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Salmon & horseradish burgers

These are great for a Friday night supper or weekend lunch. Really light & tasty.

Wine Suggestion: Chateau Pesquié make a lovely, fresh Chardonnay in the Ventoux. It helps that it’s the coolest part of the southern Rhône as it tastes lovely and fresh like a good Maçon Chardonnay. Refreshing, unoaked and easy; perfect for a Friday after a long week at work.

Salmon & horseradish burgers – serves 4

  • 4 skinless salmon fillets (about 500g)
  • 1 tbsp creamed horseradish
  • zest of 1 lemon & 2 tsp juice
  • small handful of dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 crusty rolls, split
  • 85g watercress
  • 25g cucumber, sliced
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced

Put the salmon, horseradish, lemon zest and half the dill in a food processor, season and whizz to a fine paste.

Shape the mixture into 4 burgers. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the burgers for 4 minutes on each side or until golden.

Meanwhile, mix the rest of the dill with the mayonnaise and spread some onto the base of the rolls. Toss the watercress with the lemon juice and put a handful on top of each roll base. Top with a burger and garnish with slices of cucumber and radish.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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White aspargus with serrano ham and chive dressing

We adore this stuff. A piece of salty ham and mustardy dressing are all that’s needed for a delicious starter or light lunch.

Wine Suggestion: given the ham and mustard dressing we chose a bottle of Dönnhoff Liestenberg Riesling Kabinett which was superb. It had a vibrancy and freshness to match the salty fatiness of the ham and the tangy dressing.

White asparagus with serrano ham and chive dressing – serves 4

  • 16 fat white asparagus spears
  • 4 slices serrano ham

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 3 tbsp walnut or hazelnut oil
  • 1 tbsp snipped chives

Trim the asparagus and peel the stems with a potato peeler. Boil in salted water for 12-15 mins until the spears are tender, then drain well.

Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard and honey with some salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil, then stir in the chives just before serving.

Divide the warm or cold asparagus between 4 plates. Lay the ham on top and drizzle over the dressing.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

Lobster & Pasta

This is inspired by a Rick Stein recipe in his Mediterranean Escapes book called Lobster & Pasta Chez Jen Jen from Corsica. We cooked this on a weeknight and cheated a bit with the lobster by using frozen lobster tails. We thought you could use raw prawns to good effect too.

Wine Suggestion: We made this on a celebratory evening so pushed the boat out with the wine and had the best English Sparkling we’ve tasted to date: the Dermot Sugrue “The Trouble with Dreams” from Sussex. It had a driving purity and vibrancy that makes it feel alive. For years we often compared English sparkling to Champagne without recognising it to have a unique character and with this wine we fully realised this.

Lobster & Spaghetti – serves 2

  • 2 x frozen lobster tails
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • a garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • 20ml Cognac
  • 50ml dry white wine
  • 200ml passata
  • 1 tsp dried herbes de Provence
  • salt and cayenne pepper

Defrost the lobster tails by putting them into a deep bowl of cold water and leaving for 30 minutes. You’ll know they are defrosted when they feel a bit flexible.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and gently lower in the lobster tails. Cook for 3½ minutes, then scoop out with a spoon. Leave to cool slightly, then slice into the soft side to check that the meat is white and therefore cooked through. If it looks grey you need to return to the water again until cooked.

Carefully cut down the soft side of the lobster tails and remove flesh from the shell in one piece, it should come away very easily.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of very salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan with the curry powder and garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the lobster, flesh-side down. Pour over the Cognac and flambé to burn off the alcohol. Add the white wine, passata, and herbes de Provence, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the lobster is heated through.

Drain the spaghetti. Lift the lobster tails out of the pan and onto warm plates. Season the sauce to taste with salt and cayenne pepper, add the spaghetti and toss well with the sauce. Spoon alongside the lobster and serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

Wild Garlic Mash

Wild garlic has a short season in April and most years we make all kinds of things with it. This April we only managed some mashed potato – but very delicious mashed potato it was!

