Tarragon Salmon

This retro sauce is quick to make and a delicious pairing with salmon.

60ml dry white vermouth
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. dried chives
1 tsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. garlic-infused olive oil
2 salmon fillets
60ml heavy cream
sea salt and pepper
1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon or chives

Pour the vermouth into a cup and stir in the dried herbs, then set aside.

Heat the butter and oil in a small skillet into which the salmon with fit snugly. When it begins to sizzle, add the salmon, hump-side down, and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the salmon over, add the vermouth with the herbs and, once it comes to a bubble, cook a further 2 minutes.

Remove the salmon to 2 plates and stir in the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the fresh tarragon or chives. Bubble to thicken and serve over the salmon.

Serves 2

Asparagus, Radish and New Potato Salad

This simple but sensational salad is dressed with a thick buttermilk vinaigrette. Nigella calls it, “a paean to Springtime”.

For the salad:
zest of 1/2 lemon
small bunch fresh mint
1 lb. baby new potatoes
1 lb. fresh asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes or 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt flakes
3 tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1 1/2 cups halved radishes
4 cups peas shoots, watercress or other salad green, to serve

For the dressing:
1/4 cup buttermillk
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. chopped fresh mint
2 tbs. chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp. sea salt or a pinch fine sea salt
grinding of black papper

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Steam the potatoes with the lemon zest and 2 sprigs of mint for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the mint.

Put the asparagus in a small roasting tin and toss with the salt and olive oil. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes (6-8 minutes if they are skinny). Tumble the potatoes into the roasting tin, add the fresh tarragon and radishes.

Meanwhile, whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Toss with the asparagus and potatoes. Arrange the greens in a bowl or on a plate, then mound the salad on top to serve.

Serves 6-8

Chicken with Scallions, Chili and Yogurt

The sauce is similar to tzatziki and brightens the lemon-marinated chicken.

6 chicken cutlets
juice of 2 lemons
6 tbs. olive oil, plus more if needed
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 green chili, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cucumber, cut into a small dice
3-4 tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 tbs. chopped fresh mint
1 3/4 cups plain yogurt

Marinate the chicken in the 3 tbs. of the oil, lemon juice and some seasoning for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by stirring together the scallions, chili, garlic, cucumber, cilantro, mint and yogurt. Season and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet and cook the chicken for 5 minutes or so on each side. (You can also grill the chicken outside.) Arrange on a plate and serve with the sauce.

Serves

These wonderful chicken cutlets can be pan-fried or grilled, weather dependent!

6 chicken cutlets
juice of 2 lemons
6 tbs. olive oil
6 scallions
1 green chili, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cucumber, cut into small dice
3-4 tbs. chopped coriander
1-2 tbs. chopped mint
1 3/4 cup plain yogurt

Marinate the chicken in the lemon juice and 3 tbs. of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the sauce, stir together the scallions, chili, garlic, cucumber, coriander, mint and yogurt. Check for seasonings.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and either heat the grill or heat the remaining oil in a skillet. Cook them quickly for 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Add a bit more oil if needed to the skillet. Serve with the sauce.

 

Fruit Tea Loaf

The loaf is easy to make and is perfect with a cuppa or toasted and spread with butter for breakfast.

1 cup hot black tea
2 1/4 cups mixed dried fruit
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch cloves
1 egg

Stir together the tea, dried fruit and brown sugar in a large bowl. Cover and leave to macerate overnight.

Heat the oven to 325°F. Grease a standard loaf tin and line it with a strip of parchment paper.

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cloves together, then stir into the fruit mixture. Add the egg, then scrape into the tin. Bake for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.

Lemon Rice

This delicious and citrus-spiked rice is served with toasted black mustard seeds on top for a wonderful contrast and crunch.

1 tbs. vegetable oil
1 cup plus 2 tbs. basmati rice
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. dried mint
juice and zest of 1 lemon
approx. 2 1/4 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
1 tbs. black mustard seeds

Chose a saucepan with a close-fitting lid. Heat the oil gently before adding the rice. Stir to get a good coating, then add the turmeric and mint. Stir in the lemon juice, water and salt, bring to a boil, then reduce to low, clamp on the lid and simmer for about 15 minutes. The water should be absorbed and the rice tender. Add more water if needed.

