Baked Gigot of Monkfish with a Warm Tomato Vinaigrette

It’s Good Friday today and traditionally in our household, and no doubt many others, we eat fish.  Unfortunately, lots of people I know get put off fish by the prospect of fiddling about with bones.  This is where monkfish comes into its own. The gigot (or tail) of monkfish only has a large central bone which makes serving easy!  But this is a dish that keeps on giving, because there is no last minute frying or poaching- it bakes in the oven.

Monkfish has a dense, white meaty flesh, and in this recipe it is spiked with anchovies to season (please don’t be put off if you aren’t sure about them, the anchovies melt into the monkfish), then marinated in lemon and olive oil, and nestled on a bed of Rosemary so that it is perfumed with its flavour as it bakes.  The warm tomato vinaigrette that is poured over just before serving is the perfect sauce and also goes well with whatever green vegetable you serve with it.  Today we had it with asparagus as it is growing like mad in the garden right now. Continue reading

Pineapple and Star Anise Tarte Tatin

I love tarte tatin   it’s quick, easy,  totally delicious and looks impressive.  I make it with apples (preferably cox or Braeburn) I make it with plums, apricots, greengages and now  I make it with pineapple

On Sunday I couldn’t think what I was going to make for pudding  Then my eye fell upon a lone pineapple sitting in the fruit bowl. I had ready made butter puff pastry in the fridge and I had star anise in the spice rack. I even had stem ginger ice cream in the freezer – things were looking good. Continue reading

Snowdrops – February’s Flower of the Month

It’s difficult to find flowers from the garden to decorate the house at this time of year.  But if you look they are there.  Close to the ground, their heads hanging down almost shyly.  Snowdrops.  “February’s Fair Maids” or “Candlemas Bells” – with Candlemas being the 2nd February – link snowdrops to this month.  My mood always lightens at the first sight of them because it means spring is well and truly on its way.  There are also yellow aconites and early hellebores.  Then there are the first catkins (which is what my French family mistakenly used to  think the English called kittens!!) Continue reading

Overnight Porridge

Spoiler Alert!!!  This makes the best, smoothest and creamiest porridge ever even without milk!  BUT this recipe is really only practical if you have an Aga or a Rayburn   You can do it in an ordinary oven turned to the lowest setting and left on overnight, but it would mean leaving the power on specially – whereas an old fashioned Aga or Rayburn is on anyway.

The porridge is very simple to make with no need for the long, laborious stirring required to make porridge this silky.   Set it up for two minutes the night before, leave overnight, and then two minutes in the morning and it’s ready.   Continue reading

Sri Lankan Veg Curry

Well Chloe, the wait is finally over!  You’ve been asking me for ages to put this on the blog and finally I have got round to it!  This is a lightly spiced vegan curry that makes Chloe feel happy after a long, hard day at work – ok this and a large glass of wine, but she does have an extremely stressful job!  It’s great just served in a bowl curled up on the sofa.   It isn’t too heavy and yet is warming and somehow the colours and smells make you feel as though you are somewhere sunny and warm.  Dare I say it, this meal actually feels as though it’s doing your body good!   All it needs to go with it is either some couscous or brown basmati rice Continue reading


Going for a walk on a Sunday with the dogs on a crisp January morning is one of life’s old fashioned pleasures   With luck there are blue skies, a bit of sparkling frost and the first few snowdrops peeking their noses above the ground.  Bliss.

Flapjacks. Something that’s classed as being old fashioned but doesn’t seem to be held in the same favourable nostalgic light as Sunday walks.  In fact, flapjacks seem generally out of favour in the biscuit tin (itself not often present in modern life).  Maybe it’s because flapjacks are seen as being worthily oaty and difficult to eat and, let’s be honest we often think that if you are going to blow the calories that chocolate Italian biscuit is much more appealing and trendy!   Flapjacks are something that your granny made – and often overbaked -making them so claggy and hard when you bit into them you were afraid that you would need to visit the dentist from a lost tooth or filling. Continue reading

Breakfast Martini


I promised a couple of weeks ago when I shared my marmade recipe that I would write some that used it.  At the time I had in mind a pudding or maybe a baked ham but instead I came across this cocktail which is essentially a marmalade martini.  Salvatore Calabrese is a mixologist and a recent President of The United Kingdom Bartenders’ Guild and the man who has this as his signature cocktail – and jolly nice it is too!!! Continue reading

Clementine and Rosemary Upside Down Cake

How could I resist reading the column heading above???

It is funny sometimes how an idea for a recipe comes about.  I had been thinking about making a spiced clementine cake I had seen in this month’s Olive magazine when I saw Diana Henry’s article in The Sunday Telegraph about the herb Rosemary and saying how could it was with all sorts of things including oranges.  Well that was the inspiration for this recipe.  We had it today for lunch and on a cold day the caramel and clementines were perfect with the perfume of Rosemary giving a hint of warmer more Mediterranean days to come   It is a wonderful indulgence with the feel of a steamed pudding yet it does not feel too heavy when you eat it!!! Continue reading

Pinecone Firelighters Scented with Orange and Cinnamon

Well this isn’t a recipe in the sense of making something to eat, but for those of you who have wood burners or an open fire it is worth knowing about.   I used to buy something very similar to these and it never occurred to me that you could make them yourself until my friend Rachel sent me a photo of some she had made.  I had to have a go and I was delighted with the results. These are so quick and easy to do.  Not only that but they are cheap to make, look good, smell wonderful and do the job.  Brilliant Continue reading

Seville Orange Marmalade

My husband loves marmalade on toast for his breakfast   Mind you he doesn’t object to it as a glaze over a baked ham or atop a steamed pudding either (though truthfully he likes all steamed puddings!).  But whilst we are at it, marmalade goes very well with both roast duck and roast pork as well which is useful to know  for those who have an allergy to onions as a dear friend of mine has.    I will add some recipes using marmalade during the next few weeks so you can see its versatility!

Some foods are steeped in our culture and in our personal histories. Marmalade is certainly one of them. From the moment you open the jar, that bitter sweet citrus smell that fills the air evokes memories. Mine are of my mother making marmalade in the 1960s whilst I watched perched on the top of the red kitchen steps judiciously placed at a safe distance (I was an inquisitive child!!)  Itwas the first preserve of the year and somehow it’s tangy flavour after all the rich Christmas flavours is just right Continue reading