Category: Lunch

Perfect Picnic Food introducing the Sound Flat Ham Pie

Perfect Picnic Food introducing the Sound Flat Ham Pie

Perfect Picnic Food introducing The Sound Flat Ham Pie I am so excited to introduce you to your new go to picnic food recipe. Thick sliced ham and creamy Boursin cheese, sandwiched between two layer of puff pastry. Incredibly simple, yet unbelievably good. The sort […]

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‘Beet’ the Winter Blues with this Gorgeous Golden Beet, Blood Orange and Goat Cheese Salad with Citrus Dressing

‘Beet’ the Winter Blues with this Gorgeous Golden Beet, Blood Orange and Goat Cheese Salad with Citrus Dressing

We are now in prime citrus season. February can be a little bleak, so after months of hearty soups and stews, may I suggest you add some color (and vitamin C) into your life with this seasonal salad which has become one my favorite winter dishes.  I created this recipe a couple of […]

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Eve’s Fabulous Zucchini (Courgette) Fritters with Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

Eve’s Fabulous Zucchini (Courgette) Fritters with Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

I am growing zucchini in my Victory Garden, which reminded that I wanted to share this recipe for Zucchini Fritters with you last year, then ran out of summer months.

Zucchini Fritters with a glass of Rosé!

As I write this, the sun is shining and I am sitting in my garden enjoying the slight breeze. Can I confess that I have been very content over the last few months? My flower beds have never looked better, I started a small Victory Garden and I am now the proud mother of six chickens. Who constantly try and see what our ‘coop’ looks like!

Chickens trying to visit our coop!

Summertime and the living is easy!

I am a member of the DCA Greenhouse. We are all enthusiastic gardeners and, most years, spend the summers visiting each others gardens. We drink wine,  but are home before dark. It is very civilized.  A few years ago, the lovely Eve served up these Zucchini Fritters.  I am embarrassed to think of how many I ate, and was so glad when she shared the recipe with me.  I think this method would work with other vegetables, say sweetcorn. Great as an appetizer, or as a side. 

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

This year, I have signed up for a share of an CSA through Stoneledge Farm. I pay up front, at the beginning of the season, and every week I take delivery of a gorgeous box of fresh organic produce.

Organic Produce from my CSA

I recently did a webinar at Hayvn called Cooking with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and gave a demonstration of this recipe. So, if you want to see me making the fritters, click on the link below!

Zucchini Fritters with a Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

Zucchini Fritters

 

Fritters (makes around twenty-four)

2 pounds (about 4 medium) zucchini
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus an extra 1/2 teaspoon
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, or three/some extra milk if the mixture looks a bit dry
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour (around 5.3 ounces or 150g) – or gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Olive oil

Chives, parsley or fennel fronds for garnish ( I use the fronds in my Beet, Orange and Goat Cheese salad)

For the dipping sauce mix
Sour cream or Crème Fraîche or yogurt with some freshly squeezed lemon juice plus some zest

Method

Top and tail the zucchini, then grate them. Use a food processor, a mandolin, or a handheld grater.

Put the grated zucchini in a colander then sprinkle with 2tsp salt. Leave for ten minutes. You need to get as much of the water out of the zucchini. The best way is to tip them into a clean tea towel and squeeze!

In a large bowl, mix the zucchini, herbs, lemon zest, ½ tsp salt, pepper and eggs. Mix the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl, then add to the zucchini batter.

Pre- heat the oven to 300f/150c to keep the fritters hot once cooked.

Add some olive oil to a cast iron skillet and place over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, drop teaspoons of the mixture into the pan, and flatted with the back of a spoon. The size is really up to you, I like mini fritters, as they are easier to handle. Do not overcrowd the pan!

When the fritters are nicely browned on one side, turn them over and cook the other side. Once cooked, drain them on some paper towel and keep warm in the oven. Continue until all the mixture has been used. Serve with dipping sauce.

Fritters will also reheat beautifully. Use as an appetizer, side or top with an egg for a rather fabulous brunch!

