Category Archives: main meal

Moroccan spiced shoulder of lamb with apricots (Serves: 4 – Preparation time: 1.5hrs)

One-pot cooking is incredibly convenient for washing up purposes but also in terms of ease.  The idea with this style of cooking is that you can throw everything into a casserole dish, cover and leave to bubble away in the oven without needing to think about it until it is time to serve.    The added bonus with this particular dish is longer you leave it the more succulent and tender the lamb becomes.

As this dish cooks, the juices from both the apricots and lamb seep into the sweet potato mixture turning it into a stuffing that is infused with all the flavours of the dish.  I would recommend serving this meal with simple accompaniments for example fluffy couscous and steamed green vegetables so that you can relish the taste of the lamb.  This recipe would be a good alternative to a traditional Sunday roast, or would make a great centrepiece for a dinner party. Enjoy!

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Sticky beef (Serves: 2/3 – Preparation time: 20 minutes)

Lately I have been finding that I am pushed for time in the evenings,  as a result I have been resorting to meals that can be prepped and on the table in 20 minutes without too much fuss.  The recipe below fits the bill perfectly as in the time that it takes to steam the rice the rest of the dish can be cooked.

This ‘sticky beef’ recipe uses dates to make sauce, giving it a wonderfully sweet caramelised flavour.  The spice and warmth from the chilli helps cut through the sweetness of the dish, however if you find it too sugary for your palette then add 1 tbsp of light soy sauce to the dish at the end.

By stir-frying the vegetables quickly they will retain a slight crunch which contrasts the smoothness of the sauce and tenderness steak.  Don’t feel that you have to use beef to make this recipe, it would work just as well with pork or chicken thighs cut into thin strips and cooked in a little oil before adding it to the sauce.  Enjoy!


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Goat’s curd and spinach tart (Serves: 4 – Preparation time: 1hr – 1.5hrs)

I work a ten minute walk away from Borough Market in London which means on a good day I am able to head over there during my lunch break. I tend to amble through the market seeing what is in season, chatting to the stall holders about their produce and what they recommend doing with it. Bliss!

On my last visit I ended up buying some goat’s curd (soft cheese) from Ellie’s Dairy with the idea of making spinach and goat’s curd tarts. The curd had a delicate flavour and unlike other goats cheese I can safely say then you couldn’t taste the goat. Instead it had subtle zesty notes that lingered on the palette. If you can’t find goat’s curd then substitute with ricotta or another soft cheese of your choosing.

One of my concerns when making the tart was whether the moisture in the spinach would cause it to have a ‘soggy’ bottom – however this was not the case. So long as you squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the spinach after wilting it you should end up with a crisp pastry.

The tart can be served hot or cold which means it is ideal if you need to prepare something in advance or are simply looking for lunchbox ideas. Enjoy!

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Glazed gammon roasted in cider (Serves: 6 – Preparation time: 2 hrs)

Gammon has to be one of my all time favourite meats!  Whenever I have it I can see my childhood self standing bare foot in the larder carefully carving off thin slivers of ham and savouring the deliciously sweet and salty ‘melt in your mouth’ goodness.

Growing up we tended to only eat gammon at Christmas as it was considered a special treat.  My mother would cook it late on Christmas Eve and its aroma would waft through the house in an almost teasing fashion as we knew we’d have to wait until Christmas lunch before we were able to indulge. Self-restraint is not something my family are known for when it comes to food.

Gammon can be cooked like any other roast – pop it in a roasting tray with onion and other bits and bobs and then cook in the oven for as long as it needs depending on its weight.  For gammon you work on the principle of 30 minutes per 500g at 190C.

 As you cook the recipe below the smell of mulled cider will fill your kitchen as the spices infuse with the cooking liqueur. The ‘piece de resistance’ comes when you glaze the joint with runny honey mixed with the juices – the result will be a sticky sweet slightly caramelised unctuous gammon. Enjoy!

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Basic pasta recipe (Serves: 2-3 people – Preparation time: 1 hr)

Sometimes it is important to go back to basics and learn how to make certain staples.  The staple that I am going to focus on here is pasta.  I personally eat a lot of pasta due to its convenience; most dried pasta cooks in less than 10 minutes, which means often you can have your meal ready in 15 minutes.  So why make fresh pasta? Well, firstly it tastes a lot nicer and secondly it can be a fun thing to make with friends.

 Pasta is incredibly simple to make: all you need is eggs and ‘00’ flour, bring together as a dough, knead and roll out finely and you will have made pasta.  All other ingredients that you add to the dough just act as flavouring for the pasta.

 The key to making pasta is getting the texture of the dough right; what you are looking for is a firm but elastic dough.  If the dough is too malleable and soft it will break up when it comes to rolling and you may find that the dough sticks together afterwards.  If this happens, then add some more flour to the dough and restart the rolling process.

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Summer tagliatelle (Serves: 4 -Preparation time: 10 minutes)

I have been playing around in the kitchen making fresh pasta over the last couple of weeks.  Making pasta can be hit or miss if you don’t get the consistency of the dough right, if the dough is too supple it will break up when it comes to rolling or will not hold its form when you cut it into tagliatelle or spaghetti. What you are looking for is a firm dough that is firm and elastic. As with many things practise makes perfect and once you get used to recognising when the dough has the right consistency it is very straightforward and fun to make.  I am going to share how to make fresh pasta in a separate blog in the upcoming weeks breaking it down into a helpful guide so that hopefully you can avoid making the same mistakes I did when I was learning.

The recipe below is very simple and can be prepared in a matter of minutes.  It is a vibrant dish due to the colour of the ingredients that you use.  The key to making this recipe shine is buy the best quality tomatoes and mozzarella that you can afford as this will take this dish from being good to great!  If you can get a combination of tomatoes preferably a combination of yellow and red that are ripe and packed full of flavour that would be ideal.  This is a great mid-week recipe to have on hand if you are having friends over, it is incredibly easy and packed full of the flavours of summertime.  Enjoy!

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Griddled nectarine, coppa and gorgonzola salad (Serves: 1 – Preparation time: 10 minutes)

I have many fond childhood memories of summer holidays spent in Italy visiting my Aunt and Uncle. Many hours would be spent searching for the tortoises in my uncle’s vegetable patch between the most delicious al fresco lunches and suppers.  I think it was during these visits that I first encountered the delights of Italian cured meats and of course Gorgonzola.  Every day platters cheese, freshly sliced salami, Parma ham and Coppa  would be piled on a long trestle table along with bowls filled with slices of melon, tomato salads, bread and other delicious bits and bobs and we would eat to our heart’s content.

This salad recipe is a nod to those summer days in Italy.  For those of you that are less familiar with Coppa it is a type of salami made using the part of the loin of pork that is taken near the neck which is cured and marinated in red wine a garlic.  It is traditionally served raw, cut into thin slices though it can also be used as bacon in recipes.  You can find Coppa in most Italian delicatessens, however, if you aren’t able to find it then I would substitute with Serrano Ham.

This recipe is a lovely balance of flavours and textures which for me evokes the tastes of summer and is definitely one to try.  The recipe makes enough for 1 person, so multiply the ingredients as required.  Enjoy!

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