Sunday, November 29, 2020

Christmas main courses

Oxtail Casserole and Creamy mash

6 oxtail pieces (still on the bone)

Salt and peppered plain flour - enough to dust the oxtail (if you are catering for coeliacs you can swap out the flour and use gluten free instead)

Olive oil and butter to fry the onions and brown the oxtail and sweat the onions and carrot

1 onion - chopped small

A large carrot - chopped small

4 fat cloves of garlic (optional Katie!) 

1tsp dried rosemary

1 bouquet garni 

2 bay leaves

1 tsp dried thyme 

Large glass of red wine (Katie’s Fitou is delicious in this but I’ll understand if you don’t want to use it in the recipe)

Double the volume of the wine you used in beef stock (I used 250ml and 500ml when I made this)

1 tin chopped tomato 

¼ tsp xanthan gum with a little water if required to thicken 

Served with buttery mashed potatoes or polenta (I totally cheat with polenta and just get the ready made stuff from Tesco - add a generous grating of fresh parmesan to give it a lift) and green beans 

Dust each of the oxtails in the seasoned flour 

Heat the oil and butter together in a pan and brown the oxtails - add to the casserole dish 

Fry the onions, garlic, carrot on a low heat until soft and browned & add to the casserole dish 

Top with the stock, wine and herbs 

Cook in oven in a covered casserole for around 4 hours on a low heat - 150c 

When the meat is falling off the bone, remove from the oven, remove the oxtails and keep warm

If you can do this in the casserole dish then do that.  Otherwise transfer all the remainder to a large pan. 

Remove the bouquet garni 

Boil vigorously until the sauce thickens.  (If the sauce needs a little help then mix ¼ tsp of xanthan gum to a splash of water and mix that in.  Be careful not to use too much as it can be really effective!) 

Strip the meat from the bones and shred 

When the sauce has thickened add the meat back in.  Bring back a serving temperature and serve on a bed of creamy mash with green beans alongside 

Roast duck with lentils 

1 duck breast per person

100g of lentils per person (I used green but this can be totally a personal choice)

40g saucisson sec per person 

Assuming 2 portions

1 carrot chopped small

½ onion chopped small 

1 garlic clove (you can miss that out Katie)

500 ml beef stock 

125 ml red wine 

1 tsp fresh thyme 

Parsley to serve 

Fry the carrot, onion and garlic until soft (on a low heat)

Add the saucisson sec to the pan and increase the heat a little

Add the stock, wine and lentils to the pan 

Simmer on a low heat, covered for around 30 mins until al dente (do keep an eye on this.  

Salt and pepper the duck breast 

Score the skin to allow the fat to drain (keep it for Christmas roast potatoes if you can)

In a hot pan, fry the skin to colour and crisp 

Pop in the oven on 180 for 8 mins, uncovered (this will still be pink so give it longer if you prefer)

Allow to rest for 5 mins - covered to keep warm 

Slice and serve on top of the lentils 

Dress with the parsley 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Christmas Canapés!


Filo Brie and Cranberry Crackers


Package filo pastry 

Cranberry sauce (store bought is fine or you could try the easy recipe I’ve included below - that’s the one I tasted with)

A sliver of Brie/crumbling of goats’ cheese 

Salted butter, melted 


Cut a sheet of filo into squares that are around 15cm x 15cm 

(Please be gentle - filo is delicate)

Brush with the melted butter

Add a sliver of the cheese and spread with a little of the cranberry sauce 

Roll up and pinch/twist the ends so it looks like a little cracker

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or an non-stick mat

Bake on 180c for about 6-10 mins in the middle of the oven turning once



Brie and Caramelised onion bites 


Sheet of puff pastry 

Approx 60g of Brie/Goats cheese cut into squares 

Red Onion chutney (or make your own caramelised onion as below) 

Beaten egg


Cut each squares of puff pastry into bit sized squares 

Brush with a little of the egg

Score a small square leaving a border on each of the squares.  Do not cut quite through the pastry 

In the middle of the square pop a piece of Brie with a teaspoon of the onion on top 


Pop them on a lined baking sheet and bake in the oven on 180 for 10-15 minutes or until the outer rim of the bite has risen and gone light brown


Filo pesto and goats cheese bites 

4 tbsp green pesto 

Pack of filo pastry (or use the leftovers from the crackers if making both) 

100g goats cheese/brie 

Butter for brushing 

Cut the filo into strips 30 cm x 10

Butter the strips lightly 

Fold the strip into a rectangle square (15x0

Pop some goats cheese and a little pesto in the middle of the square 

Fold over into a triangle shape 

Bake in the oven on 180c for 6-10 mins or until golden, turning once



Easy Christmas Cranberry and Cherry Sauce 

150g frozen cranberries 

150g frozen cherries 

100g light brown muscovado sugar

50 ml brandy 

½ tsp grated nutmeg 

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Throw all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer until thickened & the brandy has had time to cook out


