At the Farm Shop we don’t treat cooking as a precise science. Nor are we trying to give a comprehensive list of recipes. These are some of our favourite dishes and we hope you’ll give some of them a try. They’ve worked for us on countless occasions but that doesn’t mean, with a bit of imagination and a few tweaks, they can’t be improved. Good luck and enjoy your cooking and eating.
Montbelliard Sausage and Lentil casseroleBy Ben WatsonThis dish is a welcome addition on a cold day - a classic lentil and smoked sausage casserole. The perfect bowl of braised lentils is a special thing and, for me, this is as close as it gets...
Nduja and honey aranciniBy Ben WatsonNduja (enduya) has been foodies' flavour of the month for some time and definitely isn't for the faint hearted. However if you're chilli tolerant, it's a great tool to have in the draw. The secret to making the perfect nduja is the ridiculously large quantity of fermented chilli, which kicks off the curing process by lowering the acidity overnight. Ours is available as a sausage or blitzed with olive oil in a jar, which is used in this recipe that was created by Ashley in the wine bar.The honey works well with the chilli. Traditionally, the risotto mix should be folded around the filling but in this case, I couldn't see the point so I mixed everything together. I prefer them small, croquette size anyway. Enough for quite a few.
Braised pheasant with cabbage and Montbeliard sausageBy Ben WatsonIt might be easily affordable but pheasant is one of the hardest meats to cook. Even plump, young birds  will have put in a lot of leg work and, unlike chickens and turkeys, they do actually fly so even the breast can be dry when roasted. Generally, it's either very slow or fast (breasts only) but get it right and roast pheasant can be pretty good. As usual, hens make better eating than cocks and the best birds to pick have a good covering of yellow fat. With legs taking longer to cook than breast, they either need to be cooked separately, or, somehow, subjected to different methods. Poaching the legs in liquid whilst the breast gently steams is the way to go but first you need to prep the bird. Drumsticks are always going to be so stringy with tendons that it's best to cut them off, with the hocks, before you start. Then you can cut down the between the breast and thigh, pushing the thigh down so it's horizontal and easily covered with liquid, as in the recipe below.
Cordelo Verde – Spiced Lamb CasseroleBy Ben WatsonCitrus and spice flavours make this one pot Spanish 'olla' perfect for seeing off the Autumn blues. In fact, the flavourings aren't all that different from those they would have used with mutton back in the day. Go large and make it last for a few days. Serves 8.
Sausages with fennel, borlotti beans and polentaBy Ben WatsonCognoscenti might recognise this as one of Nigel Slater's midweek suppers from The Observer magazine but the polenta and borlotti beans are my addition. It's equally good with soft/wet or firm polenta - timing is easier with the firm so I've done that. Serves 4.
Pesto alla Poly TunnelBy Ben WatsonLike many, I think I might have overdone it a bit on the tomato planting in the poly tunnel yet again this year, so any way of preserving them in their semi fresh state is to be jumped at. My basil is also entering its 'use it or lose it' stage so when Rachel Roddy started eulogizing about the about pest alla trapanese in the Guardian a few weeks ago when I was on the verge of binning bucket loads of its two main ingredients, I sat up and took notice. The third ingredient, almonds are far cheaper than pine nuts, but I still couldn't resist substituting a part ration of sunflower seeds. That seemed to work, leaving the possibility of swapping olive oil for rapeseed oil, for a true Pesto alla Brexit. Rightly or wrongly, I've always been a bit wary of the neonicotinoid/rapeseed connection so tend to avoid it, but I'm sure it would work. A brief online search revealed that the Pesto Trapanese recipe is about as loose as they come - the main areas of divergence being the amount of garlic and whether or not to add a pecorino type cheese. I quickly decided that the cheese was best left until the end but the garlic was more difficult. Rachel Roddy's 1-3 cloves seemed more reasonable than others' 6-10 but whilst the latter puts me in quarantine for a week the former was a bit insipid. Tempering the full amount by lightly roasting might seem cowardly but it bought about benefits in terms of body, depth and untuosity (good word). I imagine it would be good with pasta but it never gets further than a piece of toast in my house - maybe with a slice or two of griddled courgette - I have an abundance of those too.
Green Eggs Over LentilsBy Ben WatsonThe best things are often afterthoughts and this was just that. I was tweaking Nigel Slater's 'hangover' beef salad and I ran out of beef. I thought the eggs, lentils and Mojo Verde worked a treat together. As you might have noticed, Mojo Verde seems to have sneaked its way into a lot of my suggestions. As I've said, it's become a sort of green ketchup chez Benz!
Rare Roast Beef and Lentil SaladBy Ben WatsonRare roast beef and lentils are a great basis for any salad but what really gives this it's oomph is the addition of a few roast vegetables and our Mojo Verde. Adding the beef juices into the dressing will take it to the next level.
Perfect Beef FajitasBy Ben WatsonWe've started making our own fajita rub but adding a bit of lime and pineapple juice definitely raises these fajitas to another level. Pineapple is a well known tenderiser but over an extended period the juice of that and the lime will end up pickling and eventually drying out the meat. I'd suggest adding them an hour or so before cooking.
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