Recipe – Salmon & Potato Cake

This is a lovely brunch or lunch dish, perhaps served with something green on the side. I know that in the US in particular,  during the first part of the day people like to serve fruit with this type of thing but for what it’s worth, I don’t. Keep the fruit garnishes for your stack of pancakes.

It’s also a great way to stretch small quantities of smoked salmon and fresh wild salmon between 4-6 people, depending on how hungry they are.

You can prepare the whole thing up to 24 hrs ahead – just cover and refrigerate but bring it to room temperature before putting it in the oven for 30 mins.

You could make this entirely with smoked salmon if you’re feeling luxurious; just quadruple the quantity.

Salmon & Potato Cake

Salmon & Potato Cake


(Serves 4-6)


4 medium-sized baking potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly

1 pint (475ml) of whole milk

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2-3 oz (56-85g) of smoked salmon, cut into thin strips

2 fillets of fresh wild-caught salmon (approx 8 oz / 230g total weight), skinned and cut into 1.5 inch (4cm) chunks

1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill with some extra for a garnish

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


salmon-potato-cake-003Bring the milk to a boil and drop in the sliced potatoes. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the slices are tender, stirring gently from time to time to prevent sticking. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl with a slotted spoon and reserve 1 and 1/4 cups (300ml) of the milk (you can discard the rest or use for something else).

Allow the milk and potatoes to cool to room temperature. Fold all of the salmon into the potatoes, along with the dill, lemon zest and a good grind of black pepper – add sea salt to taste. Transfer everything to a buttered, shallow ovenproof baking dish.

Whisk the eggs into the cooled milk then pour it over the salmon and potato mixture. (It can be made ahead to this point – cover and chill but return to room temp before baking).

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400F/200C and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is slightly golden.

Scatter the remaining dill over and serve hot or warm with some lemon wedges on the side.


Posted in Fish | 5 Comments

Recipe – A Simple Vegetable and Coconut Curry

This is a lovely way to serve vegetables and one that I’ve adapted from Maya Kaimal’s ‘Savoring The Spice Coast of India’. It’s economical, easy to make and is absolutely delicious served on it’s own over plain or aromatic rice.

Because the vegetables are bathed in a creamy coconut sauce, this would also make an excellent accompaniment to a drier type of meat, prawn or chicken Indian dish.

*Fresh curry leaves are an essential ingredient here. Although you don’t eat them, they add a wonderful, aromatic nutty flavor and you can buy them from any decent Asian supermarket or online – they also freeze well.

A Simple Vegetable & Coconut Curry

A Simple Vegetable & Coconut Curry


(Serves 6 as a side dish)


2 medium to large sweet potatoes (or regular potatoes) peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) chunks

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into thin 2-inch (5cm) matchsticks

1 medium to large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 or 2 fresh green chilies (Serrano or Thai), sliced lengthwise (adjust quantity to taste)

10 thin slices of peeled root ginger

10-12 *fresh curry leaves

Sea salt to taste

3/4 cup (180ml) of coconut milk (not ‘lite’)

1 and 1/2 cups (354ml) of water

1 cup measure (236ml) of frozen peas, defrosted


Combine the potatoes, carrot, onion, chilies, ginger and curry leaves in a medium saucepan. Season with sea salt and pour over 1/2 cup of the coconut milk plus 1 and 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a rapid boil then reduce to a simmer, uncovered for approx 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Smash a few of the potato pieces to thicken the sauce, then add the peas and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the remaining coconut milk, check the seasoning and heat through.

This will keep in the fridge for a few days – just reheat very gently, stirring from time to time but don’t let it boil or the coconut milk may curdle.


Posted in Indian Cuisine, Made in Under 30 mins, Vegan, Vegetables / Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Recipe – Olive & Toasted Walnut Crostini

These delicious, sophisticated little appetizers only take a few minutes to put together. You can make everything ahead and assemble them just a few minutes before you serve your guests with a nice glass of chilled Prosecco.

I like to make crostini in a very hot skillet with the bread slices smeared with a small amount of good quality mayonnaise – it yields a lovely crisp result. The toasted walnut and olive paste can be made 3 hours to 2 days ahead – just cover it with cling film and let it sit at room temp for the flavors to develop. Any left over will keep in the fridge but bring it to room temp before serving.

You can also make a batch of crostini a couple of days ahead – keep them in an airtight container.

