Spatchcock Chicken with Miso and Sesame Seeds

Not that it’s difficult to do it yourself, but you can now buy a spatchcocked chicken in U.S. markets!! (Look for the Bell and Evans brand.) It halves the cooking time needed and the chicken roasts to succulent perfection.

1 tbs. vegetable oil
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
4 tsp. sweet white miso
1 tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 tbs. freshly grated ginger
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 chicken, spatchcocked
2 tsp. sesame seeds

Mix together the vegetable oil, 1 tsp. of the sesame oil, miso, soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger and garlic. Place the chicken in a large freezer bag, add the sauce mixture and squidge everything together. Place in the fridge to marinate overnight.

About an hour before you want to roast the chicken, take it out of the fridge and put it and the marinade in a shallow, roasting tin. Leave to come to room temperature.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Cover the chicken with foil and roast for 45 minutes.

Remove the foil, baste with some of the pan juices and sprinkle over the remaining sesame oil and the sesame seeds. Put it back in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Leave the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving with any pan juices spooned on top.

Serves 4-6

Salted Chocolate Tart

Typically this marvelous tart is made in a 10″ springform pan, but as you can see, it makes a perfect Valentine’s Day dessert when made into a heart. Either way, it is devine.

For the base:

28 Oreo cookies
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (preferably at least 70% cocoa solids)
3 tbs. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. smoked sea salt flakes (Maldon makes a wonderful one)

For the filling:

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (preferably at least 70% cocoa solids)
3 tbs. cornstarch
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
7 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp. instant espresso powder or strong instant coffee powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. smoked sea salt flakes

Snap the cookies into pieces and drop into the bowl of a food processor. Do likewise with the chocolate and whizz into crumbs. Add the butter and salt and blitz until everything clumps together. (To do this by hand, bash the cookies with a rolling pin in a sealed plastic bag, finely chop the chocolate and melt the butter. Stir everything together in a bowl.) Tip into a 10″ springform pan, pushing it with a wooden spoon into the bottom and up the sides. Chill and harden at least 1 hour, but not more than a day.

For the filling, finally chop the chocolate. Put the cornstarch into a cup and whisk in the milk until smooth. Pour the cream into a heavy saucepan into which all the ingredients can fit. Add the chopped chocolate, cocoa, espresso powder, sugar, vanilla, olive oil and sea salt flakes. Place over a medium heat and whisk until melted and smooth.

Off the heat, whisk in the cornstarch mixture until fully incorporated. Put it back on a low heat and mix with a wooden spoon until thickened, about 10 minutes. Do not let it boil. When ready, it should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, and if you run your finger through it, the line should stay. Pour into a large measuring cup. Take a piece of parchment paper and run it under the cold tap. Wring it out, scrunch it up and place it over the chocolate. Chill for 15 minutes.

Smooth the chocolate in the base, cover and chill overnight. Remove 10 minutes before serving and untold, living the base pan on.

Serves 12

 

Salmon with Mustard and Dill Creme Fraiche

This lovely little salmon recipe is fast, fresh and fabulous!

2 salmon fillets
1/2 tsp. with wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1/3 cup creme fraiche
4 tsp. wholegrain mustard
4 tsp. chopped fresh dill
2 tsp. garlic-infused olive oil
cornichons, to serve, optional

 

In a small dish, sprinkle in the vinegar, cumin and dried dill. Add the salmon, turn over once and leave while you carry on with the sauce. Put the creme fraiche into a small mixing bowl and add the mustard and most of the fresh dill.

Now cook the salmon. Heat the oil in a medium-sized frying pan and put the salmon in curved side down. Cook for 4 minutes, then turn over and cook for 1 minute on the other side for a soft-centered salmon, or a few minutes longer if you like your salmon more cooked.

Serve the salmon with the sauce spooned over and sprinkled with the remaining fresh dill and cornichons, if using.

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

Chicken Teriyaki

This is fast and fabulous – so much better than any takeaway.

2 tbs. sake or sherry
4 tbs. mirin
4 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. light brown sugar
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
splash of sesame oil
1 3/4 lbs. chicken thigh fillets, cut or scissored into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp. peanut oil
2 cups sushi rice, cooked

Mix together the sake or sherry, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and sesame oil in a shallow dish. Toss in the chicken and leave for 15 minutes. Or do this earlier and keep in the fridge.

