Beautiful vine ripened tomatoes and mozzarella go hand in hand. I like to serve a little one of these Caprese salads when we are having a light meal or before a bowl of pasta.
Buy the best tomatoes, mozzarella and balsamic vinegar you can find as the dish will be so much better.
2 large vine ripened tomatoes – the redder the better
1 large ball of mozzarella
Hand full of fresh basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and cracked black pepper to season
I don’t need to tell you how to make a salad I’m sure so this is just an obvious guide.
Start by chopping your tomatoes into slices followed by your mozzarella. Arrange prettily on a plate and top with your fresh basil leaves. Drizzle over your extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and finally pour over a little balsamic vinegar.
Have you ever made sushi before? It’s so much easier than you think. My tip is to make your sushi rolls when the rice is slightly warm as this makes it easier to shape than with cold rice. Here I’ve given a recipe for the sushi rice. Simply add whatever you fancy to it, I’ve added cucumber and peppers for a light vegetarian / vegan option.
Pack of sushi nori ( seaweed wraps)
250g sushi rice
330ml water to boil rice in.
3 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
A few slices of cucumber and pepper to fill.
Rinse your rice under the tap in a sieve until the water runs clear. Soak it in water for 20 minutes or so, then drain thoroughly.
Add the rice to your 330ml of water over a low heat and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for approx 10 minutes leaving the lid on.
Allow the rice to stand.
Mix up your seasoning and stir into the rice.
Lay out each wrap and coat lightly with the sushi rice adding your fillings down the centre.
Gently roll into a cigar shape as tightly as you can lightly wetting the edge of the wrap so it sticks together.
I’ve added a recipe for all my friends doing Veganuary. These little samosas make the best lunch. They’re made using filo pastry so delightfully delicate and light. Just add a crisp salad with them full of red onion, tomato and a side of mango chutney for dipping. Fabulous when you have lots of left over veg you need to use up. Even better for lunch boxes the next day.
1 large potato
1 cup frozen peas
1 large clove garlic – minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 sheets filo pastry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 table spoon poppy seeds
Pre heat oven to 220c / 200c fan and take your filo out the fridge at least 15 mins before you intend to use it.
Start by boiling your potato and carrot in a pan of salted water until tender.
Meanwhile, sauté your diced onions in a frying pan until they start to soften along with the minced garlic.
Add your spices and the frozen peas.
Stir around the pan until the peas are cooked. This should only take 2-3 minutes.
Once your onions are cooked and your veg is tender, drain and chop it into pieces, then add it to your onion and spice mix stirring to combine.
Place your 3 sheets of filo flat on the work surface. You need to work quickly as it can dry out quick.
Cut each sheet into 4 rectangles. You may have a marginal amount left from each sheet in order to do this but you can just discard this.
Fold each rectangle into a triangle shape. Open and fill with approx 1 tablespoon of the filling. Fold over back into the triangle shape and brush with oil all over and to seal the edges. Feel free to trim any edges to get the perfect triangle shape.
Place each samosa on a lined baking tray and sprinkle over the poppy seeds. Bake in the centre of the oven for approx 20-25 minutes.
Serve with a side salad and compulsory mango chutney.
I always make these Christmas Eve as I just love the tradition of it. We have so many delights, glazed ham, mulled wine, chocolate log, prosciutto puffs, mince pies it wouldn’t be Christmas without them.
Give these pork and apple sausage rolls a try. The apple adds just the right amount of sweetness. They are so simple and what’s more there’s no need to faff about making your own pastry. Even Jamie Oliver buys a pack of ready roll now again and if it’s good enough for Jamie!
Makes approximately 16
1 pack ready roll puff pastry – remove from fridge 15 mins before at least
450g sausage meat
1 grated apple – peeled
1 small onion grated
Half teaspoon Salt
Half teaspoon Cracked black pepper
Egg – beaten to glaze
Puff of flour to roll out the pastry
Place your sausage meat in a large mixing bowl and grate in your onion and then apple. Add your salt and pepper and mix to combine.
Puff a little flour on your work surface and roll out your pastry. You need to make sure it’s been out the fridge for at least 15 minutes or it will be too hard to roll and snap.
When you’ve rolled a squarish shape cut in half so you have two long strips.
Place a sausage shape of sausage meat all the way down the middle of each strip, fold over and press to seal. Slice into slices a couple of inches thick.
Glaze with the beaten egg
Place each strip on a lined baking tray and place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.
Remove, shake over a little salt and you will be in heaven.
Cheese and bacon loaded potato skins. Crunchy, loaded with mature cheddar, sizzling crispy bacon and served with a sour cream and chive dip. Great as a side to load onto plates that everyone can help themselves to.
100g mature cheddar – grated
4 dessert spoons butter
Salt and cracked black pepper to season
4 rashers bacon – chopped into pieces
2 spring onions
Sour cream and chive dip to serve
Pre heat oven to 245c / 225c fan
Wash your potatoes and prick each one with a fork a few times.
To speed up cooking time you can pop them on a microwaveable plate and microwave for 8 minutes all at the same time.
Place on a baking tray in a hot over for 20 minutes.
Remove, cut in half and scoop out half a potato from each half and reserve in a bowl.
