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Food and Drink

READER RECIPE / Chicken to crown them all

WE BEGIN the new series of recipes involving cream, yoghurt, sour cream and creme frache on a somewhat regal and old-fashioned note. Griselda Barton writes from Tonbridge, Kent: 'My aunt, Rosemary Hume, created Coronation Chicken for the VIP lunch following the 1953 ceremony (story and original recipe in the Constance Spry Cookery Book). Subsequently, dreadful things have happened in its name: heavy over-use of curry- flavoured mayonnaise, additions of mango chutney and - horror of horrors - apricot jam, to mention but a few.

'So last summer, 40 years on, I decided to 'reinvent' it in her memory for a lakeside picnic, substituting five-spice powder for the curry, and creme frache for the mayonnaise and cream.'

Mrs Barton, and the other contributors named below, will each receive a bottle of 1990 Givry Champs Pourot Domaine Ragot, a chardonnay from the Cotes Chalonnaise.

Poulet Reine Elizabeth 1993

Serves 6-8

Ingredients: 2 young roasting chickens

3/4 bottle white wine for poaching

1 carrot

1 bouquet garni

4 pinches salt, 4 black peppercorns

For the sauce:

1tbs olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1tsp five-spice powder

1 good tsp tomato puree

1 wine glass red wine

1 wine glass chicken stock

1 bayleaf

generous pinches salt and sugar, a touch of freshly ground black pepper

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1-2tbs puree of dried apricots

7fl oz (200ml) creme frache

Preparation: Poach the chickens in 3 pints (1.75 litres) water and white wine with the carrot, herbs and seasoning. Allow to cool, then joint carefully, remove all bones and serve cold with the sauce made as follows.

Cook onion gently in oil for 3- 4 minutes, add five-spice powder. Cook again 1-2 minutes. Add tomato puree, wine, stock and bayleaf. Bring to the boil, add seasoning, sugar to taste and the zest and juice of the lemon. Simmer with pan uncovered for 5-10 minutes. Strain and cool.

Put creme frache in a bowl and stir in sauce and apricot puree to taste (left-over sauce can be frozen). Adjust seasoning, adding a little more lemon juice if necessary. Mix chicken and sauce together and serve with a salad of cooked rice, diced cucumber and finely chopped fresh herbs (including tarragon) in a well seasoned French dressing.

THIS next recipe, from Marilyn Quade of Colchester, Essex, is simplicity itself. She found it in a book called The Best of French and Italian Cooking.

Pork Chops with Mustard

Serves 6

Ingredients: 4fl oz (115ml) creme fraiche

3tbs English or Dijon mustard

1tbs capers (rinsed)

2oz (55g) butter

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation: Mix creme frache with mustard and capers. Set aside. Melt butter in large frying pan, add pork chops and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side. Season, cover with mustard sauce, reduce heat, cover pan and cook for another 10 minutes.

BAKED potatoes with sour cream and chives is an American classic. For many years, thick- skinned baking potatoes were a rarity in Europe, but the French had their own version of the dish, which was suggested to me by Melanie Burnett of Wareham, Dorset. 'Cook enough potatoes for the number of people you have to feed. They are best cooked with the skins on and peeled afterwards. While the potatoes are cooking, make a dressing with creme frache, salt, black pepper and wine vinegar. The proportions vary according to personal taste, but too much vinegar will make the dressing too runny. Then simply take the potatoes, mash them roughly on a plate and mix with a good helping of the cream dressing.'

Next week, more milk products. An item dealing with basic yoghurt cultures will follow later in the series. Recipes are still welcome, particularly ones from people who work in dairies and/ or make their own yoghurts. Send your recipes, stating the source if not original, to: Emily Green, Recipe, Weekend Features, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. Those whose recipes we print will receive a bottle of buttery white burgundy, which we purchase from Reid Wines of Hallatrow, near Bristol.

New recipes are also invited for our following category: Italian cooking in the British kitchen. Those whose recipes are published in this series will receive a bottle of delicious Tuscan 1990 Cepparello from Isole e Olena, from Wine Cellars in south London, Italian specialists.