 

My Favorite Things

In the video I share some of my favorite kitchen utensils. I am giving you details of my recommendations (I may receive a small reward if you buy buy through the links but there is no difference in the price charged to you)

Offset Spatula


Mandolin


Microplanner


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Best Salad Ever! Quinoa Salad

Best Salad Ever! Quinoa Salad

Happy Memorial Day or Bank Holiday, depending on where you are! I hope you are able to celebrate with family and enjoy the holiday. I have just done a live cooking webinar for Hayvn Halftime, and wanted to share the link with you. Check out […]

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Granda Crying’s Carrot Soup

Granda Crying’s Carrot Soup

April 13th 2020 I am reposting one of my old recipes, Granda Crying’s Carrot Soup, as I have just added another dodgy video to the original post. It is a perfect day for making soup. It is blowing a gale outside, and we have now […]

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Pesto Orzo with Roasted Vegetables, Feta Cheese and Toasted Pine Nuts

Pesto Orzo with Roasted Vegetables, Feta Cheese and Toasted Pine Nuts

Pesto Orzo with roasted vegetables, feta cheese and pine nuts

Updated Post with new video!

I hope this finds you well!

This is one of my original posts, a perfect dish to have in the fridge for the never ending snacks and meals required when everyone is staying at home.

I have just added a video, my third. Apart from only filming half of my head I seem to be getting the hang of it!

As we are just getting to know each other, I want to share all my absolutely favorite, foolproof, you will love me and be so impressed, recipes with you. I also have, however, to warn you about my tendency to vagueness.  This pasta dish is a perfect example. 

My dear friend Ann Gill first made me this for lunch when we were neighbors in London. Many, many years ago. I have been making it on a regular basis ever since. 
 
This works as a meal in its own right. With the mix of pasta, protein and vegetables, it is perfect for vegetarians.  However, the real beauty of this dish is that it seems to go well with almost anything. I usually pair it with

Herb Roasted Salmon,

and

Orange and Beet Salad

but it works with beef, pork or chicken. The individual parts can also be made ahead, and transported in Ziplock bags if you are bringing the dish to a potluck ( and hopefully those days will be back soon).  When you are ready to assemble the pasta, you can you can do so in a matter of minutes. Afterwards, any leftover pasta keeps really well and makes a great grab and go lunch. What more can you ask of a recipe?

 
 

 I also like to serve the pasta on a large platter, rather than a bowl, the colors of the green pasta, roasted vegetables and creamy white feta make it really attractive. 

 
 

And the thorny question of quantities? I am going to try to give some guidance, since we are just getting acquainted. If I am serving more than one side dish, I use a small bag of Trader Joes orzo pasta for twenty people. On its own, that bag would easily feed ten. So, if you want enough for five to six people, half a small bag of pasta would be perfect.

Add enough pesto to cover the pasta completely. For a whole bag of pasta, a small container of fresh pesto is usually enough. I love the large jar from Costco. Less stressful. However, If you want a treat and to support local business, pick up a tub from my favorite Cheese Shop in Goodwives (and maybe their feta too), when you are collecting your Easter Cheese!

www.dariencheese.com

Thank you ANN!

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Pulled Pork with Homemade Coleslaw

Pulled Pork with Homemade Coleslaw

Pulled Pork Revisited I am beginning to realize that what I call pulled pork might not meet the rigorous standards of barbecue aficionados.  But it works for me and is super easy. This recipe was offered by my wonderful neighbor, Mary McGee, although the original […]

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Another Fabulous Salmon Recipe – Poached Salmon

Another Fabulous Salmon Recipe – Poached Salmon

Repost from 2015! Poached salmon is a fabulous dish for summer. A whole poached salmon is an impressive centrepiece and can be made ahead of time. I have great pleasure in giving you an updated post from a few years ago. There is recipe for […]

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Salad Niçoise with roasted Salmon

Salad Niçoise with roasted Salmon

Salad Niçoise – Classic French Dish (apologies if you have seen this already, trying to test my website, as it seems to have stopped sending emails properly, if you receiving this for the first time love to hear from you)

Salad Niçoise is a classic French dish. I switch it up slightly and use fresh roasted salmon instead of the traditional tinned tuna. With a lemon dressing, the combination of salmon, baby new potatoes, French green beans and locally grown tomatoes is perfect for a summer lunch or light supper.

