Turning point

Round & About

Recipes

September signifies a change of the seasons, woodland walks and cosy evenings in. These recipes should provide comfort & nourishment

Mussel linguine with saffron cream & samphire

Mussel linguine with saffron cream & samphire

This simple dish celebrates these tasty, vitamin-packed morsels in all their glory. The addition of samphire is delicious, if you can still get some – if not, cavolo nero or kale also work well. Once you get going it’s a bit of a whirlwind from pan to plate so get your ingredients prepped before turning on the hob. Take four large, firm tomatoes and score a cross into the base of each before placing in boiling water for a minute or two then use a slotted spoon to transfer to cold water. When cool enough to handle, peel off skins, remove seeds and membrane, chop and leave to one side. In a small bowl add 3tbsp of just-boiled water to a good pinch of saffron threads and leave until needed. Thinly slice four cloves of garlic, finely chop a handful of fresh parsley and zest one lemon, adding the juice from half. Measure 150ml white wine and 4tbsp of single cream and you’re ready! Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and cook pasta (to al dente). Meanwhile, heat 2tbsp olive oil in a pan with a lid and gently sauté your garlic, until golden; add your tomato, wine, saffron (with infused water) and season. Bring to a boil, letting the wine cook out a few minutes, then add 400g of fresh mussels and cook for about five minutes (with lid on) until open. Add lemon juice, zest, cream and samphire with a sprinkle of Aleppo chilli flakes and check seasoning, cooking for a few minutes before stirring into pasta, stirring. Serve with fresh parsley.

Rose veal schnitzel

Rose veal schnitzel

You can use pork or chicken for this schnitzel but I think rose veal works best for its sweet and tender flavour. Make breadcrumbs with day-old bread. Place your breadcrumbs in a shallow dish then whisk two eggs and place in a second shallow dish and place well-seasoned plain flour in a third. Cover your escalopes with greaseproof paper and beat to about 5mm thin. Coat each in flour then egg then crumb and refrigerate until required. Heat olive oil with a knob of butter in a frying pan to about 1.5cm deep and when a crumb dropped in sizzles and rises to the surface, cook each schnitzel for a minute or two on each side until they turn crisp and golden. Blot with kitchen paper and serve with fresh lemon.

Autumnal coleslaw

Autumnal coleslaw

The perfect accompaniment with a fresh, garlicky yoghurt dressing. Sometimes I like to serve this inside a brioche bun with schnitzel or pile high upon schnitzel and serve with sauté potatoes. Use a slicing blade on a food processor or chop the following finely and add to a large bowl one fennel bulb, six radishes, half a red onion, ¼ green cabbage and ¼ red cabbage then add a grated carrot. To make your dressing mix 250g natural yoghurt with two minced garlic cloves, 1tsp of Dijon mustard, ½ tsp each of celery salt and ground pepper and the juice of ½ a lemon. Adjust seasoning as you wish then stir in the coleslaw until well coated. Garnish with chopped toasted pecans.

Apple and marzipan pie

Apple and marzipan pie

The duo of apple and marzipan tastes divine. Heat your oven to 200°C. Peel and core two large (or three small Bramley) apples and roughly chop. Place in a saucepan with 80g of caster sugar, 30g unsalted butter and 3tbsp of water. Bring to a boil then lid the pan and gently cook, stirring occasionally until puréed. Leave to cool. Unroll a ready-made all-butter puff pastry sheet on to a lightly greased baking tray and slice 250g of natural, uncoloured marzipan. Lay the slices across the pastry leaving a 2cm border all around the edge then spoon over your cooled puree. Lightly beat two egg yolks and brush around the border. Unroll another piece of puff pastry and place it on top using your fingers or a fork to crimp and seal around the edges. Cut diagonal lines about 2cm apart from the centre towards the edges of the pie leaving a 2cm border using a sharp knife then brush with more egg mixture and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the pastry has risen and is crisp and golden. Best served warm with thick cream, ice cream or custard.

Recipes created by Katie Kingsley, food stylist and blogger at thetravellingpantry.com

Grill-seekers!

Round & About

Recipes

Summer is here which means al fresco aplenty and Katie Kingsley has rustled up some delicious ideas to enjoy on the side!

Giant couscous salad with roasted peppers, tomatoes, pesto and feta

If you can’t find Israeli/giant couscous, small pasta shapes or orzo work well. This salad packs a lot of flavour; a more than worthy accomplice to any barbecued protein! Measure 200g giant couscous (I used wholewheat), rinse well and add to a pan of simmering vegetable stock (500ml). Once back to a rolling boil, turn down to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 6-8 minutes then drain, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, stir and leave to cool.

