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    Nevens Recipes for May 2014

    2nd may

    Sauce Diane

    A classic sauce that I first learnt to make at college but I still occasionally make to use with steak. Although it is also good with pan fried pork or lamb chops or a chicken breast. It is fairly rich so you really don’t need much of it; a little goes a long way.

    Makes about 275ml (10fl oz).

     2 tbsp olive oil

    25g (1oz) butter

    1 shallot, finely chopped

    150g (5oz) button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

    120ml (4fl oz) brandy

    150ml (1/4 pint) white wine

    150ml (1/4 pint) beef stock

    1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

    good pinch sugar

    150ml (1/4 pint) double cream

    1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    squeeze of fresh lemon juice

    salt and freshly ground black pepper


    To make the sauce, heat a pan and add one of the tablespoons of the oil and the butter, then swirl until the butter has melted and is foaming. Tip in the shallot and mushrooms and sauté for 2-3 minutes until tender.  Pour over the brandy, then use a match or tilt up the pan to catch the flame. It will flare up for about 5-10 seconds and then subside when the alcohol flame burns off.  Add white wine and simmer until reduced by half.


    Stir the stock into the pan with the Worcestershire sauce, sugar and cream. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until thickened and reduced to a sauce consistency which will coat the back of a wooden spoon, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Season to taste and use immediately or allow to cool down completely and store in a bowl covered with clingfilm in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat gently in a pan when needed.



    Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

    Makes about 400ml (14fl oz)

    175g (6oz) semi-sun-dried tomatoes,

    roughly chopped

    8 large fresh basil leaves

    2 garlic cloves, peeled

    200ml (7fl oz) olive or rapeseed oil

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Place the semi-sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor or blender with the basil leaves and garlic and pulse to finely chop. Switch the

    machine back on and slowly pour in the oil through the feeder tube until the pesto has emulsified. Transfer to a bowl with a spatula

    and season to taste. This can be made up to 3–4 days in advance and kept covered with clingfilm in the fridge. Use as required.

    9th may

    Thai Beef Stir Fry with Fragrant Rice

    Serves 4



    2ozs/ 50g cashew nuts

    1 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

    2 tablespoons rapeseed oil

    2 garlic cloves, crushed

    1 teaspoon finely grated fresh root ginger

    1 mild red chilli, seeded & thinly sliced

    1lb/ 450g sirloin steak cut into thin strips

    2ozs courgette, trimmed and cut into sticks

    20zs carrot, peeled and cut into sticks

    1 yellow and 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced

    4ozs /100g baby corn halved

    1 tablespoon light soy sauce

    1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

    2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh corriander

    salt & freshly ground black pepper



    Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Toast the cashew nuts for 4-5 minutes. tossing the pan occasionally to prevent them from burning. Tip into a bowl and set aside.


    Meanwhile, heat a wok until it is very hot. Add the rapeseed oil and swirl up the sides. Add the garlic, ginger & chilli and cook for just 30 seconds. Add the sirloin and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until well sealed and lightly coloured. Add the courgette, peppers, carrots and babycorn and stir fry for another 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but still crunchy.


    Add the reserved toasted cashew nuts to the wok with the soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and corriander, then toss briefly to combine. Season to taste and sprinkle over the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil.


    To serve, arrange the rice on warmed serving plates and then spoon the beef stir fry on top.


    16th may

    Pan Fried Mackerel with Mash and Tomato Stew            

    Serves 4

    Nowadays you’ll often hear people on radio and television talking about ‘good fats’ and ‘bad fats’, and they urge you to eat more oily fish for your intake of ‘good fats’. Well let me tell you that mackerel is one of the best examples of a good oily fish. As well as this important health factor, mackerel is also great value for money and has a lovely meaty texture.



    4 mackerel fillets

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1 Red onion, diced

    1 clove garlic, crushed

    6 vine tomatoes, cut into halves

    Dash red wine vinegar

    1 teaspoon sugar

    1 teaspoon tomato puree




    21 bunches basil

    75 g / 3 oz grated Parmesan

    1 tbsp  pine nuts, toasted

    1 cloves garlic

    100 ml rapeseed oil




    First make the pesto sauce by putting the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts and garlic in a blender. Chop up well and add seasoning. Add the olive oil and blend again, keep in jar or a squeeze bottle in the fridge.


    Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and tomato puree. Stir well and season to taste. Let this sauce cook slowly until the mixture dries out a little, about 5 minutes should do it.


    For the fish, score the flesh of the mackerel 3 times on each side and cook skin side down. Turn over and cook for a further 2 more minutes on the pan or place in a hot oven 180°C / Gas 4.


    To Serve

    Place mash potato in centre of plate and spoon some stewed tomatoes beside it. Place fish on the mash and drizzle with pesto.


    23RD MAY

     Croque Monsieur with Carrot and Beetroot Salad

    This is a sophisticated toasted ham sandwich- very popular in France. The cheesy topping is what makes this sandwich extra tasty. Served alongside a carrot and beetroot salad this dish is ideal for a casual lunch.

    Serves 4



    4-6 slices of cooked ham

    80g butter, at room temperature

    8 slices of white bread

    2 tablesp. plain flour

    200ml milk

    150g good quality hard cheese, grated

    A little nutmeg

    2 teasp. Dijon style mustard


    1 carrot, grated

    1 small cooked beetroot, grated

    4 cocktail gherkins, cut into thin strips

    1 small red onion, thinly sliced

    4 radishes, cut into thin strips

    1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds


    3 dessertsp. olive oil

    1 dessertsp. lemon juice

    To Cook

    Cooking time: 15 mins

    Preheat the grill to medium-high. Line the grill tray with foil. Put the butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat to melt it. Brush one side of each slice of bread liberally with melted butter and put under the grill butter-side uppermost until golden and crisp, then set aside.

    Stir the flour into the remaining butter to make a paste, cook for a minute, then gradually whisk in the milk, a little at a time, until smooth. Simmer for a few minutes, until thickened, then take off the heat and stir in 60g cheese until melted. Grate in a little nutmeg, stir and season lightly.

    Spread the untoasted sides of four slices of bread with mustard, then put the ham on top, followed by the cheese, and pop under the grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese has melted.

    Top with the rest of the bread, with the toasted side uppermost, and push down, then put the sandwiches on to the grill tray and spoon on the bechamel sauce. Grill for about 5 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately with the salad.

    To make the salad: combine the carrot, beetroot, gherkins, onion and radishes in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together to olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. Stir this through the vegetables. Sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds.


    30TH MAY

    Ham Tacos with Tomato Salsa, Chunky Guacamole and Salad

    Another great recipe for leftover ham- this is a twist on a family favourite. Pile your tacos high with guacamole, salsa, cheese and of course the ham to make these tacos nothing short of delicious.

    Serves 4



    400g leftover ham cut into strips

    2 heads of baby gem lettuce, shredded

    1 lime cut into 4 wedges

    4 tablesp. grated cheese

    8 taco shells

    Tomato Salsa

    12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

    ½ cucumber, cut into small cubes or a mixture of black and green olives, chopped

    ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    ½ red onion, finely chopped

    1 tablesp. coriander leaves, chopped

    1 tablesp. olive oil

    Juice of ½ lime

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Chunky Guacamole

    2 ripe avocados, peeled and chopped

    Juice of ½ lime

    2 scallions, finely sliced

    ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

    2 cloves of garlic, chopped

    2 tablesp. low fat natural yoghurt

    To Cook

    Cooking time: 15 mins

    To make the Tomato Salsa: Palace the tomatoes and cucumber in a bowl and toss with the rest of the ingredients. Taste for seasoning

    To make the Chunky Guacamole: Then in another bowl mix the avocados, lime juice, scallions, chilli, garlic and yoghurt. Using a fork roughly mash everything together, season.

    Heat the taco shells as per the packet instructions.

    Bring everything to the table and let everyone help themselves.

    Serving Suggestions

    If you don’t have taco shells handy, this also works great in a wrap (perfect for school lunches).



