Paté’s proving popular, so let’s have another…
We were entertaining the Anthropologist for a birthday lunch and with a guest who takes such care over her own entertaining a degree of effort is essential, such as making a new dish, or sacrificing several days and your sanity to prepare a little something from Heston Blumenthal [or, as on this occasion, both!]. And whilst there’s nothing new about chicken liver paté per se, I’d never done it before, so for me it counted.
I think I’d always imagined it would be a complicated business, but it turned out to be a surprisingly simple affair [unlike what was to follow!]. You can make it with just some sautéed livers, a splash of booze and some melted butter and seasoning – of you can phaff about a bit more, as here.
This will make enough for four, twice over, plus a little extra for a solo lunch or two.
- 400g of chicken livers [which when trimmed of sinew and any greenish parts yielded about 300g]
- 200g of butter, plus more butter clarified to top the paté
- 300ml of port, brandy, or madeira – or any mixture thereof, plus a splash more
- 1 large banana shallot or 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf, plus more for decoration
- A few blades of mace
Place the chopped shallot or onion, bay leaf and mace in a small pan. Add the booze, bring up to a simmer and allow to reduce until the liquid has all but gone. Discard the bay leaf and mace.
Sautée the livers in a knob of the butter for three or four minutes each side. You want a nicely browned exterior and a pinky middle. You can finish them off with a glug of brandy in the pan and a quick flambé – by no means essential, but why waste an excuse for a bit of flambé drama?! You’ll feel more like Graham Kerr, and who could resist a paté made by the Galloping Gourmet? Melt the remaining butter. Tip the shallot and livers into a food processor, with any liquid and pan scrapings from the livers, and blend, adding the melted butter and a good splash more of your chosen booze as you do.
Season well, and scrape the paté into bowls or ramekins. Top with some clarified butter and decorate with bay leaves, pink peppercorns, cranberries and a grind of black pepper – or whatever takes your fancy. In the absence of anything else I ended up using halved glacé cherries. Chill for a few hours or overnight, but do remove from the fridge a while before serving.
Serve with cornichons, halved cherry tomatoes, and some good bread. You may find that your guests would prefer at least some of this to be toasted – I know I did! Then if you’re looking for something to follow it, and have a few days going spare, you could do worse than Heston’s liquorice poached salmon with vanilla mayonnaise, soy-marinated salmon roe, pink grapefruit cells and reduced balsamic glaze…
Posted in Easy, Recipe
Tagged bay, brandy, butter, chicken, chicken liver, cornichon, Graham Kerr, Heston Blumenthal, liver, mace, madeira, onion, pate, port, recipe, shallot
Did I mention already that I think the combination of thyme and tonka bean tastes like tarragon? Not exactly like tarragon – if that were the case it would be easier just to use tarragon! – but a grassier, less aniseedy version. They’re beautifully versatile little buggers these tonka beans, with a vanilla-like freshness that works just as well in sweet dishes [like my Christmas Pudding Ice Cream] as it does with chicken and fish. I swear I detected some yesterday too in the Pork Pibil which I had at Wahaca’s Southbank porta-cabin pop-up, though the recipes I’ve found online make no mention.
I’ve used the pairing here to update a recipe which I first shared in My St Margarets Magazine a couple of years ago. And I’ve changed the method too to produce an easy, prepare-ahead dish for summer entertaining, not least because I know the Lakeland Taxi Driver has a lunch party for twelve this Sunday! This version comfortably serves six, I’m sure you can do the maths. A recent road test played to rave reviews in a packed garden, hopefully your guests will feel the same.
For the chicken
- A 1.5-1.7kg bird, and a lidded pot into which it fits snugly
- A large bunch of thyme
- One onion, finely sliced
- 300ml white wine
- 1/3 of a tonka bean, grated with a micro-plane or nutmeg grater
- Sea salt and black pepper
For the mayonnaise*
- 1 large egg yolk, and 1 large whole egg
- 350ml groundnut oil
- 2 heaped teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- A good pinch of salt
- 2 tbsps white wine vinegar
Prepare and cook the chicken as per my recipe for Pot Roast Chicken Veronique [ignore the bit about the Verjuice syrup for this recipe]. Don’t forget to season the bird well, inside and out. Grate the tonka bean over the chicken before you pour over the wine. When the chicken is cooked set it aside to cool. Strain the cooking juices and reduce to one third of their original volume. Let this cool too.
