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

Chicken and Cashew Nut Curry

This is a soft and mellow curry that has a gentle warmth rather than a fierce bite.

3 tbs. vegetable oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
3/4″ piece fresh ginger, minced
1 fat garlic clove, minced
2 small green chilis, deseeded and chopped (or 1 small can)
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
13 3/4 oz. tin unsweetened coconut milk
4 cardamom pods, bruised
2 lbs. boned, skinned chicken, cut into pieces
7 oz. green beans or asparagus, cut into pieces
1/2 cup cashew nuts
small bunch cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a wok or a wide saucepan and gently fry the onions until soft. Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, then season with salt and pepper. Cook for a minute or so, then stir in the coconut milk, chicken and cardamom pods. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans or asparagus and cook a further 5 minutes. Stir in the sour cream.

Meanwhile, toast the cashews in a dry skillet until just golden. To serve, spoon the curry into bowl and top with the cashews and cilantro.

Serves 6

Soba Noodles with Sesame Seeds

These cold Japanese noodles go wonderfully well with so many things, especially salmon.

1/3 cup sesame seeds
8 oz. soba noodles
2 tsp. rice vinegar
5 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. sesame oil
5 scallions, sliced

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over a high heat until golden brown, then tip them into a bowl.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and cook the noodles for 6 minutes, or according to the package directions. Drain, then plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking further. Drain again.

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil. Toss in the noodles, scallions and sesame seeds. Leave for about 30 minutes for the flavors to develop, then serve.

Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main course

Keralan Fish Curry

This tamarind-sharp curry is light and full of flavor. It’s from the Kerala region of India which is known for it’s refined and aromatic cuisine.

2 3/4 lbs. firm white fish, such as cod, sole, haddock or halibut
2 tsp. turmeric
1 tbs. vegetable oil
2 medium onions, halved and sliced into thin half-moons
2 long red chilis, sliced into thin rounds (seeded or de-seeded depending on your taste)
1 1/2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin strips
pinch ground cumin
13 3/4 ounces unsweetened coconut milk (1 2/3 cup)
1-2 tbs. tamarind paste (or to taste)
1 tbs. liquid fish stock or chicken stock

Cut the fish into bite-size pieces. Sprinkle them with 1 tsp. of the turmeric and a little salt. Leave them while you start the onions.

Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan and add the onions. Sprinkle with a little salt to stop them browning and cook, stirring often, until they are softened, 5-6 minutes. Add the chili, ginger, remaining tsp. of the turmeric and the cumin. Cook everything for a few minutes.

Pour in the coconut milk along with the tamarind paste and fish or chicken stock. Let this bubble for a few minutes. When you are ready to eat, add the fish and cook for a few more minutes until cooked through. Serve over rice.

Serves 4-6

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

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

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

Black and Blue Beef

These Korean-flavored steaks are meant to be charred on the outside and rare in the middle. Such a treat!!!

4 x 1 1/2″ rib-eye steaks
5 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1″ piece ginger, peeled and minced or grated
4 scallions, chopped
2 tsp. sugar
black pepper

Mix everything except the steaks in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag. Add the steaks and turn over if using s dish or squish them about if using a bag. Leave in the fridge overnight or , if you are pressed for time, at room temperature for an hour.

Grill the steaks on a viciously hot grill or griddle for about 5 minutes per side for rare or longer to your liking. Leave to stand for a few minutes before carving into thin slices.

Nigella recommends eating them mounded on plain steamed rice, stuffed into buns with barbecue or steak sauce or piled on a thin flatbread.

Serves 4

 

Hasselback Potatoes

These are a dandy and delicious little side that pairs with just about anything.

oval shaped all-purpose potatoes: 6 large, 18 medium, 36 small (new)
3 tbs. butter
5 tbs. olive oil
Maldon or other sea salt

Heat the oven to 425°F (or 400°F for new potatoes).

Put each potato, in turn, in the bowl of a wooden spoon and cut 1/2″ slices to about 1/2″ from the bottom.  Place a roasting dish over a medium heat and heat the butter and oil. Roll the potatoes around in the mixture, then arrange cut-side up and sprinkle with salt.

Roast as follows: large potatoes – 1 hour, 10 minutes, medium potatoes – 1 hour, small potatoes – 45 minutes.

Serves 6

 

 

Ricotta Hotcakes

These pancakes are light as air – the kind you want to eat in the garden on a summer’s morning.

1 cup plus 2 tbs. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup low-fat milk
2 eggs, separated
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
2 tsp. peanut or vegetable oil
1/2 pint strawberries, chopped or sliced, to serve
maple syrup, to serve

Put the ricotta, milk and egg yolks into a bowl and mix well to combine. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt, then gently whisk to make a smooth batter.

Beat the egg whites until they become frothy and then fold them into the ricotta mixture.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or griddle and drop in heaped spoonfuls of batter. Cook the pancakes for about 1 minute until golden and bubbly, then flip them over and cook another minute. Keep the pancakes warm by tenting them with foil while you work your way through the batter. Serve with strawberries and maple syrup.