Side Dishes

(All Recipes have Gluten-Free Options)

New Potatoes with Minty Herb Butter (Serves 4)

500g new potatoes

25g butter, softened

½ tablespoon chopped mint, plus a few whole leaves

½ tablespoon chopped parsley

½ tablespoon chopped chives

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Halve any large potatoes and place in a large saucepan. Cover with boiling water, add a pinch of salt and a couple of mint leaves and simmer gently for about 20 minutes until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the butter and chopped herbs.
  3. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan and add the herb butter, toss the potatoes so they are well coated. Season with salt and pepper.

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples (Serves 10-12)

This is a family favourite, it’s a Delia Smith recipe from her cookbook ‘Christmas’. This is a winner of a recipe, it can be prepared and cooked beforehand and reheated successfully and, apparently, it freezes well, although I have never tried as it always gets eaten very quickly!

1kg red cabbage

450g onions, chopped small

450g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small

1 garlic clove, chopped very small

¼ whole nutmeg, freshly grated

¼ level teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

15g butter, cubed

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Discard the tough outer leaves of the cabbage and cut it into quarters, remove the hard stalk. Then shred the rest of the cabbage finely.
  2. In a fairly large casserole arrange a layer of shredded cabbage, season with salt and pepper, then add a layer of chopped onions and apples with a sprinkling of garlic, spices and sugar. Continue to alternate layers until everything is used up (I like to make up three layers).
  3. Pour over the red wine vinegar and finally dot the cubes of butter over the top.
  4. Cover with a lid and place in a preheated oven, 150’c fan, for 2-2½ hours, stirring everything around once or twice during cooking.

Parmesan Baked Parsnips (Serves 8)

This is a delicious way of cooking parsnips, they do not taste particularly cheesy, just very crunchy!  I found the recipe in Delia Smith’s Christmas cookbook. They can be prepared in advance and frozen – just defrost first before cooking.

1.25kg parsnips

175g plain flour (gluten free if required)

50g Parmesan cheese, grated

Sea salt and black pepper

Groundnut oil

Knob of butter

  1. First of all combine the flour with the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  2. Peel the parsnips, halve then quarter them, cutting out the tough woody centres. Place the parsnips in a saucepan and cover with boiling water and some salt. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil, boil for 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile have a large kitchen tray ready.
  4. As soon as the parsnips are ready, drain them and whilst they are still steaming drop them, a few at a time, into the flour and Parmesan mixture, ensure they get a good coating before transferring them to the tray.
  5. Place the tray with the parsnips in the fridge (or freeze) until you are ready to cook them.
  6. To roast them, place a large roasting tin with enough groundnut oil to just cover the base and the knob of butter in an oven, and preheat it to 200’c fan. When the oven is ready, remove the tin, place it on the hob over a low heat and carefully place the parsnips in the tin (with tongs) side by side. Baste them with the hot fat before placing the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the tin from the oven, turn over the parsnips and drain off any surplus fat. Return to the oven and continue to bake for a further 15-20 minutes until they are crisp and golden.
  8. Serve straightaway.

Brussel Sprouts with Chestnuts, Pancetta & Marsala (Serves 8-10)

This is a fantastic festive recipe from Nigella Lawson – it’s so good that is really shouldn’t just be made over Christmas, it’s a great accompaniment to any roast!

1 kg brussel sprouts

250g diced pancetta

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

30g butter

250g vacuum packed chestnuts

60ml Marsala wine

1 large bunch of parsley

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Trim the sprouts and tip them into a large pan of salted boiling water and cook until tender but still retaining some bite – about 5 minutes.
  2. In a deep frying pan, cook the pancetta cubes in the oil until golden and crisp.
  3. Add the butter and the chestnuts, use a wooden spoon to press on the chestnuts to break them up a little. When they are warmed through, turn up the heat and add the Marsala, letting it bubble away to create a lovely, buttery syrup.
  4. Add the drained sprouts, turning well and sprinkling over half of the parsley and a good grinding of pepper and a little salt to taste.
  5. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle over a little more parsley.

Chickpea Salad (Serves 4)

This is a lovely fresh salad, perfect with chicken or fish. I found the recipe in the ‘Moro Cookbook’ by Sam Clark.

