Tag Archives: lunch

Salt Beef (from scratch) Sandwiches

OK, so a recipe for sandwiches!!! However, these do have the wow factor and takes a week to make as I made the salt beef from scratch. You don’t have to do that but I wanted to. John’s mum used to make the most amazing salt beef and I wanted to try and emulate it – it wasn’t quite of the same calibre but it was pretty damned good and tasty enough for me to decide to do it from scratch again. The cut of beef is also dead cheap and will feed a crowd. This sandwich is spectacular – the tangy pickles, the smooth Swiss cheese together with the succulent beef – truly a thing of wonder with a definite nod towards New York delis! Every sense in me immediately demanded a second sandwich…or a third! My kinda sandwich!!!

Serves 6 – 8

What you need…

for the brine

140g soft light brown sugar

175g coarse sea salt

2 teaspoon black peppercorns

½ tablespoon juniper berries

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs of thyme

1.25 litres water

for the beef

1.2kg piece of beef brisket

1 large carrot, chunked

1 onion, peeled and chunked

1 celery stick, chunked

1 leek, chunked

1 bouquet garni

6 garlic cloves

for the sandwiches (quantities depend on how many you’re making)

Sliced bread, buttered

Emmental slices

Pickled cumbers, sliced

for the sweet mustard

½ teaspoon English mustard powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

1 tablespoon runny honey

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

A pinch of salt

What to do…

Put all the ingredients for the brine into a very large saucepan and gradually bring to the boil, stirring to help the sugar and salt dissolve. Once it comes to the boil, let it bubble away for two minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool completely.

Pierce the meat all over with a skewer. Put it in a large, sterilised plastic box or bucket (something non-reactive) and cover the meat with the brine; it must be totally immersed. Pop a lid on and leave in cold room or fridge for seven days.

Take the beef out of the brine and rinse it, then put it in a pan with the vegetables, bouquet garni and garlic, adding enough cold water to cover. Bring the water to simmering point, then leave to poach REALLY gently for two and a half to three hours. Cook until the meat is completely tender (check with a skewer).

Cut into wafer thin slices.

For each sandwich, butter 2 slices of bread and sandwich together with a slice of Emmental. Heat a griddle pan until hot, then griddle on both sides until the cheese has melted. Meanwhile, chuck all the sweet mustard ingredients into a screw-top jar, pop the lid on and shake like mad. Set aside.

Open up the sandwich and assemble your sandwich – piles of salt beef topped with pickled cucumbers and sweet mustard and then the remaining slice of bread with melted cheese. Squeeze together and tuck in – bloody gorgeous and all of your senses will simply demand another one!

Tip…

This sandwich is great with either hot or cold salt beef.

Inspired by….

A combination of two recipes; one from Diana Henry and the other from Waitrose magazine.

How easy…

Not hard at all – just remember that you’re going to fancy a salt beef sandwich one week before you want to eat it!!!!

 

 

Salmon with Tiger Prawns

A fast and fabulous supper dish, this recipe comes from my good friend, Julie, who recommended it as a great and different way of serving salmon. It is just that and more – it’s easy and quick and tastes absolutely great: the salmon’s all dressed up with a lovely topping that enhances it’s flavour and has the wonderful combination of a rich sauce and crispy, crunchy topping – perfect for a mid week supper that tastes like a bit of a treat!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking tray, liberally buttered or lined with Bake O Glide

4 x 150g middle-cut salmon fillets, skinned

Sea salt and black pepper

1 small packet plain potato crisps, crushed

A sprinkling of paprika

Fresh parsley, to garnish

for the topping

150g Boursin cheese

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

12 cooked tiger prawns, shelled

What to do…

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

For the topping, mix together the Boursin, egg yolk, lemon juice and parsley until smooth. Season to taste. Stir in the prawns so that they are completely coated.

Arrange the salmon fillets on your baking tray. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over the topping evenly, making sure that each fillet receives 3 prawns! Sprinkle over crushed crisps and sprinkle with paprika.

Pop into the oven and cook for 15 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately. That’s it – fast and fabulous!

Inspired by…

My friend Julie and I believe her friend, Ali; and before them, it’s difficult to tell from the ripped out, folded and scanned page that I am very grateful to have received!

How easy…

So easy, so quick, so tasty!

