Recipes for May

As we have 3 Bank Holidays this month I thought you might be entertaining and I would provide 2 recipes that I cooked when entertaining myself at Easter and which were both very well received.

LAMB KLEFTIKO – Serves 6 – 8

a 2.5kg. bone in leg of lamb
6 garlic cloves
2 tsp. sea salt (ordinary salt will do)
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp. gd. cinnamon
2 tbsps. olive oil
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

For the traybake:

1 kg. waxy potatoes, cut into wedges
2 red onions cut into wedges
2 large red peppers, cut into wedges
4 medium or large tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 tbsps. olive oil
3 bay leaves
1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
2 tbsps. capers

  1. Score the fat of the lamb.  Crush the peeled garlic with the salt using a pestle and mortar, add the zest and cinnamon and pound to a paste.  Add the olive oil and combine, seasoning with black pepper.  Brush the mustard over the lamb and rub the paste into the meat.  Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
  2. Remove the lamb from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking.  Preheat the oven to 160C, fan 140C, gas mark 3.  Put the vegetables in a large roasting tin and drizzle over the oil.  Toss to coat and nestle in the bay leaves and halved garlic bulb.  Squeeze over the juice from the 2 lemons.  Sit the lamb on top of the vegetables and cover the tin with foil making sure its well sealed round the rim.  Roast for 4 hours.
  3. Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 220C, fan 200C, gas mark 7.  Remove the foil and stir the capers into the vegetables.  Return to the oven uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes until the lamb has browned.
  4. Lift the lamb from the tin and cover loosely with foil to rest for about 15 minutes.  Carve the lamb and serve it with the vegetables.
  5. Serve with a Greek salad if desired – 600g. vine tomatoes cut into wedges, 1 red onion finely sliced, 1 green pepper, sliced, 1 large cucumber (cut in 1/2, seeds removed and cut into half moons), 75g. pitted black olives, 3 tbsps. olive oil, 2 tbsps. red wine vinegar, 1 x 200g. pack feta drained and cubed, 2 tsps. dried herbs.


Although it seems quite a lot of work to prepare this, once it is in the oven you can go out for 4 hours.  We found it delicious.  If you don’t want to make a Greek salad you could always cook a green vegetable e.g. broccoli or kale, to give another colour to the food.  There were plenty of leftovers, enough cold for the following day, and a doggy bag for my friend to take home.



1 kg. flour potatoes such as Maris Piper
olive oil for roasting
1 tsp.turmeric
2 tsps. gd. cumin
1 tsp.chilli flakes
200g. spinach
1 x 500g. salmon fillet
2 tbsps. tandoori or tikka spice paste~
100 mls. double cream
lemon wedges to serve

  1. Heat the oven to 200C,  180C fan, gas mark 6.  Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling water for 6 minutes.  Drain in a colander and leave to steam dry for a few minutes.  Toss the potatoes in a roasting tin with 1 tbsp. oil, the turmeric, ground cumin and chilli flakes and plenty of seasoning.  Roast for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.  Boil the kettle.
  2. Put the spinach in a colander and pour over boiling water until wilted.  Use the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze out most of the water.  Rub the salmon generously with the spice paste and drizzle with oil.  Stir the spinach through the potatoes and top with the salmon, skin side down.  Increase the heat to 220C, 200C fan, gas mark 7.  Return to the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until the salmon is just cooked.  Remove the salmon to stir the cream into the potatoes, replace the salmon and serve with lemon wedges.


I cooked the salmon on a separate baking tray as I thought it might break up if lifted to stir in the cream, it also made it easier to serve.  I also added cauliflower florets to the potato and spinach mixture at the start of the cooking time, broccoli would also be good, to give more vegetables. We all thought it was a lovely recipe.   

