Rabbit and black sausage with prunes

Rabbit and black sausage with prunes
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The other day my housemate came back from the butchers with a whole rabbit. The butcher was also kind enough to give him a free pack of black sausages, so after checking the cupboards I came up with this! Rabbit and prunes is a classic combination and the black sausage along with a generous amount of red wine added even more to the richness of the dish. An excellent autumn stew which was delicious with my garlic crushed potatoes (which can be found here), but just as nice with plain boiled rice!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large rabbit, jointed (roughly 1.5kg)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 rashers streaky bacon
  • 150ml red wine
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 4 black sausages, cut in half
  • 250g stoned prunes
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4.
  2. Heat the oil in a large plan. Dust the rabbit pieces in the flour, generously seasoned with salt and pepper.
  3. When the oil is fairly hot brown the rabbit, two or three pieces at a time, and set aside.
  4. Peel and chop the carrots into 5mm pieces. Cut the celery into pieces of roughly the same size. Slice the bacon into 1cm strips.
  5. Add the bacon, onion, carrot, celery and garlic to the oil and fry for five minutes over a medium heat until starting to colour.
  6. Add the wine, scraping all the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan.
  7. Return the rabbit to the pan, coating it with the other ingredients. Pour over the stock, cover and place in the oven for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven. Stir in the prunes and black sausage. Season and return to the oven for half an hour or until the rabbit is very tender.

Garlic crushed potatoes

Garlic crushed potatoes
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I made these to go with my rabbit and black sausage with prunes recipe (which can be found here) although I have made them many times before. You can use any cheap potatoes to make these, which makes it great when you’ve spent all your money on the main. This is a particularly good recipe for those less attentive cooks, as the idea is to overcook the potatoes at both stages of cooking!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1kg small potatoes
  • 4 shallots
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed with skin on
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6.
  2. Wash the potatoes. Leave the skin on and cut each in half. Peel and halve the shallots.
  3. Place the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for fifteen minutes or until the potatoes are soft (a sharp knife should pass straight through).
  4. Put the vegetable oil in a large baking tray and place in the preheated oven.
  5. Turn off the hob and drain the potatoes. Return them to the saucepan with all the other ingredients. Season generously.
  6. Put a tight fitting lid onto the saucepan. Making sure you hold the lid down tightly, vigorously shake, bashing all the ingredients together and slightly crumbling the potatoes.
  7. Spoon the contents into the baking tray and return to the oven to cook for thirty minutes, or until the potatoes are crispy and brown.

Lemon cheesecake with summer fruits coulis

Desserts
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This quick and easy recipe requires no cooking, and produces an absolutely delicious cheesecake! Marscapone is significantly more expensive than cream cheese (which is used in most cheesecake recipes). However, it gives a much richer taste and a silkier texture. I made this for a group of friends and they all loved it!

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 10 digestive biscuits
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 700g mascarpone cheese
  • 2 lemon, juice and zest
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 450g frozen summer fruits, defrosted

Method

  1. Brush the bottom of a 23cm cake tin with some of the melted butter and line the base with greaseproof paper.
  2. Crush the biscuits and tip them into a bowl, add the melted butter and honey and stir until well combined.
  3. Tip the mixture into the bottom of the cake tin. Using the back of a spoon, gently push the crumbs from the centre outward, until smooth and level.
  4. Mix the mascarpone cheese, lemon juice and zest and caster sugar together in a bowl until well combined. Do not mix the mixture too much as this will cause it to split.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the tin on top of the chilled biscuit mixture and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
  6. For the sauce, blend the fruits with the icing sugar in a food processor until smooth. Pass the sauce through a sieve.
  7. When ready to serve, either run a hot cloth or blowtorch round the outside of the tin and ease out the cheesecake.
  8. Drizzle over the coulis and serve.

Original recipe taken from here.

Banoffee cake

Banoffee cake
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I made this cake for a friend’s twenty first. I find banoffee pie can be overpoweringly rich and turning into a cake somehow seemed to make it less sickly. I used a recipe to create the sponge, but used my own filling and topping. I love banana loaf (one of many great ways to use overripe bananas!) and just a little extra time and effort turns it a delicious cake!

Ingredients

  • 165g butter, plus extra for the tin
  • 165g soft light brown or light brown muscovado sugar
  • 325g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 150ml double cream
  • 397g can Carnation caramel
  • handful dried banana chips
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate

Method

  1. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas mark 5.
  2. Grease and line the bottom of two round 21cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
  3. With a wooden spoon or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and a pale, creamy colour.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
  5. One at a time, beat each egg into the butter mixture along with a tbsp of the dry mixture, then beat in the milk and fold in the rest of the dry ingredients until well combined.
  6. In the bowl that contained the flour, mash the bananas until smooth and lump-free – whizz with the electric mixer if needed – then fold into the rest of the mixture until well combined.
  7. Spoon half the mixture into each tin and smooth over the surface. Bake for thirty minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool for five mins, then remove from tin and continue cooling on a wire rack.
  8. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Spread this over the top of one of the sponges. Sandwich the second sponge on top.
  9. Spread a generous layer of Carnation caramel onto the top of the cake.
  10. Crush up the banana chips, shave the dark chocolate and sprinkle both over the cake.

Original recipe taken from here.