Main Courses

Red Mullet with Saffron, Orange Oil and Spring Onion Barley

The 77th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is very special dish – cooked up with my bro – time to do it again, me thinks!

I first tried this last week when I was in Penzance with my brother, Martin; this dish is ridiculously easy to make and absolutely delicious! We picked up the freshly caught fish at lunchtime and cooked this up on a whim in the evening. The freshness of the fish evokes a quite wonderful essence of the sea: a beautiful flavour that is enhanced by the lovely and light pearl barley ‘risotto’ – the perfect base for these delightful little fish – just yummy!

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main course

What you need…

for the orange oil

Zest of 1 orange, grated finely

75ml rapeseed oil

25ml olive oil

for the main dish

1 x medium baking tin

400ml hot water from the kettle

1 vegetable stockpot (I use Knorr)

8 spring onions

8 red mullet fillets (your fishmonger will do this for you)

Rapeseed oil

50g unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, chopped

100g pearl barley

1 teaspoon saffron strands

200g spinach, washed and trimmed

2 teaspoons dill, chopped, plus extra fronds to garnish

50g Parmesan, grated finely

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Ideally, the day before you want to enjoy this dish, make up the orange oil by putting all the ingredients into a blender and whizzing for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a jug, cover, pop into the fridge and leave to infuse for 24 hours. Strain into a screw-topped jar and keep in the fridge until needed (it will actually keep for up to 1 month).

Time to prepare this lovely meal! First, a bit of prep: make some stock by using a balloon whisk to dilute the stockpot into the hot water. Set aside. Trim the spring onions and slice finely, keeping the white parts separate from the green. Set aside. That’s it – prep done.

Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a splash of rapeseed oil and the butter. When hot, add the white spring onion slices and the garlic. Stir for 1 minute and then add the pearl barley, stirring for a further minute.

Pour in 200ml of the vegetable stock and add the saffron. Bring to the boil and then simmer on a moderate heat for 20 minutes, checking on it occasionally – if it looks like the stock is being absorbed too soon, add a little more until the 20 minutes is up and the cooking liquid is now almost completely absorbed. Discard any remaining stock.

Add the green spring onion slices, spinach and dill and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the Parmesan, season, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

For the fish, allow 4 minutes before the end of the pearl barley cooking time.  Heat your grill to medium. Splash a little rapeseed oil into your baking tin, spread all around and season. Pop the fish in, skin side up and slide the tin under the grill, cooking for 4 minutes or until just cooked through.

Spoon the barley onto warmed plates and arrange the red mullet on the top. Drizzle orange oil over and around the fish and then garnish with dill fronds. Dead easy and absolutely delicious!

Inspired by…

My bro and before him, Nathan Outlaw.

How easy…

Very easy. The freshness and essential flavours of the fish obviate the need for any fancy cooking – it’s all there for you already!

 

 

 

Omelette Arnold Bennett

The 75th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is soooooooo much more than an omelette and perfect for Sunday Brunch

When I happened upon this recipe, the intro read that ‘everyone must make this at least once in their lives’ – quite a statement but having tried it, I completely agree. Unlike any omelette I have ever tried, this is rich, sumptuous and very satisfying – we felt like we were eating a luxurious treat rather than a family meal. We had it for a supper but I think it would be best enjoyed as a weekend breakfast, surrounded by the papers and with coffee brewing in the corner – sounds like a wonderful start to the day.

Serves 2 really happy people

What you need…

300ml semi-skimmed milk

2 cloves

2 bay leaves

A few parsley stalks

1 medium onion, cut into wedges

260g smoked haddock

4 happy eggs, plus 2 happy egg yolks

40g butter

15g plain flour

A handful of Parmesan, grated

Parsley, chopped, to garnish

What to do…

Heat the milk in a saucepan with the cloves, bay leaves, parsley stalks and onion. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, pop on a lid and set aside for 30 minutes for the flavours to infuse.

Return the pan to a moderate heat and bring the milk to a gentle simmer. Place the smoked haddock in, remove from the heat, pop the lid on again and allow the fish to cook in the cooling milk. Once the fish is cooked and cool enough to handle, remove it from the milk and flake it into a bowl. Set aside. Strain the milk through a sieve and retain. Discard the onion and herbs.

Meanwhile, whisk the 4 whole eggs in a bowl.

