Mushroom and Chicken Risotto

Risotto rice gives this updated classic a deliciously creamy texture.

Serves : 4

Prep time : 15 mins
Cook time : 40 mins

Ingredients:
12oz (350g) chicken breast
3oz (75g) butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
6oz (175g) button mushrooms, quartered
11oz (300g) risotto rice
Salt and pepper
2 1/2pt (1.4 litre) hot chicken stock
2 tblsp (30ml) chopped fresh parsley

Step One : Cut the chicken into dice sized chunks. Melt half the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and fry gently for 2 minutes.

Step Two : Add the chunks of chicken and the quartered mushrooms and fry together for about 5 minutes.

Step Three : Stir in the risotto rice and season well. Add 1/4pt (150ml) of the chicken stock and stir well. When the liquid has completely absorbed, add more stock, stirring continuously. Add all the stock in this way, letting it evaporate fully before adding more (after 20 minutes, the rice should be soft and swollen).

Step Four : Remove mixture from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and parsley. Season to taste and serve hot.

Smoked Trout with Chicory, Apple and Almond Slaw

Flavours and textures that work together in the same way as Waldorf salad. Crunchy apple and leaves, toasted almonds and fresh dill, all delicious with the trout. If you want to make the slaw in advance, fold the sliced apple in some lemon juice before combining with the other ingredients to prevent browning, and reserve the toasted almonds until you are ready to serve.

Serves : 4

The Dressing Ingredients:
2 tblsp dill, roughly chopped
125ml (4 fl oz) soured cream or crème fraiche
A good squeeze of lemon juice
Seasoning, to taste

The Salad Ingredients:
200g (7oz) smoked trout fillet, torn into slivers
2 sweet apples, cored, halved and sliced into fine batons
2 medium heads of chicory, separated into leaves and finely sliced lengthways
2 heaped tblsp flaked almonds, lightly tasted in a hot, dry frying pan

Step One : Beat together the dressing ingredients and fold into the salad ingredients (reserve a few flaked almonds).

Step Two : Arrange a small pile of slaw on each plate, top with slivers of trout and dress with remaining almonds.

Bean and Sweet Potato Casserole

This dish will be popular even with non-vegetarians.

Serves : 4

Prep time : 30 mins
Cook time : 45 mins

Ingredients:
12oz (350g) King Edward potatoes
12oz (350g) sweet potatoes
1 tblsp (15ml) milk
1oz (25g) butter
1 tblsp (15ml) oil
1 parsnip, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 leek, sliced
2 tsp (10ml) fresh thyme leaves
1 tblsp (15ml) chopped fresh parsley
14oz (396g) can chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 tblsp (15ml) split red lentils
7oz (200g) butter beans, drained

Step One : Peel the King Edward potatoes and the sweet potatoes, then cut them into chunks. Cook them together in a pan of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and mash them, then add the milk and the butter. Season well.

Step Two : Preheat the oven to Mark 4/350oF/180oC. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the parsnip, onion, carrots and leek, until soft. Stir in the herbs and the tomatoes and season to taste. Add the lentils, stir well, then bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Step Three : Stir in the butter beans then turn the mixture into an ovenproof casserole dish. Arrange the mashed potato on the top, then bake in the oven for 14-20 minutes, until golden.

Pistachio, Orange and Cardamom Tart

Recipe taken from Psychologies Magazine (May 2019) and published in Moorish: Vibrant recipes from the Mediterranean.

Use super green Iranian Pistachios for this, not only for their colour but also for their sweet flavour. The cardamom works beautifully alongside the zesty orange. Gran Torres is a brandy liqueur from Spain, great for giving desserts a kick!

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Serves : 8-10

Ingredients :
220g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
A pinch of salt
10 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground in a Pestle and Mortar
140g unsalted butter, diced
1 egg yolk
Goat’s milk yogurt, to serve

For the filling:
280g green pistachios (ideally Iranian)
180g blanched almonds
240g caster sugar
1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds (from pod)
125ml fresh orange juice
5 egg yolks
Grated zest of 1 orange
20ml Gran Torres orange liqueur or Grand Marnier

Step One : First, make the pastry. Put the flour, salt and ground cardamom seeds in a food processor and blitz. With the machine running, gradually add the butter and pulse for a few minutes more, until reduced to tiny lumps. Mix in the egg yolk. Tip the mixture into a bowl and knead together to make a dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour or so.

Step Two : Roll out the dough on a floured surface and use to line a 24cm round, loose-bottomed tart tin. Prick the pastry with a fork before placing it in the freezer to chill for an hour or so.

