HERE are two recipes from Bill Sewell’s forthcoming book to whet your appetite. English cassoulet serves six. You will need:
1 ham hock bone, cured
200ml (7 fl. oz) dry cider
1 bay leaf, broken
250g (9 oz) plain top-quality sausages, cut into 2cm pieces
100g (3½ oz) smoked streaky bacon, dice
50ml olive oil
400g (14 oz) carrots, in big chunks
400g (14 oz) onion, in small chunks
3 sticks celery, medium diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
400g (14 oz) (drained weight) tin
cooked haricot or canellini beans
apple juice (optional)
juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 small bunch (about 40g/1½ oz)
flat parsley, roughly chopped
Cook the ham hock with the cider and bay leaf and just enough water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 3 hours until tender. Keep the cooking liquor. Pull the meat off the bone, leaving it in fairly large chunks, and discard the bone.
In a separate pan, brown the pieces of sausage and remove. In that pan cook the diced bacon until it’s browned, and then remove, leaving the fat in the pan. In the same pan add the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic, and sweat for about 10 minutes with the lid on. Then add the cooked haricot beans, the ham hock and its cooking liquor, the bacon, and the sausages. Bring the whole thing to the boil and simmer gently for about half an hour. Add the lemon juice, mustard, and half the parsley. Check the seasoning. Sprinkle some more chopped parsley over each portion.
Perfect lemon shortbread, adapted from Felicity Cloake’s excellent Guardian column, is extremely moreish. Makes about 22 biscuits.
250g (9 oz) butter
125g (4 oz) caster sugar
285g (10 oz) plain flour
90g (3 oz) ground rice
2 lemons — finely grated zest only
extra caster sugar for sprinkling on after baking
Pre-heat the oven to 130°C/275°F/Gas 1. Grease and line two 30cm x 40cm baking sheets or the equivalent. Put the soft butter and the caster sugar into a bowl, and beat until soft and fluffy. Add the flour, ground rice, and lemon zest, and mix with a large spoon. Then use your hands to pull it together into one blob. Roll the dough out to ½cm thick, and cut out rounds with a cookie cutter. Put cookies on to baking sheets. Refrigerate for 30 mins before baking.Bake for 50 minutes until cooked but not brown. Leave on the tray for 2 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack and sprinkle with caster sugar.