To make the mayonnaise blitz the egg, yolk, salt and mustard in a food processor. Then with the motor running start to add the oil – drop by drop to begin with, then in a thin stream, and then as the sauce emulsifies and begins to bulk up you can increase your rate of pouring. Add the vinegar to the finished mayonnaise with the motor still running. I’ve only just started making mayonnaise and now I can’t stop! It’s proper magical kitchen alchemy, and nowhere near as scary as everyone makes it out to be.
*If you don’t plan to make your own mayonnaise please use a decent ready made one – this really is no time for bog standard factory nonsense!
Roughly tear the flesh from the legs, breasts and back of the bird and scatter into a dish. Take a couple of small ladles of the reduced juices [about 60 ml] and mix into the mayonnaise, and taste. If you feel it needs more, add some. And perhaps add another small shaving of tonka bean, but do it with a light hand, if at all. The flavour could easily dominate, and will build as the dish rests.
Coat your chicken with the enriched mayonnaise, stir well, cover and refrigerate overnight. To serve give it half an hour or so out of the fridge, and decorate with some chopped parsley, a grind or two of black pepper, and some lemon slices – or some watercress, or perhaps pea shoots. It will need a little garnish as although it’s delicious it can look a tad monotone without. This deserves to take centre stage, so make sure it’s dressed to impress!
Posted in Easy, Recipe
Tagged black pepper, chicken, egg, egg yolk, groundnut oil, mayonnaise, mustard, onion, recipe, salt, tarragon, thyme, tonka bean, Wahaca, white wine, white wine vinegar
Perhaps it’s the unseasonably warm and sunny weather we’ve been enjoying of late, or maybe it’s got something to do with my having done two whole weeks of full-time work [I know, poor me!], but I’m yearning to get on a plane and head for distant shores. And with my own planned odyssey to explore the food of Indochina currently on indefinite hold it doesn’t help that you can’t turn on the TV at the moment without seeing a certain bum-chinned, potty-mouthed chef trampling all over South East Asia and its peoples and cuisines. Ah well, if departure lounges must remain a distant dream for now there’s nothing to stop me rustling up a mini-break from the comfort of my own kitchen.
Last July I wrote about the versatility of a simple chicken pot roast and this is yet another variation on the theme, though this time conceived with thoughts of a cold Tiger beer on a Thai beach at the forefront of my mind.
Follow the same basic method as before [you can substitute water for the wine if you think it feels more ‘authentic’, but I didn’t] but this time add the following:
- A couple of bruised lemon grass stalks and the stems of a handful of basil [reserve the leaves for later] these to be inserted into the cavity, the rest strewn about the chicken in the liquor…
- Two small shallots, finely chopped
- A thumb of ginger, peeled and grated
- Two or three red chillies, chopped
- Strips of the peel of half a lime
- Three or four crushed cloves of garlic
- Half a teaspoon of ground turmeric
Season well and cook as before. Once the chicken is done allow it to rest and strain the juices into another pan. Reduce by a third. Add a tin of coconut milk, simmer for a few minutes more, and check the seasoning. Add some previously steamed and refreshed green veg to the sauce and warm through. I used new season asparagus and some pak choi, but green beans, peas, spinach, pea aubergines, etc. would all be fine.
Finish the sauce with a squeeze of lime, a splash of fish sauce, the reserved basil leaves, and a few further strips of freshly sliced chilli if you fancy. Serve chunks of the chicken in bowls on a bed of warm noodles and with plenty of the sauce.
Now then, where did I put my postcards…?
Posted in Easy, Recipe
Tagged asparagus, basil, chicken, chilli, coconut milk, fish sauce, ginger, green beans, Indochina, lemon grass, lime, noodles, pak choi, pea aubergine, peas, pot roast, recipe, shallot, Southeast Asia, spinach, Thai, turmeric
Whilst to some of my younger readers this will clearly mark me out as some sort of antediluvian anachronism, I can actually remember a Britain before McDonalds. The golden arches didn’t make it to our sceptred isle until 1974, fully 6 years after I first landed, and it would be many years more before Ronald showed his face in the provincial backwater that was my childhood home.
