What to serve with meat and fish

Red cabbage with bacon and hazelnuts

 Red cabbage with hazelnuts and bacon

Red cabbage seems to work wonderfully with duck. We have used this recipe (sometimes with slices of peeled granny smith apple through the cabbage) with duck breasts for Christmas dinner. It is ridiculously easy but adds wonderful colour to any plate!

Olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ red cabbage, shredded
125ml best red wine vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup parsley, preferably flat leaf
10 rashers finely sliced bacon, grilled until crisp*
½ cup hazelnuts, roasted and skinned

Roast and skin the hazelnuts.

Heat a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add a little olive oil. Add onion and garlic and sweat until onion is transparent. Add cabbage to pan and sauté until softened.

Add vinegar and brown sugar, mix lightly, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Just before serving, fold in parsley, then top with crisp bacon and scatter with hazelnuts.

*To crisp the bacon, place in a single layer under the griller and grill until crisp. Drain on absorbent paper.

Risotto Milanese

Risotto Milanese is the traditional accompaniment to Osso Buco. In its genuine form, it contains beef bone marrow, though this is usually left  out of most modern versions of the risotto. Because I love beef bone marrow, I am putting it in.

375g arborio rice
60g butter
75g uncooked beef bone marrow, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
750ml chicken stock
250ml dry white wine
½  teaspoon saffron threads
30g butter extra
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In one saucepan, bring stock to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.

In another large heavy-based pot or casserole, heat oil and cook onion until tender. Stir in the bone marrow, then add the rice and stir well until all the rice has been coated with the butter. Add wine and 1 cup of the hot stock and the saffron. Bring to the boil, stirring well. When liquid has almost evaporated, add more stock, stir until liquid has almost evaporated and continue to add stock and stir until the risotto is ‘al dente’, or cooked but still firm. Cooking is all done with the pot uncovered and should take about 20 minutes. The risotto should not be too dry.

When almost cooked, add extra butter and grated Parmesan and stir until melted. Serve at once.

Serves 6.