March recipes: Spice of life

Angus Scripps

Food & Recipes

Mandira Sarkar of Mandira’s Kitchen serves up a wonderful suggestion for Mother’s Day: spiced biscuits & masala chai to deliver to your mum’s doorstep if you live close enough to her…

Nankathai cookies & masala chai (hearty spiced tea)

Ingredients:

• 100g ghee (clarified butter)
• ½ cup powdered sugar
• 1 cup plain flour
• ½ cup semolina
• ½tsp powdered cardamom
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp baking soda
• Nuts for garnishing

For the masala chai:
• 1/4 cup milk
• One green cardamom
• ½ tsp grated ginger
• Two crushed peppercorns
• Two cloves
• 1 tsp loose leaf tea

Mother’s Day is on Sunday, 14th March. But, even if you can’t be with your mum, we thought this was a good excuse for tea & biccies.

Mandira, who can’t be with her mum as she is in Calcutta, tells us: “My earliest memories of tea time remain interspersed with the sounds of the Jeep arriving at the porch signalling Dad coming home at the end of his ‘kaamjari’, excited barking of the dogs and my sister and I running across the long verandah to greet him.

“Signalling the close of a working day, the world seemed at peace with itself… the setting sun casting its beautiful glow over the emerald green tea bushes and the blazing bougainvilleas looking as though someone had set off a light within…

“A very heavily laden three-tiered trolley would shortly make its way from the kitchen wheeled in to the verandah where we would all sit for tea… everything was arranged in some sort of predetermined order – the plump tea pot covered with a hand embroidered tea cosy filled with fresh brew straight from the factory and glasses of steaming milk from the cows (all children usually had their personal cows!) sat on the top tier with accompanying plates, starched napkins and cutlery… The second tier had savouries whilst the bottom tier cakes and biscuits. I still find it amazing how we had high tea every single day of the year with at least four things  but no two days did the menu look or taste remotely similar. There were seasonal specialities like samosas made with a delicate homegrown potato and cauliflower filling – a sign that winter was nigh… Hot roasted ‘bhutta’ or corn on the cob picked straight from the ‘maalibari’, served with butter and slivers of lime in midsummer.
“These were melt-in-the-mouth nankathais that would put a Parisian bakery to shame and sandwiches with the most exciting of fillings from ‘chutney’ to ‘sausage’… Every different Memsaheb and cook had their own specialities. Given that there was no equipment like electric beaters, piping bags or even a temperature controlled oven, it is astounding the standard and quality of what came out of those huge wood-fired Agas and cool tile-lined kitchen counters…
“Those days are long gone… Most cooks like Monglu, our cook have passed on and the Memsahebs now live very different, albeit social, lives in bustling metros… However I cannot help thinking those tea times live on in their own way in the homes of the numerous ‘chai ka baby and babas’ scattered all over the globe … Through  recipes… Embroidered linen, little silver bells… In my house it is my mum’s tattered Duliajaan cookbook handed down to me, those amazing chutney sandwiches, white fluffy nankathais  or even the light of the early evening sun on a summer evening falling on my freshly  mowed lawn…

 

Here is Mandira’s recipe for Nankathai cookies & masala chai (hearty spiced tea)

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Beat the ghee and sugar until light and fluffy. To this add the flour, semolina, baking powder and baking soda, after they’ve been sieved. Mix to form a soft dough. Make small balls (the size of marbles) and put on a greased baking tray – they will spread so make sure there is adequate space in between.

Put a cashew nut or almond as garnish and bake the cookies for 15 minutes making sure they cook but do not brown.

Gently remove from the tray whilst hot and put on a baking rack .
These melt-in-the-mouth crumbly cookies are best served with masala chai.

To make this, boil one cup water with 1/4 cup milk and add the green cardamom, grated ginger, crushed peppercorns and cloves until the flavours are infused – which should take about eight minutes. Add one tsp of loose tea leaves and then strain and serve.

Order a special Indian inspired afternoon tea from mandiraskitchen.com/product/mothers-day-afternoon-tea & use the code AboutMum for free chilli chocolates

Slow-cooked duck with duck gravy

Ingredients:

• 2 large Aylesbury ducks, about 2kg each
• 3 tsp ground mace

For the duck gravy:

• 500g duck bones and wings, chopped A little vegetable oil for cooking
• 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 3cm pieces
• 4 celery sticks, cut into 3cm pieces 1 onion, peeled and diced into 3cm pieces
• 1 garlic bulb, cut across in half, through the equator
• 150g runny honey
• 4 cloves
• 2 litres chicken stock
• 50ml soy sauce
• About 500g unsalted butter
• Lemon juice, to taste (optional)
• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 90 minutes

SERVES: 4

Some dishes end up defining you, chef and restaurant. This is one of them. I cooked it at the Great British Menu banquet for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2010. That raised our profile into the stratosphere: everybody suddenly wanted to book a table at The Hand & Flowers and order duck and chips!

