Main courses

Green baked eggs with asparagus

  • 1 – 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 200g asparagus , cut into 4 cm lengths
  • 2-3 salad onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 pointed spring (sweetheart) cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 green chilli, sliced
  • few drops lemon juice
  • 10 grams feta cheese (or as much as you like!)
  • 2 eggs

Heat a frying pan over a high heat.  Add some oil, season the asparagus and fry, turning now and then, until slightly charred, for about 3 minutes.  Take out and set aside.  Lower the heat and add remaining oil, cooking the onions and garlic for a minute.  Add the cabbage and chilli and fry for 3 – 4 minutes, turning regularly.  Add lemon juice, some feta and the asparagus.  Turn heat to medium-low.  Make 2 holes in the mix and crack in the eggs and leave to for about 5 minutes till the white is set but yolks still soft.  Serve with some sourdough toast to mop up!


Salmon Rolls with Asparagus and Butter Sauce

  • 2 thick or 4 thin asparagus spears
  • 1 thin salmon fillet
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 peppercorns
  • 60 mls white wine
  • 2 tablespoons double cream
  • 100g butter, cut into small cubes
  • fresh parsley

Steam the asparagus for 6 – 8 minutes till tender, refresh under cold running water.  Lay on top of the salmon fillet and roll up.  Place on a rack over a pan of boiling water, sprinkle with lemon juice, cover and steam for 3 – 4 minutes till tender (I use one of those cheap bamboo steamers on top of a saucepan).  Sauce: Put the shallot, peppercorns and wine into a small saucepan and heat gently until the wine is reduced to a tablespoonful. Strain and return to the pan.  Add the cream and bring to the boil then lower the heat.  Add the butter to the sauce in small pieces, whisking all the time.  DO NOT ALLOW THE SAUCE TO BOIL AS IT WILL SEPARATE! Season to taste, add a little parsley and serve


Warm Chicken Salad

  • 1 chicken breast boned, skinned and cut in half
  • 1 orange or red pepper, deseeded and cut in to chunks
  • ½ – 1 little gem lettuce, leaves separated
  • 50g/1¾oz watercress, tough stalks removed
  • 2 ripe medium tomatoes, cut into small chunks
  • ⅓ cucumber, sliced
  • 1 tsp thick balsamic vinegar
  • ½ small lemon, juice only
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Put a little oil into a frying pan and place over a high heat. Cook the chicken for three minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Add a little more oil to the pan and cook the pepper for three minutes on each side or until lightly charred and beginning to soften. Arrange the lettuce leaves, watercress, tomatoes, cucumber and pepper on two plates. Slice the chicken breasts and scatter on top of salad. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and squeeze the lemon juice over. Season with black pepper and serve. If you want to serve your salad cold, let the chicken and peppers cool completely before adding to the salad. Cover and chill. Dress with the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice just before serving.

Hot-smoked Salmon salad

  • A few new potatoes halved (I haven’t specified a weight as it’s up to you how many you would like!  You can always cook a few more and make a potato salad later)
  • ½ pack asparagus tips (use the other half tomorrow for breakfast with boiled eggs to dip into)
  • bag mixed salad leaves (including young beetroot leaves and watercress)
  • 1/2 bunch each parsley and mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped (again, you can use the remainder to mix with your cold potatoes)
  • a few radish thinly sliced
  • 1 hot-smoked salmon steak, skin removed
  • 1 spring onion sliced diagonally

For the dressing    1 tbsp lemon juice       60 mls olive oil       1/2 teasp wholegrain mustard   1 red chilli

Boil potatoes in salted water for 10 mins until tender, adding the asparagus tips for the final 2 mins of cooking. Drain and allow to cool. Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients. then season to taste. In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, asparagus, salad leaves, herbs and radishes. Add two-thirds of the dressing, thoroughly mix through the salad, then spread the salad over a large platter. Break the hot-smoked salmon into large chunks, then scatter over the top along with the spring onions. Finish by pouring remaining dressing over the top.