Colonel Sanders on the other hand was quicker off the mark and KFC opened its first UK outlet in Preston in 1965. I don’t think the one I remember, a roadhouse style takeaway on Preston New Road, was the ground-breaker but it seemed always to have been there. We didn’t use it often – it was enough of a drive for the food to get cold before we got home, and being ‘foreign’ was clearly not intended for everyday consumption – but it was my first real introduction to the then exotic world of the fast food takeaway.
Perhaps because of this childhood association fried chicken still holds a special place in my arteries, and is one of the few fast food staples that I might still crave before 2:00 a.m. and whilst stone cold sober. The colonel’s spice mix is of course as secret as the recipe for Coca Cola [apparently not even the factories who make it know the exact proportions, which I would have thought could prove to be a tad awkward, manufacturing-wise?] but it’s not actually that difficult to cook up a reasonable facsimile at home. Many of the myriad American recipes available online use frankly frightening amounts of MSG but even if this did figure in the Colonel’s own mysterious mix you don’t need it. Plenty of good old fashioned salt and pepper does the trick.
Of course you can’t have fried chicken without some sort of slaw. When making this I had crunchy celery and apple to hand [as in a Waldorf Salad] and hey presto, Wal-Slaw was born! The sweet-corn is another classic fried chicken accompaniment so into the salad it went. A buttered baked potato finished off the finger lickin’ feast.
- Half a small red cabbage, finely shredded
- Half an apple, diced
- A shallot, finely diced
- One carrot, grated
- A small tin of sweet-corn kernels (not Colonels!)
- Two sticks of celery, finely sliced
- The juice of half a lemon
- A splash of malt vinegar
- Sufficient mayonnaise to bind
First dice the apple and toss in the lemon juice and vinegar. Then just throw everything else in and stir in the mayonnaise to your liking. Season and chill.
Philip’s Fried Chicken [PFC]
- 6 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
- 4 tbsps plain flour
- 1 soupspoon cornflour [optional]
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- 2 tsps salt
- 2 tsps ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 stick of celery broken into four [optional]
- Vegetable oil for frying
Soak the chicken thighs in the beaten egg and allow them to wallow for a while. Place the flour [and cornflour if using], seasoning and spices into a zip-lock plastic bag and shake well to combine. Throw the chicken pieces into the spiced flour, zip up the bag and shake well to coat them evenly. Rest the whole lot in the fridge for a few minutes whilst you heat up the oil and shake again.
In a heavy, lidded skillet or frying pan heat about half an inch of vegetable oil. The depth needs to be such that once the chicken is in the oil will not reach higher than half way up the side of the pan. To see when the oil is hot enough for frying insert the handle of a wooden spoon – when the oil forms lively bubbles around the handle you’re ready to go [NB very vigorous bubbling means the oil is too hot, allow it to cool a little and try again]. Using tongs gently place the chicken pieces into the oil, skin side down, and add the celery pieces if using – it may be an old wives’ tale but this is supposed to help to crisp the chicken.
Cover and cook for nine to ten minutes, checking from time to time that the underside isn’t browning too quickly – if it is, lower the heat. Again using tongs turn the pieces and cook for another nine to ten minutes but this time without the lid. When all the chicken pieces are beautifully golden brown all over remove from the oil and drain. Some say this is best done on brown paper such as a grocer’s bag but kitchen roll will do too. Let the chicken cool for a few minutes before you dig in to avoid southern fried lips, a less appealing dish by far.