Method:

Remove the legs and wings from the ducks and take out the wishbone (reserve for the faggots, gravy etc., see right and overleaf). Remove the excess fat and skin, placing it all in a frying pan. Now carefully cut away the backbone; you should be left with the crown.

Place the pan of fat and skin over a low heat to render the fat out. Set aside for later use.

Score the skin on the duck crowns and rub in the mace. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the duck crowns and sear on all sides for 5–10 minutes to render the fat and give the skin a good golden colour. Remove the duck crowns from the pan and allow to cool.

Put each duck crown into a large vacuum-pack bag and vacuum-seal on full pressure. Immerse in a water-bath at 62°C and cook for
1½ hours.

Lift out the vacuum-pack bags and remove the ducks. Carefully cut the breasts from the crowns. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Duck gravy:

Preheat the oven to 205°C/Fan 185°C/Gas 6–7. Put the chopped duck bones and wings into a roasting tray and roast in the oven for about 25–30 minutes until golden brown and caramelised.

Heat a little oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the chopped carrots and colour until darkly caramelised. Add the celery, onion and garlic and similarly colour until well browned.
Remove the duck bones and wings from the roasting tray and add them to the saucepan. Drain off the excess fat from the roasting tray, then add the honey and cloves to the tray. Place over a medium heat and take the honey to a dark golden caramel.

Add a splash of the chicken stock and the soy sauce to deglaze the tray, stirring to scrape up the sediment. Add the liquor to the duck bones and vegetables. Pour in the rest of the chicken stock and reduce down by half, to 1 litre.

Pass the liquor through a muslin-lined sieve into a clean pan and skim off any excess fat from the surface. Add 250g butter to every 500ml duck liquor and reduce down until it has emulsified into the sauce.
Season with salt and pepper and add a little lemon juice if required. Set aside for serving.

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Pancake recipes: From Bonne Maman

Liz Nicholls

Food & Recipes

Today is Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday. We’ve teamed up with Bonne Maman UK to offer you some great recipe ideas.

Vegan Apricot Crêpes with Toasted Nuts & Seeds

Ingredients:

For the crêpes

• 150g plain flour
• pinch of salt
• 1 tbsp caster sugar, optional
• 250ml oat milk
• 1 tbsp melted sunflower spread or coconut oil, plus extra for the pan
• splash of vegan beer, about 2tbsp

For the filling

• 60-100g mixed nuts and seeds such as hazelnuts, almonds, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin
• pinch ground cinnamon or mixed spice
• 400g tub Greek-style, vanilla, non-dairy yoghurt
• 335g jar Bonne Maman Intense Apricot

METHOD:

1. Spread the nuts and seeds for the filling on a foil-covered baking sheet and sprinkle over the cinnamon. Toast in a hot oven or under the grill until golden brown. This will only take a minute so keep an eye on them. Set aside.

2. To make the crêpes, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl with a good pinch of salt and the sugar, if using. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking gently as you go, then whisk in the melted spread or oil. Set the batter aside for about half an hour if time allows, then finally whisk in the beer.

3. Heat an 18-20cm crêpe pan and wipe over the base lightly with butter or oil. Stir the batter – it should be the thickness of single cream – and pour a small ladle of batter into the pan. Working quickly, tilt the pan so that the batter runs all over the surface then hold the pan over the bowl of batter and let the excess tip out. Trim the lip of cooked batter away from the edge and return the pan to the heat. The base should be covered in batter but not quite thin enough to see through.

4. Let the crêpe cook for a minute or so until the underside is golden and comes easily away from the pan. Lift one edge up with a palette knife and carefully flip it over. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes. The flip side will only cook in spotted brown patches, not as evenly as the first side. Tip the crêpe carefully on to a plate. Wipe the pan with a little more oil and continue until you have used up all the batter. Keep the crêpes warm, covered with foil in a low oven.

5. When ready to serve, spread the warm crêpes generously with the vanilla yoghurt, add large spoonsful of Intense Apricot and finally sprinkle with the toasted nuts and seeds. Enjoy!

Lemon Curd & Raspberry Crêpes

Ingredients:

Crêpes

• 6 Large French Crêpes

For the filling

• 12 tbsp Bonne Maman Lemon Curd
• 300g fresh raspberries
• Icing sugar to dust
• 6 tbsp crème fraiche or vanilla ice-cream
• zest of 1 lemon
• 25g toasted shredded almonds
• a few sprigs of fresh lemon thyme

METHOD:

1. If the crêpes are not freshly made, wrap in foil and warm in a low oven for 10 minutes.

2. Spread each warm crêpe generously with about 2 tbsp lemon curd.

3. Add a small handful of raspberries into the centre and a spoonful of crème fraiche. Fold the crepe in half.

4. Dust lightly with icing sugar and top with lemon shreds, almonds and lemon thyme. Add a few more berries and enjoy straight away

TIP:

If fresh raspberries are out of season use thawed frozen berries.

Add a splash of Crème de Framboise or Crème de Cassis to the berries before using.