2 x 400g tins cooked chickpeas

1 clove garlic

1 large green chilli, finally chopped

½ red onion, finely diced

A squeeze of lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium cucumber, peeled and finely diced

10 cherry tomatoes, halved, seeded and finally diced

1 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped

1 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Crush the garlic with a pinch of salt to form a paste, then put it into a bowl with the chilli, onion, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Stir well, then add the rest of the ingredients – the chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, mint and coriander. Taste for seasoning and chill (for a fresher taste) until needed. So easy and so good!

Artichoke, Fennel & Pecorino Salad (Serves 4-6)

Just three main ingredients, but wow, they really sing together! Using artichokes preserved in oil makes this recipe a year-round option – it’s great with chicken!

10 baby artichokes in oil

1 fennel bulb

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

A handful parsley leaves

100g pecorino cheese or parmesan cheese, shaved

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Quarter the artichokes. Remove the fennel fronds and save to dress the salad. Finely slice the fennel bulb.
  2. Put the artichokes and sliced fennel into a salad bowl, squeeze over the juice of the lemon and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss, then add the parsley leaves, season with salt and pepper and toss again.
  3. Top with shavings of pecorino and the reserved fennel fronds.

Creamed Cabbage & Celeriac with Pancetta (Serves 4)

This is a wonderfully luxurious way of serving cabbage, the flavours of the celeriac and carrots are fantastic alongside the cream. It goes well with beef and game dishes. You could prepare it up to stage 2 and leave it to one side, then reheat when needed, adding the cabbage and cream just before serving – this makes it an easy dish to serve to guests.

100g streaky bacon, chopped

Olive oil

400g carrots, peeled and diced

½ celeriac, peeled and diced

50g unsalted butter

1 small Savoy cabbage, trimmed and finely shredded

200ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large sauté pan and fry the chopped bacon until golden brown. Add the carrots and celeriac, sweat the vegetables for 6-8 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the butter and stir through the cabbage. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Pour in the cream and simmer to reduce slightly. Season generously with salt and pepper before serving.

Fennel and Parmesan Purée (Serves 4-6)

This is a good way of serving fennel during the colder months, it’s a comfort food recipe a little like mashed potato, only less stodgy and more ‘elegant’. It’s very simple to make; once the fennel is cooked you just have to whizz it in a food processor!…

2 litres of vegetable stock

5 medium fennel bulbs, quartered and leafy fronds reserved

50g butter

1 tablespoon double cream

70g Parmesan cheese, grated plus extra shavings to serve

Sea salt flakes and black pepper

  1. Place the stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, add the quartered fennel bulbs, cook at a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes until the fennel is tender.
  2. Drain the fennel then place in food processor /blender and blitz until smooth.
  3. Stir in the butter, cream and grated Parmesan, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve with the reserved leafy fennel fronds and a few shavings of Parmesan scattered over.

New Potatoes with Lemon & Samphire (Serves 4-6)

It’s always good to have different recipe ideas for potatoes and this one is a new favourite of mine. These potatoes are fabulous with fish, the subtle saltiness of the samphire complements its delicate flavour. I discovered the recipe in Skye McAlpine’s cookbook ‘A Table for Friends’, it’s such a simple idea to combine samphire and lemon with new potatoes but so effective and wonderfully simple. The potatoes can be served warm or at room temperature, but make sure you dress them with the olive oil and lemon whilst they are still piping hot, so that the citrusy flavours are infused with the heat.

1 kg baby new potatoes

5-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon sliced into very thin rounds

90g samphire

Large bunch of parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Sea salt flakes

  1. Steam the potatoes until cooked through.
  2. Drizzle the hot, cooked potatoes generously with the olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt (not too much as the samphire will be salty). Toss well then add the lemon slices and toss again.
  3. Meanwhile steam the samphire for 4-6 minutes until al dente, then add to the potatoes and stir gently to combine.
  4. When the potatoes have cooled a little add the chopped parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Crushed Potatoes with Coriander & Lime (Serves 4)

These are particularly good with fish dishes or roast chicken.

400g new potatoes

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 small handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Boil the potatoes for 8-10 minutes until just done. Drain and crush lightly with a fork.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, then add the lime juice, the zest and the coriander, gently mix. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.

