Main Courses

Saturday Supper of Salmon and Med. Veg.

Lovely little supper of Salmon with Sorrel and Vermouth Sauce served with Summer Mediterranean Vegetables: both previously blogged and both lovely, especially the salmon dish)

Tip…

Use the search option in the top right hand corner of the website to type in each recipe to find the original blogs – enjoy!

Inspired by…

James Martin and Mary Berry, respectively

How easy…

Dead easy – perfect for a quick, sumptuous supper!

 

 

 

 

Porchetta Wellington

I can’t do Beef Wellington – it’s one of John’s ‘signature dishes’ and I wouldn’t dream of trying to emulate what is my absolute favourite of one of his dishes (I will blog it one day though). However, when I saw this in last Saturday’s paper, Sunday lunch was instantly sorted! And it didn’t disappoint – looks and tastes stunning – an absolutely great Sunday lunch for family and friends….that takes very little last minute effort and looks like you’ve spent hours slaving!!!!

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x 33cm x 25cm baking tin (or slightly bigger)

2 pork tenderloins (about 450g each)

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

10 slices Parma ham

200g spinach, wilted and squeezed dry

2 x 375g ready-rolled packets all-butter puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

for the paté

100g unsalted butter

1 shallot, peeled and chopped

250g chicken livers, trimmed

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoons brandy

½ teaspoon English mustard powder

for the herb mix

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, peeled and chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

150g chestnut mushrooms, chopped finely

6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped finely

1 teaspoon dried crushed chillis

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

What to do…

First make the paté. Melt 60g of the butter over a moderate heat and then add the shallot and cook for 10 minutes, until softened. Tip in the chicken livers and garlic and cook, turning, for up to 5 minutes, until they are just pink in the middle. Tip in the brandy and the mustard powder and season with salt and pepper.

Pop the remaining butter into your food processor together with the liver mixture and whizz until smooth. Use a spatula to get every last morsel out of the processor and into a bowl. Cover with cling film and then pop in the fridge until needed.

Next, the herb mix. Heat the oil and gently fry the shallot for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms and herbs and sauté over a high heat for 5 minutes. Add the crushed chilli and lemon zest, season to taste, cover with foil and cool. Pop in the fridge if you’re prepping this bit way in advance.

So, to the main event. Season the pork and rub with oil, then sear in a hot pan until golden all over. Set aside to rest and cool.

Lay out two overlapping sheets of cling film so they’re longer and wider than your tenderloins would be if laid side-by-side. Lay the Parma Ham slices across the cling film so they overlap to make a large rectangle. Spread with the paté, then place the tenderloins on top. Spread the herb mix evenly over the tenderloins and then cover with spinach.

Use the cling film to help roll up from one side to the other, creating a tight ‘sausage’ with the Parma ham encasing the tenderloins.

Unroll one sheet of your pastry, retaining the greaseproof paper that it comes with (no need to line your baking tin). Unwrap the pork and place in the centre of the pastry. Brush the pastry all around the tenderloins with beaten egg and then unroll the remaining pastry sheet, gently laying it over the top of the pork, pressing it around the edges. Discard the attached greaseproof paper from the top layer of pastry. Trim the pastry to leave a 2cm edge all the way around and seal the edges with a fork. Brush the entire wellington with the egg and then pop in the fridge for 20 minutes.

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

Bake your Porchetta Wellington for 45 minutes until golden. Rest for 10 minutes, sip wine, slice and serve to a deeply impressed group of family and friends – enjoy – it’s a great sharing dish!

Tip…

Make the paté and herb mix in advance, keeping them in the fridge until needed. Then, all you have left to do is a quick assembly job! (However, the paté will then be too hard to spread – I popped it into the microwave for 20 seconds – dead easy then!)

Inspired by…

Rosemary Shrager, The Big Family Cooking Showdown, Weekend magazine

How easy…

Not at all difficult (what a treat ready-rolled pastry is!) but it makes sense to prepare the paté and herb mix in advance.

 

 

 

Oriental Noodle Salad with Crayfish

Light, fresh and tangy, this is a wonderful salad that will now be gracing our table regularly, so lovely it is! The fabulous combined flavours of ginger, chilli, fish sauce and lime together with coriander and mint is just sublime; and the addition of crayfish just makes it that little bit extra special – simply yummy!

