Pot roast chicken

Great for Sunday lunch as needs very little looking after and using only one pot means hardly any washing up!


1 Chicken, about 1.5kg
1kg Potatoes, small waxy ones like Anya or Charlotte work best
2 Shallots, sliced
1 Pint chicken stock
2-3 Good glugs of vermouth
4-5 Sprigs fresh thyme
1 Egg yolk
50ml Double cream

Spatchcock the chicken by cutting along the spine (on the underside) with scissors, turn over then press down firmly between the chicken breasts with the heel of your hand to flatten the bird out.

Put the potatoes and shallot into a large, lidded oven proof pot and place the chicken on top. Scatter the thyme around the bird and pour in the stock, you only need to cover the potatoes so may not need the full pint. Add the vermouth then season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Cover with the lid and cook in a medium oven (gas 6/200’c) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. To make the skin nice and crispy take the lid off for the last 20 minutes. As usual, the chicken is cooked when the juices run clear.

Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

In the mean time mix the egg yolk and cream in a bowl, keep stirring and add some of the cooking liquor (about two ladles) from the chicken pan bit by bit so it doesn’t split. When the mix is smooth an glossy pour int the pot with the potatoes and stir through.

Serve up with veggies and a large glass of wine. Ta da!


Ratatouille with chorizo and polenta




2 Small onions, sliced
5 Cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 Aubergine
1 Large courgette
1 Green pepper
1 Red pepper
20 Cherry tomatoes
200ml Passata
1 tsp dry Basil
1 tsp dry Oregano
A glug of white wine
12 Fresh mini chorizo (or 4 normal size cut into chunks)
Olive oil
Black pepper

For the polenta
200g Polenta, or medium maize meal
800ml boiling water
2-3 tbsp Olive oil
2 tsp Buillon powder

Chop the vegetables into reasonably big chunks. Leave the tomatoes whole if you fancy – beware, bite into a whole one when they’re hot and it’ll be like eating lava!

In a heavy bottomed pan that has a lid, heat the oil and soften the onion, then do the same with the garlic. Add the chopped peppers, aubergine and courgette and sweat a little bit. Throw in the herbs, passata, white wine, tomatoes and a couple of grinds of pepper and stir through. Scatter the chorizo on top, put the lid on and pop into the oven on Gas 4/180’C for 40 minutes.

To make the polenta boil the water in a pan with the olive oil and stock powder. Weigh out the polenta into a mug or small jug – trust me, it makes things a whole lot easier. With polenta it’s important to get the quantities right. For every 50g polenta you need 200g water or it’ll go either too sticky or too sloppy. Grab a whisk and start the water moving. Sprinkle the polenta in in a steady stream, keeping the water moving all the time. Keep stirring until the mixture gets sticky.

Serve straight away, smothered in ratatouille. If you have any polenta left over spread it out onto a baking tray about 1cm thick, you need to do this before you eat though as once it’s cool it’s pretty much concrete. Serve the left overs chopped into cubes and fried in a little olive oil. If you have no ratatouille left over a simple tomato sauce is just as yummy.

Pecorino and black pepper scones

Perfect with soup for a winter warmer lunch. Or just spread them with butter or pesto!


(makes 8-10)

450g self raising flour
1/2 tsp mustard powder
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
90g butter, softened
2 small eggs
200ml milk
60g pecorino, finely grated
olive or rapeseed oil

Throw the flour, mustard powder, salt and 10-12 grinds of pepper into a bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingers (or cheat like we do and use a food mixer). In another bowl whisk the eggs and butter together and mix in the grated Pecorino.

Mix the liquid into the flour and butter to get a sticky dough. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and sprinkle a little more flour on top. Gently roll out to 2 cm thick and use a cutter to make scone shapes.

Top tip for getting scones that rise evenly – push straight down with the cutters and don’t turn. Instead of lifting out the scones one by one, wait until they have all been cut and peel off the excess dough. Repeat the rolling and cutting until all the dough has been used.

Lay out on a baking tray, brush the tops with oil then bake in a hot oven – Gas 7 or 220’C for ten minutes, or until the tops are a lovely golden colour.

Salmon and cucumber salad

Really easy to prepare but looks super posh. Great for a light supper for two or a starter for 4-6 people.

400g Smoked Salmon
1 Cucumber
Capers – the smaller the better
1 handful fresh mint, chopped
1 handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
Lemon zest
Black pepper, to grind

For the dressing:

1 finely chopped shallot
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp salt

To make the dressing put all of the ingredients into a jamjar or sealable container and shake vigorously until the dressing emulsifies, it will look cloudy once it has. Allow the dressing to rest for at least an hour.

