Prawn Cocktail

This is a classic for a very good reason. This version is served hot, but using cold, cooked prawns is equally delicious.

1 lb. raw prawns
1 tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tbs. tomato ketchup
1 tbs. lemon juice
few drops Tabasco sauce
handful finely shredded lettuce
1 tbs. pink peppercorns, crushed or 2 tsp. paprika, to serve

In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, ketchup, lemon juice and Tabasco sauce, then set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Season the prawns and cook until just pink. Tip into the sauce and toss well.

Arrange the lettuce on six small plates or one large platter. Top with the shrimp, then scatter over the peppercorns or paprika.

Serves 4

Spicy Sausages Patties with Lettuce Wraps

These sassy little sausage discs can be made ahead and quickly cooked when it’s time for supper.

1 lb. good quality pork sausage
1 tsp. grated, peeled ginger
1 green chili, deseeded and finely chopped
1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tsp. English mustard
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
zest of 1 lemon
2 thin or 1 fat scallion
2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbs. vegetable oil
lettuce leaves, to serve
pita breads, to serve

Squeeze the sausage meat out of the casing into a large bowl. Add the ginger, chilies, mustard, garlic, lemon zest, scallion and cilantro. Mix gently, yet thoroughly and form into approx. 16 patties.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet and cook the patties for 3-4 minutes a side, or until browned and cooked through. Serve them wrapped in lettuce and/or in pita breads.

Sticky Garlic Potatoes

THE perfect side to any dish!

1 1/2 lbs. little new potatoes
8 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil

Bring a pot of water to boil, add salt and boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Peel the garlic and add to the pot. Use the end of a rolling pin to crack and split the potatoes and the garlic. Set aside until ready to roast.

Heat the oven to 425°F. Tip the oil into a shallow pan and heat for 2-3 minutes. Carefully add the potatoes and garlic and roast for 15 minutes, turning once.

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Any biscuit tin would welcome these buttery, chocolaty, crumbly cookies.

3/4 cup plus 1 tbs. creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch fine sea salt
1 extra large egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stir together the peanut butter, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in the egg and vanilla, then add the chocolate chips.

Use a small ice cream scoop to drop 16 cookies onto the baking sheets. Flatten slightly and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Pasta with Pancetta, Parsley and Peppers

Here is a vibrant and delicious way to use up partially used packages of pasta.

2 tsp. garlic-infused olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced if large
1/3 cup pancetta cubes
1/2 tsp. dried chili flakes
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 x 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, cut into pieces
1 cup parsley leaves
8 oz. pasta
4 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a pot of water for the pasta. Generously add salt.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the shallots and mushrooms until tender. Stir in the pancetta, chili flakes pepper, lemon zest and juice. Cook until the pancetta is golden, then stir in the red peppers and most of the parsley.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Keep back a little pasta water, then drain and add to the saucepan. Toss in the cheese and add enough pasta water to moisten. Transfer to a serving bowl and scatter over the remaining parsley.

Serves 2

Chicken and Wild Rice

This has a deliciously distinctive Thanksgiving vibe.

2 tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced or grated
1 tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. cumin seeds
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 1/2 cups wild rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 quart chicken stock

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Using a wide, shallow Dutch oven that has a lid, heat the oil and gently soften the onions, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, turmeric, coriander seeds and cumin seeds.

Turn the heat up and add the chicken thighs. Seal on both sides (they will not brown). Season them, then stir in the rice and cranberries. Pour in the chicken stock, cover and transfer to the oven for 1 hour.

Remove the lid and cook 10-15 minutes more to reduce any stock. Check the seasonings and serve.

Serves 6


Cod Wrapped in Prosciutto

These little ham-wrapped bundles are delicious served with a dollop of basil pesto on the side.

6 cod fillets, lightly seasoned
4 tbs. butter, melted
9 slices prosciutto, 3 cut in half lengthwise

Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Lay 1 and 1/2 slices of prosciutto on a cutting board side-by-side. Brush a cod fillet with butter and wrap with the prosciutto. Place on the baking tray and brush the top with butter. Repeat with remaining cod and prosciutto.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cod is cooked and the prosciutto is crisp.

Serves 6


Merguez Meatballs

Merguez sausages are typically made of lamb, but you can sub in a good quality pork sausages for this perfectly spiced and delicious entree.

1 lb. merguez sausages
2 tbs. olive oil
1 x 14oz. can chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup drained and roughly chopped roasted red tomatoes
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
2 tsp. sea salt flakes
1 tbs. honey

Squeeze the sausage meat out of the casings into a bowl. Roll into walnut-sized meatballs.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides. Tip in the remaining ingredients and bubble gently for 10 minute, or until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through.

Red Shrimp and Mango Curry

Here is a fast and flavorful curry.

1 scallion, finely sliced
1 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
1 1/2 tbs red Thai curry paste (or according to taste)
1/2 can coconut milk (reserving the remaining)
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp. fish sauce
2 1/2 cups sweet potato or butternut squash cubes
1 lb. king shrimp
1 cup mango cubes
1 tsp. lime juice
chopped fresh cilantro, to serve

Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the scallions for 2 minute, then stir in the curry paste. Whisk in the coconut milk, stock and fish sauce, then bring to a boil. Tip in the sweet potato or butternut squash cubes, reduce the heat and simmer, partly covered for 15 minutes, or until tender. Uncover and add more coconut milk if the sauce is too thick.

Tumble the shrimp into the sauce with the mango and lime juice and simmer until the shrimp are cooked through. Serve over steamed rice with the cilantro scattered on top.

Serves 2-4

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

This cake has just the right amount of “squidginess” and is absolutely delicious.

1 cup softened butter
1 2/3 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tbs. boiling water

Heat the oven to 375°F and line a 9 x 5″ loaf tin with parchment paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar, then stir in the eggs and vanilla, beating well. Fold in the chocolate. Combine the flour and baking soda and fold into the batter alternating with the boiling water. You will have a smooth, fairly liquid batter.

Spoon into the prepared tin, place on a baking sheet (in case anything bubbles over) and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325°F and bake for another 15 minutes, or until a skewer come out just a little sticky.

Place on a rack to cool before slicing.