Serves 4 -6 (as a side or light lunch)

What you need…

200g rice vermicelli noodles

½ cucumber, cut in half horizontally and seeds scraped out and sliced

200g crayfish tails, cooked and peeled (more if you’re feeling exuberant)

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced finely

150g bean sprouts

6 spring onions, sliced finely

1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and sliced finely

A large handful of coriander, chopped

A small handful of mint, chopped

3cm knob of ginger, peeled and grated finely

2 garlic cloves, chopped

for the dressing

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons dark brown soft sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

What to do…

First, bring a pan of water to the boil. Take it off the heat and pop the noodles in for 5 minutes. Drain. Refresh under cold running water. Drain again. Use clean scissors to snip into short lengths. Allow to cool completely. Job done.

Whilst that’s going on, prep the rest.

Into a screw top jar, tip all of the dressing ingredients, pop on the lid and shake like mad.

Into your salad bowl, tip everything else, including the noodles. Toss together, pour over the dressing. Toss again. Serve and enjoy with a crisp glass of white wine. The salad works particularly well with barbecued meats or roasted fish (salmon in this case). Absolutely fabulous!

Tips…

Really fresh ingredients are key to the gorgeousness of this salad.

If you don’t fancy crayfish or can’t find any at a viable price, swap them for prawns, sliced beef or shredded chicken.

Inspired by…

Firstly, friends and neighbours, Cyn and Suzy, the first of whom did her own fabulous version (but has no recipe, just raw cooking talent) and the second of whom kindly pointed me in the direction of the lovely Mary Berry!

How easy…

Just a chopping and assembly joy really.

Za’atar-Crusted Prawns with Bulgar Wheat and Herb Salad

This is a lovely, fast recipe, ideal for a lunch or supper with family and friends. I only came across Za’atar recently but I think it might be creeping into a few more recipes. It gives the prawns a unique aromatic and tangy flavour that worked really well with the bulgar wheat salad. Fresh, light and really quite lovely!

Serves 4

What you need…

24 large raw king prawns

4 tablespoons za’atar

½ tablespoon plain flour

Sea salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

for the salad

120g bulgar wheat

Splash of olive oil

1 red onion, sliced finely

200g pomegranate seeds

6 cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped

½ cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and diced

A handful of dill, chopped

A large handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

A handful of coriander, chopped

1 handful of mint, chopped

Lemons wedges to serve

for the dressing

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground sumac

1 teaspoon runny honey

What to do…

For the salad, cook the bulgar wheat according to the packet instructions (mine was to put 600ml of water into a saucepan with the bulgar wheat, bring to the boil, cover and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes). Drain and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat and add the onion. Cook gently until the onion is just starting to soften, then increase the heat and allow it to brown just a little. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Then make the dressing: tip all the ingredients into a screw top jar, pop on the lid and shake like mad. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the za’atar, flour, salt and pepper. Tip in the prawns and mix together so that the prawns are evenly covered.

When you are about ready to eat, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in your frying pan and sauté the prawns over a moderate heat until they are delightfully pink,

In a pretty salad bowl, tip the cooled bulgar wheat and onion as well as the pomegranate seeds, tomatoes, cucumber and herbs. Stir to evenly combine. Shake the dressing again and tip over the salad. Toss everything together. Divide the salad between 4 plates and then top with the za’atar-crusted prawns. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy this unusual and rather lovely dish.

Tips…

Most supermarkets sell pomegranate seeds, ready prepared.

Make the dressing in advance and keep in the fridge until needed.

Prepare the salad in advance and cover with cling film but don’t put the dressing on until the last minute otherwise the salad will go soggy.

What is Za’atar…

Usually a combination of dried thyme, sesame seeds and sumac but there are variations on the theme. I’ve seen it in lots of Middle Eastern-inspired recipes.

What is Sumac…?

A tangy lemony spice used often in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking.

Inspired by…

Leiths How to Cook

How easy…

Just an assembly job really and you can do most of it in advance.

 

 

Dad’s Paella

There were several drivers for starting this blog and one of them was that hardly any of my dad’s recipes were retained and he’s no longer around to share them and, he was a great cook. So, to have family favourites photographed and typed up seemed like a good plan – not morbid – the kids and their friends are already delving into the list of nearly 300 recipes that have been published so far.

