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Cover: A dish for all seasons

Less than 1 hour

11Jun 12

Ginger and Coriander Crab Cakes

Ginger and Coriander Crab Cakes 

We’re heading towards the summer; and that’s when crab is in the peak of its season. You can get hold of fresh crab from late spring, right through the summer and into early autumn. These ginger and coriander crab cakes are a delicious way to enjoy this tasty seafood, complemented with plenty of ginger zing, lime zest and coriander burst!

If you find yourself near the Cromer coast this summer, make sure to buy plenty of the infamous Cromer crab, which is often served in the shell, ready to eat. Just squeeze over some lemon and tuck into it right there gazing out at the waves. For another idea to enjoy the season’s fresh seafood, take a look at this crayfish rice with mango recipe. Serve the crab cakes with a mixed salad and a beer topped with lime.

Ginger and Coriander Crab Cakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
These ginger and coriander crab cakes are a delicious way to enjoy this tasty seafood, complemented with plenty of ginger zing, lime zest and coriander burst!
Ingredients
  • 420g cooked crab meat, ready to eat
  • 2 spring onions, chopped as finely as possible
  • 110g mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp juice of a freshly squeezed lime
  • 3 tsp fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • A splash of Tabasco sauce
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to season
  • 2 eggs
  • 85g breadcrumbs, dried
  • Plenty of extra virgin olive oil to fry
Instructions
  1. Mix the crab, onions, garlic, mayonnaise, lime juice, coriander, Tabasco and ginger together in a large bowl. Season very generously with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  2. Create 12 crab cakes using the palms of your hands.
  3. Beat the eggs together in a small bowl. Pour the breadcrumbs into another small bowl. Dip each crab cake into the egg and then cover in breadcrumbs on the top, bottom and sides.
  4. Heat plenty of olive oil in a frying pan, on a medium heat; and shallow fry the crab cakes in batches. They will absorb quite a bit of oil, so add more as necessary. Cook each patty for 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown.

 

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04Jun 12

Coronation Chicken Salad

Coronation chicken salad

With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee coming up in June, I’m helping my neighbours to organize a little old-fashioned street party, and I’m going to make a Coronation Chicken Salad. The original Coronation Chicken dish that was invented for the Queen’s Coronation banquet in 1953 included whipped cream and was served with a rice salad, but I want to make something lighter and crunchier.

So I’m going to use this recipe that I tried out last summer, replacing the cream with healthier Greek yoghurt and including celery to add a bit of crunch to the creamy texture of the sauce. Apricots are in season in the UK from May to September, but you can use dried apricots if you can’t get hold of fresh ones. (I also recommend this warm chicken salad with garlic and tomato bread.)

Coronation Chicken Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Starter
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Coronation Chicken Salad with Greek yoghurt and celery to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Ingredients
  • 1 chicken (about 1.5kg), poached and cooled
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 100g fresh apricots
  • 100ml red wine
  • 175ml mayonnaise
  • 175ml Greek yoghurt
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • Watercress, according to preference
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp curry paste
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Remove the meat from the bones of the poached chicken.
  2. Peel the apricots and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. While the apricots are simmering, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the finely chopped onion and lightly fry for about five minutes.
  4. Add the curry paste, tomato purée, wine, bay leaf and half the lemon juice.
  5. Bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for about ten minutes.
  6. Drain the apricots and purée them in a blender, press through a sieve and leave to cool.
  7. When the curry sauce has reduced, remove the bay leaf and leave the sauce to cool.
  8. Mix together the apricot purée, the mayonnaise and the cooled curry sauce.
  9. Fold the yoghurt into the mix, and then add the chicken, chopped celery and the rest of the lemon juice.
  10. Season with salt and pepper and serve with watercress and white baguette.
Notes
I used poached chicken because it's really tender and succulent, but if you prefer, you can use roast chicken (or the leftovers from a Sunday roast). If you're using dried apricots, you only need 50g, but you'll need to soak and boil them to make the purée.

