A Korean restaurant recently opened near us. It is tiny, and hardly has any customers, but we just love this sharing starter. I haven’t quite captured the taste and texture of the real thing, but this is pretty lovely. We tend to have it on a Saturday evening, whilst playing Frustration with the children.

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Ingredients:

Pancake

  • 75g flour (I am playing around with a combination of plain flour and rice flour)
  • 1 tsp Swiss bouillon powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml cold water
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 100g prawns, chopped
  • sometimes I also add peas/asparagus/bok choi
  • oil for cooking

Dipping sauce

  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • some toasted sesame seeds

You need a good, non stick frying pan for this.

Make up the batter and add the prawns and veg.

Heat the oil in the pan and add the batter. Cook up the pancake, turn half-way through.

Whilst the pancake is cooking mix up the dipping sauce.

When the pancake is cooked, chop into squares.

Share.

Make another one because the first one has gone too quickly…

 

 

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This is a meal that I tend to do when I’m home alone. Its a no-fuss, let’s see what we have kind of meal. And I’m the only one that likes tinned tomatoes.

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You can play around with any of the ingredients, so long as you have fish, veg, and tinned tomatoes.

Here’s the basics:

  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 leek
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 cans of tomatoes
  • 2 frozen fish fillets – I tend to go for basa or haddock. You can add fresh salmon towards the end of cooking time.
  • chopped anchovies
  • capers
  • olives
  • chilli flakes
  • king prawns or clams (in their shells)
  • green beans
  • frozen peas
  • chopped asparagus
  • sliced ginger
  • sliced kale
  • some basil leaves
  • parsley

You can be very flexible with the ingredients. I gently fry the onion and garlic, then add the tinned tomatoes.

I put the fish in frozen – it takes bout 20 minutes to cook though.

Then I add frozen peas, capers and olives

Add the veg and prawns, with a mind to cooking times, and finally the basil – or parsley

If I have rice or pasta cooked, that’s fine. Otherwise it is lovely in a bowl, eaten with a spoon, in front of the TV.

 

Here’s another one-tray fish dish. Sorry for being so complicated:

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Ingredients:

  • 4 spring onions (sliced)
  • 5-7 (or more) asparagus spears (sliced)
  • fresh ginger
  • 2 boc choi (sliced)
  • some tiny tomatoes (halved)
  • 2 salmon steaks
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • 2 tsp mirin

Cook for 25 minutes.

I’m going to have this with a little brown rice.

 

 

 

 

 

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People kept asking us to bring leftovers to our post-Christmas parties. To be honest, by New Years Eve we had long run out, so I chose to make and bring along this tried and tested vegetarian favourite by Yotam Ottolenghi. It is really remarkably easy, but tastes delicious and looks fabulous. It was put together and baked in less than half an hour and I carried it over the road to our party as soon as our oven timer went beep.

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 1 block puff pastry, with milk or egg to glaze the edges

For the tomato paste:

  • 10 sun-dried tomatoes (I used sun-dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes
  • a sprinkling of dried oregano

For the topping:

  • 100/150g goats’ cheese, crumbled/daubed evenly over the base
  • 450g red, yellow, purple or green tomatoes of various sizes, sliced 2mm thick
  • some stalks and picked leaves of fresh thyme
  • a drizzle of olive oil

Set the oven to 200C. Line an oven tray with baking parchment.

Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface, then transfer onto the baking tray.

Score the edges of the tart with a sharp knife (to about an inch from the edge). Glaze the scored part of the pastry with milk or beaten egg.

Put the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, chilli and oregano into a small bowl and whizz together to make a paste. If necessary add a little water.

Spread the paste on the pastry base, avoiding the scored edges.

Add the goats’ cheese.

Then cover the tomato paste/cheese with slightly overlapping layers of tomato, again avoiding the scored edges.

Drizzle some olive oil and add the thyme.

Bake for 15-20 minutes ensuring the base is cooked and the top not burnt.