Sauté Potatoes with Garlic & Rosemary (Serves 4)

This is a wonderful recipe for potatoes, it does need a little attention at the stove, but it is well worth it!…

500g potatoes (such as Maris Piper), peeled

8 large cloves garlic, unpeeled

8 tablespoons olive oil

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Cut the potatoes into 1.5cm cubes.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and when hot add the potato cubes. Spread them out well over the pan, but do not stir fry – allow them to form a golden crust before turning them over.
  3. When you turn them over add the garlic cloves. Fry together to brown on all sides.
  4. Just before the end of cooking add the rosemary, salt and pepper.

Fried Carrots (Serves 4)

Such a simple idea – but soooo delicious!

600g carrots, peeled

4 cloves garlic, unpeeled

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Slice the carrots lengthways.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add some salt and the carrots. Cook, gently bubbling for 7-8 minutes until they are just cooked – still al dente.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the carrots with the unpeeled garlic cloves, until browned.

Braised Baby Gem Lettuce (Serves 4)

When cooked in this way these lettuces become rather sweet and very special…I urge you to try them!

2 Baby Gem lettuce hearts

½ orange, juiced

30g butter

200ml chicken stock

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Cut the lettuces in half, through the stalk, keeping each half in tact.
  2. Melt the butter in a frying pan, place each lettuce half flat side down in the pan and gently fry over a medium heat until the cut sides are caramelised.
  3. Add the stock and the orange juice to the pan so that the liquid comes about halfway up the lettuce, season with salt and pepper. Turn down the heat, cover and cook gently until the lettuce has wilted and is tender, but holding its shape.
  4. Remove the lettuce from the braising liquid. Keep the lettuce warm whilst you reduce the liquid by boiling gently to concentrate the flavour.
  5. Serve the lettuce with a little of the reduced liquor .

Roasted Cauliflower with Chilli and Lime (Serves 4)

large head of cauliflower

2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

Sea salt and black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon chilli powder

3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped

Grated zest of a lime

  1. Cut the cauliflower into florets, then cut these into bite sized pieces – it is best to cut them in half so that they have a flat edge which will caramelise during cooking and therefore taste better!
  2. Place the cauliflower on a large baking sheet lined with baking paper, drizzle with olive oil and season with the cumin, chilli powder and the salt and pepper, toss to evenly coat.
  3. Place in a preheated oven, 220’c fan, cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss, then sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the cauliflower in the centre area of the pan (not too near the edges as they tend to burn). Return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.
  4. To serve, sprinkle over the chopped coriander and grated lime zest.

Avocado Salsa (Serves 4)

This a cross between a salad and a sauce. It is great as a side dish for fish, particularly with the recipe for Salmon in Sweet, Smoky Tamarind Sauce (here), or simply served with some tortilla chips!

1 ripe, but firm avocado, diced

5 cherry tomatoes, deseeded and diced

½ red onion, diced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 rounded tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped

A few drops of Tabasco sauce

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Simply combine the ingredients together in a bowl, adding seasoning to taste. Cover with cling film and leave to one side for an hour to allow the flavours to develop.

Fine Green Beans with Almonds (Serves 4)

A great classic combination – and super easy to serve up!

250g fine green beans

10g butter

15g flaked almonds

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Top the green beans, place in a saucepan of salted boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes until nearly tender but still with some bite – al dente.
  2. Meanwhile melt the butter in a frying pan, when it foams add the flaked almonds. Cook until the almonds start to lightly brown – stirring continuously to ensure even browning. Remove from the heat.
  3. Drain the beans and stir into the buttery almonds. Season well with salt and pepper.

Roast New Potatoes with Bay Leaves (Serves 4-6)

You can never have enough recipes for potatoes!…so it was with great joy that I discovered this new, simple way of cooking new potatoes in Skye McAlpine’s cookbook, ‘A Table For Friends’. The bay leaves subtly flavour the little roasted potatoes, plus they look rather impressive tucked into each one! Skye says that you can eat the bay leaves, I did try them, but I must admit I wasn’t sold on that idea – but do try them yourself!

20 small new potatoes

20 bay leaves

4-5 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Make a lengthways slit across each potato and tuck a bay leaf into the slit. Arrange them in a roasting tin, allowing space between them, drizzle with the oil and season generously.
  2. Place in a preheated oven, 160’c fan, for about 1 hour or until they are golden brown and easily pierced.

Easy Guacamole

I’ve tried a few recipes for guacamole over the years, some have the addition of garlic and tomatoes, but I always return to this easy recipe from Sally Clarke – the flavours are simple so don’t overpower the avocado.

