Ice cream cones made from sweetened, layered filo pastry. Deliciously easy, and can be also filled with cream, mascarpone or custard.
Filo wrapped asparagus with Parmesan are a crunchy, golden, irresistible vegetarian snack or appetiser. Asparagus filo parcels rolled up like cigars - a must before the asparagus season ends.
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.
Quick refrigerator pickles made with cucumbers, asparagus and carrot slices. There are some quite peculiar myths concerning food and eating that people believe in.
Celeriac fondant makes a great side dish. Recipes featuring celeriac are usually for mash or puree, but dicing the celeriac root and cooking it in butter brings out the great flavour.
Old fashioned molasses cake? Think again – this one has fresh grated ginger added for the zing, and you don’t even need an electric mixer to make it.
Courgette flowers (fiori di zuccha) in light batter, shallow fried in olive oil with a touch of mint inside each blossom. It’s pan-fried poetry!
Fruity, nut free mince pies made from scratch: the best shortcrust pastry and delicious fruit filling. I never used to like mince pies until I made them at home. The fact is that all shop-bought pies, even the posh, fancy, Hestonised and overpriced numbers taste mainly of too much orange peel and too much booze. As much as I’m the last person to complain about too much booze, I like to keep it separate from cakes. And orange peel is usually nasty, unless you make it yourself (I don’t) or spend quite a bit more money than even Waitrose Cook’s Ingredients charge.
Christmas fruit cake - lighter in colour and in taste but still rich and full of raisins, berries, apricots, figs and almonds. It keeps very well but needn’t be made weeks ahead of Christmas – tastes best when it had been standing for a couple of days.
Galette des rois, an elegant treat for the night of Epiphany, or any other time during the twelve days of Christmas. There are some lovely traditions associated with the galette: a ‘fève’ is hidden inside the cake - a tiny china figurine or an almond - and the lucky person to find it (and not choke on it) is crowned a king or queen for the carnival.
Galettes made with buckwheat flour (gluten-free), with a classic topping of ham, cheese and a few spinach leaves. Galettes are pancakes – only better. The hardcore version has them fried only on one side, toppings put on top (as you would with toppings), and the sides only nonchalantly folded over.
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.
Baby new potatoes, Jersey Royals if you can get them, poached in oil with lemon slices and garlic cloves. It’s almost blasphemous to cook them other than in plenty of water and serve other than with a little butter and salt. But this is absolutely gorgeous and actually brings out the flavour even better. They are not at all greasy.
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.
Garlicky runner beans in butter and Parmesan. Nobody likes to admit they were wrong. It’s in human nature I guess – nobody knows their stuff better than we do ours.
Latkes with roasted apple topping, crispy fried shredded potato pancakes traditionally eaten for Jewish Hanukkah. I like to make one giant latke for brunch, topped with crème fraiche and tart roasted apples.
Ginger cake with candied ginger pieces, jam filling and maple syrup icing. I always thought ‘gingerbread’ referred only to cookies until I saw the cranberry gingerbread cake in NYTimes Cooking.
Thin and super-crunchy, spicy and melting, old fashioned ginger snaps are a snap to make! Grab that jar of stem ginger from the back of the cupboard and put the syrup to good use.
Gingerbread biscotti spiced with Christmas flavour, crunchy and dunkable, with mixed nuts and cinnamon sugar coating. Honey and spice and a festive spirit twice cooked!
Quick and simple glace cherries recipe: make your own candied fruit. They will last for a couple of weeks in a jar. Joking, of course – they’ll never last that long…
Focaccia with olive oil, fresh grapes and crumbled blue cheese. I am not quite sure why grapes are not popular as cake ingredients. All summer berries, cherries, stone fruit and apples get to play, jumping into soft sponge, orderly marching onto tarts, drowning in runny clafoutis and sweating gently underneath crumbles
Beans and tomatoes, blanched green beans served with sautéed tomatoes cooked with green chilies. A match made in heaven, green beans and tomatoes are for me the classic summery dish.