Allow to cool and store in the fridge until needed 



Whisky Pork Belly Bites

400g pork belly cut into bite sized cubes 

1 tbsp local runny honey 

1 tbsp light soy sauce 

2 tbsp ketchup

100ml whisky 

1 star anise 

1tbsp sunflower oil (for frying)

(You can either serve with the marinade as a dip if you make extra - simply double the recipe -  or with sour cream and chives on the side) 

2 tbsp Sour cream 

1 tbsp fresh chopped chives stirred through 

Roast the pork belly on 150c - covered - for 20 mins to cook through 

While that’s cooking mix the other ingredients together and add the star anise 

In a small saucepan, boil the mixture until it is nicely thickened (remove the star anise at this stage) 

Remove the pork belly from the oven 

Heat the oil in a frying pan to hot - pan check with a drop of water which should smoke on contact - when the pan is hot throw in the pork belly to crisp and colour  

Lower the heat, add the marinade on top (reserving half if you made extra for a dipping sauce)

Serve on little skewers as they are hot when out of the pan 

Serve with either the dipping sauce of the sour cream and chive 




Easy Red Onion Marmalade

3 red onions 

1 tbsp butter 

3 tbsp brown sugar 

A whole lot of patience 

Slice the onions very finely - I have to use a mandolin to do this as I can’t otherwise slice finely enough but please be mindful of your fingers.

Fry on a very low heat until soft and browned. Do not rush this or it will end up acrid 

Add the sugar and allow to go very sticky 

Allow to cool and store in the fridge until ready to use 

(Or cheat and use a really good red onion chutney.  I can recommend the Tiptree one)


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Harvest 2020


This week we pressed the last vat from the 2020 harvest.  It was vat number 14 from the Rebouls Carignan vineyard.  This was one of the last vineyards we picked so logical that it should be the last one to be pressed – but it was so far behind the others.  The fruit was perfect, the yields low so we left the wine to macerate on the skins for 5 weeks.  It marks the end of the 2020 harvest – the grand finale!

The harvest started on the 24th of August at 7am with a team of five pickers, Michel on the tractor and Sébastien picking up the cases. This is the 12th harvest at Domaine Jones and we have never started so early.  Climate change is starting not only to interrupt our summer holidays but also bringing with it new challenges for our vineyards. 
So what was different this year – well Covid put a spanner in the works as far as our Spanish pickers were concerned.  We normally have a team of hard picking, sun proof Valencians but this year for the first time we were without the Spanish.   I really shouldn’t have worried! Equipped with individual water bottles, hand sanitiser, face masks and separate vehicles the tuchanais (and one from Paziols) picked their way through my vineyards.  But not just picked, picked, smiled and laughed right up to the last bunch.
The whites came in first – grenache gris and grenache blanc followed by the macabeu from Colombiers, the muscat from Taissonieres way up in the garrigue, the extremely rare carignan gris from La Roque and finally the grenache gris from our new vineyard La Grande Pièce in the valley under the Chateau D’Aguilar.
The La Gare winery was full of excitement as we made two barrels of orange wine from the macabeu and for the first time ever we discovered the quality of the fruit from La Grande Pièce grenache gris. The vines are 70 years old but as the grapes have always been taken into the local Cooperative by the previous owner the wine has never been made separately before.
All I can say is the vines must be enjoying their retirement at Domaine Jones - the wine is absolutely beautiful, so perfumed and evocative you could almost be walking through the vineyard. 

The 8th of September was the ‘top départ’ for the red grapes starting with the syrah from the Caune vineyard.  And with it came my first mistake of the harvest.  Last year we got 352 cases from the vineyard so as the grapes came in I started to fill V3 our largest vat.  This year we only got 195 cases 😬.  It wasn’t the fault of the wild boar, or mildew or Jean-Marc (!) – there were just some vines with no grapes.   It was my fault for assuming the yield would be the same and that is an elementary mistake by a would be farmer!
We finished the harvest on the 22nd September with total volumes about 15% down but excellent quality grapes
All the vineyards that we visited since April in my vineyard rambles are now in their little vats – St Roch is in vat number 12, the syrah from La Caune is in vat number 5 the carignan gris from La Roque is in vat number 10.  It’s weird and wonderful at the same time that all those vineyards are now reduced to a couple of hundred litres. 
But it’s not just wine, I have tried to capture the terroir (tear–wah), the sense of place, the wild herbs 🌿, the wild flowers 🌸the tramontane 💨, the Tauch mountain, the soils, the people.  Only time will tell if I have succeeded! 
Talking of people I wasn’t alone in the winery - I had a happy 'cru'.  Steve came back after a year off to help me (more I helped Steve) and it was such a pleasure, and a relief, to have experienced, trustful hands to respect our year’s work in the vineyard.   Steffen and Sandy bought a new dimension to the winery – german organisation, great friendly vibes and the occasional yoga stretch and culinary delight!  Not to mention Tom who did a sterling jog washing over 1500 baskets.

