Sunday, 31 May 2015

Gluten and Dairy Free Lemon Rice Cake

Wheat AND dairy free cake - it must be disgusting yes? Well, give this one a go and you will be eating a light, moist and utterly delicious cake that lacks none of the quality of a wheat and dairy packed cake. Amazing. Thanks to Great British Chefs for this one.

Gluten and Dairy Free Lemon Rice Cake

3 large eggs, separated
Half tsp white wine or cider vinegar
100g caster sugar plus and extra tablespoon
A pinch of salt
65ml sunflower oil
The zest of 3 lemons and the juice of 2
110g ground rice or rice flour
Half tsp baking powder

For the topping
150g cream cheese
50g icing sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 - Pre-heat the oven to 180C/GM4 or 160C/GM3 for a fan oven. Grease a 21cm loose bottomed cake tin with oil and line.
2 - Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks then tip in a tbsp of sugar and whisk to stiff peaks. Whisk in the vinegar and set aside.
3 - In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, oil and remaining sugar. Sift over the ground rice or rice flour and baking powder and thoroughly fold together.
4 - Tip in half of the beaten egg whites and quickly fold together. Tip in the remaining egg whites and gently fold together.
5 - Tip into the prepared cake tin and bake on the middle shelf for 40 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
6 - Allow to cool in the tin then remove. Here's the optional bit (as it contains the dairy!) - Beat together the topping ingredients and spread over the top or simply sift over some icing sugar.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Devilled Mackerel with Tomato, Onion and Mint Salad

An early start today with a 6am rendezvous on South Shields pier with a spinning rod and a shiny spinner. Mackerel season is in full force and I love this fish with a passion. Cheap, delicious and plentiful, it is the fish for frugal times.

Trying to catch them is another matter. They should be the easiest fish in the ocean to catch when they are in season. 3 hours of spinning and 2 dropped mackerel later, I packed away veritably fishless. But thanks to a very generous Graham Slesser and his daughter, the best fishermen in the world, and a couple more generous chaps alongside me, I came home heavy laden with 8 fat mackerel. And before you ask, and despite the temptation to pretend to be the caveman returning with his meat for the family, I told the truth to my girls.

Now to the treatment - devilled mackerel. A beautifully rich fish to eat, the combination of spices in this recipe cuts through the oiliness to create the most delicious of fish suppers. Devilling is a combination of 'British spices' from our East India Trading days, and our Victorian ancestors utilised this combination of cayenne, mustard, paprika and coriander to perfection. It needs nothing other than a simple salad of tomatoes, onions and mint and a few crisped potatoes.

This is typical Rick Stein grub, the kind of simple pleasurable food that gets both of us excited and one that I am proud to reproduce with a few tweaks from his 'Seafood Lovers Guide' for your pleasure. But the main thanks go to real fishermen, Graham and his daughter who despite fighting out a 2-2 draw became true champions in my grateful and greedy eyes...

Devilled Mackerel with Tomato, Onion and Mint Salad
Feeds 4

4x mackerel, gutted, cleaned and trimmed
20g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp English mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp teaspoon paprika
1 tsp teaspoon ground coriander
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

For the tomato and onion salad
4 onions, thinly sliced
1 small onion thinly sliced
A handful of mint
1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 - Heat a grill to high.
2 - Slash the mackerel skin at 1cm intervals from the head to the tail, ensuring you do not go through to the bone.
3 - Melt the butter in a shallow pan. Remove and stir in the sugar, spices, vinegar and plenty of salt and pepper to make a paste. Turn the mackerel in the paste ensuring it enters the slashes you made as well as the cavity.
4 - Transfer to the grill pan and grill for 5 minutes each side until blistered and fragrant.
5 - To make the tomato and onion salad, bash the mint in a pestle and mortar then stir in the olive oil, lemon juice and a little seasoning. Arrange the tomato and onion on a plate and pour over the dressing.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Easy Creamy Chicken and Pepper Curry

Easy Creamy Chicken and Pepper Curry
Feeds 4

4 chicken breasts, sliced into chunks
1 thumb of ginger, finely grated
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
Juice of a lemon
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt and pepper
1 red pepper, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
300ml creme fraiche
Fresh coriander

1 - Place the chicken, ginger, garlic, spices, half the juice of the lemon, sunflower oil, salt and pepper, onion and pepper into a mixing bowl. Mix together thoroughly and leave to marinade for 30 minutes to an hour.
2 - Heat up a large non-stick pan. Add the ingredients and cook, stirring, for about ten minutes.
3 - Turn down the heat and add the creme fraiche. Bring to the simmer and cook with a lid on for 10 minutes.
4 - Add the remaining juice of the lemon, chopped fresh coriander and taste for seasoning.
5 - Serve with basmati rice, breads and pickles.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Warm Salad of Sausage, Bacon, Almonds and Chick Pea Shoots

Warm Salad of Sausage, Bacon, Almonds and Chick Pea Shoots
Feeds 2

4 good quality lamb sausages (or your sausage of choice)
5 rashers of streaky bacon, sliced into pieces
A good handful of almonds or hazelnuts
10 sage leaves
2 or 3 handfuls of rocket leaves or watercress
2 handfuls of chickpea shoots, or cooked chickpeas
Olive oil


For the dressing
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

1 - Heat some olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the bacon and cook until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and put aside on kitchen paper.
2 - Add the sausages to the bacon fat and cook gently until cooked right through. Remove and slice into diagonal pieces.
3 - Keeping the pan on the heat, drain some of the fat from the pan then add the bacon and sausage along with the almonds and sage leaves. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the almonds have turned golden and the sage has crisped slightly.
4 - Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients and mixing well together.
5 - Dress the plates with the hot ingredients, then scatter over the rocket leaves and chickpea shoots, followed by a good drizzle of the mustard dressing. I served it with some simple toasts, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Warm Potato, Bacon, Leek and Caper Salad


One of my most favourite potatoes, and certainly one that you never see in the huge superstore near me, is the pink fir apple potato. Distinctive by its nobbly exterior and ever so slight pink shady skin, this is a salad potato with style. You hear people describe certain potatoes having a 'nutty' taste. The pink fir apple is nutty and creamy, absolutely perfect for those first warm salads of the year.




Warm Potato, Bacon, Leek and Caper Salad
Feeds 2

10 pink fir apple potatoes
2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
4 rashers of un-smoked middle back bacon, trimmed and cut into strips
1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
1 large or 2 small leeks, trimmed and sliced into 1 cm chunks
A couple of handfuls of baby spinach leaves
A handful of fresh chives and parsley, chopped

For the dressing
A handful of capers, rinsed
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
Freshly ground pepper

1 - Scrub the potatoes then place into a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until just cooked through. Drain and allow to cool.
2 - Half the potatoes. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and place the potatoes in, cut side down. Cook for 5-10 minutes until golden brown, then turn and cook the other side.
3 - Heat a little more oil in a separate pan and add the bacon and leeks. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until cooked and golden.
4 - Throw in the spinach and quickly toss in the heat of the pan until slightly wilted.
5 - Mix together the salad dressing ingredients in a bowl.
6 - Arrange the salad onto a plate along with the fresh herbs and a good drizzle of the dressing.