Sunny Daze Cocktail

The 69th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, we are on the slippery slope today – the most fabulous summer cocktail – ideal for lazy summer days…..

I saw this one on Saturday Kitchen when Michel Roux and his team introduced it as ‘Alcoholic Pink Lemonade’. A rather uninspired name for what is the best cocktail I’ve had in a very long time: it tastes like summer in a glass and slips down very nicely – not too sweet and with a definite hint of naughtiness  (it has a delightful little kick to it!) Make up a jugful and gently sip with friends beneath glorious sunshine (like today) – it really doesn’t get any better than this but I am rebranding it – Sunny Daze Cocktail it is!

Serves 4

What you need…

80ml gin

80ml Martini Rosso

80ml Grand Marnier

40ml Campari

80ml freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice

400ml cloudy lemonade

to serve

Ice

Strawberries, quartered

Mint sprigs

Grapefruit peel (peeled in long ribbons)

What to do…

Take one large jug and tip in all the cocktail ingredients. Give them a quick stir.

Fill 4 large round glasses with ice and arrange the ribbons of grapefruit peel. Pour in the cocktail mix and then pop in the strawberries and mint! Ta dah! All done. Take outside to a garden bathed in sunshine. Sip, smile, sip again. Repeat! Cheers!

Inspired by….

Saturday Kitchen

How easy…

Just a roll of the ice!

 

Absolutely Fabulous Pavlova

The 68th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a happening event this Easter weekend together with a couple of other naughties – very excited!

One of my favourite summer desserts, Pavlova is just divine: sweet, ripe fruit on top of whipped double cream, all gracing wonderful meringue: crisp on the outside and deliciously light, soft and slightly chewy on the inside. The combination is just heavenly and the joy of this recipe is that it is ridiculously easy to make – I’d never made meringue before finding this recipe but it has always been a success – in every way – and a firm favourite on our summer menus.

Serves 6 – 8

What you need…

3 egg whites

Pinch of salt

250g caster sugar, plus 3 – 4 teaspoons for the cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon malt vinegar

300ml double cream

1 x 300g punnet of ripe summer strawberries or a combination of your favourite summer fruit – I often combine strawberries, raspberries and blueberries

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 140°c / 275°f / gas 1.

Line a baking tray with Bake O Glide/parchment paper and draw a 23cm circle on it (as guidance for later).

Using an handheld electric whisk, beat the egg whites and salt together until very stiff. Then, gradually whisk in the 250g caster sugar until it forms stiff peaks – this takes 3 – 4 minutes. Fold in the vanilla extract and vinegar.

Plop the meringue mixture onto your baking tray, gently spreading it to fit the drawn circle. Pop it into the oven and leave for 1 hour until firm. Then – and this is key – switch the oven off but leave your meringue in for a further 30 minutes with the door closed.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Discard the lining paper and put your meringue onto a pretty serving plate.

Whisk the cream and 3 – 4 teaspoons of sugar together (the amount of sugar depends on your personal taste) until stiff and then pile on top of the meringue. Arrange the fruit on top, stand back, admire your handy work and then serve – just divine – this is one of those desserts that is so light and delicious, I just keep coming back for one more spoonful….time and time again. Enjoy!

Tips…

Don’t waste the egg yolks – they can be frozen for another use.

If I’m feeding a crowd, I’ll double up on these ingredients and made a great big Pavlova and then use the remaining 6 egg yolks to make a large tiramisu – a thoroughly naughty conclusion to any meal!

Inspired by…

Lisa Faulkner

How easy…

Very, very easy and simply delicious!

Mirin-Glazed Salmon

The 67th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this salmon dish is fast and fabulous – perfect for a quick but lovely supper.

You can tell the summer holiday season is upon us: my recipes are leaning towards fast but tasty family suppers. This one is lovely – I’m a salmon fan anyway, but this recipe, with its dark, sweet and salty glaze, gives the fish a whole different persona: the humble salmon is sensationally transformed into a dish that at once combines being sweet, savoury, tender and crisp – delicious!

Serves 4

What you need…

60ml mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

50g light brown sugar

60ml soy sauce

4 x 125g chunky salmon fillets

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 spring onions, sliced

What to do…

In a shallow dish, mix together the mirin, sugar and soy sauce until the sugar has dissolved. Pop in the salmon fillets and marinate for 3 minutes on the first side before flipping them and marinating them for a further 3 minutes on the other side. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan on a high heat.

