Recipe of the Day – Potato salad with smoked salmon & horseradish

Potato salad with smoked salmon & horseradish crème fraiche
A beautifully simple salad, lovely for summer

This salmon and potato salad is an absolute winning combo, and all the better with crusty bread!

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I’ve always loved smoked salmon, ever since I was a little kid. As I grew up living above my parents’ pub, I could pretty much choose whatever I wanted for my packed lunch so I would ask Mum for extra smoked salmon sandwiches, saying that I was a growing boy. But instead of eating them myself I used to sell them to other kids at school. What a great son! Anyway, this is a great little recipe – smoked salmon, potatoes and horseradish are best mates, so you can’t go wrong! There are two key things to remember, though. The first is that you must try to get hold of some good-quality smoked salmon. Some supermarkets now offer a selection of wonderful smoked salmon with fantastic flavor and texture, without being too oily. The second is that it’s best to dress your potatoes while they’re still warm, so they suck up all the lovely juices. Let them cool down in the dressing before adding any fresh herbs or they’ll wilt and lost their flavor.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)
Calories
400kcal Carbs
23.6g Sugar
3.0g Fat
20.1g Saturates
11.1g Protein
29.4g

Serves 4 Approx time: 40 Difficulty: super easy

Ingredients
600 g new potatoes, washed
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zest and juice of
1 splash red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, soaked and drained
3 cm piece fresh horseradish, peeled, or grated horseradish from a jar, to taste
150 ml crème fraîche
1 small bunch fresh dill or fennel tops, roughly chopped
400 g sliced smoked salmon, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger


Method

Pick out the larger potatoes and halve them, making them roughly the same size as the smaller ones. Put all the potatoes into a pan of boiling salted water. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are just cooked, and drain in a colander.

Put the lemon zest and half the lemon juice into a bowl and add the vinegar. Normally, when making a dressing, I stick to one type of acid, but in this case using vinegar and lemon juice together gives the dish a lovely zinginess. Pour in three times as much olive oil as vinegar, and add the capers. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Mix everything well, then add the warm potatoes and toss around until they are all well coated.

Finely grate the horseradish into a bowl – be confident with the amount you use as you need the heat to go with the salmon and potatoes – and mix it into the crème fraîche with the remaining lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Sprinkle most of the dill or fennel over the cooked potatoes and toss again.

Lay your smoked salmon out on a big plate or platter. Don’t be too neat – I want you to make it look rustic! Just pinch it up here and there so that it looks wavy and pile the dressed potatoes on top. Dollop over the horseradish crème fraîche, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle over the rest of the dill or fennel. Served with a glass of wine and some nice bread, this makes a delicious lunch.


Recipe of the Day – Gorgeous greek chicken

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Gorgeous greek chicken with herby vegetable couscous & tzatziki
Fresh Mediterranean flavours

I love this combo of spicy chicken, veg-packed couscous and cool,
minty, cucumber yoghurt

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)

Calories
683kcal Carbs
69.9g Sugar
10.9g Fat
19.9g Saturates
4.3g Protein
51.6g

Serves 4 Approx time: 15 Difficulty: super easy

Ingredients
For The Couscous
1 mug (300g) of couscous
2 mixed-colour peppers
1 fresh red chilli
4 spring onions
½ a bunch of fresh dill
200 g podded raw or frozen peas
1 small handful of black olives (stone in)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
40 g feta cheese

For The Chicken
2 x 200 g skinless higher-welfare chicken breasts
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 lemon
olive oil
For The Tzatziki
½ a cucumber
250 g fat-free natural yoghurt
½ a lemon
½ a bunch of fresh mint

Method
Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Large frying pan, medium-high heat • Food processor (bowl blade)

START COOKING
Put 1 mug of couscous and 2 mugs of boiling water into a bowl with a pinch of salt and cover • On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper, the oregano, allspice and finely grated lemon zest • Fold over the paper, then bash and flatten the chicken to 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin • Put into the frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, turning after 3 or 4 minutes, until golden and cooked through

