Sides

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.

 

Crushed Garlicky Potatoes

The 72nd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, these rather yummy potatoes are a great way of dressing up new potatoes to create a rather wonderful little aside.

Ooooooh, so lovely, these potatoes are just so scrumptious, I can eat them all by themselves. Infused with loads of garlic and olive oil with just a smattering of parsley to garnish – they are fab and really dress up the humble new potato, especially as they are coming to the end of their season.

What you need…

250g new potatoes

3 garlic cloves, chopped

100ml milk

100ml olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Small handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

What to do…

Pop the potatoes into a heavy based saucepan with the garlic, milk and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place over a moderate heat and bring to the boil, cooking for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the liquid is largely absorbed.

Use a fork to roughly mash up – you’re not looking for smooth mash but more a rustic chunky affair. Squeeze in the lemon juice, tip in the parsley, stir together and then serve. Marvel that rarely before have potatoes been this wonderful and ever so slightly addictive! Yum!!!

Tip…

This recipe works equally well with other potatoes: you just need to peel them first.

Inspired by…

John Torode

How Easy…

Well, it’s not hard is it?

 

Rosemary and Garlic Parmentier Potatoes

The 39th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, these lovely rosemary and garlic infused potatoes are a regular at our table, combining great taste with preparation simplicity.

I have been making these gutsy little potatoes, served as a side dish, for years and have been asked several times why they have not been blogged so, here they are…..! They are a delight to make (translate to ‘dead easy’) and even more lovely  to enjoy: cooked so that they’re like the crispiest triple-cooked chips you’ve ever had but flavoured with the bliss that is the combination of garlic and rosemary. Just yummy!!!!! Also, they get on with cooking themselves whilst you do other things.

Serves 3 – 4 as a side dish

What you need…

2 large red potatoes, chunked

1½ tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Sea salt to season to your taste

What to do…

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

Tip all the ingredients into an ovenproof dish and toss around so that all the potatoes are evenly covered in the other ingredients.

Pop in the oven to cook for 40 minutes, removing half way through to shove the potatoes around a bit so that they don’t stick to the dish and cook evenly.

Remove your crisp, fragrant and ever so tasty potatoes from the oven and serve as an accompaniment to fish or meat (kitchen prepared or on the barbie) or in bowl as naughty finger food!

Inspired by…

Delia does a version with fresh rosemary so I guess it was her. I’ve been doing these for so long, I can’t remember.

How easy…

An absolute doddle to prepare and then they cook themselves whilst you’re dealing with the main event.

 

 

Focaccia Sharing Bread with Rosemary

 

The 33rd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this lovely – and I can’t stress enough how simple – bread goes down a storm in our house – a really regular event, especially as part of al fresco lunches in the summer.

This lovely bread is an ideal accompaniment to garlicky starters like Gambas Pil Pil, as part of an Italian-inspired antipasti lunch or simply to dip into olive oil with balsamic vinegar. However you choose to enjoy it, Focaccia is just lovely….and so simply to make, especially if you have a food processor or electric stand mixer.

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x shallow baking tray (26 x 36cms or larger) lightly oiled

500g strong white bread flour

7g fast action dried yeast

10g fine salt

325ml warm water

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for coating and then drizzling

A sprinkle of sea salt

2 – 3 rosemary sprigs, cut to create around 12 little sprigs!

What you do…

If you have a mixer, fit it with the dough hook and then tip into the bowl the flour, yeast, salt, water and the tablespoon of oil. Mix on a low speed for 10 minutes until smooth and silky. If you don’t have a mixer, it’s the same process but by hand – somewhat more tiring and intensive (you can’t just walk away leaving it to do its own thing!)

Shape the dough into a ball and coat with a little olive oil. Pop into a clean bowl (I wash out the one I’ve just used to make the dough), cover with cling film and leave to rise to double its size (45-60 minutes depending on the warmth of the room).

Tip the dough out onto a work surface and press into a rough rectangle. Place on your baking tray and press the dough outwards with your fingers, right into the corners. Leave to rise again, loosely covered (with a plastic bag for instance) for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 250˚c / 480 ˚f / gas 10.

Using your fingertips to poke deep holes across the whole surface, almost to the bottom. Drizzle the tope generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Poke the rosemary sprigs into the holes and then pop into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 200˚c / 400˚f/ gas 6 for a further 10 minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes whilst you enjoy the wonderful rosemary-infused aroma.  Tear, share and enjoy…..simply yummy and nothing quite like it!

Inspired by…

River Cottage

How easy…

Very, very easy, especially if you have a mixer! Great to knock up to make a relaxed lunch or supper just a little more special.

