Main Courses

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!

 

Teriyaki Tuna with Asian-Inspired Salad

This dish was a total revelation: clearly erring on the healthy side, I was unsure whether it would be enjoyable but something piqued my interest so I gave it a go anyway. Absolutely stunning, like REALLY special. The marinated fish together with the zingy, fresh salad go together perfectly. Our taste buds had an absolute party with the distinct but complementary flavours and we kept delving in for more. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – most of them make up the marinade and salad dressing, which are prepared waaaay in advance. Go for it: healthy and delicious!

Serves 2

What you need…

for the teriyaki tuna and marinade

2 x 200g fresh tuna steaks, about 2cm thick

60ml soy sauce (or Tamari if you would prefer gluten-free)

30ml sake

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon clear honey

1 banana shallot, chopped

Splash rapeseed oil

1 red pepper, seeded and finely sliced

200ml water

for the salad

100g baby spinach

1 red chicory head, leaves torn

Handful of mint leaves, torn

Handful of coriander, chopped

for the salad dressing

1 lime, juice only

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 dessertspoon fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon palm sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce (or Tamari if you would prefer gluten-free)

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped

What to do…

Put all your salad dressing ingredients into a screw-topped jar, tighten the lid and shake vigorously until mixed thoroughly together.

In a large pretty bowl, chuck in all your salad leaves, cover with cling film and pop in the fridge.

To make the marinade, tip all the ingredients except the fish, red pepper and water into a bowl and whisk them together until the sugar has dissolved. Pop the tuna steaks into a shallow dish and pour over the marinade. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for several hours, turning once.

The three steps above can be prepared in the morning and then happily ignored until just before you want to eat.

At that point, take the salad out of the fridge to come to room temperature.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and when very hot, add the tuna steaks (leaving the marinade to one side) and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. Remember, tuna is best served nearer the raw state than overcooked, when it is dry and tough. Lift the tuna from the pan and keep warm.

Add the red pepper to the pan and stir-fry quickly. Add the marinade and water and bring to the boil. Continue boiling until it becomes thin but syrupy.

Tip your salad dressing over the salad leaves and toss together. Put the bowl in the middle of the table so that you can help yourselves to as much as you want.

Using a slotted spoon, lift the pepper slices from the pan and use them to garnish your tuna. Serve the remaining sauce separately. Healthy but unbelievably tasty, teriyaki tuna with Asian-inspired salad is a lovely, light but lively supper dish to be enjoyed regularly!

Tip…

You can marinate the tuna overnight if that fits into your plans better: the flavours just gather more.

Inspired by…

Mary Berry, Cook Now, Eat Later

How easy…

Really easy. You just need to remember to allow the marinating time.

Hake with Mushrooms and Soured Cream

I love hake and try to incorporate it into my fish recipes where possible – it seems to be an under-rated fish – not only is it really tasty and firm enough to hold its shape during cooking but it’s also inexpensive – what’s not to like? This recipe is delicious and also has a really distinctive flavour – it didn’t taste like I expected it to but was a very happy surprise. The whole lot got devoured very quickly anyway! Easy and with hardly any mess, it’s a perfect weekday supper dish for the family.

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x large baking dish (mine is 20 x 30 x 7cms deep), lightly buttered

1kg hake fillets, skinned and cut into chunks (5cm x 5cm-ish)

2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon paprika

Knob butter

Splash rapeseed or olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

300g mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

2 teaspoons soy sauce

250ml soured cream

5 teaspoons sherry

Large handful grated Parmesan cheese

What to do…

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

Mix the flour, salt and paprika in a bowl and dust the fish on both sides. Then place them in your baking dish so that they fit snugly together.

Heat butter and oil and soften the onion and mushrooms. When just beginning to shrink, remove from the heat, mix in the soy sauce and then spread over the fish. Using the same saucepan, mix together the soured cream and sherry and then dribble over the fish.

Sprinkle over the Parmesan and then pop the dish into the oven uncovered to bake for 40 minutes.

Serve your delicious hake with mushrooms and soured cream together with green vegetables (asparagus works well). Enjoy!