We had a couple of visits during the harvest, Quentin, James and Claire and Julia, and we even shared breakfast on the rock with Justin from Domaine of the Bee. 
We had fun! We had fun in such an ‘année de merde’! We all loved the 2020 harvest, enjoyed working together and that will be reflected in the wines! It was a special one – a distraction in a difficult year, a covid harvest, a relief and a breath of fresh air.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Wine Club Apero Recipes September

Many thanks to Beth for these delicious recipes to accompany my Grenache Gris! 

Mozzarella arancini with tomato dip 

About 80g worth of risotto (or leftovers) 

I made it with 

80g arborio rice 

350g chicken stock 

1 banana shallot 

1tps crushed fennel seeds 

Pepper to taste 

Egg, flour and breadcrumbs for coating 

Vegetable oil for deep frying 

Chop a ball of mozzarella into small cubes 

The size of the balls with be determined by the size of the mozzarella cubes and have an impact on cooking time 

Ball the chilled rice around the mozzarella 

Flour, egg and breadcrumb mixed with the fennel seeds


Heat the oil until a piece of bread sizzles

Fry the balls until golden brown

Patatas bravas

1 potato per person 

Peel and cube the potato 

Par boil for 5 mins 

Drain and dry 

Add to the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crispy 

The tomato sauce 

The sauce for the arancini and for the patatas bravas is the same 

1 large red pepper 

5 large tomato 

2 garlic cloves 

Squeeze of honey 

1 tsp thyme 

Roast the pepper, tomato and garlic on a tray for about 75 mins on 150 c

When soft blend together until smooth 

Add thyme & season

Serve as a dipping sauce for the arancini and on top of the fried potatoes 

With the arancini a little heat works well. If you like a little spice then add a tsp of ancho chilli paste before serving 

Dress with fresh chopped parsley to serve 

Fennel tart

½ head of fennel 

Roll of shortcrust pastry 

1 Apple

1 tsp Dijon mustard 

1 tsb creme fraiche 

150g gruyere 

Remove the pastry from the fridge about 30 mins before needed to reduce shrinking 

Line a tart tin with the pastry and blind bake for 15 minutes on 180c 

When cooked, remove the beans and parchment paper and wash the base with egg 

Pop back in the oven for 5 mins to seal the holes 

Mix the creme fraiche and mustard 

Coat the base with the creme fraiche mixture 

Fry the apple and fennel until soft 

Layer on top of the creme fraiche mix 

Top with grated gruyere 

Pop in the oven for 15 mins to cook through and serve 

Sausage and fennel seed rolls 

1 roll puff pastry 

200 g sausage meat

1 tbs spoon onion marmalade 

1 tsp fennel seeds 

Egg wash 

Sesame seeds to serve 

Mix the sausage meat with the onion marmalade and fennel seeds 

Unroll the pastry and line with the mix 

Roll up the sausage roll

Egg wash and scatter with sesame seeds 

Cut into bite sized pieces

Bake in the oven for 20 mins on 180 or until golden brown and the sausage has cooked through

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Wine Club Apero Recipes August 2020

Recipes for the Domaine Jones Macabeu 

These recipes were inspired by the spirit of Apero and by the fact that Macabeu is one of the grapes you often find just over the border in white rioja. I tried to include different ideas with different levels of effort depending on the time you have. Whenever I mention fresh thyme you can always choose to substitute Katie’s lovely dried herbs if you are lucky enough to have them.


Manchego and chorizo (with adjustments for a vegetarian option)

2 large potatoes
1tbs butter
100 g grated manchego
35g very finely chopped chorizo


1 large egg
Flour for coating
125g breadcrumbs (can make fresh or buy. I’m lazy so I buy) 1 tsp thyme

(if you are not using the chorizo then use 150g manchego instead)

Boil and mash the potatoes with the butter (you want this to be dryer than you’d normally make it or it will be difficult to work into shape)
Add the manchego while warm so it melts
(Add the chorizo if using)

Leave to chill in the fridge for a least an hour (the longer the better to firm up) Form about a tablespoon of the mixture into a log or a golf ball sized globe. Roll in the flour, then egg, then the breadcrumbs mixed with the thyme
Complete for all the mixture

I leave in the fridge to chill until I need them (prevents them breaking up in the fryer)

In a large pan pour enough oil to cover the croquettes heat the oil (check it’s hot by popping a small piece of bread in the oil - it should sizzle when it goes in)
Cook until brown and serve while warm

Serve with an ​apricot dipping sauce 2tbs apricot jam

2 tbs Macabeu
1tsb fresh thyme
2 fresh apricots chopped fine

Heat them all together until the apricots have melted into the sauce. Leave to cool and serve with the croquettes

Chorizo and Manchego skewers Super-simple and minimal cooking required!

