Main Courses

Hot-Smoked Fish and Leek Pie

This gorgeous pie is, for me, the perfect antidote to all the rich menus of Christmas without the usual deprivation that is often present in January meals (as everyone announces the need to diet). It’s still indulgent with the help of puff pastry and cream but is also light and really, really tasty given the combination of smoked fish and fresh herbs. It also has the advantages of being really easy and a filling that you make in advance – great for a supper sharing with friends and family.

Serves 8

What you need…

2 x large baking sheets, 1 of which is lined with baking parchment

500g leeks, sliced into 1cm chunks and washed

40g butter

3 heaped tablespoons plain flour

250g hot smoked salmon, forked roughly into large flakes

250g smoked mackerel, forked roughly into large flakes

500ml double cream 500ml

300g red potatoes, quartered and sliced into £1 coin-thick pieces

4 tablespoons rapeseed oil

Sea salt and black pepper

3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1½ tablespoons tarragon, chopped

375g puff pastry

1 large, happy egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon nigella/poppy seeds

What to do…

Melt the butter in a deep heavy-based pan over a moderate heat and then tip in the leeks. Pop on a lid and cook for 10 minutes, so they are soft but not brown.

Gently warm the double cream in a small pan and remove from the heat. Add the flour to the leeks, stir and leave to cook for a couple of minutes then gently stir the fish into the leeks. Pour over the warm double cream and leave to cook over a low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, warm the rapeseed oil in a shallow pan then sauté the potato slices on both sides over a moderate heat until golden on the outside but still soft in the middle.

Fold the cooked potatoes into the fish and leek cream, season to taste with salt and black pepper; then gently stir through the chopped parsley and tarragon. Transfer to a mixing bowl and leave to cool before thoroughly chilling in the fridge (preferably overnight). If you skip this step it will be impossible to shape the pie.

Set the oven at 200˚c / 400˚f / gas 6. Place the unlined baking sheet upside down in the oven.

Cut the pastry in half then roll out each piece into a rectangle of   about 32cm x 22cm. Place one rectangle on the remaining lined baking sheet and then pile the cold filling on top of the pastry, leaving a border on all four sides of at least 2cm.

Smooth the top of the filling so you have a deep rectangle of mixture. Brush the bare edges of the pastry generously with the beaten egg.

Place the second sheet of pastry over the filling then press the edges of the two pieces of pastry firmly together to seal well (to prevent leakage).

Brush the top layer of pastry all over with more beaten egg, scatter with the nigella or poppy seeds, then pierce a small hole in the centre with knife or the handle of wooden spoon.

Pop in the oven, placing your pie-laden baking sheet on top of the hot, upturned one, and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Leave to rest for 5 minutes before sliding off the baking sheet onto a serving board or dish and slicing into thick generous slices of gorgeousness – enjoy!

Tip…

I believe that placing the food-laden baking sheet on top of an already hot one reduces the chances of a soggy bottom when cooking pastry and I now do this with all pastry bakes.

Inspired by…

Nigel Slater

How easy…

Very easy. Quite a lot of washing up for the prep of the filling but I love the fact that you do very little the day you actually want to eat it!

Baked Glazed Gammon (Revisited)

OK, so normally we hold off until Christmas Eve but this is soooooo lovely that we’ve already had this luscious gammon twice this month already. A wonderfully easy recipe that is incredibly tasty – the best gammon recipe I’ve come across and the only one that we cook in the Duffield household!

Serves 8 with left overs

What you need…

1 x unsmoked gammon joint, weighing about 4 kg

1 carrot, cut in half

1 onion, cut in half at root

1 celery stick

1 bay leaf

10 peppercorns

for the glaze

8 tablespoons good quality marmalade

2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard

2 tablespoons black treacle

A handful of cloves

What to do…

Soak the gammon overnight if you’re having it for lunch or all day if you are having it in the evening. Discard the soaking water before starting.

Put the gammon in a large saucepan, cover with water and add the carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to the boil, cover and then turn down the heat to a low simmer for 2¾.

Pre heat the oven to 180°c / 350f / gas 4

When the gammon is cooked, remove from the cooking water and set aside to drain.

Make the glaze by mixing all of the ingredients (except the cloves) together in a bowl.

Cut the rind off the gammon, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the fat diagonally in a criss-cross pattern and then stud with cloves all over. Put the gammon in a roasting tin, brush/spoon over the glaze and bake for about 30 minutes until sticky and golden. The smell will make you swoon! Serve your Baked Glazed Gammon with warm gorgeous doorstep bread and salted butter. Yummy!