Recipes for March


Serves 4

300g. floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm. pieces
1 small celeriac (600-650g.) peeled and cut into 2cm. pieces
4 eggs
400g. frozen garden peas
about 330mls. whole milk
2 fresh bay leaves
400g. pack Frozen Fish Pie Mix, defrosted
180g. Raw King Prawns
20g. unsalted butter
20g. plain flour
1 unwaxed lemon, zest of all, juice of 1/2
75g. reduced fat creme fraiche

1. Put the potatoes and celeriac in a large saucepan of salted water. Cover and bring to the boil and cook simmering for 15 minutes. Carefully put the eggs on top, cover and boil for a further 7 – 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to a bowl of cold water. Add the peas to the pan, cover and bring to the boil. Drain and steam dry for 5 minutes, then mash with 30mls. of milk. Season and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, put the bay leaves, fish pie mix and prawns in a large frying pan. Pour over the remaining 300mls, of milk, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly then transfer the fish to a plate using your slotted spoon. Strain the milk into a measuring jug. You want 300mls. of liquid so top up if necessary. Preheat oven to 180C, gas mark 4.

3. For the sauce, melt the butter in a pan and when melted add the flour and stir to make a paste. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the poaching milk until combined. Simmer for a few minutes until bubbling and thickened. Mix in the lemon juice and zest and creme fraiche. Season.

4. Peel the eggs, quarter and place on top of the fish and sauce mixture in a medium-large baking dish. Top with spoonfuls of the mash, spreading evenly to cover. Put on a baking tray and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until bubbling.


Celeriac browns quickly when peeled so put it into water with lemon juice added to stop discolouration. Use a knife rather than a peeler would be my advice.

I used cooked prawns when making this dish and they were fine. I couldn’t find frozen pie mix in the supermarket but they did have fresh, or you could make your own mix using salmon, white fish and smoked haddock. Max sells pie mix (the fishmonger who comes to Ledbury on a Tuesday morning).

You can make a white sauce without making a roux if you add flour to cold milk and keep whisking until it bubbles. I never bother making a roux now. Waitrose sell sauce flour designed to be used without butter.


Serves 8

180mls. sunflower oil
225g. light brown sugar or muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, separated
35g. raw beetroot, peeled and grated
juice of 1 lemon
75g. sultanas
75g. mixed seeds
100g. wholemeal self raising flour
125g. white self-raising flour
1/2 tsp. bicarb of soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. gd. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180C/ Gas Mark 4. Line a 900g. loaf tin with baking parchment. Place the oil and sugar in a large bowl and beat until well combined. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating between each addition. Stir in the grated beetroot, lemon juice, sultanas and all but 2 tbsps. of the seeds.

Sift the flours, bicarb, baking powder and cinnamon over the egg mixture and fold in with a metal spoon.

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Fold the beaten egg whites gradually into the cake mixture using a metal spoon.

Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and sprinkle with the remaining seeds. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes then turn out and transfer to a wire rack. Keeps for 3 – 4 days in an airtight container.


You can buy loaf tins liners at the kitchen shop in Ledbury. Brilliant things to have in store.

Make sure your bowl is grease free when you whisk the egg whites. You use a metal spoon so that you retain the air, a wooden spoon knocks it out.

January Recipes


Serves 4

2 tbsps. veg. oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1/2 butternut squash, peeled & cut into cubes
4 carrots, peeled & cut into batons
2 parsnips, peeled & cut into batons
3 tbsps. curry paste
8 large ripe tomatoes, 2 cut into wedges
6 garlic cloves, peeled
thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled an chopped
small packet coriander, chopped
200g. brown basmati rice
6 tbsps. natural yogurt
tin of mango, drained and chopped
1 tbsp. mango chutney
small pack toasted, flaked almonds

Heat the oil in a large lidded pan.  Tip in the onions and cook for 10 minutes until soft.  Stir in the squash, carrots and parsnips and cook for 5 minutes until they begin to soften.  Add the curry paste and cook for another 3 minutes.

In a bowl whizz together the whole tomatoes, garlic and ginger until smooth (using a hand blender or small food processor) then pour over the vegetables adding 200mls. water.  Save a handful of coriander to serve and stir in the rest.  Pop on the lid and simmer for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Add more water if necessary.  Uncover and stir through the tomato wedges.

Meanwhile cook the rice following the pack instructions.  Mix the yogurt, mango and chutney in a small bowl.  Fork the rice into a serving dish and scatter the curry with the remaining coriander and the almonds.  Season then serve alongside the rice and fruity yogurt. 


