Red Pepper Hummus

Delightful and delicious with crisp strips of red pepper or any crudite.

1 14 oz. tin chickpeas
1 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers
2 tbs. cream cheese
2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. paprika
salt

Drain the chickpeas and red peppers and place them in a food processor. Add the cream cheese, olive oil, lime juice and paprika.

Whiz into a hummus-like puree, then add salt to taste and perhaps a bit more lime juice if needed.

Cocktail Sausages

These are not just any cocktail sausages. The sesame oil, honey and soy sauce give them a sweet-savory stickiness that is nearly impossible to resist.

2 1/4 lbs. cocktail sausages (apprize. 75)
1/2 cup honey
2 tbs. sesame oil
2 tbs. soy sauce

Heat the oven to 425°F.

Separate the links if they are joined and arrange in a shallow roasting tin. Whisk together the honey, sesame oil and soy sauce and pour over the sausages, mixing them about well.

Roast for 25-30 minutes, giving them a shuffle half way through.

White Chocolate and Orange Muffins

A joy to make and a joy to eat!

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup polenta or fine cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
6 tbs. vegetable oil
1 egg
3/4 cup whole milk
zest and juice of 1 orange

Heat the oven to 400°F and line 12 muffin tins with paper cases.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, polenta, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and chocolate chips. In a smaller bowl, combine the oil, egg, milk, orange zest and orange juice. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

Divide between the muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Caesar Cleopatra

This is a light and lemony caesar dressing with anchovy. Perfect for summer!

2 romain lettuce hearts or 1 romaine lettuce head
1 egg yolk
2-3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
juice of half a smallish lemon
few drops Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs. finely grated Parmesan cheese
half and avocado, spooned into curls
1 cold, cooked chicken breast, cut into fat strips (optional)

Wash the lettuce and tear into large chunks, then scatter on plate. Whisk the egg yolk in a small bowl, then slowly whisk in enough olive oil to make a dressing. Add the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Toss this with the lettuce, sprinkle with 2 tbs. of the Parmesan, then toss again.

Arrange the chicken (if using) a top the lettuce, scatter over the avocado and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Give it all a good grinding of black pepper and serve.

Serves 1

Pasta with Zucchini

This is homey and comforting pasta that tastes best when eaten out of a large bowl with a large spoon.

8 oz. caserecce or other small, tubular pasta
2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 lb. zucchini, diced
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
3 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to sprinkle
2 tsp. butter

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Generously salt and cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Put the olive oil and scallions in a heavy pan that comes with a lid and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the vermouth, 2 tbs. of the chopped parsley and season. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes by which time the zucchini should be tender.

Before draining the pasta, reserve a cup of the cooking water.

Tip the drained pasta into the pan with the zucchini along with the 3 tbs. Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Toss thoroughly and taste for seasoning. Add more pasta cooking water if needed. Stir in the butter and serve with the remaining parsley sprinted on top and more Parmesan cheese on the side.

Serves 2

Fish with Three-Herb Salsa

This recipe was written to be a medley of salmon, tuna and swordfish. Here is it deliciously adapted for just swordfish.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
zest of 1/2 lemon and 1 tbs. juice
2 tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbs. capers, drained but not rinsed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried mint
4 smallish swordfish steaks

Make the herb sauce by whisking together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, oregano and mint. Season and set aside for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors develop.

Fry the swordfish in a little oil or cook on the grill to your liking. Remove to a plate and spoon over some of the sauce. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

Serves 4

Warm Potato Salad

What a wonderful divergence from cold potato salad tossed with mayonnaise!

4 1/2 lbs. baby potatoes
4 scallions, finely sliced
1 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
8 slices bacon, sliced
1-2 tsp. white vinegar
1 tbs. wholegrain mustard

Bring a pan of water to a boil and tip in the potatoes. Cook for 20 minute, or until tender. Drain and put into a large bowl with the scallions.

Heat the oil in the same pan and add the bacon, then cook until crispy. Remove from the pan. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the vinegar and mustard. Tip into the bowl, toss everything together and scatter with the bacon.

Serves 10-12

Crunchy Chicken Cutlets

These deliciously, thin chicken cutlets are coated with cornflakes for a wonderful crunch and are seasoned with a hint of cinnamon and paprika. They are a jot to make and if you cannot find cutlets, simply pound two boneless, skinless chicken breasts to about 1/2″.

2 chicken cutlets or escalopes
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg
3 cups crushed cornflakes
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tbs. vegetable oil
arugula and cherry tomatoes, to serve

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator so that it is not ice cold when you cook it.

In a shallow dish, combine the mustard and the garlic. Whisk in the cinnamon and egg. Put the chicken in, turn it over and leave to sit while you prepare the crumbs.

In another shallow dish, toss the cornflakes with the paprika and season. Add the chicken and dredge thickly with the crumbs.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based skillet and fry the chicken for 3 minutes per side, or until crisp and cooked through. Arrange the arugula and tomatoes onto a plate and top with the chicken to serve.

Serves 2

 

Seared Mustard-Coated Salmon

Simplicity in fish form, this lovely salmon is a jot to make. The recipe calls for the fish to be cooked on the stovetop, but it works just as well on the grill.

1-2 tbs. olive oil
2 heaping tbs. English mustard powder
2 scant tbs. sugar
6 salmon fillets

Heat 1 tbs. of oil in a skillet. Mix half of the mustard powder with the sugar on a plate and dunk in half of the fillets. Cook over a medium to high heat for about 3 minutes a side, or until browned on the outside, yet still juicy inside. Remove to a warmed plate. Repeat the process with the remaining salmon.

Serves 6

No-Fuss Fruit Tart

Don’t feel obliged to use the fruit as listed in the ingredients – use any that you fancy for this wonderful, easy and crowd-pleasing pud.

3 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (27 sheets)
6 tbs. softened butter
16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup lemon curd, at room temperature
1 cups blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
2/3 cup red currants or pomegranate seeds
1 – 1 1/2 small strawberries

Combine the cracker crumbs with the softened butter in the food processor to make a sandy rubble. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a deep, loose-bottomed 10″ fluted tart pan. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

In a clean food processor bowl, combine the cream cheese and lemon curd (or mix by hand) and spread into the bottom of the chilled tart pan, covering the base evenly.

Arrange the fruit gently on top in a decorative manner, leaving some of the strawberries unhulled with their picturesque stalks, if you like.

Place the tart in the fridge, preferably overnight, or for at least 4 hours. It needs to get properly cold to unmold and slice easily.

Serves 8-10