Beef and ale stew

If using the oven to cook your stew, preheat it to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6 • Trim the ends off your celery and roughly chop the sticks • Peel and roughly chop the onions • Peel the carrots, slice lengthways and roughly chop • Put a casserole pan on a medium heat • Put all the vegetables and the bay leaves into the pan with 2 lugs of olive oil and fry for 10 minutes • Add your meat and flour • Pour in the booze and tinned tomatoes • Give it a good stir, then season with a teaspoon of sea salt (less if using table salt) and a few grinds of pepper • Bring to the boil, put the lid on and either simmer slowly on your hob or cook in an oven for 3 hours • Remove the lid for the final half hour of simmering or cooking • When done, your meat should be tender and delicious • Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving, and taste it to see if it needs a bit more salt and pepper • You can eat your stew as it is, or you can add some lovely dumplings to it

Hunter's chicken stew

Season the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper and put them into a bowl. Add the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs and the crushed clove of garlic and cover with the wine. Leave to marinate for at least an hour, but preferably overnight in the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Dust the chicken pieces with flour and shake off any excess. Heat an ovenproof pan, add a splash of olive oil, fry the chicken pieces until browned lightly all over and put to one side.

Place the pan back on the heat and add the sliced garlic. Fry gently until golden brown, then add the anchovies, olives, tomatoes (broken up with a wooden spoon) and the chicken pieces with their reserved marinade. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid or a double thickness layer of foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours.

Skim off any oil that’s collected on top of the sauce, then stir, taste and add a little salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, and serve with a salad, or some cannellini beans, and plenty of Chianti.