    Neven's Recipes

    Smoked Salmon and Leek Quiche
    Serves 6

    25g (1oz) butter

    1 small leek, diced

    150ml (¼ pint) cream

    150ml (¼ pint) milk

    2 eggs

    2 egg yolks

    2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

    1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

    200g (7oz) smoked salmon, diced

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    lightly dressed green salad, to serve

    For the pastry:

    225g (8oz) plain flour, extra for dusting

    100g (4oz) butter, diced and chilled

    ½ tsp salt

    good pinch of chilli powder (optional)

    3 tbsp ice-cold water

    1 egg yolk, 1 tbsp milk

    To make the pastry, place the flour, butter, salt and chilli powder (if using) in a food processor.

    Whizz briefly until the mixture forms fine crumbs. Pour in the water through the feeder tube and

    pulse again so that the pastry comes together. Knead gently on a lightly floured surface for a

    few seconds to form a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 10 minutes before

    rolling (or up to 1 hour if time allows).

    Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a loose-bottomed 21cm (8 ½in)

    fluted flan tin that’s about 4cm (1 ½in) deep. Use a rolling pin to lift the pastry into the tin,

    pressing well into the sides and letting the pastry overhang a little, as this prevents shrinkage.

    Chill for another 10 minutes for the pastry to rest.


    Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).

    Prick the pastry base with a fork, then line with a circle of oiled foil or parchment paper that is

    first crumpled up to make it easier to handle. Fill with baking beans or dried pulses and bake for

    20 minutes, until the pastry case looks ‘set’ but not coloured.


    Beat the egg yolk and milk together in a small bowl. Carefully remove the foil or paper and

    lower the temperature to 160°C (325°F/gas mark 3), then brush the pastry with the egg wash to

    form a seal. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the base is firm to the touch and the sides

    are lightly coloured. Remove the pastry from the oven, then increase the heat to 180°C (350°F/

    gas mark 4).


    While the pastry is baking, heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the leek

    for 3–4 minutes, until it’s softened but not coloured. Season to taste and leave to cool.

    Beat the cream in a bowl with the milk, eggs, egg yolks and sweet chilli sauce, until well

    combined. Stir in the parsley and dill and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the leek and

    smoked salmon into the bottom of the pastry case and then pour in the cream mixture. Bake for

    25–30 minutes, until the filling is just set but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Leave to rest for 5

    minutes in the tin, then remove and trim down the excess pastry.


    To serve, carefully cut the smoked salmon and leek quiche into slices while it’s still warm.

    Arrange on serving plates with the green salad.



    Nevens Recipes - Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast

    Pesto-stuffed Chicken Breasts with Rustic Mixed Potatoes

    Serves 4

    125g (4 ½oz) ball of mozzarella,

    torn into small pieces

    4 tbsp basil pesto

    4 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets

    8 cherry tomatoes, halved

    8 smoked streaky bacon rashers, rinds removed

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    steamed French green beans, to serve


    Rustic mixed potatoes:

    450g (1lb) Rooster potatoes, scrubbed

    225g (8oz) sweet potatoes, scrubbed

    3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed (skin still on)

    1 fresh rosemary sprig, broken into tiny


    sea salt flakes

    2 tbsp olive oil

    Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).

    Mix together the mozzarella and pesto. Cut a slit into the side of each chicken breast and then

    stuff with the pesto-covered cheese. Place 2 halved cherry tomatoes in each breast. Wrap each stuffed chicken breast with 2 bacon rashers – not too tightly, but enough to hold the chicken together. Season with salt and pepper.


    To make the rustic mixed potatoes, cut the potatoes and sweet potatoes into 5mm (¼in) slices

    – a Japanese mandolin is perfect for doing this – and arrange in a single layer on a large roasting tray lined with parchment paper. Add the garlic and rosemary and season with salt. Drizzle over the oil and toss until evenly coated.

