Smoked Haddock Fishcakes

Home-made fish cakes really are worth every minute spent making them.  For a change, try adding a few chopped cooked prawns to the basic mixture.

smoked haddock fish cakes

Makes :   10
Prep time :  30 minutes plus chilling
Cook time :  30 minutes

Ingredients:
450g (1 lb) floury potatoes
25g (1oz) butter
Salt and pepper
700g (1 1/2lb) smoked haddock fillet, skinned
100ml (4 fl oz) milk
125g (4oz) sweetcorn
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tblsp (30ml) each chopped fresh chives and parsley
Salt and pepper
50g (2oz) plain flour
2 eggs
125g (4oz) fine fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tblsp (15ml) sunflower oil

Step One : Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, drain well.  Mash with the butter and season with salt and pepper.

Step Two : Meanwhile, poach the haddock fillet in the milk for about 10 minutes or until it begins to flake.  Drain and break up fillet into large pieces.

Step Three : Add the cooked fish, sweetcorn, grated lemon rind, chives, parsley, salt and pepper to the mashed potatoes.  Leave to cool.

Step Four : Shape the mixture into tend equal sized rounds.  Season the flour.  Dip each round into the seasoned flour, then the beaten egg, followed by the fresh white breadcrumbs to coat.  Chill until ready to cook.

Step Five : Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the fishcakes for about 3-4 minutes each side or until they are golden brown.  Keep warm in a low oven if cooking in batches.

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Easy Paella

You can make and serve this great family favourite all in the same dish

fried-rice-chicken-cartoon-vector_53734-13

Serves : 6
Prep time : 40 mins
Cook time : 50 mins

Ingredients:
¼ tsp saffron
900ml (1 ½ pints) boiling chicken stock
8 chicken thighs, skinless
225g (8oz) chicken or turkey sausages
1 tblsp paprika
2 tsp sunflower oil
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 courgettes, sliced
250g (9oz) American easy cook rice
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tblsp sun-dried tomato paste or ordinary tomato puree
125g (4oz) stuffed green olives
2 tblsp parsley, chopped

Step One : Dissolve saffron in boiling stock. Coat the chicken and sausages with paprika. Heat oil in a large pan, add chicken, sausages and chilli powder and brown for 5 mins. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Step Two : Fry onions, garlic, pepper and courgettes for 10 mins. Add rice and stir for 1 minute, then mix in tomatoes, tomato puree, olives and 1 tbsp parsley. Pour on the stock, stir and return the chicken and sausages to the pan. Bring to the boil.

Step Three : Simmer paella uncovered for 30 mins, then sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Tip: Turkey or chicken sausages have only half the calories of the traditional pork and beef sausages and they’re really tasty too.

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Walnut Griddle Cakes

Serves : 4-6

griddle cakes cartoon

Ingredients:
100g (4oz) plain flour
3tsp baking powder
Salt
50g (2oz) semolina
1 tblsp caster sugar
2 eggs, large, beaten
150ml (5fl oz) milk
1 tblsp margarine or butter, melted
50g (2oz) chopped walnuts.

Step One : Sift the flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt and the semolina into a bowl. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Make a well in the centre of the mixture then add the eggs and the milk. Beat thoroughly until the mixture forms a thick, creamy batter. Stir in the melted margarine or butter and add the walnuts.

Step Two : Heat a well-greased griddle or thick frying pan with butter and heat. Drop tablespoonfuls of the batter, how many depends on the size of cakes you prefer, and cook until golden brown on one side, after 2-3 mins. Turn the cakes and cook for a further 2-3 mins on the other side.

Step Three : Repeat the process until all the batter is used. Serve with butter and golden syrup.

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Toffee Apple Pudding

Who can resist this indulgent sticky treat? The rich toffee sauce completely coats the apples and melts right through the delicious steamed sponge.

toffee appleServes : 4
Prep time : 20 mins
Cook time : 2 hours

Ingredients for the topping:
2 cox’s apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
Juice of 1 lemon
50 g (2oz) butter
150g (5oz) caster sugar

For the sponge:
175g (6oz) butter, at room temperature
175g (6oz) caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
250g (9oz) plain flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder

Step One : Toss the apple chunks in half of the lemon juice and put into a greased 1.1 litre/2 pint pudding basin. Warm the butter, sugar and remaining lemon juice in a heavy based pan. Stir the foamy mixture occasionally until it becomes a golden brown toffee colour and then pour the mixture over the apple chunks in the basin.

Step Two : Make the sponge mixture by creaming together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs – don’t worry if the mixture begins to curdle. Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder. Spoon the mixture over the toffee apples and smooth the top of the pudding with a palette knife.

Step Three : Cut out two circles larger than the basin, one from foil and the other from greaseproof paper. Pleat each one down the centre – this allows the pudding to rise. Use them to cover the basin, scrunching up the sides to form a seal or secure with string if you prefer. Place a folded strip of foil underneath basin to help lift it.

Step Four : Half fill a large pan (preferably with a steamer) with boiling water, lower in the pudding, cover and simmer for 1hr 45 mins – 2 hrs. Top the pan up with water as needed. Carefully remove the lid and pudding, put a plate on top and slowly turn the pudding over. Serve with ice cream, cream or custard.

