Summer Cod with Cheese and Tomato

Summer is in full swing now. Lots of very hot, sunny days and being a summer person this is definitely my time of year. However, Shandy, our labrador, does not agree with me – he finds it just too hot. Even choosing the woods to take him for a walk, where the umbrella of the trees definitely cuts out the blazing heat of the sun, only gives a little respite. For him it’s indoors lying in a cool spot with the air conditioner turned on!

There is invariably something to see on our walks and we were surprised by a young deer with its mother wandering through the trees. They are so elegant and much larger than the muntjac deer we were used to seeing in Oxfordshire.

All that aside, the time I choose to be in the kitchen is less during the summer months and the following recipe is one from my summer collection. There was some lovely wild cod at the fish counter which is very rarely available, so I just had to buy some. It was thick and the flesh was, oh so white. I used it for this recipe. We really enjoyed it and hope you will want to try it too.

 

Summer Cod with Cheese and Tomato

 

A very tasty way to serve cod that is super quick to prepare and cook.

Sun-dried tomato and butter are spread on the cod before topping with the cheese and plum tomato slices. It is then simply grilled/broiled and served with the buttery sauce, peas, green salad and crusty bread. A complete meal in no time.

 

Summer Cod with Cheese and Tomato
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 12–17 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 600g (1 lb 6 oz) cod, skinned and cut into four
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
  • 8 slices mature Cheddar cheese
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced into 8
  • 115g (4 oz) frozen peas (1 cup)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • To serve
  • Crusty bread and a green salad

  • You will also need a heat-resistant dish that is large enough to lay the 4 pieces of cod in a single layer.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the grill/broiler. You don’t want the heat too hot or the dish too close to the source of the heat.

  3. Now lay the fish in a single layer in the dish. Spread the tomato paste over the fish and then dot with the butter. Next place two pieces of cheese over each piece of fish and top with the sliced tomatoes.

  4. Grill/broil until the fish is cooked through. This should take about 10–15 minutes depending on the heat of your grill/broiler.

  5. Increase the heat to high for a further two minutes until the tomatoes are just starting to brown.

  6. Meanwhile, cook the peas. This will take just 2 minutes in a microwave.

  7. Serve the fish with all the buttery juices and the peas spooned round the fish. Season.

  8. Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread.

Updated: August 5, 2018

Fish Pie Florentine

Fish Pie Florentine

 

A fish pie made with chunks of white fish and salmon in a zesty cream sauce, with baby spinach and egg, topped with mashed potato sprinkled with cheese.

 

Fish Pie Florentine
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 50 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Instructions
  • 1kg (2 lb 4 oz) potatoes (about 7), cut into chunks
  • 85g (3 oz) butter (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 55g (2 oz) flour (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 420ml (14 fl oz) milk (1¾ cups), plus extra for creaming the potatoes
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) white wine (¼ cup)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 450g (1 lb) white fish fillet (e.g. haddock), skinned
  • 450g (1 lb) salmon fillet, skinned
  • 55g (2 oz) baby-leaf spinach
  • 3 eggs
  • 115g (4 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated/shredded (1 cup)


  • To serve
  • petit pois

  • You will also need a large ovenproof dish.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)

  3. Put the potatoes in a large pan of cold salted water, bring to the boil, and cook for 20 minutes, until tender.

  4. Add the eggs during the last 10 minutes (saves on another pan!). Once the eggs are ready, remove from the pan and run them under cold water. (This will prevent a dark rim forming round the yolk while they are cooling.)

  5. Drain and mash the potatoes with 28g (1 oz) (⅛ cup, or ¼ stick) of the butter and a little milk, until creamy. Set aside.

  6. Next, melt the rest of the butter in a pan and, once foaming, tip the pan and quickly add the flour. Stir to form a smooth paste and cook over a low heat for 2 minutes. Warm the milk (a microwave makes this quick) and gradually stir into the roux until smooth. Stir in the wine. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and gently cook for 5–10 minutes until the sauce is very thick, stirring constantly. (The sauce needs to be very thick because once the fish is added and cooks in the sauce, its juices will thin it.) Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and a good grating of nutmeg.

  7. Now cut the fish into bite-sized chunks and mix into the sauce with the spinach. Spoon into the ovenproof dish.

  8. Peel the eggs, carefully cut into quarters and scatter them evenly over the top of the fish.

  9. Cover with the mashed potato and sprinkle with the cheese.

  10. Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil then cook for a further 10–15 minutes until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.

  11. Serve with petit pois.

Updated: April 14, 2018

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

 

An individual chicken pie for each member of the family. Succulent chicken pieces cooked in creamy sauce with sweetcorn and peas, and a light pastry topping, is guaranteed to fill the hungriest tummies. And you can personalize them!

 

Individual Chicken Pot Pies
Prepares: 4 individual pies
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes, plus 10 minutes to prepare the pastry
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes hob, 30 minutes oven

  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 340g (12 oz) plain/cake and pastry flour (2⅓ cups)
  • 85g (3 oz) cold butter (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick), cut into small cubes
  • 85g (3 oz) lard (⅜ cup), cut into small cubes
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • For the filling
  • 450g (1 lb) boneless chicken breasts (about 3), skin removed, OR
  • 600g (1 lb 5 oz) chicken joints, skin removed
  • 1 carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few parsley stalks
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • 28g (1 oz) flour (1½ tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp double/whipping or heavy cream
  • 100g (3⅓ oz) frozen peas (¾ cup)
  • 115g/4 oz) frozen sweetcorn (⅔ cup)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • You will also need four 300ml (10 fl oz) ovenproof basins


  1. Method
  2. Put the chicken in a pan with the carrot, onion, bay leaf, parsley stalks, and peppercorns. Cover with cold water and bring to just under the boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, skimming the surface regularly.

