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Crab and Prawn Coconut Soup

The 23rd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this soup makes for an absolute delicious starter. Since finding the recipe, I have returned to it again and again – it’s always received with much delight!

I love this crab and prawn coconut soup: it’s delightfully light, tasty and fragranced but also has enough about it to pass as a substantial starter or light lunch. The seafood flavours are beautifully emphasised by the influences of the lemon grass, fish sauce and coriander – it’s absolutely lovely and you can knock it up in a flash – definitely going on my ‘supper party starters’ list, so if you’re coming around, expect it – you’ll enjoy!

Serves 2

What you need…

Splash rapeseed oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

2cm fresh ginger, peeled and then grated

1 lemon grass stem, trimmed and sliced

Pinch hot chilli powder

200g cooked crab meat

500ml boiling water from the kettle

1 fish stockpot (I use Knorr)

200g coconut milk

1 tablespoon fish sauce

225g raw, peeled prawns

2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

Juice of ½ lemon

Good handful chopped fresh coriander

What to do…

In a jug, pop in your stockpot and then pour in 500ml boiling water from the kettle. Whisk with either a fork or small balloon whisk to dissolve and then set your stock aside.

In a large saucepan over a moderate heat, splash in the oil and add the garlic, ginger, lemon grass and chilli powder.  Cook until golden. Tip in the crab meat, stock, coconut milk and fish sauce. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the crab meat and the prawns and cook until the prawns are just pink. Then add the spring onions, lemon juice and coriander. Enjoy this lovely, light fragrant soup – quite delicious!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy….

Very easy, quick and simply delightful!

Parcels of Roasted Asparagus in Parma Ham

 

The 22nd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, these lovely little canapés have appeared alongside many a drinks do with friends and always go down really well.

This is an ideal canapé to have with pre-dinner drinks, or perhaps to hand around as part of a canapé selection at a Christmas drinks party. These delightful little morsels are absolutely lovely, ideally accompanied by a rather pleasant glass of fizz.

Makes 10

What you need…

One flat baking tin, greased with olive oil

20 x  asparagus spears, trimmed

10 slices prosciutto di parma

Sea salt and black Pepper

Parmesan cheese, finely grated

What to do…

Poach 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 tin.

Repeat until all the asparagus spears and Parma ham have been used up.

You can now leave them in the fridge for a couple of hours, enabling you to go and get ready for your guests.

When ready, pop the baking tin in the oven preheated to 200°c / 400°f / Gas 6 for 4-5 minutes and then serve. Absolutely delightful!

Inspired by…

I can’t quite remember – lots of people seemed to have included a version of this in their cookbooks but I think that Delia Smith was the original inspiration.

How easy…

Really, really easy and they can be prepared ahead of time – bonus!

 

 

Individual Vanilla and Amaretti Cheesecakes with Balsamic-Infused Strawberries

 

The 21st of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this little pudding tastes incredible, is dead easy and can be created in advance: of course it’s in the book!

I saw a version of these completely delectable little cheesecakes on Saturday Kitchen and thought that I must give them a go. Wow! The TV didn’t do them justice – the rich, smooth creaminess of the cheesecake is perfectly contrasted by the warm, sweet, lusciousness of the strawberries, their flavour emphasised by the sweet, rich balsamic vinegar (most unexpected).  They look fabulous, are so easy to make and taste out of this world!

Serves 4

What you need…

4 x chefs’ rings, 5.5cm diametre x 6cm deep (easily available online)

10 Amaretti biscuits

250g cream cheese

125g caster sugar

125g crème fraiche

240ml double cream

1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out

for the strawberries

200g strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 teaspoons caster sugar

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (really good quality, thick stuff)

What to do…

In a large bowl, tip in your cream cheese, caster sugar, crème fraiche, double cream and vanilla seeds. Whisk until smooth and thickened up so that the whisks leave a distinct trail.

Place the chefs’ rings on a flat plate, lined with Bake O Glide or parchment paper. Spoon the cheesecake mixture into each ring, pushing the mixture down to make sure there are no gaps. Smooth off the top with a palette knife and pop them in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. If you are having friends around for dinner, you can do this bit in the morning and leave the rest until you are about ready to serve.

Just before you are ready to serve, pop your Amaretti biscuits into a plastic zip-lock bag and using a rolling pin, crush them inside the bag to create a dusting.