Origins

Whilst doing a bit of research on the origins of Salad Niçoise (thanks Wikipedia) I discovered I am joining a long list of chefs and cooks who disagree on what makes a classic Niçoise. There is no dispute about where the salad came from, Nice, but after that it is all downhill.

I am offending purists by including cooked potatoes and green beans. I am switching out salmon for the more traditional tuna (feel free to switch it back). My dressing is a light lemon vinaigrette, no mayonnaise is involved. I insist on both black olives and anchovies.,

As with all recipes, what you do in the privacy of your own kitchen is entirely up to you!

Fabulous Salad for Entertaining

Salad Niçoise was one of my go to salads when I was catering back in Darien. All the bits (technical catering term), can be cooked and dressed in advance The salad itself can be assembled just as guests arrive, but it will happily sit around until you have poured that first glass of rosé. It also looks spectacular. Are you beginning to see the attraction?  It gets better.

I use salmon left over from my

Herb Roasted Salmon.

Herb Roasted Salmon
Herb Roasted Salmon

as a  way of making the salmon go a little further.

Or you could use some

Poached Salmon

Poached Salmon
Poached Salmon with Cucumber

Tinned tuna really works well too.

Use Seasonal Vegetables

Apart from French green beans almost all the ingredients,

Eggs

eggs
eggs

potatoes, tomatoes and lemons are the sort of thing you generally have in the house. However, at this time of the year, in Great Britain and Denmark, we are blessed with fabulous ‘new potatoes’.

potatoes
potatoes

New Potatoes

Now I think I may have mentioned my potato obsession?  For some reason ‘New Potatoes’, the ones where the skin is paper thin and can just be rubbed off, is something I could not find when I was living in America. The closest I ever got was fingerlings.

During the summer months, when I was growing up in Scotland, we existed almost exclusively on new potatoes and butter and strawberries and clotted cream.  Jersey Royals would appear early in the season, and then later, local potatoes would be available either in the shops or directly from the farm. It was heaven.

Most people also grew a few drills of potatoes in their back garden.  My dad would often go out and dig up just enough potatoes for the next meal. Now that is a new potato!

One of the many attractions of living in Denmark, is, that with a similar climate and heritage, I can once again enjoy “New Potatoes”. And I do!

Larder Items

And I am assuming everyone always has tinned black olives and anchovies in their well stocked larder?

Salad Niçoise

July 9, 2018
: To feed six for lunch or a hungry four for dinner. There really is no right or wrong set of proportions. I usually cook everything, then layer the salad adding more tomatoes or lettuce so it looks balanced. Serve with crusty French bread to mop up the delicious lemony dressing.
: easy

Salad Niçoise is a classic French dish. In this version I use fresh roasted salmon instead of the traditional tinned tuna. With a lemon dressing the combination of potatoes, green beans and tomatoes is perfect for a summer lunch or light supper.

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 eggs-not too fresh as this makes them hard to shell
  • Handful of French beans, topped and tailed
  • 12-14 small baby new potatoes ( now you know me, so there is no such thing as too many potatoes). The new Danish ones are unbelievably good.
  • Handful of beautiful baby tomatoes, cut in two. I sometimes use the multicoloured ones as they make the salad really pretty.
  • Some crisp lettuce leaves such as cos or romaine
  • 4-6 inch fillet of salmon
  • Small tin of black pitted olives or olives of your choice. The proper Niçoise ones generally have stones so can be a pain.
  • For the Salmon
  • small bunch of parsley, washed, stalks removed and finely chopped
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Panko
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Zest from half a small lemon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Lemon Dressing
  • 2TBS freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 5TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
Directions
  • Step 1 Everything can be prepared and cooked ahead of time and the salad is served room temperature.
  • Step 2 Begin by making the salad dressing. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined. I like using an old jam jar with a lid so I can shake the dressing. Will keep for days in the fridge.
  • Step 3 Cook the eggs by placing them in a small pan and covering them with water.
  • Step 4 Bring to a simmer, then boil the eggs for around six to seven minutes. Run pan under cold water until the eggs are cold. Shell them immediately, and cut into quarters. Place in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Step 5 For the green beans, bring a small pan of salted, boiling water to the boil. Drop the beans in and cook for around three minutes. You want them nice and green but still with a bit of bite. Cool them under running cold water or in an ice bath. Dress beans with a little of the Lemon Vinaigrette. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Step 6 Wash and cut potatoes into even sizes if some are a little large. Boil potatoes until nicely done, drain and dress with a little of the Lemon Vinaigrette. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Step 7 For the Salmon I use my Herbed Salmon, but any left over cooked salmon would do. Preheat oven to 425F/210C
  • Step 8 For the Herbed Salmon, place the fish on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spread the salmon with a little Dijon mustard. Mix parsley with lemon zest, a handful of panko, salt and pepper and a plug of olive oil. Spread parsley mix over the mustard. Cook until the panko is beautifully browned. The cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your salmon, but check after 15 minutes.
  • Step 9 To Assemble. Take a large flat platter. Lightly dress the lettuce and layer on the bottom of the plate. Build up the salad with layers of tomatoes, beans, potatoes, flaked salmon and lettuce. I flake the salmon by hand. Finish with black olives and anchovies, if using.
  • Step 10 Drizzle any left over dressing over the finished salad.
Salad Niçoise

