Yuzu Salmon with Buttered Leeks

The 18th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a fabulous fish dish that often graces are table, being easy to prepare and spectacularly tasty!

A Mary Berry dish, this one is from her ‘Everyday’ series. The first thing that I should say is that I couldn’t find Yuzu juice anywhere but that didn’t matter – Google recommended the alternative mix of fresh lime and orange juice – I have no idea whether this combination tastes like the Japanese citrus fruit juice, ‘Yuzu’, but I can tell you that this salmon dish was absolutely delicious – fresh, tangy with a touch of Asian-inspired heat, all working brilliantly as a foil for the richness of the salmon. Also, it’s stupidly easy AND can be prepared in advance! This is DEFINITELY on the regulars list.

Serves 4

What you need…

Knob of butter

4 small leeks, finely sliced

4 x 125g salmon fillets, skinned

3-4 radishes, thinly sliced, to garnish

A few coriander leaves, to garnish

for the dressing

2cm chunk of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Dessertspoon of fresh orange juice

4 tablespoons rapeseed oil

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Into a screw top jar, tip the ginger and garlic with the chilli, lime juice, orange juice and oil. Season with salt and pepper, screw on the lid and shake like mad. Set aside until you’re ready to cook the meal.

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

Heat the butter in a large frying pan and when it has melted, add the leeks and fry over a high heat for 3 minutes. Pop the lid on the pan, lower the heat and sweat the leeks for 10 minutes until soft but not brown. Tip into an ovenproof dish.

Sit the salmon fillets on top of the leeks and season with salt and pepper. (If you’re preparing ahead you could now just cover the whole lot with cling film or foil and pop into the fridge).

Spoon all but two tablespoons of the dressing over the salmon. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through (a little longer if the dish has been sat in the fridge already prepared).

Toss the coriander leaves and radishes in the remaining dressing. Serve a spoonful of leeks onto each plate with a salmon fillet on top and then spoon over the radishes, coriander and dressing.

Enjoy this delicious, tangy and vibrant supper dish and remember to stick it right back on the menu to enjoy again soon!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Ridiculously easy and so much flexibility with time (we enjoyed ‘wine time’ between when the salmon sat on the leeks and when the dressing went on and the whole lot went into the oven.

 

Orange Marmalade Sponge

The 17th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a wonderful, indulgent winter sponge that will warm the cockles of your heart!

Simply stunning and stunningly simple, this sponge is oh-so light but has a fabulously indulgent tangy zestiness flavour. It entices you with it’s aroma and when you’ve dug your spoon in once, there is no option but to just keep on going – absolutely delicious – give this one a go – you definitely won’t be disappointed!

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x 1.2 litre pudding basin

1 x deep baking dish

200g butter, softened plus extra to grease your basin.

4 tablespoons orange marmalade

200g caster sugar

Zest of 3 large oranges

4 eggs, lightly whisked

200g self-raising flour

4 tablespoons milk

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 140°c / 275°f / gas 3.

Liberally butter your basin and pop in the fridge to cool slightly. Then tip in the marmalade and brush so the whole of the inside of the bowl is covered.

In your food processor, cream together the butter and sugar until it is pale and fluffy. Tip in the orange zest and whizz again until evenly incorporated. Gradually add in the whisked egg, whizzing the whole time. Then tip in the flour and milk and whizz again to mix in.

Half fill your baking dish with boiling water from the kettle. Set aside.

Re-brush your marmalade, that has probably slithered to the bottom of the bowl, so that it covers the sides again and tip in the sponge mixture.  Pop the bowl into the baking dish of boiling water and stick the whole thing into the oven, uncovered.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Insert a skewer in to make sure it’s cooked through – it should come out dry.

Remove from the oven and loosen the sponge from the bowl gently using a palette knife. Now the breath-holding bit: invert your sponge out of the bowl onto a pretty serving plate – it will gently slither out – I promise.

