After taking a break from entertaining while we've been getting back to school and work, it's time to have friends over again, whether it's a cosy Sunday lunch or a relaxed Friday-night kitchen supper. It's nice to make a bit of effort but not too much of a stretch, with a nod to the changing seasons.
This is a one-baking-dish meal with an autumn salad and a pre-made pudding to make things easy. I've also opened the spice drawer to lend a touch of the exotic to the menu.
While I've used poussin, which are so easy to serve, a whole roast chicken would make this a bit more family-style (just roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes before adding the cauliflower). The slight acidity of the green harissa gives a twist to a classic favourite, but for a shortcut, you can buy rose harissa, which I use in this recipe, too, if I'm short on time.
Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111; 50 Sekforde Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7251 9032; and Stanley Building, 7 Pancras Square, London N1, tel: 020 3058 2567, grangerandco.com. Follow Bill on Instagram at bill.granger
Harissa-roasted poussins with cauliflower, olives and crispy breadcrumbs
This green harissa tastes fresher and is more aromatic than traditional red harissa. I use it as a marinade, a rub and simply as a relish. Its flavour matures with time, so make it at least 1 hour before you use it, to give the ingredients a chance to mingle.
8 whole unpeeled garlic cloves
1 small cauliflower cut into florets
1 tsp cumin seeds
60g pitted green olives
1 red chilli, sliced
For the harissa
1 green chilli, finely chopped
Handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
Handful coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch caster sugar
100ml olive oil
For the breadcrumbs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
Grated zest 1 lemon
½ tsp chilli flakes
Combine all the ingredients for the harissa. Season with salt and set aside. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas7. Stuff the poussins with the garlic and tie the legs together. Place in a large oven tray. Rub each bird with a little harissa. Roast for 15 minutes.
Surround the poussins with the cauliflower. Season with salt, drizzle with oil and roast for 20 minutes until the cauliflower begins to char. Toss the cumin, olives and chilli through the cauliflower. Roast for 5 to 10 minutes, till the birds are cooked.
For the breadcrumbs, heat the oil in a large pan over a high heat. Tip in the garlic and sizzle until golden. Remove from the pan. Add a little more oil, throw in the breadcrumbs, zest and chilli, cook till golden. Remove from the heat, stir in the garlic and season. Serve with the poussins, cauliflower and any leftover harissa on the side.
Spelt with roasted spiced oranges, carrot and herbs
The roasted orange take this simple salad to a different level. Any leftovers make a great lunch, eaten cold with shredded chicken.
2 small oranges, sliced
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp honey
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Juice ½ lemon
1 large carrot, grated
Small bunch dill, chopped
Handful mint leaves, chopped
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas7. Line a large oven tray with baking paper and arrange the orange slices in one layer. Combine the spices, chilli, honey and 2 tbsp of olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt. Spoon over the orange slices and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the oranges are caramelised and slightly charred. Set aside.
Cook the spelt in salted, boiling water for 20 minutes, or until just cooked. Drain and return to the pan. Add the garlic and remaining olive oil. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon and toss well to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly then stir through the oranges, carrot and herbs. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Earl Grey-poached pears with yoghurt and honeyed sesame seeds
You could make extra pears and honeyed sesame seeds to dress up a classic porridge or thick Greek yoghurt for breakfast the next day.
3 Earl Grey tea bags
115g caster sugar
4 pears, peeled and halved
½ lemon, plus 2 large strips zest
2 large strips orange zest
1 vanilla pod, opened
For the honeyed seeds
4 tbsp sesame seeds
¼ tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp honey
Start by toasting the sesame seeds in a pan over a medium heat, stirring, until golden. Add the cardamom and honey. Stir until the seeds are well coated. Tip on to an oiled tray and set aside to cool.
Place the tea bags in a shallow, wide-based pan in which the pears will fit comfortably. Add 500ml of boiling water and stir in the sugar. Leave for 2 minutes then fish out the bags and discard. Add the pears, lemon and orange zest to the pan. Add the vanilla pod.
Bring the poaching liquid to a slow simmer. Cook the pears until just tender. This can take anything from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the ripeness of your pears. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside on a serving dish where they fit in one layer. Remove the zest and vanilla pod from the pan and discard. Bring the poaching liquid to the boil and reduce by half. Plate the pears with a good dollop of yoghurt. Top with honeyed seeds and serve.
Food preparation: Marina Filippelli; Props merchandising: Rachel Jukes
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