Monthly Archives: May 2010

Dinner menu w/c 31st of May


Plaice fillets with tapenade, spinach + tomatoes, served with Anya potatoes


Greek style chicken fillets with a zesty Feta topping, served with courgettes +  rice


Polenta + Parmesan cakes, roast cherry tomatoes and fresh wild garlic pesto


Baked trout on roast potatoes, horseradish-walnut creme fraiche, beetroot salad


Moroccan lamb tagine with chickpeas + prunes, served with couscous

Lemon & almond cake

Lemon & almond cake

Deliciously easy!   

This cake contains eggs + yoghurt, but no butter. The semolina and ground almonds give the cake a really pleasing texture.   

Perfect with a cup of tea (Lady Grey) … or could serve as a pudding with creme fraiche perked up with some lemon zest and a drop of Limoncello.   

Lemon & almond cake


This is what you need:   

200g granulated sugar   

3 large free range eggs   

50ml rapeseed oil (or sunflower oil)   

200g natural bio yoghurt   

150g semolina   

50g grounds almonds   

150g plain flour   

1 tsp baking powder   

finely grated zest of 1 1/2 lemons   

handful of toasted, flaked almonds (toast in dry, hot frying pan for a couple of minutes – watch out: they’ll burn quickly!)   

This is what you do:   

1. pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas 4   

2. lightly oil a rectangular brownie (or other cake) tin, c25 x 15cm, and line with greaseproof paper  

3. in a large bowl mix the eggs, oil, sugar, yoghurt, semolina and ground almonds  

4. add the lemon zest   

5. sift in the flour + baking powder and gently mix with a spatula   

6. pour the mixture into the tin and level the surface   

7. sprinkle evenly with the flaked almonds   

8. bake for c25 minutes or until risen, golden and the top feels firm   

9. let the cake cool before cutting into 12 squares   

Do send me your comments (and a picture of you tucking into the finished article…) if you are going to bake this cake!   

Happy baking!   


Dinner menu w/c 24th of May


Jerk chicken skewers, served with courgettes + rice


Butternut squash, tomato & spinach curry, wholegrain basmati rice and toasted almonds


Chermoula baked salmon fillets, sweet pepper, lemon + mint couscous with roast asparagus


Smoked haddock gratin with wilted spianch + new potatoes


Veal, sage + lemon cannelloni, chunky tomato sauce, watercress + Parmesan salad

Dinner menu w/c 17th of May


Salmon fillets baked on leeks, new potatoes with parsley-anchovy vinaigrette


Moroccan spiced chicken with carrots, chickpeas and couscous


Griddled lamb leg steaks, roast vegetable quinoa, minted yoghurt


Coriander sesame noodles with tea-marinated tofu, shitake mushrooms and mangetout


Mildly spiced baked turkey with basmati rice, tenderstem broccoli and preserved lemon yoghurt

Asparagus: everyone’s favourite glut!

The season (almost) everyone looks forward to.   

I must admit, I sometimes eat Spanish or Chilean asparagus whilst I wait for the English asparagus to arrive in May, but when they are available we eat nothing but the home grown variety.   

Last week, I received a kg of asparagus last week, freshly cut that morning. You could tell they were spanking fresh: they smelled of nothing but asparagus, the buds were tight and the spears snapped easily and juicily in two.   

Asparagus contains asparagines, a phytochemical that acts as a diuretic., which may explain why the ancient Greeks used asparagus to treat kidney problems.    

And also why your urine has a strong smell directly after eating asparagus.   

Anyway, here follows a description of what I did.   

Asparagus ready to go into the oven


 Roast asparagus with lemon    

1kg of asparagus   

finely grated zest of 1 lemon   

2 tbsp of olive oil   

freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkling of seasalt   

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced   

Whilst you are getting on with the prep, pre-heat the oven to 180C.   

Spread the washed + dried asparagus out on a baking tray, making sure they form a single layer. You want the spears to brown lightly and if they are piled on top of eachother they’ll end up cooking but not browning.   

Drizzle over the olive oil, sprinkle with lemon zest, pepper + salt and divide the sliced garlic cloves.   

Bake for 25 minutes or until just cooked and with nice brown edges.   

Eat as they are, lukewarm, or with some shaved Parmesan, Pecorino or goats cheese.   

Leftovers.... great!


We ate the remaining asparagus the next day.   

Linguine with aspargus & cream (serves 2)   

Chop the asparagus roughly and mix through just cooked linguine (I allow 100g dried pasta per person) with the juice of a lemon, 2 tbsp of low-fat creme fraiche, a generous sprinkle of chopped chives and freshly grated Parmesan.  

Add some of the reserved cooking water from the pasta if the mixture is too dry + serve straight away on warmed plates.  

I could eat this every day…   



Dinner menu week commencing 10th of May

Dinner made easy and more delicious…meal planning, shopping and chopping are taken care of.

All dishes are ready-to-cook: enjoy 15 minutes of cooking and then sit down to a great tasting, freshly prepared meal – every day of the week!


Lime & mint fish fillets with cucumber basmati rice, sesame seeds and edamame beans


Baked buttermilk chicken with a herb crust (healthy “chicken nuggets” by another name), creamy honey & mustard sauce, green beans and Anya potatoes


Oven-baked chestnut mushroom and asparagus risotto, poached duck egg & Parmesan


Roast salmon fillet, herby Puy lentils, wilted spinach and yoghurt dressing


Veal, sage & lemon cannelloni with a chunky tomato sauce, watercress salad

Slow-roasted lamb with olives

One for the weekend … whilst we wait for the weather to warm up sufficiently to get the BBQ out.

A boneless shoulder of lamb is ideal for roasting very slowly at low temperature: it becomes really tender and is very easy to carve.

Don’t expect neat slices: this roast looks quite “rustic” with the filling spilling/falling out.

But I think that adds to its appeal!

slow-roasted lamb with olives

I served the lamb with plain, boiled rice and a delicious green bean, spinach & shallot salad inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s new vegetarian cook book “Plenty”.

Serves 6, depending on appetite and side dishes…

This is what you need:

1 boned shoulder of lamb, c1.5kg

2 tbsp anchovy paste

1 jar of pimento stuffed green olives, drained weight 170g (but slightly less if fine), roughly chopped

4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground coriander

handful of raisins

small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

2 tbsp of clear honey

juice + zest of 1 lemon

pepper + salt

This is what you need

This is what you do:

1. pre-heat the oven to 220C

2. place the lamb joint on a board, fat side down, and pat fry with a paper towel

Boned shoulder of lamb, spread with anchovy paste + seasoning

3. season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper + ground coriander + cumin

4. spread with the anchovy paste

5. scatter with the olives, garlic, raisins and coriander

Ready to roll....

6. roll up the meat and secure with string at 3cm intervals (or re-use the elastic if you buy a ready-rolled joint)

don't worry about some of the filling falling out

7. place in a roasting tin, joint side down, and season

ready to roast!

8. roast for 30 mins

9. reduce temperatur to 150C and roast for 2 1/2 hours

10. mix the honey with lemon juice

11. drain fat from the tin if there is any

12. brush the meat with the honey glaze and sprinkle with finely grated lemon zest

13. roast for a further 30 mins

14. remove from the oven, cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving


tuck in - don't be shy!

Bon appetit!