Crispy rice with chorizo and mushrooms blasted under the grill for super-crunchy breadcrumb and Parmesan topping. A dish based on the paella theme but ten times easier.
Crispy and spicy roasted chickpeas with grilled peppers, a wholesome vegetarian lunch or dinner as chickpeas are an excellent source of protein and fibre.
Crispy popping chickpeas and roasted red peppers, spiced with chilli flakes and fennel seeds, with butter or olive oil in the vegan version. It’s your new favourite dish!
Curried mussels with saffron and ginger, steamed in light creamy sauce. No, I still don’t like curries. One of the very few dishes that revolt me, out there with mushy peas, kale, barley and any veiny, tendony, gelatinous meat.
Easy dirty rice with minced pork and homemade Creole seasoning, a bomb of flavours and a healthy main course ready in about 40 minutes.
Duck pastilla, a Moroccan pie made with filo pastry layers encasing leftover roast duck mixture filling, with onions and peppers.
Fennel and gorgonzola fettucine - I love pasta. I could eat pasta every day, if it only didn’t contain carbs. Since it does (hell, what other reason it tastes so good?), it’s an occasional treat.
Savoury tart with fennel and taleggio filling; a vegetarian version of a classic British pie. My offering to vegetarians who like pies, this is actually better the next day at room temperature, if there’s any left.
Fideua, Spanish pasta dish with fish and seafood, is cooked exactly like paella: in an enormous pan, only with short vermicelli pasta replacing rice.
Filipino beef tapa with brown rice, sweet and sharp marinated beef strips, stir fried and served as part of a breakfast dish of tapsilog.
Filo pastry snails with mushroom, spinach and cheese filling. The original recipe for these snails calls for feta cheese. It actually calls for roasted fennel instead of spinach but here I think my improvement has worked – spinach in filo pastry is a classic after all.
Classic English fish and chips: crispy chip shop style batter and double cooked chips. I consulted Heston Blumenthal’s recipe for perfect fish and chips in order to produce mine; with the batter sans vodka (we don’t waste spirits in cooking).
Creamy fish pie with layered sliced potato topping. No need to pre-cook the fish for fish pie, and a crispy layer sliced potatoes is better than a mash topping.
Five spice duck is an excellent dish. The duck is nice and pink (or so it should be to my liking, feel free to cook it a bit longer) and one good size fillet serves two easily.
Five spice shrimp with greens and crispy noodles. This is different to your usual stir fry: it’s a warm stir fried salad. The crispy noodles are totally optional: you can do soft noodles or no noodles.
Fragrant fish stew with mixed fish chunks and seared scallops, crunchy vegetables and herbs. Easy, healthy and incredibly tasty.
The best pizza made at home is born between the frying pan and the grill. Easy dough, basic toppings, thin crust; no pizza stone, no wood fired oven. Beats takeaway every time!
Roasted gammon hock with cabbage and plum sauce. Ham or gammon hock is a cured pork shank, easy though long to prepare: soaked, boiled and then roasted makes meat falling off the bone.
Fresh clams cooked with plenty of garlic and white wine. And then – off they go into spaghetti or linguine, or soup or chowder , or just as a splendid dish of little morsels of saltiness with the juices mopped by some good bread.
Garlic fried chicken marinated in buttermilk. If I was a KFC fan, I’d be really happy with this garlic fried chicken. Of course it’s a southern American classic, but they tend to fry chicken on the bone.
General Tso’s chicken with the best hot and sour sauce; a two bowls - one wok wonder. Serve over plain rice or noodles, no sugar added!
Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with ricotta and walnuts, baked in tomato sauce. This is not a quick weeknight dish: the pasta shells need to be pre-cooked unless you pour in floods of really watery tomato sauce – which you don’t want to do as drowning the pasta will dilute the filling.
A warm salad of Purple Majesty potatoes, zucchini and radishes. Dark potatoes are fairly common, but the ones I’d had before would turn ordinary white when boiled. Not these beauties! These are perfectly unique. To start with, the skin is almost completely black and while scrubbed, they reveal to have a thin film covering the tuber - like a second skin or, as I like to think, a veil.
Greek lamb, spinach and feta filo pastry pie, using leftover roast lamb, is better than the original roast.