Cut two red and one yellow pepper into chunky slices and place cut-side up on a foil-lined baking tray. Halve a pint of cherry tomatoes and place with them in the tray then slice a whole garlic bulb through the middle and place, cut-side-up, in the tray. Drizzle with olive or rapeseed oil and season before placing in a heated oven for about 40-60 minutes and the edges are nicely charred. Remove the garlic halfway through (it will have turned a light gold) and cloves and pound into a paste with a pestle and mortar with a sprinkle of rock salt and glug of extra virgin olive oil. Stir the paste through the couscous then add the roast veg, dollop on fresh pesto and crumble feta on top.

Griddled cos with anchovy butter

Almost everyone who tries this will want the recipe and it’s a pleasure to disclose in its refreshing modesty. Ideal for barbecues, there is something alluringly unconventional but worthwhile in grilling the salad. Halve three or four cos lettuces then heat a grill pan or barbecue to hot, brush your cos with olive oil and grill cut-side-down for a few minutes before turning and grilling for an extra few minutes. You want nicely charred griddle lines and edges.

Transfer to a serving dish. Use a small pan to melt 80g butter then sauté two garlic cloves until golden before adding three finely chopped anchovy fillets, 2tbsp of finely chopped rosemary, the grated rind of a lemon and juice of half. Season to taste and drizzle over your charred lettuce.

Toasted caramel pineapple with coconut ice cream

Dress this dessert up into an exotic sundae with chocolate, coconut shavings and rum or keep it simple on a platter with scoops of ice cream and generous drizzles of caramel sauce. End your barbecue on a high as pineapple is said to contain significant amounts of the feelgood chemical serotonin. Peel and core a pineapple then cut into about 10-12 wedges. Place wedges on the barbecue and cook for a few minutes on each side until you get griddle lines then transfer to a serving dish.

To make your caramel sauce, measure 100g granulated sugar into a large clean pan, heat to medium and once the sugar has started to melt shake the pan occasionally until all the sugar has melted. Cook and stir with a spatula until the sugar has turned a light brown then add 30g butter and whisk vigorously until the butter has melted with the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and add 60ml of single cream, whisking rapidly again until combined. If you have any sugar crystals, pass the caramel through a metal sieve, leave to cool then drizzle sparingly over charred pineapple and ice cream scoops.

Easiest ever flatbreads with herb butter

I have made these countless times; a delicious accompaniment to any barbecue. I like to pre-roll these so when people arrive, you aren’t in and out the kitchen all day – just separate them with baking paper or cling film. Place 350g natural yoghurt with 350g self-raising flour into a large bowl then add 1tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt. Use your hand to bring the dough together (it will feel a bit sticky so add more flour until you can).

Once you have the dough in one lump, give it a bit of a knead in the bowl then lightly flour your work surface and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece out to about 5mm thick and cook on a hot barbecue or griddle pan for one or two minutes on each side. Melt butter and sauté minced garlic cloves before adding fresh herbs then brush the herb butter over the flatbreads. Enjoy your summer!

Spoilt for choice

Liz Nicholls

Recipes

We’re spoilt for choice with fantastic British seasonal produce and cooking light, speedy food is key to feeling good, inside and out! Recipes created by Katie Kingsley.

French toast with cherry compote & vanilla mascarpone

I love making French toast with slightly stale challah bread. The sweet, gutsy slices offset the sharpness of the compote making it a nicely balanced dish that we often eat as a late summer brunch. Almost any fruit works nicely cooked in this fashion, just by adding a little citrus juice, sugar and cooking down until it reaches a jammy consistency.

First pit 600g of cherries then add to a pan with 100g of caster sugar and the juice from an orange. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thick and syrupy. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. Using a spatula, mix together 250g of mascarpone with 150g of crème fraiche, 40g of sieved icing sugar, ¼ tsp of vanilla extract and the seeds from one vanilla pod then leave in the fridge until serving. Heat 500ml of full-fat milk in a pan with 2 tbsp of caster sugar and the seeds from another vanilla pod, stirring occasionally with a whisk. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from heat and transfer to a shallow dish. When cooled, add three whisked eggs, whisking to combine. Thickly slice a challah or brioche loaf and saturate in your milk mix while you heat a knob of unsalted butter in a frying pan.

Use tongs to remove slices from the milk mix and fry gently on each side until golden brown and crisp. Serve with a dollop of vanilla mascarpone, cherry compote and dusting of icing sugar.

Breakfast pots

A perfect way of using up leftover compote, simply layer in glasses or jam jars with plain yoghurt and fresh fruit if you wish then top with granola and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Crab sandwich

What makes this special is the homemade mayonnaise. I highly recommend making your own with fresh herbs; well worth the minimal effort!

To make the mayonnaise, add two egg yolks, 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, the juice from half a lemon and pinch of salt to the small bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, very slowly and steadily pour in 100ml of rapeseed oil in a thin stream until the mayonnaise emulsifies. Add a small handful of fresh tarragon and chives then blitz again until the herbs are finely chopped and mixed into the mayo. Ideally, use about 300g of fresh white crab meat, but a mix of white and brown will do almost as well with as much mayonnaise as you like. Check seasoning and adjust salt then add white pepper to taste. Serve on toasted brown buttered bread with lemon wedges.