Dry-fry the salmon for 2 minutes. Flip them over, pour over the marinade and cook for a further 2 minutes. They will be only just cooked – perfect for this recipe – but you can leave them in for another minute or so if you’d prefer.

Using a fish slice, remove the salmon from the pan and onto a serving dish. Add the rice vinegar to the pan and warm through – a couple of minutes, maximum.

Pour the simply yummy glaze over the salmon and scatter over the spring onions. Voilà! That’s it – so fast, so easy and so damned tasty!

Tip…

If you have any fish leftover, pop it into the fridge and serve cold the next day with salad – fantastic. This was our plan, but Connagh elected to have seconds instead – plan dashed!

Serving suggestion…

Basmati and wild rice goes really well. I also sautéed some pre-boiled broccoli with sliced button mushrooms in chilli and garlic – adding a splash of mirin and soy sauce at the end – really lovely!

Inspired by…

Nigella Lawson

How easy…

So, so easy, so so fast, so so delicious!

 

Terrine of Summer Fruits

The 66th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a summer favourite, never failing to excite and please. It might also be heading in the direction of healthy….?

A lovely, light, really, really summery dessert that is packed with the season’s bounty, all of which can be bought locally. Stunning to look at and fabulously tasty, this dessert also makes you feel slightly virtuous – it is stacked with fruit after all. Just yummy! Going back for another slice now…

Serves 8 – 10

What you need…

1 x 900g loaf tin

425ml sparkling rosé wine

2 x 11g sachets gelatine granules

50g caster sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

685g mixed summer fruits, e.g. strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, redcurrants

What to do…

Prepare the fruit, washing it, hulling the strawberries and maybe cutting them in half/quarters if they are especially large.

In a small saucepan, warm half the rosé over a moderate heat until it begins to simmer. Using a balloon whisk, mix in the gelatine and sugar. Once both are dissolved, mix in the remaining rosé and lime juice. Pour into a jug and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, arrange the fruit in the loaf tin, making sure that the ‘prettiest’ is on the bottom layer – this will be on the top when the terrine is turned out.

Pour half the rosé mixture over the fruit, cover with cling film and then fit something heavy and flat over the top (another loaf tin would be ideal) onto which rest a couple of 400ml cans of tomatoes or something similar to weigh down the fruit. Pop in the fridge and leave for 1 hour.

Warm up the remaining rosé mixture so that it’s runny again (10 – 20 seconds ins a microwave or back on the hob), remove the cling film and pour the rosé liquid over the terrine, re-cover with cling film and pop back in the fridge over night. Return weighty cans and spare loaf tin to their homes.

When you are ready to serve, dip the loaf tin into hot water for a minute or so to loosen the jelly from the edges. Invert the terrine out onto a pretty serving place. If it doesn’t come out immediately, either run a chef’s blow torch around the outside of tin whilst it is inverted on the plate or cover with a very hot damp towel. Be patient – it will come out. I’ve also taken to gently knocking the sides with a steak hammer for final persuasion. It’s very gratifying when it plops out onto the plate!

Cut into slices and serve with double cream, crème fraiche or Greek yogurt – it’s absolutely gorgeous and just exudes all that is fabulous about a good British summertime!

Inspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

Really easy

 

Crispy, Crunchy, Ever-so Oozy Garlic and Mozzarella Bread

The 65th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is the yummiest garlic bread – have been making it for years and dare I say it, haven’t come across better!

I know what you’re thinking: has she gone mad? She’s stuck up a recipe for garlic bread!!!!! But, bear with me – how many times have you bought garlic bread from the supermarket as a quick accompaniment to pasta or to add to a barbecue and when you cut in to it: huge disappointment – there’s a measly smear of butter in the middle of each slice with barely a hint of garlic – not good enough! My garlic bread is crisp (sometimes too crunchy if I forget about it in the oven) on the outside and moist on the inside – so buttery it has been know to drip down a chin or two. Loads of garlic and Italian herbs – it’s lovely. And these days, thanks to my daughter, Maddie, it has the addition of Mozzarella cheese, which makes it even naughtier and even yummier. A sinch to make and really quick, avert your eyes from those supermarket offerings: this is proper garlic bread!