Green beans with Parmesan cream. The dish makes an elegant side; serve it over rice for a veggie main and throw in slices of cooked chicken for the meat option.
Greengage jelly with chilli and rosemary is a full of flavour, unusual condiment. It’s a cross between greengage chutney and plum jam and it’s perfect with lamb.
Grilled chicken burgers, juicy, crispy and tasty thanks to two secret ingredients: Parmesan and a little pork. The healthier answer to your burger craving!
Grilled mussels with savoury breadcrumbs and crumbled black pudding. It’s blood. Mixed with fillers, more often than not cereal of some kind, less often chopped up offal; encased, sausage way, into a length of gut.
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!
Pink guava cake with pink buttercream frosting, made from concentrated guava juice. It looks like a six years old girl’s dream. It tastes like heaven.
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.
Scary Halloween eyeballs made from white chocolate ganache and red slime. They are also the best ever white chocolate truffles!
Haloween meringue bones. Great meringue mix easy to shape into spooky bones, perfect for Haloween.
Spooky meringue ghost cookies. The easiest Halloween cookies to make, and the tastiest meringue mix too.
Hamantaschen - cute triangular biscuits with poppy seed or fruit filling, made traditionally for Purim. Eaten at Purim, the Jewish holiday commemorating the defeat of evil vizier Haman in ancient Persia, who planned on killing all the Jews in the Persian Empire. His plans came to naught thanks to the hero Mordecai helped by the Queen Esther. Haman hung from the gallows, having allegedly had his ears cut off.
Frozen Greek yoghurt ice cream recipe with raisins and honey, low-calorie and sugar free. The best thing – you don’t need to churn it in the ice cream maker. Just scrape into a tub and enjoy it a few hours later.
Hot cross buns with raisins, dried apricots and citrus peel. Based on Dan Lepard's recipe, these are the nicest hot cross buns for Good Friday and Easter Sunday breakfast.
Ice cream sandwiches in choux pastry buns, with ice cream flavour of choice, homemade or your favourite brand. I first made choux pastry at the age of about 11, in my technology lesson at school.
Gratin of thinly sliced jerusalem artichokes baked with bacon and cheese in a creamy sauce. I like the flavour and the taste – nutty, firmer and sweeter than spuds and not quite as starchy.
Joululimppu, Finnish Christmas bread with rye flour, buttermilk, aniseed flavours and treacle – quite an unusual and wonderful Christmas bake. It means just that: ‘Christmas bread’.
Julekake (pronounced yoo-le-kar-ka) is a traditional Norwegian Christmas bread, with Sukat (candied citrus peel) and raisins. Julekake is flavoured with cardamom and it’s best toasted, served with gjetost (brown cheese).
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!
Kohlrabi slaw, grated kohlrabi with creamy dressing is versatile and delicious. Try it instead of your regular slaw – this vegetable deserves more acclaim!
Koulourakia are Easter Greek butter cookies, rolled and snailed and coiled into twisty shapes. This recipe is with traditional ammonia as raising agent and exotic mahlep spice.
Festive Krantz cake with chocolate and walnut filling - quite unusual. No idea what its name means and no, it’s not the same as Kranz – creamy ‘crown’ cake. I found my recipe in ‘Baking with Passion’ by Dan Lepard and Richard Whittington.
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.
A rack of lamb, roasted with a herb and parmesan crust. I believe in simple seasoning of this arguably best cut of lamb, but the coating of mainly herbs and parmesan - without too much breadcrumbs - really works.
Lamb shank basted with caper and anchovy butter, served with stir fried cabbage. I had a shank languishing in the freezer for a while, won at a meat auction held in a restaurant a while back, so waste not – want not, I cooked it.
Lebkuchen - soft, honeyed cookies, similar to gingerbreads. Lebkuchen are of German provenance, invented by Franciscan monks in the 13th century.
Leek and potato soup, homemade is the best. Soup is the easiest, cheapest and quickest thing to cook at home. Especially if you are a proponent of Soup With Bits, like me – you won’t need a blender.
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