You could always make the fruity raita by using dried, chopped apricots instead of tinned mango.  You can, obviously, miss this out as a side dish and use white rice instead of brown if preferred.  I recently had a curry served with lentils instead of rice and it was lovely.  Not red lentils, but the puy variety. 



Serves 4-6

1/2 tbsps. olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 small bunch thyme, leaves picked
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 litre veg. stock
100mls. double cream
1/4 bunch parsley, finely chopped (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and celery for 10 minutes until softened.  Add the garlic, thyme and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the carrots, parsnips and stock and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Blend using a stick blender until smooth.  Add the cream and blitz until combined, then taste for seasoning.  To serve, ladle into bowls and scatter over a little chopped parsley if you like. 

No tips really on this one but use dried herbs if you cannot get fresh thyme.  Double cream doesn’t split when reheated whereas single can.

Recipes for August 2022

Chicken With Curried Fennel Sauce


15g. / 1oz. butter
4 chicken breasts
2 large fennel bulbs
3 cardamom pods
2 large garlic cloves
2.5cm. / 1 inch piece of root ginger
1 fresh red chilli
1 tsp. gd. coriander
½ tsp. gd. cinnamon
½ tsp. gd. cloves
1 tbsp. plain flour
150mls. / ¼ pt. natural yoghurt
8 tbsps. lemon juice
1 ½ tbsps. tomato puree mixed into 300mls.
 ½ pt. water

To serve:

Handful of fresh coriander leaves

  1. Set the oven to gas mark 4 / 180.  Heat the oil and half the butter and add the chicken pieces and brown them all over.  Put the chicken into a large casserole.
  2. Cut off the base and stalks of the fennel and remove any marked outer parts and cut the bulbs into 6 – 8 pieces each.  Blanch the pieces in boiling salted water for a few minutes to soften slightly.
  3. Put the fennel in the dish around the chicken.  Roughly crush the cardamom pods and scatter them in with the fennel.  Peel the garlic and ginger and chop finely.  Cut the chilli open lengthways and discard any seeds and slice very thinly.
  4. Put the frying pan back on the heat, adding the remaining butter.  Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and the ground spices and stir for 30 seconds.  Stir in the flour and continue to stir for 1 minute.  Stir in the yoghurt in one direction only, add the lemon juice to the tomato puree mixture and stir into the fried spices.
  5. Bring to the boil and stir until the sauce thickens, season to taste with a little salt.  Pour the sauce over the fennel in the casserole dish.  Cover and cook for one hour.  Serve with basmati rice and a green vegetable.

You will require an apron and tea towel, a large frying pan and a large casserole dish plus foil to cover and clingfilm.


The reason for telling you to stir the yogurt in one direction is that it can split.  Adding a teaspoon of cornflour to your yogurt prevents this.  You could, of course, use creme fraiche instead of yogurt if you are worried.  I have never known that to split ever.

Plum & Hazelnut Cake Or Pear & Walnut Cake


8 – 10 large red plums, halved & stoned or 3 pears
125g. / 4 ½ ozs. soft butter, plus extra for greasing
100g. / 3 ½ ozs. caster sugar, plus 1 extra tbsp.
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
100g. / 3 ½ ozs. self-raising flour, sifted
100g. / 3 ½ ozs. toasted hazelnuts ground or walnuts
2 tbsps. whole milk

  1. Cut each plum half into 3 slices or the cored pears into about 1 cm. / ½ inch thick slices.  Butter a 20cm. 8 inch springform tin and line the base with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
  2.  Put the butter, sugar (minus the extra tablespoon), eggs, lemon zest, flour, nuts and milk into a food processor and whiz until smooth.  Spoon the batter into the tin and arrange the plum or pear slices, cut-side up, in circles on top.  Make sure you pack them well together.  Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. caster sugar (or more if the plums are very tart) and bake in an oven preheated to 180C / gas mark 4 for 40 minutes.  A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
  3. Let the cake cool in its tin for 15 minutes, then remove it, peeling off the greaseproof paper on the bottom, and put it on a wire rack to cool completely.