What you need…

Une baguette!

250g butter, softened

8 cloves garlic, chopped

1½ tablespoons dried Italian herb mix (mine has a little chilli in it which gives it a real kick)

2 teaspoons garlic granules

Mozzarella cheese

What to do…

Using a fork, mash together the butter, garlic, herbs and garlic granules to form your lovely garlic butter.

Slice the baguette at a slight diagonal and nearly but not quite all the way through. Take a butter knife and slather the garlic butter onto each side of the bread slice – don’t be tempted to cut back – channel ‘slather’.  Wodge in thin slices of mozzarella cheese in between each slice and then squish together the bread slices and wrap in foil before popping in the oven for 40 minutes. If you’d rather just straight garlic bread, then skip the mozzarella and wrap the bread loosely in foil and pop it in the oven for 40 minutes. Either way, check your garlic bread after 30 minutes to see that it’s starting to crisp up on the outside.  If not, open up the foil for the remaining 10 minutes’ cooking.

Serve with pasta, a barbecue, a picnicy supper or just on its own with drinks – lovely!!!

Tip…

This recipe makes loads! I make a load of garlic butter in one hit, taking it out of the fridge as and when I need it over the course of a month. We soon get through it in the summer – ideal for garlic bread, for basting lobster tails (if we’re lucky enough) or for dribbling over ther fish and for swishing in new potatoes!

Italian seasoning is available from supermarkets however…if you have a friend who is travelling through an Italian airport, ask them to pick up a bag of the Italian pasta seasoning from there – it’s just that little bit more special – I use it in a variety of pasta dishes as well as in this garlic butter.

I haven’t put a quantity for mozzarella cheese, but whatever’s left, use it up in a salad with tomatoes and basil, drizzling over olive oil and balsamic to serve. Just yum!

Inspired by…

Who knows! I’ve been doing this for years and everyone loves it!

How easy…

Very, very!

 

 

John’s Luscious Barbecued Lobster Tails with Garlic Butter

The 64th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this one isn’t revisited very often because of the cost, but when it is, each and every morel is relished! 

So, if you fancy a bit of a treat and have the available pennies, this little number is totally indulgent and absolutely gorgeous. The garlic butter essentially sautés the lobster meat and the combination of flavours is out of this world: moist, delicately flavoured lobster and ever so garlicky butter – they don’t compete but just enhance one another. Simply delicious!

Serves 4 as a starter treat

What you need…

1 x barbecue!

2 raw lobster tails

for the garlic butter (makes loads – not just for this dish)

250g butter, softened

8 cloves garlic, chopped

1½ tablespoons dried Italian herb mix (mine has a little chilli in it which gives it a real kick)

2 teaspoons garlic granules

What to do…

First, make the garlic butter:using a fork, mash together the butter, garlic, herbs and garlic granules to form your lovely garlic butter – job done!.

Lay the lobster tails, shell-side up, on a good, solid board. Taking your sharpest knife, cut the lobster in half lengthways. Be very careful: the lobster shells are hard and the knife can slip – it’s always nice to continue life with 10 fingers!!!!

Turn the tails over and spray them with a little olive oil. To seal them, lay the lobster tails flesh-side down on a very hot barbecue grill and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the flesh just starts to turn a golden brown. Set aside to cool.

When cool and you’re just about ready to eat, spread lashings of garlic butter over the seared lobster flesh – don’t hold back – particularly making sure that there’s a goodly portion where the flesh meets the shell.

On the barbecue, return the lobster tails to the high heat but this time, shell side down. As the lobster heats up, the flesh will start to come away from the shell and the garlic butter will melt, seeping down the sides and start to bubble, effectively sautéing the flesh in the delicious butter. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the barbecue, serve and demolish immediately – that’s the only problem with them – you know you should be savouring the lusciousness of them but you can’t just help attacking them! Watch out for the garlic butter chin dribble!

Tip with the Garlic Butter…

This recipe makes loads! I make a load of garlic butter in one hit, taking it out of the fridge as and when I need it over the course of a month. We soon get through it in the summer – it’s deal for garlic bread as well as basting lobster tails, which we clearly don’t have on a regular basis, or for other fish and for swishing in with new potatoes.

