Luc appeared in the kitchen the other day armed with a hefty chunk of venison supplied by a hunter friend, and a bottle of good red wine supplied by our wine cellar. Apparently our cat, Minou, a tiny semi-feral ball of fury who terrorises humans and animals alike, had gone on hunger strike having polished off the venison bourguignon that he’d been eating for the past week (unbeknown to me). He was back on a diet of tinned food and had not taken kindly. He had apparently become distant — defiant even — to better convey his displeasure. All along I had naively imagined that the cat ate cat food. I won’t be publishing his recipe though (here is my recipe for human beef bourguignon), because Luc had been detailed to have it made without mushrooms or carrots, both of which he despises and spits out; Minou is a cat of temperament.
Ceps, or porcini, are high in vitamins (A, B complex and C), minerals (iron, potassium and calcium), fibre and antioxidants. An excellent source of protein, they are also good for digestive health and for fighting inflammation.
Ingredients (serves 4 people plus a discerning cat)
1 pork tenderloin (600-800g)
Tablespoon olive oil
300g ceps, finely sliced
1 shallot, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, cut into small pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Esplelette pepper (or paprika)
2 bay leaves
175ml white wine
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Coat the pork in olive oil and place in an ovenproof dish. Cover the meat with the ceps and shallot and then make small cuts in the meat to insert the garlic. Add the seasoning and gently pour the white wine over the top. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the pork is properly cooked through, without being dried out.
I used to hate grapefruit until my friend, Lucie, recently put me straight. One of the things I love about Lucie is her enormously resolute talent for ‘putting people straight’; now I’m Team Grapefruit, especially if served with crab. Crab and grapefruit is a marriage made in heaven, even more so with a bit of chilli for ‘zing’. I am big on harmonious combinations and for me one of the biggest culinary sins is the confounding Surf ‘n’ Turf. When I’m trying to decide if two ingredients will go together, I think about their natural habitats and how far-fetched it would seem for them to find themselves on the same plate. Lobster and beef? I don’t think so. As we plunge headlong into cep (porcini) season, I find myself once again skating on thin ice. Given the chance, my reckless anarchist of a husband will happily add ceps to absolutely everything. I sometimes have to resort to my ‘Flavour Thesaurus‘ to convince him that ceps and chocolate, coconut or crab do not, in fact, make for a palatable union.
Crab is a healthy source of protein, calcium, magnesium and selenium and grapefruit is rich in vitamins A and C. This fresh and fragrant salad is adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe.
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 pink grapefruits
200 g white crabmeat (I used tinned)
1 tomato, chopped
2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
6 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 handfuls crispy green salad
Carefully peel and segment the grapefruits. Place the crabmeat in a bowl with a tablespoon of grapefruit juice, the chopped chilli, basil leaves, salt and pepper and olive oil. Mix well. Add the salad and tomato to the bowl with the grapefruit segments, add a little more olive oil and salt and pepper, tossing well. Arrange the mixed salad and grapefruit segments in a bowl with the crab over the top. Sprinkle the remaining basil leaves and serve.