Mackerel with rhubarb chutney

  • 75g / 3oz castor sugar
  • 25g/1oz sultanas
  • few sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2cm/¾in piece root ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 sticks rhubarb
  • 5 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 orange, juice only
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 mackerel – 2 fillets

For the chutney, in a heavy-based pan melt the sugar until a golden-brown caramel forms. Remove from the heat and stir in the sultanas, rosemary sprigs, ginger, shallot and rhubarb.Stir in the cider vinegar and orange juice. Bring back to the boil and cook gently for 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

For the mackerel, place the mackerel fillet skin-side up on an oven tray. Brush with rapeseed oil and place the fillets under a hot grill. Season with salt and pepper. Serve a spoonful of chutney with the cooked mackerel fillets, new potatoes and a crisp salad

Spiced Poussin

Place chicken breast-side down, with the legs towards you. Using sturdy scissors, cut up along each side of the parson’s nose and backbone to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go. Open the chicken out and turn over. Flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the meat is all one thickness.

Now for the spicing up!

  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 dessertspoon grated ginger
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Combine all of the above.  Put the flattened bird in an ovenproof dish and pour over.  Turn it a couple of times in the liquid and leave to marinade 2 – 3 hours or overnight. Pour off the marinade into a saucepan. Heat oven to 190oC and roast, uncovered, for about 45 minutes.  You could put a potato into bake alongside and some vegetable to roast – onions, peppers, carrots to make the most of the oven space (typical Scot – won’t put the oven on unless I am doing more than one thing!).  When cooked, put out onto a plate to rest and pour the juices into the saucepan with the marinade, heat together (you can thicken it a bit with some chicken or vegetable Bisto granules if you like) and serve as a sauce.

Goulash with Horseradish Dumplings

  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 large potato (ordinary or sweet)
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (I like the smoked one but it’s up to you)
  • 1 tin tomatoes – whole or chopped
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chilli sauce (or our favourite secret ingredient, Heinz Fiery Tomato Ketchup)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 red pepper

Chop all the vegetables.  Heat some oil in a saucepan and add the onions, garlic, thyme and paprika and fry gently for 5 minutes.  Add the carrot, potato and celery and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock cube, tomato paste and chilli sauce and bay leaf.  Bring to the boil and simmer till the vegetables are soft.  Halve, deseed and slice the pepper and fry in another pan for 6 – 8 minutes till soft and charred. Add to the goulash.


  • 50 grams Self raising flour             25 grams vegetable suet
  • 1 large dessertspoon horseradish sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon (optional)

Combine all above in a bowl, adding enough water to form a soft dough and shape into small balls

You can now either add the dumplings, cover and simmer gently for about 25 minutes for soft dumplings OR transfer the goulash to an oven dish, add the dumplings and put in the oven at 180oC uncovered for about 20 minutes if you like your dumplings crispy on the top (I do!). To serve a  spoonful of sour cream if you have any and some shredded spring onion to decorate

Sticky chicken thighs in Lemon and Honey
  • 1 dessertspoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 1 tablespoon of runny honey
  • dollop grainy mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 – 3 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 – 2 preserved lemons (buy them in a jar from most supermarkets) 
  • handful green olives, pits removed, sliced
  • small handful fresh flat leaf parsley

Preheat the oven at 200C/400F/Gas 6.  Put the crushed peppercorns into a large bowl together with the lemon juice, honey, mustard and garlic and mix well. Place the chicken thighs into a large roasting tin and pour the lemon and honey mixture over the chicken, leaving it to marinate for as long as possible. Sprinkle with sea salt, to taste, then cook in the hot oven for 45 minutes, turning halfway through cooking so that the thighs become lovely and sticky.  Meanwhile, cut the preserved lemons open and remove the soft flesh to leave you with just the skin (discard the flesh). Cut the skin into strips and toss together with the olives and parsley. When the chicken is ready, serve sprinkled with the olive, parsley and preserved lemon mixture. A crisp salad is a nice contrast with some sourdough bread to toast and mop up the lovely juices.

Chicken Thigh in a creamy leek sauce

  • 1 -2 chicken thighs (depending on their size and how hungry you are) skin left on
  • 2 -3 small potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons double cream
  • 50 ml stock (cube) or white wine if you have it
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 small leek

Preheat oven to 200oC.