Posted in Easy, Recipe, Writing
Tagged apple, black pepper, cabbage, carrot, cayenne pepper, celery, celery salt, chicken, chicken thigh, coleslaw, Colonel Sanders, corn, cornflour, egg, flour, fried chicken, garlic powder, KFC, lemon, lemon juice, malt vinegar, mayonnaise, oregano, paprika, red cabbage, salt, shallot, slaw, southern fried chicken, sweet-corn, thyme, vegetable oil, vinegar, Waldorf Salad
If you plan to go shopping in the smaller local markets of Phnom Penh my two top tips are 1) do so with a local guide and 2) plan things such that you don’t go with a hangover. My one day Cambodian cooking course began with a nine o’clock tuk-tuk ride to Kandal Market and being accompanied by our teacher and chef Heng took care of number one. A thorough and comprehensive introduction to the bars of the Cambodian capital the previous evening however is why I am able, with some authority, to offer the second piece of advice. Cambodian markets are lively, colourful, noisy places and there is no shortage of stimulation for all the senses. Most Cambodians will make daily visits as fridges are a rare luxury, but some of the sights and smells can prove something of a shock to an unsuspecting westerner who’s had one or two too many the night before. Fruit and vegetable stalls will be piled high with produce both familiar and not, with herbs like fresh caraway a real revelation, and shouldn’t overly challenge the constitution, unless of course you’re surrounded by a large quantity of ripe Durian on a hot sunny day.
Venturing further into the narrow alleyways [and avoiding the motorbikes which people will ride down them] the atmosphere ripens amongst the stalls selling poultry, pork and fish – alive, dead, dried, or despatched to order – until you come across the highly prized ‘Cambodian cheese’, Prahok. Prahok is crushed, salted, fermented fish which is allowed to mature for up to three years. It is added to soups and sauces, or just eaten raw as a dip with vegetable crudités. It’s a rich, heady brew, and is your first real reason to avoid this trip whilst worse for wear.
After the Prahok baskets of sulphurous charcoal aged eggs [similar to a Chinese century egg] will barely raise a nostril. My first visit though was rounded off by a visit to a frog stall. A steel tray held deep layers of frogs, all freshly skinned, beheaded and shining in the morning sun. It turns out that a recently skinned and decapitated frog doesn’t need any encouragement from Mr Volta to flex its muscles, and two of the beasts leapt out and onto the street and began hopping blindly about. A lady intent on her morning shop didn’t notice and stepped on one – the headless frog of course had precious little chance of seeing her coming. This is when you really wish you’d gone to bed early with a cup of tea the previous evening.
Whatever else you stumble upon one thing you will find is banana blossoms in abundance. They resemble purplish brown elongated cabbages around 45cm in length. The tender creamy white inner layers are the edible parts, and as you strip away each layer to get to them you’ll find little proto-hands of bananas between each. The petals are rolled and thinly shredded, but discolour quickly so need to be immersed in water acidulated with lime juice as soon as they are cut. Whilst they’re slightly less abundant here they are by no means impossible to come by; my local Thai supermarket has them in stock ‘from time to time’ and recommends that if you see one you should buy it, but they also stock a tinned version which I had to buy but am yet to try. If you absolutely cannot track one down then use finely shredded hard white cabbage instead.
You will need around half a large or one whole small petal layer per person.
- Banana Blossom
- 2 tablespoons of roughly torn mixed herbs including mint, basil and coriander [Asian varieties if available]
- A handful of torn spinach leaves
- 1 large mild red chilli cut into thin strips
- 1 tablespoon of roasted peanuts, slightly crushed
- Juice of 1 lime added to a shallow bowl of cold water
- 150g to 180g of poached chicken or any leftover poultry
For the dressing
- 1 or 2 mild red chillies
- 1 small birds eye chilli [optional]
- Juice of 2 limes
- 3 cloves of garlic.
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Cambodian fish sauce [or two thirds that amount of Thai Nam Pla]
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons water
The dressing can be made a few days beforehand and stored [covered] in the fridge. Chop the chilli finely and crush the garlic, then smash together a little with a mortar and pestle but do not reduce to a paste. Mix all the other ingredients and stir to dissolve the sugar, then add the chilli and garlic.
To make the salad roll the banana ‘petals’ into cylinders and slice finely across to produce strips about 1mm wide. Place these into the cold water with lime juice to prevent browning. Drain after five minutes. Tear the meat into thin strips with your fingers. Toss everything together in a bowl and add the dressing bit by bit until you are happy with the balance of flavours. It should be sprightly and fresh, lively with herbs and with a kick from the dressing.
