Monthly Archives: July 2016

Prawn, Strawberry and Mint Salad

 

Most unlikely bedfellows, prawns and strawberries snuggle up together happily in this vibrant salad that truly celebrates British summer time. A joy to eat on it’s own or as a side to barbecued fish: light, refreshing and simply yummy! Give it a go with beautifully ripe strawberries – you’ll be converted, I promise!

Serves 4 as a side salad

What you need…

350g jumbo king prawns, cooked

200g British strawberries, hulled and halved

A handful fresh mint leaves, torn

Handfuls of your favourite salad leaves. I use rocket, little gem and basil

for the dressing

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 dessertspoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon runny honey

A squeeze of lemon juice

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

In a screw top jar, chuck in the dressing ingredients, pop on the lid and shake like mad. Set aside.

Clean the salad leaves and tear if necessary.

Tip the salad leaves, strawberries, mint and prawns into a pretty salad bowl.

When you are ready to serve, shake the dressing again, pour over the salad and toss so that all the ingredients are evenly mixed together. Serve on it’s own or with barbecued fish and a lovely cold glass of white wine: totally delicious! Summer on a plate, right there!

Inspired by…

Don’t know – I think I made this one up.

How easy…

It’s salad so it’s not hard!

John’s Luscious Barbecued Lobster Tails with Garlic Butter

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

Garlic butter (recipe already blogged), softened

What to do…

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, seep down the sides and then 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!

Inspired by…

My lovely husband,  John

How easy…

Wonderfully easy but should be prepared with a lovely glass of wine.

Postcards from a Traveller’s Table

Two weeks out of the kitchen, sunning myself on a cruise ship, disembarking for a few hours to get just a little taster of Venice, a couple of Greek islands and Montenegro, but now it’s back home. I take loads of pictures whilst away and rather than sticking the lot up (too boring unless you were there). I’m going to put up a few at a time over the forthcoming weeks with a little big of blog about our time in each place and of course, what we ate! Hope you enjoy ‘postcards from a traveller’s table’, the first one of which will go up at the weekend. In the meantime, the cooking and blogging resumes tomorrow, just as soon as the washing machine is finished it’s continual cycles!

Terrine of Summer Fruits

 

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!

Terrine of Summer Fruits close up wInspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

Really easy

 

Chilled out Salmorejo Cordobés

Originating from Cordoba in Andalucia, southern Spain, this is almost more of a purée than a soup, including bread to add substance and richly flavoured with garlic and tomato. Served cold, it is thicker and creamier than gazpacho and is a lovely pink-orange colour. It’s refreshing and tasty, delivers ‘Mediterranean with a kick’ with every spoonful and is somehow luxurious. Garnished with Serrano ham and chopped boiled egg, it also has a bit more about than just a chilled out soup! If we ever have a boiling hot day, this makes for a delicious lunch dish or starter.

Serves 4

What you need…

240ml water

1 dessertspoon salt

75g stale baguette

5 large/plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 small onion, chopped

30ml sherry wine vinegar

1½ dessertspoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, chopped

180ml virgin olive oil

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

4 slices Serrano ham, chopped

What to do…

Tip the water into a bowl with the salt, stir to mix together and then add the bread, soaking for 30 minutes.

Squeeze the excess water from the bread and set the bread aside.

Tip the tomatoes, onion, sherry wine vinegar, lemon juice and garlic into a blender and whizz until smooth. Add the bread and whizz again until smooth. With the machine still running, gradually add the olive oil – the soup will now turn its lovely pink-orange colour. Pop the finished soup into the fridge for at least 2 hours (it will keep for a day). Divide into four small bowls and garnish with the boiled eggs and ham – deliciously refreshing with more than a hint of the Med!

Salmorejo Cordobes Close up wInspired by…

bonappetit.com

How easy…

Just a bit of blending – one very chilled out soup!

Cheats’ Sausage Rolls

Why oh why do I normally only do these at Christmas?! It’s a criminal offence! No more! Who doesn’t love the fabulous aromas wafting through the kitchen as they cook, who doesn’t admire the sheer loveliness of those little parcels going deliciously golden in the oven and seriously, who can resist one or two freshly baked ‘homemade’ sausage rolls straight from the oven?!

Makes around 50, depending on how big or small you cut them

What you need…

2 x baking sheets, lightly buttered or lined with Bake O Glide

2 x 500g packets of ready-made short crust pastry (I use Jus-Rol)

1 kg sausage meat (from a great butcher if you have one)

Plain flour for dusting

1 egg, lightly beaten

What to do…

Lightly flour your work surface and roll out one packet of the pastry to about 5mm thick.

Take handfuls of sausage meat and roll it in your hands and on the work surface to create long sausages of the meat, maybe 2cms wide. Lay your sausage 5cms away from one edge of the pastry. Using a pastry brush, brush egg either side of the sausage meat and then flip the 5cm edge over the filling to meet the pastry on the other side. Press the edge down onto the pastry and then use the edge of a fork all the way along to help seal the join. Cut the pastry down the new edge so that you have one long sausage roll and then the left over rolled out pastry. Continue this process across the left over pastry to create 3 long sausage rolls. Brush each with beaten egg and then cut to whatever size sausage rolls you fancy enjoying. In each one, stab the point of a small knife into the top, just to let the heat out whilst cooking. Pop them in the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Whilst they’re cooking, take the second packet of pastry and repeat the process.