 

 

Rosemary-Roasted Root Vegetables

The 10th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, these lovely vegetables are the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday Roast.

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.

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

Inspired by…

Delia Smith

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.

John’s Legendary Yorkshire Puddings

The 4th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cook book and this recipe is an absolute must – the kids would never have forgiven me if I didn’t share the recipe for John’s Yorkshires!

John’s Yorkshire Puddings are legendary. Family and friends get REALLY excited when they come to us for a Sunday Roast – John cooks the lot and it is unquestionably in a league of its own! Every element of the meal is wonderful however the Yorkshires and his gravy are simply spectacular! I’ve met many people who reckon they can’t make decent Yorkshire Puddings – try this recipe – it will transform your Sunday Lunch!

This recipe makes one large Yorkshire Pudding and 12 tiddlers. I can’t tell you how many they serve – they get demolished whether there’s 6 of us, 8 or 10!!!

 

What you need…

1 x 20cm round baking tin and 1 x 12-hole muffin tin

Fat from top of gravy stock from the previous week’s Roast Dinner or goose fat or lard

270g plain flour

4 large eggs

275ml full fat milk and 200ml water (in same jug)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 heaped tablespoons suet

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7. I have assumed you are using the same oven to roast your meat (we have 2 chickens).

Ideally, you will have a jug of stock from the previous week’s roast dinner and topping this will be a layer of fat. Scoop off the fat and put in half tsp in the bottom of the individual moulds and two dessertspoons in the ‘family-sized’ mould. (The stock should be used as the base for this week’s gravy, excluding any remaining fat).

If you’re starting from scratch, do the same with either goose fat or lard.

Sift the flour into the bowl of a standalone electric mixer.  (If you don’t have one, use a roomy bowl with an electric handheld whisk) Make a well and break in the eggs. Whisk slowly. Whilst whisking, gradually pour in the milk and water. Turn the speed up to medium and whisk for 2 minutes. Switch the mixer off. Using a spatula, loosen any stuck flour from the sides or bottom. Season to taste. Mix at medium speed for a further two minutes. Leave to rest until cooking time.

Pop your baking tray and muffin tin into the oven and heat until the fat is smokin’ hot!

Sprinkle the suet into the batter and give it a quick whizz. Ladle the mixture into the your hot baking tray and muffin tin. Pop them both into the oven and cook for around 20 minutes or until golden brown. Watch those babies rise!!!!!!

Serve with your roast dinner – we don’t follow convention – Yorkshire Puddings are served with chicken, beef, suet puddings……pretty much everything!

Inspired by…

John who in turn, tweaked Delia Smith’s recipe

How easy…

They are easy so don’t be hesitant – give them a go!

 

 

Sweet Apple Relish

This delightful slightly tart yet sweet relish is a perfect accompaniment to my ‘New Favourite Chicken Liver Paté’ but would also work brilliantly with a game terrine or pie, spicy sausages or adorning a fabulous cheeseboard (one of my favourite meals all by itself!). It’s easy to make and will keep in the fridge for several weeks.

Makes 250ml

What you need…

25g butter

2 eating apples, peeled cored and diced (5mm)

50g caster sugar

25ml sherry vinegar

75ml red wine

Pinch of salt

What to do…

Melt the butter over a moderate heat. When it begins to foam, tip in the apples and cook for 2-3 minutes until they begin to turn golden around the edges.

Add the remaining ingredients, stir thoroughly and cook for 5 minutes until reduced and jam-like with the apples cooked through but not mushy.

Allow to cool before serving or decanting into a sterilised jar and popping in the fridge, awaiting an opportunity to indulge! (I will make some at the beginning of December for all those casual dates with cheese that we have planned!)

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy…

No effort at all

 

 

A Little Aside: Creamed Leeks with Chestnut and Thyme Crumble

Rich and comforting, this is a lovely alternative to the traditional vegetables that we usually have with our Sunday roast. I think you get to this time of year and, as much as the Sunday roast is a fabulous treat, a little variety is called for when we’ve been enjoying the meal most weekends since October! Also, joy of joys, most of the prep on this can be done in advance – always good news when a Sunday Roast is involved!

Serves 6 as a side dish

What you need…

for the crumble topping

100g butter, softened

150g plain flour

50g ground almonds

30g suet

1 happy egg yolk

50g cooked chestnuts, chopped (vacuum-packed or frozen work well)

5 tablespoons thyme, leaves picked

Sea salt and black pepper

for the leeks

1kg leeks, trimmed and chunked

100g butter

Sea salt and black pepper

200ml double cream

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

What to do…

First, to the crumble: tip the butter and flour into your food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs. Remove the mixing blade and stir through the ground almonds and suet until evenly incorporated. Likewise, the egg yolk and finally add the chestnuts, thyme, salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Turning to the leeks: melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and gently cook the leeks with a little salt and pepper until softened. Pour in the cream and reduce until thickened. Tip into an ovenproof dish and allow to cool.

