Well the name of the game is definitely BBQ with all this sunshine. It’s super easy and takes no time at all to prepare the best food from scratch without having to resort to the standard charcoaled sausages, shrunken burgers and burnt chicken wings! Do try to resist buying everything ready-made, the stuff you do yourself will taste so much better! Also this week is a gorgeous stuffed squid with sage potatoes, absolutely delicious (you can also grill the stuffed squid on the BBQ). And my favorite recipe of all – the fridge raid, using an egg fried rice base you can throw in anything you want. I’ve given some ideas based on what I usually have lying about but you can use anything so be creative!
Saturday: BBQ! sesame sea bass, sirloin of beef, sticky prawn skewers served with salads/sides of your choosing
Sunday: Tarragon rabbit
Monday: Asparagus, mint and ricotta tarts
Tuesday: Chorizo stuffed baby squid w/ sage potatoes
Wednesday: Fridge raid fried rice
Thursday: Cheats Lebanese pizza
Friday: Chicken Marengo
Sesame sea bass, sirloin of beef, sticky prawn skewers served with salads/sides of your choosing
1 large sea bass, descaled.
1 lemon, quartered.
Handful of sea salt .
Sirloin joint or steaks whichever you like, if doing the joint you will need to butterfly it (slice it in half to reduce cooking time)
3 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tbsp table salt
1 tbsp dark muscovada sugar
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp mustard powder
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp chilli or ancho chilli powder
1 tbsp chipotle or cayenne powder
16 large raw prawns, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1-2 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
Pinch of chilli flakes
Take the fish and open the carcass and stuff the lemon throughout. Cut three slits on either side of the fish. Rub with a little olive oil and sea salt, then sprinkle on the sesame seeds, covering the whole fish nicely. Transfer to the barbecue, but cook in a slighter cooler part of the grill, preferably the sides so that it can slow cook. Once cooked and crispy on both sides, move onto a plate and serve immediately.
Prepare your beef joint (if using) by butterflying it, this will make reduce the cooking time. Mix all your dry rub ingredients together and then rub into your meat with your hands. Really massage it in well. Then set meat aside for a minimum of 2 hours. If you want to start the meat off in the low oven covered in foil you can otherwise, just put it on the hottest part of the BBQ to begin with to really sear the outside of the meat, after about 10 mins of each side then move to a medium heat part of the grill and allow to slowly BBQ, turning every now and then for about 40 mins for a butterflied joint or until you get it how you like it. Once done, remove from the grill and allow to rest for 10 mins (if you can wait that long!) For steaks allow to rest for a couple of minutes and they should be fine.
Soak 4 bamboo or wooden skewers in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse the prawns and pat dry on kitchen paper. Put into a bowl and set aside. Mix the olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, honey, the zest and juice of 1 lime, coriander, chilli and seasoning. Pour it over the prawns and toss well. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes. Cut the other lime into quarters. Thread 4 prawns and 1 lime wedge onto each skewer. Barbecue directly over a medium heat source for 2-3 minutes, turning halfway and brushing with any remaining marinade, until pink and tender
Serve all your lovely BBQ foods with freshly made coleslaw, salad, grilled corn on the cob or any other sides you like.
60 g butter
80 g fennel, thinly sliced
3 tbsp plain flour
125 ml white wine
3 rabbit joints, approximately 600g in total
300 ml rabbit, chicken orvegetable stock
15 g tarragon leaves, half of the leaves chopped and half left whole
Melt half the butter in a casserole dish and add the onions. Leave them to cook on a low to moderate heat until soft but not coloured. They will need a stir now and again. Add the fennel to the onions.
Put the flour in a plastic bag, season with salt and pepper, then add the rabbit pieces. Shake the bag gently to coat the rabbit in the seasoned flour.
Melt the remaining butter in a shallow pan, add the rabbit and leave to colour lightly on both sides.
Transfer the rabbit to the onions and fennel. Pour the wine or vermouth into the pan in which you have fried the rabbit, bring to the boil and stir to dissolve any remains from the rabbit on the base of the pan. Tip into the casserole with the stock. Stir the chopped tarragon into the casserole, then partially cover with a lid and leave to simmer gently for an hour over a low to moderate heat, stirring occasionally.
When the rabbit is tender – it should come away from the bone with a good tug – stir in the cream and the remaining tarragon. Check the seasoning, adding more salt as you think fit, then serve.
Asparagus, mint and ricotta tarts
1 sheet of ready-rolled all butter puff pastry
150 g ricotta cheese
80 g parmesan, grated and extra shavings to serve
1 lemon, rind finely grated
16 spears asparagus
Olive oil, for brushing
Mint leaves, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.