For extra flavour and crunch, stir a tablespoon of toasted almonds into the crepe batter before cooking.

Find more Bonne Maman recipes here bonnemaman.co.uk and see our other recipes here

Love local with fresh food boxes

Liz Nicholls

Food & Recipes

Love local! Fresh food delivery boxes so you can make restaurant-quality meals

Our hospitality industry has, of course, been brutally battered over the last 12 months. This is part of the reason we’re celebrating our food & drink heroes in our R&A Good Cheer Awards.

Crop To Kitchen is one of the many valiant businesses which has had to evolve to survive – and keep us well fed. Ordinarily, the team supply restaurants in London and the home counties – including Michelin-starred eateries and five-star hotels – from its Maidenhead base. These include iconic settings such as Cliveden House, the Hind’s Head and The Groucho Club.

MD Peter Codling says: “Like many, we have had to think on our feet. What was also important was that we helped the local farms and growers whose top produce was no longer needed by the trade. We wanted to avoid food waste and serve the community so they can enjoy great food at home.”

Their home delivery boxes, containing the finest ingredients, have won rave reviews. Customers can build their own order or choose a pre-selected box. As well as the best fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs, the Crop To Kitchen team also rose to the challenge in the first lockdown, sourcing items in short supply including fresh pasta. Foodies should also keep an eye on the website for new lines of produce, normally only supplied to the best restaurants, so that you can replicate the same level of excellence in your own meals.

The social media feed is filled with delicious recipe ideas. They offer free next-day delivery within a 10-mile radius, including Cookham, Bourne End, Burnham, Ascot, Slough, Windsor, Bray, Cookham Dean, Taplow, Bisham, Marlow, Henley and all the villages in between.

All orders are delivered in reusable and fully sanitised crates and plastic packaging is avoided when sourcing and delivering to fit the green ethos. The drivers pride themselves on meticulous presentation and comply with social distancing guidelines, using full PPE.

Crop To Kitchen also dreams big, with plans on the horizon including offering specific areas of land or poly tunnels for restaurants, once back on their feet, to grow their own bespoke produce. Peter is also going to rustle up some live-streaming nights featuring chef cook-alongs.

Get your box for Valentine’s Day – or to find out more, visit croptokitchen.co.uk.

We’ve teamed up to offer a box bundle to one lucky winner – watch this space for the competition which will go live at the start of March!

For some of our own recipe ideas, click here

Patrick Ebbs: Ciceri e Tria recipe

Round & About

Food & Recipes

Try the traditional dish of Ciceri e Tria (Chickpeas and Pasta) as recommended by Godalming author Patrick Ebbs in his book about all things to do with Puglia, Reale Italian Cooking – Italian recipes from Reale Italians.

This is a very traditional and popular Salento dish. Tria is Salento dialect and originates from the Arab word ‘triya’ meaning pasta. Its name is probably a legacy of the Arabs who once invaded southern Italy. With this recipe, most of the pasta is boiled as per normal, but about a quarter of it is fried until it is golden brown, giving the dish a lovely, crispy texture. The recipe is included below.

Ciceri e Tria (Chickpeas and Pasta)

Ingredients:

• 400g chickpeas
• 1 potato, peeled and chopped
• 1 celery stalk, chopped
• 5 tomatoes, chopped
• parsley, a handful
• water
• 1 garlic clove, peeled & chopped
• salt and pepper
• 1 bay leaf
• 400g fresh pasta, tagliatelle
• 1 onion, chopped

Note: you can use tinned chickpeas if you wish (1 tin)

SERVES: 4

Method:

If not using tinned chickpeas, soak the chickpeas overnight in lukewarm water.

Next day, thoroughly wash the chickpeas, drain and rinse. Put them in a pan and cover completely with water.

Bring to boil and simmer for about 2-3 hours until cooked.

Skim the excess foam from the top – ensure that the chickpeas are always covered in water whilst cooking.

In another pot, heat some olive oil. When hot, add the celery, parsley, garlic, bay leaf, onion, potato and tomatoes.

Fry for 2-3 minutes, then add a litre of water and cook for about 2½ hours over a medium heat. Then drain and just keep the liquid, discarding the vegetables.

Drain the chickpeas when cooked and take 5 tablespoons of them and blend with a little of the stock. Add this back to the stock.

Combine the stock and the chickpeas together. Season with salt and pepper.

Take a quarter of the pasta and cut it into 10cm strips and fry in olive oil.

Meanwhile, cook the remainder of the pasta and when cooked combine with the fried pasta.

Then add to a large warmed serving bowl with the chickpeas.

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February recipes: Blooming lovely

Round & About

Food & Recipes

Star chef & hospitality champion Tom Kerridge’s new Hand & Flowers cookbook is helping us find reasons to be cheerful. We’ve teamed up to share recipes for you to cook at home.