Remove the cheesecakes from the fridge and set aside at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Place the Amaretti crumbs on a plate and then dip each of the cheesecakes in their chefs’ rings into the crumbs; then sprinkle Amaretti crumbs over the top so that each cheesecake is evenly covered.

Then, hold your breath (!) and lightly shake each cheesecake from the chefs’ ring onto its serving plate. Despite your total disbelief, it will gently drop down the ring and then plop out beautifully onto your serving plate….looking gorgeous!

Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over a high heat. Tip in the strawberries and sugar and cook, stirring continually for about 1 minute. Pour over the balsamic and cook for a further minute.

Spoon some of the strawberries onto the plate alongside the cheesecake. Absolutely delicious – the strawberries contrast the cheesecake perfectly, both elements enhancing the flavour of the other. Serve your vanilla and Amaretti cheesecake with balsamic-infused strawberries together with a wee glass of Disaronno Italian liqueur or a lovely little dessert wine to complete the indulgence! Yum!

Tip…

Chefs’ rings are almost like slices of metal piping you might expect on a building site! Another description would that of a cookie cutter, double the normal depth.

Inspired by…

Stuart Gillies, with James Martin on Saturday Kitchen

How easy…

Really easy, the only nervy bit is when you’re watching the cheesecake slowly drop through the chefs’ rings but be patient and it will be fine!

Delizioso Homemade Pesto


 

The 20th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this lovely pasta sauce is absolutely perfect for a light, tasty supper and is a regular in the Duffield household (and at Uni!)

This fits into the category of  ‘if it tastes THAT good and is THAT easy’, why buy ready-prepared! This is gorgeous and just shouts ‘fresh’ – it’s tangy and really, really flavoursome. It literally took about 2 minutes to make, including getting the ingredients from the fridge! As well as stirring through pasta (which is what it was made for) I can also use it with gnocchi, as a topping for Italian toasted bread, to top pizza or popped on a nice bit of steak……the list goes on. Give it a go – it’s really lovely!

Makes enough for pasta for 4 – 6

What you need…

Very large handful of basil

Large handful of flat-leafed parsley

40g roughly grated Parmesan

15g pinenuts

2 anchovy fillets

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

80ml olive oil

½ teaspoon sugar

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Juice ½ lemon (optional)

What to do…

With the exception of the lemon juice, put the lot in your food processor. Whizz until a rough paste is created. Taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Whizz. Taste again. Add lemon juice, if liked. Whizz. Serve. Enjoy and feel jolly smug that something tasting this great requires next to no effort!

Tip…

Keep your pesto sauce in the fridge for up to a week (although other members of the household have a tendency to dig in with a teaspoon) or freeze for up to a month.

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

Ridiculously. You could almost do it in your sleep!

Spicy Gammon Steak with Mascarpone Peas

The 19th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this dish is supposed to be about the gammon but….it’s the mascarpone peas that steal the show – we’ve had them soooooo many times….and that was before I discovered that it was this dish that Gino D’Acampo cooked naked on This Morning! Hilarious – check it out on YouTube!

The name gives absolutely no clue as to how absolutely delicious this dish is. I loved it so much, I enjoyed it two days running!!! The gammon takes on a real razzle dazzle star quality and quite frankly, peas in mascarpone are going to be a regular event. Try this! It’s fast and fabulous – buonissimo!

Serves 2

What you need…

Splash of rapeseed oil

4 teaspoons salted butter

1 teaspoon dried crushed chillies

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 gammon steaks (choose thick, juicy ones – maybe 2cm)

160g frozen peas, defrosted

4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

Sea salt and black pepper

Squeeze of lemon juice

What to do…

Heat half the oil and half the butter in a frying pan, add the crushed chillies and half the parsley. Then pop in the gammon steaks and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer gammon and juices to a baking tray and pop in a low oven to keep warm.

Wipe out the pan with kitchen roll and return to the heat with the remaining oil and butter. Add the peas and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.

Season with salt and pepper, add the mascarpone, the remaining parsley and lemon juice. Stir the lot together and serve these party-dressed peas to accompany the razzle-dazzle gammon – that’s it – buonissimo!

Serving suggestion…

Red potatoes, sliced or chunked, tossed with olive oil, dried rosemary and chopped garlic and the cooked in the oven for 35 minutes: lovely!

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Marvelously easy and it tastes like something that was meticulously created!

 

 

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.

 

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