20 minutes before you’re due to serve your lunch, top leeks with the crumble and scatter over the nutmeg. Bake in a preheated oven at 160˚c / 325˚f / gas 3 for 15 – 20 minutes until crunchy and golden brown – absolutely delicious!

Inspired by…

Lee Bennett, crafthouse-restaurant.com and published by theguardian.com

How easy…

Very and I love that it can be prepared largely in advance.

 

A Little Aside: Parsnips in Creamy Juniper Sauce

This is a truly delicious way to serve parsnips and makes a great, slightly luxurious, change from the various roasted versions that we frequent. For some reason, the natural flavour of the parsnips is accentuated – not sure why but they are gorgeous. We’ve indulged in them with the ‘venison with red wine and chocolate sauce’ recipe: the combination was fabulous. They would also go down really well with a nice bit of steak I reckon. Whatever: enjoy!

Serves 4 as a side dish

What you need…

250ml hot water from the kettle

1 chicken stock pot (I use Knorr)

Splash of rapeseed oil

4 shallots, peeled and halved

3 large parsnips, peeled and cut into wine cork-sized chunks

4 garlic cloves, chopped

8 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

15 juniper berries, lightly crushed

Sea salt and black pepper

125ml double cream

What to do…

Make some chicken stock by dissolving the chicken stock pot into the hot water, using a balloon whisk to help things along.

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

Warm the oil over a moderate heat in a casserole for which you have a snugly fitting lid. Chuck in the shallots, parsnips and garlic and sauté until lightly golden. Pour in the stock and stir, ensuring that any deliciousness stuck to the bottom of the pan is reincorporated.

Tip in the thyme and the juniper berries and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Whop up the heat and bring the sauce to the boil. Cover with the lid and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.

Place your casserole back on the hob on a high heat and reduce the liquid by half. Stir in the cream, check the seasoning and make sure it’s thoroughly hot before serving – quite simply delicious – I have been tempted to eat just a bowl of these rather than making them merely a little aside!

Inspired by…

The sauce was originally part of a pot-roasted partridge recipe, courtesy of Nigel Slater. I adapted that one, swapping finicky partridge for plump chicken thighs and then thought we’d let the parsnips have an exclusive moment wallowing in the delicious sauce – good call if I do say so myself!

How easy…

Very easy: hob, oven and then a bit of last minute hob that needs little attention!

Scrumptious Christmas Stuffing (revisited and tweaked)

Honestly, if you make this, you’ll never revert to the packet stuff again!!!! And, there’s still plenty of time – I made mine this morning. I know it works because I’ve done it for the last two years and I would urge you to give it a go: it’s sooooo very yummy: juicy and succulent inside; crispy on the outside; delicious throughout! And it has two further benefits: 1) it can be made in advanced and frozen raw, simply to be defrosted and popped in the oven on Christmas day and 2) it’s festively easy – there’s literally just a little whizzing in the processor and then diving into a bowl to mix with your hands (deeply satisfying). Merry Christmas!

What you need…

50g stale bread, roughly chunked

2 large red onions, peeled and quartered

200g vac-packed chestnuts

1 kg shoulder of pork, trimmed and chunked

A large handful of sage, leaves picked

3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

1 whole nutmeg, freshly grated

Zest of ½ lemon

Zest of ¼ orange

What to do…

If you’re preparing the stuffing to cook the same day, preheat your oven to 190°c / 375°f / gas 5.

Tip the bread into your food processor (with the blade fitted) and whizz to create breadcrumbs. Tip them out of the food processor and into a large mixing bowl.

Tip the onions into your food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Add them to the bowl.

Tip the chestnuts into the food processor and whizz into little chunks. You guessed it: add them to the bowl.

Into your food processor now add the pork, sage, bacon and season well with the salt and pepper. Add in the nutmeg as well as the lemon and orange zest and pulse the whole lot until you have some chunky stuffing and some mushy – it doesn’t take long.

Tip the pork mixture into the bowl with the other ingredients. With your hands, scrunch the whole lot together to make sure that all the ingredients are well mixed.

Divide into 2: half for inside your bird and the other half to be cooked in an oven-to-tableware baking dish. Wodge the stuffing firmly into the dish and then pop in the oven to cook for 50 minutes or so until bubbling and crispy.

Inspired by…

Jamie Oliver

How easy…

A festive whizz I’d say!!!