Serve with crusty bread to mop up the lovely lemony dressing, and a glass of Rosé. Close you eyes and pretend you are in the South of France.

The Danish Riviera
or in my case The Danish Riviera

Bon Appetit!

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Assorted Quiche

Assorted Quiche

Quiche for me will always mean Monday. Growing up in the North-East of Scotland, we generally had one of two things for tea on a Monday. We either had Stovies, a fabulous one pot combination of onions, potatoes, gravy and meat, made from the left over Sunday roast or Quiche made from the left over breakfast bacon and eggs. Bit of a win win situation.

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Karen’s Minestrone Soup

Karen’s Minestrone Soup

Karen’s Minestrone Soup (My go to diet soup) My friend Karen in London makes the best minestrone soup. She cuts the vegetables into the most wonderfully consistent tiny little cubes, and as a result the soup looks really pretty! Before I moved to America Karen […]

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Spring Lunch Menu and thoughts on Entertaining

Spring Lunch Menu and thoughts on Entertaining

Perfect, and easy, Spring Lunch Menu

The menu I am going to share with you contains most of my favourites and go to dishes, perfect for a Spring Lunch. Yesterday a lovely group of friends  from LINK  (Ladies International Network in Denmark) came to my house for a cooking class. We had a fun couple of hours putting together the various dishes, then sat down to enjoy them.

Something for Everyone

When I catered in America I often cooked lunches and special events such as bridal or baby showers. I always tried to have a variety of different dishes to accommodate all dietary requirements, so no-one would go home hungry. There is something here for vegans, vegetarians, gluten free, lactose intolerant and pescatarians!  This menu is perfect for any time of the year, but I have given it a late winter, early spring feels with oranges and beets and a super green quinoa.

At other times of the year I would change up the quinoa salad adding roasted butternut squash and perhaps swap out one starch with some baby new potatoes, or a lentil dish . All the food can be prepared ahead of time which gives you, the hostess a chance to be at your own party. On that note, I have also added some thoughts I found on entertaining.  It comes form my Christmas presentation at the Darien Community Association from a few years ago.

Sourcing Ingredients in Copenhagen

I ordered most the ingredients from Nemlig.com. Go in via google chrome and you can translate from Danish into your own language. The panko I found at the Japanese store at torvehallerne although apparently Netto stocks it. The Marconi almonds are also from the Nut Store at Torvelhallerne. (miss you Trader Joes).

Spring Lunch

Coronation Chicken with Mango Salsa (Gluten Free)

Coronation chicken salad with mango salsa
Coronation chicken salad with mango salsa

Herb Roasted Salmon (Dairy Free)

Herb Roasted Salmon
Herb Roasted Salmon

Salmon with Pesto, included as is a Gluten Free option

Summer Quinoa (vegan), obviously not with shrimp 

summer quinoa with asparagus, peas, scallions and shrimp in lemon mint dressing
summer quinoa with asparagus, peas, scallions and shrimp in lemon mint dressing

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables and Feta (vegetarian and non cow’s milk)

Pesto orzo with roasted vegetables, feta cheese and toasted pine nuts
Pesto orzo with roasted vegetables, feta cheese and toasted pine nuts

Green Salad with Beets, Oranges, Goat Cheese and Marconi Almonds(vegetarien , gluten and non cow’s milk)

orange and beet Salad with Goat cheese
Orange and Beet Salad with Goat cheese

Dessert

Pavlova with Cream, Summer Fruits and Caramel Sauce

Pavlova with Cream, Fruit and Caramel Sauce
Pavlova with Cream, Fruit and Caramel Sauce

Thoughts on Entertaining

Lots of planning.

