Pork and mushroom pie in a crust made from scratch, with gravy and chunky tender pork and girolle filling. Pork pie as the English know it is a sort of a twist on pâté in pastry, a wellington with mince or a sausage roll in the shape of a pie, only not quite as nice as any of the above.
Pork shoulder steaks with clementines and crispy sage leaves. This recipe is for shoulder steaks, my favourite cut. Loin is too lean, flavourless and boring; it’s best fit to be turned into lonzino; sliced thinly and savoured on a charcuterie platter.
Pork and mushroom stroganoff: perfect for when you want to cook an easy but special dish and can’t afford to spend a small fortune on the ingredients.
Potato salad with pancetta and asparagus, delicious warm or cold. I’m really not sure what the deal with the ‘only three ingredients!’ recipes is. Or only four or five for that matter - the authors of those seem to take pride in putting together as few foodstuffs as possible
Pumpkin pie with crust made from scratch and a cranberry layer. What do you know? It is an improvement – and marrying the festive, autumnal couple clearly produces a stable relationship.
Pumpkin bread spiced with cinnamon and cloves, with walnuts and cranberries. I’ll say it very quickly: pumpkin bread is good. Very much the thing to do with this tin of puree knocking about the cupboard.
Pumpkin fondue in individual munchkin pumpkins, baked and filled with melted cheese. Sliced gherkins, a few lettuce leaves, a ton of apple chunks – and it’s no trick. It’s a treat!
A summer salad of cucumbers, radish and lots of fresh herbs with feta cheese and a simple dressing. Cucumber, my favourite underrated fruit is usually included in vaguely Greek salads with tomato and feta cheese.
Light and airy sponge cake with a layer of raspberries on top. The secret is to push the fruit into the cake mix, otherwise you’ll end up looking into the oven every five minutes and deciding it’s still not cooked in the very middle – the raspberries on top are too juicy and wet!
Sponge cake roll with cream and raspberry filling. A Swiss roll, jelly roll, or cream roll – it can be filled with buttercream, mascarpone or whipped cream plus any seasonal or frozen fruit. Truth be told, it’s lovely even rolled around good jam.
Homemade raspberry jam. I used to think that to make jam you need tonnes and tonnes of fruit and it takes hours and hours of boiling the stuff in huge pans, with lots of splattering and covering the kitchen with sticky gunk – NO.
Meringue roulade with raspberries and whipped mascarpone cream filling, decorated with rose petals and pistachios. Just when you thought meringue-related desserts couldn’t get any better – this thing turns up.
Raspberry muffers are not muffins. There’s no milk, or cream or yoghurt in the ingredients. It’s an ordinary cake mix baked in muffin tins, just for the variety. And no – they aren’t cupcakes either because no icing? No pink colouring? No little roses...
No churn raspberry ripple ice cream made in five minutes with three ingredients. Does having ice cream about three times a year justify spending three hundred quid on a Gaggia or SubZero ice cream maker, even assuming I had that cash floating about idle?
Festive red cabbage stir fried with apples, raisins and spices, super quick to cook. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve cooked red cabbage slow and low before, with the obligatory red wine and spices, but since the generous crop this year I’ve had to look for quicker ways.
Celeriac remoulade with dressing made from mayo, creme fraiche and wholegrain mustard. Celeriac remoulade is a great salad, good with fish but with roast meat as well.
Classic British dessert, rhubarb fool made with rhubarb puree and whipped cream. I thought a fool will be a raspberry fool – now that’s oh yeah; blueberry fool or passion fruit for the in-crowd. Well, what do you know, I’ve changed my mind.
Carrots and parsnips roasted with harissa, herbs and honey. Roasted root vegetables – excellent with a roast, Christmas Day can’t be without them. I find the simpler the better they are.
Whole roast duck with a spice rub and honey and dark soy glaze. This one is cooked through but not overdone, moist and flavoursome thanks to the honey and the spices, and very tender.
Roast grouse served with game chips. Grouse is a grown-up’s game. For beginners, quail or guinea fowl will be a tame enough start. Intermediate gamers will enjoy partridge and pheasant lest it’s inexpertly dried out in the oven.
Roast leg of lamb flavoured with garlic, rosemary and anchovies. The roast lamb leg is gorgeous, you might want to ask your butcher to butterfly it and remove the bone (it might mean the same thing, I’m not that clued up on butchery lingo).
Roast partridge is the taste of autumn because we don’t get to eat game all year round. That’s the beauty of truly seasonal food – you appreciate it when in season as no partridges can be flown in from Peru in the middle of June. The trick is to cook it just right.
Roast pheasant with best Brussel sprouts and garlic spinach mushrooms. Game birds roasted inevitably evoke the spirit of Christmas, especially when paired with disputably fragrant aroma of cooking Brussels sprouts.
What a glorious thing roast beef is. Perfect invention for a Sunday, to stick a quarter of a cow into the oven and forget about it for the time it takes to get to church and back – or play a stint of World of Warcraft upstairs.