Remove the first batch from the oven and allow to cool a little on their baking tray. Pop one in your mouth, just to try….maybe another and….another. Remember reluctantly that you’re supposed to be sharing!

Pop them on cooling rack to cool. Slap husband who has just come in and nicked 3!

Repeat cooking and cooling process with second batch. Tasting and husband-slapping optional. Enjoy!!!!

Inspired by…

Christmas cooking (and a picnic on the river this evening)

How easy…

More of a joy thing really!

Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad

A really lovely summer salad that combines garlic-roasted summer vegetables with garden-fresh salad leaves to create a barbecue accompaniment that has a definite Mediterranean feel to it, bringing sunshine into your meal even if the British weather isn’t delivering!

Serves 4 as a side dish

What you need…

1 each of red, yellow and green bell peppers, cored and sliced

2 courgettes, sliced

3 cloves garlic chopped

Splash of olive oil

250g asparagus, trimmed

4 medium tomatoes, quartered

A selection of your favourite salad leaves (I like basil, rocket, spinach, iceberg and chicory) cleaned and torn to bite-size

for the salad dressing

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 dessertspoon good quality balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200° / 400°f / gas 6.

Tip the peppers, courgettes and garlic into a deep ovenproof dish, slosh in the olive oil and stir it through the vegetables. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and give them a quick stir – some of the peppers will be just starting to take on a char-grilled look – perfect. Tip in the asparagus and mix them in before popping the dish back in the oven for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir in the tomatoes and set aside until room temperature.

In the bottom of your salad bowl, tip the oil, balsamic and mustard. Mix together with a fork. Just before you are ready to eat, tip in your roasted vegetables mix and then scatter over the salad leaves. Toss the whole lot together and serve alongside barbecued fish and meats, maybe with some piping hot and slightly gooey mozzarella garlic bread (already blogged) or new potatoes as well. A feast indeed!

Inspired by…

A made-up recipe that we’ve been enjoying for years!

How easy…

So easy that it sort of does itself, allowing you to do the other prep for a great barbie.

 

 

Spice-Roasted Fruits with Honey and Orange Sauce

 

A lovely, lovely pud that is unbelievably easy, can be mostly prepared ahead and is very unusual. Given the combination of orange, cinnamon and star anise, there is more than a little nod towards Christmas in the aromas emanating from the oven as these lovely summer fruits bask in their sauce but there’s nothing wrong with that! Once cooked, the soft, warm fruit has a lovely sweet depth of flavour and the gentle spices give this dish a very welcome extra dimension. Something different for summer – give it a go!

Serves 6

What you need…

4 fresh bay leaves, torn

2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod

1 star anise

½ teaspoon black pepper

Zest and juice of 3 oranges

4 tablespoons clear honey

3 tablespoons light soft dark brown sugar

3 peaches, 3 nectarines, 6 plums all ripe, cut in half and stones removed

25g unsalted butter

Crème Fraîche, to serve

What to do…

The day before, take a large screw-top jar and tip in the bay leaves, cinnamon, vanilla pod seeds, star anise, pepper, orange zest and juice, honey and sugar. Screw on the lid, shake like mad and pop in the fridge.

Half an hour before serving, preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

Tip the fruit into a roomy baking dish. Shake your sauce like mad again and then pour over the fruit. Dot over the butter and pop into the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Baste the fruits with a large spoon and bake again for a further 10 minutes. One more basting and then a further 5 minutes cooking. That’s it! Serve these rich and wonderful warm summer fruits with a gorgeous dollop of crème fraîche – very yummy indeed!

Spice-Roasted Fruits close w

Inspired by…

My friend, Heather told me she’d had it to conclude a lunch with a friend of hers called Lady Jas (!) It sounded so good that I googled it and printed it off the BBC Good Food website.

How easy…

You just need a jam jar, some fruit and a bit of time in the oven! My kinda pud!

Baked Salmon with Roasted Vegetables

A simple, one-pot dish and is sooooooo very tasty. The natural flavours of the salmon are enhanced by the addition of anchovies and a mixture of peppers and tomatoes works absolutely brilliantly as a contrasting accompaniment to the fish – the whole lot disappeared at a rapid rate – this a great one for a family supper.

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking dish (mine is 26 x 18 x 7cms deep) lightly buttered

160ml hot water from the kettle

½ vegetable stock pot (I use Knorr)

750g – 1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm-thick slices

5 large tomatoes, thickly sliced

1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 orange or yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into bite-sized chunks

60g anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

4 sprigs oregano, leaves stripped from the stems

6 sprigs rosemary

4 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little extra for the fish

1 side of salmon – enough to cover your baking dish – mine was around 1.5kg

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200°c/400°f/gas 6.

Pop your ½ stockpot into a jug, tip on the hot water and mix together using a balloon whisk. Set your vegetable stock aside.

Bring the potatoes to the boil in salted water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain. Arrange the slices, slightly overlapping to cover the bottom of your baking dish.

Scatter over the tomatoes, peppers and anchovies. Pour over your stock. Scatter over the garlic, oregano leaves and then lay across the rosemary sprigs. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the oil and pop in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, rub a little olive oil all over the fish and season with salt and pepper.

Remove and discard the rosemary sprigs from the vegetables; then lay the fish on top. Cover with foil and pop back in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 5 minutes, just to give the salmon a little colour.

That’s it – all done – no accompaniments required and you know what? It’s very lovely! Enjoy!

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Ridiculously straight forward