Chicken with Herbs and Grapes

It’s an odd time of the year here, nearly-but-not-quite-spring. The daffs are opening in the garden and the sun has been making some cautious appearances, but it’s still a bit chilly and misty out there.

I’m not ready to fully embrace salads, even ones with hot bacon, but I want lighter, fresher food. This recipe was inspired by my sister-in-law Sarah, who was reminiscing about an Iranian dish she once ate, sharp with sour grapes and fragrant with herbs. Continue reading

Allowes – A Tudor Meat Pie

I blame Hollywood. The popular image of medieval and Tudor food is all fat, gouty nobles with meat grease dripping off their chins, waving haunches of venison which of course would be stiff with spices because they didn’t have fridges and the meat was off. In between gargantuan flesh fests they would oppress peasants and maybe ravish a maiden or two before getting their comeuppance from a hero of gentle birth who lived in a treehouse. Continue reading

Red Mullet with Clams and Chorizo

Seafood, to my mind, is the original fast food. It cooks in minutes and given the number of species fished off our coast, there’s something for all tastes: delicate and flaky, dense and meaty, rich and oily. One of my favourites is red mullet, a fish I normally associate with warmer climes but which can be caught off our southern coast.

It’s a white fish but it will stand up to punchy flavours. I’ve cooked it here with rosemary, chorizo and clams and the resulting brothy sauce was so good we slurped it from our bowls. With spoons, we’re not heathens. Continue reading

Monkfish with Seville Dressing

I’m lucky when it comes to seafood. Spencer of Spen’s Fish will deliver to my door and my friend Mike Warner of A Passion For Seafood does pop-up sales at a local farm shop every Friday. I’m spoilt for choice, which is fortunate because I went through a lot of fish this week testing what is actually a very simple dish.

It is monkfish with a dressing based on Sicily’s salmoriglia, but using Seville orange juice instead of lemon. Sevilles are such a seasonal treat it seems silly not to. It’s essentially a punchy vinaigrette which acts here as both marinade, glaze and sauce.

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Pork Fillet with White Pudding

If you’re casting about for a special occasion meal to make, perhaps for Valentine’s Day, you might like to give this a try. Most of the prep can be done the day before, allowing you to spend more time necking champagne – or just necking. Continue reading

The Winter Garden

King Henry I is said to have died from a surfeit of lampreys. I can’t eel out of the fact that I’m suffering from an overdose of Christmas. Delicious though the mince pies, clotted cream and chocolates were, I’m beginning to look like a galleon in full sail. Continue reading

Pork, Beans and Chorizo

Not perhaps the most obvious recipe to offer for the holiday period but a real belly-warmer. It’s one I like to have handy in the freezer, ideal for those days when you want something comforting and a lot more satisfying than defrosting a supermarket pizza.

This one-pot is one of my autumn/winter standbys, in fact I’ve made it so often I can almost do it blindfold and with one hand tied behind my back. It was a bit of a surprise, therefore, to realise I’ve never really shared it with you properly before. Continue reading

Mushroom and Chestnut Strudel

Crammed with mushrooms, chestnuts and festive cranberries and wrapped in shatteringly crisp filo, this works as the centrepiece for a vegan or vegetarian Christmas dinner. It’s also a useful addition to a bigger spread if you’re trying to cater both for omnivores and those who prefer a plant-based diet. Continue reading

Devilled Crab Pasties

For an island nation we’re curiously uninspired when it comes to buying fish. Apparently the seafood us UK shoppers are most likely to sling into our shopping trolleys is salmon, tuna, cod, haddock and warm water prawns.

Nothing wrong with that, you might say, except that a good deal of it is imported (and in the case of the prawns fairly tasteless) yet we have so much amazing seafood available from our own waters. It’s madness not to take advantage of what’s on our doorstep and with coronavirus impacting our fleets’ exports it’s virtually a moral duty. Continue reading