3 ripe avocados, peeled
Juice of 3 large limes
1-2 small chillies, very finely chopped
2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves

  1. With a fork, mash the avocados in a bowl until almost smooth – a few lumps are fine.
  2. Stir in the lime juice and add the chillies and salt. Stir in the coriander and adjust to taste by adding more chillies, lime juice or salt.

Aligot (Serves 4)

Aligot is a traditional recipe of puréed potatoes with cheese from the South of France. Traditionally it is made with Tomme de Savoie, but this is very difficult to find in the UK, so in this recipe it is substituted with Emmental. Although not completely authentic it is absolutely delicious! You will often find Aligot served in good French bistrots with a simple steak and green salad, try it with my Peppercorn Steak (recipe here), it is equally good with a pork chop or sausages – a French take on ‘bangers and mash’! Aligot does require a bit of ‘elbow grease’ – the grating of cheese (my pet hate!) and beating it into the mash – but the end result makes it all worth it!

1 kg potatoes (such as Maris Piper)

400g Emmental cheese, grated

50g butter

100ml milk

1 garlic clove, crushed

150g Créme Fraîche

Whole nutmeg to be grated

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into even-sized chunks. Steam until completely cooked through.
  2. Heat the milk with the butter and garlic.
  3. Mash the potatoes with the milk and melted butter mixture.
  4. Return the pan with the mashed potatoes to the hob and over a low heat quickly mix in the cheese and cremé fraîche – this requires a bit of elbow grease, but as the cheese melts you will notice that the potato becomes wonderfully smooth.
  5. Finally season with a grating of nutmeg and salt and pepper.

Beetroot and Mint Salad (Serves 4)

This is my new favourite salad, it is particularly good during the winter months with its jewel like colours (especially if you manage to get hold of a mix of coloured beetroot). It is incredibly easy to make and will happily sit in the fridge for a day or two. I came across this recipe recently in Sky McAlpine’s brilliant new cookbook, ‘A Table For Friends’, which I would definitely recommend. This salad is a beautiful accompaniment for ‘Rotisserie-Style Roast Chicken’ (recipe here).

2 teaspoons caster sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Juice of one lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

500g cooked beetroots, finely sliced (a mix of colours if available)

A small bunch of mint leaves

Sea salt flakes

  1. Whisk the sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil with a generous pinch of salt.
  2. Put the beetroot in a bowl. Roughly chop half of the bunch of mint and add to the beetroot and pour over the dressing, gently stir and leave in the fridge to marinate for at least an hour to intensify the flavours.
  3. To serve: bring to room temperature then arrange the beetroot on a plate with the remaining mint scattered over and drizzled with some of the marinade.

Purée of Potato & Celeriac with Garlic (Serves 4)

The combination of flavours in this purée are perfect to accompany dishes such as stews and casseroles, particularly those made with game like Venison Casserole with Maderia (recipe here).

500g celeriac

225g potatoes (such as Maris Piper)

2 cloves garlic, peeled

25g butter

75ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Peel the celeriac and cut into 2cm cubes. Peel the potatoes and cut into slightly larger cubes.
  2. Put the celeriac and potatoes into separate pans, each with a clove of garlic. Cover with boiling water, add some salt and simmer for about 10 minutes, until they are tender.
  3. Drain, place them together in a bowl, add the butter and cream and use a hand held electric whisk to purée them.

Green Beans with Shallots & Sherry Vinegar (Serves 4)

Greens Beans with Shallots & Sherry Vinegar

This turns the humble bean into something really special, and it only takes a few minutes! The recipe is from Rachel Allen’s cookbook, ‘Recipes From My Mother’.

300g French green beans

25g butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

50g shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

1½ teaspoons sherry vinegar

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Place the beans in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender (al dente). Drain and keep to one side.
  2. Add the butter and oil to the empty saucepan, when the butter starts to foam add the shallots with the vinegar and cook for a minute or so over a medium heat.
  3. Return the beans to the pan and toss in the shallot butter. Season to taste and serve.

Simple Celeriac Mash (Serves 4)

Celeriac Mash

This  is what I call my ‘rough and ready’ celeriac mash – I also cook another recipe with potato and garlic which is more of a purée, so more refined. This ‘rough and ready’ version is excellent for a quick midweek supper; the texture and flavour, with its hint of lemon, complements the venison mince perfectly (recipe here).

