Saturday, 16 June 2018

Grilled Sea Bass and Greens with a Lemon Caper Salsa

I'm all about quick and easy suppers and, as a result, I've really got into grilling fish and veg all together in a big tray. Not only do you save on the washing up, but the flavours of a dish are allowed to mingle and cook together - heaven!

This particular variation uses the best of this season's greens - grab them while you can! - with tenderstem broccoli, spring onions and green beans. The key to the dish though, is the salsa: only four ingredients but each one plays a vital role. There's zingy lemon, rich olive oil, earthy parsley and vibrant capers - a flavour sensation!

Grilled Sea Bass and Greens with a Lemon Caper Salsa 
Serves 2

4 sea bass fillets 
220g tenderstem broccoli 
200g trimmed green beans 
1 bunch spring onions 
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle 
1 lemon 
Small bunch fresh parsley 
1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed

Heat the grill to high (around 220°C) then drizzle the fish, broccoli, beans and spring onions with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Put the vegetables in a large shallow baking tray (reserve the fish). Grill on high for 4 minutes. 

Meanwhile, for the salsa, trim the skin off half the lemon, slice into thin rounds, then cut the rounds into small wedges, discarding any seeds. Put in a bowl. Finely chop the parsley and mix with the lemon and 3 tbsp olive oil. Roughly chop the capers, then add to the bowl with some salt and pepper and mix well. 

Place the fish on top of the veg, skin side up, then grill for 4-5 minutes more (or longer, depending on the thickness of the fish fillets) until the fish is just cooked and the vegetables are soft and sweet. Squeeze over the remaining lemon and serve with the salsa.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Bunless Turkey Burgers with Curried Slaw and Lime-Buttered Corn

So I have been well and truly indulging over the last few weeks and with summer holidays creeping up incredibly quickly, I decided it was high time to get on the healthy eating bandwagon once more...

These bunless burgers bring all the flavour and fun without the carbs and unhealthy fats - the dream! The burgers themselves are super juicy, nicely spicy and extremely simple to make. The 'slaw is lightly spiced with curry powder - think Coronation chicken vibes - and provides lovely bursts of sweetness from the sultanas. Finally, the corn is little secret weapon of mine (perfect as a side to almost anything!) as it is not only coated with butter but that butter is also infused with refreshing lime zest.

Bunless Turkey Burgers with Curried Slaw and Lime-Butter Corn
Serves 3

500g turkey breast mince
thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 little gem lettuce, leaves separated

For the coleslaw:
100g low-fat natural yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp curry powder
½ small white cabbage, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
handful of sultanas

For the corn:
3 corns on the cob
2 tbsp. softened butter
1 lime, zest only

Put the turkey mince, ginger, garlic, paprika, chilli powder and ground coriander in a bowl, season and mix well. Form into 12 burgers and chill for 20 minutes.

For the coleslaw, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice and curry powder, and season. Mix in the cabbage, onion, carrot and sultanas. Set aside

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large frying pan, rolling the pan to coat well. Add the burgers and fry gently for 5 minutes on each side, until caramelised and cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan over a high heat until smoking. Drizzle the corn with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the corn for a few minutes on each side.

In a small bowl, beat the butter with the lime zest and season well.

To serve, spread the lime butter all over the grilled corn. Lay the lettuce leaves out on a platter, top each one with a turkey burger and serve piled high with the coleslaw.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Grilled Steaks and Warm Courgette Salad with Olives, Goat's Cheese and Honey

Inspired by the flavours of Greece and the gorgeousness of courgettes this time of year, this warm salad is truly one of life's pleasures. Beautiful with steak but also fantastic on its own or with simply grilled white fish.

The secret to this recipe, as with all the best salads, is in the dressing: a touch of vibrant lemon, a hint of earthy oregano, a kick of red chilli, a little sweetness from the honey and a hit of salt from the olives - the perfect symphony! A celebration of early summer, this dish is definitely worth a try...

Grilled Steaks and Warm Courgette Salad with Olives, Goat's Cheese and Honey
Serves 2

2 rump steaks
2 courgettes, sliced or peeled lengthways into strips
2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
120g olives, sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 lemon
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp red wine/sherry vinegar
1 tsp honey
100g goat's cheese, rind removed
Handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

For the dressing, mix the 2 tbsp oil with the olives, chilli, zest and juice of the lemon, oregano, vinegar and honey. Season with lots of salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat a large griddle pan (or a frying pan) over a high heat. Once the pan is smoking, drizzle the steaks with a little oil, rubbing all over and then season on both sides. Cook the steaks for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, then remove from the pan and wrap in tin foil to rest.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan or wok over a medium-high heat and drizzle in a touch of oil. Stir fry the courgette strips from a few minutes until just softened and starting to char. Remove to a large bowl and toss together with the dressing.

Divide the warm salad between two plates and place a steak alongside, crumble over the goat's cheese and scatter over the mint leaves. Extra delicious with a chenin blanc such as vouvray...

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Mediterranean Sea Bass Traybake

This dish is pure summer on a plate. It's everything I love about the Med and it's so easy to make, I can barely call it a recipe.

As with all the best dishes, this requires little effort and little washing up - the ever faithful traybake! I like to serve this dish for two people when I'm looking to cut out the carbs and up the protein but it will easily stretch to four if you serve some couscous or rice on the side. Light, fresh and full of flavour, this dish will have you coming back for more and more!

