22 April 2013

A load of Cobblers

As we move with wistful enthusiasm into what is now hopefully spring, it hardly seemed appropriate to be cooking a hearty winter reapas ! Watching Paul Hollywood's bread program on TV the other night however inspired me to cook this dish. I had never cooked a cobbler before but it combines a beef stew ( I used my Daube recipe ) and bread, two things I love , so I thought i'd give it a go before the slightly warmer weather gets everyone in the mood for lighter, simpler delights. It turned out to be a real crowd pleaser, serve with just a crisp green salad or as we did with some buttered spring greens. You'll find the recipe here

9 April 2013

super soda

Lightly spiced Carrot & Parsnip soup with homemade soda bread.

This made a perfect Saturday lunch and used up some excess Carrots and Parsnips that had been lurking in the bottom of the veg box. I don't need to tell you how to make soup now , do I ? So here's a list of ingredients: carrots, parsnip, leak, onion, chicken stock , toasted cumin, coriander  & fennel seeds and finished with some fresh coriander.

I've always loved soda bread but had never made it before. So, having seen it on an episode of Masterchef; of all places, I thought i'd give it a go. To be honest it couldn't be simpler and if you're fresh out of bread, happen to have the ingredients in the cupboard and have a spare 35 minutes then this is perfect.

175g self raising flour
175g wholemeal flour
tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
290 ml of buttermilk
porridge oats

Simply combine the flours, bicarb and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, stir together quickly to form a dough and then turn out on a dry surface and kneed for just a couple of minutes to bring everything together. Form into a rough shape, roll on the oats and bake in the pre-heated oven 200c for about 30 mins. Done.

25 March 2013


Jerusalem Artichokes: This one is a bit of a 'love or hate' but i love 'em , they're nutty little nuggets and much more versatile than you'd think. For me though simplicity is key and this dish is simplicity personified. SautĂ©ed the artichokes in olive oil with garlic . bay and finish with some lemon juice. Simple, as the best things often are.

13 March 2013

Huba Baba

This is a beautifully simple dish of Lentils, tomato, red peppers and a delightfully smokey scoop of babaghanoush on top. I just can't get enough of this right now.

Lentils with tomato & babaghanoush

Serves: 4
for the lentils

400g green or puy lentils
1 carrot, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
1 clove of garlic peeled
1 onion peeled and quartered
2 tbls chopped red pepper
1 tbls harisa paste
lemon juice
chopped parsley & coriander

rinse the lentils well under cold water and put them in a large pan. Put the carrot, bay, onion and garlic in the pan and cover all the ingredients with plenty of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 25mins until the lentils are cooked. Drain, remove the bay. carrot, onion and garlic. Season the lentils with some olive oil , salt & pepper and set the lentils on one side.

for the tomatoes
400g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4 tbls extra virgin olive oil
thyme or oregano
salt and pepper
put a pan on a medium heat, add the oil and then the tomatoes. Season well , sprinkle with the herbs and cover. Simmer for 10-15 mins until the tomatoes are cooked but still hold their shape. Set aside to cool

for the babaghanoush

2 large aubergines
4 tbls of tahini
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 lemon juiced
some cold water

heat the oven to at least 220c . Cover a baking tray with foil and put the aubergines on the tray and in the oven. Leave space between them so they don’t stick and they get a good even heat. Roast for about 30-45mins or until they are dry and cracked on the outside and a knife passes easily through. Set aside until cool enough to handle and then cut in half and scoop the flesh into a sieve and allow to drain for ten minutes then place in a bowl. Add the garlic, tahini and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy but not too loose. Adjust with water if necessary. Combine this mixture with the drained aubergine pulp and mix thoroughly together with a spoon. Season and adjust the lemon.

