spanish style clams

I have taken the flavours of a classic Spanish clam stew and rejigged it so it tastes great even though there is no meat in it. Normally it would have Chorizo in it, so I used smoked paprika which is the flavor of Chorizo instead and it tastes just as good. It’s a really easy recipe and great for a date night. Also, the frozen Clams were a bargain £3.59 for 500g in the freezer section of Waitrose. I always buy a few boxes and keep them in the freezer just in case.

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, finely sliced
Pinch of hot smoked paprika
Pinch of saffron threads
500g of clams (thawed if using frozen)
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
A bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sherry
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of sourdough bread (optional)

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express salmon kedgeree

Kedgeree is one of those quintessentially British dishes, dating back to the 1800’s, that’s easier to make than you think plus I’ve made it even easier. It’s a lovely mixture of creamy eggs, fish and rice with the gentle perfume of Indian spices. My version is inspired by a recipe by the cook Roxy Beaujolais which uses salmon instead of smoked haddock. It’s perfect for a light Christmas Eve supper, or as a New Years Eve supper bearing in mind it only takes about twenty minutes to cook. It’s also perfect for dinner for two.

Recipe

Serves 4 for brunch. 2 for dinner or lunch. You can double or triple the quantities depending on how many people are eating.

Ingredients:
2 salmon fillets
1 bay leaf
a tablespoon of butter or a tablespoon of coconut oil
1 large shallot or a small onion finely sliced
pinch of turmeric
pinch of cumin
1 bag of pre-cooked brown or white basmati rice from the supermarket
3 eggs
2 tablespoons double cream or yoghurt (or cream substitute, or dairy free yoghurt)
chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon

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crab tartines with avocado and lime

This recipe is a great way of making a fairly expensive ingredient go a long way, and anyway, what could be nicer than crab with chilli and lime on crunchy bread with avocado and pickled cucumber? The perfect combo of flavours and textures. The lime is the perfect match for crab and is slightly more subtle than if I used a lemon, which you can do if you prefer. It’s a great starter to any dinner, just multiply it by the number of guests.

Recipe

For two as a light meal or four as a starter.

Ingredients:

1/2 red chilli very finely chopped
One tin of crab meat drained or 120g of fresh crab
Four slices of scorched sourdough bread
One lime, zest and juice plus another for squeezing later
3 tablespoons of olive oil plus more for drizzling on the bread
1/2 a clove of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup
1 ripe avocado cut into tiny cubes
2 pickled cucumber spears finely chopped
1/2 a small red onion very finely chopped
A small sprig of parsley
A sprinkling of nigella seeds
Salt and pepper

Dressing
In a small bowl mix the olive oil with the chilli, lime juice and zest,  maple syrup, pickled cucumber, garlic and salt and pepper to taste, then gently mix in the avocado to coat it in the dressing.

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caesar salad tartines

Tartines are open sandwiches on bread, Tartine means open faced sandwich in French. They usually are a really delicious combo of crunchy bread and fresh salad. I decided to make a Caesar salad version, so the crunchy bread base is there instead of the croutons. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Caesar salad or toasted bread for that matter. When I mention Caesar salad to people as a snack or meal suggestion they always jump at it, more than any other recipe! These tartines could be a great starter for a dinner party, or fantastic for dinner with my matchstick fries.

Recipe

Serves 3.

Ingredients:

2tablespoons of good quality mayonnaise
3 large slices of sourdough bread or 6 small slices
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (or dairy free yogurt)
3 anchovies for the Caesar dressing plus extra for placing on top of the tartine
½ clove garlic (optional)
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan plus extra for shaving over the top of the tartine
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 small Cos lettuce, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

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shrimp laksa bowl

Laksa is a creamy coconutty broth which is spicy, delicious and is  a very traditional Thai dish. It’s always served in a big bowl with noodles and with lots of garnishes, so it looks scrumptious. You can also make this recipe with whatever takes your fancy, so you can add different seafood to it like squid and scallops or shell fish. It’s up to you and if you omit the noodles you have a very tasty, creamy low carb meal. It’s perfect for date night dinner with your darling, when you fancy something hot and spicy.

Recipe

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
180g of raw prawns, shrimps or langoustines
A handful of baby pak choy or chopped pak choy
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
3 tablespoons of the laksa paste, recipe following this list
400ml tin of coconut milk
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
2 limes juiced
2 tablespoons of Nam Pla fish sauce
Cucumber strips or shaved with a potato peeler (as a garnish)
A few salad onions finely chopped
Coriander leaves as a garnish
400ml of hot fish stock (I use Knorr stock pots)
100g of uncooked brown rice noodles. Follow cooking instructions on the packet.

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Laksa paste
2 red chillies
2 cloves of garlic
Half a thumb of fresh ginger or galangal
4 small chopped shallots
1 stick of lemongrass
1 tablespoon of Thai fish sauce which is called Nam Pla
2 tablespoons of cashew nut butter or peanut butter or 50g of raw cashews

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Put all the ingredients into a small food processor and whizz up till smooth. Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. Or you can freeze it for months. Continue reading

spaghetti alle vongole

This is the food of the gods and needs no explaining as to how good it is. When I’ve been to Venice I practically live on it as it really is my favourite thing and I can’t get enough of it. It can be made in under 20 minutes and the ingredients can be bought days in advance. This recipe is an original Venetian recipe which I always love to cook, as it is like a lot of Italian recipes, very simple. There are two sorts of Vongole, in bianco, which is made like this recipe, or in rosso which is made with tomatoes. When I make it everyone goes mad for it…so try it, it’s not expensive and it is quick and easy.

Recipe

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:
500g box of frozen clams (I get them from Waitrose for £3.59) or use fresh from the fishmonger if you prefer
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
a bunch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped
half a red chilli very finely chopped
1 lemon zest and juice
three tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
500g spaghetti or linguine
1 cup of white wine or two tablespoons of vermouth
Salt and pepper

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midnight spaghetti 2

This is my second midnight spaghetti (sometimes called spaghetti di mezzanotte) only I use linguine, but you can use spaghetti if you prefer. I got this version from The New York Times and because of its simplicity and because it’s not only a great store-cupboard standby, it’s also perfect when you can’t be bothered to cook yet another massive meal at Christmas or any time and fancy something easy, delicious and quick. It’s the chefs choice because they arrive home tired and want something easy to cook after a day of cooking, and the reason it’s really tasty is because it’s flavour bombed with a combo of anchovies, garlic, chilli and capers. I love it with Parmesan or without. It’s also perfect served with a crunchy green salad with my vinaigrette or as a midnight feast in a candle lit kitchen à deux after a party.
Recipe 
Serves 2 (you can double or triple the quantities).
Ingredients:
250g of linguine or spaghetti
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
4 anchovy fillets chopped
3 garlic cloves peeled and very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of small capers chopped
¼-1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes
A small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Grated Parmesan (optional)
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