Enjoy at a (warm) room temperature.

 

 

 

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My version of the classic.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 leek, sliced 
  • 1/2 fennel, sliced 
  • two rainbow trout – gutted, cleaned, but heads, bones and tails intact
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, either halved or left whole
  • 1/2 lemon, cut lengthways into chunks
  • a handful of flaked almonds

Set the oven to 200c

Scatter the leeks and fennel on the base of a baking tray. Make three slashes in each fish and lay them on top of the vegetables. Wedge the lemon and garlic between the fish.

You could add a splash of olive oil and/or some white wine. On this occasion I didn’t.

Bake for 25 minutes.

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Poor Beth’s been off school with chicken pox, so we made these together as a spotty treat to keep her entertained.

I made these to take along to the Green Man Festival. You always need some little treats when you are camping, especially when the forecast is for four days of solid rain. Luckily we had some serious sunshine between the serious downpours and I only had to queue for the toilets in a thunderstorm once. Anyway, these were lovely, and comforting and luxurious, and, like the weather, seriously moist.

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It takes a bit of confidence to bake a brownie. First of all there are just so many recipes out there to choose from. I have put this one together with a lot of agonising, testing and re-testing.

The perfect brownie requires the perfect length of cooking time to ensure it is moist, but not sloppy.  You want the finished brownie to be damp in the middle, but not undercooked. Also you need two different types of chocolate to ensure the right amount of gooiness. I don’t understand the science of this, but it has something to do with the way the fat content of the chocolate makes it behave differently during the cooking process.

Undercooking is better than overcooking. When you take your brownies out of the oven and shake the tray slightly, you want them to wobble rather than slop. Give the top of your tray-bake a little tap – it should sound just right  (unfortunately it takes practice and experience to know what this sound is, but my best guess is ‘phftut’).  I know this is a little vague, but the recipe that follows worked for me, and my oven.

Ingredients:

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 300g dark chocolate – I used 200g of chocolate with 70% cocoa solids and 100g with 35% cocoa solids
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 150g tinned cherries, roughly chopped into quarters and coated in a little of the cooking flour
  • You could also add a splash of cherry liqueur.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Grease and line a baking tray – mine is about 27cm x 17cm.

Slowly melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of hot water. When it has melted, add the eggs and sugar and whisk together. Then whisk in the orange zest and juice.

Fold in the flour, then the cherries.

Pour the mixture into your prepared baking tin and cook for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool and slice into squares. If you like you can dust with cocoa powder.

Makes about 15.

 

 

 

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There is a bit of an unseasonal nip in the air, so this seems like a perfect meat-free Monday dish. It is perfect served on its own or with a handful of brown rice.

I cook the lentils separately to the vegetables, so the veg don’t overcook whilst the lentils are softening.

Mess about with the vegetables and quantities as you see fit.

Ingredients:

  • green lentils
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 1/4 leek, washed, chopped
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 courgette
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 250g large mushrooms, sliced
  • thyme
  • a splash of red wine
  • 250g large mushrooms, sliced
  • tinned tomatoes, half a can, or thereabouts
  • vegetable stock
  • parsley

Put the lentils in a small pan and add some boiling water. Simmer until the lentils are soft enough to eat. Keep an eye whilst they bubble away, you might need to add more water.

Gently fry the onions, garlic, and other vegetables. Add the mushrooms and thyme. When nearly cooked, throw in  a splash of red wine and reduce.

Add some tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock.

When the lentils are ready, throw them into the pan with the vegetables. Check that you are happy with the flavours and consistency. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serves 2.

Here's one I made earlier

Here's one I made earlier

Hi, my name's Helen and I live in London with my husband and two children. When I started piping the potato on my shepherd's pies, my husband suggested that it might be a good idea for me to find an outlet for my creativity, so here we are. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, the extra twist is that I don't eat meat (I do eat fish though) and Jim, who loves meat, is always on a diet. Here are a few recipes that I have enjoyed making for my family.

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