Posted in Recipe, Travel, Writing
Tagged banana blossom, basil, Cambodia, chicken, chilli, coriander, fish sauce, garlic, lime, market, mint, peanut, Phnom Penh, prahok, recipe, salad, shallot, sugar
There is no more heinous waste-crime in my book [and it’s quite a thick book, but this one is written in red, and underlined] than to throw away the remains of a roasted bird before they have visited the stockpot. I once went for Sunday lunch with a large group of friends to a pub which served whole roast chickens to share, and insisted that the resulting five carcasses be wrapped and bagged for me to take home – there was chicken stock in the freezer for weeks! Age of austerity or not, there’s no way you should just bin those bones.
- The carcass, skin and any juices / jelly / trimmings from your roast bird
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped
- A glug of white wine / vermouth / brandy / dry sherry
- 10 black peppercorns
- Bay leaves
- Any other herbs of your choosing
Firstly place your carcass etc. in the pan and turn up the heat for a while before adding any of the other ingredients. The skin and bones will start to sizzle and spit and release their aroma and flavour. Now throw in your choice of booze and allow this to quickly bubble away. Vermouth and wine [the end of last night’s bottle is fine] work well, brandy gives good depth of flavour to the finished stock, or chose something else if you have a specific job in mind for the stock. For instance when making the chicken, garlic and brie pie posted here I used a fino sherry which on its own partners very well with brie, and I wanted to see if they got along just as well here[*].
Throw in the holy trinity of aromatic veg, the onion, carrot and celery, and give all a good stir. The choice of herbs is also dependant on what you want to do with the finished article but I always add a bay leaf or two and some parsley stalks if I have them lying around, which of course you do if you’re using the leaves elsewhere! Again when making the pie I knew there’d be thyme involved some added some to the stock too. There’s no need to spend time making neat little bouquets garnis with the herbs, you’ll be straining everything through a sieve so just plonk everything in the pot. Pop in the peppercorns and a generous helping of sea salt then add enough boiling water to submerge the contents of the pan and return to the boil. Skim off any scum which floats to the surface and having reduced the heat allow this to simmer uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour.
Taste your stock as you go and don’t be scared to up the seasoning until the flavour is as you want it; if you’ve ever been disappointed by the flavour of a homemade stock the most likely cause is excessive caution with the salt. After an hour the solids will have done their work and you can strain off the liquid and discard them, but for additional richness and intensity you can continue to reduce the stock if you wish. And there you have it – the starter for soups, risottos, sauces and so on – for not much more than an hour of your time, the price of a few vegetables, and some leftovers which would otherwise be wasted. And you won’t have me turning on your doorstep and waving that book!
Posted in Recipe
Tagged bay, black pepper, carrot, celery, chicken, leftovers, onion, recipe, stock, thyme, white wine
Does this sound just a tad odd to you? It did to me too when I first purchased it from one of my favourite pie makers, but it works like a dream [if you dream of succulent savoury pies that is – and who doesn’t?]. So I’ve pinched the idea from them but in the absence of a detailed recipe on the label have had to construct my own. The original was a full short-crust pie affair but I bought a packet of ready-made puff and lazily draped it over the top. I make no apologies, that’s my kind of pie. And this is one of those great ways to use up your leftover roast chicken, in fact it’s a good excuse to cook more than you need in the first place!