Inspired by…

Lynn Bedford Hall, New Creative Cuisine

How easy…

So relaxed, it’s practically horizontal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary-Roasted Root Vegetables

Winter Sunday Roasts in our house are one of the highlights of the weekend. Generally, we have roast chickens served with the lightest, fluffiest Yorkshire Puddings, fabulous gravy and these wonderful roasted root vegetables. As the herbs used in these vegetables mingle with the cooking smells of the chickens, a unique and simple gorgeous aroma permeates the house. It doesn’t matter how horrible the weather is outside, the cooking smells and the knowledge of the meal that is shortly to come brings a lovely warmth inside. Kitchen rules apply: G&Ts on the side and a good bottle of red opened and waiting to accompany this fine meal! The Sunday Roast is prepared by John – which makes it even better – and I only get involved in the preparation of these delicious vegetables. A further joy is the single baking dish that is used to cook them in – minimal washing up! Try them as an alternative to your normal Sunday Roast vegetables – you’ll love them.

 Serves 4

 What you need…

1 large ovenproof dish (mine is 20cm x 30cm x 7cm deep), lightly buttered

½ swede, peeled and cut into wedges

6 carrots, peeled and halved lengthways

4 parsnips, peeled and halved

2 turnips, peeled and quartered

2 red onions, peeled and quartered

2 large red potatoes, washed quartered

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

5 sprigs of rosemary

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

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

Chuck all the vegetables into your ovenproof dish.

Scatter over the rosemary and pour over the oil. Mix everything together ensuring that the rosemary and oil are evenly dispersed among the vegetables.

Pop in the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Take them out and give them a quick stir before popping them back in for a further 20 minutes. Enjoy the wafting aroma of rosemary!

Serve your rosemary-roasted root vegetables with the rest of your Sunday Roast, indulge in far too much lovely food and retire to the sofa for a little afternoon snooze!

Tips…

Aim to have your chunky vegetables pieces roughly the same size.

Used ready-prepared Cooks’ Ingredients’ frozen, chopped garlic – so much easier than all that peeling and chopping.

For a slight variation, I sometimes add thyme and sage as supplements to the rosemary.

Inspired by…

Delia Smith’s Winter Collection

How easy…

Spectacularly easy and only one pot to wash up. You can also prepare them and then cover the raw vegetables and herbs with cling-film for up to 2 hours before popping them in the oven, which provides the added bonus of allowing the flavours to develop even further.

New York Caesars Salad, My Way

Many years ago I had a marketing job that meant, in the name of work, I ate out a lot. And I mean a lot. There was also the occasional overseas trips undertaken and twice I was lucky enough to visit New York on business. Labeled a ‘jolly’, the trip was as much about food as it was the thrills of Manhattan: huge hotel breakfasts followed by large, leisurely lunches and obscenely over-indulgent dinners punctuated each day. There’s only so much a girl can eat even if the food is amazing so I quickly took to choosing Caesars Salad as my default choice for lunch, being the perfect foil for the inevitable heavy, rich dinners that I knew would follow. I’ve never had a Caesars Salad as good as those I enjoyed in New York and so ended up developing my own version: New York Caesars Salad, My Way! I have no idea how close to the authentic recipe mine is but it’s pretty close to those savoured in Manhattan. It’s light but edgy – salad with attitude I’d say – and really enlivening – give it a go!

Serves 2

What you need…

4 good-sized slices back bacon

300g mixed salad leaves (including iceberg for the crunch), torn

A good handful of freshly grated Parmesan

for the croutons

1 slice bread from a large loaf

50g butter

for the dressing

60ml olive oil

30ml white wine vinegar

3 anchovies

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Sea salt and black pepper to season

What to do…

For the croutons, cut bread roughly into 1cm squares and pop into a bowl with the butter and then into the microwave for 1 minute. Stir to make sure the butter is evenly distributed and pop back in for another 40 seconds. Repeat this last process until the croutons are golden and crispy. In my microwave, I do 3 x 40 seconds.

(N.B. microwave times may vary – I rarely use a microwave so ours is old and pretty inferior so yours may do the job much quicker).

Set the croutons aside to cool.

Dry-fry the bacon until its crispy. Remove from the pan and as soon as it’s cool enough to handle, chop it up into bite-sized pieces (I use scissors for this – it’s quicker than a knife for me). Put the chopped pieces on kitchen paper to absorb the moisture whilst the bacon cools.

In a jam jar, chuck all the dressing ingredients in together, screw on the lid and shake vigorously to mix everything together and break down the anchovies.

When you are ready to serve, tip your salad leaves into a large roomy salad bowl and throw in the bacon. Add half the Parmesan and then the dressing. Toss everything together. Either divide into two bowls or serve to the table in the salad bowl. Whichever way, scatter over more Parmesan and finally, the croutons. Enjoy! It really is a wonderful salad!