 

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02Jun 12

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

Pick up some rhubarb and have a go at making this Rhubarb and Ginger Jam, which you are bound to love spread thickly on your cherry and walnut hot cross buns or morning toast, dolloped on top of a blob of Cornish vanilla ice-cream, or even served as a sweet sauce with roast pork and chicken.

 

What you need:

  • 1.5kg jam sugar (it is important to buy the right sugar for the added pectin it contains)
  • 1.5kg trimmed and prepared rhubarb (so buy a little extra weight for the trimming wastage)
  • The juice and the zest of 1 ½ lemons
  • 6cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 75g crystallised ginger, chopped into little pieces
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

What to do:

  1. Give each stem of rhubarb a really good wash in cold running water.  Chop it into 2.5cm slices.  In a large bowl, mix the chopped rhubarb with the lemon zest and juice, ground and grated ginger, crystallised ginger and the jam sugar, coating all of the rhubarb in the mix.  Cover the mixture loosely with clingfilm and leave it for around 2-3 hours so that the sugar absorbs into the juices of the rhubarb.  It helps to stir the mix every so often during this resting time.
  2. Take a few clean little plates and put them (empty) into the freezer – this is to bring their temperature to sub-zero.  I know it sounds curious, but it’s all about testing the setting point of the jam a little later. Trust me on this one.
  3. Pour the rhubarb mixture into a preserving pan.  Over a medium heat, begin to cook the contents, stirring until the sugar is totally dissolved.  Bring the mix up to the boil and cook on a fairly high temperature for 15 minutes until the mixture has reached its setting point and the rhubarb is so soft, it starts falling apart.
  4. To test whether the conserve has reached setting point, remove one of the small plates from the freezer and drip a teaspoon of the rhubarb mixture onto the plate.  Let it sit for 35 seconds before gently pressing it with your fingertip. If the jam wrinkles, the setting point has been reached.  If it doesn’t, it’s not yet ready, so keep cooking, and try again in a few minutes.
  5. Once set, remove the conserve from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes before spooning it into your sterilised jam jars.  Seal the jars straight away, and label with the date after the jars have cooled right down. The jam will be good for six months or so.

20 minutes to prepare – 20 minutes to cook, plus soaking time
Makes: 6 x 450g jars

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31May 12

Comforting Carrot, Coriander and Cumin soup

Carrot and Coriander SoupWhen out of the UK for a few years, I was missing those wonderful Covent Garden soups, especially my favourite – carrot and coriander.  So after a fruitless search to uncover them on the supermarket shelves, I decided to get making my own version which I call comforting carrot, coriander and cumin soup, and I’m so glad I did.  I like the alliteration, but the flavour’s even better, because nothing beats fresh home-made soup!  Carrots are a delicious root vegetable packed with carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A.

I’ve given this traditional recipe a little extra kick with the addition of cumin.  I like to make mine pretty intense for extra comfort, but you can vary the amount to your own taste.  I’ve kept the cumin content moderate in this recipe for you, so add or take away as you wish.

What you need:

  • 500g fresh carrots, washed and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.2 litres of vegetable stock
  • 1 large bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped and some kept aside for the garnish
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

What you do:

  1. Add the oil to a large pan and soften the onions and carrots together for a few minutes.
  2. Sprinkle in the ground cumin, salt, and ground pepper.  Stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring the liquid to the boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
  4. Add most of the coriander and blend the ingredients into a soup to the texture of your choice. I like mine a little rough, but it’s just as yummy smooth.
  5. Serve in pretty bowls topped with a coriander garnish.

20 minutes to prepare – 20-30 minutes to cook

Makes 4 servings

Note: In general, carrot and coriander make for a great combination in soups. If you want to add a bit more protein, try this bacon, carrot, butter bean and coriander soup. It’s a bit heartier, so keep it in mind if you are quite hungry.

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04May 12

Mexican Chicken Mole, Puebla Style

Mexican Chicken MoléThe 5th May is a special day in Mexico.  Mexican pride and heritage are celebrated in the Cinco de Mayo festival, when Mexican chicken mole, Puebla style is often cooked up communally.