500g celeriac, peeled and chopped into 2 cm pieces

35g unsalted butter

2 teaspoons chopped thyme

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (to taste)

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Place a pan over a medium heat, add the butter, when melted add the celeriac and thyme, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes adding the lemon juice halfway through cooking.
  2. Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes until soft.
  3. Mash and check seasoning (adding more lemon juice if required).

Stir Fried Swiss (or Rainbow) Chard

I must admit that I only started cooking this vegetable at home more recently; having enjoyed it in numerous restaurants over the years, I finally realised how very easy it is to cook!… I urge you try it!

1 bunch of fresh Swiss Chard

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, sliced

Pinch chilli flakes

¼ teaspoon whole coriander seeds

  1. First rinse out the leaves of the chard, cut away the stalks and cut these into 1inch pieces. Chop the leaves inch wide strips.
  2. Sauté the garlic, chilli and the coriander seeds in the olive oil for about 30 seconds, then add the swiss chard stalks, lower the heat and cover, cook for a bout 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped leaves and turn over in the hot oil, cover once again and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Taste to check it is cooked – it should be al dente (still have some bite), cook for a little longer if needed. Check the seasoning and serve straightaway.

Dauphinoise Potatoes with Gruyére Cheese (Serves 4 -6)

This is one of two recipes that I have posted for Dauphinoise Potatoes; the other recipe (below) is slightly simpler to make and not quite as rich (that’s if Dauphinoise Potatoes can be ‘less rich’!). This Dauphinoise Potato recipe is richer and more unctuous, it goes very well with the recipe, ‘Provençal Rack of Lamb with Crushed Peas’. I think you should try both recipes as there is a time and a place for either, depending on your mood!

I found this recipe in ‘At Home in the Provence’ by Patricia Wells, who in turn took if from renowned French chef, Joël Roubuchon – so it comes well endorsed!

500ml whole milk

250ml double cream

125g grated Gruyere cheese

1 kg firm fleshed potatoes (such as Charlotte), peeled and sliced very thinly

1 plump clove garlic, peeled and halved

45g unsalted butter, diced

Freshly grated nutmeg

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. In a large saucepan bring the milk to boiling point. Add the cream and three-quarters of the cheese. Stir to blend and melt the cheese. Season which salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Add the potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon. Cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
  2. Rub a baking dish with the garlic. Transfer the potatoes and their liquid to the baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the butter.
  3. Place in a preheated oven, 190’c fan, for about 1¼ hours.
  4. Serve immediately.

Buttered Savoy Cabbage (Serves 4)

Such an easy and useful recipe to have…

1 Savoy cabbage, trimmed and finely sliced

25g unsalted butter

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Place the finely sliced cabbage in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes to blanch it. If you are not using straightaway, immediately refresh with cold water and drain well.
  2. When you are ready to serve the cabbage, melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the drained cabbage and season well with salt and pepper. Toss over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes until the cabbage is just tender. Serve at once.

Butternut Squash Mash with Sage (Serves 4)

Butternut Squash Mash

This is a recipe which I found in Leith’s cookbook ‘How to Cook’. Roasting the butternut squash instead of simply boiling it, makes all the difference – the flavour is much more intense. The browned butter (buerre noisette) gives the squash a delicious nutty flavour.

1 large butternut squash (about 700-800g once peeled and cubed)

50g unsalted butter

A few sage leaves

  1. Peel, half and deseed the butternut squash, cut into 3 cm cubes and place in a bowl. Melt 10g of the butter and pour it over the squash, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Place in a roasting tin and roast in a preheated oven, 200’c, for about 45 minutes, until the squash is very tender – a knife should pass through very easily.
  2. Place the cooked squash in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Meanwhile melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan. Cook over a moderate heat to a ‘buerre noisette’ – until it is a deep golden brown and gives off a slightly nutty aroma.
  4. Slice the sage leaves finely then add them, with the puréed squash, to the butter (buerre noisette). Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Favourite’ Mashed Potato (Serves 4)

There are numerous recipes for mashed potato, and yes, I have tried many, but this one is probably my favourite. It actually doesn’t contain any butter, which makes me feel that it could be healthy, although admittedly it does contain double cream! Don’t be put off by the garlic, you really can’t taste it, it just enhances the flavour of the potato. I must admit I ‘cheat’ when it comes to mashing, I am fortunate to have an amazing kitchen appliance, a Thermomix, this is a serious piece of kitchen kit; I can actually steam my potatoes in it and then mash them in seconds. If you don’t have a Thermomix you can either mash by hand, however,  for an easier option I would recommend doing as Delia Smith suggests in her ‘Winter Cookbook’ – whisk them with an electric hand whisk. When whisking them you do have to be careful – make sure that the potatoes are absolutely cooked, otherwise they will go gluey. Start off with the speed slow to break up the potatoes and then increase to a high speed to quickly whip them until smooth – don’t do it for too long, as again, they will go gluey, which is not good!