Put the chicken and potatoes in a roasting tin and toss with the olive oil.  Arrange the chicken skin-side up and season generously. Roast for 25 minutes until the skin is crisp and turning golden Combine all the other ingredients in a jug with 50 mil of boiling water. When chicken is roasted, pour the mixture into tray, turning the chicken in the liquid to coat it, returning the chicken to the oven, skin-side up Roast for another 20 -30 minutes until chicken thoroughly cooked and the sauce is bubbling.

As everything is going to be in the oven, bake a potato alongside and some roasted tomatoes (halve and toss in olive oil with some sliced garlic (if liked) and a tiny bit of sugar, cooking for about 20 minutes until caramelized

Lamb Tagine (a Moroccan stew, so called because of the special cooking pot they use – but any casserole dish will do if you haven’t – even a slow cooker) with Harissa Jam

  • olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or a stick if you have)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 250 grams diced lamb
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300 ml stock
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Traditional tagines have chopped apricots and/or prunes  and/or dates – it’s up to you whether you want to – it will still taste good!  Add them with the tomatoes.

Heat the oil in a deep pan and fry the onions till beginning to colour. Add the garlic and all the ground spices (if using a cinnamon stick put in last). Season the lamb and add to the pot and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.  Add the chopped tomatoes and stock and put in the oven at 160 oC for 2 – 3 hours until tender.  If it looks like getting too dry add some more stock. If too “wet” at the end (but the meat is cooked) put it back on top of the stove and cook uncovered till thickened.

Serve with flatbreads or a baked potato, scattering chopped parsley and/or coriander over.  Chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds will make it look really pretty with the jam served on the side to mix into the lamb.

Harrisa Jam

  • 3 tomatoes       2 -3 cloves of garlic, chopped      1 -2 teaspoons sugar
  • olive oil
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons harrisa paste (you should still have some from the last blog recipe)

Quarter the tomatoes (or half if small) and put in an ovenproof dish.  Scatter the garlic and sugar over and olive oil to coat.  Put in the oven with the lamb and cook until the tomatoes are soft and browning.  Take out and put in a bowl (should be saucelike) and add the harissa to taste.

Green Shakshuka – from the Middle East

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 leek
  • 1/2 bag of spinach
  • 125g frozen peas
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 pack of parsley
  • 1/2 pack coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 pack of mint, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 dessertspoon harissa paste – or to taste (find in the spice shelf – we’ll be using this again at the weekend)
  • natural yogurt
  • pitta bread to serve

Heat the oil in a wide, shallow frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks with a pinch of salt and cook for 4 mins until softened. Add handfuls of spinach to the pan, stirring until wilted. Stir in the peas, garlic, cumin, herbs and some seasoning. Cook for a few mins until it smells fragrant, then create 2 gaps and crack an eggs into each. Cover and cook for 10 mins or until the whites are set but the yolks are runny – they will carry on cooking slightly as you take them to the table. Season the eggs with flaky sea salt, dollop spoonfuls of the yogurt interspersed with the harissa, and scatter over a few mint leaves.

CHILLI CON CARNE (looks like this may be complicated because of  number of ingredients but I promise it isn’t)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 250 grams minced beef
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons Heinz Fiery tomato ketchup (secret ingredient)
  • 1 red chilli/dried chilli flakes or to taste (don’t forget you can buy chilli, garlic and ginger frozen so you don’t have to buy a load and then not use)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon (optional)
  • good shake of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • can of red kidney beans
  • some fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2 squares dark chocolate (secret ingredient 2)

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the mince, cooking quickly till browned.  Pour in the red wine  and boil for 2 – 3 minutes (have one for yourself whilst you are waiting). Stir in the tinned tomatoes, puree, chilli, cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon, Worcester sauce and Tomato sauce and crumble in the stock cube.  Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook gently for about 40 minutes. If the mixture still looks wet, I then cook it more fiercely until rich and thickened.  Add the beans and fresh coriander – and chocolate! Serve with lime wedges, guacamole,  rice and/or crusty

Green Chilli Carrots with Yoghurt Rice

  • Chantenay carrots 250g, halved (or plain carrots, chopped)
  • olive oil
  • small green chilli  (or to taste) finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ginger grated to make 1 tsp
  • 1/2 small bunch coriander, chopped
  • preserved lemon peel finely chopped (optional)
  • basmati rice 150g
  • turmeric 1/4 tsp
  • Greek yoghurt 2 tbsp

Boil the carrots for 5 minutes until tender, then drain. Heat a little oil and fry the chilli and shallots for a minute, then add the ginger and fry for another minute. Add the carrots, coriander and lemon peel, season and toss everything together.

