Hot Smoked Salmon and Couscous

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So sometimes something cold, even at this time of year, can be very rewarding. A dish that has about it something of the Mediterranean with the couscous, dill, olive oil and lemon mix  – but that smell and flavour of chunks of smoked salmon just scream out more a summer time plate.  I love this, it easily feeds two very well or four with a few side dishes. You can mix it up – add cucumber, other peppers, pitta bread even – but really you don’t need much on the side, this dish pretty much does it all.

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Ham and Cheese Croquettes

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Makes about 15

I don’t know what it was that made me want to make these, but it has been a long term plan.  I had some delicious croquettes at Fino the then sister restaurant to Barrafina in London: crisp outside, with that delicious melting interior made for a memorable occasion.  These can be a larger starter dish,  or made well in advance and smaller rounds dropped into hot oil to go with drinks in the evening. The key is to put them them in the fridge to firm up and hold together when being fried. I like to make a simple mix of mustard and mayonnaise as a side dip.

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Walnut, Pecan and Date Loaf Cake

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I have a harvest of walnuts and pecans in the cupboard. Don’t ask me why, I suppose I just kept buying them for some reason.  Some I have used some to make granola, and now I decided to bake a loaf cake.  I just wanted something to remind me of walking to work when I lived in the US: a lovely, sweet, cinnamon fragrance  I recall wafting around (along with the smell of fresh coffee) and this cake does exactly that.  It has a sweetness to it, holds its place but retains a moisture. It tastes even better on day two and will keep fresh in a cake tin for some time – if it lasts that long. I bake it in a loaf tin (hence the name) but it is really a cake – and a lovely cake at that.

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Wholemeal Bread

Wholemeal Bread
Wholemeal Bread

Baking has never really been my thing. It always seemed to take longer than I would be prepared to wait. Steak in six minutes or fish in four, that was more me. But… but…the smell of bread baking is one of those aromas that just says welcome home. Anyway, I began to wonder if I could bake bread, and was there a quicker way of doing it than what seemed to be such a long kneading…waiting…proving…kneading..waiting….process. Well, I searched around seeing eight or nine different recipes and this is a combination of those. It works. It is lovely, holds firm to cold butter, makes great toast. I have decided I can now.. Bake!

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Red Mullet and Pasta

Red Mullet and Pasta
Red Mullet and Pasta

It has been a while since I posted any new cooking, but when something new comes along and tastes as good as this does and is easy to make it has to be shared. Fish in the autumn, usually something with potatoes and cream. However, this light dish is really filling and on the darker nights (at least in England) this bit of colour lightens a mood. This serves two as a large main course, but you could cut back a little and serve four as a delicious starter. It is also quick and easy to make. (Serves 4) Continue reading Red Mullet and Pasta

Crayfish and Prawns on Toast

Crayfish Tails and Prawns
Crayfish Tails and Prawns

When the weather changes, something light is called for. This little number was pulled together at the weekend. It can be a starter or main course. Actually, if you make it for small rounds of toast then it can even be a small canape with some drinks. It is that versatile and easy to make. The list of ingredients isn’t too long, and it is brought together very simply. However, it packs a lovely fresh and light taste. Perfect for spring into summer.  This feeds four and the method is the simplest yet.

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Egg Nog

Egg Nog
Egg Nog

This is one of those drinks that I have always wanted to make. It’s not that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas with out it, but until I had made my own and sipped from its delicious alcoholic creaminess I knew I wouldn’t be happy. So I coerced an American friend to provide me with her family recipe, and this is it. Let me also tell you that this is brazen in its alcoholic lure. You can change out the levels of rum and whiskey, but try it like this first and then make your own version. Have a cool yule.

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