Ok time to fess up, there’s a great deli near Tufnell Park called Salvino (Brecknock Road). We got out fresh ravioli there, as the cooking rat tends to have a tantrum when trying to make pasta, leaving a graveyard of pasta machines in his wake…..
The ragu is, however, all home made.
2 x tin chopped tomatoes
Stick of celery
Garlic, however much you like.
1 x clove
1x pinch of fennel seed
1 x pinch sugar
Splash of red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
White wine x 1 glass
4 x sweet Italian sausages
Dice the onion, celery and garlic then sweat down in olive oil, without colouring.
Meanwhile take sausage out of its skin. Break up the meat and fry in a little olive oil over a high heat until you have lots of crust and lots of brown.
Set the sausage meat aside, discard excess fat from the pan. Then deglaze with 1/2 the white wine, ensuring all crust is incorporated. Once vegetables are softened add the tomatoes, clove, chilli flakes, bay leaf, sausage meat and deglazed wine, the vinegar and sugar. Season with a good bit of salt and lot of pepper.
Bring to simmering point and simmer very slowly for at least 2 hours.
[The cooking rat is a fan of both tomato based pasta sauces that cooked quickly (i.e. 20-25 mins), which have a lighter fresher flavour, as well as the richer deeper flavour of a long slow cooked sugo. For the slower sauces, simmer until the deep red oil rises to the top (not unlike a good curry sauce.]
We cooked the ravioli (as instructed!), drained it, tossed in the sauce, loosened with a little of the cooking water or ensure a glossy finish and then covered in some beautifully aged Parmesan from Salvino’s.
A Guinea Fowl
Glass of white wine
Little gem lettuce
Red wine vinegar
The day before, joint the guinea fowl as follows:
Take off the legs and the wings (only the outer two thirds of the wing joints, leaving that first “drumstick” still attached to the breast.
Now get to work with poultry shears or strong kitchen scissors.
You want to completely remove the back bone and any ribs from the guinea fowl’s crown. This is straight forward. Just cut along the line of the crown, leaving those wing joints attached.
You should now have two piles, one for grilling, one of leftover bones. Mix the meat with the marinade ingredients and refrigerate.
[ When marinading meat overnight, don’t overdo the lemon as whatever acid you marinade with it will begin to break the meat down and if you use too much, the results will be poorer.]
Now the leftover bones
Back to the poultry shears and cut the spine into small chunks and any other bits in similar sized pieces.
[When making poultry stock, put in the effort to avoid any large pieces. Large chunks will have less surface area capable of browning and in turn this will significantly reduce the intensity of the stock or sauce. It’s all in the browning!]
Now, brown all the bone pieces in a little oil over a medium heat. Take longer over this than you expect. Get them really brown, but never black.
In parallel fry off slices of stock veg ( carrot, onion, celery) until nicely browned. Add the bones to this, discard the oil (but only the oil) from the bone pan and deglaze with half the wine. Add the aromatics to the stock.
Then add just enough (and no more) cold water to cover the bones. Bring just to boil. Skim the scum.
Low simmer for 90 mins, skimming every so often.
Strain through a fine chinoise (or sieve through a clean cloth).
Leave overnight in the fridge and discard any rising fat the next day.
The Next Day
An hour before grilling take the guinea fowl out of the fridge. We were BBQ-ing, but a hot oven will still be delicious.
You have 3 different types of cut: legs, crown & wing. These will obviously cook at differing rates (in that order). Wipe off excess marinade. Season well with flaky salt (Maldon is always good).
Put the legs on for a bit, then the crown and and later the wing ends – they will cook pretty quickly. Whatever you don’t over cook that breast.
[Do you have a meat thermometer? If so you don’t want the breast to get any hotter then 65 c. (Ignore the hygiene food fashion demanding 70c). Don’t forget once you take it off a high heat, the crown is going to keep going up by at least a few degrees.]
Once all the meat is done let it rest.
Take the stock and the other 1/2 of the wine. Reduce it right down until it’s just a couple of tablespoons. Vigorously swirl in some cubes of cold butter and it’s ready to drizzle over the meat (yes, I know that finish was French not Italian, but so’s the vinaigrette.)
Purify the garlic under knife blade with salt. Leave in red wine vinegar for 10 mins. Add some Dijon mustard, a pinch of sugar and olive oil (3:1 oil to vinegar). Emulsify.
When everything is ready dress your salad, drizzle the Guinea Fowl with some sauce and sharpen up with a couple of lemons.