    Nestle the pesto-stuffed chicken breasts in the potatoes and roast for 20–25 minutes, until the

    chicken is cooked through and the bacon is crispy. Remove the chicken from the oven and rest in a warm place for 5 minutes. Return the potatoes to the oven in that time for a final crisp-up.

    To serve, arrange the pesto-stuffed chicken breasts on warmed serving plates with steamed

    French green beans and the rustic mixed potatoes.


    Nevens Recipes - Mothers Day Special

    Mothers Day Special

    Fragrant Roast Chicken with Sausage Stuffing


    Serves 4–6

     1.5kg (3lb) whole chicken

    1 lemon

    1 fresh thyme sprig

    75g (3oz) butter, softened

    2 garlic cloves, crushed

    4 small carrots, peeled

    2 red onions, peeled and halved

    2 celery sticks, chopped in half

    1 leek, chopped in half

    1 garlic bulb, broken into cloves (but not peeled)

    3 tbsp olive oil

    1 tbsp plain flour

    120ml (4fl oz) white wine

    300ml (½ pint) chicken stock

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    crispy roast potatoes, to serve

    buttered peas, to serve

    Sausage stuffing roll:

    25g (1oz) butter, extra for greasing

    1 onion, finely chopped

    100g (4oz) sausage meat

    100g (4oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

    2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme


    Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before it goes into the oven. Preheat the oven to

    230°C (450°F/gas mark 8).


    Finely grate the rind from the lemon and place the rind in a bowl, reserving the lemon. Strip the thyme leaves from the stalks (reserve the stalks) and add to the lemon rind. Mix in the butter and the garlic and then season to taste.


    Loosen the skin from the chicken breasts, starting at the cavity end and working your hand

    underneath to release it. Spread the butter evenly under the skin and lay the skin back down on top. Slash the chicken legs several times with a sharp knife (this is to help ensure crispy skin).


    Place the carrots in a roasting tin with the red onions, celery, leek and garlic, tossing to coat

    in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sit the chicken on top of the pile of vegetables and drizzle all over with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, then season well, rubbing it all over and right into the slashes.


    Cut the reserved lemon in half and put it inside the chicken’s cavity with the reserved thyme

    stalks. Place the chicken in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 200°C (400°F/gas

    mark 6). Roast the chicken for 1 hour 20 minutes, basting the chicken halfway through cooking.


    Meanwhile, to make the sausage stuffing roll, melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the onion until softened. Leave to cool, then mix with the sausage meat, breadcrumbs and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Place on a heavily buttered double sheet of tin foil and roll up into a thick sausage shape about 2.5cm (1in) thick and 20cm (8in) long, twisting the ends to secure.


    Place in a roasting tin and cook above the chicken for 25–30 minutes, until the sausage meat is cooked through, turning it a couple of times to ensure it cooks evenly.

    When the chicken is cooked, transfer the chicken to a board and put the carrots and red onions on a warmed plate. Cover each with tin foil and rest for 15 minutes while you make the gravy.


    Using a large spoon, carefully remove most of the fat from the tin and then place the tin directly on the heat. Stir in the flour and then holding the tin steady, mash up the remaining vegetables as much as possible with a potato masher. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble down, stirring continuously to blend the flour in. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until slightly reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally.


    Take a large jug and set a sieve into it, then pour in the gravy mixture, using a ladle to push all of the liquid and some of the vegetables through with the back of the spoon. Stir in the juices from the resting chicken and season to taste. Transfer to a warmed gravy boat.


    To serve, carve the chicken into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with the reserved carrots and red onion halves. Unwrap the sausage stuffing roll and cut into slices, then add to the plates with the roast potatoes and buttered peas. Hand around the gravy boat separately.


    Crispy Roast Potatoes


    For really crunchy roast potatoes with fluffy middles, choose a floury variety of potato, such as Roosters, and try to make sure that they are all similar in size. Save some fat that’s left over from a roast to use for this dish. To ensure really crispy roast potatoes, drain off any excess fat about 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time. This will help them to go really crispy and golden brown around the edges.