I am going to share me my philosophy of entertaining. This is what works for me and if you take one idea away from today, then we are golden. At a event, Laura Bolton, party planner extraordinaire, spoke. For me, her best advice was to know in advance what you are going to wear.

I always try to be a guest at my own parties.

There is no point inviting friends over and then spending the whole time stuck in the kitchen. The secret is to create a menu which calls for little last minute prep and allows for most of the work to be done ahead of time. For large numbers a buffet probably works best with most of the food served at room temperature.

Make everyone feel welcome as they arrive

Try and be ready for your guests so when they arrive they instantly know it is going to be a good evening.  Create a wow factor, decorate the table where food will be served, light candles or tea lights, and think about which flowers work best.  If you are outside fairy lights in the trees look beautiful, in cold weather have a roaring fire and music always helps. If I run short on time I always choose to give the surfaces one last clean and sweep the floor. I am often still finishing appetizers when my friends arrive, but that is a fun thing to do together (in a way that sweeping the floor isn’t!)

Themes are great

I love themed parties as it gives you a chance to be creative with the menus and decorations. I think it is also fun for guests.  Country themes are great where all the food and wine comes from one region. My husband came up with a fantastic theme for his recent birthday and invited everyone to Comicon Darien on New Years Eve.  He mocked up invitations, complete with ticketmaster email confirmations.  We decorated the house with all the geeky things we could find and were blown away by all the costumes our friends wore on the evening.

dalek cake made with the help of my super talented mate Sue (elastagirl or Are Incredible as Alan calls her) Hayes!
dalek cake made with the help of my super talented mate Sue (elastagirl or Mrs Incredible as Alan calls her) Hayes!

For my last big birthday which falls near Christmas I wanted something really special so sent out printed invitations asking everyone to attend a Sparkling Winter Ball.  With the help of my wonderful friends we decorated with snowflakes and fairy lights. Everyone turned up in ballgowns looking fabulous.  As it was my party, I had the best dress, full length, strapless, fishtailed silver sequined ballgown, which leads me to my next point

You can never be too sparkly

I think that point is fairly straight forward. Mind you after some time in Denmark I also think you can never be too fluffy!

Informal yes, casual never

Attention to detail. Personally if friends are going to give up time to be with me I like to use all my favorite dishes and glasses. I think it is totally fine to look as though you have made an effort.  At the same time, it is essential to make it look effortless (planning), as a harnessed hostess is not the best company.

Accept help, but don’t rely on it.

I always have a basic meal ready. Even if friends offer to bring things, I like to have everything covered. That way, all is not lost if they turn up with a dessert rather than salad, or if for some reason suddenly have to cancel.

Cheat..buy stuff.

My daughter wanted macaroni chreese for thanksgiving, so I bought it from Costco.  As my friend  Irene Trautmann’s mother said ‘Once you have bought you will never make it again’. Totally delicious and one less thing to cook.

Think about presentation

Give some thought to how you want the food to be presented.  I am in favor of large platters, everything seems to look better on a flat plate or shallow bowl.

Don’t penalize the guests who do turn up for the ones who don’t.  If anything, if your numbers are lower than hoped for put extra effort into the event.

At some stage accept that it is what it is.  So you didn’t manage to make that fifth dessert, or the turkey is a little overcooked.  Its fine, relax, ,you are with friends, as my new hero Adina said ‘Let it go!’

Smile and enjoy yourself!

