Mexican rice, arroz rojo, with peas and carrots. Pilaf is a cooking method and Mexican rice is cooked that way. It’s basically giving the rice a head start in hot oil with aromatics of choice, before you deluge it with water, stock or milk and leave to its own devices for half an hour or so.
Samin Nosrat’s midnight cake is one of the easiest and the nicest chocolate cakes in the world. I finish it with a dried mixed fruit salad topping for a citrusy tang.
Milk chocolate digestive biscuits, just like McVities, only better. Can you make the ultimate dunking biscuits at home? Here’s how, and it’s easy.
My recipe for mince pies has the best shortcrust pastry and the nicest mincemeat filling - easy to make too. They go back to the times of crusades and the Middle Eastern approach to sweet and savoury, mixing meat with spices, fruit and nuts.
Mini gateaux bretons, individual breton butter cakes with jam filling. Breton butter cake, or gateau breton is one of the best things to come out of northern France.
Mini Pavlovas - individual meringues with whipped cream and fruit toppings: passion fruit, pomegranate and raspberry. Simple – and gorgeous. Any time of year. And what’s more important – small meringues are much easier to bake than a whole big Pavlova.
Mini sausage rolls made with cream cheese pastry and pork and mushroom filling. Party food – or a perfect snack. The filling can be fashioned out of cooked or raw meat – using leftover Christmas turkey, Sunday roast chicken or pork, or raw meat like here.
Miso marinated haddock seared and baked to a succulent, golden beauty. Inspired by Nobu black cod, it is truly an outstanding fish dish.
Mohnstollen is a stollen log with poppy seeds, traditionally baked in Germany, Poland (makowiec) and Austria for Christmas. Brioche-like Stollen dough is filled with sweet and spiced poppy seeds and rolled into a log.
Mokonuts’ cranberry, chocolate and rye cookies are a revelation. If you thought you knew all there was to know about cookies – you were wrong.
Pan fried monkfish tail in spicy coating, with mushroom sauce and chorizo slices. Monkfish with paprika and chorizo complemented by spiced mushroom sauce makes a super tasty and still a healthy dish.
The best, darkest, gooey-est chocolate cake ever – so I’ve called it Morticia’s cake. A bit of effort involved, separating eggs and folding the batter carefully but the end product is pure Addams Family.
Classic Greek moussaka with potato slices and minced lamb and beef meat sauce. I love moussaka – my weakness for minced meat reveals itself in all kinds of dishes, moussaka (non-veggie) included.
Muffins with orange curd and chocolate ganache filling. Muffin mix is dead simple, I’ve made this mix with blueberries, raspberries, chocolate, orange zest and it works. Orange curd was organic and not too sweet – what could go wrong?
Ottolenghi inspired fondue filo pie, with butternut squash swapped for mushrooms. It’s a combo of Savoyarde raclette experience and a Greek or Middle Eastern filo pastry, and it’s excellent.
Wild or exotic mushroom ragu, perfect to serve over pasta or gnocchi. It is, truly, a masterly recipe and the addition of tomato ketchup a stroke of genius.
Mushroom risotto made with dried, rehydrated porcini and masses of Parmesan and butter is a royal feast. I love it just with a green salad.
Mushroom sauce, creamy and fragrant, with a few dried wild mushrooms that make all the difference. The sauce for pasta, steak, chicken, meatballs and whatever you fancy.
Moules marinières with cream, fairly standard, but this recipe has a tiny twist. The usual spiel is to cook mussels with wine, take them out and then add cream – what a waste of time. I added the cream beforehand, turned up the heat full whack and threw the shells in...
Corn tortilla chip nachos with easy homemade beef chilli, sweetcorn and cheese. Homemade nachos are the perfect recipe for a crowd-pleasing supper or snack.
Negimaki-style veal escalopes, marinated in teriyaki and sliced across like sushi rolls. A party snack with a wow-factor or a dish for the special dinner à deux.
Norwegian apple cake, eplekake, is plenty of apple slices on sponge batter enriched with milk. This recipe is from NY Times but cross-referenced with Norway!
Boller - Norwegian raisin buns with cardamom flavour and a shiny glaze. What can be nicer for breakfast than a fresh from the oven – or toasted – buttered bun? Okay, a scone. Or a croissant. Or a full fry-up. Let’s leave it there.
Oatmeal biscuits, the healthiest cookies, sprinkled with pinhead oats. They are gluten-free and only contain three spoonfuls of sugar. Definitely good for your gut with all the fibre, but oatmeal apparently also lowers bad cholesterol levels while providing bags of nutrients.