    Serves 4–6


    1.5kg (3lb) floury potatoes (such as Roosters), halved

    about 100ml (3 ½fl oz) sunflower oil, or dripping,

    goose or duck fat

    6 garlic cloves, slightly smashed (not peeled)

    3 fresh rosemary sprigs

    sea salt

    Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/gas mark 7).


    Place the potatoes in a pan of cold salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and

    simmer for 8–10 minutes, until the outsides have just softened. Drain and return to the pan for a minute to dry out, shaking vigorously to knock off all the hard edges.


    Meanwhile, preheat a roasting tin with a 1cm (½in) depth of oil, dripping, duck or goose fat for a few minutes, until just smoking. Roughly prod the outside of the potatoes with a fork and toss them with the garlic and rosemary. Carefully tip them into the hot oil, basting the tops. Roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden.


    To serve, transfer the crispy roast potatoes with a slotted spoon into a warmed serving bowl.

    Season with the salt and place them straight on the table or use as required.


    Mango and Lime Cheesecake


    This cheesecake combines a luscious tropical fruit topping with a creamy filling and a spiced

    biscuit base. I think gelatine leaves are much easier to use than powdered gelatine. They are

    available now from most supermarkets, but if you can’t find them, use 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatine for the filling and dissolve in 2 tablespoons of very hot water and use 1 teaspoon for the topping and dissolve in 1 tablespoon of very hot water.


    Serves 8


    200g (7oz) ginger nut biscuits

    100g (4oz) butter, melted

    vegetable oil, for greasing


    4 gelatine leaves

    175ml (6fl oz) milk

    1 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out

    175g (6oz) caster sugar

    500g (18 oz) Greek yoghurt

    finely grated rind and juice of 2 limes

    150ml (¼ pint) cream


    2 gelatine leaves

    400g (14oz) can mango slices in syrup, drained

    fresh mint sprigs, to decorate

    lightly whipped cream, to serve


    To make the base, place the biscuits in a food processor or liquidiser and blend to fine crumbs.


    With the motor still running, pour in the melted butter through the feeder tube and mix until

    well combined. Tip into a lightly oiled 23cm (9in) loose-bottomed cake tin and press firmly and evenly to form a base for the cheesecake. Chill for at least 10 minutes, until firmly set, or up to 24 hours is fine.


    Meanwhile, to make the filling, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. Place the milk in a pan and add the vanilla seeds, whisking to combine. Cook until it just reaches boiling point, but do not allow to boil. Gently squeeze the gelatine dry and add to the pan with the sugar, whisking until the gelatine and sugar are both dissolved. Pour into a large bowl and leave to cool a little.


    Stir the Greek yoghurt into the cooled milk mixture with the lime rind and juice. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it’s just holding its shape, then fold into the filling mixture. Pour into the set biscuit base and chill for at least 1 hour, until set, or up to 24 hours is fine.


    To make the topping, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. Place

    the mango slices in a mini processor or liquidiser and blend until smooth. Heat 1 tablespoon

    of water in a small pan or in the microwave. Gently squeeze the gelatine dry and stir into the

    hot water, until dissolved. Add to the mango purée and pour over the set cheesecake filling,

    spreading evenly with the back of a spoon. Chill for another 2–3 hours, until completely set, or up to 24 hours is fine.


    To serve, remove the cheesecake from the tin and transfer to a serving plate, then decorate with the mint sprigs. Cut into slices and arrange on serving plates with a dollop of whipped cream


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    Nevens Recipes - Meatball pasta bake

    Meatball Pasta Bake with Spinach and Mozzarella

     Serves 4–6

    225g (8oz) lean minced beef

    225g (8oz) minced pork

    8 cream crackers, crushed into fine crumbs

    1 egg, lightly beaten

    1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    2 tbsp olive oil, extra for drizzling

    1 onion, finely chopped

    1 celery stick, finely chopped

    1 large garlic clove, crushed

    500ml (18fl oz) passata (Italian sieved tomatoes)

    2 tbsp tomato purée

    small handful of fresh basil leaves, extra to garnish

    350g (12oz) penne pasta

    knob of butter

    225g (8oz) baby spinach leaves

    100g (4oz) mozzarella, cut into cubes

    25g (1oz) freshly grated Parmesan

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    lightly dressed mixed salad, to serve


    Place the minced beef and pork in a bowl with the crushed cream crackers, egg and parsley.