Tip: If you don’t have a steamer, use a large saucepan instead. Place the pudding on an inverted saucer and half fill the pan with boiling water. Put on a tight fitting lid and simmer for one and a half hours. When topping up the water during cooking, take care not to splash the pudding – or yourself.

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Roast Lamb with a Veg Medley

Lamb.jpgServes : 4
Prep time : 10 mins
Cook time : 30-35 mins

Ingredients:
1 French trimmed rack of lamb, fat trimmed off
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
Half a bunch of spring onions, trimmed
25g (8oz) baby carrots
175g (6oz) baby courgettes
175g (6oz) sugar snaps

Step One : Preheat the oven to Mark 6, 200oC, 400oF. Score the lamb with criss-crosses using a knife.

Step Two : Make incisions with a small knife and push in the sprigs of rosemary and garlic. Season, to taste, and then roast for 30 mins until the meat is tender.

Step Three : Plunge the vegetables into boiling stock, cook for 7 mins, until tender, and then drain.

Step Four : Remove the cooked lamb from the oven and rest it for a few minutes. Then, slice down between the bones and serve on top of the vegetables with some dry roasted potatoes.

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Carrot and Ginger Soup

CarrotsServes: 6-12

Ingredients:
225g onions, finely chopped
100g butter; 900g carrots, finely chopped
4 pieces ginger in syrup
1 glass of dry cooking sherry
900ml chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Single cream (optional)
Parsley to garnish

Step One : Cook onions in butter until golden brown. Add carrots, ginger and sherry. Cover and simmer for 35-40 mins ensuring they do not dry out.

Step Two : Add stock and liquidise. Then sieve carefully back into pan. Season to taste and slowly add single cream (optional) until it turns the colour you prefer.

Step Three : Garnish with parsley. Serve hot or cold.

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Apricot Cheesecake

Dried apricotsServes : 8
Cals per person : 350
Prep time : 25 mins (plus cooling)
Cook time : 45-50 mins

Ingredients:
175g (6oz) dried apricots
175ml (6 fl oz) orange juice
75g (3oz) butter
2 tblsp clear honey
225g (8 oz) muesli
600g (1 lb 5oz) natural 8% fat fromage frais
1 medium size egg, beaten

To decorate:
6 black and 6 green grapes, halved and deseeded
4 strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 kiwi fruit, peeled, halved and sliced
15g ( ½ oz) dried apricots, chopped
sprigs of fresh mint

Step One : Preheat the oven to Gas mark 5; 190oC; 375oF. Place the apricots in a saucepan with the orange juice, bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins or until tender.

Step Two : Meanwhile, place the butter and 1 tbsp honey in a saucepan. Heat gently for 1-2 mins or until the butter has melted.

Step Three : Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and stir in the muesli. Stir until well mixed, then press into the base of a lightly greased and lined 20cm (8 in) round, loose-bottomed cake tin.

Step Four : Transfer the cooked apricots and any juice to a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Spread one third of the apricot puree over the muesli base.

Step Five : Stir the remaining apricot puree into 450g (1 lb) fromage-frais with the beaten egg and remaining honey. Spoon on top of the apricot layer in the cake tin and smooth over.

Step Six : Cook in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cheesecake comes away from the sides of the tin. Leave to cool for 5 mins in the tin before removing, then leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Step Seven : Top the cheesecake with a layer of the remaining fromage-frais, decorate with the fruit and sprigs of mint, and serve chilled.

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Pasta with Broccoli and Smoked Cheese

broccoli.jpgTime to prepare : 20 mins

Ingredients:
2 tblsp olive oil
1 large onion and 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
500g (1 lb) fresh pasta and
6 Lapsang Souchong Tea Bags
500g (1 lb) broccoli, divided into bite-sized florets
400g (14oz) can of chopped tomatoes
1 tblsp concentrated tomato puree
125g (4oz) either smoked or herby black olives
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
125g (4oz) smoked mozzarella, sliced.
To serve: sliced tomato and fresh basil leaf salad

Step One : Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and tea bags, stir well and cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain well and keep warm. Discard the tea bags.

Step Two : Cook the broccoli florets in boiling salted water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and garlic, and cook gently until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, olives, broccoli and thyme, and cook for about 3 minutes.

Step Three : Gently toss this sauce with the pasta then add the sliced mozzarella and serve before the cheese melts with a tomato and basil salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

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Blackened Hot Chicken Breasts

Blackened chickenServes: 6

Ingredients:
6 skinless boneless chicken breasts
6 tblsp butter or margarine
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme

Step One : Slice each chicken breast piece in half horizontally, making two pieces of about the same thickness. Flatten slightly with the heel of your hand. Melt the butter or margarine in a small saucepan.

Step Two : Combine all the remaining ingredients in a shallow bowl and stir to blend well. Brush the chicken pieces on both sides with melted butter or margarine, then sprinkle evenly with the seasoning mixture.

Step Three : Heat a large heavy frying pan over a high heat until a drop of water sprinkled on the surface sizzles. This will take 5-8 minutes. Drizzle 1 tsp melted butter on each chicken piece. Place them in the pan in an even layer, two or three at a time. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the underside begins to blacken. turn and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Serve hot.

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