Inspired by…

John

How easy…

Wonderfully easy but should be prepared with a lovely glass of white wine to hand!

 

Salmon with Sorrel and Vermouth Sauce

The 63rd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is an fabulous way of dressing up salmon and after trying it, sorrel has a permanent spot in our garden and on our summer menus!

This is a simple dish but the flavour of the sauce is absolutely incredible – on first tasting my words were, “ Oh wow, I wish I’d made more!’ I love salmon and I’m always looking for different ways of preparing it: this is going to be a regular – such a treat!

Serves 2

What you need…

1 x baking tray, covered in foil

200g salmon fillet, cut into 2cm-thick slices

1 shallot, chopped finely

75ml vermouth

75ml dry white wine

150ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

50g sorrel leaves, sliced finely

Your favourite salad leaves (I like a mix of iceberg, basil, rocket and chicory)

House dressing (see below)

for the house dressing

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons runny honey

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

150ml rapeseed oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon basil leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon thyme leaves, finely chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

First, knock up the fabulous salad dressing: place the egg yolk in a bowl with the mustard, honey and cider vinegar. Use an electric handheld whisk to beat together. Then, gradually add the oil, whisking the whole time, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste, whisk to thoroughly incorporate and then pour into a screw top jar and pop in the fridge until needed.

When you’re about ready to eat, pop your salmon slices on the foil and set aside.

Heat a medium saucepan until hot and then tip in the shallot, vermouth and white wine, cooking for about 5 minutes until reduced by half. Add the cream and cook for 2-3 minutes until reduced and thickened.

Meanwhile, pop your salmon under the grill for 3 minutes, until just cooked through.  Chuck all your salad leaves into a serving bowl.

Season the sauce to taste and then stir in the sorrel leaves. Divide the sauce between 2 plates and then place salmon slices on the top.

Drizzle some house dressing over the salad leaves and toss to thoroughly coat. Serve salad alongside the fabulous salmon and sauce. Absolutely fabulous!

Tips…

The only finicky element to this recipe is the preparation of the delightful salad dressing so I prepared mine in advance and chucked it all in a screw top jar to be kept in the fridge. The quantity made is double what is required so the remainder can be used for another salad – the dressing will keep in the fridge for a few days.

I struggled to find sorrel in supermarkets, but it’s dead easy to grow in the garden and has a lovely, unique fresh, slightly lemony flavour that’s great raw in salads.

Inspired by…

James Martin

How easy…

Once the salad dressing was sorted, dead easy and dead quick…and fabulously delicious!

Torta Di Cappuccino

The 62nd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this seductive dessert is literally temptation on a plate!

OMG!!!! This is a totally luscious ‘tart-mousse’ – I’m not sure which category it fits in but I can tell you this – a dark chocolate digestive biscuit base is topped with something in between a cake and a mousse that is richly flavoured with coffee and chocolate – the combination is staggeringly gorgeous, I mean staggeringly!! And somehow, as much as it’s rich, it’s also light: temptation on a plate. If you feel like sharing (I’d urge against) you can make it a day in advance of a dinner party or friends coming for supper.

Serves 8 – 10 (or perhaps just 1!)

What you need…

23cm diameter spring, form cake tin, lightly buttered

for the base

375g dark chocolate digestive biscuits

3 tablespoons double cream

75g butter, melted

for the topping

500g mascarpone

140g caster sugar

3 eggs

100g chocolate (ideally 70% cocoa solids), broken up

3 tablespoons Kahlua

125ml espresso or REALLY strong coffee

Icing sugar, to decorate

Chocolate coffee beans, to decorate

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

To make the base, whizz your biscuits in a food processor to create crumbs, then mix with the cream and melted butter. Tip the biscuit mix into the cake tin, spread evenly and press down so the mix is good and solid. Pop in the fridge whilst you do the rest.

Put your chocolate into a heatproof bowl and then into a steamer over a pan of simmering water to gently melt.

Using a handheld electric whisk, beat the mascarpone and caster sugar together in a large bowl until soft and light.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Gradually add to the mascarpone mixture, whisking the whole time.

Go back to your melted chocolate and mix in the Kahlua and coffee. Then add to the mascarpone mixture, whisking continually to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly blended.