Step Three : Preheat the oven to 180oC / Gas Mark 4. Line the tart case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and has turned golden. Remove the paper and beans, then set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

Step Four : For the filling, blitz the nuts, sugar and cardamom in a food processor until fine and smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the orange juice to form a paste. Add four of the egg yolks and the orange zest, and blitz again, then add the liqueur.

Step Five : Spread the filling in the tart case. Bake for 15 minutes or until the top has just set. Lightly beat the remaining egg yolk and brush over the surface. Bake for 10 minutes more or until glazed. Leave to cool for at least an hour before serving. Top each piece of tart with a dollop of creamy goat’s milk yogurt.

Patatas Bravas

Recipe from Psychologies Magazine and taken from Moorish: Vibrant recipes from the Mediterranean.

The Moorish connection here is the sauce. Originating in Madrid as a simple tomato sauce with lots of chilli flakes (bravas, roughly translated, means fierce), it then made its way around Spain’s regions and picked up its Moorish influence through Andalucia. It’s the ultimate version : spicy, smoky and sharpened with sherry vinegar.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients :
600g large waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into thick chips
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 tblsp hot smoked paprika
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
250g very ripe tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1 tblsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp freshly picked thyme leaves

Step One : Rinse the potatoes in cold water, then place them in a pan of salted water. Bring to a simmer and partly cook – they should still be a little firm in the centre. Drain and spread the potatoes on a try to cool for at least 1 hour.

Step Two : To make the sauce, heat a glug of olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, chilli, smoked paprika and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes or until the onion is very soft. Add the canned and fresh tomatoes, then the vinegar. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for an hour or so, until the sauce has reduced by half, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking. Season well and stir in the thyme leaves, plus a splash of oil. Remove from the heat.

Step Three : Preheat the oven to 200oC / Gas Mark 6. Tip the potatoes into a roasting tray. Liberally drizzle olive oil over them and toss to coat. Season well. Roast, shaking the tray occasionally, for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp and golden brown. Sprinkle the potatoes with sea salt and spoon the bravas sauce on top. Serve with homemade alioli on the side.

Beetroot Salad and Grilled Goat’s Cheese

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2014) and taken from Fresh and Light by Donna Hay.

For a nourishing lunch, this vibrant salad is full of energising ingredients to avoid an afternoon lull.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
4 large beetroots, peeled and trimmed
1 carrot, peeled and trimmed
100g baby or small beetroot leaves
300g firm goat’s cheese, cut into 8 rounds
Vegetable oil, for brushing

For the horseradish dressing:
2 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp freshly grated horseradish
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Step One : To make the horseradish dressing, place the white wine vinegar, olive oil, horseradish, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Step Two : Thinly slice the beetroot and carrot, and place in a bowl with the beetroot leaves. Add the dressing and toss gently to coat. Divide the salad between serving plates.

Step Three : Brush the goat’s cheese with a little oil and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook under a preheated hot grill for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Serve the goat’s cheese with the salad.

Chocolate, Pistachio and Almond Biscotti

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2014) and taken from Fresh and Light by Donna Hay.

These cheerful biscotti make a deliciously light treat at the end of a meal. Traditionally taken with coffee, Donna Hay has the idea of serving them with gently steamed milk infused with mood-lifting spices like cinnamon and star anise.

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Makes : 50

Ingredients:
300g plain wholewheat flour, sifted
35g cocoa, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
175g brown sugar
80g blanched almonds
45g unsalted shelled pistachios
2 eggs, lightly beaten
60ml milk

Step One : Preheat the oven to 160oC / 325oF. Place the wholewheat flour, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl. Add the brown sugar, blanched almonds and shelled pistachios and mix well. Add the eggs and milk then mix until a firm dough forms (this may take some time).

Step Two : Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide the mixture in half and shape into two logs. Place on two baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 35-40 minutes or until firm. Allow to cool.

Step Three : Reduce the oven to 140oC / 275oF. Using a serrated knife, cut each log into thin slices and place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Linguini with Mussels and Walnut Parsley Pesto

A Delia Smith recipe taken from the Radio Times many years ago.

Serves : 4

For me, Mussels are still a luxury food that cost very little money. I don’t think anything can match their exquisite, fresh-from-the-sea flavour. In this recipe every precious drop of mussel juice is used which gives a lovely concentrated flavour. Now that mussels come ready cleaned and prepared, it make the whole thing very simple and easy: all you have to do is put them in cold water, then pull off any beardy strands with a sharp knife, using them as soon as possible and discard any that don’t close tightly when given a sharp tap.

Ingredients:
900g (2 lb) mussels, cleaned and prepared
175g (6oz) linguini or other pasta
1 tblsp olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
175ml (6 fl oz) dry white wine
Salt and freshly milled black pepper.

