Rabbit, spinach and carrot casserole

Ooh look, a post about food. A recipe nonetheless! Yes I am still cooking, but since my wee girl arrived I’ve found us falling back on tried and tested dishes or quick and easy meals by necessity, instead of anything new which I could write up for the blog. Now she’s fast approaching her first birthday though we’re starting to make a bit more space for old hobbies or taking more time over meals at weekends. Especially if it’s something she can try eating herself!

We had a whole rabbit in our freezer for a couple of months and the Sunday after Hogmanay seemed like a good time for a low and slow winter stew. The bunny was taken out the day before to defrost then I put together this simple casserole with some leftover festive carrots and a handful of frozen spinach (if you don’t have a bag of frozen spinach in your freezer go to the shops and get some, it’s brilliant for chucking in stews or pimping instant noodles, ready made curries and soups). Cooking the rabbit on the bone means not a single bit of meat is wasted and it turns out there’s a surprising amount of it on wee thumper! We got two large dinner portions out of this and there was enough leftover for another two small servings or one big lunch serving (which came to work with me on the Tuesday).

You don’t have to go to a lot of effort to joint it nice and neat. Mine was just cut into quarters and then once the rabbit was cooked I fished out the quarters, slid the meat off the bones and returned it to the pot along with the frozen spinach for the last bit of cooking. Easy.

We gave Chloe a bit to try and she loved it, as did one of our cats. The other one wasn’t interested at all but you can’t please everyone.

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Serves 3-4

1 Rabbit, quartered
3 Balls of frozen spinach
3 Carrots, chopped into large chunks
500ml Chicken stock
1 Sprig Rosemary
Handful of fresh thyme
1 Glass of red wine
1 Onion, chopped
1 Clove of garlic, chopped
Worcestershire sauce
Plain flour

Pre-heat the oven to 160C or gas mark 5
Dust the rabbit in some seasoned plain flour and fry off the quarters in a casserole dish until browned, then take them out and leave to one side.
Gently fry the onions until soft then add the garlic and carrots.
Once you can smell the garlic, raise the heat and deglaze the dish with the wine.
Add a large splash of Worcestershire sauce and then return the rabbit to the pot.
Pour in the stock, add the rosemary and thyme then cover the dish and put it in the oven.
Leave to cook for at least an hour and a half then remove from the oven and fish out the rabbit quarters.
Strip the meat from the rabbit bones and place it back into the casserole along with the frozen spinach.
Return to the oven for 20 minutes then remove the lid and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Serve with mashed tatties or big chunks of crusty bread.

The Boozy Cow

I finally made it round to The Boozy Cow in Aberdeen last night. It’s been open for a while but I’d heard mixed reports, so wanted to give it time to settle into a stride before trying it out.  You know what? Ignore the haters. It’s great.

OK, so the place isn’t cheap. Especially if you want some sides and a beer as well with your burger, but this isn’t McDonalds. If you want a pound saver menu look elsewhere. Also those sides, £3 for a bowl of coleslaw which I only needed a quarter of.  Why not do a smaller bowl for £1? The skinny fries aren’t anything special either.

The burger is the star of the show. Handmade, soft and juicy (the menu and waitress both advised it’s cooked pink, though mine was a little over) in a plump brioche bun.  I went for the green chilli burger with cheese, jalapeno butter, pickle, lettuce and mustard.  Honestly it was one of the best burgers I’ve had in a very long time.

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Beer selection is OK. Would like a bit more variety but what they have is good.  A Vedett Extra Blonde lager and an excellent american style pale ale from FourPure are the standouts.

If you want a cheap, fast food burger go seek out the golden arches.  If you’re after an on-trend bit of beef in a bun with a bit imagination and some good beer to drink alongside it then check out the Boozy Cow.

Mikkeller Bar, Copenhagen

During our short visit to Copenhagen last month I paid a visit (two actually) to the bar of one of my favourite craft beer breweries – Mikkeller. Often experimental, always interesting, I’ve had a few bottles from of Mikkeller from my local booze supplier and hugely enjoyed their I Hardcore You collaboration with Brewdog.

