Author Archives for Cindy Duffield

Prawn Saganaki Just for One

Tuesdays are chilled out days where I don’t usually cook (I come home from a lovely yoga session and am so relaxed, I’m practically horizontal) so on these days we break out and John and Connagh frequently enjoy ‘Charlie Bigham’s Chicken Tikka Masala’: unpack, whop in the oven, remove and serve. Dead easy. I’m not usually hungry so it works well. Anyway this week, I was in the mood for something tasty but quick and had a bag of prawns at the back of the fridge that needed eating up, so I rustled up one of my favourites, Prawn Saganaki, but….I didn’t have quite all the ingredients for original recipe blogged last year so made do with what was available and …… it was gorgeous. So, here is the adapted version, made exclusively for one!

Serves 1

What you need…

A splash of rapeseed oil

1 shallot, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon dried crushed chillies

1 star anise

6 small plum ripe tomatoes, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

200g raw king prawns

A dessertspoon of Boursin cheese (should have been Feta but didn’t have any!)

A small handful of parsley, roughly chopped

What to do…

Heat the oil over a moderate heat in a frying pan. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until soft but not brown. Stir in the chilli and the star anise, then add in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Next, add in the prawns and cook for a few minutes until they are pink, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking throughout. Remove the star anise.

Tip in the Boursin and stir until it melts and is thoroughly incorporated. Scatter the parsley on top. Serve immediately with a nice chunky doorstep of good, fresh bread – just yummy!

Inspired by…

The Traveller’s Table

How easy…

Soooooo happy that I happened upon the original ridiculously easy recipe!

Pasta with Courgettes, Lemon and Basil

Light, lovely, fragrant and beautifully flavoursome, this lunch or supper dish feels like a nod towards Spring and the promise of warmer days but is also wonderfully comforting because of the inclusion of the rich mascarpone, contrasting brilliantly with the lemon. Simple to do, lovely to enjoy, packed with flavour!

Serves 4

What you need…

450g your favourite dried pasta (I chose gluten-free fusilli)

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 medium courgettes, halved lengthways and then sliced thinly

100g mascarpone cheese

3 tablespoons milk

Zest of 1 small lemon, finely grated

1 tablespoon basil leaves, finely chopped

A large handful of basil leaves, roughly torn

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook your pasta as per the packet instructions (mine takes about 12 minutes).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, tip in the courgettes and cook for 5 minutes or until softened and lightly golden. In a bowl, mix together the mascarpone, milk, lemon zest and the chopped basil. Scrape this little lot over the courgettes and toss together for a minute or so until the mascarpone has melted. Season to taste.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Pour over the creamy courgette mixture and gently stir to mix evenly together. Scatter over the torn basil leaves, give them a quick stir and serve. Marvel in how lovely it is to find a simple dish that packs such lovely flavours!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy…

Simplicity itself!

Spiced Rhubarb and Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding

Just yummy! I mean REALLY yummy!!! The brioche is gloriously sweet and fluffy and the gently spiced rhubarb has retained just a little of its inherent tartness but is also sweet and simply delicious. We had seconds….and then thirds and still my fork lingered for yet more….!!!!

Serves 8 (or 3 greedy people with some leftovers)

What you need…

1.5 litre ovenproof baking dish, liberally buttered

400g ready-sliced brioche loaf

80g butter, softened

500ml jersey or full fat milk

4 large, happy eggs

50g golden caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

2 tablespoons demerara sugar

for the spiced rhubarb

400g rhubarb, cut into 2cm chunks

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

30g butter, cubed

50g light brown soft sugar

Juice and grated zest of 1 orange

What to do…

First, to the rhubarb, which you can do up to a day ahead. Heat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Chuck the rhubarb into your baking dish together with the spices, butter, sugar, zest and juice. Give them a quick stir together and pop them into the oven for 20 minutes until deliciously sticky and caramelised. Set aside to cool.

To make the custard (which you can also do in advance and just keep in the fridge until you’re ready) use a balloon whisk to mix together the milk, eggs, caster sugar and vanilla bean paste in a large jug.

Spread the brioche with the butter and cut into triangles before arranging them in your baking dish. Evenly tip over two-thirds of the rhubarb and then two-thirds of the custard. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge to let the custard soak into the bread for a few hours.

