Coq au vin: chicken thighs slow-cooked in a red wine and bacon sauce, thickened with mushrooms, more red wine and some ground tomato if needed

Coq au vin (sort of)

Coq au vin is one of those dishes that is designed for a long, slow cook. And even if you don’t have a rooster (the cockerel part of coq au vin), chicken thighs make a good base, as does a whole chicken chopped into pieces that fit your pot. We’ve adapted this dish, as does everyone, to cope with the ingredients and the equipment we have.

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Chicken soup, ready to serve in an hour

Sunday soup: chicken soup in an hour

This light but tasty chicken soup boasts a decent chicken flavour supported by lemon thyme and a touch of chilli. It’s the ideal soup for feeding to your family when they have a bad head cold. It’s also great for those really hot nights: somehow chilli and stifling heat go together, or maybe we’re just a family that loves its chilli.

A tart of caramelised onions over a bed of gooey blue cheese: delicious!

Onion and blue cheese tart

This has become our picnic tart of choice. The soft onions collapse into the rich, gooey blue cheese to give a wonderful savoury starter. It belongs in that small space between setting up and the entire extended family and friends converging for the main meal.