Szechuan chicken stir fry

szechuan chicken stir fry

This is a really easy and quick to cook stir fry chicken recipe using szechuan pepper which is a fragrant pepper which is widely available. Continue reading “Szechuan chicken stir fry”

Smoked mackerel sushi

smoked mackerel sushi

This is a really easy smoked mackerel sushi dish and requires hardly any cooking.  You’ll need a rolling mat which you can buy from a Chinese supermarket or specialist (ahem) tobacconists! Continue reading “Smoked mackerel sushi”


Paella recipe

Paella is a classic Spanish dish, it’s easy to make, unlike risotto it doesn’t need constant attention.  This recipe is very traditional but it’s easy to mix it up using different types of meat and fish Continue reading “Paella”

Garlicky pumpkin risotto



Make the pesto:
Pulse the basil, garlic and pinenuts in a food processor to a coarse paste, adding enough olive oil to produce a loose-textured puree. Pour into a bowl and fold in the parmesan.

Cook the garlic:
Blanch the 6 cloves in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain all the water off then add 200ml of the stock and half the butter. Simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes until the garlic is really soft and the stock and butter have reduced to a syrupy glaze. Remove from the heat. (You can do this up to 4 hours in advance).

Cook the pumpkin:
Heat oven to 200C. Toss the pumpkin cubes with the olive oil, season and roast for 10-15 minutes until just tender.

Make the risotto:
Sweat the onion in the remaining butter in a large shallow pan until soft – about 5 minutes. Tip in the rice, raise the heat and toast the rice until translucent. Lower the heat and add the remaining stock a ladleful at a time, stirring well until the stock is completely absorbed before adding the next ladleful.
Once the rice is al dente, fold in the two cheeses, garlic cloves and pumpkin. Cook for a further 2 minutes.

Serve with a drizzle of pesto on top.

Tuna pilau

tuna pilau


This is a great ‘fridge surprise’ tea and leftovers are great for lunch – hot or cold – the next day!

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan (one that has a tight fitting lid) and add the curry leaves and onion with a pinch of salt. Fry gently, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes until soft and slightly caramelised.

Add the garlic and ginger and continue frying for a few minutes. Next, add the spices and mix well.

Tip in the rice, coat well with the spice mixture and add the stock. You may not need the full 500ml, so leave a wee bit behind. Mix well, bring to a boil then cover and simmer for about 7 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is almost cooked.

At this stage, flake in the tuna and add the peas. If it looks really dry, you can add a bit more stock. Cover and continue to simmer for another few minutes until the tuna and peas have warmed through and the rice is cooked. Turn out the heat and leave to sit, covered for 2-3 minutes.

When ready to serve, squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle over the fresh herbs.


Spiced lamb and coconut pilaf



In a heavy-bottomed casserole dish with a lid, fry the onion, garlic and ginger in the groundnut oil until soft and slightly coloured.

Add the lamb mince and brown. Next, add the rice and spices with a pinch of salt and stir well. Pour in the stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has been mostly absorbed. Add the peas and cook for a further 2 minutes. Check the seasoning, squeeze over the lemon or lime and garnish with the coriander.

Pea, prawn and mint risotto

Pea, prawn and mint risotto


Heat the stock in a pan and keep on a low heat.
Gently fry the onion and celery in olive oil in a frying pan taking care not to colour. Add a good pinch of salt and stir well until vegetables have softened.  Add garlic and fry for a couple of minutes.
Add rice and mix well with the vegetables so that the grains are well coated in oil and glistening. Add the wine and reduce until almost evaporated.

Then start adding the stock, a ladle at a time, making sure that each ladleful is absorbed before adding the next, stirring well.

Before all stock is added, add peas and prawns. The rice is cooked when it is soft but still with a bite. At the end, add the herbs, butter and some of the parmesan and stir well. Check seasoning and leave to sit in the pan for a few minutes before serving.

Serve in bowls – sprinkle with rest of parmesan and squeeze over a little lemon juice to taste.



Heat oil in ovenproof pan with a lid. Add sauasage and fry until browned and the oil has taken the colour of the sausage. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add onion, green pepper, garlic and celery to the pan and fry for a few minutes on a high heat. Cover, turn down the heat and sweat for a few minutes. Add spices and mix well. Return the sausage to the pan.

Add rice and mix through. Add whatever stock and tomatoes and stir through. Bring to the boil and add herbs and season. Place chicken and prawns (if using) in a layer on top of the rice. Cover and cook on the hob on a low heat until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and the chicken is cooked through- about 20 mins.

Alternatively, cook in the oven at 180C for about the same time. Leave to stand with lid on for 5 minutes before serving.

Fragrant couscous

Place couscous in a large bowl. Bruise the cardamon. Add to bowl with salt and butter. Pour over about 850ml boiling water. Stir once and leave to stand for 10-15 mins.
Toast almonds and pine nuts in a dry pan until golden.

Chop the pistachios. Once couscous has absorbed all the liquid, add the nuts and mix through with a fork. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.