Meanwhile, cook the rice and drain it. Put a splash of oil and the turmeric into the hot rice pan, add back the rice, season well and stir gently. Spoon into a bowl and add some carrots followed by a spoonful of yoghurt.

Sicilian-style salmon with garlic mushrooms

  • 100g salmon fillet, skin removed (you could go all Masterchef and pan fry the skin till crisp and use to decorate!)
  • 1 lime juice only
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • 1/2 teasp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika                       salt and black pepper
  • 100g button mushrooms, slice
  • 100g broccoli, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Put the oven on at 180oC.

Put the salmon fillet on a lightly oiled baking tray and drizzle over the lime juice and olive oil.  Sprinkle with the chilli flakes and paprika and season well.  Bake for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan.  Add the mushrooms and garlic and stir fry for a few minutes.  Add the broccoli and cook till your liking.  Stir in the parsley if using and serve immediately with the salmon.

Pea Risotto

  • 60g / 2 oz Arborio/ risotto rice
  •  ½ small onion
  •  1 chopped garlic
  • 150g peas
  •  ½ glass Dry white wine (don’t worry if no wine, just make up with extra stock)
  •  ½  pint hot chicken or vegetable stock
  •  1 Teaspoon butter
  •  1 Teaspoon olive oil
  • A little cream or crème fraiche
  •  30g/1oz grated parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onion and gently sweat for about 10 mins until really soft. Meanwhile, put 50g peas into a food processor with a ladleful of stock and whizz until completely puréed.

Stir the rice into the onion, increase heat to medium and sizzle the rice for 1 min. Pour in the wine, then bubble and stir until completely absorbed. Continue cooking like this, adding a ladleful of stock at a time, and stirring continuously until the rice is tender and has a good creamy consistency – this will take 20-30 mins.  Stir in the puréed peas, remaining (cooked) peas, Parmesan and cream, then turn off the heat and leave to stand for a few mins. Give the risotto a final stir and spoon into shallow bowls.  NB you could add some chopped ham if you liked, too.

French Onion Tart

  • Pastry made with 50 grams of butter and 100g plain flour
  • 1/2 kilo onions
  • 25 grams butter and 1 dessertspoon olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks and 100 ml of double cream
  • 50 grated cheese

This is the easiest pastry recipe known to man (or woman) – rub the butter into the flour and enough cold water to bring the mixture together and simply press it straight into a small tart tin, using your hands, without even rolling.  You now want to bake it blind – which means laying some greaseproof paper on top and filling it with clay baking beans or dried pulses – even bread crusts – as a weight.  Bake it in a oven for about 15 mins at 200oC.

Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a pan and add the sliced onions and cook very gently till soft  – about 1/2 hour (just like the soup).  Remove from the heat and season well (a little nutmeg tastes nice, too!) Beat together the yolks and cream and finely grate the cheese.  Add to the onions and spread evenly into your pastry case.  Bake at 190oC for about half an hour until the filling is lightly puffed golden.  Serve with a crisp salad.

Meat and Potato Pie (I’ve scaled down the recipe for 2 – but it will taste good tomorrow with pickles and mustard)

  • 250 grams stewing steak
  • 2 – 3 potatoes and 1 chopped onion
  • 110g Self raising flour
  • 40 grams suet
  • 30 grams chilled butter

Braise the meat till tender in some stock (oxo)on top of the hob. Boil the potatoes and onions till soft. Drain, keeping the water to thicken for gravy with the meat juice.  Put the meat, potato and onion into a pie dish. Make up the gravy with the vegetable and meat water with granules till thick, pour over and allow to cool.

Measure the flour and suet into a bowl.  Grate in the butter and rub together.  Make the pastry adding a little water to come together.  Roll out on a floured board and cover the meat mixture in the dish.  Score a cross in the top and pop in a hot oven (about 200oC) and bake till golden brown.  Serve with green vegetables and mustard.  Guaranteed to fill you up and keep out the cold!