Remove the lid, drape a tea towel over the top, replace the lid and leave to sit off the heat for about 30 minutes.

While the rice is sitting, fry the mustard seeds in a small frying pan for a few minutes to toast. Serve the rice sprinkled with the seeds and the lemon zest.

Serves 4-6

Lamb with Rosemary and Port

These quick and and savory lamb steaks have a lovely pan sauce and are tender and flavorful.

1 tbs. olive oil
2 tsp.Worcestershire sauce
2 boneless lamb leg steaks
1 tbs. butter
1 sprig rosemary, needles chopped
1 fat clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup ruby port

Mix together the olive oil and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl, then smear it over the lamb with a pastry brush.

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet and cook the steaks for 3-4 minute per side, depending on thickness. Wrap them in foil and leave to rest.

Add the butter to the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Add the rosemary and garlic, then tip in the port and bubble until thickened.

Place the steaks on warmed plates and top with the sauce.

Serves 2

Italian Breakfast Banana Bread

What makes this different from ordinary banana bread is the addition of instant espresso powder. The coffee does not overwhelm at all; it’s subtle bitterness, most elegantly, enhances the sweetness of the banana. The bread is best eaten the day after it is baked.

3 medium, very ripe bananas (1 1/3 cups)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbs. plain flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. instant espresso powder

Heat the oven to 325°F and grease a standard loaf tin. Slip a baking sheet into the oven.

Mash the bananas with the vanilla and salt, then beat in the oil. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the sugar. Mix the flour with the baking soda and the espresso powder, then beat into the banana mixture.

Pour into the tin, put it into the oven on the baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the edges are slightly coming away and the bread has risen. A cake tester should come out clean. Leave to cool, then wrap is foil and wait for at least a half day before slicing it.

 

 

 

 

 

Pappardelle with Cavolo Nero and Nduja

Nduja (pronounced N-Do-Ya) is a spicy Italian salami paste that is perfect paired with hearty greens and pasta.

1 large, floury potato, peeled and cut in 1/2″ cubes
1 lb. Cavil Nero kale, rainbow chard or baby spinach, trimmed of stems
1 lb. pappardelle
4 tbs. butter
1 cup nduja
3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Fill a large pot with cold water and salt with abandon. Add the potato and bring to a boil. When boiling, set the timer for 10 minutes, then tip in the pasta. When it comes back to a boil, add the greens and cook according to package directions. Scoop out 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet or wok and add the nduja. When it melts into a sauce, add 2 tbs. of the cooking water. Tip the pasta and greens into the pan and toss everything together, adding more cooking water if needed. Drizzle with olive oil to serve.

Serves 6

Pilaf for a Curry Banquet

Fragrant and festive, this rice will go with any curry entree. The best thing is that it will keep warm for up to an hour after it cooks, so no last-minute stress!

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tbs. vegetable oil
2 cloves
3 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick, broken into 3 pieces
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. nigella seeds
2 1/2 cups basmati rice
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Cook the onions over a medium-low heat in the oil in a deep saucepan that has a lid along with the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds and nigella seeds. When the onion is slightly brown and softened, after about 10 minutes, stir in the rice.

Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, cover the pot with a clean dish towel and clamp the lid back on. Leave it for at least 10 minutes, or up to an hour. Fork the rice through when you are ready to serve and sprinkle the almonds on the top.

Serves 8-10

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pots

If you like a gooey chocolate chip cookies, then you will be ever so thankful for this recipe. Using ramekins gives just the right goo-to-crust ratio. Nigella recommends serving them with cream or creme fraîche.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
8 tbs. soft butter, plus more for greasing the ramekins
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanila extract or paste
1 extra large egg
3/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350°F and lightly butter 6 x 3 1/2″ ramekins. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Using an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter with the sugar until you have a creamy mixture. Add the vanilla and egg, then fold in the flour mixture and the chocolate chips. Divide between the ramekins and smooth the tops using an off-set spatula.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes. They will be quite gooey inside and golden brown on the top and around the edges. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6