Then, in a medium-sized saucepan, melt a third of the butter. Tip in the flour and stir in, cooking over a moderate heat for 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, stirring the whole time until it has all been incorporated. Keep over a low heat for a further 5 minutes until the sauce is thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Melt the remaining butter in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Tip in the whisked eggs and cook them until they are just cooked at the bottom but liquid on top. Add the flaked fish and sprinkle over the Parmesan. Add the two egg yolks to the sauce combine before pouring the sauce over the omelette. Place the frying pan under a hot grill to finish cooking the eggs and allowing the top to glaze. (This part of the process was interrupted as the burglar alarm in our new house went off and the omelette was only just saved in the ensuing mayhem – hence the poor photograph!)

Enjoy. What bliss the marriage of smoked haddock and eggs with the rich, creamy sauce. Scrumptious!

How Omelette Arnold Bennett came about…

Classic dishes don’t get any more quintessentially British than the Omelette Arnold Bennett. It was created in 1930 at London’s Savoy Hotel. Prolific writer, Arnold Bennett was staying at the hotel, using the location as the backdrop to the book that he was writing. One day, feeling particularly hungry, he asked the breakfast waiter for an omelette with a little more substance than usual and chef, Jean Baptiste Virlogeux, created this sumptuous little number. The Savoy still serves it every day and its fame is such that it features on menus both sides of the Atlantic.

Inspired by…

James Winter, who in turn was inspired by Jean Baptiste Virlogeux

How easy…

It’s not difficult but it is fiddly and requires 3 pans and 2 bowls, so it’s also messy. That said, it’s absolutely worth the clearing up.

 

Oriental Noodle Salad with Crayfish

The 74th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is one fabulous, zesty, zingy salad and a real favourite of mine.

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.

 

Roast Breast of Duck with Plum and Apple Tarte Tatin

The 71st of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a completely luscious ducky treat – normally reserved for inclement times, but given the weather today…

A fabulous Autumnal treat that looks and tastes so sumptuous and actually isn’t that difficult to make. Whoever you make it for will be very appreciative! It’s rich and ever so slightly decadent!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x tartlet tin, with 4 8cm holes, greased

1 x 9-cm cookie cutter

200g ready-made puff pastry (unless you’re on Bake Off, who has the time to make it?!)

2 apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

2 plums, stoned and roughly chopped

5 little knobs of butter

4 dessertspoons of honey

30g shallots, chopped

250ml port

500ml chicken/game stock (made from a stock pot and water)

4 duck breasts, similarly sized

225g spinach

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

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

Score the skin on the duck breasts in a crisscross pattern and season well. Put aside for the moment.

Making the jus/sauce: melt the first knob of butter in a saucepan and add the shallots, cooking for five minutes on a low heat. Add the port and stock and reduce until the sauce coats the back of the spoon – about 15 minutes. Set to one side – it doesn’t have to be boiling hot to serve but you may want to reheat just before serving to make sure it’s still runny rather than starting to set.

Making your tarte tatins: in your tartlet tin, place a knob of butter in the centre of each ‘mould’ and pour over one dessertspoon honey over each one. Mix together the apple and plums and then take a handful of the mixed fruit, piling it on top of the honey and butter.

Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 5mm and, using your cookie cutter, cut out four 9cm circles and place over the top of the fruit, tucking the sides in so that you have four upside down tarts.  Pop in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, take a heavy frying pan, turn the hob heat up to a medium high heat and cook the duck breast, skin side down, in the dry pan for about nine minutes, then turn the breast over and cook for a further six minutes. Keep an eye on it – it can scorch quite easily .

Towards the end of the duck cooking time, wilt the spinach in a pot with just a couple of spoonfuls of water and little salt for two minutes.

To serve, place a mound of spinach on each plate and top with one tarte tatin, removed from the tin and served fruit side up. Put the duck on the plate and drizzle the jus/sauce around the plate.

Delicious doesn’t cover it – a rich, lovely treat, ideal for dinner party. Alternatively, halve the ingredients and make a sumptuous romantic dinner for two.

Tips…

You’ll have some pastry left over – you could always re-roll it and create another few fruit tatins but for use as desserts or perhaps a couple of Apple Roses (see my other blogged recipes).

Inspired by…

Julian Owen-Mold

How easy…

It’s really easy providing the duck breasts are the same size and therefore cook evenly during the same time. It’s quite smelly and the hob will be a mess at the end, but it’s worth it and surely, if you’ve done the cooking, someone else should clear up!

 

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!

 

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!

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!

Partridge with Wild Mushroom Ravioli

The 55th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this dish exudes opulence but is easy to make and a real winter treat.