Oatmeal raisin cookies, buttery, chewy and delicious. I recently realised I’ve been obsessed with oats. Porridge and I go back to before anyone else was interested in cooking oats first thing in the morning.
Oatmeal and banana smoothie with chia seeds, dairy and gluten free but not free of taste. Briefly – the epitome of what I usually sneer at. Vegan. Gluten free. Dairy free.
Healthy homemade cereal bars made with oats and plenty of dried fruit and seeds. Cereal bars or granola bars? Either way they are much better than shop-bought bars.
Old fashioned apple cake with brown sugar frosting. We used to have two apple trees in the garden: one eating, one cooking, fruiting every other year each, in alternative years – a perfect arrangement.
Olive, caper and seaweed crackers, savoury biscuits with a unique flavour. Savoury biscuits are always such a hit. Forget crisps – they’ll just give you a guilty feeling as they are the Top Villain of The Unhealthy.
French onion soup with toasted bread slices loaded with cheese. The best thing to eat on a cold winter’s day is soup. Something so comforting about a good bowl of soup – better than a stew, much better than a salad and it even beats cheese on toast – sometimes. Not that much beats cheese on toast in my view.
Sour cream cake with orange flavour and raw cacao nib crunch is like a sophisticated pound cake with chocolate chips.
Orange and ginger flavoured flapjack, soft and chewy, buttery and slightly sticky. Make it plain as it is, or add a handful of dried fruit or coconut flakes.
Orange and lavender quatre-quarts cake - great combination of orange and a strong unusual flavour of lavender. One of the easiest cakes to bake. Four quarters: there are only four basic ingredients and they are mixed together in equal parts.
Orange flavoured ciambella with dark chocolate glaze is Italian ring-shaped breakfast cake. This one is made without butter but with olive oil; serve it for an indulgent breakfast or for dessert.
Orange dacquoise biscuits, chewy almond cookies made with egg whites, are like a meringue that changed its mind at the last minute and turned into sponge batter.
Orange macaroon cake with dessicated coconut and orange liqueur. This is a glorious cake. Just the right moisture (wet), orange flavour fantastic (no, can’t be less), and slightly chewy on account of the coconut.
Orange and spice muffins with candied citrus peel. These smell lovely while they’re baking – orange-and-spice, Christmas-just-around-the-corner aroma.
Tartlets with ricotta and almond filling, topped with candied orange slices. I can’t honestly say which filling is nicer – the bonus about the ricotta one I guess that you can stick the leftovers into a buttered and floured ramekin and bake for a mini cheesecake.
Dan Lepard’s orange and walnut loaf cake with cinnamon and fresh ginger, a wonderful combination of flavours. One saucepan, a loaf tin and zest from five oranges!
Easy cheesy oregano cheese straws from homemade shortcrust pastry; flaky, buttery and melting in a mouth. Everyone’s all-time best ever favourite snack.
Steamed whole sea bass oriental style, with coriander and spring onions. Wok’s shape makes it possible to simply prop up a plate against the sides so it’s beautifully suspended over the water, no rack or even steaming basket needed.
King Oskar II cake - almond macaron style cake filled with buttercream. Apparently they sell them in Ikea, frozen, and tasty to boot, alongside the meatballs and pickled herring. I adore Swedes and Swedish food but detest Ikea.
Osso buco - shin of veal, slow cooked with porcini and tomato sauce. The shin of veal is a delicious cut, actually much better than a lamb shank, equally cheap, cooks all by itself and is a joy to eat – just leave the marrow to me.
Oven baked fish in panko breadcrumbs with baked string fries - a healthier version of fish and chips. The baked fish and chips is all right, plus you’re not stinking out the kitchen or splattering everything in grease and plugging the sink with oil. But don’t expect it to for ever replace your deep fried haddock or cod in crispy batter.
Oven baked arancini, mushroom risotto balls filled with prosciutto and mozzarella. It’s the starter you wish was a main. It’s the leftovers dish that’s better than the original.
Oven braised racks of baby back pork ribs with Creole seasoning and maple syrup glaze, cooked for 4 hours into tender perfection.
Oven roasted duck breast fillet with chilli flavoured pineapple slices, charred on the griddle. Served on a pile of green lettuce, it’s an outstanding warm salad dish.
Sea trout fillets baked in oven with lots of steam, at low temperature. This is definitely the best way to cook these delicate fillets, often prone to drying out if overcooked.
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