Roast wild mallard duck - simple and full of flavour. The wild mallard is excellent cooked in this way, it’s a shame to cook game to death unless a pot-roast pheasant. Wild duck has great flavour and if you’re lucky you’ll get a more tender female specimen.
Chunks of beetroot roasted with honey, thyme, tarragon and balsamic vinegar. This is really gorgeous – beetroot baked long, loooong, you might even consider biscuit beetroot: cooked twice.
Raspberry and rose flavoured heart shaped cookies with buttercream. Instead of a Valentine card bake a batch of these dainty cookies, tender, sweet and fragrant.
Potato, beetroot and celeriac rösti. A very Swiss thing. It’s the Alpine dish where you get the starch, the oil, the crispiness of frying, the seasoning – and preferably a sliver of bacon on top – which is just what you need after a day of skiing.
Salted caramel ice cream: three ingredients, no churning, just a bowl and a whisk needed. Make it without salt – it will be one of those ‘only 2 ingredients!’ shticks. Add less salt if you’re keen but sensitive to the taste; a
New potatoes sautéed with spinach and capers. Sautéing is the next best after roasting potatoes. In this instance I wasn’t pressed for time nor quantities but the combination of spinach leaves and capers thrown into the spuds appealed.
Wild mushrooms - chanterelles and pied-de-mouton, lightly cooked with a dash of cream. Of all things foraged, mushrooms are the best. I suspect I could just LIVE on wild mushrooms, or at least eat them every day, throwing in a scrap of meat or cheese every now and then. Sadly I can’t put it to the test. Why, oh why here in England we’re so deprived? Wild mushrooms are so hard to come by.
Fresh scallops, flash fried, with discs of fried chorizo. Fantastically healthy chunks of pure protein, they are easy to cook but just as easy to overcook and turn rubbery. A minute on each side in a very hot pan.
Schiacciata di uva - Tuscan grape focaccia. The Italian and the French have a lovely way with flat dough – they salt it, stuff it with olives, ham, cheese, soft fruit, preserves, sugar - whatever you like. This one is harvest festive bread.
Fresh mackerel fillets stuffed with samphire, anchovy and breadcrumb mix, grilled and served with parsley butter. Tom Kerridge, whose recipe features below (from Best Ever Dishes cookbook), is clearly a masterful chef.
Easter spiced biscuits with currants and vanilla icing. This particular recipe uses a mix of wholemeal and plain white flours and – as dubious as I might be about its authenticity, it is a winner as the biscuits taste more unusually crunchy and earthy, less like something you might find next to your coffee cup in any old café.
Easter Simnel cake with dried fruit, marzipan layer and icing on top. I decided to forgo the double marzipan whammy for fear that it would make an impossibly sickly end product – also I don’t have confidence in my grill, and my homemade marzipan needs to be cooked.
Easter Simnel cake made with yeasty dough, with marzipan layer inside and marzipan topping. This is Simnel cake made with yeast dough – it appears that the Victorian version was baked thus, unlike the modern variety which, basically, is just like the Christmas cake sans so much booze and fruit.
Skinny homemade ice cream, low calorie, full taste. I made several varieties; the fruit powder works well and you can buy it from specialist and online suppliers.
Slow roasted shoulder of lamb - how slow dare I cook it? I got this lamb shoulder and I was very tempted to cook it at gas mark 1 (140C/275F). But had a vision of getting on to 7 in the evening, lamb still not done...
Baked pears with blue cheese, a great starter, dessert or a side dish. These roasted pears are spiced with cinnamon and topped with Gorgonzola.
Fiery bacon, spiced but still cool cucumber and mild new potatoes in a warm salad. The bacon and cucumber salad on its own will make a great spicy snack or starter - I’ve thrown new potatoes in to a/ dampen the fire a bit and b/ make it into a main course.
Oriental style stir-fried asparagus with chilies, ginger and garlic, seasoned with sesame oil. Asparagus works well but you might like to apply this treatment to broccoli - God knows it’s bland enough to use some heat.
Chocolate cake with dark chocolate topping and spider web white chocolate drizzle. The cake is so easy to make it’s embarrassing – but excellent for the kids to be engaged.
Oven baked spinach and mozzarella balls, a fantastic side or appetizer. It’s the signature dish of my favourite chef and he often makes them for a starter. His are fancier and frequently involve bacon which is never a bad thing. I
Spring cabbage salad - cabbage appears to contain more vitamin C than oranges. It’s also rich in vitamin K and anti-oxidants. Eat more cabbage! Only the name is so off-putting… But I have a solution: Sauerkraut. Kimchi. Surkål. Choucroute. Tsukemono.
Steak and ale pie with flaky homemade shortcrust pastry. Supremely flavourful, hitting all the right spots with the salty, the meaty and the earthy from the mushrooms
Steamed globe artichokes served with sriracha mayo. What you do with the chokes couldn’t be simpler: steam or boil them and dish them out with some spicy dips. It’s messy – finger job no doubt, and since the heads stay on the communal plate.
Steamed salmon in a parcel is truly delicious – I had it warm, almost straight from the steamer (bar shooting a few pictures) but it tasted even better the next day, provided you bring it up to room temperature.
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