Remove bowl and admire your handiwork – it’s a pretty fine-looking sponge. Serve on it’s own or with a little double cream. Either way, for something so simple, it is simply stunning.

Inspired by…

Tom Kerridge

How easy…

Stunningly so!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hasselback Potatoes

The 16th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, Hasselbacks are a great little aside to many a dish.

I first saw these on MasterChef and having tried them once, they’ve graced our plates many times since, so popular are they! They tick all the boxes – easy, exceedingly tasty – something between sautéed, really great chips and roasties – they taste fantastic anyway and I just love the way they look after they’ve fanned out in the oven during cooking. My version is slightly healthier than the original (unusually for me), which uses butter as well as oil.

Serves 4

What you need…

12 medium potatoes

5 tablespoons rapeseed oil

Sea salt (course crystals work spectacularly well, giving these potatoes a lovely glistening crunch)

What to do…

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

Take each potato and put it onto a wooden spoon and cut across it at roughly 3mm intervals. Because the potato is on the spoon, your knife won’t be able to cut all the way through but will stop on the lip of spoon: it is this that enables the fanning out of the potato during the cooking process – so damned easy but so impressive (well, I’m easily pleased).

Pour the rapeseed oil into your baking tin and pop it onto the hob over a high heat. Once the oil is hot, place in the potatoes, cut-side down into the oil, swizzle them around and then turn them over so that the cut-sides are facing upwards. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and pop them in the oven to let them do their thing. How long they take depends on their size – 40 minutes for medium potatoes but longer for bigger ones. Keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when they are crisp on the outside but still soft in the middle.

Serve and enjoy this lovely version of the humble potato!

Inspired by…

Annie, a contestant on MasterChef, who in turn attributed the recipe for these Swedish potatoes to Nigella Lawson

How easy…

Very, very easy – they do themselves while you do other things!

 

Fantastic Feast of Pulled Pork

The 15th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this pulled pork dish converted me to the joys of the pig and provided us with a supper created for conviviality! So good: we’re having it again tonight!

OK! A savoury OMG moment! I can count the number of times I have eaten pork on the fingers of one hand probably (other than bacon and sausages – they don’t count!) But…I am drawn to a pig roast but it never quite delivers in taste what the enticing aromas promise. So, anyway this recipe caught my attention and I have to say that I am now a total convert! This pork was succulent and sooooo tasty; flexible too – it was happy stuffed in rolls or dressed up with plums and a lovely potato and apple combination that I made up on a whim. Seriously, for a relaxed family and friends supper that everyone will just love, give this one a go. Oh also, zero effort – pop in oven and walk off for 6 hours – love it!

Serves 4-6

What you need…

for the pork

1 x roasting tin, lined with enough foil to cover the pork

1.6kg shoulder of pork, string and rind removed

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1½ tablespoons dark brown sugar/maple syrup

300ml hot water

for the sides

4 red potatoes, chunked

2 cloves of garlic, chopped,

1 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper

Splash of olive oil

2 Pink Lady apples, cored and chunked

4 Ciabatta rolls

Knob of butter

4 – 6 plums, halved and stoned

What to do…

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

In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger and sugar or maple syrup.

Unroll the pork and pop it in the foil-lined roasting tin. Rub the mixed ingredients all over the pork and pop it straight in the oven for 30 minutes to brown. Reduce the heat to 150°c / 300°f / gas 2. Pour the water into the foil and then wrap the foil around the joint and seal tightly. Cook for around 6 hours or until tender.

Just before you get to the end of the 6-hour cooking time, pop the red potatoes in a baking dish, scatter over with garlic and dried rosemary, salt and pepper and the splash of olive oil; stir to mix everything together thoroughly.

Increase the oven back up to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7 and uncover the pork. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes the remove from the oven. At the same time, pop in the baking dish of potatoes.