Griddled courgettes with fregola and ricotta

This feels fresh but substantial and goes well with barbecued meat or fish. If you can’t get fregola, use orzo or Israeli couscous.

Slice about 10 baby courgettes into 1cm rounds, season with salt and fry in a hot pan with a little rapeseed oil until nicely charred on both sides then leave to cool. Cook 1 cup of fregola in salted water according to the packet then drain and mix through 1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and the juice from a lemon. Take a chunk of pecorino and use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese until you have a large handful of shavings. Add the cooled fregola to a large serving bowl and mix through the pecorino, 150g of fresh ricotta in chunks, a handful of fresh torn basil leaves, a few handfuls of black olives and the courgettes. Adjust the seasoning and lemon juice and olive oil, too. When happy with the flavour serve with more pecorino shavings and basil leaves.

Essence of Summer

Liz Nicholls

Recipes

Katie Kingsley serves up some quick and easy dishes which you can (hopefully) enjoy al fresco.

Cheat’s paella

This is a really flavoursome, sweet and smoky savoury rice that would perk up anyone’s weekday night and will be ready in under 10 minutes if you are using refrigerated leftover rice. It also makes an excellent choice for a barbecue as it goes
well with meat, fish and salads, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!

Cook one cup of rice according to packet instructions and refrigerate until required (this works best if the rice is cooled before using). Finely chop an onion and fry in 1 tbsp of olive oil, adding 100g of diced cooking chorizo once the onion has softened. Weigh out 150g of frozen peas in a small bowl (if using fresh peas, add with the peppers), add a chicken stock cube and pour over 150ml of boiling water.

Mince two cloves of garlic and add to the chorizo once it has released its oils with 2tsp of smoked paprika, cooking for one minute then adding the rice and stirring to coat. Add your stock and peas with 150g of drained and sliced roasted red and yellow peppers, cooking over a high heat until almost all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Serve with lemon wedges and sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Herby halibut skewers

These work fantastically on a barbecue; use any firm fleshed white fish and be sure to get a generous char. Leftover salsa is delicious with lamb or spread over fish in a tray bake with roast tomatoes, peppers and olives.

To make your salsa verde, either finely chop or blitz everything together depending on your tastes and time frame. You will need a handful of mint and parsley, the juice and zest from one lemon, 100g of roasted salted pistachios, one garlic clove and enough extra virgin olive oil to obtain your desired consistency. Refrigerate until required. In a larger bowl, finely chop a small handful each of fresh chives, oregano and mint then add 3 tbsp of olive oil and season well.

Take two large fish fillets and cut into bite sized chunks then add to your bowl with the herbs and oil before threading onto skewers with alternating ribbons of yellow and green courgettes. Season skewers before cooking on a hot barbecue or ridged grill pan for a few minutes on each side so you get charred edges. Serve with your salsa verde dotted on top and in sauce pots.

Raspberry and pistachio mess

The very essence of summer and worthy of concluding the most champion of barbecues with just a few extra flourishes. It’s an ideal dessert to prepare in advance and throw together as you are ready to serve it.

Whisk 250ml of double cream to soft peaks. Sieve 100g of icing sugar into the cream then add ¼ tsp of vanilla extract and fold to combine. Refrigerate until required. Place 300g of frozen raspberries into a small pan adding a few tbsp of icing powder and squeeze of lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer for five to 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened.

Adjust lemon and sugar to taste then when you are happy with the balance, place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and use a spatula or wooden spoon to push the coulis through so only the seeds are left in the sieve then refrigerate the coulis until required. Finely chop a handful of unsalted roasted pistachio nuts and roughly break meringues into chunks. When you are ready to assemble the desserts, first dollop in cream then meringue then fresh raspberries with coulis then repeat. Finish off with chopped pistachios and edible flowers or sugared petals.

Watercress to Impress

Liz Nicholls

Recipes

Watercress season is upon us!

If you are lacking inspiration then I hope these simple but effective recipes from Katie Kingsley will motivate you to acquaint it with your dining table. This mysterious vegetable is known to harbour powers beyond tantalising taste buds. Whether it be a cure for baldness, mental stimulant or aphrodisiac you are after, surely failing to make the most of it this season would be reckless!

Curried egg and watercress sandwich

Boil eggs for seven or eight minutes (you want them in between soft and hard-boiled), I allow two eggs per sandwich. Peel under cold running water and chop eggs before transferring to a bowl and leaving to cool. Add 2 tbsp of mayonnaise (1 tbsp per egg) then add 1 tsp of curry paste and season with pepper. Mix and leave in the fridge to cool until required. I like to serve in between buttered brown seeded bread with plenty of watercress.