Heat the peanut oil in a large, shallow skillet. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the skillet and cook over a medium heat until they look cooked on the outside. Pour in the marinade and bubble until the marinade is reduced to a thick, dark syrup and the chicken is completely cooked.

Serve with sushi rice.

Serves 4-6

Halloumi with Quick Sweet Chili Sauce

Halloumi cheese is the star here, followed by the beloved red chili. Modulate the heat of the sauce by the amount of chili seeds you use.

3 red chilies
2 tbs. honey
1 lime, halved
1 8 oz. block of halloumi cheese
salad leaves of your choice
extra-virgin olive oil

Slice 2 of the chilies, leaving the seeds in. Then deseed the third chili and chop all of them finely. Add to a small saucepan (something like a butter warmer) along with the honey and the of 1/2 a lime. Put the pan on the smallest ring of the stove and bring to a bubble. Then, turn the heat to low and let it foam for 4 minutes, stirring often.

Slice the halloumi into 8 pieces. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle and cook the halloumi for 30-60 seconds a side, until patchily bronzed. Arrange the salad leaves on the plate and drizzle with olive oil and the juice of the other lime half. Top with the halloumi and drizzle the chili glaze on top. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Warm Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

This warm and warmly scented side is perfect with roast chicken! Use any color of cauliflower you fancy.

1 small head cauliflower
3 tbs. regular olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained
1-2 tbs. harissa
4 smallish ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp. sea salt flakes or kosher salt
3-4 tbs. pomegranate seeds
2 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves

Heat the oven to 425°F. Trim the cauliflower and divide into small florets. Pour the oil in a large bowl, add the cinnamon and cumin seeds, then toss in the cauliflower. Tip onto a baking dish and roast for 15 minutes. Don’t wash out the bowl.

Add the chickpeas, harissa and tomatoes to the bowl and toss well. Add this to the baking dish and roast for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and give a good stir.

Arrange the parsley onto two plates and spoon everything on top, then sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Serves 2

Triple Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies

Using buckwheat flour makes these lovely cookies gluten-free.

2/3 cup small bittersweet chocolate chips
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (preferably at least 70% cocoa solids)
3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. buckwheat flour
3 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
4 tbs. soft, unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. soft dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla paste or extract
2 extra large eggs, fridge-cold

Clatter the chocolate chips into a flatfish dish and put in the fridge while you get on making the batter. This makes them not melt too much in the baking.

Heat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roughly chop the bittersweet chocolate and melt it either in a suitable bowl in the microwave or over a saucepan of just simmering water. Set aside to cool a little.

In another bowl, fork together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In yet another bowl or that of a free-standing mixer, combine the butter and sugar with the vanilla and cream together. Beat in the slightly cooled, melted chocolate and the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the sides, then carefully beat in the dry ingredients.

Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, fold in the cold chocolate chip. Dollop by tablespoonfuls onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 1/2″ between each one. Put the bowl with the remaining dough in the fridge while these cook. Bake for 9-10 minutes,  until they are set around the edges, but otherwise seem undercooked. Remove them from the oven and leave to sit on the baking sheets for 10 before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

When the baking sheet is cool, repeat with the remaining dough.

Yields approx. 25

Cheddar Cheese Risotto

The use of Cheddar cheese and a bit of Dijon mustard is inspired.

1 tbs. butter
1 tbs. vegetable oil
2 baby leeks or 2 fat scallions, finely sliced
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 cups hot vegetable stock
1 cup chopped Cheddar cheese
2 tbs. snipped chives or parsley

Melt the butter and oil in a medium-sized pan and cook the leeks or shallots until softened.

Add the rice and stir for a minute or two, then add the wine and mustard, stirring until it is absorbed.

Start ladling in the stock, letting each ladleful become absorbed as you stir before adding another. Continue in this fashion until the rice is al dente, about 18-20 minutes. Stir in the cheese then transfer to warmed bowls and sprinkle with chives or parsley.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter

Roast Loin of Pork

Classic simplicity and succulent flavors.

4 lb. pork loin
1 cup white wine, cider or stock
4 tbs. orange marmalade

Heat the oven to 425°F. Place the pork in a small roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes per pound. This should take 80 minutes.

Half way through the cooking time, tip in the wine and marmalade. Continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 150-155°F. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving into thick slices.

Serves 6