(Wikimedia image) Serves 2, easily scaled:
- 230g sirloin steak, trimmed of fat
- 1/4 tsp paprika
Season your steak, oil it and sear in a hot pan both sides. Turn the heat down and cook each side for two minutes. Set aside. In the same pan add
Cook gently until softening Add
- 250g sliced chestnut mushrooms
Cook until soft. If it looks too dry add a pat of butter. When cooked, add
- 100ml beef stock
- 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Simmer until reduced by about half. Add
Slice your reserved steak, and add to the pan with the cream and any resting juices. Heat through but don’t boil the cream.
Serves with mash or pasta (tagliatelle or linguini is best). Scatter over some chopped fresh parseley for poshness.
You might think that curing your own bacon is a) difficult and b) not worth it but a) it isn’t and b) it is. Compared to supermarket bacon, home-cured is tastier, meatier and doesn’t shrink to half the size – or exude white stuff while cooking! All you need is a lump of pork belly, your home-made cure, a fridge and a bit of personal organisation. First – buy your meat. You will need a piece of pork belly from the thick end, boned out and weighing about 2KG. You will need to find a traditional butcher for this. Now make your cure:
- 300g salt
- 200g soft brown sugar
- 2 tbs ground black pepper
- 2tbs crushed coriander seeds
- 3 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped
- leaves from a small bunch of thyme
Mix the cure well and put it in an airtight pot.
Find a non-metallic plate or tray big enough to hold the meat. Put a handful of cure on the bottom of the plate, place the meat on top and spread another handful of cure on the top. Cover and place in the fridge for one day. Remove and pour off the liquid that will have been drawn out by the cure. Turn the meat over, and top up the cure top and bottom with another handful. Leave for another day in the fridge, then repeat. Do this for five days in total, and each day there will be less and less liquid drawn out as the cure does its job. The meat will get firmer too. After five days, wash the cure off the meat, dry with a paper towel and wipe all over with a cloth dipped in vinegar. Now leave in the fridge uncovered to dry for another week or so. It will then be ready to slice and use as bacon was intended. It will keep in the fridge for several weeks apparently, although you might find it gets eaten pretty quickly. For longer storage once it is air-dry, wrap in a dry tea towel and keep in the fridge for several months.
Great for a leftover lamb bone with meat attached – usually the last bit remaining after a roast day and a cold cuts day. Serves 2:
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced thickly
- 1 small swede or turnip, cubed
- 1 parsnip, cubed
- 1 potato, cubed
- 1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped
Put some oil or butter in a deep pan and sweat vegetables gently for about 10 minutes. Add
- Lamb bone and leftovers, about 150g – 200g of meat
- 4 tbs pearl barley
- Water or stock
Add the lamb and cover with water. Season. Simmer for 1 hour. Top up the liquid if it needs it. Pull the meat from the bone and remove the bone. Add
- Handful of peas, green beans or similar green veg.
Simmer another 5 minutes, add some chopped fresh parley and serve in bowls with nice bread.
If you thought making a paella involved constant attention and meticulous fussing, this is not that recipe. All made in a large frying pan, preferably one with a lid. This is for two people (generous portions), easily scaled.
- 0.5 onion, chopped
- 0.5 red pepper, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
Put oil in the pan and saute the above for a few minutes until soft.
- 50g chorizo, cubed
- 1 chicken breast, cut into strips – or monkfish, bass, gurnard for the 100% seafood version
Cook until the chicken colours
Add to the pan and swill around for a minute
- 50ml white wine
- pinch of saffron
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Add to the pan and sizzle for a minute. Season with salt and pepper.
- Make up 500ml stock (chicken, veg or fish)
Add 300ml to the pan, get to bubbling and put the lid on. Cook for 15 minutes. Check every few minutes after the halfway mark and add a splosh of stock if it is drying out. After 15 minutes check the rice, if it is still a bit hard cook a few minutes more. It still needs to be slightly wet but not liquidy.
- 2 squid tubes, sliced into rings
- handful of frozen peas
- 6 cherry tomatoes quartered
- 4 langoustines or 4 large or 6 medium prawns
- Optional – a few shellfish such as clams or mussels
Add to the pan and keep the heat on for two minutes with the lid on. Turn the heat off, lid still on, and leave for 3 minutes.
- Chopped fresh parseley
- Quartered lemon
You need an oven-proof pan with a lid, such as a cast-iron casserole.
Splash some oil in the pan and brown the thighs for 10-15 minutes. Remove to a plate.
Add to the pan and fry gently 2-3 minutes
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
- 2 tbs Moroccan spice mix*
Fry a bit more, scraping up any crispy bits from the chicken.
- 2 preserved lemons
- 2 large tomoatoes, chopped
- 1 tbs honey
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
- Handful of olives
- Chicken stock cube
- 750ml water
Add to the pan. Stir gently to boiling point. Add the chicken back in, cover and transfer to an oven 170C/150C Fan for one hour. Serve with a scattering of feta, mint leaves and pomegranate seeds with couscous on the side.
*If you can’t find a suitable Moroccan spice mix try this:
- 2tbs coriander seeds
- 1tbs cumin seeds
- 1.5tsp fennel seeds
- 0.5tsp black pepper
- 0.24 tsp ground ginger
- 0.5 tsp cinnamon
- pinch saffron
Dry fry the seeds until they start to smell. Grind, then mix with the other spices.
