Rabbit Fricass√©e… and an Erica cake

With rabbit and girolles both perfectly in season (not now, I know – this is slightly late) this one sort of suggested itself

Sweet, milky rabbit with garlic and pungent mushrooms, wine, parsely and a touch of cream

It’s fun to do rabbit, because you get a chance to butcher and use the whole animal.¬† The legs and body were poached for 40 minutes, and picked for the lean meat

The saddle fillets, which are really easy to remove with a sharp knife, take a minute or two in a hot pan

When this is all combined with some sweated onions, wine and girolles and finished with cream and parsley, you’ve got a pretty magic little autumn team

And now, for the real star of this post:

This is the first appearance for not just Erica Black, but also one of her notorious cakes

Nobody ever knows in what form they will arrive (not least because they are normally partly devoured by the chef on the bike ride to dinner). Less do they know what they are likely to contain. Past hero ingredients have been peanut m&ms and yoghurt

They normally arrive oddly shaped and gaffer taped into tin foil, like a Mexican cocaine smugglers cargo

They are however always strangely good, and this lemon drizzle cake was no exception

I defy even the most proficient of bakers to produce a cake this soft and lemony after a 10 mile bike ride and a bottle of wine (let’s face it, two bottles)

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Shrimp ‘n’ Grits

… Or prawns and polenta, as they say in England

Another piece of American cooking, though Southern, not Cajun, this time

And what a lovely dinner in 10minutes flat

Some shallot, chilli and lardons sweated down til brown and sticky

Wet polenta with heaps of grated cheddar takes 4 minutes tops

Then some big, plump Fin and Flounder prawns tossed in to the hot pan of bacon with garlic, parsley, chives and lemon zest

Lemon squeezed over the top gives it a bit of a wake-up

What a beautiful little dish

I know grits are a wholesome and humble thing, so probably shouldn’t actually sit down with expensive, fancy prawns – but it does make it feel like a little indulgence