Cut out four rectangles, each 12 x 6cm from the pastry sheet and place them on the baking tray. Score a 1cm border on each rectangle.
Put the ricotta, parmesan, lemon rind and a pinch of salt and pepper into a bowl and stir to combine. Spoon the mixture on to the pastry and top each tart with two asparagus spears. Brush the pastry borders with oil and cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden. Serve with a couple of mint leaves and shavings of parmesan on top
Chorizo stuffed baby squid w/ sage potatoes
10 cocktail sticks, cut in half, soaked in cold water
20 baby squid, cleaned, cartilage removed, tentacles removed and reserved (fishmonger can do this for you if you prefer)
5-6 spicy cooking chorizo, peeled, finely chopped
3 medium King Edward potatoes, peeled, cut into 3cm dice
2 cloves garlic, skin on, crushed
15 sage leaves, roughly chopped
50g unsalted butter
25g miniature capers
Zest of half a lemon
Olive oil for cooking
Sea salt and black pepper
Knead the chopped chorizo in a bowl to form a rough paste. Take a piece of the paste and form into a shape to fit the squid cavity. Fill each squid to about three quarters and press it down. Do not overfill the squids or they may burst on cooking as the chorizo expands. Secure each squid tube with a cocktail stick and reserve until ready to cook.
Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender and then drain well. Heat a non-stick sauté pan over a medium heat, add a lug of olive oil, the crushed garlic cloves and the potatoes and season well. Cook over a moderate heat, tossing occasionally to crisp and caramelise the potatoes evenly.
Meanwhile, place another non-stick pan over a moderate heat. Season the squid pockets and tentacles with salt and pepper. Add oil to the pan and add the squid. Cook turning frequently until caramelised, you need the squid to get some good colour all over and you want the chorizo filling to be cooked. Add the butter and sage and when foaming, spoon the herby butter over the squid pockets to cook further. The filling will feel firm to the touch when cooked. Now add the capers and lemon zest and remove the pan from the heat. When the potatoes are ready, transfer to kitchen paper to drain. Arrange the squids and potatoes on serving plates and spoon over the buttery pan juices, capers and zest.
Cheats Lebanese pizza
375g minced lamb
3 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
25g sun-dried or semi dried tomatoes, drained and finely and chopped
4 mini naan breads or Mediterranean flatbread
50g spinach leaves
olive oil, to drizzle
balsamic vinegar and crunchy salad, to serve
Heat a large non-stick pan and dry-fry the mince with 2 teaspoons of the herbs, spices,fresh oregano and sun-dried tomatoes for 6-8 minutes until the mince is cooked. Season, if required.
Preheat the grill. Place the breads on a baking sheet and scatter evenly with the spinach leaves. Spoon over the lamb mixture, Top with the remaining dried herbs. Sprinkle with the olive oil.
Cook under the grill for 3-4 minutes. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and serve immediately with a crunchy salad.
Fridge raid fried rice
300g cooked rice
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red onion, finely chopped or sliced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp kejup manis (or you can add more soy sauce or oyster sauce)
Any veg/meat leftovers you have in the fridge for example, peppers, spring onions, mushrooms, pancetta cubes, little bits of roast chicken or lamb. Make sure they are all chopped or sliced in equal-ish sizes
1 red chilli, finely sliced (more if you like)
Couple of handfuls so frozen peas
2 large eggs beaten
Heat oil in a large wok or deep frying pan, throw in garlic, pancetta if using and onion and stir fry for about 15 seconds to flavour the oil then throw your other veg and stir fry for 3-4 minutes (keep it all moving around with a spatula or flick the pan). Next add any cooked meat along with soy sauce, kejup manis or equivalent if using, peas and mix well before adding the rice. Stir fry the whole lot for a further 2-3 minutes until nice and hot and sizzling.
Finally stir through the beaten egg and allow it to just start to set on the grains. Then serve it up with some finely chopped spring onion and corriander as granish.
1 tbsp olive oil
300g pack cup mushrooms, halved
4 chicken legs, skin removed
500g garlic & herb passata (or use plain passata and add your own minced garlic and herbs)
1 chicken stock cube or Knorr stockpot
100g pitted black kalamata olives
1 tsp chilli flakes
Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and stir-fry the mushrooms until they start to soften. Add the chicken legs and cook briefly on each side to colour them a little.
Pour in the passata, add the stock (either crumble in the cube or throw in the stockpot)and stir in the olives and chilli flakes. Season with black pepper. Cover and simmer for 40 mins until the chicken is tender. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with mash.
(Credits: Salt Yard – Food and Wine from Spain and Italy, Nigel Slater, Clodagh McKenna, JJMoola’s Kitchen)