These marinades are super with any meat. I sometimes mix the marinades in a resealable plastic bag, then drop in the meat, seal up the bag, give it all a good squish and pop in the fridge or freezer until I'm ready to use it. Most meat will be good in the fridge for three days or in the freezer for up to three months, still sitting in the marinade.
If I was to name one recipe that is ideal food therapy, it's this. There is something extremely relaxing about rolling the meat into little balls and plopping them into a boiling, rich, tomato sauce. I rely solely on the heat of the sauce to cook and infuse the balls with flavour and I love to serve the dish on a big platter with serving spoons, so that people can dig in at the table.
For an easier to carve option this Christmas Day, try this rolled turkey breast, which is stuffed with a sweet and aromatic stuffing. I love the combination of maple, orange, smoked bacon and apple spiked with the cranberries, but you can easily adapt this with your own favourite flavours.
This soup is a great favourite in the spring when the nettles are young. Nettles are full of minerals and vitamins which purify the blood. In the country, nettle tea was also drunk, made by pouring boiling water over chopped nettles, boiling for about 15 minutes, then straining and adding milk and sugar. This was often given to children who had measles. It is said to have been a favourite of St Columcille. Nettle soup is still served in some hotels in Ireland; this recipe is from Declan Ryan, who was chef-proprietor of the much-starred Arbutus Lodge, Cork - sadly no longer in existence. Use gloves and a scissors when cutting the nettles. Do not gather them from sprayed verges or after the end of May as they will be too tough.
People panic a little bit about the measurements for cocktails, but it really is a case of making them to taste and remembering simple rules like one part alcohol to three part mixer for each person. Then just add the flavours! Get your hands on some fresh summer mint for these babies – it's one of the easiest herbs to grow, so just pick up a plant in the garden centre and pop it in a pot for fresh mint all summer long!
Ribollita is an Italian soup that was traditionally seen as peasant food. The great thing about this soup is that it makes an ideal base for any additional ingredients that you might want to add. Think of it as an opportunity to give a last moment of glory to any miserable veggies left at the bottom of your fridge! I keep leftover Parmesan rinds in my freezer, which I add to sauces and soups like this to give a unique rich flavour. Add a couple while the soup is simmering and simply fish them out before serving.