Tear the salmon into strips and lay out on a large plate. Use a potato peeler to cut the cucumber into ribbons and lay on the plate too, sprinkle the herbs on top and then use your hands to mix the ingredients a little. Scatter the capers and lemon zest on top then drizzle over the dressing.

Fishy fishy goodness. Yum.

Chicken Tagine*

We love this because after it has been assembled you can quite simply forget about it for a couple of hours.


4 Chicken quarters (leg parts work best for flavour)
1 Large sweet potato
1 Red Pepper
1 Green Pepper
1 Courgette
8 Baby Sweetcorn
1 Onion
8 Large dates
1 Lemon cut into wedges
8 Garlic cloves, peeled

2 tsp Vegetable Bullion Powder
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Yellow mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Chilli flakes
Black Pepper
1 Cup hot water

Roughly chop all of the veggies except the sweetcorn in to medium-large pieces, put the sweet potato into the bottom of the tagine first then place the rest of the vegetables on top.

In the centre of the pile place the dates, garlic cloves and lemon wedges then stack the chicken pieces on top.

Mix the spices and bullion powder with the hot water and then pour over the meat and veggies.

Put the lid on then cook on the stove on a medium-low heat for two hours. Finish off in a hot oven with the lid off for 15 minutes to crisp up the skin.

Serve with lots of bread for mopping duties.

*You could make this in a pot but Chicken, Vegetable and Date Stew doesn’t quite sound middle class enough…

Hare Tagliatelle with Pancetta and Courgette




1 clove garlic, chopped
1 courgette cut into 1 inch batons
Rapeseed or olive oil
Pecorino, grated

2 hare fillets
Fresh thyme
Good Mustard – We like Taylors English mustard as it has great flavour without being vinegary or just burn your mouth hot. If you can’t find it Dijon mustard will do the job just as well

Lay the thyme sprigs on a tray in two narrow lines, place the hare fillets on top and then coat the meat liberally with mustard. Stick it in the oven on Gas 6 / 200’C for 15 minutes. Once the cooking time is up take out of the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.

In the meantime cook the pasta in boiling water with a little oil and a sprinkle of salt.

In a separate pan lightly fry the pancetta, garlic and courgette in a pan until starting to soften but not colour. Take off the heat, grate in a liberal amount of pecorino (handful or two), add in 3-4 tablespoons of cooking water from the pasta and 1 tablespoon oil.

Drain the pasta and mix the pancetta concoction through. Slice the hare fillets and scatter over the top to serve.


Angels with Issues

Image © Angels with Bagpipes




The restaurant looked fantastic and had a great buzz about it while we waited in the bar for our booking. We were seated in the rear dining room which was beautiful; really nice and modern without being too over the top (understated glamour the Mrs says).

Angels and Bagpipes’ menu offers the best of Scottish food with an Italian twist, you won’t find any of your standard Italian fare here though. Our starters arrived quickly and looked stunning; scallops with melt-in-the-mouth Stornoway black pudding bonbons and a beautiful tomato and mozzarella salad with Barolo dressing – light, delicious and unexpectedly tasty to a die hard carnivore.

The main course of stone bass with saffron couscous, fennel and sauce vierge was delicate, soft and perfectly seasoned. Amazingly the couscous, not unlike orzo, appeared to be home made – no mean feat itself! The Mrs’ lamb rump with cumin liver, creamed potato and lamb samosa was punchy, juicy and cooked perfectly rare. She wasn’t keen on sharing.

Pudding was a Willy Wonka inspired delight. Chocolate mouse with puff candy and Irn-Bru sorbet was topped off with tastebud fireworks from a sprinkling of popping candy. Tiramisu with chocolate sorbet was rich and sweet, in fact the tiramisu was one of the best I’ve ever had but could have survived without the sorbet.

Angels with Bagpipes offered undoubtedly the best food we have eaten in Edinburgh to date. Unfortunately there is a big sting in the tail: the service was the worst – not out of place in Fawlty Towers.

Our booking was lost and we were made to feel at fault, our drinks went to another table and the wine arrived after we had finished our starters. Main courses took nearly an hour to appear with no explanation and our second bottle of wine joined us just in time for home.

It was a special occasion treat and although we set out to have a lovely long dinner when it’s forced upon you it’s not quite the same. Hopefully these issues can be ironed out quickly and help make this one of the top restaurants in the city, until then we’ll be dining elsewhere.

Angels with Bagpipes, 343 High Street, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 220 1111


Dinner for two with wine £160 (three courses, two bottles)