Fancy that: Skye Gyngell serves up her three-course fantasy

Sometimes you just have to serve exactly what your tastebuds are calling out for...

The three recipes here are nothing more than a combination of things I feel like eating right now, starting with a light and clean-tasting salad and finishing with the richest of chocolate cakes. For the main course, I have included an easy-to-cook rabbit stew that is hearty yet not in any way heavy. I think this supper needs nothing more than a little warm bread served alongside.

Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627, petershamnurseries.com

Salad of castelfranco, hazelnuts and oranges

If I am to sit down and eat three courses, I prefer to start with something fairly light, otherwise I find that the amount of food can be overwhelming and I finish off feeling quite uncomfortable – I always think the nicest way of finishing a dish is if you would like just one more mouthful, as then it lingers as a lovely memory. This is a wintry salad using all the ingredients that are around just now – it is fresh and clean and sweet in flavour. If you cannot find castelfranco, it can be replaced by radicchio, as they are members of the same family.

Serves 4

1 small head of castelfranco or radicchio, washed, torn into strips and gently patted dry
2 oranges, peeled, all pith removed and sliced into pinwheels – blood oranges are best for this recipe if you can get them
A handful of hazelnuts

For the dressing

tsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
tbsp red-wine vinegar
150ml/5fl oz hazelnut oil – you can use a gentle-tasting olive oil if you can't find this

Start with the dressing. Place the mustard in a bowl and season gently with salt and a little pepper. Add the vinegar and whisk in the oil. Now place all the other ingredients into a bowl and spoon over the dressing using a light hand – this salad should definitely not be overdressed. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve as soon as possible.

Rabbit stew with potatoes and spinach

Rabbit has a sweet, white flesh that is delicious. I prefer the farmed variety, as I find the more gamey flavour of wild rabbit sometimes a little overpowering. The finely sliced potatoes are added to this dish not more than 5 minutes before serving – thinly sliced, they retain a slight bite which is very appealing.

Rabbit needs either to be cooked quickly in a pan or on the grill or slow-cooked for an hour or so. It can become tough when cooked in a style which sits somewhere in the middle.

Serves 4

2 farmed rabbits, cut into 6 pieces – you can ask the butcher to do this
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
1 small bunch of sage, leaves only
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves
750ml/1¼ pints white wine, preferably slightly sweet, such as a Riesling
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced as finely as possible
1 bunch large-leafed spinach, well rinsed

Place a large pan over a medium heat. Season the rabbit generously all over with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, add the oil and brown the rabbit well all over – you may need to do this in two batches, as it is essential not to overcrowd the pan. Once the rabbit is well-browned, remove from the pan and set aside in a warm place.

Turn down the heat slightly and add the onion, chilli, sage, garlic and bay to the pan and cook, stirring from time to time until the onions are soft and translucent.

While the onions are cooking, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Return the rabbit to the pan and turn the heat once again to high. Pour over the wine and let it bubble for a minute or two, then cover the pan with foil and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Cook for an hour or until the rabbit is tender and almost falling from the bone. Remove the foil and add the potatoes. Cook until they are just tender but still quite firm.

Just before serving, stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted. Place on a warm plate and serve.

Squashed chocolate cake

This is undeniably a rich cake; to really appreciate its full flavour it is important to use a good-quality dark chocolate. A small slice is enough – serve it with extra-thick double cream or crème fraîche. It keeps well for a few days.

Makes 10 slices

400g/13oz good-quality chocolate
300g/10oz unsalted butter
10 eggs, separated
225g/7 oz caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a simmering pan of water. Remove the bowl from the pan and allow to cool slightly. Add the yolks one at a time, beating after each addition, followed by the sugar.

Whisk the egg whites in a large clean bowl until stiff peaks appear – you can do it in an electric mixer if you prefer. Once the whites are whipped, fold them into the chocolate mixture a third at a time.

Pour the mixture into a 10-inch cake tin with a removable bottom and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Cook until the cake is slightly set and risen like a soufflé. Remove from the oven and sit to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before placing a heavy plate on the top – this will squash the cake. Allow to cool completely, then remove the plate and turn the cake out on to a large round plate. Serve in smallish slices, passing the cream around for all to help themselves.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

    £18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

    Guru Careers: Marketing and Communications Manager

    £Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence