Cod with Broccolini and Chili

Perfect for a kitchen supper for two, this lovely and light dish is ready in no time.

3 tbs. olive oil
4 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove, grated
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
8 oz. broccolini, trimmed
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
2 cod fillets (approx. 6 oz. each and no more than 1″ thick)
1 fresh red chili, seeded and chopped

Heat the olive oil over a low heat in a large skillet with a lid and add the anchovy fillets. Stir to melt the anchovies into the oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for about 30 seconds before adding the broccolini. Tip in the wine or vermouth and let it bubble, then cover and let the broccolini steam for 7 minutes, until tender-crisp.

Season the cod, then add to the skillet and let it bubble for 3-4 minutes per side, or until just cooked through.

Serve in warmed bowls with the pan juices and topped with red chili.

Serves 2

Salmon with Greens and Shitake Mushrooms

This fast and fabulous supper will become a staple in your kitchen – I guarantee it!!

2 skinned salmon fillets
1 garlic clove, finely minced or chopped
2 tbs. vegetable or peanut oil
generous 1/2 cup stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 bok choy, roughly chopped, with stems separated from leaves
3 tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
pepper to taste

Heat a nonstick pan or wok over a medium-high heat and cook the salmon for several minutes a side or until cooked through. Remove to two warmed plates.

Add the oil to the pan and fry the garlic just until it softens. Stir in the mushrooms and chopped bok choy stems. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, then remove the lid and add the chopped bok choy leaves, soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook 1-2 more minutes until the leaves have wilted.

Divide the veg between the two plates, season with pepper and serve.

Serves 2

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

Lamb Cutlets with Mint, Chili and Golden Potatoes

This is a proper meat and potato supper that will delight everyone. Both dried mint and fresh mint are used for just the right amount of warming spice.

1 lb. baby white potatoes, halved but not peeled
3 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. dried mint
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
1/4 tsp. celery salt
8 lamb chops, frenched
4 cups arugula
1 tbs. chopped fresh mint
1 tbs. chopped fresh parsley

Put the baby potatoes on to steam until just tender.

In a large, shallow dish, into which the chops will all fit in an even layer, add the oil with the dried mint, chili flakes and celery salt. Use one of the chops to smooch in all together, then add all of the chops, turning in the oil. Leave to marinate for 10 minuets.

Heat a large, heavy skillet or the grill to medium heat. Cook the chops for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on how well you like them done. Remove and let them rest. Tip the potatoes into the skillet and cook until golden, 3-5 minutes. If grilling the chops, tip the oil from the marinade into a skillet and add the potatoes. Proceed as above.

Scatter the arugula onto a platter and top with the chops, potatoes, fresh mint and fresh parsley. Season to your liking.

Serves 3-4

Lemon Risotto

This luscious risotto is delicately scented with lemon and a bit of rosemary adds just the right amount of earthiness.

2 shallots
1 rib of celery
1/4 cup butter
1 tbs. olive oil
1 1/3 cups risotto rice
4 cups vegetable stock
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 small sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
4 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to sprinkle
4 tbs. heavy cream

Put the shallots and celery in a mini food processor and blitz to a fine mush. Heat half the butter and all the oil in a wide saucepan and add the shallots and celery. Cook gently to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, letting it get a good coating of the oil and butter.

Meanwhile, heat the stock in another saucepan, then keep on low.

Pour a ladleful of the stock into the rice and stir until it is incorporated. Continue doing this until the rice is al dente. You may not need all the stock, or you might need more water from the kettle, depending on your rice.

Stir the lemon zest and rosemary into the risotto. In small bowl, combine the lemon juice, egg yolk, Parmesan and cream. When the risotto is ready, stir this in along with the remaining butter. Season well and serve with more Parmesan grated over the top.

Serves 2 as supper or 4 as a side

Pasta Risotto with Peas and Pancetta

Heavenly to make and to eat!

2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
6 oz. cubed pancetta
1 1/4 cups frozen peas
8 oz. orso pasta
2 1/2 cups boiling water
salt, to taste
1 tbs. soft butter
2 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
grated black pepper, to taste

Warm the oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp and bronze, then stir in the peas for a minute or two until the frozen look leaves them.

