by Katherine Frelon
There is nothing like dining alfresco on a warm autumn evening in France. Last night I prepared dinner on the terrace for the guests here at Le Chateau de Mailly and it was magical. A picnic under the stars. The rustic barbeque included two selections of meat; rib of beef on the grill and leg of lamb. The rib of beef I kept simple and let the natural flavors come through with the smoke of the grill. For the lamb, I cooked it in the oven and pulled it out just before dinner was served, slicing it in pieces and then drizzling it with my Honey Mint Marinade. How good was this dish…let’s just say that plate came back empty!
My recipe for the Honey Mint Marinade is below.
Since we were letting the meat speak for itself, I felt that we needed to round things out with a few gourmet salads and I prepared three.
Pre and post-dinner nibbles included pickled garlic, olives and lots of cheese and fresh bread. Wines were flowing from the local winery Philippe Chavy. The guests spent the day touring the region with wine guide Brendan Moore and were enamored with the family owned vineyard. The owners and their young daughter joined them for dinner on the terrace.
What about dessert? You know I never let a meal go by without treating my guests to something sweet. We had so much fruit about the kitchen that I decided to make a Fruit Tartlet. A nice lighter dessert with a Créme Patissiere in a pastry shell topped with fruit and apricot glaze.
What’s next? Tonight is the big formal dinner in the main dining room. We’ve got a film crew stopping by to shoot the property, more to follow on that tomorrow. For now I need to get cooking, my Mango and Passion Fruit Parfait needs my attention.
Let me know how you like the Honey Mint Marinade. It works well with lamb, chicken or turkey.
Lamb,chicken or turkey with honey, mint, coriander and parsley marinade
3kg rack of lamb, 12 lamb shanks, 3kg of turkey or 12 chicken breasts
100g flat leaf parsley, washed and chopped
150g fresh mint leaves, washed and chopped
150g fresh coriander, washed and chopped
9 cloves garlic
10cm freshly peeled and grated ginger
3 red chillies, chopped, seeds removed
6 freshly squeezed lemons
200ml soy sauce
200ml olive oil
200ml runny honey
100ml tarragon or white wine vinegar
1tsp black ground pepper
1tbsp of Raz al Hanout
to finish the sauce
juice of 1 lemon
large splash of cream
handful of freshly chopped herbs to decorate
Grind all your ingredients up together in a soup blender to get it really fine
steep the chosen meat in it over night
if you are using lumps of turkey, cut them into large chunks as for a bouguignon
or just marinade them for a few hours
remove the meat from the marinade
heat the oven to 220°C
on a griddle, bbq or heavy bottomed frying pan heat up a little oil and sear the meat all over before transfering to the oven for 15mins or so, maybe slightly longer for the chicken breasts depending on their size and the turkey depending on the size of the chunks you have cut
pour the marinade into a saucepan and heat through, add some freshly chopped herbs and a large splash of cream to give it back some life as it can be slightly dull once it’s marinaded over night
give it a squeeze of lemon, take out the meat and pour over sauce