1kg potatoes (floury, such as Maris Piper)

100ml full-fat milk

100ml double cream

2 cloves garlic, sliced

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into even sized chunks. Steam until completely cooked through.
  2. Put the milk, cream and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
  3. Mash the potatoes (see note above) adding the milk mixture a little at a time. Season well with salt and pepper.

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potato (Serves 4)

In this recipe, I have simply added an extra garlic clove to my ‘Favourite’ Mashed Potato recipe to enhance the flavour of the garlic.

1kg potatoes (floury, such as Maris Piper)

100ml full-fat milk

100ml double cream

3 garlic cloves, sliced

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into even sized chunks. Steam until completely cooked through.
  2. Put the milk, cream and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
  3. Mash the potatoes, adding the milk mixture a little at a time. Season well with salt and pepper.

Perfect Jacket Potatoes (Serves 4)

Perfect Jacket Potatoes

I find that by lightly oiling the potatoes with olive oil before baking them, really helps crisp up the skins.

4 large baking potatoes

Olive oil

Sea salt

Butter to serve

  1. Prick the skins of the potatoes lightly with a fork. Using a piece of kitchen roll lightly wipe them over with some olive oil and them sprinkle with salt.
  2. Place directly on the shelf of a preheated oven, 200’c fan, and cook for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the skins are crisp and the potato inside is deliciously fluffy!
  3. Serve with a knob of butter.

Tenderstem Broccoli with Lemon Butter and Almonds (Serves 4)

Tenderstem Broccoli with Lemon Butter & Almonds

This is a lovely fresh recipe which really takes tenderstem broccoli to another level.

200g Tenderstem Broccoli

20g unsalted butter

Juice of half a lemon

A generous handful of flaked almonds

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. First of all put the flaked almonds in a small, dry frying pan, place over a moderate heat, stirring, until the almonds are browned – toasted. Remove to a plate.
  2. Steam the tenderstem broccoli for about 4 minutes until just cooked.
  3. Melt the butter in  a small frying pan and add the lemon juice, stirring well.
  4. Add the tenderstem broccoli, stirring to give it a good coating of the butter mixture, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the reserved toasted almonds.

Braised Puy Lentils (Serves 4-6)

Braised Puy Lentils

This is a great recipe that I found in J.Sheekey’s Cookbook, ‘Fish’, where they are served with cod (recipe here). However, they would also make a great accompaniment to other dishes…for instance simply with oven baked sausages for an easy midweek treat!..

250g puy lentils

40ml extra virgin olive oil

100g cubed pancetta

1 onion, finely diced

1 carrot, finely diced

1 leek, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and chopped

2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and chopped

1 litre chicken stock

30g unsalted butter

½ bunch of parsley, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. If you have time and remember, soak the lentils in cold water for an hour before you cook them. The recipe calls for this, but these days most puy lentils (I use ‘Merchant Gourmet’) don’t require soaking, but there is a theory that they are more digestible if soaked?!…
  2. Pour 20ml of the olive oil into a heavy bottomed saucepan and gently cook the cubed pancetta, onion, carrot, leek, celery, garlic, thyme and rosemary for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the lentils (drained if you soaked them), stir, then add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until they are soft to toast – not too mushy. The consistency should be sauce like.
  4. Gently stir in the butter and parsley, check the seasoning and serve.

Simple Dauphinoise Potatoes (Serves 4)

The French seem to be split over the recipe for Dauphinoise Potatoes, some call for the addition of Gruyére cheese, whilst others, lament its addition!…I like it both ways, I think there is a time and a place for both versions; the version without cheese is great for a more relaxed meal, whilst with cheese, being more unctuous, it is more suited to a rich dinner party meal – I particularly like it with a roast rack of lamb. This version is the one without cheese, the ‘simple’ version, which is perfect for a midweek treat, my version with cheese is posted above…!