  3. Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter and lard until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the water over the flour and use a palette knife to bring the flour and water together. When it starts to bind, remove from the bowl and then lightly knead by hand. Wrap in cling film/wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.

  4. When the chicken has cooked, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Strain off and reserve 400ml (14 fl oz) (1¾ cups) of the poaching stock, discarding the rest along with the herbs and vegetables.

  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).

  6. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the flour and mix to form a smooth paste. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the reserved stock until it is thoroughly blended and smooth. Then return to a medium heat and stir until it starts to thicken. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Now pour in the cream and simmer for a further 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until there is a smooth, thick sauce.

  7. Strip the chicken meat off the bones, if joints were used. Cut the chicken meat into small chunks and stir into the sauce along with the peas, sweetcorn and parsley. Season well.

  8. Now, roll out the pastry thinly. Using the top of one of the ovenproof basins as a guide, cut out four circles of pastry 2cm (¾ inch) larger than the diameter of the basin.

  9. Divide the chicken mixture between the four dishes. Dampen the pastry edges with water and cover the tops of the basins, pressing the edges of the pastry against the rim of the basins. Brush the tops with beaten egg.

  10. Any trimmings can be used to decorate the pies. A personal touch would be to put names on the top. Making the letters does take time but makes it special. Place any decorations on the pastry top and brush these with remaining beaten egg.

  11. Place the four basins on a baking sheet and then pop in the oven for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.

  12. Serve with seasonal vegetables.

Updated: April 7, 2018

Sweet Mustard Pork

Sweet Mustard Pork

 

Succulent pork tenderloin marinaded in a sweet mustard sauce and then roasted.

 

Sweet Mustard Pork
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: about 30 minutes
  • Marinading time: at least 30 minutes, overnight if possible
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes hob, 30 minutes oven

  • Ingredients
  • 450g (1 lb) pork fillet/tenderloin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Vegetables to serve
  • roasted, diced potatoes and carrots
  • peas


  1. Method
  2. For the mustard pork
  3. Mix together the maple syrup, mustard, garlic, oil, and seasoning. Pour into a shallow dish. Add the pork and turn to coat in the marinade. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at at least 30 minutes, overnight if possible.

  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).

  5. Remove the pork from the fridge to bring it up to room temperature.

  6. Meanwhile, parboil a few potatoes and carrots for 7 minutes. Drain and leave until cool enough to handle. Then dice and toss in a little olive oil. Tip into a small roasting tin/pan and roast for about 30 minutes until browning and crisp.

  7. Transfer the pork to a second small roasting tin/pan and pour over the marinade. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through and the juices run clear when tested with a skewer.

  8. Slice the pork and pour over the sticky pan juices. Serve with the roasted vegetables and accompany with peas.

Updated: April 4, 2018

Fisherman’s Pie with Broccoli and Sweet Potato

Fisherman's Pie with Broccoli and Sweet Potato

 

This fish pie is made with mouthwatering white fish and prawns/shrimp with broccoli in a cheesy sauce topped with sweet potato sprinkled with cheese.

 

Fisherman's Pie with Broccoli and Sweet Potato
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1kg (2 lb 4 oz) sweet potatoes
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups)
  • 28g (1 oz) flour (3 tbsp)
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • small broccoli head
  • 170g (6 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated (1½ cups)
  • 700g (1 lb 8 oz) cod or haddock, skinned and cubed
  • 170g (6 oz) cooked tiger prawns/shrimp
  • knob of butter
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

  • To serve
  • Serve with sugar snap peas/mange tout or peas

  • For this recipe, you'll need a 1.2 litre/2 pint shallow ovenproof dish


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)

  3. Peel the sweet potato and cut into even sized pieces. Simmer in lightly salted water until just tender, about 15 minutes. Then drain and set aside.

  4. Cut the florets from the head of broccoli into small pieces. You will need 170g (6 oz) of the florets (1½ cups).

  5. Next, pour the milk in a pan and add the flour and butter. Whisk continuously over a moderate heat until the sauce begins to boil and has thickened. Remove from the heat, season. and stir in 115g (4 oz) (1 cup) of the grated cheese. Beat until the cheese has melted.

  6. Spoon a thin layer of the sauce over the base of the ovenproof dish. Layer the cubes of fish over the sauce and scatter over the prawns/shrimp and broccoli florets. Then pour over the remaining sauce.

  7. Mash the sweet potato with the butter and stir in the parsley. Season well. Spoon on top of the fish and then sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

  8. Bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling.

  9. Serve with the sugar snap peas/mange tout or peas.

Updated: March 13, 2018

Quick Minestrone

Quick Minestrone

 

This quick minestrone is made up of a selection of vegetables cooked with cannelloni beans and small pieces of spaghetti. It makes for a satisfying lunch accompanied with crusty rolls.

 

Quick Minestrone
Prepares: 8–10 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20–25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 small carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 x 400g tin (½ x 796ml/28 fl oz can) chopped tomatoes/diced tomatoes
  • 1.8 litres (3 pints) good chicken stock (7½ cups)
  • 85g (3 oz) spaghetti
  • 400g tin (540ml/19 fl oz can) cannellini beans/white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 140g (5 oz) frozen peas (1 cup)
  • fresh basil to garnish


  1. Method
  2. Peel the vegetables and dice into small pieces, about 0.5cm (¼ inch). Heat the oil in a large pan, add the vegetables and stir to coat with the oil. Cook, uncovered, over a medium–low heat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Then stir in the tomatoes and stock, and bring up to a simmer. Break the spaghetti into small pieces and add to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  4. Finally, add the beans and peas, and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

  5. Serve garnished with basil leaves and accompany with crusty bread or rolls.

Updated May 21, 2017