Grilled sea bream with balsamic marinade. Whole fish is much more fun – you have to gut it (which smells) and scale it (which covers the WHOLE place in invisible crap), unless you’re boring and ask the fishmonger to do it for you.
Grilled chicken burgers, juicy, crispy and tasty thanks to two secret ingredients: Parmesan and a little pork. The healthier answer to your burger craving!
Dover sole is the best grilled. On the bone but skinned, brushed with plenty of butter and served with caper and lemon butter - it's fish dish perfection.
Quick grilled lamb neck fillet marinated overnight in rosemary, mint and honey. Buy it cheap, cook it quick - beats the pricey lamb chops or steaks.
Grilled lobster with flavoured butter, and how to boil, crack and split a lobster. Let me tell you: this is a seriously challenging endeavour. First off, to procure one: live lobsters don’t just perambulate along supermarket shelves, ready to be picked up and scanned through the till.
Grilled whole mackerel with spice crust: it’s healthy, it’s cheap and it takes fifteen minutes to prepare. With a squeeze of lemon and a simple salad, it’s an easy and delightful dish.
Red mullet brushed with anchovy and coriander butter, grilled whole, is delightful little fish and gorgeously easy to cook. It is also, surprisingly, not as bony as small fish usually is!
Pan fried guinea fowl breast with fresh wild mushrooms, it’s the epitome of an autumnal dish. And a feast fit for the gods!
Halibut fillet steamed atop braised leeks and carrots, the best cooking method for halibut. Healthy, tasty, and one pan dish to boot!
Halloumi and vegetable skewers, vegetarian kebabs of cheese, mushrooms, peppers and onion drizzled with tangy marinade, as fantastic cooked on a barbecue as from the oven.
Halloumi burgers with roasted pepper, aubergine and onion. I love the cheese. Gorgeously rubbery, gooey but not dissolving, tasting of nothing much at all, it must be the mother of processed cheese. I bet the founders of Kraft Foods were Cypriots.
Hasselback chorizo stuffed with halloumi chunks is an upscale, deconstructed hot dog and completely irresistible. This is your guilty food pleasure turned into a proper meal!
Hasselback gratin - potato slices stacked like dominoes, baked in creamy and cheesy sauce. They will have their bottoms cooking in the cheese mix and the tops will get scorchy, crispy, crusty, lacey and all the other lovely adjectives that can be applied to cheese.
Herby courgette pasta bake, with roasted garlic and Pecorino, simple and super-tasty. The best thing to do with courgettes? Bake them with pasta!
Hot butterflied tiger prawns in a spicy marinade by Ottolenghi. Grill them, fry them or barbecue them as long as you’re quick – they only need a minute in the pan.
Oven baked fresh sardine fillets with herbs, garlic and lemon, Italian style. Sandwiched in pairs, they only take 13 minutes to cook.
Kalpudding, Swedish brown cabbage meatloaf, served with boiled or mashed potatoes and a sweet and spicy preserve, is best homemade – and one more reason NOT to go to IKEA!
Smoked mackerel and prawn kedgeree. Haddock seems too much of a northern fish to go into a dish of Indian of origin so I’ve replaced it with hot smoked mackerel. Breakfast? I don’t know but it’s an excellent lunch dish and a brilliant starter.
Korean beef tacos, probably the best street food fusion. Marinated and grilled steak in soft corn tortillas, with shredded salads and spiced mayo – that’s taste bliss.
Kung pao chicken made at home, with the spiciness from chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. Dried chilies and Sichuan peppers are my favourite heat explosion; make sure you stand back when they land in the hot wok.
Roasted rolled breast of lamb stuffed with raisins and served with roast grapes. Lamb breast is one of those cheaper cuts of what is an expensive kind of meat, with huge potential.
Lamb cutlets in herby Parmesan crust. The cutlets are dipped in just egg white, not whole egg wash, so that it’s light and only there to keep the crust in place. The herbs and additions to the crumb are free choice but Parmesan is a must.
Homemade lamb doner kebab from Tom Kerridge is made in the oven, served in a tortilla wrap and devoured in seconds. Who said you can’t make street food at home?
Greek style lamb koftas served with a simple harissa dip. Lamb koftas are perfect for a barbecue and just as tasty griddled, with this easy recipe for koftas and harissa sauce.
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