Cut the manchego into bite sized pieces
For each piece of manchego cut a slice of chorizo Fry off the chorizo
Add to a skewer with the manchego

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Top with a drizzle of honey

Serve with the ​apricot dipping sauce​ above

Chorizo crostini
Another super-simple combination

Cut an inch-thick round of baguette and fry/grill to brown
Add a little honey to the chorizo then add to the frying pan to brown

Serve with a drizzle of​ honey-mustard sauce

2 tbs mayo
2 tbs dijon
1 tbs grain mustard 2 tbs honey

Deep fried manchego
2 cm thick triangle of manchego (if you cut too thin, you can’t taste it when cooked.

Too think and it won’t melt)
1 large egg
Flour for coating
125g breadcrumbs (can make fresh or buy. I’m lazy so I buy) 1 tsp thyme

Dip the triangles in the flour, then the egg, then the flour with the thyme mixed in Keep in the fridge until needed

Deep fry in the oil (see the tips above to check it’s hot enough) Cook until brown on the outside and served straight away

Serve with the ​apricot dipping sauce​ from above

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Recipes for the Domaine Jones Syrah

This was inspired by the spicy notes of the Syrah to go nicely with the spiced cherry sauce. I tested this with both potato dauphinois and with thyme mash. As much as I normally love dauphinois the best match with the wine was the thyme mash.


For the ​cherry sauce

Depending on how many people you are serving you want to keep an equal number of tbs of brown sugar and red wine vinegar. I was serving 3 with the quantities below and had a little left over.

5 tbs brown sugar
5 tbs red wine vinegar
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
250 g cherries, halved (I used fresh but frozen would work too)


1 tsp cornflour with a splash of water

Heat the sugar and vinegar until the sugar has dissolved
Throw in the cherry halves
Cook until the cherries have gone soft but are still recognizable as per the image Add the water/cornflour mix if you need to thicken the sauce

I made this in the morning and microwaved for 2 mins to heat when I was ready to serve.

For the ​mash
1 large potato per person

2 tbs butter Splash of milk
2 tbs fresh thyme

Boil for around 20 mins until the potatoes have softened Mash with the butter and milk
Add the thyme

Roast ​duck breast
1 duck breast per person

(Can pan fry if you prefer - I leave in the oven as it’s less labour intensive!) Trim some of the excess fat
Score the remaining fat (do not cut through to the meat)
Fry skin side down for 3 mins to colour the meat

Roast for 15 mins on 200c (this cooked mine to medium so adjust cooking times according to your preference)

I served with green beans in a token gesture towards the vegetable family.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Chorizo tapas recipes

Adapted from Emma Kershaw's recipe Chorizo Flambé

8 fresh chorizo sausages (approx 500g)
2 large peppers
5 large garlic cloves
handful fresh flat leaf parsley chopped


Start with chargrilling the peppers on the bbq or under the grill.  Peel and deseed when cool.

De-skin the chorizo and chop into 2 cm round bite sized slices.

Take a heavy bottomed pan and fry the chorizo until slightly blackened.  Don't add any extra oil.  Pour the juice and oil from the sausages off from time to time as the chorizo will not blacken if you don't.

Once the sausages are cooked turn down the heat and add the chopped garlic to the pan to soften and be careful that they don't burn.

Peel and deseed the peppers, slice into strips and add to the pan.

Cook over a gently heat for 5 minutes to combine the flavours.

Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped parsley

Serve hot with wooden picks and bread.

Chorizo in red wine

Another simple recipe can be found here:

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Goat's Cheese Puffs 🐐

Goat’s Cheese puffs
by Beth

Sheet of puff pastry 
(If you want to make your own then I recommend this recipe here which also includes a use for some of those wild boar that are terrorising Katie and Jean Marc’s vineyards the recipe works really well but I have to admit that I’m a big old cheat on the pastry front)  
Goat’s cheese log 
Acacia honey 
Fresh thyme (or dried from Katie’s vineyard if you have been lucky enough to win one of her instagram contests) 
1 Red onion and 1 white onion - sliced and fried low and slow until soft and sweet 
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Caramelise the onions and add a little balsamic vinegar towards the end 
Cut the pastry into squares 
Lightly score a square inside the pastry square 
Fill the middle with the caramelised onion, fresh thyme, pieces of goat’s cheese 
Egg wash the outside lip of the pastry square 

Bake in the oven on 180 degrees for 10 mins (or following the instructions on your pastry pack) 
Top with a little more fresh thyme to serve 
Is lovely with a simple fresh salad