Potato, fennel and lemon wedges

Heat oven to 200°C. Cut three or four Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes in half and then into wedges and place in a large bowl. Cut two fennel bulbs into wedges (reserving fronds) and a lemon into six wedges then add to the bowl. Drizzle over about 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil, season with salt flakes and use your hands to toss everything together and coat it before placing on a baking tray and into the oven for about 40 minutes, or until crisp and golden. You will need to give them a shake halfway through cooking. Sprinkle over the reserved fennel fronds and serve with more flaked sea salt and mayonnaise.

Roast salmon and watercress mayonnaise

Heat oven to 180°C and line a shallow baking dish with foil. Thickly slice a lemon and fry in a little oil until golden then season and leave to one side. Pat dry using kitchen paper and rub olive oil into as many salmon fillets as people you desire to serve. Season the fish with salt and pepper and lay your lemon slices on top before placing into the oven.

Check the fillets after 10 minutes, they are ready when the fish flakes easily with a fork. Use a food processor to make the mayonnaise. Zest and juice one lemon, add 1 tsp of juice to the bowl with the zest, three egg yolks, 1 tsp of Dijon mustard and blitz until combined. With the motor running, add 150ml of rapeseed oil in a thin steady stream until emulsified. Add 50g roughly chopped watercress and blitz again then add seasoning and more lemon juice to taste. Refrigerate until required.

Dress some fresh watercress and serve on a board for people to help themselves or separate plates then flake the salmon into large chunks and serve over the watercress with dollops of mayonnaise.

Banana split

Place a handful of pecans in a bowl and toss through enough maple syrup to coat. Transfer to a lined baking tray and toast in a heated oven for a few minutes until they are crisp and glossy. Roughly chop and set aside. Whisk a small 170ml tub of double cream to soft peaks and chill until required.

Make a chocolate sauce by breaking up 100g of good quality dark chocolate into small pieces and placing in a heatproof bowl with 15g of butter. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally over barely simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bowl). Remove from the heat when smooth and let it cool to room temperature before stirring in 1 tbsp of golden syrup and 2 tbsp of double cream, or cream to taste.

Gently heat some caramel so it loosens up enough to drizzle. Assemble your splits by slicing bananas lengthways and placing in a dish with two scoops of vanilla ice cream between the slices, a good dollop of whisked cream, scattering of maple pecans, drizzle of caramel and chocolate sauce then finish off with a cherry on top!

Edible Eden

Liz Nicholls

Recipes

The garden looks abundant again! Katie Kingsley brings us these recipes that are all fresh, feel-good and perfect for entertaining over the Easter holiday.

Spring fritters

These are so quick to put together and look irresistible laid on a platter with dollops of radish raita and pesto. Serve with dressed watercress for an ideal starter or light lunch, very “Garden of Eden”. Use whichever vegetables and herbs, cheeses, seeds or spices you have to hand and design your ultimate personalised perfect patty. Heat a grill pan to very hot then char two bunches of spring onions on both sides until soft. Blanch a few handfuls of peas in salted boiling water until just cooked then drain and add to a bowl with one tin of drained white beans (such as cannellini or butter).

Chop your charred onions and add them to the bowl then mash together until combined but still chunky. Add a handful of chopped fresh mint leaves, the zest of a lemon, a handful of crumbled feta, 2 tbsp of plain flour, a good pinch nigella or black onion seeds and one beaten egg then season and mix together until just combined. Heat rapeseed or vegetable oil in a frying pan to about 1cm deep. Check the oil is at the right temperature by dropping a bit of mixture into the pan, if the oil sizzles quite fiercely it should be ready. Spoon dollops of your mixture into the pan and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon so the patties are about 2cm thick. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden and crisp then transfer onto kitchen paper whilst you finish cooking the rest.

Slice four radishes thinly then place three or four of them in a small bowl with 4 tbsp of plain yoghurt, a small handful of mint leaves finely chopped and 2 tsp of dried mint. Prepare your pesto (if you are making your own) and lay your patties on a serving platter then spoon over dollops of yoghurt mixture, green pesto, fresh radish discs, fresh herbs and lemon wedges.

Risotto primavera

Once this gets going, there’s no stopping to measure or slice so I’d recommend preparing all ingredients. Weigh out 200g of frozen broad beans, drop into boiling water and leave for 1 minute before removing with a slotted spoon and dropping into cold water to peel off the skins. Snap off and discard the woody ends from a 200g bunch of asparagus and slice into four parts.

Finely chop a brown onion and mince three cloves of garlic, chop four spring onions, measure a large glass/250ml of white wine, a cup of risotto rice and 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock. Use a saucepan to heat the stock until just simmering and a large heavy-based pan to prepare the risotto. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the onion and spring onion until translucent then add the minced garlic for the last few minutes and add your rice, stirring through. Add your wine and let this bubble rapidly for a few minutes until absorbed into the rice then add, one ladle at a time, stirring often and keeping at a simmer. When the stock is almost all absorbed again, ladle in more stock and taste as you go checking seasoning to ensure the rice is cooked to perfection – it should be softened with just a bit of bite in the centre.

