Main Courses

Grilled Plaice with Mustard and Tarragon Sauce, Asparagus and Peas

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…

500g asparagus, trimmed

100g frozen peas

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

100ml water

½ fish stockpot (I use Knorr)

Splash rapeseed oil

2 shallots, peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

4 tablespoons 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.

Remove the frozen peas from the freezer and tip them out onto a plate to start defrosting.

In a jug, create some fish stock by pouring in 100ml water from your kettle and dissolving the fish stockpot, using a small balloon 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 either oil a baking tray or line it with Bake O Glide. 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…

Instead of all that peeling and chopping, I buy Cooks’ Ingredients frozen chopped shallots and frozen chopped garlic from Waitrose – lovely and fresh and saves a lot of faffing about.

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!

Chicken Supremes with Wild Mushrooms and Tarragon Sauce

A lovely supper dish this one, in which the sauce is the absolute star of the show. Having tasted it, I am sure that you could also use this sauce to accompany veal or pork as alternatives to the chicken that I have used here. Essentially, the creamy yet vibrant sauce adds a real zing to fairly plainly roasted or dry-fried meat. A real winner!

What you need…

1 x baking dish (mine is 26 x 18 x 7cms deep) lightly buttered

Good glug and then a splash of rapeseed oil

6 chicken supremes (breasts with the fillet and wing bone attached) with skin on

2 knobs butter

3 shallots, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

500ml water

1 chicken stockpot (I use Knorr)

200ml dry white wine

150ml double cream

250g wild or chestnut mushrooms

Handful tarragon sprigs, leaves picked

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Squeeze lemon juice

What to do…

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

Heat your glug of oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and cook the chicken, skin-sides down, for 3-4 minutes until golden. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and arrange snugly, skin-sides up, in your baking dish, cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes or until they are cooked through. Rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. First of all, dissolve the chicken stockpot into a jug containing the 500ml boiling water (from the kettle) – a small balloon whisk is ideal for the job. Set aside.

In your frying pan, add a knob of butter to the remaining chicken juices and melt over a low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 7 minutes. Add the chicken stock and white wine, turn up the heat to high and cook for 15 minutes, reducing the liquid and cooking off the alcohol. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In another pan, melt your second knob of butter with a splash of oil over a high heat. Tip in the mushrooms and cook over a high heat, stirring, until they are golden.

Return to your sauce and very gradually, stir in the cream. Then, chuck in the cooked mushrooms, tarragon, mustard and lemon juice. Mix together. Taste. Season. Taste. Put the pan back on a very low heat to keep warm, until you are ready to serve.

Pour the sauce all over the cooked chicken breasts and pop your casserole dish in the middle of the table and request that everyone ‘digs in’. Enjoy your delightful chicken supremes with wild mushrooms and tarragon sauce perhaps with a lovely glass of white burgundy – a very nice pairing indeed! Cheers!

Tips…

The sauce can be made in advance and kept chilled until needed. When you reheat it though, do so gently – overheat it and it will go thin (as experience has shown me).

Rather than using fresh garlic and shallots, I replace them with Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients frozen versions – a quick shake of roughly the right amount into the pan is so much easier than all that peeling and chopping!

Inspired by…

Delicious Magazine

How easy…

Very easy, especially as the sauce can be made in advance and the associated cooking pots, washed and put away.

 

 

Just Gorgeous Beef Casserole with Red Wine and Cinnamon

 

I’ve had this recipe in my ‘to do’ file for years but every time I’ve flicked through, I’ve seen the words ‘prunes’ and ‘cinnamon’ in the ingredients list, hesitated and then….moved on. However, I finally decided to try it and, as a woman who has cooked hundreds of beef casseroles, this one stands head and shoulders above the rest! The eclectic mix of ingredients make for a fabulously rich sauce with beautifully intensified, silky flavours – everyone around the table was agreed – this is the best of all that we’ve tried: why did we wait so long? Try it, you’ll love it!

Serves 6 – 8

What you need…

1 x ovenproof casserole

600ml boiling water from kettle

2 beef stockpots

1kg braising steak, diced

600ml robust red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon works well)

4 garlic cloves, chopped

4 cinnamon sticks

12 bay leaves

8 slices good quality streaky bacon, chopped

Knob of butter

12 small shallots, chopped

24 baby carrots

16 soft dried prunes

2 tablespoons plain flour

What to do…

The night before! Put the meat, wine, garlic, cinnamon and bay leaves into a large bowl, give them a quick stir and pop in the fridge overnight, allowing the flavours to develop.

