Harissa salmon with wild garlic & herb couscous and roasted veg.

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Wild garlic is at is peak now for foraging and should be in most places over the UK in flower. I Love wild garlic and this year I have been experimenting more with it. I think people who come into my kitchen recently must be sick of smelling it, or even on me for that matter! ( Never thought about that until now! ) Also what is coming up great in my kitchen garden are the herbs. My fennel has lasted all through winter and is still going strong.

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One recipe that really stood out through developing was this one on how quick it takes to prepare and cook. Plus it is super healthy.

I don’t usually buy salmon purely on its cost and sustainability but I couldn’t get Loch trout which I would have used instead. I managed to find some Scottish salmon that was MSC certified which had a lovely taste.

Combining the lovely subtle fresh flavours of the wild garlic and herbs in the couscous makes this dish so light. I didn’t overpower the salmon either, just gives it a little gentle heat against everything else. This dish is perfect for lots of occasions and especially with Easter coming up it’s a lovely alternative if you don’t want to have Lamb or any other meats. One key factor to remember…Do not overcook the Salmon then it will keep it’s lovely flavour and just flake away nicely.

I paired this up with some lovely British tomatoes that look fantastic on the dish but if Im completely honest I don’t think they go with the rest of the dish. They have a beautiful taste roasted though. So that’s your choice on whether you put them on the dish or not.

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Ingredients:

(Serves 2)

Salmon:

  • 2 responsilbly sourced Salmon fillets ( I used Scottish )
  • 1 tsp of dry Harissa spice mix/rub ( I use Spice Kitchen )
  • 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil
  • Sprinkle of sea salt to season. I use pink himalayan salt on mine but any good quality will do.

Wild garlic and herb Couscous:

  • 150g of Couscous ( you might even have more left over for Lunch the next day )
  • 250ml of vegetable stock ( boiling water )or enough to just cover the Couscous
  • a handful of freshly picked wild garlic leaves, stalks off, washed and finely chopped ( Chiffonade )
  • A good handful of fresh herbs finely chopped such as: Chives, mint, green fennel or fronds of, chervil and parsley. If you can’t get the fennel or chervil use a little tarragon or dill.
  • A little salt and cracked black pepper to season if needed.

Roasted vegetables:

  • 1 small red onion roughly diced
  • 1 small red pepper diced roughly
  • 1 small yellow pepper roughly diced
  • 1 stick of celery chopped roughly
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Small handful of lemon thyme, (if you can’t get this use normal thyme and a little lemon zest at the end of roasting)
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season.
  • British Vittoria tomatoes on the side ( optional )

 

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Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180c fan.
  • Place vegetables in a roasting tin/dish with the lemon thyme and place in oven for 5 minutes.
  • Place Salmon after 5 minutes in a roasting dish, smother the harissa and oil over it, season and place in the oven also for approximately 12-15 mins or when salmon is cooked.

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  • Continue cooking the vegetables also.
  • Whilst these are in the oven together Pop your dry couscous into a bowl, cover with the vegetable stock and cover with cling film for 10 minutes. Leave aside.
  • At this point pop your tomatoes in the oven if you want to use them.
  • Then when all is ready in the oven, flake your couscous with a fork and will be fluffy at this point. Then add in your herbs and wild garlic, stir and leave to stand until all dished up together.
  • Serve altogether and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Lamb chops with a wild garlic and herb butter, butterbean mash and a medley of veg:



Spring is underway now, tulips are in full bloom in gardens, birds are busy making nests and the weather is…well not the great today. However we have had some glorious days which means a certain Springtime ingredient is at it’s best now and that is wild garlic. I cannot get enough of this stuff every year and try and conserve it in ways I can enjoy it throughout the year. In this recipe, a butter. Once made and popped into the freezer, you certainly won’t be buying shop-bought Garlic bread anymore thats for sure!

This recipe is a quick way of turning some lamb chops into something a little bit more special using Spring’s seasonal ingredients. 
 The wild garlic butter gives colour and full flavour but still allowing the taste of lamb to come through.
 The butterbean mash gives an alternative to potatoes giving it a lighter feel and also being a little more frugal.
Finally, the medley of veg “ Petit pois a la Francais” is a lovely alternative to do as a side dish for this recipe, fish and chicken.



