Warm Potato Salad

Here is a wonderful, non-mayo version of potato salad.

4 lb. new potatoes
4 green onions, sliced
1 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
8 slices bacon
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbs. whole grain mustard

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and tip in the potatoes. Cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cut into bite-sized pieces. Put them into a large bowl with the green onions.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Take the skillet off the heat and stir the vinegar and mustard into the remaining oil. Pour into the bowl and toss everything together gently. Season. Crumble over the bacon and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 10-12

Pork Steaks with Port and Figs

It’s remarkable that such an effortless recipe can taste so luxurious.

6 soft dried figs
2/3 cup port
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
4-6 thin boneless pork chops
2 tbs. butter
1 tbs. olive oil

Tip the figs and port into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and bubble for 10 minutes to soften the figs and reduce the port. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and set aside.

Combine the flour, ginger, cumin, salt and allspice in a plastic bag. Add the pork and shake to coat. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet that will fit the pork snuggly. Cook the pork over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove to a heated plate. Tip in the port and figs and bubble until rich and syrupy.

Pour the sauce over the pork and serve.

Serves 2

Black Pudding Meatballs

Don’t be put off by the addition of black pudding in these beef-based meatballs. They are fantastic.

For the tomato sauce:

2 tbs. olive oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbs. chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbs. tomato paste
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. sea salt flakes

For the meatballs:

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. black pudding
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs. chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tbs. chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. chili flakes
2 tsp. sea salt flakes
very good grinding of black pepper
2 tbs. old-fashioned oats
2 eggs

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a heavy pan with a lid. Cook the onions slowly until softened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic, parsley and thyme, then tip in the tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Fill the tomato can 1/2 full with water, swish it around and add to the pan. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

For the meatballs, crumble the beef and black pudding into a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and, using your hands, gently mix everything together. Roll out walnut-sized meatballs and set aside.

When ready to cook, drop the meatballs in the sauce in concentric circles. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer 15 minutes more. Check the sauce for seasoning and serve.

Serves 4-6

 

 

 

Mustard-Caper Sauce for Broccoli

Bored of simply steamed broccoli?  Here is a delicious solution.

1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
6 tbs. butter
2 tbs. capers
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon

Steam the broccoli until tender, then transfer to a serving bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the capers, mustard and lemon juice. Drizzle over the broccoli to serve.

Serves 4

St. Tropez Chicken

Here is the smell and flavor of the south of France on a plate.

10 chicken pieces, skin-on and bone-in
juice of 1 lemon
`1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup rose wine
2 cloves garlic, peeled and bruised
1 tbs. mixed herbs with lavender, such as Herbs de Provence

Put the chicken in a large plastic freezer bag. Add the lemon juice, honey, oil, wine, garlic and herbs. Squelch everything together well and chill overnight or up to two days.

Heat the oven to 325°F and tip the chicken into a roasting tin with the marinade, skin side up. Cover with foil and roast for 2 hours. Remove the foil and turn the heat up to 425°F. Cook for another 15 minutes to brown the skin. (Alternatively, grill over a medium heat for 7-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through.)

Pour the juices from the roasting tin (of if grilling, the marinade from the plastic bag) into a small saucepan. Heat over a medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Serve with the chicken.

Serves 6

 

Barbecue Beef Mince

Serve this in warmed buns like a sloppy joe, in tortillas with shredded cheddar on in jacket potatoes.

1 celery stalk, cut into chunks
2 onions, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves, peeled
5 rashers bacon
2 tbs. vegetable oil
3 tbs. dark brown sugar
pinch ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 lb. ground beef
1 x 14oz. can chopped tomatoes
3 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs. bourbon
2 tbs. tomato paste

Tip the celery, onions, carrots, garlic and bacon into a food processor and blitz to a nubbly paste. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and add the veg. Cook for 15-20 minutes over a low heat. Stir in 1 tbs. of the brown sugar, cloves and allspice. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go. Season well and tip in the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, bourbon, tomato paste and remaining 2 tbs. brown sugar. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, adding a bit more water is needed.

Serves 4

 

Pasta with Garlic Oil and Bacon

 

Simple perfection!

2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
1/2 lb. bacon lardons or pancetta
1/2 lb. pasta
shaved Parmesan, to serve

Heat the oil in a skillet and cook the bacon until crisp. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Boil a large pot of water and salt it well. Cook the pasta according to the packet directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain. Tip the pasta into the skillet and toss well, adding enough pasta water to make a creamy sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan to serve.

Serves 2

Meatballs with Couscous

The sauce is the star here – loaded with veggies and slightly sweet with dried apricots.

2 tbs. olive oil
2 red onions, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
4 carrots, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup snipped dried apricots
2 x 14oz. cans chopped tomatoes
4 cups couscous
2 dozen cooked meatballs
chopped, fresh parsley, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions, celery, carrots and garlic over a medium-low heat until softened and caramelized. Stir in the spices, apricots and tomatoes. Swish out a tomato can with water and add. Simmer for 1 hour, adding more water if the sauce gets too thick.

When ready to serve, drop the meatballs in the sauce and warm them up. Prepare the couscous per the package directions. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Serves 8-10

 

Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad

Yet another use for rotisserie chicken!

1 tsp. garlic-infused olive oil
4 slices bacon
1/2 iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
3 cups shredded, cooked chicken
2 small avocados, scooped into chunks
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbs. seasoned rice vinegar
pepper to taste
splash more olive oil, if needed
1 tbs. chopped chives, to serve

Heat the oil in a skillet and cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to cool, then crumble. Do do throw out the oil in the pan.

Put the lettuce, chicken, avocado and bacon in a large bowl. Add the mustard and vinegar along with a good grinding of pepper to the skillet and whisk to combine. Pour over the salad and toss to dress. Drizzle in more olive oil, if needed. Sprinkle with the chives, to serve.

Serves 3-4

Basil Pesto

This classic, multi-use sauce can also be made with wild garlic or ramps when they are in season from March to June. Delish!

2 cups basil leaves, roughly chopped
4 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
7 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
sea salt to taste

Put the basil and Parmesan in a small food processor and blitz to grind. With the motor running, gradually pour in the olive oil until you have a smooth sauce. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste.

Serve over cooked and drained pasta.