Serving suggestion…

I like New York Caesar’s Salad on it’s own as a main course, but it also works well served with steak or as a starter, perhaps with garlic bread.

Tip…

Cooks’ Ingredients frozen, chopped garlic from Waitrose – just tip some in the dressing rather than all that peeling and chopping….

Inspired by…

New York!

How easy…

Ever so!

Two-Ways Salmon Pasta with Basil and Lemon

This is a lovely pasta dish that is simultaneously light but comforting, zesty and fresh but soothing on the stomach. It comes from a book published in the early 1990s by the wonderful Keith Floyd called ‘Floyd on Hangovers’ – a witty little tome that contains advice on detoxing and a selection of recipes for the day after the night before! Having never suffered a hangover (I know, I’m sorry!) I’m not sure why I was bought the book and have since mislaid it, but I’ve been doing this version of one of his recipes for years. It seems a fitting one for New Year’s Day, I thought, although we enjoy it throughout the year.

As delicious as it is, I feel that on this occasion that I should share some of the nutritional benefits (and the reasons why the recipe was in the book, I guess). Both salmon and basil have anti-oxidant qualities, with the former offering omega 3 and vitamins D and B12 and the latter providing vitamins A, K, C, magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium (who knew?!!!!) and from lemon of course, vitamin c. So there’s a real ‘feel-good’ aspect to this one – great kick off for the New Year!

Serves 2

What you need…

A splash olive oil

2 salmon fillets

2 lemons

120g smoked salmon

Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

2 good handfuls of basil, torn

Pasta of your choice (I prefer gluten-free)

What to do…

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

Rub olive oil all over a piece of foil and pop the salmon fillets in it. Squeeze half a lemon over the fish, season and then make the foil into a loose parcel. Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked al dente.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and pop in your pasta according to the packaging instructions – mine normally takes about 12 minutes.

In another large saucepan, squeeze into it the juice of 1½ lemon plus some sea salt and loads of roughly ground black pepper. Roughly tear up the smoked salmon into bite-sized pieces and arrange around the top edges of the saucepan – some will drop into the lemon juice – no worries. Using a fork, remove the skin from the oven-baked salmon and flake the fish into chunks, tipping them into the saucepan as you do. Throw the basil in over the top.

When your pasta is cooked, turn on the heat under the saucepan with all the ingredients in to moderate. Drain the pasta and tip into the salmon, basil, lemon juice mixture. Splash in a little olive oil and then mix everything together, incorporating the salmon from the edges of the saucepan evenly throughout.

Then, simply serve and enjoy your lovely, fresh, enlivening and gentle two-ways salmon pasta with basil and lemon!

Inspired by…

Keith Floyd, Floyd on Hangovers

How easy…

Very, very easy. A good one for a mid- eek supper

 

 

 

 

Turkey Wellington

This is a brilliant way to serve turkey if you just fancy the breast – it can be made a day in advance (so therefore reducing the pressure if you’re entertaining a crowd), looks and tastes amazing; and the meat is really moist. Thumbs up all around really!

Serves 8-10

What you need…

for the cranberry sauce

The following fabulously festive, tangy sauce makes more than enough for the Turkey Wellington, to serve as its accompaniment at the meal and perhaps, to get out again with cold turkey and gammon slices the next day.

300g fresh cranberries

200g caster sugar

45ml Kirsch

75ml water

for the wellington

1.6 kg turkey breast, skin off

Sea salt and black pepper

Olive oil

1 large bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked

Cranberry sauce (as above)

6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped

3 sprigs rosemary

600g mixed mushrooms, cleaned

1 knob butter

2 teaspoons truffle oil

1 egg, lightly beaten

What to do…

For the cranberry sauce, chuck all the ingredients into a saucepan on a moderate heat and let it all bubble away until the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes), stirring every now and then.

Squish the berries with the back of a wooden spoon and then transfer the whole lot to a serving bowl. Leave to cool (the sauce will thicken up to an almost jelly-like consistency). It is now ready to use. This can be made several days in advance – it keeps really well in the fridge for a week.

