Smoked trout’s delicate flavour and soft texture combines beautifully with crisp fennel and apple in this winter salad. We like it with rye bread as a main course but it works equally well as a starter and it’s elegant enough to serve to guests. Continue reading
Galette des Rois, King Cake, Twelfth Cake … there are different names and different recipes for this always irresistible concoction depending on the country of origin. Some are like brioche, some are a fruit cake but this is a French version, with buttery puff pastry enclosing a frangipane filling. Continue reading
Celeriac and smoked haddock blend beautifully in this velvety soup, which can be eaten as a main course or a starter. It’s luxurious but not too heavy. Perfect, I would suggest, for Christmas Eve.
I’m a big fan of celeriac. This knobbly root looks so unprepossessing but its celery-like flavour is surprisingly delicate. The pearly flesh and subtle taste of undyed smoked haddock works so well with it. The soup, inspired by one from Matt Tebbut, doesn’t need anything more than some good bread on the side.
You can pre-make the soup and cook the fish and then warm them through when you want to eat – please see the recipe for details. You’ll need the oven pre-heated to a low setting to finish the dish.
Happy Christmas to you all and thanks for your support and comments over the past 12 months. See you in the New Year!
Celeriac and Smoked Haddock Soup
2 fillets of undyed smoked haddock
500ml milk, whole or semi-skimmed + extra milk/water
Celeriac, approx 700g
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 bay leaves
8-10 black peppercorns
Salt and pepper
250ml double cream
2 or 3 tbsp finely chopped or snipped chives
Put the fish in a wide lidded pan, add a bay leaf and the peppercorns and clamp on a lid. Bring to a boil on a moderate heat then remove from the stove and leave to sit, still covered, while you prep the veg.
Peel and chop the onions. Peel the celeriac and cut into 1.5cm dice. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan and add the onion, sprinkled with a little salt, and the second bay leaf. Cook gently for 8-10 minutes until the onion is softened but still uncoloured. Add the celeriac, stir well, and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
Remove the fish from its pan with a large spatula and put on a plate. Strain the milk into a jug and add enough water (or water plus extra milk) to bring the volume to 1 litre. Pour this into the celeriac pan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until you can squash the celeriac against the side of the pan.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the fish and check for any bones. Break into large flakes. Ten or 15 minutes before you want to eat, put the fish in a heatproof bowl and cover it with foil. Warm in a low oven (about 140C/120 fan, 275F/Gas Mark 1) along with your bread, also wrapped if necessary..
When the celeriac is done, remove the bay leaf and blend the soup until velvety smooth. Add the cream and chives. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick for your taste, thin with a little extra milk.
Ladle the soup into bowls and pile big flakes of the smoked haddock in the middle. Eat straight away, with the warmed bread.
It’s rice pudding, Jim, but not as we know it. This is a version of the Spanish arroz con leche and it’s delicately spiced with lemon zest and cinnamon. You can eat it warm or lightly chilled. Continue reading
“Better than mince pies,” said my husband, devouring two in quick succession. These mincemeat swirls, or pinwheels, are the lazy girl’s answer to Christmas catering. With a bigger than average ratio of filling to pastry, they require less than an hour of your time and only three ingredients. Continue reading
Who doesn’t like a slab of pie, with chunks of beef in a rich, dark gravy? This steak and onion slice is designed to give you maximum flaky pastry pleasure while not compromising on the flavourful filling. Eat it hot or cold, cut into succulent squares. You won’t even need a pie dish. Continue reading
This is a chunky, nourishing, main course soup, a sort of East Anglian borscht with oxtail and pearl barley. Beef, beets and barley – it’s a real winter rib-sticker and packed with fabulous flavour. Continue reading
It’s autumn, it’s chilly and my thoughts are turning less towards mellow fruitfulness than to spuds. They’re possibly the ultimate British comfort food and come in many incarnations. Buttery soft mash, roasties, chips, jacket potatoes with soft innards and crisp, salty skins, potato pancakes. And as we’re a multi-cultural nation, potato gnocchi, home fries, hash browns, or spiced up South Asian style. Continue reading
I’ve had to hide this in a cupboard because I can’t stop eating it. This spelt and honey tear and share bread is incredibly moreish and a good accompaniment to lots of different autumn meals. Eat it for breakfast or tea, split and spread with butter and honey; dunk it in a bowl of spicy pumpkin soup; or devour it with a good cheese. Continue reading
I have warped a blameless biscuit into a Hallowe’en horror. With apologies to Edvard Munch (apt name) and to Germans, Austrians and Swiss everywhere, I present … my Screaming Skull Cookies. Continue reading