About four minutes before the risotto is cooked, add the broad beans to the rice and asparagus to the simmering stock. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to the risotto just before you take the pan off the heat. Add 50g of grated parmesan, a splash more stock to keep it moist and a knob of butter then put the lid on and leave to rest for three minutes before serving with more parmesan.

Lemon and poppy seed Easter loaf

Carefully pluck the petals from a yellow rose. Beat one egg white until frothy and brush on to each petal before coating in caster sugar, shaking off any excess and leaving on baking paper to dry and stiffen (this will take a few hours). Heat your oven to 150°C and grease and line a loaf tin approx 20 x 12cm. Use an electric hand whisk to beat 175g of butter at room temperature then add 175g of caster sugar and beat again until pale and creamy. Measure out 250g of self-raising flour and add three eggs, adding 1tbsp of flour and beating well after each addition. Add the remaining flour with 40g of poppy seeds, four heaped tbsp of natural yoghurt and pinch of salt. Fold until combined then transfer to your tin and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, checking after one hour.

The cake is ready when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the frosting. Measure out 270g of cream cheese, 90g of natural yoghurt, 100g of sifted icing sugar and beat together using a wooden spoon. Add lemon juice to taste and spread thickly atop the cooled loaf then scatter with your crystallised petals.

The garden looks abundant again! Katie Kingsley brings us these recipes that are all fresh, feel-good and perfect for entertaining over the Easter holiday.

Spring fritters

These are so quick to put together and look irresistible laid on a platter with dollops of radish raita and pesto. Serve with dressed watercress for an ideal starter or light lunch, very “Garden of Eden”. Use whichever vegetables and herbs, cheeses, seeds or spices you have to hand and design your ultimate personalised perfect patty. Heat a grill pan to very hot then char two bunches of spring onions on both sides until soft. Blanch a few handfuls of peas in salted boiling water until just cooked then drain and add to a bowl with one tin of drained white beans (such as cannellini or butter).

Chop your charred onions and add them to the bowl then mash together until combined but still chunky. Add a handful of chopped fresh mint leaves, the zest of a lemon, a handful of crumbled feta, 2 tbsp of plain flour, a good pinch nigella or black onion seeds and one beaten egg then season and mix together until just combined. Heat rapeseed or vegetable oil in a frying pan to about 1cm deep. Check the oil is at the right temperature by dropping a bit of mixture into the pan, if the oil sizzles quite fiercely it should be ready. Spoon dollops of your mixture into the pan and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon so the patties are about 2cm thick. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden and crisp then transfer onto kitchen paper whilst you finish cooking the rest.

Slice four radishes thinly then place three or four of them in a small bowl with 4 tbsp of plain yoghurt, a small handful of mint leaves finely chopped and 2 tsp of dried mint. Prepare your pesto (if you are making your own) and lay your patties on a serving platter then spoon over dollops of yoghurt mixture, green pesto, fresh radish discs, fresh herbs and lemon wedges.

Risotto primavera

Once this gets going, there’s no stopping to measure or slice so I’d recommend preparing all ingredients. Weigh out 200g of frozen broad beans, drop into boiling water and leave for 1 minute before removing with a slotted spoon and dropping into cold water to peel off the skins. Snap off and discard the woody ends from a 200g bunch of asparagus and slice into four parts.

Finely chop a brown onion and mince three cloves of garlic, chop four spring onions, measure a large glass/250ml of white wine, a cup of risotto rice and 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock. Use a saucepan to heat the stock until just simmering and a large heavy-based pan to prepare the risotto. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the onion and spring onion until translucent then add the minced garlic for the last few minutes and add your rice, stirring through. Add your wine and let this bubble rapidly for a few minutes until absorbed into the rice then add, one ladle at a time, stirring often and keeping at a simmer. When the stock is almost all absorbed again, ladle in more stock and taste as you go checking seasoning to ensure the rice is cooked to perfection – it should be softened with just a bit of bite in the centre.

About four minutes before the risotto is cooked, add the broad beans to the rice and asparagus to the simmering stock. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to the risotto just before you take the pan off the heat. Add 50g of grated parmesan, a splash more stock to keep it moist and a knob of butter then put the lid on and leave to rest for three minutes before serving with more parmesan.

Lemon and poppy seed Easter loaf

Carefully pluck the petals from a yellow rose. Beat one egg white until frothy and brush on to each petal before coating in caster sugar, shaking off any excess and leaving on baking paper to dry and stiffen (this will take a few hours). Heat your oven to 150°C and grease and line a loaf tin approx 20 x 12cm. Use an electric hand whisk to beat 175g of butter at room temperature then add 175g of caster sugar and beat again until pale and creamy. Measure out 250g of self-raising flour and add three eggs, adding 1tbsp of flour and beating well after each addition. Add the remaining flour with 40g of poppy seeds, four heaped tbsp of natural yoghurt and pinch of salt. Fold until combined then transfer to your tin and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, checking after one hour.

