Main Courses

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!

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!

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!

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.

Absolutely Delicious Tuscan Chicken Spaghetti

One from my daughter, Maddie, who found this recipe on the Internet to liven up her Uni dinners. What a joy when she offered to cook the recipe on her last trip home! As much as I love cooking, it is an absolute treat when someone else offers to do it and this recipe went straight to the top of my ‘favourites’ list of pasta dishes – it’s hearty and really flavoursome – the tomatoes and spinach contrast perfectly with the richness of the cream and the dish is quite honestly, just fantastic! A perfect family supper dish – thanks Madz – you can do it again!!!!

Serves 6

What you need…

Splash of olive oil

4 chicken breasts, seasoned

8 rashers back bacon, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

300ml double cream

8 tomatoes, roughly chopped

150g spinach

Sea salt and black pepper

150g Parmesan, grated

A large handful fresh basil leaves, torn

Dried spaghetti (amount depends on how hungry you are)

What to do…

In a large saucepan, bring to the boil salted water in which to cook the spaghetti.

In a large frying pan, warm the oil over a moderate heat and then cook the chicken breasts for 6 minutes on each side. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Pop your spaghetti into the pan of boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions: mine is about 12 minutes.

Add the bacon to the chicken pan and fry until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside onto kitchen paper.

Into the pan chuck the garlic. Fry for 1 minute and then add the tomatoes, cooking for 5 minutes. Toss in the spinach and pour in the cream, cooking through until the spinach has mostly wilted.

Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and then tip it and the bacon into the sauce. Stir to evenly incorporate and then add the Parmesan and basil.

Drain the spaghetti and add to the sauce. Mix the whole lot together so the sauce beautifully coats the pasta.

Serve to six hungry people, perhaps with a glass or two of robust red wine and enjoy this truly hearty, really tasty pasta dish.

Inspired by…

Maddie, who found the recipe on the Twisted Food website

How easy…

Fast, easy and very student-friendly!

Spicy Gammon Steak with Mascarpone Peas

The name gives absolutely no clue as to how absolutely delicious this dish is. I loved it so much, I enjoyed it two days running!!! The gammon takes on a real razzle dazzle star quality and quite frankly, peas in mascarpone are going to be a regular event. Try this! It’s fast and fabulous – buonissimo!

Serves 2

What you need…

Splash of rapeseed oil

4 teaspoons salted butter

1 teaspoon dried crushed chillies

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 gammon steaks (choose thick, juicy ones – maybe 2cm)

160g frozen peas, defrosted

4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Heat half the oil and half the butter in a frying pan, add the crushed chillies and half the parsley. Then pop in the gammon steaks and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer gammon and juices to a baking tray and pop in a low oven to keep warm.

Wipe out the pan with kitchen roll and return to the heat with the remaining oil and butter. Add the peas and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.

Season with salt and pepper, add the mascarpone and remaining parsley. Stir the lot together and serve these party-dressed peas to accompany the razzle-dazzle gammon – that’s it – buonissimo!

Serving suggestion…

Red potatoes, sliced or chunked, tossed with olive oil, dried rosemary and chopped garlic and the cooked in the oven for 35 minutes: lovely!

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Marvelously easy and it tastes like something that was meticulously created!

 

 

Cod ‘BLT’

I was drawn to this recipe mainly because I thought that the combination of cod, bacon, tomato and lettuce with a dressing was nothing short of bonkers! Anyway, dubiously I created my take on Nathan Outlaw’s orginal recipe (which as a little too cheffy for me) and was absolutely gob-smacked at what a wonderful dish it turned out to be (the dressing in particular is divine) – a great and very different salad for a summer’s evening supper!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking tray, liberally buttered

1kg cod, gutted, filleted and skinned

4 rashers of streaky bacon

Sea salt and black pepper

2 baby gem lettuces, washed and torn

A handful of basil leaves, torn

for the BLT dressing

8 tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, chopped

30ml white wine vinegar, plus a further teaspoon

1 tablespoon sugar

1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

150ml olive oil

50ml double cream

for the oven-dried tomatoes

1 x baking tray, lined with foil

16 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

Drizzle of olive oil

Sprinkle of caster sugar

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Start with the oven-dried tomatoes: heat your oven to 110°c / 225°f / gas ¼. Lay the tomatoes on the baking tray and sprinkle over the garlic, thyme, olive oil and caster sugar. Season with salt and pepper and pop in the oven for 90 minutes.

Turning to the dressing: into a mini chopper or blender tip the tomatoes, garlic, 30ml wine vinegar, sugar and chilli. Season with salt and pepper and whizz until smooth. Ideally leave this in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavours develop. Strain this tomato ‘stock’ through a sieve, discarding the remaining pulp. Set aside.

Using an electric handheld whisk, beat together the egg yolks, mustard and teaspoon of wine vinegar. Very slowly add the olive oil, whisking the whole time to emulsify. Whisk in the cream.

When you’re ready to cook the fish, preheat your oven to 200°c /400°f / gas 6.

Dry-fry the bacon in a frying pan until crisp. Cut into small pieces (I use scissors) and set aside.

Lay the fish fillets onto your baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Pop into the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until just cooked.

Meanwhile, arrange the lettuce on serving plates and scatter over the oven-dried tomatoes.

In a saucepan, gently heat the sieved tomato stock together with the egg yolk sauce, whisking the whole time and avoiding boiling.

Flake the cod over the lettuce, sprinkle over the bacon and basil and then drizzle over the sauce – enjoy this very odd combination that works extremely well!!!!

Tip…

The oven-dried tomatoes and the two elements that combine to create the BLT dressing can all be prepared in advance, leaving very little to do just before you want to eat.

Inspired by…

Nathan Outlaw

How easy…

Not difficult but requires quite a lot of time and prepping in advance. Worth it though!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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