Pour over the biscuit base and bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until the centre is set (no jiggling) and the top is evenly brown.

Leave to cool and when cold, transfer from the cake tin to a pretty serving plate. Decorate with sifted icing sugar and chocolate coffee beans, either scattered haphazardly or in a ring around the edge of the dessert. Take one slice of your Torta di Cappuccino, just to make sure that it’s OK. Enjoy the sheer, delectable enjoyment of that moment and then decide if you like the people you’re with enough to share it with!!!!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How Easy…

It’s not difficult at all. I feel that is should have been, given the end result but no, it was very straight forward.

Taste-Bud Dazzling Quick Thai Curry Feast

The 61st of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this feisty feast visits our kitchen table a couple of times a year and is always welcome. Just looking at the recipe now, I feel another Thai night coming on soon!

Fiery hot but oh-so flavoursome, these curries and the accompanying noodles dazzle the taste buds with the different flavours but the heat of the chillies is perfectly counter-balanced by the cooling, soothing coconut milk and coriander so that you can enjoy this lovely supper without feeling like your mouth is on fire. A definite favourite which uses lots of store-cupboard ingredients, is really quick and can mostly be prepared in advance – what’s not to like?!

What you need…

for the red chicken curry

Splash of rapeseed oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 x 90g jar red Thai curry paste (I prefer Bart Infusions)

1 x 400ml can coconut milk

4 chicken breasts, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces

125ml chicken stock

2 tablespoons fish sauce

4 dried kaffir lime leaves

A large handful of coriander, chopped and red chilli, deseeded and sliced, to garnish

for the green beef curry

1 aubergine, peeled and cubed

2 onions, peeled and sliced

Splash of rapeseed oil

1 x 90g jar green Thai curry paste (as above, I prefer Bart Infusions)

500g lean beef (fillet if you’re feeling flush) cut into thin strips

1 x 400g can coconut milk

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 dried red chillies, finely sliced

2.5cm ginger root, grated

4 dried kaffir lime leaves

A large handful of basil leaves, torn up, to garnish

for the sesame hot noodles

2 tablespoons rapeseed oil

1 tablespoon sesame seed oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter

1 dried red chilli, finely sliced

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

Juice of 1 large lime

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1 large handful coriander, chopped

400g medium egg noodles

What to do…

Red Chicken Curry: heat the oil to moderate in a large pan or wok. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Tip in the curry paste and cook for 10-15 seconds, then gradually add the coconut milk, stirring the whole time. Add the chicken pieces and cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes.

Stir in the stock, fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Check the chicken is cooked all the way through. Turn off the heat, pop on a lid and set aside until you’re nearly ready to eat.  Reheat and garnish with the coriander and chilli – fabulous.

Green Beef Curry: blanch the aubergine cubes and onion slices in boiling water for 2 minutes to soften. Drain.

Heat the oil to moderate in a large pan or wok, add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously.

Whop up the heat to high, tip in the beef and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar and bring to the boil, stirring the whole time.

Add the aubergine, onion, chillies, ginger and lime leaves and cook for a further 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, pop on a lid and set aside until you’re nearly ready to eat. Reheat and garnish with basil – yummy!

Noodle Time: in a large screw-top jar, chuck in the oils, garlic and peanut butter. Pop the lid on and shake like mad to fully mix together. Add everything else except the noodles and coriander. Pop the lid back on and shake like mad again. Set aside until you’re about ready to serve.

Cook the noodles according to the packet (mine take 4 minutes in boiling, salted water). Drain and tip them into a warmed serving dish. Shake the ‘dressing’ one more time and pour over the noodles. Toss together like you would a salad to make sure that all the noodles are amply covered with the lovely dressing. Garnish with coriander and serve with your piping hot curries. Such a joy!

Tip…

Once the curries are cooked, you can keep them in the fridge for up to 24 hours before reheating them to serve. Doing so encourages the flavours to develop and also means less work in the kitchen whilst your friends are around if this is a supper you are sharing. Always a good shout: cook ahead, eat relaxed!

Inspired by…

Carol Bowen (from a very old book)

How easy…

Dead easy, you can cook ahead and this supper is absolutely fabulous!

1 2 50