Anyway, all that aside, Dad used to make great paella and his recipe was actually retained. I have no idea whether it’s authentic but it’s oh-so tasty – intensely flavoured to savour the images of beachside chiringuitos basking in the Mediterranean sunshine – absolutely delicious!

Serves 6

What you need…

Splash of rapeseed oil

8 chicken thigh fillets

2 medium onions, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

100g pancetta, chopped

70g chorizo, chopped (optional: I can’t stand the stuff so left it out)

4 large tomatoes, chopped

600ml hot water from the kettle

2 chicken stockpots

250ml dry white wine

2 bay leaves

Sea salt and black pepper

2 mugs long grain rice (about 450g)

Saffron

24 fresh mussels, cleaned

2 fresh squid, thinly sliced

500g clams (I couldn’t get fresh so used ‘Big & Juicy Delicious Clams’ by the Big Prawn Company, Waitrose)

250g raw king prawns

1 mug frozen garden peas

A handful of parsley, chopped

Lemon wedges, to serve

What to do…

First, make your chicken stock by using a balloon whisk to help dissolve the chicken stockpots into the hot water from the kettle. Set aside.

In a large frying pan (I don’t get on with paella pans – the rice always sticks) heat the oil over a moderate heat and then sauté the chicken until golden brown.

Chuck in the onions, garlic and red pepper. Add in the pancetta and chorizo, if using, and sauté until soft.

Chuck in the tomatoes, chicken stock, wine and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Stir everything together.

Add the rice, some saffron, the mussels, squid and clams, if they’re fresh. If however you’ve bought pre-cooked clams like I did, hold them back until later.

Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking on how the saffron is colouring the rice, adding a little more if you would like a deeper yellow colour.

This is also a good time to pour yourself a glass of Rioja to enjoy, together with the fabulous cooking aromas, during the rest of the paella preparation.

Finally, add in the cooked clams, prawns, peas and parsley, cooking for 10 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink.

Serve flamboyantly if possible (I just feel that paella deserves some kind of a grand entrance) with lemon wedges to a group of chattering family and friends with several glasses of good Rioja!

Tips…

The quantity of mussels, clams and prawns is obviously taste-dependent. One of the joys of this recipe is that you can adapt the ingredients to suit your personal preferences, hence the many varieties of paella available.

My dad added to the bottom of the recipe, ‘Cooked lobster is supposed to go in this as well’, but I don’t think it needs it and that this is a flamboyant step too far!

Dad's Paella 2 w

Inspired by…

Dad

How easy…

Very easy and very relaxed to make as well as such a delight to enjoy.

Salmon with Sorrel and Vermouth Sauce

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!

Spicy Baked Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Aaaaah, such a treat and oh so simple with the added bonus that they are really satisfying to make! The meatballs are gently spiced so that your tastebuds get a lovely hit but aren’t overpowered and the tomato sauce is just really easy and a perfect foil for those lovely meaty balls! Absolutely perfect as a midweek family supper…time and time again! Will definitely be a favourite in our house.

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x large baking tray, lined with tin foil

500g beef mince

1 large onion, finely chopped

50g panko bread crumbs

A large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon dried crushed chillis

Sea salt and black pepper

To serve, pasta of your choice (I prefer gluten-free spaghetti)

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200˚c / 200˚f /gas6.

Take a large, roomy mixing bowl and tip in the beef, onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, garlic salt, chilli and egg. Mix until thoroughly and evenly combined and then – my favourite bit – scoop out small amounts of mixture and roll it between your hands to create a ball somewhere between the size of a walnut and golf ball – your choice! This bit is most satisfying – no idea why… Repeat until you’ve run out of mixture and then place the meatballs on your baking tray in a single layer, drizzle with the oil and pop in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make your simple but perfect sauce. Into a medium saucepan, tip in the tinned tomatoes, caster sugar and crushed chillis. Season with salt and pepper, stir and leave over a moderate heat for 15 minutes.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and tip into the pan with the tomato mixture. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To cook the pasta, follow the instructions on the packet – I heated my salted water as soon as the meatballs went into their sauce. By the time the water came to the boil and then the pasta cooked, it was about the 25 minutes that the meatballs were nestling in their tomato sauce.