When you’re ready to bake, pour over the rest of the custard, scatter the remaining rhubarb over the top and then sprinkle with demerara sugar. Pop into the oven for 30 – 40 minutes until your gorgeous pudding is golden brown and the custard has set around the edges.

Serve with no delay, lovely and hot, gloriously sweet and fluffy with a little double cream or ice cream – heaven.

Inspired by…

Delicious Magazine

How easy…

Spectacularly and you can do most of it ahead of time so very relaxing if you’re sharing with friends.

Peach, Pancetta and Mozzarella Salad

An unusual, eclectic selection of flavours thrown together to create a simply fabulous salad that shouts ‘summer’ and ‘sunshine’! Perfect for an al fresco lunch with a crisp bottle of white – utterly delightful!

Serves 2

What you need…

A large handful of rocket

3 red chicory, leaves pulled apart

20g butter

3 ripe peaches, quartered

3 rosemary sprigs

90g pancetta slices

150g mozzarella, roughly torn

Handful of green olives (optional – I didn’t like them and left them on the side)

for the dressing

½ shallot, finely sliced

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

Small handful fresh dill, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

First, make the dressing (which can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days). Into a jug, tip the shallot, vinegar, sugar, mustard and dill and use a balloon whisk to beat together. Slowly whisk in the oil, season with salt and pepper. Check the flavour and adjust the seasoning if need be and then tip the whole lot into a screw-topped jar and pop in the fridge until needed.

To the salad: in a mixing bowl, chuck the rocket and chicory. Set aside.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter over a moderate heat. When it starts to foam, add the peaches and rosemary and sauté for about 6 minutes or until the peaches start to colour and soften. Season with salt and transfer to the mixing bowl.

Add the pancetta to the frying pan and cook for around 7 minutes until crisp. Remove from the pan and add to the mixing bowl with the mozzarella. Tip in the dressing and toss the whole lot together before decanting onto a pretty serving plate.

Serve this quite fabulous, unusual salad with warm, fresh bread – delicious!

Inspired by…

Delicious Magazine

How easy…

A little sautéing and that’s about it!

A Little Aside: Tenderstem Broccoli Gratin

When the kids were growing up, pretty much the only vege that they would eat was broccoli. So, on that basis we ate a lot of it; and I mean A LOT. Obviously, it gets boring consuming mountains of boiled broccoli and steamed broccoli so we’ve also had brocolli that’s been finished off with sautéed garlic and bacon; with garlic and anchovies; or par-boiled and then roasted in the oven with olive oil and garlic. As much as they were all lovely, it’s still broccoli at the end of the day. This recipe however takes it to a different level – the mini trees became mightily interesting, nestling is a smooth, creamy rich gratin – easy to make and lovely to enjoy, as a side or on its own.

Serves 4 as a side dish

What you need…

375g tenderstem broccoli

2 happy eggs, lightly beaten

220ml double cream

Splash of milk

Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

75g Gruyère, finely grated

A handful of Panko breadcrumbs

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 3 – 4 minutes, until just tender. Drain in a colander and run under a cold tap. Tip into an ovenproof dish.

In a jug, mix together the eggs, cream and milk. Pour over the broccoli then toss to coat. Mix the lemon zest, Gruyère and breadcrumbs and then scatter over the broccoli. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and set. Serve piping hot and enjoy.

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

Really easy and beautifully different.

Spring Dinner for 4

Good friends coming around for dinner tonight and we’re really looking forward to catching up, sharing time, wine and food with them. The menu is a combination of some of my favourite dishes, tried out and enjoyed thanks to my blog!

Thai Crab Poppadam Canapés

Chicken Liver Paté with Brandy

Chicken Wrapped in Parma Ham with Mascarpone Peas and Rosemary and Garlic Parmentier Potatoes

The Yummiest Profiteroles (Connagh’s favourite, hence his quality control test here ‘Oh wow Mum!!!’

Light and Zesty Lemon Tart

Happy Friday! xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Cordon Bleu

An absolutely scrumptious dish that hurtled into my kitchen all the way from the 1960s. Whilst our tastes in many things have changed, sometimes these older recipes are well worth revisiting – as is the case here. Essentially, cheese, ham and chicken….but the magic happens when the breadcrumbs encasing the chicken turn buttery crispy golden brown and the cheese just starts to melt. Connagh could barely eat his for going on and on about how wonderful it was – praise indeed!

