Delia Smith’s Asparagus with Quick Hollandaise

Serves: 4

Nat’s parents come over every few weeks for a meal (and several bottles of wine) and it is something I always look forward to.

I am always told by Nat’s mother – Deb – to keep it simple.

Which this easy little starter I served at our most recent meal, certainly is.

It is really elegant, super classic and foolproof if you pressed for time.

Which means more time for drinking champagne and catching up.

Ingredients

2 bunches asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1 bunch rocket

Hollandaise Sauce

1/4 cup creme fraiche
1 tsp cornflour
2 egg yolks
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
40gm unsalted butter, softened

Method

  1. For the Hollandaise Sauce, place the creme fraiche, cornflour, egg yolks, white wine vinegar and lemon juice in a saucepan over a low heat. Cook, whisking gently for 1 – 2 minutes until thickened and combined.
  2. Remove from the heat and set aside. Whisk in the butter until combined, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Steam the asparagus for 2 – 3 minutes until tender.
  4. Divide the asparagus and rocket among serving plates, then drizzle with Hollandaise Sauce and serve.

Bill Granger’s Pea, Mint and Feta Salad

Serves: 4

This is one of Bill Granger’s signature dishes and he deserves it to be.

Amazing.

We have had mixed success with some of his dishes, though a good Bill Granger dish is a great one and this is definitely a salad that is great.

It looks simple – because it is – though the whole thing comes together wonderfully.

If you need a side to pair with that piece of lamb you’re doing on the BBQ, this is definitely a salad you should try.

Amazing.

Ingredients

200gm frozen peas
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
40gm shelled pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
1 large handful fresh mint leaves
60gm baby English spinach
90gm Feta cheese, crumbled

Method

  1. Blanch the peas until cooked – boiled water or microwaved – until they are tender and bright green. Refresh immediately in cold water, drain and set aside.
  2. In a small pan, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over a medium heat: add the onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, vinegar and honey and season with the salt and pepper to taste.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the peas, onions and pistachios and pour over the dressing. Add the mint, spinach and gently toss to coat with dressing.
  5. Top the salad with the feta cheese and serve.

Tobie Puttock’s Roast Cauliflower with Chickpea Salad

Serves: 4 as a side

This is an excellent salad.

A bistro-quality, this-is-excellent, Tuesday-night-just-got-better salad.

It is another Tobie Puttock recipe and it is super simple: like all things cauliflower, not only does it taste wonderful roasted, with a crispy, charred, nutty flavour, though it is satisfying.

Potatoes play no role here.

We love to cook new recipes every time we cook, though having a repertoire of interesting, wonderful salads to whip-up every time we just want a grilled piece of steak, is definitely a thing for us.

This salad makes the cut.

Honestly, get onto it.

Ingredients

1/2 large cauliflower
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp, hulled tahini
2 tbsp low-fat plain Greek-style yoghurt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp warm water
Good handful of mint leaves, torn
Good handful of continental parsley, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Use a small, sharp knife to remove the florets from the cauliflower and discard the core. Place the florets in a large bowl and season with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, a good pinch of both salt and pepper and the chilli flakes. Spread over one of the prepared baking trays and roast for 30 – 40 minutes until the cauliflower is becoming dark around the edges and crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, scatter the chickpeas and garlic cloves over the other lined tray. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tbsp of olive and shake the tray to combine. Roast for 20 minutes or until golden, remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  4. Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh into a bowl, discarding the skins. Mash the garlic with a fork and then add the cayenne pepper, tahini, yoghurt, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and water and stir to combine. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  5. Divider the cauliflower and chickpeas among serving plates, drizzle with the dressing and scatter the mint and parsley on top. Serve.

Martha Stewart’s Pea Salad

Serves: 4

We had an amazing Bill Granger Pea Salad last week and inspired, I was looking up pea salads we could serve this week along with some spicy lamb meatballs we we’re having for dinner.

This recipe came up a lot.

I used Parmesan rather than Cheddar and I cooked and then refreshed the peas rather then letting them de-thaw in the salad in the fridge for 4 hours… something you are most welcome to do if you wish.

The reason I’ve typed it up of course is that is a fantastic salad.

So much so that the next day, I did a double batch for a BBQ pool party and everyone loved it. Even kids.

Get onto this!

(Note: we cook our greens in the microwave; a dash of water in a microwave dish and you have crunchy, crisp greens without the need to boil or broil… In typing up this recipe, I haven’t prescribed how to cook the peas and however you do it, enjoy.)

Ingredients

1/4 cup (low fat) egg mayonnaise
1/4 cup (low fat) sour cream
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
500gm frozen baby peas
1/4 cup, packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
60gm, Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
120gm smoked bacon

Method

  1. Cook the bacon in a large frypan over a medium heat until browned and becoming crispy: around 10 minutes. Drain well on paper towel and then julienne.
  2. Cook the peas until warmed through; refresh in cold water.
  3. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream and vinegar in a large bowl; season generously with salt and pepper. Fold in the peas, onion and parsley.
  4. Refrigerate until needed and gently fold in the Parmesan and bacon just before serving.

Green Pistachio Muffins

Yields: 10 muffins

We went through a bit of a phase last winter of doing a weekly batch of muffins.

These pistachio muffins were particularly popular and so here they are for you to try.

Certainly a great way to get rid of that stubborn bag of pistachios that’s been sitting in the pantry for 5 months!

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp rum extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and grease the muffin tins well.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients including the zest and finely chopped pistachios in a large bowl.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the eggs – one at a time – unto the creamed mixture until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and rum extracts.
  4. Slowly add the dry mixture and the milk to the batter, ensure not to over-mix the batter.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle the tops with the coarsely chopped pistachios.
  6. Place the muffins in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the muffins test done.

Almond and Broccolini Salad

Serves: 6

Yum.

Our eldest boys, Oliver and Tom made us dinner the other night.

Meatballs with halloumi and pine nuts… and this dish on the side, found by Oliver after some very diligent online research.

It’s really good and definitely something for a summer BBQ.

Well done boys.

Ingredients

2 bunches broccolini, ends trimmed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup currants (or raisins)
2 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
1 tsp grated lemon zest

Method

  1. Blanch the broccolini in boiling water until the stems are tender-crisp; 2 minutes or so. Refresh in ice water and set aside.
  2. Transfer broccolini to a serving platter. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice; sprinkle with currants, Parmesan cheese, almonds and lemon zest.

Super Healthy Slaw

Serves: 6

Nat found this one and we served it with a great, homemade chicken schnitzel: breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, lemon rind, chilli, Parmesan and plenty of seasoning.

The coleslaw dressing was pretty tart to begin with, though once we mixed it through the vegetables and apple, it was a really good coleslaw.

At 45 calories per serve, you essentially ditch the mayo for more veges.

Kid friendly too!

Ingredients

1/2 white cabbage, shredded
1 apple, cored and grated
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
100 gm fat-free Greek yogurt
Juice, 1/2 lemon
2 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Method

  1. Mix the cabbage, apple, carrots and onion in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar and mustard. Season well, pour over the vegetables and stir through.