Shaved Brussels sprout salad with toasted walnuts and Manchego cheese; the sprouts are raw, the walnuts are toasted and the cheese is mashed into a dressing. Feed it to a sworn Brussels hater and see what happens.
Simnel cake with icing and a marzipan layer inside. Traditional English mothering Sunday Simnel cake, a sponge rich with fruit, it is also often baked for Easter.
Skinny ice cream made with single cream and semi-skimmed milk in three flavours: pomegranate, matcha, coffee and lemon. Half as many calories but full taste.
Slow roasted lamb shoulder with anchovies and truffle oil cooked in low oven for four hours. That’s going to be crispy skin and pull-away meat.
A simple and exquisite starter made with fresh melon and smoked salmon, with a drizzle of balsamic and a sprinkling of fresh mint. Gorgeous! Even if salmon is not home cured.
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.
Spicy, cheesy lentils bake, a superior vegetarian dish put together in 15 minutes. Baked cheesy lentils inspired by NY Times Cooking.
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, coated in breadcrumbs. Healthy baked spinach and cheese balls go well with a steak as a side dish but also delicious as an appetizer.
Spongata di natale, Italian honey and nut Christmas cake is like an oversized mince pie, with shortcrust pastry case and filling of dried or candied fruit, and mixed nuts.
Deep fried sprats can be eaten whole, head, tail and all but it’s very easy to lop the heads off and clean the sprats a bit. An easy, cheap and delicious treat.
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.
Spring lamb chump chops seared in a hot pan and smothered with a pillow of herby crumbs. Light, fresh and delicate in flavour just like the baby lamb.
St Lucia buns, vibrant with saffron and elegantly twisted, are Swedish Christmas time bakes. Lucia Day and Lucia buns go back to the history of Lucia, an early Christian martyr.
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.
Sticky fig upside down cake. The figs get sticky and melt into the almond layer; and if they don’t look quite as appealing as I was hoping – well, the proof of the pudding and all that.
Sticky toffee pudding - date cake with delicious toffee sauce, best served warm. Let’s face it: it’s a date cake. Easy to make, nice and slightly gooey, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with baking it, leaving it dry and eating a slice or two cold.
Stollen bites, mini treat versions of the German fruited Christmas log. I make them with pistachio marzipan and apple marmalade and they are completely irresistible.
Light Victoria sponge cake filled with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Airy sponge, almost-melted zesty strawberries, a pillow of cream…
Strawberry cake - or use the mix with any soft seasonal fruit. Very easy, melt-in-your-mouth cake. Once I got so pissed off with l’homme de ma vie that I ate six pieces at one go to make me feel better. It did. The bathroom scales the next morning didn’t though. The basic recipe is pretty much a simple pound cake...
Strawberry crumble cake, the easiest cake batter in the world thickly covered with fresh strawberries and finished with crunchy crumble topping. The only summer cake recipe you'll ever need.
Strawberry fizz cocktail with prosecco and grenadine. Let’s try this at home – I didn’t have any cassis or Chambord; I didn’t want to waste champagne on unknown quality and I wanted fruit in. It’s not exactly a sunrise but it’s rather excellent – and very summery.
Homemade strawberry jam with a twist of lemon and a sprinkle of black pepper enhancing the strawberry flavour. Jamming is preserving fruit in sugar. Jam is fruit cooked in sugar. There isn’t anything fresh, low-calorie or low-carb about jam, let alone keto or other paleo-nonsense.
Italian style homemade ice cream without eggs with pureed fresh strawberry swirl. It’s not always all about raspberry ripple, you know.
Strawberry yoghurt cake with fresh strawberry icing, baked in a Bundt tin. It’s tender and buttery like the best pound cake, with fragrant fresh strawberries giving it a pink tinge.
Boned and rolled guinea fowl with pork and dried fruit stuffing. Poultry, game birds and pork love sweet, fruity and spicy company. Ham cooked in Coca-Cola, chicken in chocolate sauce, duck with prunes or a l’orange to name just a few classics.
Boneless turkey breast fillet butterflied, stuffed and rolled up to a perfect roast joint for Christmas. Did I say how easy it is to carve?
Summer berry ice cream, the easiest no eggs recipe for homemade ice cream. Yes, I know – proper ice cream involves custard. Contrary to what The Weather Man believes*, there are eggs in the best Italian gelati. You temper eggs, make custard and watch so it doesn’t come to the boil – fuss and bother.
Summer cherry cake with a hint of cinnamon and minimal effort involved. This cake mix is pathetically simple – it takes 5 minutes to prepare and always comes out well.
Toasted crunchy oats with summer fruit compote, perfect for breakfast. I call it ‘fruit compote’ but it most probably is a completely wrong term technically.
Homemade Christmas dinner oven ready, the best Christmas food gift for someone on their own or an unexperienced cook. The perfect roast and trimmings made ahead and ready to slip into oven, complete with simple instructions.
Tomato tarte tatin with caramelised plum tomatoes and shortcrust thyme pastry. Cut corners by all means and use puff pastry. But it’s so much more rewarding when it’s a proper tart: slicing into shortcrust base rather than the squishy puff which goes soggy much too soon is worth the effort of producing the pastry.
Tartiflette, the best potato and cheese dish ever invented; with bacon lardons and Reblochon cheese. Tartiflette is the definitive comfort food. Potatoes, bacon and cheese – you can’t go wrong with that. It’s a simple dish and like any recipe coming from the highlands of any country, it looks in the pantry, finds stale bits and bobs and puts them together for dinner both nutritious and satisfying.
Tomato and fig salad with blue cheese and balsamic dressing. This is a particularly well-matched couple: tomatoes and figs. The blue cheese adds a salty touch – otherwise it would be too much of a Mills & Boone book cover.
Tomato butter: a creamy spread with incredible flavour, super easy to make. It’s not really butter in terms of texture but it’s a miracle product. I lifted the recipe from Matt Tebbutt, didn’t like the skins floating about so I passed the lot through my newly purchased food sieve – I pass anything I can since I bought it - and that turned out to be the thing to do.
Tomato crostata with honey and thyme flavour on flaky pastry made from scratch, with a sneaky cheese addition. Crostata or galette is a sweet or savoury open, rustic pie.
Tomato nun, la religieuse de tomate, is an exquisite appetiser of cold, uncooked tomato stuffed with pesto-flavoured burrata cheese.
Very easy, basic tomato sauce made from fresh tomatoes. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the garlic, only to warm it up. Add the chopped tomatoes (or the contents of a tin), season generously...
Traditional panettone made on sourdough starter known as lievito madre or pasta madre in Italian. Step-by-step recipe for classic panettone with gorgeous sugar glaze.
Traditionally Simnel cake was a rich yeast cake, with marzipan layer inside and marzipan topping. This adapted Victorian recipe is made with yeast dough nad homemade marzipan.
Turkey breast fillet steaks with wild chanterelle mushroom creamy sauce, this is an easy-but-impressive dish. Cook these simple turkey escalopes with wild mushroom sauce for the next special occasion!
Twice baked cake with filling of lightly roasted fresh apricots – an ingenious idea of a sponge pie, cake with baked-in filling, all-baked layer cake. And it’s as easy as it is delightful.
Twice roasted beetroots with figs and pomegranate seeds. Crimson central – this is a dish of red, red and more red, suitable for the season of flaming gold on tree branches and misty mornings.
Upside-down cherry cake with fresh cherries and buttery sponge, baked in a tart or flan case. That way the ratio of fruit to batter is more balanced!
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