Serves 4

What you need…

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

175g Emmental cheese, cut into 8 chunks

4 thick ham slices

75g plain flour

3 happy eggs, lightly beaten

150g panko breadcrumbs

Sea salt and black peper

125g unsalted butter

What to do…

Cut the chicken in half widthways, nearly all the way through. Lay a large piece of cling film across your work surface and then place the chicken on the top, opened out. Cover with another piece of cling film and then gently bash the chicken breast with a rolling pin until about 1 cm thick.

Discard the cling film. Take 1 chicken breast and pop two chunks of cheese on one half and then fold or wodge the ham on top before folding over the other half of the chicken breast to enclose the cheese and ham. Press down lightly. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge until you’re just about ready to cook.

Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in three separate shallow bowls. Season the flour and eggs with salt and pepper and then dip each chicken breast in first the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs, making sure that it is evenly and thoroughly covered in each.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. When it has just melted, add the chicken breasts and cook for 5 minutes on one side and then turn over and cook for 5 minutes on the other. Baste the chicken with the melted butter as it cooks. The breadcrumbs should be golden and then, when you cut into the chicken, the cheese should just be starting to melt – thoroughly gorgeous!!!

Inspired by…

James Martin

How easy…

As with most recipes I choose: very easy and absolutely scrumptious!

Skate with Asparagus and Rosemary Salmoriglio

Fresh fish is best served simply: I am not the first to say that and certainly won’t be the last. This skate dish is simple, quick and just divine. The lovely little Italian herb oil (Salmoriglio) is just whizzed up in the processor and the skate, sautéed in butter – the combination? Exquisite!!! Oh….and….it’s quite healthy!!!!

Serves 2

What you need…

10g rosemary sprigs (8 – 10 depending on size), leaves picked

Pinch of salt

2 garlic cloves, chopped

Squeeze fresh lemon juice

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 x 250g skate wings

100g plain flour

A large handful of asparagus, trimmed

What to do…

For the salmoriglio, tip the rosemary leaves into a small food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Add the salt, garlic and lemon juice and whizz until smooth. Still whizzing, slowly pour in 3 tablespoons of the oil. Whizz until all the ingredients are combined – that’s it: done!

Season the skate wings. Pour the flour onto a plate and coat the fish on both sides. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan (or two) over a moderate heat and sauté the skate for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through and golden.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and simmer the asparagus for about 3 minutes, until just tender. Drain.

Serve your magnificent skate wings with asparagus on the side and drizzle over the salmoriglio. A forkful of the fish with a little of the herb oil together make for a joyful marriage! Enjoy!

Tip…

I didn’t realise when I bought the skate that this fish is seriously under threat due to over-fishing. Ray makes a perfect alternative and was in fact the recommended fish in the original recipe.

Inspired by…

My Waitrose magazine

How easy…

Wonderfully easy for such a fabulous dish.

A Little Aside: Rosemary and Garlic Parmentier Potatoes

I have been making these gutsy little potatoes, served as a side dish, for years and have been asked several times why they have not been blogged so, here they are…..! They are a delight to make (translate to ‘dead easy’) and even more lovely to enjoy: cooked so that they’re like the crispiest triple-cooked chips you’ve ever had but flavoured with the bliss that is the combination of garlic and rosemary. Just yummy!!!!! (Also, they get on with cooking themselves whilst you do other things).

What you need…

2 largish red potatoes, chunked

1½ tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Sea salt to season to your taste

What to do…

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

Tip all the ingredients into an ovenproof dish and toss around so that all the potatoes are evenly covered in the other ingredients.

Pop in the oven to cook for 40 minutes, removing half way through to shove the potatoes around a bit so that they don’t stick to the dish and cook evenly.

Remove your crisp, fragrant and ever so tasty potatoes from the oven and serve as an accompaniment to fish or meat (kitchen prepared or on the barbie) or in bowl as naughty finger food!

Inspired by…

Delia does a version with fresh rosemary so I guess it was her. I’ve been doing these for so long, I can’t remember.

How easy…

An absolute doddle to prepare and then they cook themselves whilst you’re dealing with the main event.