Catherine Devaney shares a recipe from a kitchen in the Fife countryside
Chasing the dream
I often find myself chasing the dream of relaxed entertaining, of gorgeous Sunday lunches somehow thrown together with minimum effort and planning. The reality is often a little different but, last Sunday, a hectic work schedule, the demands of two small children and the imminent arrival of some old friends from London meant I really did have to throw some dishes together at the last minute.
And somehow they were instant crowd-pleasers. For sheer ease, two chickens were swiftly purchased and filled under the skin with a generous layer of tarragon butter (something I make and keep in the freezer for emergencies), a sprinkling of sea salt and the zest of a lemon before simply roasting.
Then for the accompaniments: a potato dauphinoise has an instant wow factor but is actually a breeze. It took less than 15 minutes to layer potatoes (peeled, then sliced on the mandolin for speed) with a good sprinkling of salt and a generous pour of hot cream infused with crushed garlic.
Left alone in the oven these transformed into the creamiest, decadent gratin. With this I served a warm salad of al dente purple sprouting broccoli, kale and rainbow chard. Then, for a last minute showstopper, I simply diced and roasted one butternut squash in a hot oven with a drizzle of rapeseed oil, then crumbled over a generous handful of punchy Lanark blue cheese and some toasted pumpkin seeds.
These are easy dishes, delivering on flavour, perfect for those last minute occasions and guaranteed to impress a crowd.
Music to cook to
Mylo’s Destroy Rock & Roll because I recently had the pleasure to meet and cook for the man who produced the album.