After 10 minutes, remove the pork from the oven, cover with foil and rest for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°c  / 400°f / gas 6. Tip the apples into the potatoes, stir in and roast for another 25 minutes.

10 minutes before you are ready to serve, pop the ciabatta rolls into the oven to warm through – they should only take 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a moderate heat and then place in the plum halves, flesh side down. Turn the heat up to high and cook for 10 minutes until the flesh is just starting to go golden brown.

Everything is now ready and your can dive in. Put the lot onto a serving platter, start pulling the pork with two forks and then leave it on the platter for everyone else to help themselves: pulled pork in ciabatta rolls or just on it’s own with the wonderful addition of a few of those potatoes and the OMG plums – they go sooooooo well. Whichever choice, it doesn’t matter – it will all go! Enjoy – a fantastic feast of pulled pork that requires next to no effort!

Inspired by…

Lovepork.co.uk

How easy…

Seriously, next to zero effort for a really fantastic sharing supper!

Luscious Lasagne

The 14th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this one is an absolute family favourite and just conjurs up memories of raucous suppers with an abundance of food, wine and chatter!

Sooooo lovely and comforting, both to make and to eat – this is such a lovely family supper dish, the accompaniments for which are good friends and family, flowing wine, gentle music and a leisurely approach to social dining…perfect!

Serves 6

What you need…

Ovenproof dish (mine is 20cm x 30cm)

Splash of olive oil

1 kg minced beef

500g minced lamb

150g mozzarella, torn up

A handful of fresh sage leaves

Lasagne sheets, fresh or dried (enough to cover your ovenproof dish three times)

for the tomato sauce

Splash of olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary

3 bay leaves

2 x 400g tins of chopped Italian tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato puree

for the white sauce

1 litre milk

Pinch nutmeg

½ onion, peeled and sliced

Small handful black peppercorns

80g butter

60g plain flour, sieved

120g – 150g grated fresh Parmesan

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Heat a large, deep frying pan with a splash of olive oil. Slowly fry the garlic until lightly coloured, then add the rosemary, bay leaves, tomatoes and tomato puree. Cook gently for 45 minutes with the lid on.

Add the meat to your tomato mixture and simmer for 20 minutes, creating a tomato and meat ragu.

Meanwhile, put the milk, nutmeg, onion and black peppercorns into a medium sized saucepan and bring gently to the boil. Melt the butter in a third saucepan (large) and tip in the flour. Mix well to form the beginning of a roux sauce (it will look like a glossy ball). Gradually add the flavoured milk – one ladle at a time and through a sieve (you don’t want all the peppercorns and onions in there), stirring it well until you have a thick, smooth white sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, then take off the heat and add Parmesan and seasoning.

Remove the rosemary and bay leaves from the tomato and meat ragu.

Preheat the oven to 180c / 350 f / gas 4 and butter a large baking dish.

Cover the bottom of the dish with lasagne sheets. Then cover with a thin layer of your ragu. Then cover with a thin layer of the white sauce. Repeat with a further two sets of layers – pasta, ragu and white sauce – ending with white sauce.  Scatter over the torn mozzarella and sage leaves.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and let your lovely lasagne settle for maybe 10 minutes. Serve with a fabulous, robust bottle of Italian wine.

Inspired by…

Jamie Oliver

How easy…

It is easy but does take time: you need to be in the right mood. Choose your music, open a nice bottle of red and enjoy the process. The cooking smells are wonderful and definitely contribute to the enjoyment of this dish. There are however loads of pans to wash up but….it’s worth it! I wash them whilst the lasagne is in the oven so that when I sit down, I’m totally relaxed.

 

Watermelon, Feta and Mint Canapés

The 13th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, these are just scrumptious and are created in seconds – my ‘go to’ canapés!

