Routine, oh how I miss you … To know what to expect, every single day, is priceless: it keeps you sound and sensible; it gives purpose and focus. But not all is lost in these days of lockdown. Old routines are transforming into new ones, and many of them, I am happy to say, revolve around food. Mealtimes have been regaining their past glory as our main way to punctuate the day, or week. In my house, lunches are now makeshift picnics, Saturday mornings are official pancake time, Tuesday afternoons are dedicated to baking, and on Sundays we’ve reclaimed the old lunch tradition. If you are able to sit down for Sunday lunch, with family, housemates or Zoom pals, it can really provide that bit of comfort that is so needed right now.
Roast chicken with creamy garlic and peppercorn sauce
If you can’t get bone-in chicken legs, use a whole chicken, jointed, instead. Leave out the black garlic if you can’t get hold of it and mix a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar into the sauce instead.
Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 25 min
3 banana shallots (or 5 ordinary shallots), peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp green peppercorns, roughly crushed, or 2 tbsp roughly chopped capers
1 lemon, cut into 5 slices
400ml dry white wine
105g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes
Salt and black pepper
6 chicken legs, bone in and skin on, or 1 whole chicken, jointed into 8 pieces (ie, 2 legs, 2 thighs and 2 breasts cut in half)
2 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp extra
20 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
20 black garlic cloves, cut in half lengthways (or 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar – see recipe introduction)
90ml double cream
2-3 tbsp (10g) flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
3½ tbsp (10g) chives, finely chopped
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/ 390F/gas 6, and put the first five ingredients and 150ml water into a large 38cm x 28cm oven tray with half a teaspoon of salt and a very generous grind of black pepper.
In a large bowl, mix the chicken with two tablespoons of oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper, then lay them skin side up in the tray and spread out as much as possible; take care you don’t get the skin wet.
Toss the whole peeled garlic cloves (ie, not the black garlic) in a teaspoon of oil, arrange them around the chicken legs, then put the tray in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Scatter the black garlic into the sauce around the chicken legs and return to the oven for another 35 minutes, or until the chicken legs are crisp and golden brown.
Lift out the chicken and place skin side up on a second oven tray, large plate or board. Whisk the sauce mix, scraping the sides and base of the tray as you go, then gently stir in the cream and herbs. Return the chicken skin side up to the pan, and serve directly from the tray.
Radish and horseradish salad
This punchy and fresh salad is perfect to cut through richer dishes such as the creamy garlic chicken. The dressing works on any mixture of leaves you can find – iceberg, romaine or even white cabbage would work well here.
Prep 15 min
Cook 5 min
30g fresh horseradish, peeled and very finely grated (20g net weight), or 1 tbsp jarred prepared horseradish
3 tbsp olive oil
60ml rice-wine vinegar, or white-wine vinegar
Flaked sea salt
150g breakfast radishes, very thinly sliced (use a mandoline, if you have one)
2-3 baby gem lettuce, trimmed, quartered and leaves separated (200g)
3½ tbsp (10g) chives, finely chopped
1 small mooli, or ½ large one (220g), peeled and thinly sliced into rounds (again, use a mandoline if you have one), or 220g extra breakfast radishes
Mix the first three ingredients in a large bowl with two and a half teaspoons of flaked salt. Just before you’re ready to eat, add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl, toss to dress and serve.
Hazelnut roly-poly with lemon custard
This traditional school-dinner dessert gets very special treatment here with the flavours of hazelnut and plum, which pair wonderfully with a simple maple- and lemon-infused custard. I like to eat both the cake and custard at room temperature, but you could warm either element, or both, if you prefer. The plum jam can be easily swapped with another jam, and if you don’t have hazelnuts, blanched almonds would also work well.
Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr 45 min
300g plum jam
2 tbsp lemon juice
For the cake and praline
140g blanched hazelnuts
80g caster sugar
30g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp double cream
2 tbsp maple syrup
For the custard
300ml double cream
50ml whole milk
2 tsp lemon zest
2 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
60ml maple syrup
Heat the oven to 170C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Put the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 14 minutes, until very fragrant, leave to cool, then transfer to a spice grinder or the small bowl of a food processor and blitz until finely crushed.
Turn up the oven to 190C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Line and grease a 32cm x 22cm swiss roll tin. Put the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment in place and whip for three minutes, until tripled in size. Add the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, 80g of the blitzed hazelnuts and a pinch of salt, and gently fold together until fully combined. Pour into the prepared tin, smooth the top with the back of a spoon and bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown. While still warm and with the shorter end facing you, use the parchment paper to roll up the cake from the shorter end, then set it to one side to cool while you get on with the rest.
For the praline, put the remaining 60g blitzed hazelnuts in a spice grinder or the small bowl of a food processor with the cream, maple syrup and a pinch of salt, and blitz to a smooth paste.
To assemble, unroll the cake, then spread the inside all over with the praline mix. Mix the jam with the lemon juice and use two-thirds of it to cover the praline, leaving a 2cm border around the edges. Starting at the shorter end, roll the cake back up, then discard the paper.
For the custard, put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat and cook, whisking continuously for about five minutes, until the mix thickens a little, but is still pourable, then leave the custard to cool.
Serve slices of the cake with some of the cooled custard, with the remaining custard and jam in two separate bowls alongside.