This is a feast to be enjoyed by sharing a single pan! You will need a large roasting tray. It can be scaled for as many people as your pan can supply. For four people:
- Cut 16 small waxy potatoes (e.g. Charlotte) hasselback style*
Slug some olive or vegetable oil into your pan, roll the potatoes around and roast at 180C (fan) for 20 minutes
Slice into four rounds per cob (halve and halve again) and add to your pan. Roast for 5 minutes.
- 4 squid tubes
- 8-12 large prawns, crayfish or langoustines
- 1 pack of mussels in wine and garlic
- 150g ring chorizo, sliced thickly
- 100g butter
- 1 lemon, zested then quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
- Handful of parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
Hasselback the squid tubes. Slice open the backs of the prawns, remove the black line. Mush together the butter, lemon zest, parsley, garlic, paprika and stuff the squid tubes and prawn backs. Add everything to the pan. Ramp up the heat to 200C (fan) and cook for 10 minutes. Check everything is cooked, if in doubt cook a bit longer. Scatter over chopped parsley and serve with plenty of good bread to scoop up the amazing juices. Prepare to feel stuffed!
*Hasselback tips:lay two wooden chopsticks either side of the potato. Slice the potato across into £1 coin thicknesses. The chopsticks stop you slicing all the way through by mistake. To Hasselback a squid put a wide knife blade into the tube and slice one side down to the blade with a second knife.
Serves 2, takes about 10 minutes.
- 2 salmon steaks
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs harrissa paste
Mix the harissa with the lemon juice and olive oil and rub all over the flesh. Heat the grill to medium-high. Grill for 5-6 minutes without turning until cooked through, then leave to sit off the heat for a minute.
Wilt the spinach in a pan with just a drop of oil and some seasoning.
- Pouch of pre-cooked mixed rice and grains
- 2 tbs chopped chives
- 2 tbs chopped parsley
- half a chilli, seeded and sliced
- 1tbs lemon juice
Heat the grains pouch in the microwave. Tip into a bowl with the chives, chilli, parsley and lemon juice. Season and toss everything together.
- Sliced avocado
- Greek Yoghurt
Spoon the grains onto a plate. Add the salmon (leave the skin behind), some spinach, sliced avocado and Greek yogurt.
Simple to make and flexible with main ingredients. Firstly make this awesome dressing which would go with other things too.
Boil 3 minutes. Add
Boil 2 minutes more. Drain, remove garlic skins and add to a blender (stick blender is best) with
- Juice of a lemon
- 2 tsp onion powder
- half a cucumber
Zap. Add the other half of a cucumber and zap again. You can experiment by adding herbs – tarragon, chives, etc but I am not sure that is necessary.
For the salad – you can swap vegetables around but I used the following:
- Red cabbage, cut into thin slices including the core so it stays together as a “steak”
- Sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
- Courgette, sliced
Fry in a hot pan until charred. Transfer to an oven 180C fan, season and roast 30 minutes. Less if your charring took a while. Take them out when soft all the way through, and cool for a bit. Meanwhile…
- Broccoli florets
- Chives chipped or spring onions in 3 cm lengths
In the same pan, add a bit more oil then toss the broccoli and chives around and char until bright green with charred bits. They should be still crunchy but not raw. Remove.
- Tofu (vegan) or halloumi (vegetarian)
In the same pan, sear until browned.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Lettuce hearts, quartered
Arrange the roasted and seared items with the fresh items in a tasteful display on your platter. Serve with the sauce.
You could also try asparagus, treated like the broccoli; button mushrooms left whole and fried with garlic and herbs in olive oil; swede or parsnip treated like the sweet potato.
A lighter take on the meatballs classic, perfect for summer. Serves 2:
Peel the outer into ribbons, grate the centre. Put to one side
- One onion finely chopped
- Olive oil
Fry gently until soft. Add
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
Fry 2 minutes more. Tip into a bowl, add
- 250g pork mince
- Grated courgetter
- salt and pepper
- Chopped parsely
Mix and form into 10-12 balls. Add to the pan, with a bit more oil if required, and fry until cooked. Meanwhile, cook
- 200g spaghetti until just al dente
Scoop the pasta into the meatball pan. Add a splash of cooking water and the courgette ribbons. Heat gently and stir around to coat the pasta with the pan juices. Add more water if needed. Serve sprinkled with
- zest and juice of half a lemon
- grated parmesan
- chopped parsley
Awesome, looks impressive and is actually very easy to make. Here’s how (serves 4)
- 3 eggs beaten
- Pack of puff pastry sheet
Heat the oven to 180C. Unroll the pastry sheet, leaving it on its parchment. Put it on a baking tray. With a sharp knife score around the pastry sheet about 2cm the edge so it looks like a picture frame. Stab the inside if the frame with a fork or knife. Brush with beaten egg all over, but keep the rest of the egg, you will need it later. Bake 15 minutes. Remove and cool. Actually you don’t really have to let it cool, I didn’t. You may need to squash down the middle a bit if the whole thing has turned into a pillow.
Boil for 2 minutes, then plunge into cold water to blanch then set aside
- 50ml creme fraiche
- 50g grated cheese
Mix these with your remaining egg
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 lemon zested
Mix with your asparagus
- 50g goats cheese or similar, cubed
Pour the egg and cheese mixture onto the centre of your pastry frame and spread out. Lay out the asparagus artistically, then dot with the goats cheese. Cook at 180C for another 15-20 minutes until set and golden.
Great with a salad for lunch!