Inspired by…

Lisa Faulkner

How easy…

The easiest baked gammon recipe I have tried and soooooo delicious!

Black Pudding and Baked Apples with Celeriac and Mustard Mash

A rather unusual and gorgeous combination this! Creamy mash providing the perfect foil for the rich black pudding and luscious apple – a great little supper dish of comfort and joy…. and so very easy!

Serves 4

What you need…

750g celeriac, peeled and chunked

Squeeze of lemon

350g potatoes, peeled and chunked

3 bay leaves

4 small, firm dessert apples

60g butter, plus a few extra knobs

500g black pudding, cut into four thick slices

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

Sea salt and black pepper

A small handful of parsley, chopped finely, to garnish (optional)

What to do…

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

Chuck the celeriac pieces into a large saucepan of salted water and add a squeeze of lemon to stop them discolouring. Add the potato chunks and bring to the boil. Throw in the bay leaves and season with a pinch of salt, lower the heat and leave to cook, bubbling gently for about 20 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, score the apples around the middle, cutting just under the skin. Place them on a baking tray, top each with a knob of butter and pop them in the oven for 15 minutes. Place the black pudding slices on the same tray, dot with butter and pop back in the oven for a further 15 – 20 minutes, until the black pudding is sizzling and the apples are fluffed up.

Drain the vegetables and tip them into your food processor with the 60g butter. Whizz until smooth, light and creamy. Fold in the mustard and a good grinding of black pepper.

For each lucky person, serve generous scoops of mash onto warmed plates; top with a thick slice of sizzling black pudding and crown with a lovely hot, sweet apple. Enjoy a little of each element on every forkful – comfort and joy!

Inspired by…

Nigel Slater

How easy…

Dead easy!

 

Spicy Garlic Prawns, Water Chestnuts and Bamboo Shoots with Ginger Pak Choi

A lovely, zinglingly spicy, flavoursome and fragrant Chinese stir fry that’s perfect for a family supper and super fast to throw together. Fabulous!

Serves: 4

What you need…

Splash of rapeseed oil

4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

Large knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated

½ teaspoon dried crushed chilli

450g raw king prawns, shelled

2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine

1 x 225g can of water chestnuts, drained

1 x 225g can of bamboo shoots, drained

½ teaspoon sriracha chilli sauce (extra hot)

2 tablespoons runny honey

2 tablespoons low-sodium light soy sauce

6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

for the pak choi

Splash of rapeseed oil

1 pinch of flaky sea salt

A few slices of peeled ginger (your preference)

300g pak choi, leaves separated and roughly torn

A tiny splash of Chinese cooking wine

1 teaspoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

What to do…

Heat a wok over a high heat until smokin’ and add the rapeseed oil.

Chuck in the garlic, ginger and chilli and stirfry for a few seconds to release their aroma.

Tip in the tiger prawns and leave to sear and brown for a few seconds, then flip them over and cook for 1 minute. Add the Chinese cooking wine followed by the water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and spring onions. Toss to mix together, then add the sriracha, honey and light soy sauce and toss for a few seconds to incorporate everything together.

Meanwhile, heat a second wok or frying pan over high heat and add the rapeseed oil. Give the oil a swirl.

Add the salt and ginger and stir for 3 seconds before adding the pak choi. Toss for 30 seconds.

Add a drop of Chinese cooking wine to create some steam to help steam-cook the vegetables.

Drizzle in light soy and toasted sesame oil and toss one last time, not overcooking the pak choi.

Tip…

Have someone else cook the pak choi – it all happens so fast and I certainly couldn’t stir and toss both dishes at the same time…might just be me though!!!!

Serving Suggestion…

A little steamed rice completes the dish perfectly

Inspired by…

Ching He Huang

How easy…

Very easy and super fast!

 

Grilled Plaice with Mustard and Tarragon Sauce, Asparagus and Peas Revisited

This is such a lovely dish and because, for some unknown reason, I had a glut of plaice in the freezer, we enjoyed this dish twice again this week. The sauce is simply exquisite – a perfect foil for the fish.

This week couldn’t find fresh tarragon so used dried in the sauce but it was still lovely. Also, at the second sitting, I swapped lettuce and asparagus for buttered leeks and served the dish with oven-roasted chunked red potatoes that had been tossed in chopped garlic, dried rosemary, salt and olive oil – just yummy.

Where’s the recipe…?

To find the original, simply go to the search box in the top right hand corner of my home page and type in ‘plaice’ – it’ll pop up! Enjoy xx

 

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.