To the bowl you have set aside add your grated cheese and butter, season, mix thoroughly and transfer back into the potato.
Sprinkle over the bacon bits and bake in the oven for another 20 minutes.
When they are ready to come out the oven remove and sprinkle over sliced up spring onion and serve with a sour cream and chive dip.
I love a sharing board and they’re perfect for this time of year. You can load them up with whatever you fancy but if you need a little inspiration here is what I often make. I make these before we have a light dinner or sometimes just on their own with a bottle of chilled white wine when I fancy a night off. Perfect for New Years Eve.
1 cantaloupe melon
4 slices prosciutto
Sun dried tomatoes
Feta cheese cubes
Vine cherry tomatoes – the redder the better
Wedges of parmesan
Fresh baguette – sliced
It couldn’t be simpler. Literally load up your slate / board with all your goodies in whatever portion sizes that work for you.
Open a chilled bottle of fizz, get the tunes on and enjoy.
These are my absolute weakness and I make them every Christmas Eve without fail. Prosciutto, cheese, puff pastry, oh my they are so delicious.
They sell cheese and bacon turnovers in our local delicatessen and when I’m feeling reckless I add one to my grocery order and scoff it up on my way home, then I regret not buying ten. I thought I’d make my version with prosciutto as they cook even quicker as you don’t have to wait for the bacon to crisp up. I’m so delighted that they are as quick as a flash to make and so will you be when you try them. Be warned they are additive.
6 slices prosciutto
90g mature cheddar cheese – grated
Pack of ready roll puff pastry
1 beaten egg to glaze.
Pre heat oven to 200c / 180C fan
Roll out your pastry on a floury work surface and cut out six even squares. (Mine were about 5×5 inches).
Place each pastry slice on a lined baking sheet.
Add your slice of prosciutto to each pastry square. Sprinkle over your grated cheese and fold in the sides and press to fasten.
Brush with your egg wash
Bake in the centre of your oven for approximately 14 minutes.
Salmon fishcakes are so versatile. We have them for dinner with a crisp salad, tartare sauce for dipping and lots of fresh lemon to squeeze on. They’re also great as a starter, for lunchboxes or made tiny on a buffet, remember those!
These go so well with tartare sauce or spicy chilli jam. I like to eat light in the run up to Christmas to make way for all the extra calories that are steamrolling towards me so these are ideal. If you’ve never made them give them a go. You’ll love them.
Serves 2 as a dinner or 4 as a starter
2 medium potatoes – cooked in their jackets
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon milk
2 salmon fillets – skin removed
zest of a lemon – finely grated
1/2 cup sweetcorn
Salt and cracked black pepper to season
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 small shallots – finely chopped
1 teaspoon limejuice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Olive oil to pan fry and drizzle
Lemon wedges to serve
For the breadcrumbs
90g bread – I used sourdough and rye bread ( best if it’s a couple of days old)
1 egg – beaten
1 tablespoon flour
Bake the potatoes in the oven for approximately 1 hour until they are soft and fluffy inside. I do this on 230C / 210C fan. After about 50 minutes of the potatoes being in the oven turn it down to 190C / 170C fan and add your salmon on a baking tray. I make a foil parcel and pop the salmon inside, drizzled with a little olive oil and lime juice. Cook the salmon along with the potatoes for another 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and split the potatoes and scoop out the potato into a large mixing bowl. Mix together with the butter, milk and mash until smooth.
Now flake your salmon into the potato mix, add your sweetcorn, chopped shallots, ground coriander, dijon mustard, chilli flakes, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper and mix together to ensure all the ingredients are fully combined.
Sprinkle a little flour onto your work surface and form patties out of your mixture. I roll into balls and then flatten a little.
Roll them into the flour, and coat with the beaten egg and dip into the breadcrumbs so each patty is fully coated.
Pan fry in olive oil on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, turning every so often until lightly golden.
Serve with a crisp green salad, lemon wedges and your dip of choice.
Everyone loves the sound of a cork popping and a canapé. This one is an effortless delight. With us at home at the moment it’s a great way to make the weekend special by making an effort with some nice little light bites and a drink or two, and this one couldn’t be simpler. I hope you give it a try.
I use sourdough or cranberry and walnut bread if I can get hold of any and some good extra virgin olive oil.
Fill your glass and enjoy!
4 slices of sourdough bread
1 ripe avocado
4 medium tomatoes on the vine
1 small onion
Pinch or 2 of dried basil / I like to use fresh chopped up if I have it.
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Couple of garlic cloves
Pinch or 2 of crunchy salt and cracked black pepper
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar (optional)
Chop your avocado, tomatoes and onions and mix with your dried basil, salt and pepper.
Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, mix and set aside.
Cut 4 slices of your sourdough or other delicious thick sliced bread from the deli, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toast under the grill slightly so the bread is very lightly golden and crisp, we’re not going for overdone here!
Cut a clove of garlic in half for each slice and rub the toasted bread all over with it.
Now spoon on the topping and serve with an ice cold flute of champagne or Prosecco or cocktail of your choice!
Tip: I like to top with fresh basil for extra flavour or a handful of peppery rocket dressed with a little balsamic vinegar if you are not a basil fan.