Prawn Saganaki Just for One

Tuesdays are chilled out days where I don’t usually cook (I come home from a lovely yoga session and am so relaxed, I’m practically horizontal) so on these days we break out and John and Connagh frequently enjoy ‘Charlie Bigham’s Chicken Tikka Masala’: unpack, whop in the oven, remove and serve. Dead easy. I’m not usually hungry so it works well. Anyway this week, I was in the mood for something tasty but quick and had a bag of prawns at the back of the fridge that needed eating up, so I rustled up one of my favourites, Prawn Saganaki, but….I didn’t have quite all the ingredients for original recipe blogged last year so made do with what was available and …… it was gorgeous. So, here is the adapted version, made exclusively for one!

Serves 1

What you need…

A splash of rapeseed oil

1 shallot, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon dried crushed chillies

1 star anise

6 small plum ripe tomatoes, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

200g raw king prawns

A dessertspoon of Boursin cheese (should have been Feta but didn’t have any!)

A small handful of parsley, roughly chopped

What to do…

Heat the oil over a moderate heat in a frying pan. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until soft but not brown. Stir in the chilli and the star anise, then add in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Next, add in the prawns and cook for a few minutes until they are pink, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking throughout. Remove the star anise.

Tip in the Boursin and stir until it melts and is thoroughly incorporated. Scatter the parsley on top. Serve immediately with a nice chunky doorstep of good, fresh bread – just yummy!

Inspired by…

The Traveller’s Table

How easy…

Soooooo happy that I happened upon the original ridiculously easy recipe!

Pasta with Courgettes, Lemon and Basil

Light, lovely, fragrant and beautifully flavoursome, this lunch or supper dish feels like a nod towards Spring and the promise of warmer days but is also wonderfully comforting because of the inclusion of the rich mascarpone, contrasting brilliantly with the lemon. Simple to do, lovely to enjoy, packed with flavour!

Serves 4

What you need…

450g your favourite dried pasta (I chose gluten-free fusilli)

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 medium courgettes, halved lengthways and then sliced thinly

100g mascarpone cheese

3 tablespoons milk

Zest of 1 small lemon, finely grated

1 tablespoon basil leaves, finely chopped

A large handful of basil leaves, roughly torn

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook your pasta as per the packet instructions (mine takes about 12 minutes).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, tip in the courgettes and cook for 5 minutes or until softened and lightly golden. In a bowl, mix together the mascarpone, milk, lemon zest and the chopped basil. Scrape this little lot over the courgettes and toss together for a minute or so until the mascarpone has melted. Season to taste.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Pour over the creamy courgette mixture and gently stir to mix evenly together. Scatter over the torn basil leaves, give them a quick stir and serve. Marvel in how lovely it is to find a simple dish that packs such lovely flavours!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy…

Simplicity itself!

Salmon and Watercress Quiche

This quiche, for my sins, will always be known in our house as ‘on the floor quiche’. My first ever attempt at making a quiche – this recipe – was one week ago when, on completion, I took it outside to photograph it in the gorgeous dappled sunlight, and promptly dropped it all over patio floor! Bad language and wine ensued. Anyway, one week later, I tried again and this time successfully!

Why the reluctance until now to even give it a go? When I was growing up, quiche got really bad PR. I have no idea where the expression, “real men don’t each quiche” came from but it’s always been in the back of my mind. I also had a clear (but totally inaccurate) perception that quiche was bland, heavy, boring and frankly, tasteless, so why would I want to make that?! Turns out, that concept couldn’t be further from the truth. This quiche is light, the pastry is crisp and the filling is nothing short of delightful. I would definitely urge you to throw away any preconceptions you have on the quiche front and give this one a go!

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x 30 x 20cm rectangular tart tin or 1 x 25cm flan tin, either way, spring-form and lightly buttered with bottom lined with Bake O Glide or parchment paper.

1 x large baking sheet

for the pastry

200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

A pinch of salt

100g chilled butter, cut into cubes

1 egg yolk, beaten

3 tablespoons ice-cold water

for the filling

A little rapeseed oil

3 salmon fillets

Juice of ½ a lemon

A good knob of butter

1 medium onion, finely sliced

200g new potatoes, cut into small cubes and parboiled

50g watercress, leaves picked and tough stalks discarded

2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

3 medium eggs, whisked

300ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Tip the flour, salt and butter into your food processor (fitted with the plastic blender) and whizz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and water and pulse until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Tip out onto cling film, wrap it up and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Whilst your pastry is resting you can prepare the salmon and onions. Preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6 and pop in a baking sheet to warm up.

Grease a large piece of foil using the oil and place your salmon in the middle. Squeeze over the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and scrunch the foil together to seal. Pop your salmon parcel onto the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 12 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over a moderate heat, add the onion and cook to soften for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Returning to your pastry: on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 3mm thick and line your tin with it. Trim off the rough edges, prick the base with a fork and pop back in the fridge for another 30 minutes (this will prevent shrinkage during the cooking process).