Puebla is one of the three states that claim to be the founder of mole.  There are myths and legends surrounding the origin of the dish.  You can find out more if you want to because they are rather fascinating.

For some people, mole might be an acquired taste because it combines many interesting flavours such as chocolate and chicken. These two ingredients might not normally go together, but in mole and in this chicken thighs with a chilli chocolate sauce recipe, they are absolutely fantastic!

What you need:

  • 400g chicken breast pieces, skinless
  • 400g chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 dried ancho chillies, torn into 3cm pieces
  • 700ml hot chicken stock
  • 30g sultanas
  • 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp almond flakes, toasted
  • The zest of 1 orange
  • 15g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Twist of black pepper
  • White rice or enchiladas to serve

What to do:

  1. Heat the oil on the hob in a cast iron-style casserole dish.  Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes on a medium to high heat, until the onions begin to soften.  Sprinkle over the cumin, coriander and cinnamon and stir in, cooking for a further minute.
  2. Add the garlic and chilli to the pan and fry on for a couple of minutes until the chilli softens.  Stir in the chicken stock.  Now add the tomato, sultanas, sliced almonds and orange zest to the pan and combine.  Bring the sauce up to the boil.
  3. Add the chicken pieces, cover the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking for around 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Remove the chicken from the pan and shred it with 2 forks.  Put it to one side.
  4. Add the chocolate to the sauce, and let it melt.  Whizz the sauce with a hand blender until smooth.  Reduce the sauce over a medium heat for around 20 minutes.  Add the chicken back to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and serve with white rice or in enchiladas.

15 minutes to prepare, around 45 minutes to cook

Makes 3-4 servings

A little more about ancho chillies:  Ancho means ‘wide’ in Spanish.  These are dried; deep reddish brown chilli peppers about 7.5cm wide and 10cm long which have a sweet, hot flavour.  When fresh, they are called poblanos.  Anchos are flat, wrinkled, and heart-shaped.

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02May 12

Irish Brown Soda Bread

Irish Brown Soda BreadI’ve given this classic soda bread recipe a little twist with the addition of walnuts, which I think work really well with the wholemeal version of the bread and are incredibly tasty in combination with cream cheeseIrish brown soda bread with cream cheese and smoked salmon would make a perfect light supper for those of you celebrating St Patrick’s Day, and whose tummies were heartily filled at lunch time with a roast welsh lamb with garlic and rosemary recipe.  Irish flour is traditionally made from soft wheat so, if you can’t get hold of the real thing, you’ll get a more authentic result if you use a pastry or cake-making flour, as this is also made from soft wheat.  I have heard it said that Guinness can be used in place of the buttermilk, but I’ve never tried that!

What you need:

  • 175g wholemeal flour, self-raising
  • 175g plain or cake making flour (soft flour where possible)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1-2 generous handfuls of chopped walnuts
  • 1-2 generous handfuls of raisins
  • Tub of good quality cream cheese
  • Packet of good quality smoked salmon slices

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Mix the 2 flours along with the walnuts, raisins, the bicarbonate of soda and the salt, in a large bowl.
  3. Create a well in the centre of the flour, pour almost all of the buttermilk in, then quickly but carefully, bind the mixture together using a large fork.  Add the remainder of the buttermilk if necessary to form dough that is neither too sticky, nor too stiff in consistency, working the dough as little as possible.
  4. Take a baking tray and lightly dust it with plain flour.  Mould the dough into a ball and slightly flatten it before placing it onto the tray.
  5. Bake the dough in the oven for around 30 minutes, or until the loaf gives a hollow sound when you tap the base.  When cooked, turn the bread out onto a cooling rack.
  6. Serve warm if possible with the cream cheese and the smoked salmon.  Delicious!

Enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine, or a Guinness if you prefer!

