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  • Potato cakes with smoked mackerel with beetroot

    Some left over mashed potato provided a good opportunity to put together a recipe for potato cakes with smoked mackerel. Beetroot goes surprisingly well with peppered smoked mackerel, helping 'cut' it like the horseraddish that's a frequent partner.

    Skin the mackerel fillet and break it into pieces. Combine it with some chopped beetroot (about 25%), the mash (about 50%) and a squeeze of lemon juice and shape into cakes. Beat an egg and coat the cakes. Roll them in flour, and coat with egg again. Then roll in flour again. Fry in oil. 

    Goes well with red cabbage and apple.

  • Spiced celeriac soup with orange

    Celeriac is a daunting vegetable: a great big knobbly thing that looks like it will be difficult to tackle. But it is worth the (small) effort and makes a wonderful, rich soup when combined with other seasonal vegetables.


    • Half a large celeriac, peeled and cubed
    • One and a half large potatoes, cubed
    • Two large carrots, cubed
    • One large leek, sliced
    • Glass of orange juice
    • Tin of large white chick peas
    • 3 pints approximately of vegetable stock
    • Ras-el-hanout Moroccan spice mix*


    Lightly sauté the leek in oil and leave to sweat down by covering the saucepan.

    Add all the other ingredients with the exception of the chick peas. Add the vegetable stock (I use Marigold stock powder, but don't make this too strong). Cook for around 20 minutes.

    Once the vegetables are soft use a hand-blender to reduce to a rich, creamy consistency. Add and warm through the chick peas and season with salt and pepper as required.

    *Ras-el-hanout is a subtle blend of spices which includes cloves, cardamon and ginger. It is an excellent compliment to the earthy celery flavour of celeriac.

  • Marrow, lentil and sage soup

    DSC00988.JPGWhat to do with the marrows? This time of year the garden and the fridge overflow. Here's my own recipe for a wonderful golden, warming soup.


    • 2lbs of marrow, cubed
    • 11/4lbs of potato, cubed
    • 4 small or two large onions, finely chopped
    • 2 large cloves of garlic
    • one large cup of red split lentils
    • 2 pts of Marigold vegetable stock
    • a generous handful of fresh sage, finely chopped
    • a dash of chilli sauce
    • 2 teaspoons of sugar
    • teaspoon of turmeric
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Sweat down the onions and garlic in red Carrotino oil (rich in vitamins A & E and made from palm and canola oil). Stir in the potatoes, marrow and sage. Coat with oil. Add the vegetable stock, lentils and seasoning and simmer gently for around 30 minutes. Either use a blender or a potato masher to reduce the soup to an even consistency. Serve immediately.

  • Trofie with smoked salmon

    03297bb7a087c4f27b725bd293147c91.jpgIncredibly quick to make, this simple recipe can be eaten as either a satisfying main course or as a lunchtime snack.

    INGREDIENTS, per portion
    100gm Ligurian trofie from Carluccio's or Camisa, Soho
    60gm smoked salmon
    tablespoon of crème fraîche
    quarter of a leek
    quarter of a red pepper
    tablespoon of frozen peas
    freshly ground black peppper


    Finely chop the vegetables, cut the salmon into strips.

    Cook the trofie for 15mins, adding the leeks after about 4mins, then the pepper, and finally the peas after about 12mins.

    Drain and toss in a little olive oil. Stir in the crème fraîche and the salmon; season with freshly ground black pepper.

  • Pears in ginger

    75adc6e1811a472f91bbbfdb8035b91c.jpgNot so much a recipe, more a 'pudding idea'

    I can't imagine not planting a pear tree in the community orchard we are creating locally. Earlier today a neighbour kindly brought round a big bag of Williams pears. Even if you're not fortunate enough to be given them, there are bargains to be had in the shops where under-appreciated English pears are often priced at less than apples.

    Whilst Comice is certainly one of the finest eating varieties, Williams' Bon Chretien is superb for cooking. It is described in The Fruit Manual of 1860 as "melting, with a rich, sugary, and delicious flavour, and powerful musky aroma". Best picked when green and ripened indoors.


    Peel, core and chop four large pears and add three pieces of very finely sliced Chinese stem ginger in syrup (available from Waitrose and elsewhere). Pour over a couple of dessert spoons of the syrup and microwave in a covered glass dish for around 4 minutes, stir and cook for a further couple of minutes as needed. Delicious with a good vanilla ice cream.

  • Quince syllabub recipe

    Our quince tree had a particularly good year. Quinces have such a special flavour, unlike anything else I know. This pudding has a wonderfully fragrant richness about it.

    Peel and chop four large quince; microwave in a closed dish for 8 minutes.  Purée the quince and stir in three tablespoons of crème fraîche. Add one to two tablespoons of Limoncello*. Sweeten with flakes of jaggery**. Serve chilled in small glass dishes with a little lemon zest decoration.


    *Limoncello is the 30% proof liqueur made from lemons grown on the Amalfi coast – and if you’ve never tried it, it’s delicious chilled.
    **Jaggery is raw palm sugar with a rich toffee-like taste. It’s sold in blocks and is used in Indian cooking.