Fresh green asparagus cooked gently with butter, served with some shavings of parmesan. Cook them simply. Don’t overcook; they need to have a bite. They love butter, not too high heat, a squeeze of lemon and some parmesan.
A Greek twist on Eton mess: fresh blueberries or strawberries, lightly whipped cream and filo pastry shards. You’ll never want the Eton version again!
Avocado ice cream, dairy free and vegan, made without ice cream maker. For the people who don’t like ice cream, desserts, chocolate, cake, cookies or pudding I have a real treat today: avo ice. Y
Savoury breakfast muffins with bacon, apple and cheese. I adopted this recipe from Nigel Slater who uses ham in his muffins. Say what you will, bacon always wins over ham at breakfast time and these things are meant for breakfast.
Baked figs can be a starter, a dessert or a full lunch or brunch dish, with a bit of nice bread. Trim them and cut a cross in each to about halfway down the fruit. Put them on a baking tray and drizzle with the oil, balsamic and honey. Bake for about 10 minutes...
Baked maple and balsamic shallots, whole shallot onions roasted with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.
Baked scamorza, aged mozzarella, with grilled garlic bruschetta. Baked scamorza with bruschetta is nothing other than posh Italian cheese on toast.
Banana loaf cake with raisins. Not sure why some call it banana ‘bread’ – it’s cake all right, sweet and raisiny, and just to make double certain no one will cut a slice of it for a ham and cheese sarnie, I’ve glazed it with sticky honey and cream topping.
Banana and chocolate chip cake with olive oil and dark brown sugar. I really don’t know why banana cakes keep being called ‘bread’. Is it the loaf tin?
Buckwheat banana fritters for delicious (and gluten free) breakfast. Smashed bananas in buckwheat pancake batter, and a drizzle of honey is a must!
Banana muffins with dried mango and pineapple chunks. This is a good cake mix – the best, the banana cake. I honestly can’t recall where the recipe comes from.
These are my best barbecue ideas for meat and vegetable kebabs so you only need green salad and pita bread to serve as side dishes.
Beet, horseradish and dill cured salmon, it takes only three days and the taste is unparallelled. Beetroot doesn't do much for the taste but the colour is to die for. Next - pork belly!
Rib-eye steak with green vegetables and blue cheese sauce. Simplicity itself and one of the best dinners you can have. If you’re really shopping for food on the night you eat it then the key thing – bring meat to room temperature – is a bit of a challenge.
Blueberry flavoured frozen yoghurt, made without ice cream maker. And yes, you can make very good one at home. Here’s how.
Blueberry muffins. The best. The easiest. By all means use frozen berries in the bleak mid-winter. Better that than paying extortionate price of bluebs imported from Darkest Peru. And frozen ones are very well-behaved: they stir nicely into the mix, don’t go mushy like raspberries and retain their shapes.
Blueberry parfait with strained yoghurt and lightly roasted blueberries. My blueberry parfait is uncertain what it wants to be: for some it will be breakfast and others will insist it’s only fit for after dinner
Couscous with raisins, yoghurt and honey, an excellent breakfast idea. Honey and yoghurt are a must though – in fact, another brilliant breakfast is just plain yoghurt with honey drizzled over.
Broccoli and Stilton soup, the easiest and tastiest - and no blender needed. Blended soup is my pet hate, worse than mushy peas or smoothies (though mind: purée - justified; milkshake - okay).
Fresh raw broccoli salad marinated in oriental dressing. Broccoli has come a long way since being served to twelve year old me in the shape of whole boiled head, tasteless and mushy.
Spiced brown apple cake with cocoa, probably the easiest apple cake recipe of the 'mix and bake' kind. It's fragrant with cinnamon and cloves, dark brown with cocoa and dotted with pale chunks of apples.
A simple vegetarian dish of brown rice with mushrooms. Brown rice with brown mushrooms is not going to win me any photographic awards, that’s for sure. There’s no denying the fact that it’s brown - completely and utterly.
Crispy smoked bacon with a mustard and brown sugar glaze. Talk about moreish – this glazed bacon makes the most moreish nibble in the world.
Bucatini pasta with creamy Alfredo sauce and a handful of peas and spinach. I’m offering the ‘new’ classic with cream and all, rest assured, and have added a bit of greenery to it: pasta with spinach is irresistible.
Butter beans and chorizo dish with crispy Parmesan topping, a little heat from a chilli and saltiness from anchovy. A dish fit for a king and it’s ready in half an hour.