Chocolate ale sponge with salted caramel

Ingredients:

• 350g plain flour
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 400ml dark ale
• 100g cocoa powder
• 220g unsalted butter, softened
• 550g soft dark brown sugar
• 4 large free-range eggs

Salted caramel

• 100g caster sugar
• 40ml water
• 3.5g sea salt

PREP: 10 minutes

COOKING: 20 minutes

SERVES: 12

The Hand & Flowers is a pub. Pubs serve ale. We always needed an ale cake! So that’s the idea behind this particular recipe, which grew out of my first book and TV series, Proper Pub Food, where I taught people how to cook the simpler pub classics at home.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Line a 33 x 26cm deep baking tin with baking parchment.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together; set aside. In a small bowl, slowly mix the dark ale into the cocoa powder to form a paste.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the cocoa paste and flour mixture alternately, a little at a time.

Spread the mixture in the prepared baking tin and bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the sponge from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled, cut the chocolate sponge into 2cm cubes and put
to one side.

Salted caramel:

Melt the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat, then bring to the boil and continue to cook the sugar syrup until it forms a golden caramel. Add the chopped sablé paste and cook, stirring, for a minute.

Pour the sablé caramel onto a silicone mat and leave to cool slightly.

When it is cool enough, roll out to a thin sheet. While still warm, press a 4cm cutter into the sheet make sablé discs. Leave until cooled and set then lift the sablé tuiles off the mat.

Slow-cooked duck with duck gravy

Ingredients:

• 2 large Aylesbury ducks, about 2kg each
• 3 tsp ground mace

For the duck gravy:

• 500g duck bones and wings, chopped A little vegetable oil for cooking
• 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 3cm pieces
• 4 celery sticks, cut into 3cm pieces 1 onion, peeled and diced into 3cm pieces
• 1 garlic bulb, cut across in half, through the equator
• 150g runny honey
• 4 cloves
• 2 litres chicken stock
• 50ml soy sauce
• About 500g unsalted butter
• Lemon juice, to taste (optional)
• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 90 minutes

SERVES: 4

Some dishes end up defining you, chef and restaurant. This is one of them. I cooked it at the Great British Menu banquet for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2010. That raised our profile into the stratosphere: everybody suddenly wanted to book a table at The Hand & Flowers and order duck and chips!

Method:

Remove the legs and wings from the ducks and take out the wishbone (reserve for the faggots, gravy etc., see right and overleaf). Remove the excess fat and skin, placing it all in a frying pan. Now carefully cut away the backbone; you should be left with the crown.

Place the pan of fat and skin over a low heat to render the fat out. Set aside for later use.

Score the skin on the duck crowns and rub in the mace. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the duck crowns and sear on all sides for 5–10 minutes to render the fat and give the skin a good golden colour. Remove the duck crowns from the pan and allow to cool.

Put each duck crown into a large vacuum-pack bag and vacuum-seal on full pressure. Immerse in a water-bath at 62°C and cook for
1½ hours.

Lift out the vacuum-pack bags and remove the ducks. Carefully cut the breasts from the crowns. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Duck gravy:

Preheat the oven to 205°C/Fan 185°C/Gas 6–7. Put the chopped duck bones and wings into a roasting tray and roast in the oven for about 25–30 minutes until golden brown and caramelised.

Heat a little oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the chopped carrots and colour until darkly caramelised. Add the celery, onion and garlic and similarly colour until well browned.
Remove the duck bones and wings from the roasting tray and add them to the saucepan. Drain off the excess fat from the roasting tray, then add the honey and cloves to the tray. Place over a medium heat and take the honey to a dark golden caramel.

Add a splash of the chicken stock and the soy sauce to deglaze the tray, stirring to scrape up the sediment. Add the liquor to the duck bones and vegetables. Pour in the rest of the chicken stock and reduce down by half, to 1 litre.

Pass the liquor through a muslin-lined sieve into a clean pan and skim off any excess fat from the surface. Add 250g butter to every 500ml duck liquor and reduce down until it has emulsified into the sauce.
Season with salt and pepper and add a little lemon juice if required. Set aside for serving.

Smoked haddock omelette

Ingredients:

• 12 medium free-range eggs
• 4 tbsp unsalted butter
• 100g aged Parmesan, finely grated
• Sea salt & ground pepper

Poached smoked haddock:

• 1 side of smoked haddock, 600g, skin and pin bones removed
• 600ml whole milk

Smoked fish béchamel:

• 250ml smoked haddock poaching liquor (see left)
• 15g unsalted butter
• 15g plain flour
• Sea salt & ground pepper

Omelette glaze:

• 4 tbsp warm smoked haddock béchamel (see left)
• 4 tbsp hollandaise sauce
• 4 medium egg yolks
• Sea salt & ground pepper

PREP: 10 minutes

COOKING: 20 minutes

SERVES: 4

A delicate, beautiful omelette is one of those pure dishes that makes you realise great food does not have to be about hundreds of ingredients on a plate. It’s about allowing a simple product to sing.

Method:

Check the smoked haddock for any tiny pin bones. Bring the milk to the boil in a wide-based saucepan. Carefully lay the smoked haddock in the pan, ensuring it is covered by the milk. Place a lid on the pan, turn off the heat and leave the fish to poach in the residual heat for about 10 minutes.