The next day, preheat the oven to 150° / 300°f / gas 2.

In a small jug, dissolve the stockpots into the boiling water from the kettle (a small balloon whisk works really well). Set aside.

Drain the meat, reserving the marinade. Then dry the meat on kitchen roll.

Fry the streaky bacon in a large saucepan over a moderate heat until it starts to brown. Add the knob of butter and then the shallots, carrots, prunes and reserved cinnamon and bay leaves. Sauté until the shallots and carrots start to brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ingredients to your casserole dish.

To the pan, add the meat and brown. Tip in the flour, stir well and then reintroduce the shallots mixture. Whack up the heat to high and add the stock and the marinade. Bring it to the boil and then tip the whole lot back into the casserole dish, pop on the lid and then stick it in the oven. Cook in the oven for 2½ hours. The smell, as it’s cooking will be amazing! Take the casserole out and check that the meat is succulent by retrieving one piece and trying it – if it’s not quite falling apart in your mouth, pop it back in for another 15 minutes, but it should be done by now.

Once removed from the oven, leave to rest for 15 minutes and then serve with really lovely buttery mashed potato (naughty) or baked potatoes (good) as well as either boiled broccoli or a steamed leek and cabbage mix. Take your first forkful, and sit back and smile – the flavours really are sublime and frankly, you just want to keep eating more!

Inspired by…

Waitrose Food Illustrated from several years ago!

How easy…

Really easy and so worth it!

 

 

Tiger Prawn Stir Fry

A fabulous little supper dish that you can knock up in no time, this tiger prawn stir fry is really tasty, light and spicy (think gentle tingling lips and tongue, and zinging taste buds). Made it up but got the recipe down. Definitely doing this again!

Serves 2

What you need…

150g medium egg noodles

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Splash of groundnut oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

2cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

3 spring onions, trimmed and sliced lengthways

100g wild/speciality mushrooms

Handful mange tout

2 pak choi, leaves torn

300g raw tiger prawns

1 dessertspoon dark brown sugar

1 dessertspoon tamari/soy sauce

Handful coriander, chopped (optional, to garnish)

What to do…

Pop the egg noodles into a saucepan of boiling water and cook as per the packet instructions – mine took 4 minutes. Drain and then toss noodles in sesame oil and set aside.

Heat the groundnut oil in your wok on a high setting. Add the garlic, chilli, ginger and spring onions and cook for about 1 minute, stirring continuously. Add the mushrooms and mange tout and stir fry for a further minute. Add the pak choi and prawns and stir fry for 2 minutes or until the prawns have just turned pink. Tip in the sugar and tamari/soy sauce and the noodles. Stir fry, tossing all the ingredients together until they are evenly mixed. Garnish with coriander, if liked. Serve and enjoy this really easy, lovely supper dish!

Tip…

As well as the tiger prawns, you could add scallops and/or squid for further variety.

Inspired by…

Seeing loads of recipes on the TV referencing Chinese New Year and then being unable to order a Chinese take-away because they were all off celebrating!

How easy…

Ridiculously!

 

Seared Tuna with Chilli and Coriander Dressing

The first trip to the newly discovered fishmongers in Windsor (O’Driscolls) netted the bounty of fresh tuna steaks. They looked pretty good before I did anything to them but this easy, fast recipe really emphasises the natural flavours of the tuna and then jazzes them up with a zingy, fresh combination brought about by the wonderful combination of chillies, lime and coriander. Great dish for supper or lunch and I do believe it’s healthy too!

Serves 4

What you need…

A good handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Pinch salt

Grated zest of 4 limes

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 x 150g fresh tuna loin steaks (about 1½ cms thick)

for the dressing

6cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Juice from the 4 limes

4 tablespoons olive oil

Another good handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

To make the dressing, put the ginger, chillies and garlic into a bowl and mash into a pulp – if you have a pestle and mortar, that’s perfect; if not, use the end of a rolling pin to bash your ingredients. Add the lime juice and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then the coriander together with salt and pepper. Mix together and set aside to allow the flavours to infuse.

In a separate bowl, mix together the coriander, salt, lime zest and oil to create a loose paste. Brush one side of each tuna steak with the paste.