Olive & Toasted Walnut Crostini

Olive & Toasted Walnut Crostini


(Makes about 1 and 1/3 cups of paste, enough for approx 24 crostini)


1 and 3/4 cups (approx 415 ml measure) of pitted kalamata olives, rinsed and drained

Half a cup (118ml measure) of walnuts, toasted on a baking tray for 9 minutes at 350F/180C

1/4 cup (59ml) of extra-v olive oil

2 teaspoons of wholegrain Dijon mustard

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon each of chopped fresh thyme, oregano and sage

A pinch of cayenne


Put the olives and half of the toasted walnuts in a food processor. Pulse a few times then add the herbs, garlic, olive oil, mustard and cayenne. Pulse again until you have a coarse paste.

Chop the remaining toasted walnuts and fold them into the paste then transfer everything to a bowl, cover and allow it to sit at room temp for a couple of hours for the flavors to develop – or refrigerate for up to 3 days and bring to room temp before serving.

For the crostini – slice a French baguette into 1/4 inch (6.5mm) slices on the diagonal. Lightly smear a little mayonnaise onto each side and toast in a hot skillet until golden on both sides, turning once or twice. Cool to room temp and store them in an airtight container and top with the olive-walnut paste just before you’re ready to serve.

Hosting a cocktail party? here are some lovely fast and fabulous hors d’oeurves that require very little effort to make and are sure to impress:

Frico (Parmesan Crisps)

Wild Mushroom Pate with Glazed Cranberries

White Bean, Lemon & Herb Bruschetta

Chicken Liver Mousse Pate

Smoked Salmon Pate

Roasted Eggplant with Basil, Mint & Pine Nuts

Truffled Goat Cheese Toasts with Honey, Walnuts & Rosemary

Muhammara (Roasted Pepper, Pomegranate & Walnut Dip)


Posted in Made in Under 30 mins, Salads & Appetizers, Vegetables / Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Recipe – Chicken with Preserved Lemon & Cilantro

Cooking chicken on the bone yeilds a juicier result with more flavor and chicken thighs are particularly good, especially when braised in an aromatic broth. In this case, removing the skin cuts back on the fat without compromising the flavor.

I like to serve this dish with couscous; quinoa or rice will also do but couscous is ready in 5 minutes and the addition of dried fruit and toasted nuts creates a luxurious and versatile result that can be served with roast chicken, duck, turkey, lamb, etc.

Of course, you’ll also need a batch of Moroccan preserved lemons, unless you can find them in a specialty store or Middle Eastern supermarket. They’re widely available in the UK but not sure about over here, which is why I make my own.

Moroccan preserved lemons only take a few minutes to make and are a wonderful gift that would brighten up anyone’s kitchen – however, you do have to wait a couple of months until they’re ready to use, so perhaps now’s the time to start thinking about gift-making for the holiday season…

Chicken with Moroccan Preserved Lemon & Cilantro

Chicken with Moroccan Preserved Lemon & Cilantro


(Serves 4)


8 chicken thighs on the bone, skin and excess fat removed

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

A good pinch of saffron

2 teaspoons of ground cumin

2 teaspoons of ground coriander

2 tablespoons of runny honey

Approx 1 pint (500ml) of water

Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

1 medium-sized preserved lemon, seeds removed and chopped finely

A good handful of fresh cilantro leaves (coriander), chopped

For the couscous:

8-9oz (250g) of plain couscous

2oz (50g) of dried cranberries or golden raisins

2 oz (50g) of toasted walnut pieces or pine nuts

3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon of olive oil

14 fl oz (400ml) of hot chicken or vegetable stock


Season the chicken pieces and arrange in a single layer in a deep, wide saute pan with a lid.

Add the onion, garlic, saffron, cumin, coriander and honey then pour in the water and bring to a rapid boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, remove any scum that appears on the surface, put the lid on and let it simmer for 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Add the chopped preserved lemon and continue to cook uncovered, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 8-10 minutes more. Fold in the chopped cilantro/coriander leaves just before serving.

While the sauce is thickening, make the couscous. Put the dry couscous in a large bowl with the dried fruit and pour the hot stock over. Cover for about 5 minutes then fluff it up with a fork and fold in the toasted nuts, lemon juice and olive oil.

Check the seasoning and pile the couscous into warmed individual bowls, topped with the chicken and sauce.



Posted in Poultry | Leave a comment

Recipe – Fish Roasted with Potatoes & Fennel

Here’s a dish that’s full of robust flavor, is really simple to prepare and only takes about 30 minutes to cook – perfect for fall.