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Scottish Lentil Soup with Crème Fraîche, Bacon and Chives

Scottish Lentil Soup with Crème Fraîche, Bacon and Chives

Scottish Lentil Soup Scottish Lentil Soup is the perfect answer to cold, dreich (doric for dull, bleak and miserable) weather. This is the sort of recipe that makes me feel happy. It is the sort of thing I have been eating since I was a […]

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Puy Lentils with Caramelized Onion Chutney, Roasted Butternut Squash, Feta, Pomegranate  and Sliced Broccoli

Puy Lentils with Caramelized Onion Chutney, Roasted Butternut Squash, Feta, Pomegranate and Sliced Broccoli

Vegetarian Challenge Alan and I are continuing with the vegetarian challenge. So far we are finding it very easy, last night was a stir fry. On Saturday night I made Puy Lentils with Caramelized Onion Chutney, Roasted Butternut Squash, Feta, Pomegranate and Sliced Broccoli salad . […]

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Curried Cauliflower Soup

Curried Cauliflower Soup

 ‘Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.’ Mark Twain

I am reposting my recipe for cauliflower soup as I search for vegetarian recipes in my archives.  My daughter, Kat, has challenged me to be vegetarian for January and I am going back to see how many of my regular posts can be adjusted.  It has only been two days but I think it is going to be fairly easy. For Kat’s last night with us in Copenhagen we have even booked a hip vegetarian restaurant, VeVe Bistro

Sad to say the alcohol challenge has already been compromised.  I took Kat to visit my friend Sally at the gorgeous new luxury boutique hotel Sanders. Sally is the Food and Beverage Manager. Sanders is the latest hotel to be opened by the Danish ballet dancer Alexander Kolpin. The interiors are inspired by the golden age of travel. I loved the whole intimate home feel, lots of snuggy sitting options, an abundance of cushions and real fires, a rarity in environmentally-conscious Copenhagen . We moved four times as everywhere looked so inviting and we just had to try out all the seating options. When visiting somewhere so luxurious, I obviously felt obliged to toast my surroundings and my friend’s fabulous job. Feeble, I know.

Sanders hotel, Copenhagen
Sanders hotel, Copenhagen

Two out of three ain’t bad

I am concentrating on my victories. I have run 5K for four days, and I have eaten no meat since New Year’s Day’s Chicken Pot Pie

2018 Chicken Pot Pie
2018 Chicken Pot Pie

Curried Vegetables

I have recently brought cauliflower back into my life, and am now unsure why it ever went away. Many vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and spinach taste delicious with a little addition of curry spices. Curried cauliflower is one of my favorites.  You can make curry powder by blending a mix of Indian spices which includes cumin, coriander and turmeric.  Turmeric has become especially popular recently as it has been found to have all sorts of health benefits including anti inflammatory properties.  I must confess I am happy to buy my curry spices already blended. I also make the soup with a vegetable stock, which means it can be not only vegetarian but vegan. It is always good to have a few super healthy recipes to hand to impress the occasional visiting vegan!

Time saving hack

The last time I made this soup  in Darien, I cheated, and bought all the vegetables already chopped from the fabulous Trader Joes. I produced a delicious lunch in under thirty minutes with a minimum of effort.  Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

Two out of Three ain’t Bad

To finish this post I am leaving you with a few words of wisdom from the man himself, Meatloaf!

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Nordic Platter

Nordic Platter

I am so proud of my Nordic Platter. It is one of those wonderful combinations of very satisfying bits of cooking and store bought ingredients which are then assembled to make a stunning appetizer, lunch or supper dish. It was inspired by an article in  the […]

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Coronation Chicken and other Tea Sandwiches (Includes Mango Salsa and Mango Chutney)

Coronation Chicken and other Tea Sandwiches (Includes Mango Salsa and Mango Chutney)

Afternoon Tea Sandwiches For four years the Fabulous girls and I offered Afternoon Tea at the Darien Community Association, the DCA in Darien, Connecticut. I am currently living in Denmark but the fabulous Vicky, a superb professional pastry chef, is now catering Teas at the […]

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Ultimate Comfort Food Chicken Pot Pie

Ultimate Comfort Food Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is the Ultimate Comfort Food

This chicken pot pie is the ultimate in comfort food. Chicken, carrots and peas in a rich creamy sauce, covered with a snuggly little blanket of puff pastry, totally hygge. Perfect for a snowy winter’s day.