Take your pastry case out of the fridge, line with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Pop it onto your hot baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return the case to the oven for a further 5 minutes – this will allow the pastry to dry out and prevent a soggy bottom!

Reduce the oven to 180°c / 350°f/ gas 4 and now it’s assembly time.

In a large jug, whisk together the cream and eggs. Season with salt and pepper and add the watercress and dill. Set aside for a mo.

In your pastry case, arrange onions so that they are evenly spread and top with the salmon and potatoes. Pour over the cream and egg mixture and pop into the oven on your hot baking sheet for 30 minutes or until the filling is just set and the top is turning golden brown.

Remove from oven and serve immediately, when it’s room temperature or cold – whichever is your preference – it’s just lovely! Great for a picnic or light lunch with salad.

Salmon & Watercress Quiche close up w

Inspired by…

Camilla Stephens, Higgidy

How easy…

Very easy, very relaxing. Just don’t drop it!

Fantastic Feast of Pulled Pork

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

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 all the dry ingredients.

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!

Fast, Fresh and Fabulous Smoked Salmon Paté

Stuck for a lovely starter that is simply no hassle at all? Looking for a quick, delicious lunch or perhaps part of a picnic or fridge raid-type of snack? Whichever, this paté is made in about 3 minutes flat and is simply delightful – light, fresh and quite delicious – dress it up or serve it as it comes, this is another one on the favourites list for so many reasons – give it a go – blink and it’ll be done!

Serves 4

What you need…

175g smoked salmon, roughly chopped

75ml double cream

50g crème fraiche

Juice of 1 lemon

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

What to do…

Chuck the lot in the food processor. Whizz until smooth. Pop into a serving dish, cover with cling film and stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to indulge. That’s it! Seriously! Never buying ready-prepared again!

Inspired by…

James Martin…

How easy…

You can almost do this asleep it’s that simple!

Hot New York Deli Style Pastrami Sandwiches

I’m not really a sandwich kinda girl, but I do hanker for the fabulous ‘Pastrami on Rye’ sandwiches that I indulged in every time I went to New York. That being several years ago now, I sat up very straight when James Martin explained that he was going to show us how to make Hot Paper Bag Sandwiches of Pastrami, Fontina (cheese) and Pickled Cucumber during his Home Comforts series. As ever, I’ve fiddled with the recipe, but the first words out of John’s mouth, were, “Oooh, this is New York on a plate!” And these sandwiches are pretty damned close to what I remember – that wonderful combination of hot pastrami mingling with the slightly sharp yet smooth bite of the mustard, the melted cheese and then the tart cucumber that was masquerading splendidly as gherkin. Wonderful, edgy and given the packaging, slightly rough around the edges – very New York to my mind!

Serves 2

What you need…

Parchment paper

String

75ml cider vinegar or rice wine

25g caster sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

½ cucumber, thinly sliced

1 small bunch dill, leaves only, roughly chopped

6 thin slices sourdough bread (I know, not rye, but it works really well)

20g-ish butter

1 dessertspoon Dijon mustard

150g pastrami, thinly sliced

200g Jarlsberg/Manchego, sliced

What to do…

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

To make the marinade that’s going to transpose your very British cucumbers into all-out New York-attitude gherkins, bring the cider vinegar to a simmer in a pan with the sugar, salt and mustard seeds, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Pop your cucumber slices into a bowl and pour over the hot vinegar marinade. Stir in the dill and set aside to infuse.

Meanwhile, toast the sourdough slices and spread with butter. For each of the two sandwiches that you are making, take one slice and spread with mustard, then top with pastrami, then cheese, then the cucumber. Top with another slice of toast and then repeat the layers: mustard, pastrami, cheese, cucumber and then finish off with another slice of toast, but this time, butter side down.

That’s one sandwich done; do the same for the other.

Wrap each sandwich in a large sheet of parchment paper and secure with string. Pop both of your sandwich parcels into the oven and bake for 15 minutes until they are piping hot – enjoy the fabulous aroma emanating from your oven!

Then, it’s present-opening time: snip the string with scissors and unwrap your Hot New York Deli Style Pastrami Sandwiches. OMG – just OMG – simply fab.

Inspired by…

James Martin, Home Comforts

How easy…

More than you would normally do just for a sandwich but then again….they’re so much more than just a sandwich! Very worth it!

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