The cake is ready when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the frosting. Measure out 270g of cream cheese, 90g of natural yoghurt, 100g of sifted icing sugar and beat together using a wooden spoon. Add lemon juice to taste and spread thickly atop the cooled loaf then scatter with your crystallised petals.

Bright Ideas

Liz Nicholls

Recipes

As winter rolls into spring, hunger strikes as our animal instinct is to fuel up. Our stomachs hanker for warm and comforting, yet nourishing food. Recipes from Katie Kingsley.

Blood orange margaritas

Refreshingly delicious, even sans alcohol. Prepare a jug of this to accompany your premier barbecue of the year and, even if the sun isn’t shining, your guests will bask in its nectarous harvest.

Chill glasses while you prepare the drink. Juice enough blood oranges to yield 300ml of juice, add 100ml of fresh lime juice and mix. Pour a small amount of honey on to a side plate and use a pestle and mortar to grind together 1 tbsp of salt flakes with 1 tbsp of demerara sugar to a course powder. Zest half a blood orange and add to the salt and sugar, using your fingers to rub to release the oils from the zest. Pour the juice, (two parts tequila and one part Cointreau or Triple Sec) into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 20 seconds. Take your chilled glasses and dip first in the honey then the salt and sugar mix before carefully pouring the cocktail into the glasses. Enjoy chilled or with crushed ice.

– Tip – Use a dash of orange bitters, sugar syrup or jalapeno sugar syrup depending on your personal tastes.

Ricotta and spinach gnudi

Lighter than you might expect and “nude” because the mix is a popular ravioli filling without the pasta jackets. I like to make these as a starter at this time of year when spinach emerges as one of our first spring crops. Feel free to adopt nettle tops if you can forage them! Place about 300g of spinach into a pan and pour over boiling water to wilt.

Transfer to a colander and when cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as possible and chop finely. Place 200g into a bowl then pour over 30g of melted butter and mix. Place 200g of ricotta into a large bowl, sieve over 100g of plain flour, add three egg yolks, 150g of grated Parmesan and half a grated nutmeg. Add the buttery spinach and combine but try not to over-mix. Check the seasoning, adding salt or pepper if needed, then refrigerate for at least an hour. Lightly flour a chopping board and bring a pan of salted water to a boil then use two spoons and the palms of your hands to help you create small balls (somewhere in between gnocchi and a golf ball) placing on the floured surface as you go. Cook in batches taking care not to overcrowd the pan and boil gently for five or six minutes and they have risen to the surface. Drain on kitchen paper and dress the little gnudi in a simple sage butter for all-round scrumptiousness; toss in melted butter and fresh sage until the sage turns crisp and serve with Parmesan.

Poached fish with creamy saffron leeks

If you want to see your future husband, sleep with a leek under your pillow but, if you want to reap the benefits of not only its mystical powers but hugely nutritional benefits, then this recipe is a great way of utilising this fine vegetable at its best. Try to choose a fish that is sustainable; shellfish such as mussels or scallops would also work well with this sauce.

Finely chop a shallot and sauté in a knob of butter for a few minutes before placing your fish fillets on top. Pour over 100ml of fish stock and 100ml of white wine then place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and bring to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer for a minute or two. Remove lid and carefully transfer the fish on to a plate covered with foil so it continues to steam and keeps warm. Pour your poaching liquor into a measuring jug and pour 150ml back into the pan with a pinch of saffron threads, simmer for a few minutes before adding a small squeeze of lemon juice, a knob of butter, three finely sliced leeks and continuing to cook for three minutes, adding more poaching liquor if the pan gets a little dry. Add about 150ml of double cream and season to taste then stir through a handful of basil, cut into thin ribbons. Transfer your fish on to heated plates and spoon over the creamy leeks, serving immediately.

Winter Fuel

Liz Nicholls

Recipes

As the chill of winter bites, hunger strikes as our animal instinct is to fuel up. Our stomachs hanker for warm and comforting, yet nourishing food. Recipes from Katie Kingsley.

Saucy lamb shanks

This is a great alternative to a Sunday roast and guaranteed to satisfy at a dinner party. There is enough sauce for six lamb shanks, if you wanted to serve more people. I think these are delicious on a bed of risotto Milanese. Ultimate comfort food!

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Rub rapeseed oil into four lamb shanks and season well. Heat a pan to a medium-hot heat and brown the shanks all over (about two minutes on each side) then set aside. Add more oil to the pan if it is a little dry and then add your sofrito (two celery stalks, two carrots and a large onion) all chopped fine with four minced garlic cloves. After about five minutes and as the vegetables begin to brown, add 5 tbsp of tomato paste, cooking out for a few minutes before then adding 400ml of red wine, 200ml of white wine, 3 tbsp of white wine vinegar, leaves from a sprig of fresh thyme, two bay leaves, 2 tsp of black peppercorns, 2 tsp of juniper berries, five chopped anchovy fillets then bring to a boil and cook for five minutes to burn off some of the alcohol before adding 500ml of chicken stock.