Add the pasta and stir for a bit, then add the boiling water and season with salt. Turn  down to a simmer and let it bubble for 10 minutes, until the pasta is tender and the water absorbed.

To serve, toss with the soft butter, Parmesan and sprinkle with black pepper.

Serves 2

Ginger and Walnut Carrot Cake

Everyone has a favorite carrot cake recipe. This one, however, is exceptional. Studded with crystallized ginger and walnuts, this is not overly sweet and more reminiscent of an old-fashion, rustic English teatime treat.

Ginger and Walnut Carrot Cake

For the cake:

1 2/3 cup plain flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. light brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
200ml vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup loosely packed carrots, coarsely grated
1 cup walnut pieces, roughly chopped
4 1/2 tbs. crystallized ginger, finely chopped

For the icing:

7 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. corn starch
4 oz. full fat cream cheese, at room temperature

For the decoration:

1/4 cup walnut pieces, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tsp. crystallized ginger

Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line the base of a 8″ springform tin.

Combine the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and fork to mix together.

Beat the sugar, eggs and oil in a large bowl. Stir in the flour mixture. (At this point, the mixture may seem stiff, but the carrots will add moisture.) Fold in the carrots, walnuts and crystallized ginger. Spread in the prepared tin, smooth the top and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

To make the icing, beat the butter with the sugar until creamy. Beat in the corn starch followed by the cream cheese to make a smooth icing. Remove the cooled cake from the tin and place on a serving plate. Spread the icing generously on top and sprinkle with the walnut pieces and crystalized ginger.

 

Spaghetti with Prawns and Chili

This simple pasta supper is bursting with flavor and color. Enjoy!

1 1/4 lbs. raw prawns
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
1 cup sunblush or cherry tomatoes in oil
1/2 cup white wine or vermouth
1 1/2 cups arugula
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
8 oz. spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

In a large pan, fry the scallions and chili flakes in the olive oil for a few minutes, then tip in the prawns and tomatoes with their oil. When the prawns are just opaque, add the wine or vermouth and let it bubble a bit. Toss in the arugula and stir until it slightly wilts.

Drain the pasta, keeping a bit of the cooking water, and add to the prawns. Toss everything together, adding some cooking water if needed to make a sauce.

Serve sprinkled with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

These tender, turkey morsels will delight everyone, from children to adults. Swap in rolled oats for the breadcrumbs for a bit of a healthier option.

For the sauce:

1 onion, peeled
1 celery stalk
2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 x 14 oz. tins diced tomatoes (approx. 3 1/3 cups)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
pepper, to taste

For the meatballs:

1 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
3 tbs. breadcrumbs
3 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs. of the chopped vegetables
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Parmesan cheese, to serve
Put the onions and celery into a food processor and blitz into a mush. Reserve 2 tbs..

Warm the olive oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Add all but the 2 tbs. of the onions and celery mush along with the thyme and cook over a moderate to low heat, stirring now and then, to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer gently while you get on with the meatballs.

Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs (except the Parmesan) in a large bowl and gently mix them together. Roll into about 50 small meatballs. Drop these into the sauce and let them simmer for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve over pasta or rice.

Serves 4-6

Chicken and Pea Traybake

Nigella Lawson has been dubbed, “The Queen of the Frozen Pea” and for just reason. The small jade orbs play a prominent role in her recipes. This recipe combines them with chicken thighs and leeks, all of which cook effortlessly in a large roasting tin.

Chicken and Pea Traybake

7 cups frozen peas
4 leeks
2 fat garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white vermouth
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt flakes
small bunch of dill, coarsely chopped
8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on

Heat the oven to 400°F. Into a large roasting pan, tumble in the peas, leeks and garlic. Pour over the vermouth and olive oil, then sprinkle in the salt and most of the dill. Arrange the chicken on top, skin-side up.

Roast in the oven for 45 mins. Give the peas a stir, but leave to leeks in place (you want them to be caramelized). Roast for a further 30 minutes, or until the chicken is crisp and cooked through. Scatter with the remaining dill and serve.