Using a box grater, coarsely grate the cucumber • Sprinkle it with a good pinch of salt, then squeeze and scrunch with clean hands to get rid of the excess salty water • Pop in a bowl with the yoghurt, juice of ½ a lemon and a pinch of pepper, finely chop and add the top leafy half of the mint, then mix together • Remove the stalk and seeds from the peppers and chilli, then pulse in the processor with the trimmed spring onions and the dill until finely chopped • Scatter over a large tray or platter

Add the peas to the veg (if using frozen peas, blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes first), destone and tear over the olives, then squeeze over the juice of the zested lemon and add the extra virgin olive oil • Fluff up and scatter over the couscous, toss well and season to taste • Move the cooked chicken to a board, slice it up, then lay it around the couscous • Crumble over the feta and serve with the tzatziki


Recipe of the Day – The best tuna meatballs

The best tuna meatballs (Le migliori polpette di tonno)
In a delicious tomato sauce

Made with fresh fish, herbs and spices, these tuna meatballs
are just as tasty as the meaty version

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Just about everyone I know is a fan of meatballs, so I thought I’d give you a recipe for these as they are something a little different. I’ve seen them made in Sicily in the same way, using a mixture of swordfish and tuna – not jarred or tinned tuna though. These have to be made with fresh fish and they are subtly seasoned with Sicilian herbs and spices – this recipe is just as good as the meat versions!
Nutritional Information (amount per serving)

Calories
566kcal Carbs
27.6g Sugar
8.4g Fat
32.7g Saturates
5.7g Protein
38.1g

Serves 4 Approx time: 55 Difficulty: super easy

Ingredients
For The Tomato Sauce
olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 x 400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
red wine vinegar
1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped

For The Meatballs
400 g tuna, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger
olive oil
55 g pine nuts
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
100 g stale breadcrumbs
25 g Parmesan, freshly grated
2 free-range eggs
1 lemon

Method
First make your sauce. Place a large pan on the heat, add a good lug of olive oil, your onion and garlic and fry slowly for 10 or so minutes until soft. Add your oregano, the tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or so, then liquidize until smooth. Taste – it might need a tiny swig of red wine vinegar or some extra seasoning.

While the tomatoes are simmering, chop the tuna up into 2.5cm/1 inch dice. Pour a good couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a large frying pan and place on the heat. Add the tuna to the pan with the pine nuts and cinnamon. Season lightly with salt and pepper and fry for a minute or so to cook the tuna on all sides and toast the pine nuts. Remove from the heat and put the mixture into a bowl. Allow to cool down for 5 minutes, then add the oregano, parsley, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, and zest and juice of the lemon to the bowl. Using your hands, really scrunch and mix the flavors into the tuna, then divide the mixture and squeeze it into meatballs slightly smaller than a golf ball. If you dip one of your hands in water while shaping you’ll get a nice smooth surface on the meatball. If the mixture’s very sticky, add a few more breadcrumbs. Keep the meatballs around the same size and place them on an oiled tray, then put them in the fridge for an hour to let them rest.

Put the pan you fried the tuna in back on the heat with a little olive oil. Add your meatballs to the pan and jiggle them about until they’re golden brown all over. You might want to do them in batches – when they’re done, add them to the tomato sauce, divide between your plates, sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle with good olive oil. Great served with spaghetti or linguine.


Recpe of the Day – Summer crunch salad with walnuts & Gorgonzola

Summer crunch salad with walnuts & Gorgonzola
Deliciously fresh and crisp

The zingy bite of the Gorgonzola works beautifully with the crispness of the apple and fresh peas

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Curly pea shoots are great in this salad – you might find some in the shops or your garden.