Whilst all this is going on, pour a glass of wine (red in my case) and carefully remove the foil from the baking tray – screw up and discard, returning your clean baking tray to the cupboard without any cleaning – a small joy but it makes me happy!

Take 4 large pasta bowls and heap in the pasta before topping with these luscious meatballs and their luscious sauce – so lovely and comforting – a top up of that glass of red wine doesn’t go amiss either – cheers!

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Easy, relaxing and you can clear up and sip wine whilst it’s doing its cooking thing!

 

 

 

 

Salmon with Tiger Prawns

A fast and fabulous supper dish, this recipe comes from my good friend, Julie, who recommended it as a great and different way of serving salmon. It is just that and more – it’s easy and quick and tastes absolutely great: the salmon’s all dressed up with a lovely topping that enhances it’s flavour and has the wonderful combination of a rich sauce and crispy, crunchy topping – perfect for a mid week supper that tastes like a bit of a treat!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking tray, liberally buttered or lined with Bake O Glide

4 x 150g middle-cut salmon fillets, skinned

Sea salt and black pepper

1 small packet plain potato crisps, crushed

A sprinkling of paprika

Fresh parsley, to garnish

for the topping

150g Boursin cheese

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

12 cooked tiger prawns, shelled

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200˚c / 400˚ / gas 6.

For the topping, mix together the Boursin, egg yolk, lemon juice and parsley until smooth. Season to taste. Stir in the prawns so that they are completely coated.

Arrange the salmon fillets on your baking tray. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over the topping evenly, making sure that each fillet receives 3 prawns! Sprinkle over crushed crisps and sprinkle with paprika.

Pop into the oven and cook for 15 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately. That’s it – fast and fabulous!

Inspired by…

My friend Julie and I believe her friend, Ali; and before them, it’s difficult to tell from the ripped out, folded and scanned page that I am very grateful to have received!

How easy…

So easy, so quick, so tasty!

Black Pudding and Smoked Haddock Hash with Hollandaise Sauce

Rich and decadent and yet wholesomely earthy, this is a wonderfully unusual dish and is at the same time both comforting as well as tasting rather treat-like. Essentially, rather lovely with the added bonus of being ideal for breakfast, brunch or supper!

Serves 4

What you need…

500ml milk

1 bay leaf

5 fillets smoked haddock

50g butter

2 small red onions, chopped finely

300g new potatoes, cooked and roughly sliced

200g black pudding, peeled and roughly sliced

4 happy eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and quartered

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

A handful fresh parsley, chopped finely

Wholegrain mustard (optional)

for the hollandaise sauce

200g butter

4 happy egg yolks

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ tablespoon Dijon mustard

What to do…

First, pour the milk into a medium saucepan, chuck in the bay leaf and bring the milk to the boil. Slide in the fish, bring to the boil again and then remove from the heat, allowing the haddock to gently cook in the warm milk as you make the sauce and the rest of the main dish.

Starting with the sauce: in a small saucepan, gently melt the butter. Meanwhile, in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (bain marie) tip in the egg yolks, lemon juice and Dijon mustard and whisk together using a handheld electric whisk.

Transfer the melted butter to a jug and very, very gradually add it to the egg yolks, a little at a time, whisking the whole time, to create a smooth, thickened sauce. Taste and adjust the flavour by whisking in a little more Dijon or wholegrain mustard, if liked. Take the bain marie off the heat but keep the bowl over the water to keep the sauce warm whilst you finish off the main dish. Pop a small balloon whisk or a spoon in there to give the sauce a quick stir every now and then.

To the main event: melt the butter in large saucepan and sauté the onions over a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and black pudding, stirring so they are heated through and lightly coloured. Add the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and cook for a further minute. Add the parsley. Use a slotted spoon to retrieve 1 of the fish fillets from the milk and flake it into the hash.

Divide the hash between four plates. Use your slotted spoon again to retrieve each fish fillet from the milk and pop one on each pile of hash. Garnish with the egg quarters and then drizzle over a little (or a lot) of hollandaise sauce. Dig in! Absolutely yummy!

Tip…

Tip the left over egg whites into a zipped bag and freeze for future meringue-making.

Inspired by…

Izy Hossack (student and blogger) for the hollandaise sauce and Henry Harris (chef and importer of fine brandies and digestifs, as published in The Really Quite Good British Cook Book) for the main dish.

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!

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