In a large frying pan, heat the remaining oil over a high heat. Add the tuna steaks, paste-side down and fry for 1 minute. Brush the remaining paste on the tops of the steaks and then flip them, cooking them for a further minute – the tuna will still be rare inside – cooked any more than this and it will lose its flavour and become dry and chewy.

Serve two tuna steaks per person and pour over a tablespoon of the dressing onto each serving. Pour the remaining dressing onto a salad of mixed leaves (iceberg lettuce, chicory, baby spinach and coriander work well).

Enjoy your tasty, zesty seared tuna with chilli and coriander dressing and feel ALIVE!

Inspired by…

No idea! The original recipe was torn from a magazine years ago but my version actually bears very little resemblance anyway.

How easy…

Really, really easy. The key to success is great, fresh tuna.

 

 

Venison and Mushroom Suet Pudding

Serves 6 – 8

An alternative to our traditional Sunday Roast, we haven’t had a suet pudding for years and I have to wonder why. The pastry is light but absorbs the flavours of the filling, which in this case was a wonderfully rich mix of venison, mushrooms and port. I loved the theatrical presentation associated with turning it out of its cooking bowl as well – will it, won’t it, will it, won’t it and then almost a sigh as the pudding parted ways with the bowl and plopped onto the plate, to be quickly followed by a rush of wonderful, rich gravy. A proper winter dish this – who cares if it’s cold and windy outside?!

What you need…

1 x 1.5 litre pudding basin, lightly buttered

1 x steamer, saucepan and lid

for the filling

1 beef stock pot (I use Knorr)

300ml boiling water (from the kettle)

300ml port

2 tablespoons well-seasoned self-raising flour

750g venison, diced

2 shallots, chopped

1 leek, trimmed, cut lengthways and then sliced

250g chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and chunkily sliced

Handful thyme sprigs, leaves picked

Sea salt and black pepper

for the pastry

350g self-raising flour

175g shredded beef suet

Sea salt and black pepper

Cold water to mix

What to do…

In a jug dissolve the stock pot into the boiling water. Top up with the port. Set aside.

In a roomy bowl, tip in the seasoned flour. Add the venison and toss around in the flour so that the meat is thoroughly covered. Chuck in the shallots, leek, mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the suet pastry, sift the flour into another large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the suet and mix the ingredients together using a spatula. When blended, add a few drops of cold water and mix in using the spatula. Keep adding the water a few drops at a time, mixing all the while, until the pastry is claggy and sticky. Either carry on with the spatula or go in with your hands, working the mix together until it is a smooth, elastic dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean.

Separate ¼ of the dough from the rest and set aside for the lid of your pudding. On a lightly floured work surface, give the remaining dough a quick knead to create a ball and then roll it out to create a circle of about 32cm diameter. Line the bowl with the pastry, gently pressing it into place and leaving some pastry hanging over the lip of the bowl.

Go back to your filling and with your hands, mix everything together so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Tip the whole lot into the pastry-lined bowl.

Pour in the stock and port and add more seasoning.

Roll out the pastry lid. Wet the top edges of pudding pastry and pop the lid on, pressing down all around the edges to seal. Trim off the excess pastry.

Cover with a double sheet of foil, pleated in the centre to allow room for expansion while cooking. Secure it with string and then place in a steamer over a saucepan of boiling water. Pop a lid on and then turn the heat down so that the water is simmering. Steam for 5 hours, checking the water level every now and then (I have ruined many a pan steaming Christmas puddings and letting the water run dry – it doesn’t go down well with the husband!)

Now to serve it! You could play safe and serve it straight from the bowl but where’s the fun in that?! Instead, slide a palette knife around the edge and then put your serving plate over the top of the pudding bowl. Tip the whole lot upside down (or in my case, ask John to) so that the plate is now on your work top and the pudding bowl is inverted. Wait, holding your breath, until the pudding gives a sigh and plops onto the plate. Breathe. Rush excitedly to the table with a large serving spoon and dig in. Thoroughly enjoy your Venison and Mushroom Suet Pudding!

Tip…

Instead of peeling and cutting up shallots, try Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients, frozen, chopped shallots – a quick shake and the job’s done!

Inspired by…

I used Delia Smith’s recipe for the suet pastry and then threw caution to the wind and put in the pudding whatever I fancied – it worked though!