We first tried these at friends and neighbours, Chris and Suzy, who kindly invited us for lovely, leisurely Sunday evening drinks.  So gorgeous were these little delights that they make an appearance pretty much every time anyone comes around for supper or dinner! They go brilliantly with a glass of fizz, G&T or scrumptious white wine. The watermelon is fresh, sweet and juicy: the perfect foil for the earthy dryness of the feta; and the mint provides a lovely zing finish! All together with a little squeeze of lime, they are simply delicious! Give them a go: they’re quick, easy and just yummy!

Makes around 12 – 15 depending on how large or small you cut your chunks!

What you need…

100g watermelon, chopped into chunky, small slices

100g feta cheese, cut into chunks of a similar size to the water melon

A handful of mint leaves

A squeeze of fresh lime juice

A bunch of cocktail sticks

What to do…

Choose a pretty serving plate and stack these little lovelies together using a cocktail stick to pierce through each layer – watermelon on the bottom, then feta and on the top, either a couple of tiny mint leaves or a larger one folded.

Arrange on your plate and just before you want to enjoy them, give them a quick spritz of lime juice. So simple, so utterly yummy!

Inspired by…

Chris and Suzy: thank you! (who were in turn inspired by Mary Berry)

How easy…

You can knock them up in seconds – no mess, no stress!

No Churn Honeycomb Ice Cream

The 12th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this dessert started a mini ice cream obsession with me and led to the development of many decadent and obscenely indulgent flavours using the double cream/condensed milk base.

When I first did this, it was definitely an OMG moment!!!!! I’d seen Mary Berry create it on TV and did think, “Ooh, I gotta give that one a go!” What can I tell you? It’s unbelievably easy to make (and a whole lot of fun, given the honeycomb process) and tastes absolutely out of this world – I’m not kidding – give this a go – it won’t be the last time you make it! How can anything this amazing be this simple?! Thank you Mary!!!

Serves 8

What you need…

1 large sheet of Bake O Glide/non-stick baking paper

1 x 900g loaf tin

4 tablespoons golden syrup

150g caster sugar

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

600ml double cream

397g (1 tin) full-fat condensed milk

(OK, so we can agree: this isn’t diet ice cream but what a horrid concept that is anyway!!!)

What to do…

In a large, deep saucepan, chuck in the syrup and sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the temperature to moderate and simmer for 5-6 minutes until you have a beautiful honey-coloured caramel.

Remove from the heat and tip in the bicarbonate of soda, mixing like crazy until it is evenly incorporated and foaming (reminds me of one of Connagh’s slightly dodgy childhood experiments!)

Tip the foaming honeycomb out onto your Bake O Glide or baking paper – it will naturally spread into a large circle and then just stop spreading as it starts to set. Leave for about 20 minutes, until the honeycomb has hardened and cooled down and then break into bite-sized pieces – dead easy – it looks much tougher than it actually is! Pop a third of the honeycomb into an air-tight container and save for decoration later.

Whilst the honeycomb is cooling, do a couple of jobs; firstly, fill the loaf tin with cold water and then empty it again. Line the tin with cling film (the water residue helps the cling film to stick to the tin).

Next, fill the saucepan that you used to create the honeycomb with water and then put it on a high heat. As the water comes to the boil, it will melt the residue honeycomb that is stuck to the inside of the pan – then you can just chuck it down the sink – no horrid scrubbing!

Then, make the ice cream: whip the double cream into soft peaks and then stir in the condensed milk. Tip in the remaining two-thirds of the honeycomb and stir to disperse evenly.

Pour into the prepared loaf tin, level off the top and cover with cling film. Freeze overnight.

To serve, tip out and remove the cling film. Sprinkle with the saved honeycomb. Leave for 10 minutes to soften enough to cut, then cut into slices – don’t be mean with them – people are only going to ask for seconds!

Sooooo, soooo naughty but……sooooo, sooooo good!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

As the lady says, “Foolproof!”

Chicken Wrapped in Parma Ham with Creamy Herb Sauce

The 11th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this fabulous recipe was done by soooooo many people after I first blogged in and we’ve had it countless times – an absolute winner!