Mediterranean Sea Bass Traybake
Serves 2-4

1 red onion, finely sliced
2 red peppers, chopped into chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
250g cherry tomatoes on the vine
120g marinated olives
1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
70ml white wine
4 sea bass fillets
1 lemon, juice only
Handful fresh basil, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Toss the red peppers and onion in a roasting tin with the olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, tossing half way through.

Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic and white wine and bake for 10 minutes more. Arrange the sea bass on top, skin side up, season liberally with salt and pepper and bake for 4 minutes. Turn the grill on to high and crisp up the skin for a further 3-4 minutes.

Remove the fillets to serving plates (one each with carbs, two each without) then stir the lemon juice and basil into the tomato mixture. Remove the vines from the tomatoes and then serve alongside the fish. 

Pork Chops with Red Pepper Pesto Beans

As regular readers will know, I'm all about speed and simplicity when it comes to midweek meals and this is one of the best. Beautifully cooked pork chops alongside butterbeans in a rich tomato, pesto and basil sauce.

This recipe uses pesto out of jar because sometimes life's too short but if you'd like to make this dish extra special, go the extra mile and make your own! Pesto aside, the sauce also uses rich tomato passata, fresh basil, vibrant lemon and salty Parmesan cheese for a true flavour sensation. From cupboard to plate in around 15 minutes, you simply have to give this one a go!

Pork Chops with Red Pepper Pesto Beans
Serves 4

1 tsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g passata
2 x 400g tins butter beans, drained
2 tbsp red pepper pesto
4 free-range pork chops
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 lemon, juice only
Parmesan, grated

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes until softening and starting to colour. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. 

Pour in the passata an 200ml water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the beans and the pesto, then bubble away for 10 minutes while you cook the pork.

Season the chops all over with salt and pepper. Place fat side down in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Let the fat render out and then cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. You may need to add a little oil to the pan if they start to stick. 

Season the beans with salt and pepper. Stir through the basil and squeeze over the lemon juice. Divide between four plate and top with the pork chops and some grated parmesan.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Lemon, Lime and Ginger Cheesecake

You can't beat a good cheesecake and this lemon, lime and ginger number is one of the all-time greats!

Fresh and light yet creamy and indulgent, this recipe is addictive in all the right ways. It's ideal for dinner parties as you can make it well in advance and it looks really impressive when you bring it to the table - elegant and inviting. The secret to this recipe is the use of the syrup from a jar of stem ginger and you can use the stem ginger itself in my stuffed pork tenderloin recipe for the main course!

Lemon, Lime and Ginger Cheesecake

For the base:
200g gingernut biscuits 
60g unsalted butter, melted 
Grated zest 1 lime 
Vegetable oil for greasing 

For the filling:
560g full-fat cream cheese 
397g tin condensed milk 
3 tbsp stem ginger syrup (from a jar of stem ginger in syrup)
Zest and juice 2 lemons 
Zest and juice 2 limes
1 sachet Dr Oetker powdered gelatine

In a food processor, whizz the gingernut biscuits to fine crumbs, then add the butter and lime zest. Whizz again until everything is mixed together thoroughly. Lightly oil a 20cm diameter loose-bottomed cake tin, then evenly press all but 2 tbsp of the biscuit crumbs into the base. Chill while you make the filling. 

Put all the filling ingredients except the gelatine in a large mixing bowl, then beat with an electric mixer until very smooth. Put the gelatine in a medium bowl with 100ml cold water. Sit the bowl on a saucepan half filled with hot water from the kettle, then heat gently over a low heat (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the surface of the water). Stir the gelatine until it dissolves, then stir into the filling mixture, ensuring there are no lumps. 

Pour the filling on top of the chilled biscuit base, then cover the tin with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 5 hours to firm up. Remove the cheesecake from the tin, then sprinkle over the reserved biscuits and serve.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Spicy Roast Squash with Fried Egg

The concept of brunch has really taken off here in the UK and, whilst it started as essentially bacon and eggs usually with an avocado on the side, it has evolved into arguably the most innovative meals of the day so when I'm cracking an egg of a weekend I like to do something a little different alongside...

This dish, as with all great dishes, began its life with a fridge and cupboard raid and ended up as a bit of a taste sensation. Sweet, caramelised butternut squash, crunchy cashew nuts, creamy, salty feta and a good amount of spice all brought together in perfect harmony with the yolk of a perfectly fried egg - heaven!

Spicy Roast Squash with Fried Egg
Serves 4

1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
1 tbsp oil, plus extra for frying
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
handful cashew nuts
100g feta cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Put the squash, oil and spices in a large roasting tin and toss to coat. Season well with salt and then roast for 45 minutes. When it has been in for 30 minutes, take the tray out then scatter over the cashew nuts and crumble over the feta cheese then put it back in the oven to finish cooking for the last 15 minutes.

In the meantime, heat a large frying pan over a high heat and drizzle in a good amount of oil. Once smoking hot, crack in the four eggs and immediately reduce the heat to low. Cook the eggs for 3-4 minutes until the white is just set.

Divide the squash between four plates or shallow bowls and top with an egg. Season the yolk with sea salt and black pepper and then serve.