minutes until the prawns and rice are cooked.
  • Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, parsley and rocket. Leave in the pan for 2 minutes and then serve with crusty bread.

Chicken fricassée

A Gordon Ramsay recipe from The Times, but don’t let that stop you.

Serves 3 normal people, or 4 with small appetites. Serve with rice or sautéed potatoes, plus some green vegetables, and a glass of cold white wine.

You will need a heavy sauté pan with a lid. Also, warm the oven to a low heat (50C), just to keep things warm (hey, put your plates in to warm up!).
15 minutes prep, 45 to 50 minutes to cook.


  • Either, a large chicken jointed into eight pieces or, to make life easier, 8 or 10 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on.
  • 150g smoked bacon lardons.
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed.
  • 150g or a bit more of chestnut mushrooms or tasty wild mushrooms. In the case of chestnut mushrooms, these should be halved. For other mushrooms, cut into large chunks (not small pieces – they get lost).
  • 100ml brandy. Ramsay doesn’t put enough in for my liking (he calls for less).
  • 450ml chicken stock.
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 2 or 3 sprigs rosemary.
  • 2 or 3 generous sprigs of thyme – you just want the leaves, discard the stems.
  • A handful of parsley, roughly chopped. Flat leaf parsley works best.
  • Salt, pepper.
  • Olive oil for frying.


  • Using a large sauté pan over a medium to high heat, heat the oil. Season the chicken and add to the hot pan, skin side down. Sauté for 5 or 6 minutes without turning until golden (just shuffle it a bit to stop it sticking).
  • Turn the chicken, add the lardons, garlic and mushrooms and mix well.
  • Add the bay leaf, rosemary and thyme.
  • Add the brandy. Then, carefully, set fire to the brandy (I use a kitchen torch) and flambé the chicken. Take great care, as you may get a big whoosh of flame, set fire to your eyebrows and burn the house down.
  • Allow the flames to subside, then reduce the heat and allow the pan to simmer gently for 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Pour over the chicken stock, then return the pan to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover and cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Check that the chicken is cooked through (no pink meat in the middle).
  • Remove the chicken pieces to a plate and put in the oven to keep warm.
  • Crank up the heat on your sauté pan for a few minutes to reduce and slightly thicken the sauce.
  • Remove the rosemary, garlic and bay leaf from the sauce and discard.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan, and spoon the sauce over it.
  • Serve immediately.