Once the haddock is cooked, remove it from the milk and gently flake the fish into a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Cover the tray with cling film and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
Pass the milk through a fine chinois into a clean saucepan and keep to one side.

Smoked fish béchamel:

Bring the smoked haddock poaching liquor to a gentle simmer.

In a separate pan over a medium-low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour to make a roux and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually ladle in the warm poaching liquor, stirring as you do so to keep the sauce smooth. Cook gently over a very low heat for 20 minutes.

Pass the sauce through a fine chinois and cover the surface with a piece of baking parchment or cling film to prevent a skin forming. Set aside until needed. (You won’t need all of the fish béchamel but you can freeze the rest.)

Omelette glaz:

Gently warm the béchamel in a saucepan then pour into a bowl and whisk in the hollandaise and egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pass through a chinois into a warm jug or bowl. Keep warm to stop the glaze from splitting.

To assemble & cook the omelette:

Crack the eggs into a jug blender and blend briefly to combine. Pass through a chinois into a measuring jug. Place 4 individual omelette pans (we use Staub) over a low heat.

Take the smoked haddock from the fridge, remove the cling film and lay on a grill tray. Warm under the salamander or grill.

To each omelette pan, add 1 tbsp butter and heat until melted and foaming. Pour the blended egg into the pans, dividing it equally. Using a spatula, gently move the egg around in the pans until they start to firm up. Remove from the heat; you want the eggs to be slightly loose, as they will continue to cook off the heat.

Season the omelettes with salt and pepper and sprinkle the grated Parmesan over their surfaces. Divide the flaked smoked haddock between the omelettes, then spoon on the glaze to cover the fish and extend to the edge of the pans. If the glaze spills over the side of the pan, wipe it away, as this will burn on the side when blowtorching.

To finish, wave a cook’s blowtorch over the surface of the omelettes to caramelise the glaze. Allow the glaze to become quite dark, as
the bitterness will balance out the richness of all the other ingredients.

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January recipes: Right angles

Round & About

Food & Recipes

In her new book, award-winning writer Nicola Graimes tells us how the right carbs can promote good health

Quick roast chicken with white bean & rosemary mash

Ingredients:

• Between six & eight chicken thighs on the bone, skin on
• Two red onions, halved and each cut into six wedges
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 large unwaxed lemon, halved
• Three bay leaves
• Two sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 300g/101⁄2 oz small vine-ripened tomatoes
• Sea salt and black pepper

For the white bean & rosemary mash
• 2 x 400g cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
• 270ml/91⁄2 fl oz/scant 11⁄4 cups whole milk
• Three bay leaves
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled & halved 40g/11⁄2 oz/3 tbsp unsalted butter 2 tsp Dijon mustard
• 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary

PREP: 15 minutes

COOKING: 35 minutes

MAKES: 4

Much as I love potatoes, this herby white bean mash makes a fantastic right-carb alternative. You can either mash the beans roughly with a potato masher so they retain
a bit of texture, or blend using a stick blender into a smooth and creamy sauce. Chicken thighs are not only full of flavour, they’re much cheaper than breasts – try to buy organic, free-range, if you can.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place in a large roasting tin (pan). Toss the onions in the oil and place around the chicken. Squeeze over the lemon juice and cut the halves into chunks and place in the tin. Tuck in the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs. Roast for 20 minutes, then remove the rosemary and add the tomatoes and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the chicken is golden and cooked through.

Meanwhile, make the white bean and rosemary mash. Put all the ingredients, except the rosemary, in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. When it almost starts to bubble, reduce the heat to low and cook, covered with a lid, for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside for the flavours to infuse while the chicken is roasting.
When ready to serve, remove the bay leaf and either mash with a potato masher or blend using a stick blender until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the rosemary and warm through.

Serve the chicken with the tomatoes and onions, spooning over any juices from the tin, and the white bean mash on the side.

White fish with butternut & ginger mash

Ingredients:

• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 3cm/11⁄2 in piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
• 4 thick hake fillets, or other sustainable firm white fish, such as haddock
• 20g/3⁄4 oz/11⁄2 tbsp butter sea salt and black pepper
• steamed long-stem broccoli and lime wedges, to serve

For the butternut & ginger mash
• 1kg/1lb 2oz butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
• Four garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
• 5cm/2 in piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into rounds
• 2 red jalapeño chillies, deseeded and diced
• 115ml/33⁄4 fl oz/scant 1⁄2 cup unsweetened drinking coconut milk
• juice of half a lime, plus extra if needed
• Two handfuls chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves, plus extra to serve

PREP: 15 minutes

COOKING: 15-20 minutes

SERVES: 12

all delicious, as are canned beans! This golden mash has an Asian feel thanks to the coconut, ginger, chilli and coriander leaves.