Nutritional Information
(amount per serving)
Calories
249kcal Carbs
7.2g Sugar
2.6g Fat
20.3g Saturates
6.4g Protein
7.7g

Serves 8 Approx time: 10 Difficulty: super easy

Ingredients
1 lemon, juice of
extra virgin olive oil
2 small red apples
2 bulbs fennel, thinly sliced, leafy tops reserved
2 handfuls walnut halves
200 g Gorgonzola cheese
3 large handfuls fresh peas

Method
Squeeze the lemon through your fingers into a mixing bowl, catching the pips as they come out. Add three times as much olive oil to the lemon juice and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Whisk well.

Core and thinly slice each apple. Toss with the fennel and walnuts in the dressing and divide between smaller bowls. Crumble the Gorgonzola over the top of each, then scatter with the fresh peas and the leafy fennel tops to serve.


Recipe of the Day – Pina Colada

First made in Puerto Rico back in 1952, with this rum, pineapple and coconut cream cocktail in your hand all you’ll be missing is the sand between your toes.

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Ingredients
2 parts Bacardi Superior rum
1 1/2 parts of fresh coconut cream
1 part pineapple juice
3-4 slices fresh pineapple
3 parts caster sugar
ice, cubed

Method
1. Place all your ingredients into the blender (apart from the garnish!) and blend until a smooth consistency

2. Pour into a chilled (or even better, frozen) glass, then add your garnish and serve


Recipe of the Day – Tender & crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes

Tender & crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes
A delicious one-pot meal

Knock this together in minutes, leave it to do its thing
and whack it out when your guests arrive

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This recipe takes literally minutes to put together but then requires slow, gentle cooking. However, in return for your patience, what happens in the pan from just a couple of ingredients is an absolute joy
and never fails, so it’s a good one to serve if you have guests.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)
Calories
264kcal Carbs
3.4g Sugar
1.4 g Fat
17.7g Saturates
4.5g Protein
22.3g

Serves 4 Approx time: 95 Difficulty: super easy

Ingredients
4 higher-welfare chicken legs, jointed
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 big bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
2 big handfuls red and yellow cherry tomatoes and ripe plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes halved, plum tomatoes quartered
1 whole bulb garlic, broken into cloves
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
olive oil
410 g tinned cannellini beans, drained, optional
2 handfuls new potatoes, scrubbed, optional

Method
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Season your chicken pieces all over and put them into a snug-fitting pan in one layer. Throw in all the basil leaves and stalks, then chuck in your tomatoes. Scatter the garlic cloves into the pan with the chopped chilli and drizzle over some olive oil. Mix around a bit, pushing the tomatoes underneath. Place in the oven for 1½ hours, turning the tomatoes halfway through, until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat falls off the bone.

If you fancy, you can add some drained cannellini beans or some sliced new potatoes to the pan and cook them with the chicken. Or you can serve the chicken with some simple mashed potato. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins before serving. You could even make it part of a pasta dish – remove the chicken meat from the bone and shred it, then toss into a bowl of linguini or spaghetti and serve at once.


Recipe of the Day – Thai chicken laksa mildly spiced noodle squash broth

Thai chicken laksa mildly spiced noodle squash broth

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Nutritional Information (amount per serving)

Calories
656kcal Carbs
70.9g Sugar
10.7g Fat
23.5g Saturates
8.5g Protein
32.1g

Serves 4 Approx time: 15 Difficulty: super easy

Ingredients
For The Chicken
4 skinless, boneless higher-welfare chicken thighs
1 heaped teaspoon Chinese five-spice
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 fresh red chilli

For The Laska
1 organic chicken or vegetable stock cube
1 butternut squash, (neck end only)
2 cloves of garlic
1 thumb-sized piece ginger
1 fresh red chilli
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ bunch spring onions
1 heaped teaspoon peanut butter
4 dried kaffir lime leaves
½ bunch fresh coriander
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon low-salt soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
300 g medium rice noodles
2 bunches asparagus, (600g)
1 x 400 g tin of light coconut milk
3 limes

Method
Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Griddle pan, high heat • Large lidded pan, high heat • Food processor (coarse grater & bowl blade)