Their bar in Vesterbro, Copenhagen being conveniently close to our hotel (a happy accident I promise) we were able to quickly stop past on the way back from a day spent wandering round the city, when the bar was absolutely heaving with hop aficionados, and then return the next day for a more relaxed couple of drinks while sat outside in the warm Danish sun. Read more Mikkeller Bar, Copenhagen

Chicken and Leek Pie

Now we’re almost done with spring and hurtling headlong towards summer it’s time to get the lighter recipes on the go. Out with winter casseroles and comfort food, in with salads and spring greens. One veg that’s abundant in spring is the humble leek. There are loads of great uses for this relative of the onion but I really love it in a simple chicken and leek pie. Read more Chicken and Leek Pie

Pancake Breakfast

I was out of the house on Tuesday so missed pancake day, though to be honest it’s not something I tend to pay attention to most years. Still in advance of it the local supermarket had stocked up on pancake related supplies including maple syrup so I picked up a bottle and as I had some eggs in the kitchen decided a pancake breakfast would be a great way to start the weekend.

Pancakes are so easy. You’d really have to work hard to screw them up. The batter is simple, I use the same recipe as I do for Yorkshire puddings – just flour, eggs and milk with a small pinch of salt (or sugar if making for dessert). Cook in a medium non-stick pan with a tiny bit of oil. It just takes minutes to get perfect, fluffy pancakes that are great with a few slices of bacon and a generous glug of the aforementioned maple syrup. Just the thing for a Saturday morning. Especially if, like me, you’ve had one beer too many the night before! Read more Pancake Breakfast

Corrigans of Mayfair

Well this year has just flown past! To celebrate our first wedding anniversary we flew down to London for a celebratory getaway.  Neither of us have spent much time there in the past so this was as good a reason as any to go and act all touristy for a few days. The focal point of the trip was a fancy 3 course lunch at Richard Corrigan’s eponymous Mayfair restaurant. Read more Corrigans of Mayfair

Courgette Hash

We’re deep into courgette season now and after the dismal haul of last year we’re now being over-run by masses of the things. Which just means I need to think of new ways to cook them!

I came home from a run this morning and wondered what I could eat for lunch. Cupboards were pretty bare but there was a couple of courgettes in the fridge, some old spring onions and I knew we had a few tatties ready in the garden. All those ingredients were just begging to be turned into a hash. Out came the frying pan and half an hour later I had a pretty awesome weekend lunch. Read more Courgette Hash

Dim sum @ Manchurian, Aberdeen

Recently we were in Aberdeen and found ourselves near the Manchurian restaurant around lunchtime. Being hungry, it was a good opportunity to sample their dim sum menu which a friend had told me about then nip to the Chinese supermarket next door and loaded up on frozen dumplings and sriracha sauce.

Frankly it was awesome. I’m thinking of using Kwik Fit at Hutcheon Street more often just so I have an excuse to be in the area. The fried beef dumplings with a ginger and spring onion soy sauce were particularly amazing. We had about 5 portions between the two of us which was perfect for lunch.

While we were there solely for the dim sum my wandering eyes did spy some wonderful looking a la carté dishes going past. I’ll just have to go back to try those as soon as possible!

Duck breast with creme de cassis sauce

The only time we ever cook duck in our house it ends up in pancakes with hoisin sauce. Which is, well, awesome but it’s nice to have a bit of variety. We happpened to have a bottle of creme de cassis in the house after making some Kir Royale during a cocktail night. This dish of very simply cooked duck breast with a brilliantly easy, fruity sauce is almost as easy as covering a leg in five spice and roasting it in the oven. Read more Duck breast with creme de cassis sauce

Goose island 312 wheat beer

Can someone tell me what it was I didn’t like about wheat beer? I’ve been drinking heaps of the stuff recently and asking myself that very question. This Goose Island “urban wheat beer” is a good example – slightly cloudy with good citrus flavours. Really refreshing but not the standout wheat beer for me. The Nøgne Ø Wit is probably the nicest one I’ve had the pleasure to try.