Sunday, 24 June 2012


I feel guilty that I don't eat enough fish.  Meat is always my first option and I don't even bother reading the fish section on a menu when eating out.  I always think I'm going to be short changed with a delicate - read small, piece of fish thats going to leave me with dinner envy.  I am one of those people looking to see what other people have ordered instead of the menu to make my choice.

Coulibiac, originally a Russian dish, is like a meal in one and can never be accused of short changing anyone.  If you want to beef it up even more, you could add chopped boiled eggs to the rice. Served hot or cold it's just right for this time of year.

It is well documented that I am a fan of frozen puff pastry - life is too short! So it's just a case of making the rice and assembling, not very taxing.  Talking of ready made ingredients this is a good time to mention my secret ingredient which makes all the difference to the flavours.  I've told you about Womersley Foods and their delicious vinegars and dressings before.  They really inspire me and this recipe is perfect for the Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender Dressing.  I really recommend you try and get hold of them, I get mine from Delifonseca in Liverpool.  If you can't, try adding some dill, chives and juice of 1 lime with lots of black pepper. You could also try adding 2 tsp Curry Powder to the stock and coriander instead of parsley to make a kedgeree version.

This recipe is enough for 6 individual pies.

100g Long Grain Rice
500ml Fish Stock
200g Prawns
2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley chopped finely
Zest of 1 Lime
3 tbsp Womersley Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender Dressing
Salt & Pepper

6 x Salmon Fillets
2 x 500g Blocks Frozen Puff Pastry
1 egg

Cook the rice in the fish stock and leave to go cold.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Roll out the first block of pastry and cut into 6 squares, brush the edges with beaten egg and place a salmon fillet on each.  Top the fillets with rice, as much as you can.  It helps to press it down a little.

Now roll out the remaining pastry and divide into 6.  Pop these on the top and seal the edges.  I have used the circular end of a skewer to make the marks in mine but a fork is just as good.

Brush with beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes at 200C.

Thursday, 21 June 2012


With British strawberries in abundance at the moment, here is a summer dessert you can make ahead giving you time to relax in the sunshine.  I probably say this about most of the recipes I put on my blog, but I really do love Pannacotta.  My husband knows I will always pick it from a menu.  It's a simple dessert but it feels like eating velvet.  The strawberries only add to the luxury and it all helps with your 5 a day(!).  I've served mine with fresh strawberries which have been dressed with Womersley Foods Strawberry & Mint Dressing.  I've used Womersley dressings before, just the bottles are enough to make you want one but when you read the flavours it's difficult to know which to choose.  I get mine from Delifonseca in Liverpool but if you go to their website they have a list of stockists for you.  I find myself creating recipes around their flavours for sweet and savoury dishes.

200g Strawberries (hulled and choped) 30g Caster Sugar, 4 Gelatine Leaves, 500ml Whipping Cream

Soak the gelatine in water.  Blitz the strawberries and sugar in a processor until pureed.  Pour the puree into a small pan and bring to the boil.  Reduce the liquid by about 1/3 till it weighs 125g.  Pass it through a sieve to remove the seeds.  

Pour half the cream into the pan and bring to the boil, stir in the puree and remove from the heat.  Squeeze out the water from the gelatine and whisk into the strawberry and cream mixture, make sure the gelatine has dissolved.  Add the remaining cream and mix thoroughly.  

Pour into the moulds and refrigerate till set, about 4 hours.  Dip the moulds into boiling water to remove dessert and serve with fresh strawberries.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Couscous is such a simple thing to make, you don't need fancy steamers or special cooking devices, just a bowl and some hot water.  It doesn't have a strong taste so it's great for adding flavours to.  I often make it with some piri piri seasoning or a little ground cumin and coriander.

This salad is a twist on the traditional greek salad.  It's easy to transport for picnics and the perfect accompaniment for barbecues this summer.

I've also made Tzatziki to go with it, all you need now are a couple of kofta kebabs from the barbecue and you're good to go.

200g Couscous
350ml Hot Chicken Stock
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Dried Thyme
Small Bunch Fresh Mint
6 Cherry Tomatoes
1/3 Cucumber
200g Feta Cheese
1 Small Red Onion
Black/Green Olives


200g Greek Yoghurt
Small Bunch Fresh Mint
1/3 Cucumber
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper

Put the couscous in a bowl and add the dried thyme.  In a jug add the olive oil and lemon juice to the stock and pour over the couscous.  Leave this to stand for 5 minutes to absorb the liquid.

While you are waiting, cut the cucumber into chunks and the tomatoes into quarters.  Cut the feta cheese into cubes and chop the mint finely.  Cut the onion in half then slice very thinly.

Once the stock has soaked in, fluff the couscous with a fork to break it up and leave to stand till it has cooled completely.  Once cooled you can add the remaining ingredients to make your salad.  Stir them all in with a fork till everything is evenly distributed.

To make the tzatziki, chop the mint finely and add to the yoghurt along with the lemon juice.  Peel the cucumber and slice it lengthways.  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds from the middle.  This will stop it from adding extra liquid and making your tzatziki watery.  Chop the cucumber into small pieces and stir through the yoghurt.  Season to taste and serve with the couscous.