You do have to like fennel however. It isn’t overwhelming but it definitely has a presence.

Fennel roasted with potatoes would make a great accompaniment to chicken, pork or lamb but in this case it’s topped with fish just before the end of the cooking time. The fish only takes about 10 minutes to cook through, making this a speedy and satisfying supper and the olive and tomato vinaigrette is added just before serving.

Baked Fish with Roast Potatoes & Fennel

Baked Fish with Roast Potatoes & Fennel


(Serves 4)


1lb (500g) of small red potatoes, washed and cut into thick slices

4 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced lengthwise through the root into about 4-6 slices each

1 tablespoon of olive oil

4 skinless, boneless white fish fillets such as cod, halibut, Chilean sea bass, haddock or pollack

1 level teaspoon of fennel seeds, lightly crushed

Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

For the topping:

2 tablespoons of wine or sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 small shallot, minced

2 medium sized ripe tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped

A few fresh basil leaves, chopped

About a dozen pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped


Combine all the topping ingredients, season with a little sea salt and black pepper, stir well and set it aside while you preheat the oven to 400F (200C).

Toss the potatoes and fennel slices in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and arrange in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan and roast for about 20 minutes until they’re turning golden around the edges and are almost cooked through.

Arrange the fish on top of the potatoes and fennel, season with sea salt and black pepper and scatter the crushed fennel seeds over the fish –  put everything back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

To serve, divide the fish and vegetables between 4 warmed plates and immediate scatter the topping over the fish.


Posted in Fish | 2 Comments

Recipe – Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples, Red Onion, Spinach & Orzo

Now that the weather is changing, I’m feeling nostalgic for childhood things like walking to school on misty, damp mornings with the smell of wet golden leaves all slick on the pavement, of bonfires and chrysanthemums – and the carpet of windfall apples that littered the lawn, far more than we could ever eat so they ended up as compost. Anyway, I’m now craving something with loads of autumn flavors and color.

Butternut squash, apples and maple syrup make me think of fall; add a few fresh herbs, onion, spinach and some really good olive oil and you have a side dish that would be excellent served with roast pork or poultry and one that also works very well on its own.

Buy ready-prepared butternut squash if you’re really pushed for time but it doesn’t take long to do it yourself and it’s more economical.

You can prepare the vegetables ahead of time but don’t add the apples until you’re ready to stick it in the oven –  the spinach and orzo pasta go in at the very end.

The dressing would also go very well with a simple salad of mixed greens, toasted nuts (hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts), dried cranberries and crumbled soft goat cheese.

Warmed-up leftovers with a poached egg on top is pretty darn good too.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples, Onion, Spinach and Orzo

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples, Onion, Spinach and Orzo


(Serves 4-6)


2.5lb (1.2k) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch (3cm) chunks

1 medium-sized red onion, peeled with some root left attached and cut into eighths

2 apples (braeburn, pink lady, honeycrisp or English cox) peel left on, cored and cut into eighths

1 tablespoon of runny honey

A couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves stripped off the stalks and chopped

A few fresh sage leaves, chopped

4 bay leaves, preferably fresh

2 tablespoons of extra-v olive oil

5 oz (150g) of dry weight orzo pasta

7 oz (200g) of ready-washed baby spinach leaves

Sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing –

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of extra-v olive oil

1 teaspoon of maple syrup

2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

1 clove of garlic, crushed


Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).

butternut-orzo-salad-005In a large bowl, toss the butternut, apple, onion and fresh herbs with the honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Arrange in an even layer in a roasting pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft and tinged with brown here and there, stir everything around about halfway through.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo pasta according to instructions so that it’s ready and drained at the same time the squash comes out of the oven.

Take the vegetables out of the oven and add the spinach, tossing it around until it wilts. (Put it back in the oven for a minute or two if it’s resisting the wilt).

Stir in the orzo, transfer everything to a warm bowl then add the dressing, giving it a good toss before serving.


Posted in Salads & Appetizers, Vegan, Vegetables / Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Recipe – Chunky Chicken Soup

I’m sure that anyone who makes soup from scratch has their own favorite version of chicken soup. I decided to share this recipe as it always gets rave reviews and I’m asked to make it on a regular basis. The ingredients change slightly depending on what’s in season, but the basics remain the same, including roasting the whole chicken first.

I must confess that there’s nothing ‘fast’ about this recipe. However, it is fabulous; a labor of love that’s worth every minute spent roasting, chopping, simmering, straining, shredding and everything else that’s involved in it’s general assembly – and also why I make it in large batches to freeze.