15g butter

1kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper

400ml double cream

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Rub a gratin dish liberally with the butter.
  2. Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the cream, garlic, nutmeg and season well with salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes in this cream mixture.
  4. Layer the potatoes in the gratin dish, spreading them flat and evenly, pour over any remaining cream.
  5. Place in a preheated oven, 160’c fan, for 1 – 1 hour 15 minutes. Every 15 minutes or so press the down the potatoes with a spatula to stop them drying out. The gratin is ready when the top is golden and bubbling, and the potatoes are tender. You may want to turn up the oven to 190 -200’c for the last 5 minutes of cooking to achieve an extra golden crisp.

Flageolet Beans with Lemon and Parsley

Flageolet Beans with Lemon and Parsley

So simple, yet so delicious!

400g tin flageolet beans (or cannellini beans), drained

A generous slice of butter

Half lemon

Handful chopped parsley

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Place the drained beans in a saucepan, gently heat with the butter.
  2. Add the parsley, season with a squeeze of lemon juice and the salt and pepper.
  3. Serve

Garlic Green Beans (Serves 4)

Garlic Green Beans

This is a delicious recipe for beans, and despite the amount of garlic the recipe calls for, the flavour is not overpowering. I found this recipe in David Lebovitz’s cookbook ‘My Paris Kitchen’, I love French cooking, so this is a favourite book of mine, not only for the recipes but for the Parisian tales he shares. The recipe in French is Haricot Verts au Beurre d’Escargot (beans with snail butter!), apparently it refers to the butter mixed with copious amounts of garlic which normally dresses the popular French dish of snails!

450g green beans

55g unsalted butter

3 tablespoons crushed garlic

30g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

Black pepper

Half a lemon

  1. Cook the beans for about 4 minutes in boiling water until just tender.
  2. Melt the butter in a small frying pan, add the garlic, cook for a few minutes until it just begins to brown. Stir in the parsley, salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  3. Add the beans to the pan, stir so that they are beautifully covered in this delicious ‘snail butter’, and squeeze over a few drops of lemon juice to taste.

Perfect Roast Potatoes

Perfect Roast Potatoes

Everybody has their favourite roast potato recipe. I must admit that having tried various recipes, I have always returned to the one I found years ago in Delia Smith’s ‘Winter Collection Cookbook’ – you can’t beat it in my opinion. I use either olive oil or goose fat (I buy it in jars), depending on my mood. The olive oil gives a lighter, cleaner taste, whereas the goose fat has a richer flavour – both crisp up the potatoes equally well.

1.8kg Maris Piper or other floury, roasting potatoes

110g olive oil or goose fat (see note above)

Sea salt

  1. Place the fat in the roasting tin and place in the oven, 190’c fan, on the highest shelf so that the oil preheats whilst you prepare the potatoes.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut into evenly sized pieces.
  3. Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and add the salt. Simmer for 10 minutes until the outer edge of the potatoes is fluffy – test with the points of a fork.
  4. Drain the potatoes well and return to the saucepan. Place a lid over the pan and shake it vigorously. By shaking the potatoes in the saucepan in this way the cooked edges will become floury and fluffy – perfect for crisping up in the oven.
  5. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and place the potatoes in the hot fat – careful as the oil may spit! Baste them well and return to the oven for about 40 minutes until they are golden brown and crisped.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and serve straightaway – do not allow them to sit around otherwise they will loose their crunch (if they are cooked before you are ready, turn off the oven and leave them inside – but with caution, they don’t like to wait!)

Sautéed Spinach with Garlic (Serves 4)

2 large bunches of baby spinach (washed) – about 400g

Olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until the garlic is beginning to brown.
  2. Add the spinach, turning it over to coat in the olive oil. Place a lid over the pan and cook for 1 minute. Remove the lid and stir. Return the lid and cook for a further minute.
  3. The spinach should now be wilted, add a drizzle of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Concetta’s Potatoes (Serves 4)

Concetta’s Potatoes

I have named these after our Italian friend (and chef), Concetta, who gave me the recipe many years ago; they are simply sliced baked potatoes with garlic, rosemary and sage.