Leek Macaroni and Cheese

  • 100 g macaroni
  • 10 grams of butter
  • 1 leek, roughly chopped
  • a little thyme
  • white sauce : 20grams plain flour   300 mls milk   100g cheese

Cook macaroni as per instructions on packet in boiling water. Melt butter and add leeks with some thyme to taste and cook till soft. Add the flour to the leeks in a pan and cook for 2 mins. Add milk slowly, stirring all the time till thickened. Add grated cheese and stir well. Add the drained pasta and pour into an ovenproof dish.  Top with breadcrumbs and grill until golden.

Tarka Dahl

This will make enough for  2 – 3 but it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and is lovely cold with hot pitta bread as a snack – or you could add some stock and whiz it up into a spicy lentil soup.

  • 75 grams lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 -2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • small knob of fresh ginger, grated

Rinse the lentils well and put into 1/2 litre of water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, skimming off any scum. Add the turmeric, garlic and ginger and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes with an occasional stir till the lentils are soft – you may have to add a little more water as you do. Meanwhile take . . . .

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable/rapeseed oil
  • 1 dessertspoon butter
  • 2 dried chillies
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala or to taste

Heat the oil and butter and add the chillies and cumin.  Once sizzling, add the onions  and cook till brown.  Add the tomatoes, masala and some salt and pepper and cook down till soft and mushy. When the lentils are cooked, mash them a little and add to the onions, mix around to pick up all the spices and then combine them all together in one  dish.

To serve, I fry some more onions in oil and butter till crispy and tip over the dhal.

If you are vegetarian, this is excellent on its own with chutneys, rice, naan or pitta bread . You can make this the day before (in fact, sometimes I do deliberately so that the flavours intensify).

Lemon and Herb Fish in a Bag (if you want to be posh that’s en papillote in French!)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced lemon peel and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 spring onion
  • a fillet of fish – this can be salmon, cod, haddock – your favourite
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Heat the oven to 200oC

Mix the parsley, garlic and lemon peel together and put to the side. Cut the spring onion into small pieces and slice lengthwise. Season the fish with salt and pepper and the lemon juice and spread the top with butter Put the spring onion in the middle of your parcel and top with the fish.  Put some of the herb mix on top of the fish.  Fold the packages up – each long side to the middle then sides brought inwards to seal. Place on a baking sheet and bake about 8 minutes. Put the parcel on your dinner plate with whatever vegetables you like best and open – be careful all those lovely juices will seep out and you don’t want to waste them!

Spicy Chinese Chicken Packet

  • 1 chicken thigh = bone in or out
  • small piece of ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 spring onion
  • some fresh or frozen chilli – to taste (remember that most supermarkets now sell them frozen so you will have no wastage if you only use a little)
  • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce (smells disgusting tastes nice)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or sherry

Put ALL of the above in a plastic bag and give it a good shake then leave to marinade for about 45 minutes Preheat the oven to 200oC.  Prepare your parcel as above. Take out the chicken and put in the middle. Add a spoonful of the marinade and fold up. On to a baking tray and into the oven for about 15 minutes.

Sauce: Put the remaining marinade into a saucepan and add:

  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or sherry (optional but you will need to use the measurement of water)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Simmer altogether to melt the honey.  If you like heat, you could add a little chopped chilli to taste. It’s ready when it has thickened slightly.

Serve the chicken parcel on a plate with a side of rice and pok choy with the sauce to pour over when opened.

Scotch pancakes with bacon and maple syrup

  • 10 tablespoons self raising flour
  • 3 tablespoons castor sugar
  • 1 egg with 4 tablespoons of milk
  • large knob of butter

Put the flour and sugar in a bowl and make a well.  Pour in the egg and milk mixture

Melt the butter in the small flat frying pan or griddle you are going to cook the pancakes on and then tip out into the mixture beating well.

Spoon a little of the batter onto the hot pan, usually about 4 – 5 pancakes at a time – they will spread a little but not much. Continue till they are all made – obviously the last one you just have to spread immediately with butter to taste they are ok!

Fry some bacon until crisp.  Put 3 or 4 pancakes on a warm plate, top with bacon and drizzle over some maple syrup.
















%d bloggers like this: