Category Archives: Starters

Easy, Peasy, Lemon Squeezy Recipes!


Someone who shall remind nameless complained that my recipes were far to complicated for him and he wanted a dish in less than five ingredients! So as I like a challange I have some delicious yet easy recipes for the… unskilled cook! Hope it helps! (First a nice starter, or (main course if you eat more than one bowl) then a couple of main courses and some very yummy desserts!)

Potato and Thyme Soup

A Delicious and Filling Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • olive oil, for frying and drizzling
  • 600 g potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • 1.2 litres chicken stock

Method

1. In a large saucepan, fry the onion in the butter and olive oil until softened but not browned.

2. Add the potatoes and most of the thyme and cook until the potatoes turn translucent. Season well with salt and pepper.

3. Cover with the chicken stock and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

4. Let the soup cool slightly before puréeing it with a hand-blender – leave a few lumps if you prefer a rustic-style soup.

5. Reheat if necessary then serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining thyme leaves scattered on top.

Chicken with Lemon, Honey and Rosemary

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces, or 8 chicken pieces (8 chicken pieces (breasts, legs or thighs)
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp honey, warmed
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, or 6 sprigs of thyme

Chicken!

For the salad

  • 150 g goats’ cheese
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 01 lemon, juice only
  • 6-8 tbsp olive oil

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4.

2. Place the chicken pieces in a large baking dish, skin side up (they can be skinned if you prefer but the chicken will be more moist with the skin on). In a small bowl mix the juice of the lemons with the warm honey, then pour this over the chicken pieces. Place the empty lemon halves in the dish between the chicken pieces for extra flavour, along with the sprigs of rosemary or thyme. Season with sea salt and pepper.

3. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the skin is golden. Remove from the oven and discard the lemon halves.

4. Pour the juices from the dish into a saucepan and boil, uncovered, for about 5 minutes until the juices have thickened slightly. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

5. Add the salad ingredients to a bowl, combine the lemon juice and olive oil and season well. Pour over the salad just before serving.

6. Serve the chicken and sauce with the salad.

10 Minute Salmon with Spring Onion Sauce

If you like fish…

Ingredients

  • 450 g wild salmon fillet
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 570 ml water
  • 6 tbsp coursley chopped spring onions
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp low salt soy sauce

Method

1. Rub the salmon fillets with the pepper.

2. Bring the water to the simmer in the wok. Add the salmon, simmer for 2-3 minutes, cover tightly and turn off the heat. Allow to stand for 4 minutes.

3. Combine the spring onions and ginger together in a small bowl.

4. In a small wok or pan combine the sunflower and sesame oils and bring it to the smoking point.

5. Remove the salmon from the water and arrange on a platter. Scatter the spring onion and ginger mixture on top and pour the hot oils over it. Then pour the soy sauce over the salmon and serve at once.

Chocolate, coffee and cardamom mousse

Chocolate…

Ingredients

  • 130 g dark chocolate, plus extra for grating
  • 85 ml coldstrong black coffee, (espresso is great)
  • 2 cardamom pods, husks discarded and seeds lightly crushed
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • crème fraîche, and grated chocolate, to serve

Method

1. Place 4 x 120ml ramekins or serving glasses in the fridge; this will help the mousses to set quickly.

2. Break the chocolate into chunks, then put in a large heatproof bowl with the coffee and cardamom seeds. Set over a pan of simmering water for about 3 minutes until the chocolate has melted, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and making sure that the bowl is not touching the hot water. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

3. Once the chocolate has cooled for a few minutes, beat in the egg yolks one at a time, using a wooden spoon. Place the egg whites in a separate bowl and, using a balloon whisk or an electric beater, whisk to soft peaks. Tip the sugar into the stiff whites and continue to whisk until the mixture is glossy and meringue-like.

4. Stir a spoonful of the whites into the melted chocolate – this helps to loosen the mixture – then carefully and lightly fold in the rest of the meringue. Spoon the mixture into the chilled ramekins or glasses and chill for at least 40 minutes (or up to 2 hours if time allows). Serve on plates with a good dollop of crème fraîche topped with a little grated chocolate, if liked.

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Filed under Desserts, Food & Cooking, Main Courses, Starters

The Perfect Three Course Meal (Well at Least ONE of them!)


Here is a perfectly balanced and tasty meal that I though I would share with you all! Enjoy!

Fig and orange salad with melting shropshire blue

Starter

Ingredients

  • 3 oranges
  • 4 fresh figs
  • 150 g toasted walnuts
  • 150 g red cabbage, shredded finely
  • 175 g rocket

For the dressing

  • 150 g Shropshire Blue cheese
  • 200 ml crème fraîche

Method

1. Slice the top and bottom off each orange and peel down the sides with a sharp knife. Cut between each membrane to remove the orange segments. Put into a bowl with any juices.

2. Wipe and quarter the figs and add to the orange segments with the toasted pecans, shredded red cabbage and rocket leaves. Toss together well and divide between 4 serving plates.

3. For the dressing: crumble the Shropshire Blue into a small heavy-based pan and cook, stirring, over a gentle heat until cheese melts. Whisk in the crème fraîche and heat gently (don’t allow mixture to bubble) until you have a smooth creamy dressing.

4. Drizzle over each plate of salad and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Duck breasts with broccoli and peperoncino

Main Course

Ingredients

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 4 duck breast
  • olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ small fresh red chillies, seeds removed, thickly sliced
  • 200 ml white wine
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • black pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 9.

2. Prepare the broccoli by peeling the central stalk and dividing the whole into florets – make sure you keep the stalks attached and keep them long.

3. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the broccoli and blanch for a couple of minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

4. Cut the duck breasts into three, and score the skin with a sharp knife. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Preheat a large frying pan, add ½ tablespoon of oil and sear the duck breasts skin-side down over medium-high heat. When the skin is brown, turn and sear the other side. Reserve the pan juices.

6. Place the duck in a small roasting pan and roast for 7 minutes if you like your duck rare, or 10 minutes for well done. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest in a warm place.

7. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in another frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a minute until the garlic is just coloured. Toss the broccoli florets in the pan and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

8. To make a sauce for the duck, warm the reserved duck juices over medium heat. Add the white wine and simmer until reduced.

9. Add a little olive oil – this will make the sauce separate slightly – then add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and let it warm through gently.

10. Serve the duck with the broccoli and drizzle with the sauce.

Blackberry and apple crumble

Dessert

Ingredients

  • 4 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into big chunks
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 225 g fresh or frozen blackberries, or mixed berries

For the crumble:

  • 170 g plain flour
  • 75 g butter
  • 75 g demerara sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

Put the apple chunks, water and sugar into a saucepan over a lowish heat and cook until the apples are soft and mushy; this should take about 10 minutes. While cooking, stir it every minute or so to prevent sticking. Taste and add more sugar if it needs it.

Transfer the apple pulp into individual bowls or one big pie dish and allow to cool slightly. Stir the berries into the apples.

To make the crumble, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles very coarse breadcrumbs. However, if you rub it too much the crumble will not be crunchy. Combine with the sugar. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the slightly cooled apple and bake for 15 mins for small crumbles or 30-45 mins for larger crumbles. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Filed under Desserts, Food & Cooking, Love, Main Courses, Starters