Rhubarb and apple compote


There’s been a lot of publicity about Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb. I bought 400g in Waitrose and made a compote together with three Braeburn apples which were looking past their best.

I sliced the rhubarb into 3cm lengths and peeled, cored and sliced the apples.

Microwave on high for about 7 minutes. Stir and cook for a further minute or so.

I then added sugar and honey to taste.

Could be served warm with Birds Custard; but I cooled mine, stored it in the fridge, and served it for breakfast with Greek yogurt, granola and mixed seeds.

Asian salmon with brown rice and greens

I had some leftover cavolo nero and some salmon fillets in the freezer so I decided to make this – enough for 2:

For the salmon:Asian_salmon

  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 salmon fillets

For the rice:

  • 100g brown long grain rice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic (chopped/crushed)
  • 5 leaves of cavolo nero (roughly chopped, with any tough stalks removed)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • A dash of sesame oil

Cook the rice as indicated on the packet.

Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, lemon juice, honey and ginger, and the coat the salmon fillets, placing them in a dish that can be used under a grill.

Heat the grill and cook the salmon fillets for four minutes on each side, until the salmon is opaque and firm.

To finish the rice, heat the 1 tbsp of oil in a wok, and stir-fry the onion, ginger and garlic. After 1 minute, add the cavolo nero and stir fry for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, together with the soy sauce and rice wine. When thoroughly hot, mix in the sesame seeds and the sesame oil.

Serve immediately, pouring any remaining liquid from grilling, over the salmon.

Warm Duck Salad

Duck_Salad2-horzThis is a recipe I thought up on a hot day – for 2 people:

  • 2 duck legs
  • 60g wild rocket
  • 90g quinoa (cooked according to the instructions, rinsed, drained and cooled)
  • 1 red pepper (charred (over a gas ring or with a blowtorch, skin rinsed off, and sliced (1/2cm wide))
  • 20 fine green beans (cooked, cooled and cut into 3cm lengths)
  • 40 (approx) pumpkin seeds (I used butternut squash seeds, as I roasted a squash at the same time as the duck legs)
  • 2 spring onions sliced (actually I used some cocktail pickled onions (quartered) that were lurking in the fridge)
  • Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1 fresh pineapple ring (cut into thin wedges)
  • For the dressing:
    • 2 tsp honey
    • 2cm cube of fresh ginger (finely grated)
    • 1 small red chilli (finely chopped)
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
    • Juice of 1/6th of a lime
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
    • Pineapple juice squeeze from the left-over peelings

Prick the skin of the duck legs all over, and place on a trivet over a roasting tin. Roast for 1.5 hours at 160C (Gas mark 3) or until the skin is crispy and the flesh cooked, basting occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the quinoa, rocket, red pepper, green beans, pumpkin seeds and onions.

Combine all the dressing ingredients and mix half the dressing with the salad.

When the duck is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Then cut into rough slices, (I found a pair of kitchen scissor were useful here, as you need to cut around the bones).

To serve, divide the salad between two plates. Place the duck pieces on top and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and the remaining dressing.


Berry Bircher muesli


This makes a refreshing start to the day. Serves 2 – 3:

  • 100g rolled (‘porridge’) oats
  • 100ml milk
  • 60ml cherry juice (or apple juice)
  • 2 apples (peeled and grated – I used Granny Smiths, but you could use one Bramley, with possibly, some more honey)
  • 100g yogurt
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • Juice from 1/3rd of a lime (or lemon)
  • 8 walnut halves (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp mixed seeds (eg sunflower, pumpkin, linseeds and sesame seeds)
  • Mixed berries (I had a mixture if strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, left over from the previous day), or any other fruit (according to season)

Mix the oats together with the milk and the juice. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, add all the remaining ingredients (other than the mixed berries, or equivalent).

Divide between two or three bowls and top with the fruit.

Moroccan mushrooms with couscous

This is based on a recipe I found on the BBC GoodFood website. Enough for 2:


  • Oil
  • 150g mushrooms (quartered)
  • 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
  • 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 tsp ground cumin
  • A pinch of chilli flakes
  • ½ 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • ½ 410g tin chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 90g couscous
  • ½ tsp harissa
  • 3 soft dried apricots (diced)
  • 20 raisins
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 130ml boiling water
  • Flat parsley (roughly chopped)

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan. Add the mushrooms and stir constantly over a high heat until they start to soften. Set aside.

Heat a 1 tbsp oil in another saucepan. Gently cook the onion 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cinnamon, cumin and chilli flakes, and cook for 1 min. Then stir in the tomatoes, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix ½ tbsp. of oil and the harissa and stir into the couscous (in a bowl). Stir in the dried apricots, raisins and pin nuts. Pour over the boiling water, stir and then cover. Leave to stand for 7 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.

When the tomato mixture has simmered for 15 minutes, stir in the mushrooms, the chickpeas and honey. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

To serve, fluff up the couscous with a fork, and serve with the mushroom mixture, scattered with parsley.

I served this with some green beans.


Chinese spare ribs


These spare ribs were slow roasted, after marinading in a mixture of hoisin sauce (2 tbsp), honey (1 tbsp) and hot chilli sauce (1 tbsp).

The usual supermarket pack of 500g pork spare ribs is plenty for 2 people.

Remove the ribs from the marinade (retain the remains of the marinade). Place the ribs in a roasting tin (if your tin has a trivet, place the spare ribs on it).

Cook in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Brush the remaining marinade on the ribs, turn the oven down to 120C (Gas Mark 1/2), and return the ribs to the oven to cook for another 1.5 hours (longer won’t do any harm).

Good with Thai sticky rice and steamed pak choi – or just on their own.



We ate this on Burns Night (25 January) along with blinis, sour cream and smoked salmon; and haggis, neeps and tatties. Makes 2 very large portions:

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp whisky
  • 250g raspberries (fresh or defrosted frozen raspberries)
  • 3 tbsp porridge oats
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar (sieved)
  • 100ml double cream (whipped)
  • 300ml Greek yogurt

Dissolve the honey in the whisky and mix with the raspberries.

Mix together the oats, the ground almonds and the sugar in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat, so that the oats and the almonds are ‘toasted’ and the sugar begins to caramelise. Allow to cool.

Fold the yogurt into the whipped cream.

Assemble the cranachan in two glasses: a layer of raspberries, followed by a layer of cream/yogurt, followed by a sprinkling of the oat/almond/sugar mixture. Repeat as necessary, ending with a sprinkling of the oat/almond/sugar mixture. Refrigerate if not consuming immediately.