Add your shanks to the pot returning to a boil before securing the lid and placing in the heated oven for one hour (or simmering on the hob). Remove the lid and continue to cook the lamb at a gentle simmer for three hours or until very tender, turning every half hour. The meat should be falling off the bone. Carefully remove the shanks and pour your braising liquid through a sieve, discarding the solids. If you want to thicken the sauce, simmer this down for longer then serve your shanks on a bed of risotto Milanese and pour over your sauce.

Smoked haddock and corn chowder

An excellent mid-week supper, really simple to put together, wholesome and nutritious, it ticks all the boxes! This can also be adapted to keep it seasonal, peas, asparagus, spinach or diced tomatoes are great additions, frozen sweetcorn is respectable instead of fresh and tarragon or dill can be used instead of or in addition to the thyme.

Melt a generous knob of butter in a deep pan, (I use a casserole) then add four finely sliced leeks. Sprinkle over your chosen herb (thyme leaves, chopped tarragon or dill) and cover with a circular piece of baking paper big enough to tuck down around the sides of the leeks. Put the lid on your pan, cooking the leeks for 10 minutes then lift off the lid and paper, add sweetcorn from two cobs and 250g of halved new potatoes, place the paper back on top, tuck around the edges again, replace lid and cook for a further 10 minutes.

While this cooks, poach a 300g piece of smoked haddock in whole milk (enough to cover the haddock in a small pan) with two bay leaves and a sprinkle of peppercorns for about 8 minutes. When cooked, empty the pan contents over a sieve, reserving the milk. Discard the pepper and bay leaves then remove any skin and break up the fish with your hands into chunks taking care to remove any bones. Remove the lid from your vegetables then add the haddock and milk bringing to a simmer then finish with a handful of freshly chopped parsley. Serve in bowls with crusty bread.

Rhubarb pudding

This dessert is not overly sweet, the sharpness of the rhubarb follows both recipes well as it cuts through the richness. I like to serve this with ice cream or thick cream. Make sure you bake the pudding in a shallow dish that fits into a roasting dish as you will need to bake it in a bain marie.

Preheat oven to 170°C. Trim and cut rhubarb stalks into 4cm pieces (you need about 600g) then lay them in an ovenproof dish. Scatter over 50g of caster sugar and 3 tbsp of water then bake for 20 minutes until the rhubarb is tender but intact. Butter a shallow two-litre baking-dish then carefully remove the cooled rhubarb with a slotted spoon and place in the dish. Separate three large eggs and beat the yolks with 175g of caster sugar until pale and light. Add the zest of two lemons and juice from 1 then fold in 75g of self-raising flour and 150ml each of single cream and milk. Beat the egg whites with 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar until stiff and glossy then fold into the batter with a large metal spoon. Pour the batter over the rhubarb and set the baking dish into a larger dish (such as a roasting tin) then pour in boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of your baking dish. Bake for an hour until puffed and golden, sift icing sugar on top and serve warm.

Sinless Sensations

Liz Nicholls

Recipes

With all the good intentions that emanate with the New Year, our tastes turn to fresh flavours, writes Katie Kingsley.

Minestrone

My family love this soup, it’s a great way of giving everyone a healthy dose of vegetables. A lovely warming supper for chilly nights and sore throats, too!

Heat 2tbsp olive oil and knob of butter in a frying pan. Cook 150g smoked, cubed pancetta until golden then add two finely diced onions. Add three minced garlic cloves for the last few minutes of cooking the onions, when they are starting to brown. Finely chop three carrots, two celery stalks and two skinned tomatoes then add to the pan, sweat the vegetables for about 30 minutes with the lid on the pan, stirring occasionally then add 1.5 litres of chicken stock and 2tbsp of tomato puree, simmer for another 30 minutes with the lid on. Finely chop two leeks and a quarter of a green cabbage and add to the soup with 100g of small pasta shapes and continue cooking uncovered for 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. Finally check the seasoning, stir through a handful each of torn basil and chopped parsley and serve with plenty of grated parmesan.

Salmon en papillote

This is a simple, fresh dish to add to your weekly repertoire that’s real healthy fast food and no washing up. I like to serve this with steamed Chinese vegetables and rice or noodles.

« Tip – I like to add half a lemon to my rice when cooking then squeeze it to taste and stir it through the rice when cooked.