This is a proper winter indulgence: the rich sauce and delicious partridge perfectly contrasted by the lightness of the ravioli, packed with intense flavour. The first time I made this, I used a pasta machine to make my own pasta and whilst it wasn’t hard, it was messy, time-consuming and quite tricky to deal with the ever-lengthening pasta strips and to get them to the necessary thinness (thick pasta is not great). So, on the basis that life’s too short, I’ve replaced that process with the use of ready-made pasta – it’s a lot easier unless you are a perfectionist with either a lot of time on your hands and a love of clearing up or an absolute whizz with the pasta machine! Given that change, this dish is lovely, indulgent and really quite quick to knock up!

Serves 4

What you need…

2 partridges (ask your butcher to separate and de-bone the breasts from the rest of the birds)

2 small carrots, peeled, topped and tailed

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 bay leaf

for the ravioli

1 x cookie cutter, 7-8cms wide

12 fresh lasagne sheets

Knob of butter

100g wild/mixed mushrooms

3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked

150ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

for the sauce

1 beef stock pot (I use Knorr)

Splash olive oil

Knob of butter

250g wild/mixed mushrooms

100ml double cream

A few sprigs thyme, to garnish

What to do…

Remove your lasagne sheets from the fridge to come to room temperature.

Separate the partridge breasts from the rest of the birds, leaving the breasts in the fridge for now. Cut from the remaining partridge carcass whatever meat you can get and pop it into your food processor – we’ll get back to that later.

To enhance your sauce, make a quick stock: take a medium saucepan and chuck in the remaining partridge carcass, carrots, onion and bay leaf, season and cover with water. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for 20 minutes. Sieve the ‘stock’ into a jug, retaining just 200ml (chuck the rest) and then, using a small balloon whisk, mix in the stock pot. Your stock is now ready. Set aside.

Using a medium-sized frying pan, melt a knob of butter over a moderate heat and then add the mushrooms and thyme, cooking them whilst stirring, for 2 minutes. Throw the cooked mushrooms and thyme together with the cream into the food processor with the partridge. Season and then blend until smooth. If you are preparing in advance you can stick this in the fridge now until you are ready to finish off.

Layout your pasta sheets and using your cookie cutter, cut two circles from each sheet, producing 24 pasta circles. In the centre of 12 of them, place 1 heaped teaspoon of the mushroom/partridge mixture. Brush around the edges with water and then place another pasta circle on top of each and seal, producing 12 ravioli.

Pop a large pan of salted water on a high heat and bring to the boil.

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

In your frying pan, add to any left over juices, your splash of olive oil and half the knob of butter.  Once hot, add the partridge breasts and cook skin-side down for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a baking tray and pop in the oven for 5 minutes, skin-side up.

Returning to your frying pan, add a tiny bit more butter and once hot, chuck in the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, add the ravioli to the boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes or until they have floated to the top. Remove with your slotted spoon and put three on each plate.

Gradually stir the cream into the mushrooms and stock to create the delicious rich sauce. Transfer to a jug.

Retrieve the partridge breasts from the oven and add to the plates and then pour over the sauce. Garnish with thyme sprigs. Delicious! Serve either just as it is or maybe with some greenery, wilted spinach perhaps. Either way, your partridge with wild mushroom ravioli will be relished: rich, indulgent and absolutely lovely – enjoy!

Inspired by…

James Martin, Saturday Kitchen (I have reduced the amount of butter he is renowned for using!)

How easy…

Really easy if you don’t go down the route of making your own pasta!

 

Luscious Baked Lamb with Rosemary and a Redcurrant and Mint Sauce

The 47th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this recipe belongs to the late summer when the foil-baking ensures the lamb retains its lusciousness!

This is a gorgeous summer Sunday roast recipe. The lamb ends up soft, sweet and juicy and the sweet, tart, piquant sauce is a perfect foil for this delicious joint.

Serves 6

What you need…

1.8 – 2 kg leg of lamb

2 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves plus 3 further sprigs

1 clove garlic

1 tablesp olive oil

½ teaspoon rock salt

Black pepper

for the sauce

3 tablespoons redcurrant jelly

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Sea salt and black pepper

for the gravy

275ml dry white wine

Lamb stock cube

Chicken gravy granules

1 dessertspoon/tablespoon redcurrant jelly

Milk

Dash of double cream

What to do…

Crush together the garlic and rock salt to a purée in a pestle and mortar. Add the oil, chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper.

Spread out a sheet of foil over a large roasting tin, placing the lamb on it. Stab the fleshy parts of the joint several times with a skewer. Now, spread the rosemary mixture all over the upper surface of the lamb and tuck in the sprigs of rosemary – it makes a nice garnish later.

