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P1030231

Quinoa always has a rather a wholesome reputation, but this lovely side-dish is so full of flavour and great textures, you don’t really feel like you’re being unduly virtuous. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp Marigold vegetable bouillon
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, halved lengthwise
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • some herbs – on this occasion I used some sage and parsley

Set the oven to 200C

Cook the quinoa on the hob over a low temperature. In general with quinoa, you use double the amount of water to grain. In this recipe I used 1 cup of quinoa, to two cups of water, adding a little vegetable bouillon for flavour. Cook for about twenty minutes until the kernels begin to separate.

Meanwhile, cook the tomatoes and garlic in an oven-proof dish with a little olive oil. This time I added some sage, but sometimes I use rosemary or thyme. Cook for about twenty minutes.

Add the baked tomato mixture to the quinoa, serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

SERVES 2 as a side dish.

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P1030235

Another easy baked fish dish, but the spicy stuffing gives this a slightly different tone to my usual Friday night fish supper. The herbs and spices add a wonderful deep flavour. And the breadcrumbs give it a delightful crunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 trout
  • 60g white bread
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • a handful of parsley
  • a handful of sage
  • some cardamom seeds (about 5 pods)
  • some fennel seeds (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, roughly chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • butter

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

Put the  bread, lemon zest, garlic, and a sprinkling of ground cardamom and fennel seeds into a food processor and zap until you have a beautiful fragrant, breadcrumby mix.  Add some finely chopped parsley and sage,

Lay the fish into a baking tray, alongside the fennel, tomatoes and some lemon wedges.

Drizzle with a little olive oil.

Sprinkle the herby breadcrumbs into the fish cavities, and over the top of the fish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry some whole sage leaves in a little butter until they are crisp, but not burnt. Lay them out on a little kitchen paper to soak up some of the butter.

When your fish is cooked, scatter the sage over the top.

I served with a warm quinoa and tomato salad.

SERVES 2

P1030215

Of course these can be any shape you like, but the children wanted to be involved in the Valentine’s Day celebrations. We also made love-stars and moonstruck biscuits, which Beth decorated beautifully, as you can see below.

Ingredients

  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Prepare two oven trays by lining with baking parchment.

Cream together the butter and sugar, add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk again.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt and combine until you have a soft dough.

Roll into a ball, wrap with cling-film and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.

Roll out the dough to about 1/2 cm thickness and cut into the lovingest of heart-shapes.

Lay the shapes onto your prepared baking sheets – allow room for  the biscuits to spread a little during cooking.

Cook for about 7 minutes – but keep an eye on them – don’t let them burn!

Sprinkle with a little sugar whilst they are still warm. Or allow too cool and decorate as extravagantly as possible.

P1030227

P1030200

This almost-soup is perfect for when you want something extremely tasty but light for supper. I have two different ways of cooking it. The slow-cooker method is great for when you have plenty of time, but don’t want any last-minute faffing. The pan version is super-speedy and tastes delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4-5 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 salmon steaks
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and sliced
  • a grating of ginger
  • a squeeze of lime
  • 500ml white wine
  • 200ml fish or vegetable stock
  • 6 baby sweetcorn
  • 50g brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 100g glass noodles
  • a head or two of pak choi or a handful of baby spinach
  • a handful of chopped coriander

Method 1

This is the one-pot slow-cooker method. It takes about five minutes to prepare, two and a half hours to cook, and is unbelievably easy.

Sprinkle the spring onions and garlic over the bottom of the slow-cooker.

Lay the salmon over the onions and garlic.

Grate some ginger over the fish – I keep my ginger in the freezer, and grate from frozen.

Add the chilli,  a squeeze of lime and a splash of white wine.

Pour boiling stock around the fish.

Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on ‘slow’ for about two hours.

About twenty minutes before you are ready to eat, throw the sweetcorn, pak choi and mushrooms into the slow cooker. Press them into the cooking liquid.

About five minutes before you are ready to eat, add the glass noodles (and baby spinach, if you are including) to the pot.

Sprinkle with chopped coriander.

Enjoy.

SERVES 2

Method 2

This method is (dare I say it), heaps tastier than the slow cooker version, but higher in calories and there is more washing-up. Also you don’t have the advantage of making it in advance. You just have to go with your priorities.

The key to this recipe is the toasted sesame oil. It really ramps up the flavour.

Fry the fish in a little sesame oil – don’t overcook, it will continue cooking once you’ve added it to the broth later. Leave to one side.

In a separate pan, fry the sweetcorn and mushrooms in a little sesame oil. Add the chilli, garlic, ginger and spring onions.

Pour in about 200ml of stock (I omit the white wine from this version).

Add the noodles, pak choi and salmon. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add baby spinach, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of coriander.

Enjoy

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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