Less than 30 minutes to prepare, 30 minutes to cook

Makes: 6 servings

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18Apr 12

Yellow Thai Fish Curry

Yellow Thai Fish CurryThis curry uses cod and potatoes as the main base; simple, humble ingredients that when mixed together with the curry spices, make a tasty dish.

Cod is a good fish to put in a curry (like this green fish curry with coconut milk and bramleys) because it has a subtle flavour, and it’s soft and falls apart nicely into the texture of the curry.  Cod is one of Britain’s most sought-after fish, and although stocks are declining somewhat, they are still plentiful throughout the cold months of the year. This also happens to be when caught fish tend to be at their largest.

What you need:

  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 medium to large potatoes, skins on, sliced into thin chip strips, then chopped into small cubes
  • 2 tbsp Cock Brand yellow Thai curry paste
  • 250g cod pieces, ideally skinless, but if the skins are on, you can remove them easily during the cooking process.  You can use fresh or frozen cod.
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 240ml water
  • 2-3 125 ml pots of natural sweetened yoghurt
  • 500 g of Thai rice

What you do:

  1. Fry the onions with the oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat for 7-8 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the curry paste, stirring in well, then add the potato cubes.  Try to coat all of the ingredients in the paste gradually as the paste softens in the heat.  Cook like this for about 10 minutes on a medium heat.  As the curry paste is quite dry, you may find that you need to add a little more oil as you go.
  3. Add the cod pieces, coat in the paste, and fry for 3-4 minutes before crumbling in the stock cube and pouring in the water.
  4. Bring the liquid up to the boil, then turn down and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and tender.
  5. Whilst the curry is simmering, cook the rice.
  6. Once everything is ready, take the curry off the heat and gently stir in the yoghurt.
  7. Serve the curry and the rice together, and enjoy with a glass of crisp dry white wine.

10 minutes preparation time.  About 45 minutes cooking time.  Ready in under an hour.

Makes: 2 main courses

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15Apr 12

Minty Jersey Royals with Chives and Lemon Butter

Minty Jersey Royals with Chives and Herby ButterJersey Royal Potatoes come into season in April.  They are chock-full of fibre and contain vitamin C, amongst other nutrients.  They are delicious cooked very simply in well-salted water to bring out their natural flavour, but today I’m going to share this minty Jersey Royals with chives and lemon recipe with you, which is just one of the ways of enjoying this distinctive seasonal gem.

Look out for potatoes with a papery-thin, flaky skin and try to buy them unwashed, washing them yourself quite carefully so as not to remove all of the skin, which has a lovely flavour and also contains many nutrientsJersey Royal new potatoes are best eaten within a few days of buying them.  Serve this herby salad dish warm or cold, at your spring barbeques, or to accompany grilled meat and fish like this grilled trout with tarragon and lemon butter.  And why not make some home-made lemonade to go with it?  Fresh tastes of spring!

What you need:

  • 1kg Jersey Royal new potatoes, washed gently to remove any dirt and left whole
  • 50g butter
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped, plus a couple of sprigs for the cooking water
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, cut into 1cm strands
  • The juice of 2 fresh lemons
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 generous pinches of Malden sea salt flakes
  • Fresh ground black pepper to season
  • A little olive oil

What to do:

  1. Put the washed, whole Jersey Royals in a large heavy-based saucepan.  Put the large potatoes at the bottom of the pan, and the smaller ones on the top.
  2. Bring a kettle of water to the boil and pour the water over the potatoes, almost covering them.
  3. Season really well with a few pinches of sea salt, add a couple of mint sprigs and a swirl of olive oil before covering the pan with a well-fit lid and simmering the potatoes gently for around 20 minutes.
  4. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, take a mixing bowl, put the butter in, and then sprinkle over with all of the herbs, the lemon juice and zest.  Stir the ingredients together and leave to one side.
  5. Once the potatoes are cooked (check one or two for tenderness and firmness with a sharp knife – and try not to overcook them), drain them, mix in the herby butter to the pan, then season again with sea salt and grind over some black pepper before serving.