Bring the edges of the foil up over the lamb, make a pleat at the top and scrunch the ends. This foil parcel should be fairly loose to allow the air to circulate. Bake the lamb for 2 hours, then open out the foil, base the joint well with the juices and return it to the oven for a further 30 minutes to brown. The above cooking time should produce the lamb very slightly pink – you can cook it for more or less time if you would prefer.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining the redcurrant jelly and vinegar in a small saucepan and whisking over a gentle heat till the jelly melts into the vinegar (a small balloon whisk does this perfectly). Add the chopped mint and some seasoning and pour into a serving jug – the sauce doesn’t need to be warm.

When the lamb is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Whilst it is resting, spoon out the juices into a jug to make the gravy. Skim the fat off the top of the juices and put the remainder in a saucepan with the white wine. Stir and let it bubble until the gravy becomes syrupy. Add the stock cube for taste and then enough chicken granules to achieve the right consistency. Increase the depth of flavour with the redcurrant jelly. Taste. If it’s too sharp, add a little milk. For added richness, chuck in a dash of double cream.

Serve lamb, sauces and gravy with dauphinoise potatoes and a spring/summer vegetables. Enjoy!

Inspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

It’s one of those lazy Sunday dishes that pretty much takes care of itself.

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled Plaice with Mustard and Tarragon Sauce, Asparagus and Peas

The 43rd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is an absolutely superb fish supper, with every mouthful to be savoured!

This is a really lovely, delicate and light fish supper. The sauce is quite piquant and, when tasted on its own, really rather strong. But, take a forkful that includes a little fish, greenery and sauce and the combination is fabulous: the sauce is the perfect foil for the delicate fish – it just all works brilliantly. And – bonus – you can make the sauce ahead, leaving just a few minutes cooking of the fish and vegetables just before you want to eat. It’s on the ‘favourites’ list for me!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking tray

500g asparagus, trimmed

100g frozen peas, defrosted

1.5kg plaice, filleted and cut into portions

Splash rapeseed oil

1 baby gem lettuce, shredded

Small knob of butter

Sea salt and black pepper, for seasoning

Olive oil to drizzle

for the sauce

½ fish stockpot (I use Knorr)

100ml boiling water from the kettle

Splash rapeseed oil

2 shallots, peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

100ml dry, still cider

2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard

100ml double cream

4 teaspoons chopped tarragon, stalks reserved

2 teaspoons capers

What to do…

First, blanch the asparagus. Pop in a deep frying pan of boiling, salted water and simmer vigorously for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside. Dry the frying pan – you’ll be using it again later.

In a jug, create your fish stock by pouring the water from your kettle into a jug and dissolving in the fish stockpot, using a small balloon to whisk. Set aside.

Now to the sauce: heat a splash of rapeseed oil in a pan over a moderate heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the cider vinegar and bring to the boil. Pour in the cider and fish stock and bubble furiously until the stock is reduced by half.  Add the mustard, cream and tarragon stalks and simmer, reducing and thickening the sauce so that it coats the back of a spoon.  Remove the tarragon stalks and discard. Stir in the capers and chopped tarragon. Set aside.

When you’re about ready to eat, preheat your grill to medium and oil your baking tray. Sprinkle salt all over the tray and lay your fish fillets on top, skin side up. Place under the grill and cook for 6 minutes, checking the last minute or two to avoid overcooking.

Meanwhile, put your sauce back on a very gentle heat, just to keep it warm.

Return to your frying pan and splash in the rapeseed oil. When hot, add the lettuce and wilt for 1 minute. Add the asparagus and peas with the knob of butter and warm through for a couple of minutes. Season to taste.

Remove the fish from the grill and leave to rest for a couple of minutes.

To serve, arrange the greenery on warmed plates and place the fish on top, skin side up. Drizzle with a little olive oil and then spoon the sauce around the fish. Don’t attack – it’s to be savoured but remember to get a little bit of everything on each forkful and enjoy the combined flavours – simply lovely!

Tips…

If you can’t get fresh tarragon, chuck in a teaspoon of dried tarragon at the same time as the shallots and garlic.

I have oven-roasted the fish rather than grilling it (we have a temperamental grill) and it’s just as good – check after 6 minutes and maybe cook a wee bit longer.

I have used sea bass fillets when I couldn’t get plaice – lovely.

Inspired by…

Chef, Nathan Outlaw and my bro, who insisted that I couldn’t do this blog without this Nathan Outlaw book in my collection – good call, Martin!

How easy…

Really, really easy and a pleasure to make!