Lemon and pistachio bars with nutty lemon topping on shortcrust base. It was the pistachios that attracted me in this recipe, featured in NY Times Cooking.
Lemon chilli chicken with quarters of lemon cooked in creamy sauce. This dish is another take on the creamy chicken recipe which is my kind of chicken fillet matrix dish.
Lemon and smoked paprika roasted potato wedges. This is definitely one of those dishes that look hugely better before cooking. Decorative lemon slices, pale yellow potatoes with a red dusting of paprika, glistening oil and the green sprigs of rosemary – pretty as a picture.
Whole lemon sole roasted on a bed of lemon slices. I’ve attempted to bring the lemon sole a bit upmarket here, roasting it whole on a bed of lemons, lavishly basted with butter. This approach works well for its more affluent relatives as well as the likes of sea bass and sea bream. Surprise, surprise – it’s really tasty and, unless you keep that poor thing in the oven for inordinately long, not mushy.
Warm salad of poached fish and raw samphire with lemongrass dressing. Samphire, or sea asparagus, is the salty marshland grass and not actually seaweed as some may think.
Lentils and spicy chorizo casserole with fresh tomatoes. Spicy, hearty, tomatoey and earthy with cheese on top – a perfect autumnal dish you might say, except it tastes as good all year round.
Lentils baked with porcini mushrooms, red peppers and spinach. I insist – use porcini in this recipe. Since it is next to impossible to get hold of the fresh porcini or ceps in England the dried ones will do, even better...
Lettuce and bacon salad with smoky dressing and crumbled blue cheese. To be honest, anything with blue cheese crumbled onto it has to be good, that’s the inherent quality of blue cheese.
Lime yoghurt pistachio cake with lime and rosewater syrup drizzled all over it: I swear there isn't a better cake made with yoghurt. Or lime. Or pistachios.
Linguine with smoked salmon and homemade pesto - and lots of parmesan. This recipe uses, admittedly, fancy pasta from Carluccio. But to be honest, any good quality linguine will do, even if not sexily stripy pink, yellow and green…
Lumberjack date and apple cake with caramelised coconut topping. Try as I might, I can’t trace the origin of lumberjack cake or why it is called thus.
Mac n cheese with leeks in cheesy béchamel sauce - the ultimate comfort food. Kraft introduced the quick and ready mac in a box in the 1930s during the Great Depression. But if you want to be posh you can call it pasta Mornay.
Mouchous, traditional macarons basques, easier to make than the Parisian variety but just as delicious though presented individually and quite rustic compared to Paris macarons.
Smooth mango ice cream without eggs, churned in an ice cream maker. Make sure the fruit is as ripe as it can be; apart from the insufficient sweetness, unripe mango smells a bit off-putting.
Maple shortbread bars with almonds and pistachios. I like nuts but pecans and walnuts are probably my least favourites so I replaced them with what I like best: almonds and pistachios.
Thinly sliced fennel lightly wilted with salt and sugar is gorgeous, but the homemade ranch dressing with chives and dill is the star of the salad.
Matcha and white chocolate creamy eggless ice cream. More ice cream; this time it’s the creamiest, softest ice cream as claimed by Heston Blumenthal, published a good many years ago in one of the weekend supplements.
Homemade mayo, so rich and smooth you can eat it on its own. Patience in dripping oil into the mixer drop by drop pays off tenfold.
Meatball casserole with courgettes, red peppers and tomato sauce. So okay, wait until you’ve made so many meatballs for one dinner you’ll have a pile left over for a casserole for another.
Pork and smoky bacon meatballs with tomato flavoured bulgur wheat, a variation on Swedish, Italian and Moroccan meatball classics.
The best meatloaf baked with a maple syrup and mustard glaze. Meatloaf is a gorgeous dish, the mince just needs plenty of fillers. Try making it with pure meat, it won’t work – crumbly to oblivion and not very flavoursome. Whack more Parmesan into it than you think is feasible*. Fry an onion and add in. Pour in some soured cream, crème fraiche or indeed milk and you’re in business. T
Meringue kisses: pink coloured mini meringues, filled with white and dark chocolate ganache. It’s not all fun making them though – meringue has the tendency of going its own ways, clinging to everything but the inside of the piping bag.
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.
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.
Pan fried monkfish bites in spicy coating, with mushroom sauce and chorizo slices. They have this thing on Saturday Kitchen television programme where guest celebrities specify their food heaven and hell.
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?
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.
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 chips nachos with homemade beef chilli, corn and cheese. Nachos are an obscenely cunning trick of how to turn eating crisps into a full meal.
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.
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.
These cereal and dried fruit bars make fantastic breakfast. You can have a scrambled egg. Boring, I know, but so good for a weight-loss-régime (no bread just egg – harsh!). You can have cereal or my favourite combo...
'Porridge' bread made on a base of oats, honey and seeds. I call it ‘porridge bread’ because you soak the oats with the seeds the night before. The starter sitting around overnight gives the bread great flavour. And the honey makes it extra tasty.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sea trout fillets oven steamed at low temperature. This works for salmon, trout and sea trout – the last in my experience particularly prone to drying out. Season ad lib, brown some butter and serve with samphire – or green veg if you’re not partial to seaweed.
Overnight oats with homemade yoghurt and fresh fruit, the healthiest breakfast. You don’t have to make your own yoghurt to enjoy this breakfast but it’s so amazingly easy that I challenge you to try.
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