The sauce falls into the ‘basics’ category.  You make a standard ‘roux’ with butter and flour, then make the sauce using chicken stock.  I enrich the sauce with the addition of cream and a little sherry, both are optional but I find they add a wonderful creamy depth to the pie.  The roux method for making a sauce is also the basis of my Fabulous Fish Pie

You can also make the Chicken Pot Pie in individual pie dishes, ideal if you have family members eating at different times.  If I remember correctly my dear friend Ellon may have been responsible for the excellent finishing on these pies in the photo.  I think we made around 80 on that particular day, and Ellen, a pie novice discovered a secret talent for crimping the edges. All her pies looked way better than mine!

Ellen making chicken pot pies
Ellen making chicken pot pies

Variations on Pie

The recipe I have given here make a large pie, probably enough for 6-8 people. Half the amounts for a smaller family dinner.

I also have to clarify, I have said to use a whole cooked chicken but obviously any combination of cooked chicken is totally acceptable.  After Thanksgiving  you could also use left over turkey as well.  At Christmas, any ham lurking in your fridge would also be very tasty, and then it would become a chicken and ham pie! Feel free to supplement the meat with additional vegetables too. You could add mushroom, broccoli or green beans, just cook them al dente first.

If making the pie ahead of time, allow the filling to cool down before covering with pastry. Then store in the fridge, until ready to cook.

Time Saving Hack

If making this in the States may I recommend a time saving hack. I often substitute Trader Joe’s ‘Mirepoix’ in place of the chopped onions, carrots and celery.  They do all the chopping for me and I do not end up crying while cutting up the onions.

This would be lovely served with roasted Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans and  Little Baby Roasted Potatoes.

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Sausages, a cautionary tale!

Sausages, a cautionary tale!

Social Media is not for the Fainthearted In this post I will confess to an act of great stupidity, it involves sausages. But first let me give you a little background. Obsessions I think most of you probably know about my potato obsession. Well I […]

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Walnut, Celery and Danish Blue Cheese Quiche with foraged Redcurrents

Walnut, Celery and Danish Blue Cheese Quiche with foraged Redcurrents

Every time I see red currents I have to make this quiche. I have probably only made it a handful of times as red currents were never very easy to find either in Wimbledon or in Darien. Then I moved to Denmark.  I now come […]

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Salad Niçoise with Roasted Salmon

Salad Niçoise with Roasted Salmon

Salad Niçoise – Classic French Dish

Salad Niçoise is a classic French dish. I switch it up slightly and use fresh roasted salmon instead of the traditional tinned tuna. With a lemon dressing, the combination of salmon, baby new potatoes, French green beans and locally grown tomatoes is perfect for a summer lunch or light supper.

Origins

Whilst doing a bit of research on the origins of Salad Niçoise (thanks Wikipedia) I discovered I am joining a long list of chefs and cooks who disagree on what makes a classic Niçoise. There is no dispute about where the salad came from, Nice, but after that it is all downhill.

I am offending purists by including cooked potatoes and green beans. I am switching out salmon for the more traditional tuna (feel free to switch it back). My dressing is a light lemon vinaigrette, no mayonnaise is involved. I insist on both black olives and anchovies.,

As with all recipes, what you do in the privacy of your own kitchen is entirely up to you!

Fabulous Salad for Entertaining

Salad Niçoise was one of my go to salads when I was catering back in Darien. All the bits (technical catering term), can be cooked and dressed in advance The salad itself can be assembled just as guests arrive, but it will happily sit around until you have poured that first glass of rosé. It also looks spectacular. Are you beginning to see the attraction?  It gets better. 

I use salmon left over from my

Herb Roasted Salmon.

Herb Roasted Salmon
Herb Roasted Salmon

as a  way of making the salmon go a little further.

Or you could use some

Poached Salmon

Poached Salmon
Poached Salmon with Cucumber

Tinned tuna really works well too.

Use Seasonal Vegetables

Apart from French green beans almost all the ingredients,

Eggs

hard boiled eggs
hard boiled eggs

potatoes, tomatoes and lemons are the sort of thing you generally have in the house. However, at this time of the year, in Great Britain and Denmark, we are blessed with fabulous ‘new potatoes’.