START COOKING
On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper and the five-spice • Fold over the paper, then bash and flatten the chicken to 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin • Place on the hot griddle pan, turning after 3 or 4 minutes, until nicely charred and cooked through • Pour about 800ml of boiling water into the large pan and crumble in the stock cube

Trim the stalk off the squash, roughly chop the neck end (don’t peel, and keep the seed end for another day), then grate and tip into the boiling stock • Swap to the bowl blade in the processor and add the peeled garlic and ginger, the chilli, turmeric, trimmed spring onions, peanut butter, dried lime leaves, coriander stalks (reserving the leaves), sesame oil, soy and fish sauces • Blitz to a paste, then tip into the stock and add the noodles

Trim the asparagus and cut in half • Add to the pan, pour in the coconut milk, and as soon as it boils, taste, correct the seasoning with soy sauce and lime juice, then turn the heat off • Drizzle the honey over the charred chicken, squeeze over the juice of 1 lime, scatter with the sesame seeds and toss to coat • Serve with the laksa and lime wedges, sprinkling everything with the coriander leaves and slices of fresh chilli


Recipe of the Day – Royal Georgie snap biscuits

Royal Georgie snap biscuits
I made these lovely little biscuits to celebrate the birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge. They’re a nice, simple biscuit to make, and they’re super delicious – I love the way they’re snappy, but still light and crumbly, and the sour apricot jam is an absolute winner. Happy cooking!

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Nutritional Information (amount per serving)

Calories
290kcal Carbs
34g Sugar
19g Fat
17g Saturates
8g Protein
3g

Makes 16 Difficulty: super easy

Ingredients
50 g dried apricots
300 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100 g ground almonds
100 g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
250 g cold unsalted butter, cubed
250 g good-quality apricot jam

Method
Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3. Put the dried apricots into a small bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to plump up and soften slightly.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, ground almonds and caster sugar together in a bowl. Add the butter and rub together to make a soft dough – this isn’t as crumbly as shortbread, so keep mixing until everything comes together nicely. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, flatten slightly, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Drain the apricots, then pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Tip into a small pan over a low heat and add the apricot jam, then allow to bubble and reduce slightly until you have a sticky, but spreadable mix. Set aside and leave to cool.

Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Once the dough is chilled, lightly dust a work surface with plain flour. Unwrap the first ball of dough and roll into a disc, roughly the thickness of a pound coin. Take a 6cm fluted pastry cutter and cut out 8 rounds (4 bases and 4 tops). Use a 2cm heart-shaped cutter to cut out the middle of half the biscuits. Place all the biscuits and the little hearts onto the lined baking sheets, then repeat with the other 3 pieces of dough.

Place the trays in the hot oven and bake for around 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove the trays from the oven and quickly sprinkle over a few big pinches of caster sugar, then carefully transfer the biscuits onto wire cooling racks and leave to cool completely.

To assemble, turn the base biscuits so they’re sugary-side down and dollop a little apricot filling into the centre of each one. Place the top biscuits sugary-side up on top and press lightly to sandwich together – you can mix and match using the little heart cut outs as tops too, if you like. Wrap up nicely and present to the parents of the new arrival with a bow or curtsy.


Recipe of the Day – Farro salad with roasted vegetables

Farro salad with roasted veg (Insalata di farro con verdure al forno)
Italian-style nutty grain tossed with herby veggies

I love this with chewy, nutty farro but this works with couscous,
pearl barley or even rice too

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Farro is a grain similar to pearl barley, but it’s dried in such a way that instead of being fluffy and spongy it becomes chewy and nutty. You may have difficulty getting hold of it, but if you can find it you’ll be using it all the time – it has an unusual flavour half-way between rice and couscous (this recipe will also work well with both of these). In Italy it was a major food for the ancient Romans, who used it to make bread, porridge and soup before they got hold of wheat. Nowadays it’s used in salads, soups, stews, even pastas. You should be able to buy farro in good Italian delis, and supermarkets have started to stock it in the special selection aisles. Here’s a recipe for one of my fave salads – give it a go.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)
Calories
156kcal Carbs
21.8g Sugar
6.0g Fat
3.6g Saturates
0.6g Protein
6.3g

