Caesar Cleopatra

This is a light and lemony caesar dressing with anchovy. Perfect for summer!

2 romain lettuce hearts or 1 romaine lettuce head
1 egg yolk
2-3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
juice of half a smallish lemon
few drops Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs. finely grated Parmesan cheese
half and avocado, spooned into curls
1 cold, cooked chicken breast, cut into fat strips (optional)

Wash the lettuce and tear into large chunks, then scatter on plate. Whisk the egg yolk in a small bowl, then slowly whisk in enough olive oil to make a dressing. Add the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Toss this with the lettuce, sprinkle with 2 tbs. of the Parmesan, then toss again.

Arrange the chicken (if using) a top the lettuce, scatter over the avocado and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Give it all a good grinding of black pepper and serve.

Serves 1

Pasta with Zucchini

This is homey and comforting pasta that tastes best when eaten out of a large bowl with a large spoon.

8 oz. caserecce or other small, tubular pasta
2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 lb. zucchini, diced
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
3 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to sprinkle
2 tsp. butter

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Generously salt and cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Put the olive oil and scallions in a heavy pan that comes with a lid and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the vermouth, 2 tbs. of the chopped parsley and season. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes by which time the zucchini should be tender.

Before draining the pasta, reserve a cup of the cooking water.

Tip the drained pasta into the pan with the zucchini along with the 3 tbs. Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Toss thoroughly and taste for seasoning. Add more pasta cooking water if needed. Stir in the butter and serve with the remaining parsley sprinted on top and more Parmesan cheese on the side.

Serves 2

Fish with Three-Herb Salsa

This recipe was written to be a medley of salmon, tuna and swordfish. Here is it deliciously adapted for just swordfish.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
zest of 1/2 lemon and 1 tbs. juice
2 tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbs. capers, drained but not rinsed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried mint
4 smallish swordfish steaks

Make the herb sauce by whisking together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, oregano and mint. Season and set aside for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors develop.

Fry the swordfish in a little oil or cook on the grill to your liking. Remove to a plate and spoon over some of the sauce. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

Serves 4

Warm Potato Salad

What a wonderful divergence from cold potato salad tossed with mayonnaise!

4 1/2 lbs. baby potatoes
4 scallions, finely sliced
1 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
8 slices bacon, sliced
1-2 tsp. white vinegar
1 tbs. wholegrain mustard

Bring a pan of water to a boil and tip in the potatoes. Cook for 20 minute, or until tender. Drain and put into a large bowl with the scallions.

Heat the oil in the same pan and add the bacon, then cook until crispy. Remove from the pan. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the vinegar and mustard. Tip into the bowl, toss everything together and scatter with the bacon.

Serves 10-12

Crunchy Chicken Cutlets

These deliciously, thin chicken cutlets are coated with cornflakes for a wonderful crunch and are seasoned with a hint of cinnamon and paprika. They are a jot to make and if you cannot find cutlets, simply pound two boneless, skinless chicken breasts to about 1/2″.

2 chicken cutlets or escalopes
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg
3 cups crushed cornflakes
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tbs. vegetable oil
arugula and cherry tomatoes, to serve

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator so that it is not ice cold when you cook it.

In a shallow dish, combine the mustard and the garlic. Whisk in the cinnamon and egg. Put the chicken in, turn it over and leave to sit while you prepare the crumbs.

In another shallow dish, toss the cornflakes with the paprika and season. Add the chicken and dredge thickly with the crumbs.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based skillet and fry the chicken for 3 minutes per side, or until crisp and cooked through. Arrange the arugula and tomatoes onto a plate and top with the chicken to serve.

Serves 2

 

No-Fuss Fruit Tart

Don’t feel obliged to use the fruit as listed in the ingredients – use any that you fancy for this wonderful, easy and crowd-pleasing pud.

3 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (27 sheets)
6 tbs. softened butter
16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup lemon curd, at room temperature
1 cups blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
2/3 cup red currants or pomegranate seeds
1 – 1 1/2 small strawberries

Combine the cracker crumbs with the softened butter in the food processor to make a sandy rubble. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a deep, loose-bottomed 10″ fluted tart pan. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

In a clean food processor bowl, combine the cream cheese and lemon curd (or mix by hand) and spread into the bottom of the chilled tart pan, covering the base evenly.

Arrange the fruit gently on top in a decorative manner, leaving some of the strawberries unhulled with their picturesque stalks, if you like.

Place the tart in the fridge, preferably overnight, or for at least 4 hours. It needs to get properly cold to unmold and slice easily.

Serves 8-10

 

Black and Blue Beef

These Korean-flavored steaks are meant to be charred on the outside and rare in the middle. Such a treat!!!

4 x 1 1/2″ rib-eye steaks
5 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1″ piece ginger, peeled and minced or grated
4 scallions, chopped
2 tsp. sugar
black pepper

Mix everything except the steaks in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag. Add the steaks and turn over if using s dish or squish them about if using a bag. Leave in the fridge overnight or , if you are pressed for time, at room temperature for an hour.

Grill the steaks on a viciously hot grill or griddle for about 5 minutes per side for rare or longer to your liking. Leave to stand for a few minutes before carving into thin slices.

Nigella recommends eating them mounded on plain steamed rice, stuffed into buns with barbecue or steak sauce or piled on a thin flatbread.

Serves 4

 

Rice Bowl with Ginger, Radish and Avocado

Using short grain brown rice is the key here – it’s nubbly and nutty!

3/4 cup short grain brown rice
1 cup cold water
2″ piece of ginger, peeled
4-6 radishes
1 1/2 tbs. tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. organic raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame
3-4 tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1 small ripe avocado, sliced or in chunks

Put the rice and water in a heavy-based saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil. Once it’s bubbling, clamp on the lid, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Then turn off the heat, leaving the lid on, and let stand for a further 5 minutes by which time the rice will be cooked, but still nutty, and at the water will be absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, use a vegetable peeler to shave the ginger into very thin strips. Cut the radishes into quarters or eights lengthways, depending on their size.

When the rice is cooked, spoon into a mixing bowl and add the tamarin or soy sauce and the apple cider vinegar. Use a fork to combine, then fork in the ginger shavings, radishes and seeds. Fork in most of the cilantro.

Divide between 2 bowls and top with avocado and the remaining cilantro.

Serves 2

Thai Steamed Clams

The robust zing of Thai red curry paste and the delicate sweetness of coconut water combine to make a richly flavored, but light broth in which to steam the tender clams.

2 lbs. clams
2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tsp. lime juice
handful of Thai basil leaves or coriander

Tip the clams into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes, then drain and discard any that remain open.

Spoon the curry paste into a wok, then mix in the coconut water and lime juice. Turn on the heat and when the mixture comes to a bubble, tip in the clams and cover with a lid. Cook for 5 minutes, shaking from time to time, until the clams have opened. Discard any that remain closed.

Tip into a large bowl and scatter over the Thai basil leaves or coriander.

Serves 2-4

 

Chicken with Greek Herb Sauce

Simple and healthy, this is certainly a winner!

12 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin on or off)
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbs. regular olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped scallions or red onion
1 green chili, deseeded and diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced
3 tbs. each chopped fresh cilantro and mint

Heat the oven to 400°F. Place the chicken (skin-side up is using) in a shallow roasting pan, then pour over the lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with the oregano and season well. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes. Alternatively, toss the chicken with the lemon  juice, oil and seasoning, then grill for 6-7 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, stir together the remaining ingredients to make the sauce.

Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve with the sauce.

Serves 4-6