Method:

Make the mash. Put the squash in a saucepan with the garlic and ginger, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well and pick out the ginger. Return the squash to the hot pan and add half the chilli, most of the coconut milk and the lime juice. Mash until smooth, adding the rest of the coconut milk, if needed. Season with salt and pepper and stir in three-quarters of the coriander leaves. Taste and add more lime juice if needed.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat, add the ginger matchsticks and fry for 2 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Season with salt & pepper. Add the remaining oil and the butter to the frying pan and heat over a high heat. Place the fish, skin-side down, in the pan, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 3/4 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden and you can see the flesh has cooked two-thirds of the way up. Turn the fish, baste with the buttery oil and cook for a further 2 minutes or until just done and the fish is opaque and flaky. Warm the mash if need be and spoon on to four serving plates. Top with the broccoli and fish and scatter over the crispy ginger, the remaining chilli and coriander leaves before serving.

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December recipes: The main event

Round & About

Food & Recipes

The festive period isn’t normally associated with healthy eating, but Dr Michelle Braude of nutrition practice The Food Effect, says it doesn’t have to be this way and that many of the foods we often associate with Christmas and New Year are actually very healthy if used in the right way.

Grilled Salmon & Baby Potatoes on a Bed of Greens & Barley

A showstopper of a dish that will leave your guests asking for more.

Ingredients:

• 1 whole side of salmon fillet (around 1kg), with skin removed
• 1kg baby potatoes, washed and cut in halves
• 8 cups mixed greens
• 250g cooked barley (or brown rice)
• 1 head of garlic
• 6 tablespoons olive oil divided
• ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
• ½ teaspoon dried mixed herbs
• A third of a cup of balsamic vinegar
• Salt & pepper, to taste
• Balsamic glaze – for drizzling

PREP: 15 minutes

COOKING: 40 minutes

SERVES: 4-6

Method:

For the salmon:

Heat oven to 200°C.

Toss baby potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, rosemary, salt and black pepper. Cut a 1/4 off the head of garlic horizontally, and wrap it in foil.

Place potatoes and garlic on a parchment lined baking tray and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.

Coat the salmon with 2 tablespoons olive oil, soy sauce, dried mixed herbs and pepper. Place on another parchment lined baking sheet and place in the oven 20 minutes before the potatoes are ready. Roast salmon for 18-20 minutes.

For the dressing:

Blend together the balsamic vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper, and squeezed out roasted garlic. If too thick add a bit of water.

Complete the dish:

Combine a few tablespoons of dressing with the cooked barley, and the rest with the mixed greens. Arrange greens on a platter. Sprinkle the barley over the greens. With a large spatula place the salmon on the greens and barley and place the baby potatoes all the way around the salmon. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the salmon to decorate.

Variation: You can also decorate with pomegranate seeds, flaked almonds or chopped spring onion

Christmas is not quite the same without homemade warm mince pies to enjoy. This granola inspired delicious recipe is bound to keep everyone happy using granola from Lizi’s Breakfast Range available from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Ocado, Asda, Morrisons, Whole Foods, Co-Op, Booths and all good health stores.

Christmas Mince Pies with Lizi’s Original Granola Topping

These mince pies are a fun treat for all the family.

Ingredients:

• 1 whole side of salmon fillet (around 1kg), with skin removed
• 1kg baby potatoes, washed and cut in halves
• 8 cups mixed greens
• 250g cooked barley (or brown rice)• 1 head of garlic
• 6 tablespoons olive oil divided
• ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
• ½ teaspoon dried mixed herbs
• A third of a cup of balsamic vinegar
• Salt & pepper, to taste
• Balsamic glaze – for drizzling

PREP: 30 minutes

COOKING: 20 minutes

MAKES: 18

Method:

To make the pastry, rub together the diced vegan butter into the plain flour. Once they are mixed together, mix in the golden caster sugar and a pinch of salt.

Combine the pastry into a ball – don’t add any liquids – and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like a shortbread dough.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C.

Line 18 tin holes of two 12-hole shallow baking tins, pressing small (approximately walnut-sized) balls of pastry into each hole. Keep some of the pastry aside for the lids. Spread the pastry balls to make pie shaped cases and spoon the vegan mincemeat into the cases.

Roll out the remaining pastry for the lids. Use your star cutter (which has to be big enough to reach the sides of the pie cases) to create the pastry lids. If you’d rather use a different shaped cutter, ensure that the shapes reach the sides of the pie cases again.

Place the pastry lids on the pies, ensuring that they fit. Bake for 20 minutes until the pies are golden.

Leave the mince pies to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with some icing sugar. The mince pies will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.

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November recipes: food with heart

Round & About

Food & Recipes

A new cook book Food & Kindness is raising funds for Oxfordshire’s Sobell House hospice with help from local restaurants

Two of those featured are Oli’s Thai in Magdalen Road, Oxford and The White Hart in Fyfield.