Here is the recording when I cooked this on BBC Radio Leicester with Ben Jackson showing just how simple, quick yet so effective this recipe can be :- LISTEN HERE




Spring Lamb chops with a wild garlic and herb butter, butterbean mash and a medley of veg:








Ingredients:
(serves 2)

  • 2-3 Spring lamb chops each depending on how big they are
  • 1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt ( I use pink himalayan but any will do ) and cracked black pepper to season

Wild garlic butter:

(Make this before hand and pop into the freezer)

  • A block of unsalted butter
  • a good handful of wild garlic ( if you haven’t got it, use normal garlic )
  • a handful of fresh herbs chopped- flat leaf parsley, basil, I had. You could use Rosemary instead if you wanted to.
  • 1/4-1/2 a lemon zest
  • season if you wish

Butterbean Mash:

  • 1 tin of Butterbeans drained and rinsed
  • a drizzle of rapeseed oil
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season


Medley of Veg:

  • 6-7 lettuce leaves such as romaine, little gem or the innards of a round lettuce
  • a few handfuls of frozen peas ( roughly 150g ) petit pois or garden peas defrosted and drained.
  • 3-4 spring onions or baby leeks cut into 3 including the green ends
  • 1/4 gel pot of chicken stock
  • knob of butter
  • a couple of sprigs of garden mint chopped finely
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season 




Method:

  • Just cover your butterbeans in a saucepan with water, bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • In the meantime oil your lamb…not your pan and heat up your frying pan. Cook your Lamb for about 4 minutes each side for rare, more time for more well done.
  • Drain your butterbeans and crush/mash with a masher only slightly, drizzle with oil and season. Keep warm.

  • Rest your Lamb for about 5 minutes.

  •   Whilst this is resting bring to the boil your stock in 200ml of water and a knob of butter. Also season.

  • Add in your Spring onions and cook for a minute, then add in your lettuce and peas, cover and cook for a further minute.

  • Drain most of the liquid, add in a little more butter. Season if needed more, Pop in your chopped mint and stir.

–  Melt your Wild garlic butter.


–  Everything is now ready to serve.





“Fridge raid pasta” for BBC Radio Leicester

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I came up with this recipe about 4 weeks ago for BBC Leicester on my regular slot with Ben Jackson  but it had completely slipped my mind to post it, it sometimes happens with myself as I do so many recipes in a week.  So I must post this now as sadly, our lovely British asparagus are now coming to an end for their season this year, but if  you did want to recreate this as it is, you should just manage to find some still around this week and maybe next. As for the peas though, they are now coming into season so you could even use fresh British ones. They would be brilliant for this recipe.

This was done literally how it says in the title. I let Ben look into my fridge, we picked out a few ingredients ( Seasonal too) and then I came up with a dish on the spot. It was to show people really how easy and quick it is to come up with a dish as great tasting and looking as this, just by using up things that are in your fridge! I suppose one would call this a “Ready steady cook” thing maybe? I love doing that and  I love to show people what they can acheive just from a few ingredients or leftovers they have. Say no to waste!
I cook meals like this quite regularly in the week, maybe not with the exact ingredients but I always ensure I have a bag of pasta in so I can create something like this. It’s also great having a jar of homemade Pesto in your fridge as that alone with pasta and a sprinkling of parmesan is a dish in itself.  It doesn’t have to be a wild garlic one, you could use a basil or another green vegetable/herb pesto. Creating dishes like this in under 15-20 minutes, you’ll never turn back.

Click this link and you can hear me making it on BBC Radio Leicester

 

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Fridge raid pasta

Ingredients:
(Serves 2 -3)

*One thing I must add for this recipe is that I can’t mark it as Vegetarian as it has Parmesan in my pesto recipe*
– Approximately 200g Fusilli Pasta or any pasta of your Choice
– 1/4 Leek sliced
– 2 Spring Onions chopped finely
– 2 cloves of Garlic
– 8 British Asparagus Spears, wood end cut off
– 5-6 British Purple Sprouting Broccoli Stems
– A handful of Petit Pois defrosted and drained or British Fresh podding Peas
– 1 Tbsp Of Wild Garlic Pesto or can use Basil Pesto
– Small Handful of Pea Shoots
– Cracked black Pepper
– Sea salt to season

 

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Method:

*  Take of wood ends off the Asparagus and peel the outer layer at the bottom couple of inches and pop into Ice cold Water to keep them vivid green.

*  Chop Purple Sprouting broccoli into 3 and pop into the Ice cold water too.

*  In boiling water Cook the Asparagus and the Purple sprouting Broccoli for 2 minutes then plunge into Ice cold Water

*  Cook Pasta to packet instructions in the same Pan with boiling water used for the Veg.

*  Fry off your Onion, Leek and Garlic for a couple of Minutes adding a little Cracked Black pepper.

*  Chop your Asparagus into 3 and add them and the Purple Sprouting Broccoli, stir for a minute or two.

*  Drain your Pasta and keep a little water  to pop into the frying pan to add a little moisture. Add your Pasta to the Vegetable mix now.

*  Stir in your Pesto and cook for a minute making sure whilst stirring your pasta it is all coated with it.

*  Pop in your Peas, stir for 30 seconds and then add your pea shoots. Add a little Salt to season and you are ready to serve!