20 minutes to prepare, 20 minutes to cook

Makes: 4-6 servings

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09Apr 12

Roast pork with apples and cider

Roast Pork with ApplesPork fillets are tender and succulent, and in this roast pork with apples and cider recipe are cooked fast. This means that you can prepare a roast from start to finish in less than 45 minutes, and it’s delicious!

What you need:
2 x 350g fillets of pork
3 x large cox apples, core removed, skin on
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
20 Cloves
40g butter (plus a knob of butter to grease baking tray)
1 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon Demerara sugar
225ml English cider
2 tablespoons crème fraiche (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 230°C.
2. Cut slits into the pork fillets and insert the garlic slivers inside – do this all over the meat.
3. Push cloves into some of the spaces between the garlic, around 5 cloves per side of each piece of meat.
4. Butter a baking tray and scatter with the sliced onion.
5. Melt the butter in a bowl and stir in the cider. Lay the pork over the onion on the baking tray, and brush the meat all over with the cider mixture. Then season with salt and pepper.
6. Cut the apples into wedges, toss them in the cider and butter mixture and place them in the tray around the outside of the pork.
7. Place the tray in the hot oven on a high shelf and roast for 25-30 mins, or until the pork is thoroughly cooked (roasting time will depend on the thickness of the pork).
8. When cooked, remove the pork, keeping it warm by wrapping it in silver foil, then put the baking tray on the heat on top of the cooker, add some cider and stir loose the apples and onions to make a wonderful sauce, let the liquid reduce by about a third – this should take about 5 minutes.
9. Add the crème fraiche (if you are using it) to the cider, apple and onion sauce, let it warm through on the heat, taste and season further if necessary.
10. Carve the pork into nice thick slices and serve with the apples.

1 hour to prepare – 45 minutes to cook
Makes: 4 main courses

Note: If you enjoy my recipe, I also recommend this spiced roast ham or pork with juniper berries.

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05Apr 12

Steamed Spring Vegetables with Toasted Pine Nuts

Steamed Spring Vegetables with Pine NutsAn incredibly fresh and healthy accompaniment to any meat or fish dish that you are preparing – steamed spring vegetables with toasted pine nuts are particularly delicious alongside herb crusted salmon with salsa rosso.  In fact, I sometimes eat a big bowl of this and nothing else for my supper, when my body is calling out for greens, greens and more greens, as it often does! 

Asparagus and broccoli are in season in the spring in the UK.  They are bursting with vitamins and minerals, as well as flavour, when you dress them up in a little tasty topping.  Also works well as a starter. You can add Parmesan cheese to top it off at the end, but that is up to you!

What you need:

  • Bunch of fresh asparagus tips
  • Large handful of pine nuts
  • 12 stems of broccoli
  • 30g snow peas
  • 2 generous pinches of Malden sea salt flakes
  • Extra virgin olive oil to fry the nuts and to drizzle over the dish
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Handful of fresh basil, roughly torn
  • A hearty drizzle of a good balsamic vinegar

What to do:

  1. Wash and prepare the asparagus.  Bend each stem, and if it is really fresh, it will break naturally to give you perfect tips.  Lay them to one side.  Wash the broccoli and trim off the ends. Rinse the snow peas.
  2. Prepare your steaming equipment and steam the prepared vegetables for 10-15 minutes, or until they are tender but retain a slight crunch (if you like them al dente like me).
  3. Whilst the vegetables are steaming, toast the pine nuts in a little olive oil over a medium to high heat on the hob.  This should only take a few minutes.  Sprinkle them over with a pinch of the sea salt, remove them from the heat and leave them sitting in the pan to keep warm.
  4. Once the vegetables are cooked, drain them and then serve them into pretty bowls or side plates.  Top with the pine nuts, and then drizzle over a generous helping of olive oil and swirl over with the balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle all over with the fresh basil and season well with salt and pepper.  Cover the vegetables in the topping rather than just the centre.

Note: For a change, try substituting the balsamic vinegar for the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon.

10 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to cook

Makes: 2 generous servings

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