How easy…

It takes minutes to assemble, there’s no pastry-resting business going on and then you just leave it to cook itself so it’s really very easy. It’s not a last minute option though – 5 hours cooking time does require a bit of organisation.

Red Pepper and Herb Salmon Fillets with Spiralized Vegetables

We eat a lot of salmon and I have a variety of different approaches to cooking it, all of which we love. But when I saw this dish being prepared on Mary Berry’s Foolproof Cooking first episode, I thought that it would make an interesting change. She served hers with spiralized vegetables, which also fired my imagination, and the necessary spiralizer was duly ordered that night! The vegetables are a nice change (and might make for easier persuasion with little ones given their presentation) and the fish was quite delicious and stupendously easy – a great family supper.

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking tray, lined with Bake O Glide or parchment paper

140g full fat cream cheese

20g Parmesan, finely grated

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 heaped tablespoon chives, chopped

4 chunky salmon fillets

Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon

1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 roasted red pepper from a jar, finely sliced

Sea salt and black pepper

for the spiralized vegetables

1 x spiralizer (I bought my online for £13)

2 large courgettes, topped and tailed

3 large carrots, topped, tailed and peeled

Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon parsley

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

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

In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chives, salt and pepper.

Pop the salmon fillets onto your baking tray and then season with salt and pepper. Spread over the cream cheese mixture equally over each fillet.

In a small bowl, mix together the lemon zest and parsley and then sprinkle over the fillets. Arrange the red pepper slices in an ‘X’ over the top of the salmon fillets.

Pop in the oven and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through. Put one fillet on each serving plate.

Meanwhile, feed each of your vegetables through the spiralizer, adopting a ‘pencil-sharpening’ action to produce long spaghetti-like strands.

Pour the oil into a wok or deep frying pan on a moderate heat. Tip in your vegetable strands, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and parsley and divide onto each serving plate with the fish.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish and vegetables and serve your red pepper and herb salmon fillets with spiralized vegetables: light, delightful and quite a different turn on cooking salmon. Enjoy!

Tips…

I use Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients frozen, chopped garlic and just shake in a rough amount rather than peeling and chopping garlic cloves – it’s the little things that make life easier!

I’m rubbish at chopping herbs, so instead use a clean pair of sharp kitchen scissors – works a treat.

When you choose your carrots and courgettes, make sure they are big, fat ones – they work much better with the spiralizer.

Inspired by…

Mary Berry, Foolproof Cooking

How easy…

Really simple and hardly any clearing up

 

 

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties with Whisky Sauce and Asparagus Parcels

Burns Night Supper! Over the years, we’ve been to many a Burns night bash and the food has ranged from appalling to mediocre – rarely better than that. And until this evening, I always thought that whisky was harsh and horrible: a horror that needed to be dispensed with in the name of tradition as fast as possible. Tonight however, we stayed in and did this fabulous take on the Burns Night fare. The haggis dish was waaaaaaay better than I could possibly have hoped for and met with considerable enthusiasm all around the table. We are DEFINITELY having this again – I would recommend it highly, Burns Night or not. And then there was the whisky. I unearthed a bottle that has remained untouched since John’s 60th birthday and WOW! sheer nectar. That said, it was a Knockando Single Malt, aged 12 years. It was a gift – I’m not looking up the cost but it finished off this delightful meal perfectly!

Serves 4

What you need…

for the asparagus parcels

One flat baking tray, lightly oiled

8 asparagus spears, trimmed

2 slices prosciutto di parma

Sea salt and black Pepper

Just a little Parmesan cheese, grated

for the whisky sauce

Knob butter

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons whisky (any old blended, not the Knockando!!!)

2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard

200ml water

1 beef stock pot (I use Knorr)

80ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

for the haggis

1 x cookie cutter (slightly larger than the diametre of the haggis) lightly oiled

1 Haggis (I love the ‘Simon Howie, the Scottish Butcher’, it’s slightly spicy and very yummy).

8 potatoes, peeled and halved

125g butter

Splash milk

4 turnips, peeled and halved

6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

What to do…

To prepare the asparagus parcels, poach the asparagus in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and cool to the point that they are easy to handle.

Lay out one slice of Parma ham. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Parmesan and then cut in half lengthways.