Serves 8 Approx time: 80 Difficulty: super easy
Ingredients
400 g farro or bulgar wheat
3 yellow courgettes, halved lengthways and deseeded
2 green courgettes, halved lengthways and deseeded
2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and thickly sliced, herby tops reserved
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 red peppers, halved, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 aubergines, cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
herb or white wine vinegar
1 good bunch fresh herbs (flat-leaf parsley, basil, mint, oregano)
1 squeeze lemon juice

Method
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Soak the farro or bulgar wheat in cold water for 20 minutes, then drain. Slice the courgettes across into chunky half-moons and put them into a large roasting tray. Add the remaining vegetables and the garlic cloves and toss together with a good splash of olive oil. Season with pepper and a tiny pinch of salt. Try to spread the vegetables out in one layer, as they’ll roast better this way (use 2 trays if you have to). Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the trays and carefully shaking them now and then, until the vegetables are cooked through and crisp around the edges. Sprinkle a little vinegar over the vegetables as soon as they come out of the oven and set aside to cool. When cool, tip on to a large chopping board, add the fresh herbs and chop finely.

Place the farro or bulgar wheat in a large saucepan, cover with fresh cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender, and drain well. Dress with olive oil and the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and toss with the roasted herby vegetables. Scatter over the reserved fennel tops and serve.


Recipe of the Day – Rainbow jam tarts

Rainbow jam tarts
Exciting childhood treats

Jam tarts are humble, cheap to make and such a pretty little treat.
This is a great recipe to do with the kids.

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Nutritional Information (amount per serving)

Calories
129kcal Carbs
22.4g Sugar
14.2g Fat
3.8g Saturates
2.2g Protein
1.2g

Makes 30 roughly Approx time: 35 Difficulty: super easy
Ingredients

For The Sweet Pastry:
250 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
250 g icing sugar
125 g unsalted butter, softened
a pinch of sea salt
1 large free-range egg
1 orange or lemon
a splash of milk

For The Fillings:
30 heaped teaspoons of your favourite jams, curds, marmalades and jellies

Method
Jam tarts are definitely a part of my childhood. They are humble, cheap to make and such a pretty little treat. It’s funny how simple pastry with a blob of jam can turn into something so exciting, with chewy bits, bubbling bits, crunchy bits and jammy jelly bits. Even if you cheat a little, and buy ready-made pastry, just the ritual of filling these tarts with your favourite jams and then baking them can be really relaxing. The beauty of these for me is playing with the different jam or jelly flavours so you get a rainbow of colours. Just about every supermarket in Britain stocks a great selection of posh jams: strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, gooseberry, apricot, cranberry … the sheer number of fillings available now makes these even more exciting than the ones I had as a kid.

Put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor with a pinch of salt and pulse until you have a mixture that looks like breadcrumbs. Crack in the egg, grate in the zest from your orange or lemon and pulse again, adding a little splash of milk to bring everything together, if needed. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and pop it into the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out the pastry so it’s 0.5cm thick. Get yourself a few 12-hole jam tart trays (or cook the tarts in batches) and a fluted pastry cutter just a little bigger than the holes of the tray (normally around 6cm). Cut out rounds of pastry and gently push them into the wells so they come up the sides. Any leftover pastry can be gently pushed back into a ball and rolled out to make a few more tarts. Put 1 heaped teaspoon of filling into each jam tart, interspersing and alternating the flavours of jams, curds or jellies.

Pop the trays on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for around 12 to 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling. Remove from the oven, leave in the tray to firm slightly, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool for a few minutes before serving.

PS: I know this might sound a bit girly, but if you can track down a lovely old tart tin from an antique shop, then serve these straight out of the tin – it looks really good, as the old tins are really cute. See, I told you it was girly!