Tagliata For Two

Pronounced “tallyata”, this sumptuous steak supper is perfect for an at home date night.

2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
scant 1 tsp. kosher salt ot 1/2 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 New York strip steak
8 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
fresh oregano sprigs, to serve (optional)
arugula, to serve

In a small dish that the steak will fit in snuggly, combine the 2 tbs. oil, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, salt and vinegar. Set aside.

Heat a grill, griddle or heavy non-stick pan. Brush the steak with a little oil and cook over a hot heat for 2 minutes per side. More if you don’t like your steak rare.

Remove the steak to the dish with the marinade and leave for 2-3 minutes. Remove to a cutting board, then toss and smoosh the tomatoes in the marinade. Slice the steak into thin strips.

Scatter the arugula on a plate, top with the steak strips and tomatoes, then drizzle over any remaining marinade. Add a few leaves of fresh oregano, if using and serve.

Serves 2

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.

Sake Salmon and Rice

This is a classic Nigella Lawson recipe for a very good reason – it’s utterly delicious!

Marinade:
1 tsp. English mustard or wasabi paste
2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
1 tbs. sake
2 salmon fillets
1 cup basmati rice
2 cardamom pods

Sauce:
1/4 cup sake
1 tbs. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. fish sauce or brown rice vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. English mustard or wasabi paste
1-2 tbs. chopped fresh cilantro or parley, to garnish

To make the marinade, combine the mustard or wasabi, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, oil and sake in a freezer bag or shallow dish. Add the salmon and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.

Bruise the cardamom pod and cook with the rice, following the package directions.

Heat a griddle or nonstick skillet and cook the salmon for 1-2 minuets per side. Remove and wrap in foil for 10 minutes.

For the sauce, bring the sake to a boil in a little saucepan to evaporate the alcohol, then take off the heat and add the remaining ingredients.

Divide the rice between 2 plates. Cut the salmon into slices and arrange on top. Pour the sauce over everything and sprinkle with cilantro or parsley to serve.

Serves 2

Cosmo Cocktail Sausages

These little savory gems are bursting with flavor and perfect for a drinks party.

2 tbs. fine cut or shredless orange marmalade
2 tbs. cranberry sauce or loganberry jam
2 tbs. lime juice
1 splash of vodka (optional)
50 cocktail sausages

Heat the oven to 400°F.

In an ovenproof dish, stir together the marmalade, cranberry sauce, lime juice and vodka, if using. Toss in the sausages and bake for 25-30 minutes if they are raw. If the sausages are already cooked bake for 10-12 minutes.

Serves 8-10

Tarragon Salmon

The secret here is the use of both fresh and dried tarragon. The combination makes the sweet salmon flavor sing.

60ml dry white wine or vermouth
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. dried chives or onions
1 tsp. butter
2 tsp. garlic-infused olive oil
2 salmon fillets
60ml heavy cream
1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon

Pour the wine or vermouth into a jug and add the dried herbs. Set aside.

Heat the butter and oil over a medium heat in a small skillet in which the two fillets will fit snugly. Season the fish and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness and how you well you like your salmon cooked. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Add the herby wine to the skillet and let it bubble and reduce a bit, then stir in the cream and reduce everything to a pourable sauce. Serve spooned over the salmon with the fresh tarragon sprinkled on to.

Serves 2

Fish with Toasted Almonds

Perfect in it’s simplicity, this fish is a jot to prepare and a joy to eat.

1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 tbs. butter
2 tsp. olive oil
4 cod fillets (or other meaty white fish)
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley

Add the almonds to a dry skillet and heat over a medium flame until they are just beginning to toast. Remove and set aside. Add the butter and oil to the pan, then sizzle the fish for 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked to your liking. Reduce the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, plate the fish and top with the pan sauce, the toasted almonds and a good sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Serves 4