Breakfast American-style buttermilk pancakes, with optional blueberries. I’ve been having a buttermilk week. It started off with these pancakes, proceeded to simply exquisite fried chicken marinated overnight in buttermilk; via salad dressing with lots of dill and garlic and finishing with buttermilk island cake.
Light and moist scones with buttermilk and raisin, cut into triangles. You can replace buttermilk with yoghurt – but I’d strongly encourage giving a go as it makes for a nice crust and very moist crumb. These are a bit more cakey than the ordinary scones.
Vietnamese cabbage and prawn salad with nuoc mam dressing, layered on baked brown rice. The best salad bowls are a/ Asian and b/ contain cabbage.
Calamari rings pan-fried with chorizo and spring onions. Squid is a cinch to cook, it just needs a gutsy flavour to go with it - like chorizo. My view is this is a match made in heaven.
Carrot cake - what a classic! Staple in every respectable old-fashioned English tea room, and in those quaint eateries that line up puddings on the counter, under the glass cloches, and the choice you get is invariably victoria sponge, cheesecake and carrot cake.
Tom Kerridge’s carrot cake energy balls are no-bake, no sugar, no nonsense bites made from goodness itself. Sweet with no added sugar, satisfyingly filling and easier to make than mud cakes.
Cheat's sourdough, with yeast but fermenting over 24 hours. The texture is great, big air bubbles like in the real article and the taste is very, very close. Crusty on the outside, chewy crumb, you might be easily fooled into thinking it’s IT.
Crunchy cheese and black pepper biscuits shaped like buttons. Crisp, peppery, with a hint of garlic. Only the button element arguably redundant, especially that it’s damn difficult to make these biscuits perfectly round and stay round whilst baking. I found the recipe in Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard.
An omelette is such a lovely dish and can take on such different forms that it’s easy to forget it’s just egg. Spinach omelette. Ham and cheese. Just cheese. Chorizo and beans. Throw in some peppers and potatoes and you have a tortilla.
Cheese biscuits or cheese straws made from Rugelach pastry rolled up with copious quantity of grated cheese. Lethal. Devastating. Deadly little things if you’re watching your weight. You can’t have just one.
Cherry and marzipan cake: a simple buttermilk cake batter with glace cherries and a layer of homemade marzipan. Result: stunning. Just try. And don’t you DARE use shop bought marzipan!
Buttery cornmeal muffins with glace cherries, gluten free but wholly satisfying. Crunchy around the edges, and the jewelled glace cherries intersperse the rich yellow cornmeal crumb.
Chicken chow mein takeaway style, with crispy noodles. What can I say? I adore noodles. I could live on noodles, be it wheat or rice, udon or glass. As long as they are dressed with some decent sauce, a few shreds of pak choi or beansprouts, I’m theirs until the bottom of the bowl.
Fresh green salad with sliced chicken, melon and avocado, with feta, seeds and filo crumble. The right combination is the whole secret to a salad: tomatoes and soft cheese, feta and cucumbers, walnuts and apple, anchovies and Parmesan.
Oven baked chicken rice pilaf is an easy dinner: a one pot casserole ready in total of forty-five minutes. Chicken never lets you down, right?
Chicken and vegetable tray bake – it’s good for a weeknight dinner and impressive enough for easy entertaining. Only one pan to wash up!
Slow cooked chili con carne with beef and red and white beans. This is one hell of a contentious dish. First off, the name is wrong: purists call it just chili. Second, the provenience.
Chocolate and glace cherry cake; my deconstructed black forest gateau. Cherries mixed into the batter, cream served on the side, it’s a mere hint of the black forest cake…
The easiest chocolate mousse dessert, whipped ganache flavoured with Grand Marnier. I’m offering the grownup version here: darkest chocolate, Grand Marnier; but it’s made just as well with milk chocolate and no alcohol, or even white chocolate (skip sugar in both cases).
Double chocolate muffins, wonderfully gooey in the centre and a doddle to make. These little things will surely be firm favourites with whoever you make them for, builders or not. Incredibly easy to make it must be said - you needn’t even take care not to overmix like usually with muffins.
Easy chocolate cake with yoghurt, honey and shaved chocolate. The batter is ready in about three minutes and the cake is almost healthy – not much fat and not much sugar.
Homemade clotted cream, thickened cream made by long and slow heating double/heavy cream in a shallow dish. The first time I made it, we had people staying for the weekend. We all went out for food, or I cooked, and at one or two occasions
Super easy coconut loaf made with shredded coconut. This must be the quickest cake in the world. I wish I could say it is also the finest but the two things rarely go hand in hand.
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