Today I have three dressings that I use regularly. This Madeira sauce is great with all meats, and I also like it with monkfish. Madeira is a rich fortified wine and I am looking forward to a visit there in the not too distant future filming for my upcoming Portuguese Food Trails. A really good stock is important and I love Carol’s Stock Market and use them at home.

The chilli jam is great in sandwiches, over grilled meats or stirred into mayonnaise. People in our cookery school love making this and you can add more chilli if you like it a little hotter.

This sun-dried tomato pesto is brilliant as a dip, and lovely with pasta. In the restaurant we serve it with homemade bread and guests like it. If you are baking soda bread you might add a few spoonfuls and it really gives it a lift. The pesto can be made up to three to four days in advance and kept covered with clingfilm in the fridge.

Happy Cooking,


Madeira sauce

Makes 200ml (7fl oz)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp soft light brown sugar

200ml (7fl oz) Madeira

100ml (3½fl oz) red wine

600ml (1 pint) beef stock

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Neven's sundried tomato pesto \ Philip Doyle

1 Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and stir in the sugar.

2 Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer on a medium heat for about 2 minutes, until reduced to a syrup.

3 Add the Madeira and red wine and return to a simmer for 6–8 minutes, until reduced by half. Add the beef stock and thyme and reduce again for about 20 minutes, until thick and glossy and the sauce has become more concentrated in flavour.

4 Season to taste, then pass through a fine mesh sieve into a clean pan. Reheat gently and use as required.

Chilli jam

Makes about 450ml (¾ pint)

2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil

2 onions, roughly diced

2 red peppers, cored, deseeded and roughly diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 tbsp tomato purée

50g (2oz) light brown sugar

4 ripe tomatoes, diced

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Heat the olive or rapeseed oil in a heavy-based pan on a medium heat. Add the onions, red peppers and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, until just beginning to soften.

2 Stir in the chilli and tomato purée and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 Stir in the sugar, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce and pour in 300ml (half-pint) of water to just cover. Simmer for 45–50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well reduced and thickened.

4 Remove the chilli jam from the heat and leave to cool completely, then tip into a food processor or liquidiser and blend to a purée.

5 Pass through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl and season to taste.

6 Transfer to a rigid plastic container and store in the fridge for up to three weeks. Use as required.

Sun-dried tomato pesto

Makes about 400ml (14fl oz)

175g (6oz) semi sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

8 large fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, peeled

200ml (7fl oz) olive or rapeseed oil

1 tbsp tomato purée

¼ tsp smoked paprika

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Place the semi sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, oil tomato purée and smoked paprika in a food processor or blender and pulse to finely chop.

2 Blend until the pesto has emulsified adding more oil if necessary.

3 Transfer to a container and season.

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