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

Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

The secret in this lovely ragu is red currant jelly. It brings out the natural sweetness of the lamb.

1 1/2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
4 green onions, sliced
1 tsp. dried mint
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
250g ground lamb
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbs. red currant jelly
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
250g pappardelle
fresh mint to serve, optional

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook the onions for a minute or two, then stir in the mint, oregano and chili flakes. Add the lamb and brown it whilst breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Stir in the tomatoes, red currant jelly, Worcestershire sauce and a good bit of seasoning. Simmer for 20 minutes to thicken.

Cook the pappardelle in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions. Drain and toss with the ragu.

Serves 2

Turkey Escallops with Mushrooms and Chives

If you need to get supper on the table in 15 minutes, look no further. The key here is to not overcook the turkey.

2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
3 1/2 cups chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 small bunch chives, snipped
4 turkey escallops
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth

Pour the oil into a large skillet and add the mushrooms. Cook over a medium heat until they soften, adding half the chives midway through. Using a slotted spoon, remove while leaving the pan juices.

Season the escallops well and add to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the wine or vermouth. Allow to bubble for another 2-3 minutes, then transfer to two warmed plates. Tip the mushroom back into the skillet to warm up and spoon them over the turkey. Scatter over the remaining chives.

Serves 2

Quick Christmas Cake with Cocoa and Tia Maria

No overnight fruit soaking needed for this luscious and festive fruitcake.

1 1/2 cups chopped soft prunes
1 cup raisins
2 tbs. currants
175ml honey
125ml Tia Maria or similar favorite
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tsp. mixed spice
2 tbs. good quality cocoa powder
12 1/2 tbs. softened butter
7/8 cup dark brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. ground almonds
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Tip the fruit into a large saucepan and add the honey, Tia Maria, orange zest and juice, mixed spice, cocoa, butter and sugar. Heat gently, then leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 300°F and line the bottom of an 8″ springform tin with parchment paper.

Add the eggs to the cooled fruit mixture, then stir in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well, then spread into the prepared tin. Bake for 2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean. Cover with foil if the top is becoming too brown.

Leave to cool, then remove from the tin and decorate or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

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