Oli’s Thai is a neighbourhood restaurant with a well-deserved reputation for fantastic food, the Aubergine Curry has become the most popular dish in the restaurant and they say, don’t be scared to burn the edges, that’s where the flavour is

Aubergine Curry

from Oli’s Thai

Ingredients:

For the paste
• 1 tbsp coriander seeds
• Small pinch of cumin seeds
• 1 tbsp dried Dutch chillies, some seeds removed
• 75g lemongrass, cut thinly across
• 25g galangal, cut thinly across
• 1 tbsp table salt
• 1 tsp ground white pepper
• 35g garlic, peeled
• 25g shallots, roughly chopped
• 40g big red chillies

For the curry
• 2 aubergines
• 8 tbsp vegetable oil
• 190ml coconut milk
• 30ml water or stock
• 80g fine green beans, halved
• 2 spring onions, cut into 3cm chucks
• Handful of Thai basil
• 3 lime leaves, torn up
• 20g caster sugar
• 80ml coconut cream
• 50ml soy sauce

PREP: 15 minutes

COOKING: 30 minutes

SERVES: 4

Method:

For the paste
Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan over a low heat until golden. Once cool, put them in a spice grinder with the dried Dutch chillies and blitz to a fine consistency. With a pestle and mortar, pound a small quantity of the lemongrass and galangal together until smooth, adding more until you have used them all. Add the salt and pepper, then the other ingredients one at a time, pounding the mixture to a fine consistency before adding the next. Finally, add the blitzed dry spices and mix well. If you are using a blender to make the paste, add all the fresh ingredients and blitz until fine. Then add the coriander and cumin seeds, chillies, salt and pepper.

For the curry
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Prepare the aubergines, cutting each one lengthways into 10 or 12 wedges. For each wedge, cut along the flesh making a deep incision nearly reaching the skin and repeat, leaving 1 to 2cm gaps between each cut. Put them onto a baking tray and drizzle with five tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until soft but still holding their shape. Don’t be alarmed if the edges burn slightly, this will give the finished curry extra flavour.

Put the remaining vegetable oil into a large pan on a low heat and add the curry paste. Cook the paste for a couple of minutes until you see the oil separate. Increase the heat and add the coconut milk, stock, green beans, spring onion, basil, lime leaves and sugar then cook for about 2 to 3 minutes while stirring continuously. Turn the heat down low, add the coconut cream and soy sauce, then simmer gently until the beans are cooked, which should take about 3 to 5 minutes.

Place the roasted aubergine wedges in a bowl and pour over the sauce. Garnish with basil leaves.

The White Hart in Fyfield is a charming country dining pub that puts great food and hospitality at its heart and what could be better than trying their Elderflower Crème Brûlée with Gooseberry Compote and if you’re feeling adventurous try the doughnuts too

Elderflower Crème Brûlée with Gooseberry Compote

from The White Hart, Fyfield

Ingredients:

For the crème brûlée
• 400ml double cream
• 35g caster sugar, plus a little extra to brûlée
• 120ml elderflower cordial
• 6 egg yolks

For the gooseberry compote
• 400g gooseberries
• 6 tbsp caster sugar
• 2 tbsp elderflower cordial

For the doughnuts (optional)
• 210ml tepid milk
• 50g unsalted butter, softened
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 100g caster sugar
• 10g fresh yeast (or 5g dried)
• 300g plain flour
• ½ tsp salt
• Vegetable oil, for frying

PREP: 15 minutes (plus 2hrs prooving)

COOKING: 30-40 minutes

SERVES: 6

Method:

For the crème brûlée
Preheat the oven to 150°c. Place the cream, sugar and cordial in a pan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Briefly beat the egg yolks in a bowl, then pour in the cream mixture while still beating. Pass through a sieve into a jug. Pour the mixture into ramekins (approx. 70ml in each) and place in a deep roasting tin. Fill the roasting tin with boiling water halfway up the ramekins. Place on the bottom shelf of the oven and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until just set. Remove from the oven and let the ramekins stand in the water for 10 minutes, then take them out and leave to cool.

For the gooseberry compote
Place the gooseberries, sugar and elderflower cordial in a pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 3 minutes, just until the gooseberries start to soften. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

For the doughnuts (optional)
Combine the milk, butter, eggs and 40g of the sugar. Place the yeast in a small bowl, then add a little of the milk mixture to form a smooth paste. Add this paste to the remaining milk mixture and whisk to combine. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Gradually pour in the milk mixture, whisking until smooth. Cover the bowl with cling film and place the dough in a warm spot to prove for approximately 1 hour or until doubled in size. Take the dough out and knock it back to remove the air, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge until cold. Roll the cold dough into 15g balls and place them on greaseproof paper squares to prove for a final 30 minutes.

Place a large saucepan, one third filled with vegetable oil, over a medium heat until the oil reaches 170°c. Place the dough balls in the oil and cook for about 4 minutes, turning often, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove and drain on paper towels. Once cooled slightly, roll the doughnuts in the remaining caster sugar.

To serve
Sprinkle a little caster sugar over the brûlée then heat with a blowtorch (or place under a hot grill) until the sugar bubbles and forms a caramel. Arrange the compote and the doughnuts artistically on the plate and we serve ours with raspberry ripple ice cream and fresh raspberries. Enjoy!