You will need a 20cm. / 8 inch springform tin, apron, teatowel and baking parchment or greaseproof paper.


Bentleys Fruit Farm near Newent have lovely plums which they say will be available until well into September.

Recipes for July 2022


250g. / 9ozs, ready made puff pastry (all butter is best)
3 tbsps. sun dried tomato puree, or ordinary tomato puree
250g. / 9 ozs. ripe vine tomatoes, sliced
150g. / 5 1/2 ozs. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 egg yolk
125g. / 4 1/2 ozs. Italian sliced salami, chopped
salt and pepper
handful thyme sprigs

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F / Gas Mark 5.  Roll out the pastry to form a rectangle 36cm. / 14 inches long and 25cm. / 10 inches wide and lift on to a heavy duty baking tray.
  2. Spread the tomato puree over the pastry, leaving a 3cm. / 1 1/4 inch margin around the edge.  Arrange the vine tomato slices over the tomato puree, scatter over the cherry tomato halves, top with the rosemary and drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.  Brush the edges of the pastry with egg yolk and bake for 10 minutes.  Scatter over the salami and bake for a further 10 – 15 minutes.   
  3. Remove the tart from the oven and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with the remaining oil and scatter over the thyme.


You could make this into a vegetarian version by leaving out the salami and instead using feta or goat’s cheese.  Another alternative is roasted peppers and pine kernels instead of the salami.

Some sun dried tomatoes, cut into strips,  could be added at the same time as the salami.


115g. hazelnuts
260g. unsalted butter, really soft
225g. white spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
130g. honey (or golden caster sugar)
130g. maple syrup
finely grated zest of 1 large unwaxed lemon

For the filling:

350mls. double cream
2 – 3 tbsps. honey
2 – 3 tbsps. blueberry jam
200g. fresh blueberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.  Grease and line 2 x 20cm. loose-bottomed sandwich tins.
  2. Toast the hazelnuts in the oven for 5 – 7 minutes but check after 5.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool then whizz in a food processor into fine meal.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and beat in all the other ingredients using an electric handmixer.  Be careful not to overmix.  Scrape the mixture into the tins and level the tops with the back of a spoon.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the cakes are risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tins and placing on a wire rack.
  4. When cool, lightly whip the cream until soft peaks form, drizzle in the honey and whisk again.  Take one spoonful of jam at a time and carefully marble it through the cream.  Carefully place one cake on a cake plate, spoon over two thirds of the marbled honey cream and place the second cake on top.  Spread the remaining third of the honey cream on top of the 2nd cake, then sprinkle the fresh blueberries over the cream.


You could use ground almonds instead of toasting hazelnuts and whizzing them in your food processor.

If you want to cut down on the cream content, I would use half the amount and just put it in the centre.  I would then lightly poach the blueberries and put those on the top.  You could use 1 tbsp. of jam for the centre filling and spread 1 tbsp. of jam on top which would help to anchor the blueberries.

Recipes for June 2022


200g. green lentils
120g. watercress, thick stalks removed
40g. parsley
150mls. light olive oil
400g. asparagus spears
100g. pecorino cheese
4 lemon wedges,
salt and black pepper

Wash the lentils in cold water, then place in a saucepan with plenty of fresh water and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are just cooked.

While the lentils are cooking, put half of the watercress, the parsley, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and some salt into a food processor.  Blitz until smooth and pour into a bowl.

As soon as the lentils are cooked drain them well and mix them while still hot with the watercress dressing.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Break off the end of the asparagus spears and discard.  Cook the asparagus in simmering salted water for 2 – 3 minutes, drain and cut the spears into roughly 6cm. long segments.

You can serve the salad warm or at room temperature.  Toss together the lentils, asparagus and most of the remaining watercress.  Add pieces of cheese as you plate up and garnish with the reserved watercress.  Serve with wedges of lemon.