Wild Garlic Mash- serves 2 generously

  • 700g floury potatoes
  • 25-50g butter
  • 25g wild garlic, roughly chopped
  • 100ml double cream

Peel the potatoes and cut into same-sized chunks. Boil until completely tender.

Dry the potatoes off in the hot pan, then mash until smooth.

Meanwhile, melt a generous slab of butter in a small frying pan. Add the wild garlic and cook for a minute or two until softened. Pour the melted butter and wild garlic into the mashed potatoes.

Pour the cream into the same frying pan and bring to a bubble, then pour into the potatoes. Season well with salt and freshly ground white pepper, then beat the mash with a wooden spoon until smooth and fluffy.

 

Chinese Meatball Stir-fry

This is a diet dish but is packed with flavour and you get a decent bowl full to really fill you up. The recipe is by Tom Kerridge and the ingredient list is long, but it’s easy to put together and other than the fresh veg you probably have most of the ingredients in the cupboard.

Chinese Meatball Stir-fry – serves 4

  • vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 750g lean beef mince
  • 1 ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 200g carrots, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, diced
  • 300ml fresh beef stock
  • 120g Asian mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 80g mangetout
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle

Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and add the soy sauce. Leave to cool.

Put the beef mince into a large bowl and add the cooled onions, Chinese five-spice, bicarbonate of soda and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands, then divide into 16 equally sized meatballs. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

Put a large non-stick wok/frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add a splash of vegetable oil. Add the meatballs and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to an oven tray and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, return the wok/frying pan to a high heat. Add the sesame oil, red onion and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes stirring continually. Add the peppers and cook for 4 minutes, add a dash of the beef stock at any point if things start to stick.

Add the mushrooms, meatballs and half of the beef stock to the pan, then add the hoisin and oyster sauces and the rice wine vinegar. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Mix the cornflour to a paste with 1 tbsp of the remaining beef stock and pout into the pan, along with the rest of the stock.

Add the mangetout and scallions and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until the mangetout are just cooked and the meatballs heated through.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, Absolute Press, 2017.)

Carrot Salad with Yoghurt & Cinnamon

A salad of long, thin baby carrots with a herby yoghurt dressing. This is a great side dish for a barbecue and the portions are huge! It’s served at room temperature so the carrots can be cooked and dressed earlier in the day and mixed with the yoghurt before serving.

Carrot Salad with Yoghurt & Cinnamon – serves 4 – 8

  • 1 kg long, thin baby carrots, scrubbed and stalks trimmed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 120g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 60g crème fraîche
  • 5g dill, roughly chopped
  • 10g coriander, roughly chopped

Steam the carrots for 8-12 minutes or until cooked through but retaining a bite.

Meanwhile, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, cinnamon, ½ tsp salt and plenty of black pepper together in a large bowl. Add the carrots to the dressing as soon as they are cooked, then mix well and set aside to cool.

Mix the yoghurt and crème fraîche in a medium bowl with a ¼ tsp of salt. Add this to the carrots, along with the fresh herbs. Stir gently to mix roughly together, then serve.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

Roasted Asparagus with Almonds, Capers & Dill

We thought you couldn’t beat buttered asparagus until Yotam Ottolenghi suggested almonds, capers & dill, a fabulous combination!

Roasted asparagus with almonds, capers & dill – serves 4 as a side dish

  • 600g asparagus, snap off the woody ends
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 20g flaked almonds
  • 30g baby capers, patted dry with kitchen towel
  • 10g dill, roughly chopped
  • salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.

Toss the asparagus with 1 tbsp of the oil and some salt and black pepper. Spread over a large parchment-lined baking tray and roast for 8 to 12 minutes depending on thickness, until soft and starting to brown in spots. Transfer to a large serving plate and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the almonds and fry for a minute or two, stirring, until golden-brown. Pour the almonds and butter over the asparagus.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil to the saucepan and place over a high heat. Once hot, add the capers and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring all the time, until they have opened up and turned crispy. Remove the capers with a slotted spoon and scatter over the asparagus along with the dill (discard the oil). Serve warm.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)