Food & Kindness, £15, and is available from Amazon, Waterstones and online from www.mezepublishing.co.uk

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October recipes: An apple a day…

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Food & Recipes

Did you know in the UK alone we have more than 2,500 varieties of apple? Enough for you to try a different one every day for more than seven years and what better day to start then on October 21st, Apple Day. Why not try these recipes to start with…

Gala Apple and Sausage Tray Bake

Ingredients:

• 1x 400g pack of pork sausages, cut in half
• 2 red onions, cut into wedges
• 2 Gala Apples, cut into wedges
• 1 bunch of sage
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp honey
• 2 tbsp whole grain mustard

Serve with creamy mashed potato

PREP: 10 minutes

COOKING: 30-45 minutes

SERVES: 2

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C

Add the sausage halves, onion and apple wedges to a large baking tray and scatter over the sage leaves

Whisk together the olive oil, honey and whole grain mustard in a small bowl and drizzle over the sausage, onion and apple mixture

Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and sticky. Serve with creamy mashed potato

Braeburn Toffee Apple Cupcake

Ingredients:

• 125g softened butter
• 125g soft brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 225g self-raising flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 2 tsp mixed spice
• 120g Greek yoghurt
• 110ml whole milk
• 130g diced Braeburn apple, peeled finely
• Cream cheese icing
• 125g butter
• 250g icing sugar
• 125g cream cheese
• Splash milk

For decoration

• 12 dehydrated apple slices
• 4 tbsp shop bought toffee sauce

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 15-20 minutes

SERVES: 12

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C

Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases

Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs one at a time

Sift in the flour, baking powder, spices and mix. Stir through the Greek yoghurt, milk and diced apple. Using a teaspoon, divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden. Place on a cooling rack

To make the cream cheese icing, add butter to a large mixing bowl and whisk until white and fluffy. Whisk in the icing sugar until combined, followed by the cream cheese – don’t over whisk or the cream cheese may split. Add a splash of milk if you feel the consistency needs adjusting

Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a large open nozzle and pipe a circle of icing on top of each cupcake

Finish each cupcake with a dehydrated apple slice and a drizzle of toffee sauce

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August recipes: Fabulous fish

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Food & Recipes

Sea for Yourself is encouraging us to cook with fresh fish caught in UK seas, so ‘see for yourself’ how healthy and easy it can be

Fish is one of the healthiest foods you can eat and by buying and cooking delicious seafood caught in English waters, shoppers are not only supporting one of the country’s most important industries, but can also take advantage of the science-backed health benefits that support all types of lockdown lifestyles – Omega-3 fats boost brain function and maintain heart health, vitamins reduce fatigue and improve skin and hair.

Adding just two portions of fish to your diet can have a big impact on daily life. Fish is also packed with protein which helps to maintain healthy muscles and muscle mass, helping you to stay fit.

Sea for Yourself is a campaign launched by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, in partnership with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to encourage people to cook with UK caught fish species. Try these tasty, nutritious recipes.

Mouthwatering Fishcake

Ingredients:

• 1 pack smoked mackerel or equivalent cooked white fish
• Same weight mashed potato (approx 300g)
• Small handful chopped spring onions and parsley (optional)
• 2 eggs
• 100g plain flour
• 100g breadcrumbs
• Salt and pepper
• sunflower oil or any light mild oil for shallow frying (optional)

PREP: 10-12 minutes

COOKING: 26-30 minutes

SERVES: 4

Method:

1. Mash mashed potato with cooked white fish or smoked mackerel fillets.

2. Add onion/herbs and seasoning for flavour.

3. Shape or use cutters to get the desired effect.

4. Whisk the eggs and lay out in a bowl alongside a bowl of flour and a bowl of breadcrumbs.

5. Gently flour, egg and breadcrumb each fishcake.

6. Tidy up the shape if need be. Bake for 20 minutes or shallow fry for 10, five on each side.

7. Serve with healthy veg/mayo/tomato sauce.

Spicy garlic and tomato haddock

Ingredients:

• 750g salad tomatoes
• 1 tin chopped tomatoes
• 600g haddock
• Handful of Kalamata Greek olive
• Bunch of fresh parsley
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 2 anchovy fillets (optional)
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
• Salt & pepper

PREP: 5-10 minutes

COOKING: 10 minutes

SERVES: 5

Method:

1. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large frying pan on a low heat. Add the sliced garlic, red pepper flakes & anchovies (optional).

2. Slice the tomatoes into quarters and pit the olives. Add to the frying pan with a splash (100ml) of water and season with salt and pepper.

3. Once the tomatoes have formed a sauce, add the chopped tomatoes and 200ml of water.

4. Place the haddock (pre-sliced into 5 portions) on top of the sauce to poach. Cover with a lid for 6 minutes.

5. After 6 minutes, the haddock should be cooked and ready to go. Serve with rice or side of your choice and top with chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes.

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