Heat oven to 180°C. Place your salmon fillets in the middle of parchment paper measuring about 30 x 40cm. Finely slice a few handfuls of mange touts diagonally then place atop the fillets. Slice a two-inch piece of peeled root ginger into very fine matchsticks and lay over the mange touts then finely slice four spring onions and lay over the ginger. Carefully pour 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tsp of mirin over each fillet then use an egg white to brush around the edge of the paper and carefully fold to enclose so the salmon has room to steam in the airtight parcels. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Pear tarte tatin

If your resolution is to cook more and save money on expensive cake then this one’s for you. This can’t look anything but magnificent, in fact the more rustic the better and it takes only 10 minutes to put together. Pears, apples or pineapples all work beautifully in this tart.

Heat oven to 200°C. Add 150g of golden caster sugar, 50g of unsalted butter and a small pinch of salt to a cast iron skillet with a squeeze of lemon juice and cook for about five minutes over a medium heat until it turns a deep golden. Leave to one side as you prepare your fruit. Peel three or four firm pears, halve and core then place each half cut side-down and slice along vertically four times, leaving it connected at the top. Fan the pears out and place in the caramel then cut a circular piece of puff pastry just bigger than the size of your skillet and place over the pears, tucking around the edges. Cook for 20–25 minutes until puffed and golden. Invert on to a plate carefully while still warm. If you have excessive juices, you can always reduce them in a pan and pour back over the tart.

Comfort & Joy

Liz Nicholls

Recipes

December is crazy-busy for one and all so Katie Kingsley created recipes that sparkle without imprisoning us in the kitchen, away from the well-deserved merriment!

Maple Roasted Brussels sprouts with honeyed chorizo

We are not a sprout family but this recipe has converted us. Leave out the sprouts if you must and just try the honeyed chorizo as a tapas with a drink… it will definitely be on our table this Christmas, jewels of deliciousness!

Heat oven to 200°C. Halve about 1kg of Brussels sprouts then toss in 3tbsp of rapeseed oil, 1 tbsp of maple syrup and season. Bake for 40 minutes in a pre-heated oven, turning halfway through cooking until crisp and golden. In the meantime, chop or break up (for tapas, double or triple the quantity) 100g of chorizo and toss with a drizzle of runny honey, 1tsp of paprika, 1tsp of fennel seeds and sauté for a few minutes until golden. Place 40g of pecans on an oven tray and bake for about five minutes (careful as they burn quickly) then roughly chop and add to the cooked Brussels with the chorizo.

Christmas “Pot Luck” pie

Named so because it is made up of leftover meat, potatoes and veg, so who knows what lurks beneath the puff… only the lunch guests from the day before! A penny-wise, practical pie and a hearty alternative to bubble and squeak after bountiful prosecco consumption.

Heat oven to 200°C. Take a casserole or large saucepan and add 475g of diced chicken thighs (try to keep pieces largish), 200g of halved new potatoes, 200g of cooked ham (again, large chunks are better), three finely diced celery stalks, one leek sliced into 1cm rounds, three cloves garlic (minced), 200ml of chicken stock and 5tbsp of single cream. Bring to a boil then simmer with lid on for about 30 minutes. Drain the mix over a sieve, keeping the liquid for the roux (you will need about 350ml) which you can make up with more cream or milk, if needed. Make a roux by melting 45g of butter in a small-medium sized saucepan, add 50g of plain flour, 1 tbsp at a time, stirring continuously so the flour cooks and forms a ‘glob’ then add your reserved liquor about a third at a time, stirring continuously so you end up with a thick, smooth consistency. Add a grating of fresh nutmeg, a handful of chopped parsley and season to taste then combine it with the pie filling. Leave to cool. Beat an egg yolk with 1tbsp of milk in a small bowl and wet around the rim of your pie dish (about 25cm diameter) and unroll a sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry. Cut a few strips off the shorter end and place around the lip of your pie dish then ladle in your cool pie filling and place the rest of the pastry on top, pinching the edges and cutting off any over-hanging pastry. Brush the top with your egg wash then create designs, if you desire before brushing over these and making a 2cm slit in the middle. Bake in the hot oven for about 25 minutes, when the top should be crisp and golden.

Dutch Christmas log

Pastry and almond with a hint of festive orange, this recipe is very simple to knock-up and great with coffee between breakfast and lunch. Use a pre-made marzipan if you want to speed it up a notch, almost makeable in an ad break! Some good uses for leftover almond paste are to add to mince pies, crumble or stollen.

Heat oven to 200°C. In a large bowl, combine 400g of ground almonds, 200g of icing sugar, two egg whites, 1tsp of almond extract and the zest of an orange. Wrap in cling-film and leave in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Unroll a sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry and when ready take out your almond paste from the fridge, roll into a long sausage shape along the long end of the pastry sheet leaving a one-inch border on one end and both sides. Whisk an egg yolk with 1 tbsp of milk and brush around the border then fold the two shorter sides over the ends of the sausage and roll so that the seam joins at the bottom. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment. Brush with the egg wash and bake for about 25 minutes, or until browned. Gently heat 2 tbsp of apricot jam and brush over the log then sprinkle with chopped toasted almonds and finish with a dusting of icing sugar.