All posts by Steph Clarke

New Cookery Book

I have a bit of an addiction with cookery books. I know there is nothing in them that I couldn’t find online if I wanted and I do subscribe to several food blogs, but, there is something lovely about turning a page of a book to find inspiration overleaf. The irony is I very rarely follow a recipe. I tend to use these books for ideas and then adapt to suit our tastes or whatever I have in the fridge at the time. Ah well, here’s my latest bedtime read…

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…and yes I really do flick through these in bed. I know that’s not normal right?

Salted Lemon Asparagus

So after a mammoth cooking session Sunday all that was left this week was to eat it! Today’s option was the cottage pie, made with shallots, minced beef, carrots and creamed potatoes it was a simple tried and trusted recipe and the only decision left to be made was what to serve it with. I went with green beans and this Salted, Lemon Asparagus.

Salted Lemon Asparagus

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Asparagus, as much as you need per person (and in my house that’s a lot, we love the stuff)
Lemon juice
Sea salt
Olive oil
Butter

Pre heat the oven to gas mark 5. Lay out the asparagus on a baking tray, it doesn’t matter if it’s overlapping at all.

Drizzle over a slash of olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon juice a generous sprinkling of the salt. Put knobs of butter on top and then pop on the bottom shelf of the oven.

It cooks in about 15 minutes. The asparagus should be still just a little firm.
Serve straight from the oven.

Delicious.

Cherry and Vanilla biscuits

Today I’ve spent a very productive afternoon in the kitchen. I’ve a busy week coming up so decided to get ahead of myself again and make our meals for the coming week. So far I have meatballs for spaghetti and meatballs, cottage pie and a chicken curry ready to go, but, while I was at it I also made some Truffles, roasted lamb for today’s dinner and baked some biscuits. I love those biscuits, they’re quick and easy to make, if you’ve the ingredients at hand 20 minutes tops…

Cherry and Vanilla biscuits

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5.5oz butter / margarine
8oz plain flour
4.5oz caster sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
Glacé cherries

Pre heat oven to gas mark 4.

Sift flour into a bowl and add butter. And rub together until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Stir through sugar, vanilla essence and chopped glacé cherries (I have no idea how many cherries, I just chop and add until it looks about right) and then being together with your hands to form a dough.

Roll out on a floured surface until about a centimeter thick, cut into shapes and set out on a greased baking sheet. bake for 15mins (or until they just start to colour on the edges).

Finish with a dusting of caster sugar and leave to cool and firm. Or if you’re a fatty like me just scoff them still warm and soft from the oven with a cup of tea as per the picture above.

Alternative flavours

I’ve also made these with lemon flavouring and mixed peel, almond flavouring with no fruit and also just plain vanilla. All equally delicious and seriously moorish!

Balsamic Roast Tomato and Red Onion

Knowing the boy was staying with his Nan Friday night I wanted to cook something up that wouldn’t be on our usual menu. Anything green or with any spice is a no go to his 13 year old palate, hell at times it seems anything that isn’t processed within an inch of it’s life is too much for him to handle, fish comes from a box in breadcrumbs or batter in his world so I tend to cook more than the standard pasta or meat and 2 veg when he’s not around.

So with that in mind while in Sainsbury’s in the week I bought 2 beautiful fresh Tuna steaks. I ummed and ahhed over how to serve them and finally decided to pan fry them in lime and black pepper and dish them up with Crunchy Chilli Potatoes, Mangetout and Balsamic Roast Tomatoes with Red Onion, as sides go it couldn’t be simpler.

It was essentially a posh fish n chips with tomato sauce 😉

Balsamic Roast Tomatoes and Red Onion

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I made this to serve 2 but again this can be scaled really easily to serve more (or less)

Cherry tomatoes.
Red onion
Balsamic vinegar
Black pepper

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and at the same time heat a tablespoon of olive oil in heavy bottomed pan one the hob.

Throw in a hand full of cherry tomatoes (I used 4 per person).

Quarter a small red onion and add to the pan.

Cook until the tomatoes are going soft and the onion is starting to colour.

Put a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar in an oven proof dish and add the veg toss to coat in the vinegar, added more if necessary, sprinkle with ground black pepper and put on the top shelf of the oven.

Cook for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are completely soft but still holding their shape.

Serve immediately.

Because this was going with Tuna flavored with lime I served on top of fresh coriander. Just yum!

Cheat’s Paella

This isn’t really a paella it’s more of fish, rice salad but it’s roots are definitely in the Spanish dish and it’s really really easy.

Cheat’s Paella

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Frozen vegetable rice (I used a Sainsbury’s steam in the bag thing)
1/2 Tin of ham
1/2 Tin of tuna in spring water
King prawns, cooked and ready to eat (as many as you like, and I like a lot)
Soy sauce
Cos lettuce

I made this for 2 of us so with that in mind you can scale up or down as you like.

Stream the rice as per the instructions on the bag.
While this is cooking drain the tuna and open the ham.
Cut the ham into small strips and flake the tuna into a bowl.
Once the rice is cooked put into a bowl and stir in the ham tuna and prawns.
Serve immediately over a bed of Cos lettuce (I like the crunch) with a sprinkling of soy sauce.

Job done, simple easy cheat’s paella.