For two or three – depending on how hungry you are:
- ½ a small leftover roast chicken [my original bird weighed around 1.4kg], meat roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 140g Brie de Meaux
- 1 dessert spoon plain flour
- 170g standard closed cup mushrooms, cut into 1/2 cm dice
- 350ml chicken stock made from the carcass of the bird – see separate post
- 4 tblsp double cream
- 1 good glug of pale sherry, white wine or vermouth [this may depend on what went with on with the stock (see above) but feel free to go where your heart takes you], plus a good glass of wine for the chef
- A small sprig of thyme
- 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 egg
Sauté the onion in a little olive oil until softening nicely. Add the garlic, mushrooms and thyme, and cook for a few minutes more. You can pick the leaves from the thyme if you have time [do you see what I did there?], or you can tie it with string, bruise the bunch between your palms and toss it in the pot for later retrieval, which is easier. Add the flour and stir for a few minutes more without allowing it to catch. Now’s the time to add the sherry / wine / vermouth and, after a brief bubble and stir, the stock. Return to a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, and allow to thicken slightly before introducing the chopped chicken to warm through thoroughly, and then the cream. You may find that the large surface area of the multitudinous chicken pieces causes the sauce to become thicker than you’d thought – if so just add a little more stock but remember that you will want the base to have some body, so don’t overdo it. Having removed the thyme bouquet [if using] tip all the rest into a suitably sized pie dish, and as it cools slice your Brie into chunky slivers and distribute them evenly, tucking them into your saucy base. Now is the time to take your chef’s glass of wine and relax somewhere for 10 minutes whilst your pie filling does the same – you’ve been working hard, you deserve it…
Back in the kitchen? Top your pie dish with the pastry and use any trimmings to make leaves [classically], diamonds [very 70’s revival], hearts [if, and only if, you’re about to propose] or whatever shapes your imagination suggests, place these on top, and brush with the beaten egg. There may be some slight spillage around the edges so sit the pie dish on a tray and place into the middle of a preheated 220˚C oven for 25 minutes. Please resist the temptation to peek for at least the first 20 minutes, which will be more difficult than it sounds, but a puff pastry can easily sulk if it isn’t given enough privacy in the early stages of its development.
I first served this with cauliflower cheese [another leftover from the day before] which turned out to be a mistake – too rich and too many competing flavours. I would recommend some simply mashed potatoes [butter, milk, a pinch of nutmeg] and some peas or other greens. The pie should have the space to sing with just a competent supporting cast who don’t attempt to grab the limelight.
Posted in Recipe
Tagged brie, chicken, cream, egg, garlic, leftovers, onion, pie, puff pastry, recipe, stock, thyme, white wine
A new twist on an old French classic. Ever since I found my first and very versatile recipe for pot-roasting chicken it has become my absolute method of choice for cooking a whole bird. You end up with meat as moist as if it were poached but with the full roast flavour, and a quantity of delicious chickeny flavoursome juices to use as they are or to treat to some onward embellishment – as here. I’ll be serving just the breasts of the chicken tonight with the velvety cream and grape sauce, so there will be plenty of luscious leg meat and a carcass to play with tomorrow.
- 1 x 1.6kg chicken
- 1 onion very finely sliced
- A couple of peeled and bruised garlic cloves
- 1 small bunch of thyme
- 300ml white wine
- As many white grapes as you fancy in your sauce, I went for 20 [c.100g]
- 150ml single cream
Preheat your oven to 190˚C. Lay a single thin layer of sliced onion over the base of a heavy lidded pot which will comfortably accommodate your chicken. Season the chicken cavity and then cram in the bunch of thyme. This is another benefit of pot roasting; both bird and juices can be imbued with the flavour of your chosen herbs with no tiresome picking or chopping [perhaps a little bruising] by simply shoving a bunch of whatever it is up the poor beast’s bottom.
Sit the chicken on its scant mattress of onion, push the rest of the sliced allium and the bruised garlic around the sides, pour over the wine and season with salt and pepper. Place the pot on the hob and heat until simmering, then place the tight fitting lid on top and give it 45 minutes covered in the oven. After the first ¾ of an hour take off the lid and return uncovered to the oven for a further 45 minutes. With 10 minutes of cooking time to go I brushed the exposed surfaces of tonight’s bird with some caramelised Verjuice syrup to give additional flavour and golden brown lustre to the skin. These timings have never failed me for a foul of this size but you can use the usual ‘juices running clear from the thickest part of the thigh’ test to be sure.
Carefully remove the chicken [the cavity will be full of liquid and the tender wings will likely fall away] and allow it to rest, covered loosely with foil. As it rests reduce the cooking liquor by a third to a half, then add the cream and allow this to bubble and thicken slightly. However intense the cooking juices seemed this will have been mollified considerably by the cream so check and adjust the seasoning. A splash of white Verjuice around now wouldn’t go amiss either [sadly my bottle was empty]. Finally add the grapes and allow them to heat through.
The pot-roasted bird will be very moist so carve on something which can catch the juices, serve your choice of cuts and pour over the sauce. This is relatively rich so keep the accompaniments simple. We had steamed green beans and some minted new potatoes with a knob of mint butter, which you can gently crush into the creamy, grapey sauce on your plate.