New Potatoes

New potatoes
New Danish Potatoes with paper thin skin

Now I think I may have mentioned my potato obsession?  For some reason ‘New Potatoes’, the ones where the skin is paper thin and can just be rubbed off, is something I could not find when I was living in America. The closest I ever got was fingerlings.

During the summer months, when I was growing up in Scotland, we existed almost exclusively on new potatoes and butter and strawberries and clotted cream.  Jersey Royals would appear early in the season, and then later, local potatoes would be available either in the shops or directly from the farm. It was heaven.

Most people also grew a few drills of potatoes in their back garden.  My dad would often go out and dig up just enough potatoes for the next meal. Now that is a new potato!

One of the many attractions of living in Denmark, is, that with a similar climate and heritage, I can once again enjoy “New Potatoes”. And I do!

Larder Items

And I am assuming everyone always has tinned black olives and anchovies in their well stocked larder?

Salad Niçoise

July 7, 2017
: To feed six for lunch or a hungry four for dinner. There really is no right or wrong set of proportions. I usually cook everything, then layer the salad adding more tomatoes or lettuce so it looks balanced. Serve with crusty French bread to mop up the delicious lemony dressing.
: easy

Salad Niçoise is a classic French dish. In this version I use fresh roasted salmon instead of the traditional tinned tuna. With a lemon dressing the combination of potatoes, green beans and tomatoes is perfect for a summer lunch or light supper.

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 eggs-not too fresh as this makes them hard to shell
  • Handful of French beans, topped and tailed
  • 12-14 small baby new potatoes ( now you know me, so there is no such thing as too many potatoes). The new Danish ones are unbelievably good.
  • Handful of beautiful baby tomatoes, cut in two. I sometimes use the multicoloured ones as they make the salad really pretty.
  • Some crisp lettuce leaves such as cos or romaine
  • 4-6 inch fillet of salmon
  • Small tin of black pitted olives or olives of your choice. The proper Niçoise ones generally have stones so can be a pain.
  • For the Salmon
  • small bunch of parsley, washed, stalks removed and finely chopped
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Panko
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Zest from half a small lemon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Lemon Dressing
  • 2TBS freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 5TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
Directions
  • Step 1 Everything can be prepared and cooked ahead of time and the salad is served room temperature.
  • Step 2 Begin by making the salad dressing. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined. I like using an old jam jar with a lid so I can shake the dressing. Will keep for days in the fridge.
  • Step 3 Cook the eggs by placing them in a small pan and covering them with water.
  • Step 4 Bring to a simmer, then boil the eggs for around six to seven minutes. Run pan under cold water until the eggs are cold. Shell them immediately, and cut into quarters. Place in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Step 5 For the green beans, bring a small pan of salted, boiling water to the boil. Drop the beans in and cook for around three minutes. You want them nice and green but still with a bit of bite. Cool them under running cold water or in an ice bath. Dress beans with a little of the Lemon Vinaigrette. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Step 6 Wash and cut potatoes into even sizes if some are a little large. Boil potatoes until nicely done, drain and dress with a little of the Lemon Vinaigrette. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Step 7 For the Salmon I use my Herbed Salmon, but any left over cooked salmon would do. Preheat oven to 425F/210C
  • Step 8 For the Herbed Salmon, place the fish on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spread the salmon with a little Dijon mustard. Mix parsley with lemon zest, a handful of panko, salt and pepper and a plug of olive oil. Spread parsley mix over the mustard. Cook until the panko is beautifully browned. The cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your salmon, but check after 15 minutes.
  • Step 9 To Assemble. Take a large flat platter. Lightly dress the lettuce and layer on the bottom of the plate. Build up the salad with layers of tomatoes, beans, potatoes, flaked salmon and lettuce. I flake the salmon by hand. Finish with black olives and anchovies, if using.
  • Step 10 Drizzle any left over dressing over the finished salad.
Salad Niçoise

Serve with crusty bread to mop up the lovely lemony dressing, and a glass of Rosé. Close you eyes and pretend you are in the South of France.

The Danish Riviera
or in my case The Danish Riviera

Bon Appetit!

 

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