4 large potatoes – such as Maris Piper (roasting potatoes)

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dried sage

Sea salt and black pepper

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Olive oil

  1. Peel and slice the potatoes, and parboil in boiling water for 4 minutes.
  2. Place in a roasting tin, sprinkle over the rosemary, sage and garlic, season with salt and black pepper and drizzle over some olive oil – mix well.
  3. Place in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 35-40mins until crispy and well browned.

Baked Lemon Potatoes (Serves 4)

Baked Lemon Potatoes

1 kg new potatoes (waxy potatoes)

3 tablespooons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

125ml fish or chicken stock

60ml lemon juice

100g pitted black olives, sliced (optional)

1 small bunch parsley, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. For the lemon potatoes, cut the unpeeled potatoes into thick slices and place in a roasting tin. Add the olive oil, garlic, stock, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and toss to combine.
  2. Bake in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 50 minutes stirring every 10 minutes, 5 minutes before the end of cooking add the olives and the parsley to the potatoes. 

Homemade Oven Chips (Serves 4)

Homemade Chips – Delicious and no need for a stinking chip pan!

I always serve these when we have steak; they are easy to prepare, proving that there is no need for a stinking chip pan in order to have good chips! It is important to use baking potatoes for this recipe as they crisp up better.

3-4 baking potatoes, depending on the size and how hungry you are

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven 200’c fan.
  2. Cut the potatoes into thick chips, there is no need to peel them.
  3. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the chips, boil for 4 minutes then drain well.
  4. Coat the chips with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and lay them out in single layer on a baking tray.
  5. Place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, turning a few times during cooking.
  6. Serve immediately.

Baby Roast Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary (serves 4-6)

Baby Roast Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary

900g unpeeled new potatoes washed and cut roughly into 1cm cubes

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, leaves chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil

sea salt and black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven 200’c fan. Put the olive oil in a roasting tin and place in the oven to heat up.
  2. Place the potatoes in a clean tea towel and dry them thoroughly.
  3. Remove tin from the oven and carefully slide the potatoes into the hot fat. Sprinkle over the garlic and rosemary then stir around.
  4. Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Spiced Cucumber Salad (Serves 4)

Spiced Cucumber Salad

This is a lovely side salad for Asian flavoured dishes such as Prawn Stir Fry with Basil and Chilli (recipe here)

1 cucumber

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon of caster sugar

1-2 teaspoons mild chilli powder (according to your taste)

4 spring onions, finely sliced

2 teaspoons of sesame oil (optional)

Black sesame seeds (optional)

  1. Cut the cucumber into wafer thin slices
  2. Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and chilli powder in a bowl (depending on how spicy you would like it, you can add more or less chilli)
  3. Toss the cucumber into the bowl along with the spring onions, and if using, also add the sesame oil and seeds.

Tarragon Green Beans (serves 4)

These Tarragon Green Beans are the perfect accompaniment for Chargrilled Lamb Chops with a Shallot Chutney (see my Recipe Pages)

250g fine green beans

10g butter

1/2 clove of garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons tarragon, chopped

sea salt and black pepper

  1. Top the beans, place in salted boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes until they are nearly tender but still have ‘bite’.
  2. Meanwhile melt the butter and fry the garlic until lightly golden.
  3. Add the drained beans to the butter and garlic, stir in the tarragon and season before serving.

Steamed Aromatic Basmati Rice (Serves 4)

250g pure basmati rice

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon cardamom pods, lightly crushed with the back of a spoon

  1. First of all clean the rice by rinsing it in a bowl of water, repeat this 3-4 times until the water is less cloudy. Then cover a final time and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the rice in a sieve and place in a saucepan.
  3. Add 600ml water and the salt and spices. Bring to the boil, cover and immediately lower the heat and cook gently for 10 minutes – do not remove the lid during this time!
  4. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat, keeping the lid firmly on. Leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Finally, remove the lid and fork through the rice, remove the cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom pods before serving.

Fried Plantain

Fried Plantain – A Hug on a Plate!

*The plantain must be ripe – it should have a dull yellow colour with patches of black.

3 plantain, peeled and sliced

Olive oil

Sea salt

  1. Pour enough olive oil in a frying pan to generously cover the bottom of the pan, place over a medium to high heat.
  2. Once the oil it hot place the sliced plantain in the oil and fry each side until golden – I use two forks to turn each piece over individually.
  3. Drain on kitchen roll and sprinkle with salt.