Luxury fish pie


Simmer half a pint of milk with black pepper, fish stock, skin and bones for 20 minutes.  Skim and remove the skin and bones, then strain through a chinois. Bring the liquor back to a gentle simmer.  Add cubes of smoked cod, smoked haddock, cod fillet and salmon fillet, simmering in the liquor for 5 minutes with a splash of double cream, knob of butter and a glug of sherry.  Drain and put the fish into an ovenproof dish. Skim and strain the liquor again.

Fry a chopped shallot or onion with sliced mushrooms and chopped celery in butter,  Add paprika and ground white pepper and cook until the onion is transparent but not browned

Reduce the remaining liquor a little, then add to the fried onion/celery/mushrooms and thicken with more cream (and some cornflour if necessary).  Add chopped parsley, then pour the sauce over the fish.  Top with dill weed.

Mash some boiled potatoes with roughly-chopped steamed parsnips and carrots.  Add cream, sea salt, butter and pepper.  Dot the mash on top of the fish, leaving the surface ragged and rough.  Bake at 200-220C until bubbling and browned on top.


DSC_6893Beef sirloin leftovers, cut into batons and fried in duck fat until browned. Sauce of onions, caramelised then cooked down with chopped chestnut mushrooms and chopped rosemary for 15 mins.  Added splash of sherry and a glug of white wine, reduced and then added rich beef stock and crushed white pepper. Thickened with a little leftover mashed potato.

Swede, cut into chunks, boiled then mashed, roughly mixed with leftover crushed carrots, sea salt and black pepper.

Aubergine chunks and chopped tomatoes, mixed with garlic, chopped thyme and sea salt.  Roasted for 40 minutes at 210C.

Parboiled potatoes, cubed and bashed about, drizzled with olive oil and sea salt and roasted for 35 minutes at 210C until browned at the edges.

Garden squash cubed, tossed in a little walnut oil then sprinkled with caraway and cumin seed and roasted foir 45 minutes at 210C.

White cabbage heart, chopped and steamed with tarragon and white pepper.

Herb and feta muffins


This is a total copy of Marcus Wareing’s extremely fine and no originality is claimed, hard to improve on perfection.

2 tsp baking powder
250g plain flour
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
40g cheddar, grated
3 free-range eggs, beaten
4 tbsp semi skimmed milk
50ml extra virgin olive oil
100g black olives, pitted and sliced
1 tbsp tarragon, chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 bunch thyme, leaves only
100g feta
50g cream cheese
50g pumpkin seeds
25g sunflower seed kernels

Mix flour, grated cheese, baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir in milk, oil, chopped olives, herbs and everything else apart from the feta and cream cheese.

Separately, mix the cream cheese with a little milk, crumble in the feta and mix to make a lumpy paste.  Half-fill each hole of a muffin tin with the muffin mix, add a teaspoon of the feta mix, then top up with muffin mix.  Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds and sunflower kernels on top.  Bake 20 mins at 170C, cooling in the tin.

Chocolate tart

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160g unsalted butter at room temperature
100g icing sugar, sifted
75g chopped hazelnuts
200g plain flour
large egg
Zest of two oranges grated finely
large pinch salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of finely-ground black pepper
splash of milk.

Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the egg, salt, peppers and orange zest, then mix in the flour and chopped nuts. Add milk if required to loosen mix if it is too dry. Form into flat discs (this makes two 8 inch tarts) and press into a lined loose-bottomed flan dish or spring cake tin.  Glaze with eggwash mixed with a little milk. Bake for 15 mins at 180C until golden.  Allow to cool thoroughly in the tin.

.Melt 375g of good quality 70% chocolate in a bain-marie with 60g of butter and 30g of honey. Beat in about 400ml of double cream or whipping cream. Using a palette knife, fill the flan dishes and make the surface smooth and flat. Leave to cool for 20 minutes in the fridge.  Grate chocolate (dark, milk or white) evenly over the tart using a fine microplane.  Chill for at least 4 hours.  Cut using a hot knife.

Served with ripe sweet grapes, a piece of candied orange peel, ice cream, blueberries and cream – should have had pomegranate as well…

Slightly adapted from the very wonderful

Smoked cod and salmon fishcakes with creamed leeks

Inspired by a recipe from Great British Chefs. Smoked cod, hot-smoked salmon, chopped spring onions, finely-chopped chilli, paprika, black pepper, sea salt and chopped anchovy fillets, formed into patties and tossed in rice flour, fried until golden, then baked for ten minutes at 200C.  Served on a bed of leeks simmered in fish stock, butter and white wine until just softening, then added cream and black pepper and simmered to thicken a little. Few button mushrooms browned in butter to finish.

Aubergine and tomato gratin

Diced aubergine, chopped fresh tomatoes, red onions and garlic, drizzled with olive oil and strewn with sea salt, bruised thyme and black pepper, roasted at 180C for 35 mins then finished at 200C for 10 mins.  Served with torn fresh basil and Caroline’s home-made pan-bread (she loves the burnt bits best) or with brown rice spaghetti for me.

Pork and butterbean curry

Ground cumin, coriander, paprika, black pepper and turmeric, with cumin seeds, mustard seed and black onion seeds, roasted in a heavy pan then fried in oil for a minute. Sliced onions and red peppers, fried until soft in the curried oil. Smoked pork cubes and butter beans added, freidd for a couple of minutes, then added pork stock. Simmered for 20 minutes until thickened. Finished with a few chopped fresh French beans