Arroz Con Gandule


  • 2 or 3 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 3 cups water 2 cups rice (american long grain)
  • 2 tbls Smoked paprika
  • Some hot pepper sauce – Miss Anna’s or similar


Here’s another offering from sunny St Croix. Now although it might look like a bowl of dog food, this dish is actually a Puerto Rican classic, “Arroz Con Gandules”. If your Spanish isnt too good, Gandules are Pigeon Peas. So rice and Pigeon Peas. I’m not too sure what a Pigeon pea is, kind of like a cross between a lentil and a pea, has a kind of nutty flavour

Simplicity itself : big pan – cook  bacon / onions / pepper, add the garlic, cook a bit more. Add the pigeon peas, tomato puree, water and Sazon – bring to the boil. Add rice and simmer 20 mins with the lid on. When rice is cooked add as much hot sauce as you can handle.

Rosemary risotto


  • 1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 500g very ripe plum tomatoes (can use tinned)
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head celery, white tender parts only, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 6 teaspoons mascarpone
  • 150g parmesan, grated


Heat stock and check for seasoning.
If using fresh tomatoes, blanch in boiling water for a minute, remove and place in iced water. Skin and seed them into a sieve over a bowl to reserve juices. Discard seeds and skin. Chop tomatoes finely.
If using tinned tomatoes, drain well and chop finely, reserving juices.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat butter and oil. Add celery and onion and cook on low heat for 5 mins; they should become soft and slightly coloured. Add the garlic and chopped rosemary, cook for a minute, then add half the tomatoes. Stir to allow to reduce for 3-4 minutes before adding rice. Stir rice into the sauce to allow it to absorb the red of the tomato, cooking it for about 5 mins. Start adding the hot stock ladle by ladle, alternating it with reserved tomato liquid; stir constantly and allow each ladleful to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next.

Add the remaining chopped tomato about halfway through cooking. Cook , stirring constantly, until rice is al dente, usually about 20 mins. Check for seasoning.

You can either stir in the mascarpone at this point or serve with a tsp of it on top of each dish. Sprinkle over the parmesan and serve each plate with a small sprig of rosemary and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Risotto with ricotta and basil


  • 1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 175g ricotta cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 100g fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
  • 100g parmesan, grated


Heat the stock and check for seasoning.

Break up ricotta with a fork.

Heat oil in large pan and cook onion over low heat for about 10 mins until soft. Add rice and turn to coat with oil and onion. The rice should not colour but become translucent. Start to add the seasoned stock. Ladle by ladle, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next. Continue cooking until the rice is al dente, usually about 20 mins.

Lightly fold in the basil, ricotta and parmesan. Check for seasoning and serve immediately.

Spanish rice with roasted squash and chorizo


  • 1 small squash (e.g. butternut), peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100g-125g chorizo, sliced or cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 orange or red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Half tsp dried chilli flakes
  • Half a tin (200g) chopped tomatoes
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 200g paella rice
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped (optional)


Heat the oven to 200C. Toss the squash with about 2 tbsp of the olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Tip out onto a roasting tray and roast for about 20-25 minutes or until tender and slightly charred at the edges.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and fry the chorizo and peppers over a fairly high heat until crispy then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onions to the pan and saute gently for about 10 minutes until soft and slightly coloured. Add the garlic, smoked paprika and chilli flakes and fry for a few minutes before returning the chorizo and peppers to the pan.

Add the rice and stir well to mix. Add the tinned tomatoes and stock. season and leave to simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the rice is tender and the liquid absorbed. Mix through the roasted squash towards the end of cooking.

Garnish with parsley and tomato if using.

Pumpkin Risotto


If serving with the garnishes, make them now and set aside.

In a large frying pan, fry the bacon in a good slug of olive oil unitl just cooked (not crispy). Add the onion and fry on a low heat until soft but not coloured. Next, add the garlic and fry for a minute or two, stirring. Then add the pumpkin and continue frying, stirring frequently, until the pumpkin is soft but not browned.

Add the rice and mix everything together well. Cook until the grains are slightly translucent. Add the wine and allow to almost evaporate. Then start adding the stock, a ladleful at a time. Stir and allow each ladleful to be absorbed into the rice before adding the next. Continue until the rice is cooked but still al dente (about 15-20 minutes).

Remove from the heat and add the parmesan, butter and parsley. Check the seasoning and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes before serving with the garnishes if using.

Asparagus risotto


  • 200g Risotto rice
  • 1 litre of good quality chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • A glug of white wine or marsala
  • 25g of unsalted butter
  • 25g of grated parmesan


Put the stock in a pan and bring to a simmering boil. Blanch the asparagus spears in the stock for a couple of minutes then take out and place immediately in cold water to cool down.

Chop the heads of the asparagus and set them to one side. with the remaining stalks chop very finely. Add the chopped asparagus and onion to a pan and fry gently for about ten minutes until the onion is soft but now coloured. Add the rice and fry on a mdium heat for a couple of minutes, turn up the heat and add the wine or marsala. Burn of the alcohol and then turn down the heat again to a medium heat.

Start adding the stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly and only adding more when the stock has been fully absorbed. After about 20 mins the rice should be ready, you may not need all the stock but when it is ready it should be soft but still have a little bite to until, a bit like al dente pasta.

Add the reserved asparagus heads and heat through, then add the butter and parmesan and check for seasoning before serving.