Just imagine coming home exhausted, hungry and definitely not in a mood to cook but you’re craving something delicious and wholesome. Having a few containers of this wonderful soup in the freezer means you’ll enjoy a heartwarming, nourishing, complete meal in a bowl, perhaps with some crusty bread on the side  – but I rarely bother with bread and you certainly won’t miss it here.

In warmer weather I’ll add lentils and maybe leave out the potatoes; when it gets a little chillier, I replace the lentils with pearled barley. I add potatoes, sweet potatoes and fresh green beans towards the end of the cooking time so that they don’t fall apart. Baby spinach is also great added at the very end as it wilts immediately and retains its bright green color.

I recommend staying away from watery veg such as zucchini (courgettes) – they just turn to mush and frankly don’t add much in the way of flavor, unlike swede (rutabaga) or baby turnips for instance.

The choice and quantities of vegetables are approximate and depend on your preference but what I’m suggesting here will create about 15 servings, so adjust the quantities based upon your needs and /or available freezer space.

You’ll definitely need a fork and spoon for this one.

Chunky Chicken Soup

Chunky Chicken Soup


(Serves approx 15)


A whole free-range chicken, preferably organic, weighing 5- 5.5 lbs (2.25 – 2.5 kilos)

3-4 quarts of organic chicken stock

1 cup (240ml measure) of barley or lentils, picked over and washed

A few sticks of celery, washed and chopped

A good handful of peeled baby carrots, left whole

2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, rinsed and chopped

A couple of parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks (turnips and swede/rutabaga are also very good)

A couple of medium sized onions, finely chopped – plus an extra half onion, peeled

1 or two large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) chunks

Half a dozen very small red potatoes of equal size, washed and halved

A bunch of kale, stalks discarded, leaves torn into shreds

A bag of washed baby spinach

A bunch of fresh parsley

A few stalks of thyme

A couple of sprigs of rosemary or tarragon or both

A bay leaf

Half a lemon

2 or three cloves of garlic, peeled

One large glass of white wine

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


chunky-chicken-soupStart with the whole chicken. Preheat the oven to 350F /180C. In a large, preferably cast-iron casserole/dutch oven with a lid, large enough to take the whole chicken, arrange half an onion, a stalk of celery and a carrot or two on the bottom. Tuck in the bay leaf, a sprig each of rosemary, tarragon (if using) and thyme, plus a good handful of parsley, stalks and all.

Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken and add those as well. Season the chicken cavity with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper then stuff the garlic and half lemon into the chicken’s cavity. Place the whole chicken on top of the herbs and veg, pour the wine over the chicken, season with sea salt and pepper then put the lid on and stick it into the oven for 20 mins per lb (1/2 kilo), plus another 20 minutes. You can do this ahead and assemble the soup later.

Take the casserole out of the oven and carefully transfer the chicken to a deep dish. Strain all the collected juices from the bottom of the pot into a bowl – discard the solids. This liquid with form about half a pint of wonderful jellified stock that goes into the soup. Set the stock aside and once cooled, cover and refrigerate it until you’re ready to make the soup.

As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, strip all the meat from the bones and shred it into roughly similar sized pieces. Discard the skin and bones (unless you want to use them to make another batch of stock). Be on the lookout for those really tiny bones that sometimes lurk in the flesh. Refrigerate the shredded chicken – it will be added at the end of the soup’s cooking time.

When you’re ready to make the soup, you’ll need a very large pot with a lid – maybe the same one you cooked the chicken in.

Add all the vegetables (except for the potato, sweet potato, green beans and spinach if using), barley or lentils, a sprig each of thyme, rosemary and a good handful of chopped parsley to the pot. Throw in the strained jellified broth from the chicken and pour over 3-4 quarts of chicken stock. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring everything to a boil. Turn the heat down, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 mins to an hour.

Check that the lentils (or barley), carrots and celery are cooked through, then add the potatoes and sweet potatoes. Cook for another 15 minutes then add green beans (if using) – cook for another 5 minutes then finally add the spinach followed by the shredded chicken.

Warm everything through, check the seasoning and serve in bowls, scattered with a little fresh parsley if you like. If you have room in your fridge, it tastes even better the next day and will keep for a couple of days, refrigerated.

Otherwise, cool the soup and store it in plastic containers in the freezer.

Posted in Poultry, Soups | 2 Comments