For your wellington, preheat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Place the turkey breast upside down on a board and gently slice into the natural join of the breast muscle to open it out and make a pocket – Jamie says to just do this but for some reason I managed to make two pockets – it doesn’t really matter – read on and you’ll see why. Rub olive oil all over the breast and particularly in the pocket(s). Season well and then sprinkle over half the thyme leaves, again ensuring that the pocket(s) get lots. Push cranberry sauce into the pocket(s), poking it in as far as it will go and filling up the space. Fold it back into shape and use cocktail sticks to ‘stitch’ the pocket seams together. If you can, roll the turkey breast up, swiss roll style. If it won’t comply, don’t worry about it – mine didn’t!

Either way, transfer the turkey breast to a baking tin making sure that it is covered in oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the remaining thyme. Cover with foil and pop in the oven for 60-70 minutes until just cooked through – using a thermometer, you want it to be 72°c at the thickest point. Once cooked, set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, pop the bacon into your food processor and whizz until chopped up quite small. Splash some olive oil into a large frying pan on a medium heat and, using a spatula to get every last bit of bacon out of the processor bowl, add the bacon to the pan, cooking for 5-10 minutes until golden and really crispy. Strip the leaves from the rosemary sprigs and add to the pan for a minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and rosemary from the pan and set aside to cool.

Pop the mushrooms in your food processor and whizz until they are chopped up quite small. Add another splash of oil to the frying pan if there isn’t enough fat left behind by the bacon, tip in the mushrooms, a splash of water and sauté for 10 minutes. Melt in the knob of butter and set the mushrooms side to cool. Once cooled, season with salt and pepper mix in the truffle oil. Taste the mushrooms to see if you want any more seasoning or oil.

When all the elements for the Turkey Wellington are cool, prepare for the assembly! Lightly butter a baking tin large enough for the breast.

Dust your work surface with flour and roll out one 500g block of puff pastry so that it is roughly 6cm bigger than the turkey breast all round. Roll out the second pastry block so that it is large enough to cover the breast and some.

On the smaller piece of pastry, spread out 1/3 of the mushrooms onto the middle to cover an area the same size as your turkey breast. Remove the cocktail sticks and place the breast on top. Spread the remaining mushrooms all over the top of the turkey breast, packing it in and smoothing it out as you go. Sprinkle on the crispy bacon and rosemary, then brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Lay the second sheet of pastry over the top, gently mould it around the shape of the breast, pushing all of the air out and seal together. Trim the edges to around 4cm, then pull, twist, tuck and pinch the pastry together.

Brush the whole thing with beaten egg and shove it in the fridge uncovered overnight until you’re ready to cook. Clear up, pour wine, relax.

When it’s time to indulge, cook at 180°c / 350°f / gas 4 for 50 – 60 minutes or until risen, puffy and beautifully golden. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving this fabulous, all dressed up bird! Serve with turkey gravy and enjoy – you can’t fail to – absolutely gorgeous!

Inspired by…

Jamie Oliver showed me the Turkey Wellington recipe on his ‘Christmas with Bells On’ series and the Cranberry Sauce is care of Nigella.

How easy…

It is easy but it takes time and patience. The joy of it is preparation a day ahead of the actual eating – it makes it worth every moment of prep and it really is very delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cod with Pesto Mash, Tomatoes and Basil

This is an easy, healthy dish that makes a lovely light supper or lunch. I was a bit perturbed preparing the slightly green mash but it tastes absolutely delicious and is a splendid alternative to the butter-laden ‘heart-attack’ mash that my family usually enjoys!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking tray, lightly buttered/oiled

300g potatoes, peeled

A good knob of butter

A splosh of milk

4 teaspoons pesto (I use Sacla)

Sea salt and black pepper

4 chunky fillets of cod

4 large tomatoes, halved and then sliced

A few basil leaves, torn

4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

A little paprika

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7.

Bring the potatoes to the boil in salted water. Cover and simmer for15-20 minutes, until soft. Drain, then mash or whisk, adding the butter, milk, the pesto and some seasoning. Check the texture and taste, then add more butter, milk, pesto or seasoning according to your taste.

Place your cod fillets on the baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Spread a goodly portion of the pesto mash over the top of each fish fillet, piling it quite high. Mix the sliced tomato and basil together, season and arrange on top of the mash. Sprinkle with Parmesan – 1 teaspoon per person should be perfect – and dust with paprika.

Pop in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the fish has turned white. Serve your baked cod with pesto mash, tomatoes and basil immediately – enjoy this lovely, light dish that certainly perks up the rather plain but healthy cod fillet! Goes beautifully with a selection of green veg.

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Very – perfect weekday lunch or supper. Very little mess and dead easy to do.