    Season with salt and pepper and using your hands, give everything a good mix. Using slightly

    wetted hands, make about 20 even-sized balls. Arrange on a flat baking sheet, drizzle over a

    little olive oil to lightly coat and chill for 1 hour to firm up if time allows.

    Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and sauté the onion and celery for about 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, stirring. Add the passata and tomato purée and season to taste. Simmer gently for 8–10 minutes, until the sauce has nicely reduced and thickened. Stir in the basil leaves and remove from the heat.


    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6). Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.Plunge the penne into the boiling salted water and simmer for 6–8 minutes, until almost tender but not quite cooked through. Drain the penne well and return to the pan.

    Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the meatballs for 6–8 minutes, until almost cooked through and nicely browned.


    Heat the butter in a separate pan. Add one fistful of spinach at a time, adding another as one

    wilts down. Cook for 1 minute, then tip into a colander to drain. Season to taste.

    Stir the tomato sauce into the drained penne to coat and then transfer to a 30cm x 20cm (12in

    x 8in) 5cm (2in) deep ovenproof baking dish. Nestle in small mounds of spinach and arrange

    the meatballs on top. Scatter over the mozzarella and Parmesan. Place in the oven and bake for 15–20 minutes, until bubbling.

    To serve, put the pasta bake straight on the table garnished with the basil leaves. Have a

    separate big bowl of salad and allow everyone to help themselves.


    Nevens' Recipes - Irish Stew

    Somthing for the weekend that's in it!

    Roast Leg of Spring Lamb with Boulangère Potatoes

    This dish is hassle free – perfect for a dinner party or Sunday lunch.

    Serves 6

    1 tbsp rapeseed oil

    knob of butter

    3 onions, thinly sliced

    1.5kg (3lb) potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

    4 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped

    400ml (14fl oz) chicken stock

    1.75kg (4lb) leg of lamb

    3 garlic cloves, sliced

    2 fresh rosemary sprigs

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    wilted spinach , to serve

    Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).

    To make the boulangère potatoes, heat the oil in a frying pan with the butter and sauté the

    onions for 3–4 minutes over a medium heat, until softened but not coloured. Season to

    taste. Layer the potatoes, onions and thyme leaves in a large roasting tin large enough to fit

    the leg of lamb. Season each layer as you go and finish with an attractive overlapping layer

    of the potatoes. Pour over the stock and set to one side.

    Using a sharp knife, make small incisions all over the lamb and press a garlic slice and a tiny

    sprig of the rosemary into each one. Weigh the joint and allow 20 minutes per 450g (1lb)

    plus 20 minutes (add a further 20 minutes for well done), then place the lamb carefully on

    top of the potatoes in the roasting tin. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature

    to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4) and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes for a leg of lamb this size

    (1.75kg (4lb)).

    Transfer the leg of lamb to a carving platter and cover loosely with foil, then leave to rest for

    15 minutes, keeping the boulangère potatoes warm.

    To serve, carve the lamb into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with the boulangère

    potatoes and wilted spinach.


    Wilted Spinach

    Serves 6

    100g (4oz) butter

    550g (1lb 4oz) spinach, tough stalks removed

    pinch of caster sugar

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Heat a pan over a medium heat and add the

    butter. Once it has stopped foaming, quickly

    sauté the spinach with the sugar until soft and

    wilted. Season to taste and drain well on kitchen

    paper to remove the excess moisture. Return to

    the pan and keep warm. Use as required.


    Apple Tart with Custard

    Homemade apple tart – a winning combination of delicate sweet pastry filled with heavenly

    scented apples – simply can’t be beaten. To ring in the changes, mix the apples with blackberries

    or try a mixture of rhubarb and strawberry. To make your tart extra special, add a vanilla

    pod to your bag of sugar and leave for at least a week before using.

