Easy Smoked Mackerel Pâté

Image of newly sealed pots of pateThis is an absolute gift in the run-up to Christmas (see what I did there?) because it can be whizzed it up in advance, wrapped and frozen. Then hey presto, you can magic up a quick starter or light lunch when you’re busy doing other things.  Continue reading

Courgette Antipasto

This is quite the most brilliant way to use up a courgette glut I’ve discovered so far this year. Those of you who don’t have gardens, butter up your local allotmenteers (they’ll be delighted to offload some) or just buy half a dozen from your greengrocer. It’s really worth the effort to have a jar of these in the fridge. Continue reading

Tomato and Tapenade Tartlets

I first had a version of these tartlets at Brasserie Julien in Paris, with its ravishing Belle Epoque painted ladies (on the walls, not at the tables), giant mirrors and stained glass ceiling panels. It’s hard to focus on the food when you’re gawping at the decor, but these stuck in my mind for 20 years. Continue reading

Baby Beet Salad

I’m a recent convert to beetroot. I’d always hated them after being force-fed pickled beets at infants’ school, but a recipe in Olia Hercules lovely book Kaukasis taught me that they are a root to be savoured, not spat out (sorry, I was only four and a half). Continue reading

Bruschetta with Peppers and Smoked Anchovies

These tangy, spicy little snacks are just the job for a quick lunch or as part of a tapas spread and they transport you from the depths of an English winter to summer in Spain. I make the red pepper sauce so often, here and in Catalunya, that it’s become known in the family as Salsa Linda. Continue reading

Irish Times

Image of view from kitchen sink

This has been my kitchen sink for the past 10 days. The view actually belongs to an old friend, Andy, a man with a sense of humour I have always treasured. When I once got the push from a job, he gave me a clock as a leaving present. Inscribed on the back was ‘tempus fuckit’.  Continue reading

Crab Beignets

Image of crab and lobster pots

There’s something about a Cromer crab that transports me straight back to childhood holidays, flying kites on the Norfolk cliff tops, running up and down the wooden steps to the beach and especially eating freshly cooked seafood. The crabs are in season now and though they’re perfect simply dressed and served with a salad, or tossed though pasta with a little lemon zest and chilli, this recipe is a bit special. Continue reading