 

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Going "WILD" For Wild Garlic

Last year when the lovely season of the Wild Garlic came upon us, I didn’t actually find any until, sadly, the end of the season.  I tried my best with what I did find but it had grown a bit too far on and the true flavour wasn’t there anymore.
  However, this year I found a great spot, practically on my doorstep! I was thrilled as you can imagine.
  However it has come to that time of the year where it has either gone, grown too big or has overgrown weeds over it.  I almost feel quite sad as there’s so much you can do with Wild Garlic, I absolutely LOVE its unique flavour and the prettiness of the flower buds. So now it is fizzling away till next year, if you can get hold of some still around. Do try a pesto with it. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks at least, or even do a pickle/vinegar?
  I realise that many people will have done this with Wild garlic and rightly so as we do it with other leftover herbs, so why not this? 
  Here is just a couple of things that I did with mine this year.  I do plan another recipe if my last batch lasts! 

Wild Garlic Pistachio Pesto:
(Makes 1 small Jar):

One thing I must add about this recipe is that pretty much whenever I do pestos’s I always like to use either pistachios or cashew nuts rather than Pine nuts. I find the pine nuts are more bitter, but that’s just my preference.

Ingredients:

(These ingredients depend on the size of your jar and also your taste) – Be as Flexible as you want with it! 

–  50g of Wild Garlic Leaves
–  20g of Pistachio nuts (shelled )
–  20g of Parmesan Cheese
–  Sprinkling of Pink sea salt (any good sea salt will do) and cracked black Pepper
–  1 Tbsp of Fresh lemon juice
–  2 Tbsp of Rapeseed oil ( olive oil can be bitter )

– Simply Place all ingredients into a Blender/Processor and Blitz! Add extra seasoning, oil or cheese if you need to.

This Pesto is great in all sorts of recipes, the list is endless! Once you have done this, you will never turn back.

And the result of this pesto? An obvious choice to pair with Pasta but this dish is what I keep devouring myself with lately. I am eating bucket loads of it as I love it! It’s such a quick Pasta dish to rustle up when you’ve had a busy day and can kick back with a large Glass of Wine. Perfetto!

Creamy Tagliatelle with Chicken, Mushrooms and Wild Garlic pesto:

(Serves approximately 1-2 people)


Ingredients:

–  Approximately 200g of Tagliatelle Pasta
–  1 Tbsp of Rapeseed oil (no more as there is oil in the pesto)
–  2 Spring Onions finely chopped
–  1/4 of Leek finely sliced
–  3-4 Chestnut mushrooms sliced
–  100-150g of Cooked Roast chicken shredded 
–  1/2 chicken stock cube crumbled into sauce
–  1 Tbsp of the Wild Garlic pistachio Pesto (as above ) more if you like it to be more of a garlic Flavour.
– A Good Splash of Dry White Wine (100ml)
–  150ml of Double cream

Method:

–  Cook the Tagliatelle to packet instructions.

–  Fry off the leeks and mushrooms until starting to soften.

– Add the Shredded Chicken, Spring Onion and chicken stock and cook for a further couple of minutes. 

– Add the Pesto, coating all of the mixture.

– Pour in the Wine, reduce a little and then add the cream. 

–  Drain the Pasta but use maybe 2 Tbsp of pasta water into the sauce. Place Pasta into the sauce and serve into warm bowls.


Finally, You may recall my recipe for St George’s Day when I made the Wild Garlic and fennel bread. 
 That bread actually lasted me a full week, which was great. They were some leftover and I didn’t have much room in the freezer so I decided to do a Panzanella, which is a traditional Tuscan summer salad.  There have been many different versions of this and mine isn’t very traditional, I added meat, mine was more dry and I added Wild Garlic, a kind of Italy meets Leicestershire’s Hedgerows! However it was a very lovely Lunch the day I made it.

Panzanella with Salami and Wild Garlic:




Ingredients:

(Approximately for 2 people)

–  A couple of slices of Wild garlic and fennel bread, torn into chunks for croutons
–  A handful Selection of Peppery Salad leaves (Rocket, Mizuna, Red Chard etc…)
–  1 Yellow Bell Pepper 
– 1 Red Bell Pepper
–  120g of Ripened well baby plum tomatoes
–  1-2 Tbsp of baby capers from a Jar 
–  Few slices of Italian Salami torn into pieces 
–  3-4 Basil leaves torn
–  1 Tbsp of Good quality Extra Virgin Olive oil
–  10 Wild Garlic flower Buds (already started opening) 
–  Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper to season

Method:

–  Take your Bell peppers and either Roast in the oven until skins are starting to turn black or Burn onto a Gas flame (If confident) *Note, as I am a qualified and trained chef, I have done this many a time*

– Once black, peel off the skins revealing a lovely soft sweet flesh and slice lengthways 

–  Coat the Bread for croutons in a little Sea salt, Black Pepper and olive oil and either pop in a dry frying pan to toast or again you could place in the oven.

–  Arrange all of the ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with Olive oil and Serve. A simple, But impressive salad.