Green beans with pine nuts

Green beans should have a bright, strong colour, with crisp pods with a satin-like sheen. They should not look wilted, discoloured or brown. They are best eaten when young and tender. To More »

Lamb koftas in yogurt with cinnamon and chilli

Lamb koftas are one of the classics of Indian cuisine, well adopted by Westerners around the world. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat—usually beef, chicken, More »

Deep-fried zucchini flowers

Deep-fried zucchini flowers are Italian speciality and it becoming recently much wider popular. The flowers have a subtle flavour, reminiscent of young zucchinis, and can be eaten even raw. The flowers can More »

Croque senor

Croque senor is actually sandwich of Cheddar cheese and ham given a Mexican flavour with salsa of tomatoes, chilli and red pepper. It is a version of the croque-monsieur, that originated in French More »

Courgettes on garlic bread

Courgettes on garlic bread are delicious choice for quick lunch or light dinner, or even a party bite. Easy to make and with ingredients that may be found in any shop, this More »

 

Pommes Anna

Pommes Anna

Pommes Anna is the recipe that needs firm-fleshed potatoes and butter only. Potatoes are peeled and sliced very thin. The slices, salted and peppered, are layered into a pan, generously doused with butter, and baked/fried until they form a cake. Then they are turned upside down every ten minutes until the outside is golden and crispy. At the end of the cooking period, the dish is unmoulded and forms a cake 6 to 8 inches in diameter and about 2 inches high. The dish is generally credited with having been created during the time of Napoleon III by the chef Adolphe Dugléré, a pupil of Carême, when Dugléré was head chef at the Café Anglais, the leading Paris restaurant of the 19th century, where he reputedly named the dish for one of the grandes cocottes of the period. There is disagreement about which beauty the dish was named after: the actress Dame Judic (real name: Anna Damiens), or Anna DesLions. A mandoline works well for cutting the potatoes into thin, uniform slices, but if you don’t have it cut the potatoes carefully with a sharp knife.

Watercress soup

Watercress soup

Watercress soup is smooth and creamy: blended onion, potatoes, watercress, stock and milk, lightly flavoured with a bay leaf. Watercress is a member of the mustard family and has a distinctive peppery flavour that makes them natural bedfellows to strongly flavoured meats such as game. The leaves are most commonly served raw as a garnish to eggs or meat, or as part of a salad with orange segments. Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid. It also appears to have antiangiogenic cancer-suppressing properties. Watercress is available all year round but is at its best from April until September. Watercress is highly perishable, so store it in a perforated bag in the fridge and eat it within a couple of days. Alternatively, treat it like a bunch of flowers and put in a glass of water in the fridge, covering the leaves with a plastic bag – it can last a little longer that way. Watercress soup is delicious served chilled in summer. After puréeing, pour the soup into a large bowl, then cover, cool and chill for at least 3 hours. Taste for seasoning before serving.

Queen of puddings

Queen of puddings

Queen of Puddings is old-fashioned favourite: smooth set creamy custard is flavoured with orange zest, spread with melted jam, and topped with meringue. This is a traditional British dessert, and similar recipes are called Monmouth Pudding and Manchester Pudding. A Monmouth Pudding is said to consist of layers of meringue, jam or seasonal fruit and bread soaked in milk, whilst Manchester Pudding is similar but contains egg yolks (but some have speculated that this name was just a synonym for the Queen of Puddings). As befits such a treat, it is a little more technical than most of the recipes to date, but there is nothing here that requires great skill. It is simply a question of following the steps carefully to produce a brilliantly showy pudding. Queen of Puddings is so worthy of its name, a pudding filled with lovely ingredients and crowned with a layer of soft chewy meringue.

Spaghetti with chicken balls

Spaghetti with chicken balls

Spaghetti with chicken balls is a relatively easy recipe, and it is certainly something that will anyone enjoy. It is quite hearty dish, and it is an ideal lunch or diner, cooked nicely and slowely. Chicken mince is probably not something that you can easy find in shops (though the best supermarkets usually have it), but you can always ask your butcher to mince it for you. Also, you can do it for yourself, at home, using hand meat mincer. It is much lighter and healthier version than beef or pork mince meat. And the chicken balls made of mince meat taste so delicious if you use spices and sauces to dip them in.  This recipes uses spaghetti pasta, but in the same way you can use tagliatelle or penne.

Jointing a bird

Jointing a bird

A bird has a few bits to it, but fortunately all birds have the same bits. Some of the best are inside the bird and most prized is the liver. When buying a bird you will often find a plastic bag inside containing the offal and neck; these are great for making stock. The hen of any bird has the plumpest breasts. The breasts are guarded by the wings and above that you will findthe opening to the neck- remember: the wing end is the neck end; the other end is the cavity. Stuffing goes in the neck end, howeveryou can put flavourings in the cavity. It is much more economicalto buy the whole bird, joint it yourself, and get the most out of it, rather than buying the portions in a foam tray. Learning to joint a chicken is one of the most useful skills a cook can have and is easy with a bit of practice.