I think this salad would be lovely served with a piece of roast chicken or salmon with a salsa verde sauce for the chicken or salmon.  To make a salsa verde sauce you need 1 large bunch of mixed herbs (parsley, basil and mint say), 1 clove of garlic, 2 tbsps. of capers, 3 gherkins, 2 – 3 anchovy fillets, 1 heaped tbsp. of french mustard, 4 tbsps. olive oil, 1 – 2 tbsps. red wine vinegar and salt and pepper.  Chop all the herbs, capers, gherkins and mix with the rest of the ingredients.

Alternatively, you could add a cooked breast of chicken or salmon to the salad, omit the cheese, and make it a more substantial dish.


500g. thick (not low fat) Greek yogurt
400g. strawberries
1 ½  tsp. caster sugar
2 tsps.rosewater
3 tbsps. good honey

Mix yogurt and 50g. of icing sugar and set over a basin lined with muslin or a clean J-cloth.  Put in the fridge and leave to drain overnight (12 hours is best).

Hull and quarter the strawberries and mix with the sugar and rosewater and leave to macerate for a few hours.

Gently fold the honey into the labneh which, by now, will resemble cream cheese.  Puree a quarter of the strawberries, pile the rest on top of the labneh and drizzle with the pureed strawberries.


This can be served with poached fruits such as plums or rhubarb, or raspberries rather than strawberries.

To make savoury labneh mix 500g. of thick Greek yogurt with 1/2 tsp. of salt and leave to drain overnight as before.

Make the labneh into balls by rolling between your hands to shape them and then leaving on a clean cloth lined tray.  They can be marinated in olive oil (4 tbsps. for this quantity), some dried oregano or fresh thyme leaves (about 1 tbsp.), the zest of a lemon and a few chilli flakes.  Store in the fridge and serve with flatbreads as a starter or nibble. 

Recipes for May 2022

Quick Rhubarb Chutney with Cardamom

Makes 2 x 500g. jars

200mls. cider vinegar
400g. soft light brown sugar
100g. raisins
2 red onions, chopped
2cm. piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
seeds from 20 cardamom pods
4 – 5 star anise
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. salt
1kg. rhubarb, cut into 3cm. lengths

Put all the ingredients except the rhubarb into a large, heavy based pan, bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes.  Add the rhubarb and bring back to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cool slightly and spoon into dry, warm, sterilised jars, (you can sterilise them in a very hot dishwasher, or boil them in a pan of water for 10 minutes.  Cover with a wax disc, then seal and label with the date.  This chutney can be eaten straight away.  Once opened it is best stored in the fridge, and will keep for up to a month.


You can use this chutney in the usual way with bread and cheese, or alongside cottage pie, but it is also good heated through and served with roast pork, duck or grilled mackerel. 

I sterilise my jars in the oven, at a low temperature, for about 15 minutes.

Fillet of Salmon with Sweet-Sour Beetroot and Dill Crème Fraiche – Serves 6

For the dill crème fraiche:

200g. / 7ozs. crème fraiche
2 tbsps. grain mustard
1 ½ tbsps. chopped dill

For the beetroot:

500g. / 1lb. cooked beetroot
50g. / 2ozs. unsalted butter
½ tbsp. oil
2 red onions, finely sliced
2 tbsps. caster sugar
1 ½ tbsps. red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

For the salmon:

30g. / 1¼ozs. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. oil
6 x 175g. (6oz.) salmon fillets
good squeeze of lemon juice


To make the dill crème fraiche simply mix the crème fraiche, mustard and dill together and refrigerate until you need it.

Cut the beetroot into small pieces.  Season and taste for sweet/sour balance, you may want more sugar or vinegar.  Set aside and reheat before serving.  Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and cook the onions until soft.  Add the beetroot and increase the heat.  Cook for 2 minutes, then add the sugar and stir until beginning to caramelize.  Add the vinegar and let it bubble.

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan.  Season the salmon on both sides and cook over a medium heat, flesh side down, for 1½ – 2 minutes or until golden.  Turn over and cook for 1½ – 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat and cook until done but still moist.  Squeeze on some lemon juice.  Serve with the beetroot and dill crème fraiche.


We had this dish for lunch and I used vacuum packed beetroot which worked well.  Just pat it dry before cooking.  I also used dried dill, about 1 tsp., as fresh dill is often hard to come by.

I served it with new potatoes.