Using one ‘half slice’ of Parma ham, place two asparagus spears at one end and roll up so the Parma ham is the wrapping around your asparagus. Place on your baking tray. Repeat with the remaining asparagus and Parma ham so that you have four asparagus bundles – one each – they’re just a garnish, really.

Pop them in the fridge until you are nearly ready to serve.

You can also pre-prepare the sauce. Using a balloon whisk dissolve the stock pot into the water. Set aside. Melt the butter over a moderate heat and gently fry the shallots for 10 minutes. Add the wholegrain mustard and mix in well. Pour in the beef stock and bring to the boil. Add the whisky, boil for another minute to remove the alcohol and then turn the heat down and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then gradually stir in the cream. Set aside until nearly ready to serve.

To cook the haggis, follow the boiling instruction that comes with it. In my case, it is simply to pop the haggis into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 45 minutes – couldn’t be easier.

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

In one saucepan, bring your potatoes to the boil in salted water and then simmer for 20 minutes or until soft. Likewise, in another saucepan, bring your turnips and carrots to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or until soft.

To the potatoes, add 75g butter and the splash of milk and either mash or use a handheld electric whisk to cream the potatoes. Taste and season until it suits you. Pop the lid on to keep warm.

To the turnips and carrot, add 50g butter and similarly, mash or cream with a whisk. Taste and season until it suits you. Pop the lid on to keep warm.

Pop your asparagus in the oven for 4-5 minutes whilst you assemble the dish.

Put your whisky sauce on a moderate heat to warm through.

Drain the haggis and cut it into nice chunky slices.

For each serving, place your cookie cutter, in the centre of the plate and squash into it the creamed potato, filling the cookie cutter two thirds of the way up. Top up with the turnip and carrot mixture. Gently lift the cookie cutter away, wipe over with kitchen roll and run olive oil around the inside again with your finger and repeat the process for each of the other servings. Top your stacks with a chunky slice of haggis and then an asparagus parcel.

Pour the sauce into a jug and serve at the table. Enjoy this wonderful dish of haggis, neeps and tatties with whisky sauce and asparagus parcels with or without any of the other traditions. We just needed an excuse to find a great haggis recipe – enjoy!

Tip…

Rather than finely chopping shallots, I use Cooks’ Ingredients Handful of Chopped Shallots. Frozen and in a foil bag, I just shake into the saucepan roughly the right quantity – dead easy!

Inspired by…

Well…. a bit of a collection of ideas thrown together. I saw an image of one version of the ‘stack’ on the Ocado website and that was enough to get me going. I already had the recipe for the asparagus parcels (previously blogged as a canapé) and the sauce is my own – made up on the spur of the moment and I have to say, rather lovely!

How easy…

Very easy! All the elements kinda cook themselves. I like that the prep on the asparagus and sauce can be done in advance so you’re not juggling like crazy at the end.

Roasted Fish with Lemon, Anchovies, Capers and Rosemary

A lovely family supper dish, this fish dish ticks all the boxes in terms of taste, ease of preparation, minimal washing up and being really quite healthy! The combination of the soft rosemary, zingy lemon, edgy anchovies and sharp capers works brilliantly to jazz up even the most mundane of fish – I use whatever fish is hanging about in the freezer, sometimes mixing up three different types – it doesn’t matter – it’s still great!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking dish, lightly buttered (mine is 26 x 17 x 7cms deep)

Handful rosemary, leaves picked

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 – 6 x fish fillets, both hake and cod work well (quantity depends on how hungry you are!)

Sea salt and black pepper, for seasoning

2 large unwaxed lemons, thinly sliced

Handful capers

8 anchovy fillets

What to do…

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

Bruise the rosemary in a pestle and mortar to bring out the flavour. Add the olive oil and squash the rosemary some more to flavour the oil.

Wodge your fish into the baking dish and then pour over half the rosemary/oil mixture, spreading it evenly over the fish. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover the fish in the lemon slices, scatter over the capers and then drape over the anchovies.

Drizzle over the remaining rosemary/oil mixture and pop in the oven for 20 minutes. That’s it – done – a really quick, healthy and tasty family supper – we enjoy our roasted fish with lemon, anchovies, capers and rosemary with steamed mixed cabbage and either Parmentier or buttery new potatoes.

Inspired by…

Jamie Oliver, Happy Days with the Naked Chef

How easy…

Very easy, just an assembly job really!

Partridge with Wild Mushroom Ravioli

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!