Mix the tomatoes into the lentils and stir in the red pepper, harissa, squeeze in the lemon juice and season to taste. Finally mix in a good handful of the chopped herbs and maybe some more olive oil. Spoon out onto a large serving dish. To finish: spoon the babaghanoush over the top and drizzle with a little more oil.

mark bader photography

7 September 2011

Golden Nuggets

I was researching some veg recipies for an event I am doing for Riverford Organics this weekend and I stumbled across these carrot fritters in the lovely new vegetarian cook book 'Vegetarian' by Alice Hart. I have very slightly modified them, in that I used fresh mozzarella instead of halloumi in these ones which created nice soft bubbles of cheese but I will revert to halloumi at the weekend for it's salty overtones. Great as a vegetarian starter or as a side dish.

Carrot and Coriander fritters

Serves: 4

  • 4 large carrots, grated
  • 4 spring onions finely chopped
  • Small bunch of coriander leaves chopped
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 20g gram flour
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 50g Halloumi grated

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix until well combined. Form the mixture into small patties in your hand and lay them on a sheet of greaseproof paper and ideally refrigerate for an hour if you have the time.

Heat some oil in a large frying and gently fry the fritters until crisp and golden. Remove from the pan and put on a warmed plate with some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.

21 August 2011

Fighting fish

One of the very first photographs I had taken as a kid was of my little brother Jon, maybe aged 6 years old, standing outside our holiday home in Rustington, West Sussex, proudly holding in his outstretched hand, the catch of the day, a Mackerel!

A year or so before this momentous picture had been snapped my father surprised us all and I dare say himself, by returning from an unlikely visit to the London boat show with a boat strapped to the roof of the car. Not any old boat and if Ikea had been in existence back then they surely would have been green with envy for having not thought up this little gem, a flat packed self assemble boat! It was indeed a wondrous thing and we wondered over the instructions in true Ikea style for a whole winter, slowly and steadily wiring plywood panels together, taping up the seams with fibreglass tape, and fastidiously varnishing all the woodwork with the very exotically named ‘international’ boat varnish, until sometime around Easter as far as I can remember the vessel was finally wheeled out of the garage and stood magnificently on the driveway, now all we needed was some water. Surrey not being noted for its coast (although it does have a ‘coastal cruising society’) we headed for Littlehampton and the Arun Yacht club. Membership cards singed we would spend the next decade of our lives very happily mucking about on boats.

Mostly our boating pursuits would entail freezing cold forays into the English Channel to race 20 or so other boats around cleverly placed buoys whose intention was to test ones seamanship to the utmost. As kids we thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and we would try to (actually we often did) win these races or regattas and claim both the accolade and applause from the clubhouse as well as a tiny little wooden shield. On occasion and when the weather was clement we would strap an outboard motor to the stern of the boat, leave the sails folded neatly in their bags and head out into the channel for a spot of fishing, we kept a simplistic fishing kit, a bucket with two or three Mackerel lines in it. These lines with their brightly coloured dancing feathers would be cast off and left to their own devises for a while, we would probably eat a sandwich and then excitedly haul the lines into the boat and every once in a while we would be treated to a string of fish, often just one, more often just none, but it kept us kids entertained, and cold!

Nowadays I don’t have to go to quite the same lengths to gather one of my favourite fish and living only 20 miles from where these momentous events took place some 30 years ago I am in a perfect spot for Mackerel. No, a quick 10-minute cycle along the seafront here in Brighton is all that’s required and I have the full treasures of the sea laid out neatly on ice and for the taking.

Mackerel is a proper fish, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is quite probably the fish I eat more of than any other, lets hope it remains sustainable and cheap! To begin with it’s a real looker, dark and broody with flashes of silver and tiger stripes, it’s flesh is succulent and oily, it’s bones are substantial and easy to deal with. As with most fish there really isn’t that much to cooking them and Mackerel couldn’t be easier. These were pan fried, skin down in a little oil, two minutes and the skin is crisp, flip them over for a further minute and that’s it. What you serve them with is entirely a different matter, but I like to keep it simple and this Salsa Verde is a perfect partner for this glorious fish.

Salsa Verde

  • Handful of mint leaves
  • A bunch of Dill
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp of capers (in brine)
  • 1 anchovy fillet (in oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt & pepper
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz to a coarse consistency, adjust seasoning and add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.