For the pesto:
10g ( ½ oz) walnuts, chopped
25g (1oz) curly parsley, leaves only
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tblsp olive oil
Salt and freshly milled black pepper.

To serve: 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Step One : First prepare the pesto: select a large pan that will hold the mussels comfortably, then in it heat a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the walnuts in the hot oil to get them nicely toasted on all sides – this will take 1-2 mins. Place the walnuts and any oil left in the pan into a liquidiser or food processor, add the parsley and garlic, the remaining tablespoon of oil and seasoning, then blend everything to make a puree.

Step Two : Next you need to deal with the mussels: heat the olive oil in the same pan that you sautéed the walnuts in, add the shallot and chopped garlic and cook these over a medium heat for about 5 mins or until they’re just soft. Now turn the heat up high, tip in the prepared mussels and add the wine and some salt and pepper. Put on a closely-fitting lid, turn the heat down to medium and cook the mussels for about 5 mins, shaking the pan once or twice or until they have all opened.

Step Three : During those 5 mins bring another large pan of salted water up to the boil. Then when the mussels are cooked, remove them from the heat and transfer them to a warm bowl using a slotted spoon and shaking each well so that no juice is left inside. Keep 8 mussels aside still in their shells, for a garnish. Then remove the rest from their shells and keep them warm, covered with foil in a low oven.

Step Four : Then place a sieve lined with muslin or gauze over a bowl and strain the mussel liquor through it. This is very important as it removes any bits of sand or grit that get lodged in the shells.

Step Five : Now it’s time to pop the pasta into the boiling water and put a timer on for 8 mins (some pasta might need 10 mins so follow the instructions on the packet). Then pour the strained mussel liquor back into the original saucepan and fast-boil to reduce it by about one third. After than turn the heat to low and stir in the pesto.

Step Six : Now add the shelled mussels to the pesto sauce and remove from the heat. As soon as the pasta is cooked, quickly strain it into a colander and divide it between two hot pasta bowls. Spoon the mussels and pesto over each portion, add the mussels in their shells and scatter over the parsley. Serve absolutely immediately with some well-chilled white wine.

Minced Beef Pasties

Serves : 4 (makes 8 pasties)
Prep time : 12 mins
Cook time : 50 mins

Ingredients Filling:
1 tblsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
2 oz (50g) turnip, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 potato, peeled and finely diced
6oz (175g) lean minced beef
1oz (25g) plain flour
¼ pt (150ml) beef stock
2 oz (50g) frozen peas.

For the pastry:
1 lb (450g) prepared shortcrust pastry
1 small egg, beaten

Step One : To make the filling, heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté onion, turnip, carrot, potato and minced beef for 7 mins. Add the flour, cook for 1 min, then stir in stock. Season well. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 mins. Leave to cool slightly.

Step Two : On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to form a 16 x 8 in (41 x 20.5 cm) rectangle. Cut equally into eight squares, then place an eighth o the filling in centre of each. Brush edges of pastry with egg, then fold over filling and crimp to seal.

Step Three : Place pasties on a baking sheet and brush with egg. Cook in oven for 20 mins until golden. Serve with salad.

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Stir-Fried Duck

A whole duck tends to have lots of fat and not so much meat. Duck breasts, although pricy, have no wastage, and when cooked on a rack in a very hot oven, the skin goes really crispy and the meat stays nice and moist.

Serves : 4
Prep : 2 mins
Cook : 10 mins

Ingredients:
2 duck breasts
15ml (1 tblsp) runny honey
15ml (1 tblsp) dark soy sauce
30ml (2 tblsp) hoi-sin sauce
15ml (1 tblsp) stir-fry oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
340g pack prepared carrots cut into sticks
125g (4oz) beansprouts
5 spring onions trimmed and cut into strips
50g (2oz) sprouting beans (optional)
160g jar sweet and sour sauce

Step One : Preheat the oven to Mark 7 / 210oC / 420oF. Place the duck breasts on a roasting rack resting in a tin. Thoroughly mix together the honey, soy and hoi-sin sauces and brush generously over the skin. Cook for 10 mins.

Step Two : Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan. Add the garlic, carrots, beansprouts, spring onions and sprouting beans (if using) and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes.

Step Three : Add the sweet and sour sauce and heat till just warmed through, making sure that the vegetables stay slightly crunchy. Thickly slice the duck breasts and toss into the vegetables. Offer prawn crackers to serve alongside the stir-fry.

Tip : Look out for Hoi-sin sauce in the Chinese section of large supermarkets. It’s also perfect to use as a speedy glaze for spare ribs or as a dipping sauce for Peking duck.

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