    Serves 6–8


    225g (8oz) plain flour, extra for dusting

    2 tbsp icing sugar

    100g (4oz) butter, diced and chilled

    2 large egg yolks

    2–3 tablespoons ice-cold water


    900g (2lb) Bramley cooking apples

    100g (4oz) caster sugar

    ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

    good pinch of ground cloves

    1 tbsp milk


    5 egg yolks

    3 tbsp caster sugar

    ½ vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out

    300ml (½ pint) milk

    100ml (3 ½fl oz) cream

    To make the pastry, sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Using a round-bladed knife or the

    tips of your fingers, work in the butter and then mix in the egg yolks with enough of the ice-cold

    water, until the dough just comes together. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5). Lightly dust the work surface with flour.

    Divide the pastry into 2 portions, one slightly larger than the other, then roll out the larger piece

    until it’s about 30cm (12in) in diameter. Use to line a 20cm (8in) pie dish or a 23cm (9in) flat

    plate, gently pressing into the corners. Trim the edges with a knife and reserve the excess for

    decorating. Place back in the fridge to chill while you prepare the apples.

    Peel, core and slice the apples. Place in a large bowl with all but 1 tablespoon of the caster

    sugar. Add the cinnamon and cloves and mix together. Brush the edge of the pastry with a little

    milk and then pile the apples into the lined pie dish. Roll out the second piece of pastry into a

    circle slightly larger than the pie dish and use to cover the apples. Press the edges together to

    seal, then use a sharp knife to cut away any excess.

    Crimp the edges of the tart with a round-bladed knife and using your fingers as a guide. Roll

    out the pastry scraps and cut into leaf shapes. Brush the shapes with milk and stick on top of the

    pie. Brush the entire top of the pastry with milk and sprinkle over the remaining 1 tablespoon of

    sugar. Bake for 25–30 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4) and bake for

    another 20–25 minutes, until golden brown.

    Meanwhile, to make the custard, place the egg yolks in a large bowl with the sugar and vanilla

    seeds. Whisk with an electric mixer for a few minutes, until pale and thickened.

    Place the milk and cream in a medium pan and bring to the boil, then immediately remove from

    the heat. Gradually whisk the heated milk and cream into the egg yolk mixture until smooth,

    then pour back into the pan and place over a gentle heat. Cook gently for 6–8 minutes on a

    medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Keep

    To serve, cut the warm apple tart into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with some of

    the custard. Put the remainder into a jug on the table.



    Neven's Recipes - Crispy Chicken Schnitzel

    Something for the Kids - Crispy Chicken Schnitzel Baps

    This recipe makes a little chicken go a long way and is the ultimate chicken burger for children.

    It doesn’t take long to prepare, especially if you have some breadcrumbs tucked away in the freezer. Serves 4

    25g (1oz) seasoned flour, 1 large egg

    1 tbsp milk, pinch of salt

    50g (2oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

    2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

    2 large skinless chicken fillets

    2 tbsp olive oil

    knob of butter

    4 white bread rolls, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


    2 carrots, finely grated

    ¼ head of white cabbage, tough core removed and shredded

    4 tbsp mayonnaise.

    Put the seasoned flour on a flat plate. Beat the egg, milk and a pinch of salt in a shallow dish. Put the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a separate shallow dish, then season with salt and pepper.

    Cut each chicken fillet in half so that it almost opens out like a butterfly, then cut all the way

    through – you’re looking to get 2 even-sized, thin pieces of chicken from each breast. Dust in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, then dip in the beaten egg and then coat in the

    Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and then add the butter. Once the butter stops sizzling, add in the coated chicken pieces and sauté for 2–3 minutes on each side, until cooked through and golden brown.

    Meanwhile, to make the coleslaw, put the carrots and cabbage in a bowl and fold in the mayonnaise, then season to taste. Split the bread rolls in half and lightly toast them.

    To serve, spread the bottom halves of the bread rolls with the coleslaw and put a crispy chicken schnitzel on top. Cover with the toasted bread roll tops.

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