I’m really getting into these sauces that are so easy but intensely flavoured, simply as a result of a few ingredients that have been reduced. This dish is quick, easy and in my book, sensational. It could just as easily grace a dinner-party table as the supper that it was created for. Make it once and it definitely won’t be the last time – buonissimo!

Serves 4

What you need…

I bulb garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

800ml hot water from the kettle

2 chicken stock pots

12 slices Parma ham

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Sea salt and black pepper

400ml double cream

1 large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 large handful fresh basil, finely chopped

What to do…

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

Place the whole garlic bulb in a square of foil with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Wrap it up securely and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

Using a balloon whisk, dissolve the stockpots into the hot water to create 800ml chicken stock.

Lay 3 Parma ham slices beside each other, slightly overlapping. Season one of the chicken breasts and place in the middle of the ham. Fold the slices over the chicken to create an evenly wrapped parcel. Repeat for each of the remaining chicken breasts.

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken parcels for 2 – 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and cook for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest (the chicken, not you!)

Meanwhile, in a saucepan reduce the chicken stock by half, add the cream and then squeeze out the garlic from each clove, also adding it to the stock. Reduce the sauce by half and then strain into a jug. Stir through the chopped herbs and serve over your yummy chicken breasts. Quick, easy and absolutely delicious!

Tip…

The two reductions take between 10 and 15 minutes each.

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Really easy

 

 

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.

Devine Espresso Panna Cottas

The 9th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, these panna cottas are absolutely out of this world – since first trying them, we’ve indulged many, many times!

This recipe fits into the super ‘wow factor’ league. I made this on a bit of a whim one morning, mainly to see how hard it would be to extract from the mould and also whether my allocation of gelatine was sufficient to maintain the essential panna cotta wobble whilst being set. Both tests worked and then obviously, we had to test the finished product. OMG! This espresso panna cotta is light and silky smooth and the combination of vanilla and coffee produce a simply exquisite flavour. The only problem is that they are so light, we felt obliged to try another one! Try it – it’s easy, quick and simply sensational.

Serves 4 – 6 depending on the size of your moulds

What you need…

6 dariole moulds or ramekin dishes

285ml double cream

210ml full fat milk

1 vanilla pod, split in half (but retained) and seeds scraped out

4 gelatine leaves

150g caster sugar

4 teaspoons good quality instant coffee granules (I used Lavazza)

What to do…

Fill your moulds up with cold water. (I have always done this in the belief that it helps in the ultimate extraction of jellies, mousses etc. I can’t find any actual authentication of this – it may be an old wives’ tale – but I’m not taking the chance just to see – it’s always worked for me!)

Tip the cream and milk into a heavy-based saucepan and, over a moderate heat, bring to a simmer. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.

Add the vanilla seeds and the pod, then remove from the heat. Set aside for 5 minutes, allowing the mixture’s flavours to infuse.

Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 3 – 4 minutes. Then, squeeze out the extra water and add the gelatine to the warm cream/milk mixture. Stir until dissolved.

Add in the coffee granules and stir until they are dissolved. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a jug, discarding the vanilla pods and leave to cool for 5 minutes.

Empty the moulds of their water. Don’t wipe them out but simply fill the moulds up with your panna cotta mixture. Pop in the fridge and leave to set for at least 3 hours.

When you have your spoon poised and you’re ready to indulge, dip each mould into a small bowl of hot water (poured from the kettle) for just 10 – 15 seconds – you will see the edge of the panna cotta coming away from the mould – leave it not a second longer but quickly invert it onto your serving plate. It will come out beautifully glossy and speckled with the vanilla seeds. And the taste is all rich, smooth, cool coffee – simply sensational! This is now a regular on our dinner party menus.

Inspired by…

Paul Merrett

How easy…

Very, very easy and really quick and next to no mess and….there isn’t a single reason why not to try it!