Omelette Arnold Bennett


Much as I love food, I think I’d be a bit miffed if I was more famous for eating a smoked haddock omelette than for writing ‘The Old Wives’ Tale’.  Arnold Bennett’s books don’t seem to be fashionable at the minute; I have no idea why not.

Anyway, if you like smoked haddock, and don’t mind the occasional rich omelette, you’ll love this.

Firstly, pop about 140g undyed, smoked haddock into a small pan with 250ml milk and simmer for 8-10 minutes until just cooked.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill, grate about a tablespoonful of cheese (I used Gran Padano but parmesan would be fine too) and chop a few chives and about half a tablespoon of parsley.

Lightly whisk 6 eggs with a small pinch of salt..

When the haddock is cooked, lift it out of the milk and flake into juicy pieces, retaining the milk.

Now, melt 40g butter in a pan with a dessertspoonful of cornflour, stirring all the time over a low heat.  When it has melted, add the warm milk and whisk over a medium heat until the sauce is thick, smooth and just bubbling.  Take it off the heat and stir in the parsley, the haddock, a very small pinch of salt and some freshly grated nutmeg.  Set aside.

Next, let a big knob of butter foam all over a medium-sized frying pan, then pour in the eggs.  When the omelette is practically cooked, take it off the heat and pour the sauce all over the top.  Sprinkle with cheese and grill until golden and delicious.  Throw over a few snipped chives.


Leek, Potato and Watercress Soup


Are the nights drawing in yet?

Wash and chop 4-5 leeks and 6 medium-sized peeled potatoes.

Sweat them slowly in a large, lidded pan with a crushed clove of garlic and a chopped onion.  About 10 minutes is fine.  Meanwhile, boil your kettle.

Now, add half a pint of milk, a pint and a half of boiling water and 4 teaspoons of Marigold vegetable stock.  Pop the lid on and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Finally, add about 60g watercress, saving a few sprigs as a garnish.  Let this steam for about two minutes before skooshing it all up with your hand blender, adding plenty of black pepper and perhaps salt. Drop a few watercress leaves over the top.

Nutmeg Scones with a Sugar Crust


It would never have occurred to me to put nutmeg into a scone if Alex from The Angel’s Share Bakery in Richmond (North Yorkshire) hadn’t told me that she did it.  And she bakes the most delicious scones, pies, quiches and cakes that you can imagine.  She has a magical touch with everything she bakes.  This isn’t her recipe – I didn’t have the nerve to ask for it – but the children have begged me to make scones like this all the time from now on, so they must be good.

If you’re on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales or County Durham, do pop along to The Angel’s Share Bakery ( or to pick up a luxury picnic; it’s just lovely, and there are plenty of picturesque spots within a few minutes’ walk where you can sit to enjoy your treats.

1lb self-raising flour

1 teaspoonful baking powder and a good grinding of nutmeg

4oz butter

Rub the butter into the flour, nutmeg and baking powder until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add 4oz golden caster sugar and 2oz sultanas/raisins.

Crack a large egg into a measuring jug, then make this up to 9 fl.oz with a teaspoonful of vanilla extract and cold water.  Whisk together.

Stir little by little with a knife into the dry mixture (you probably won’t need all of the liquid), then finish off with your cold hand.  When it all comes together, lightly flatten it on the work surface with your hand until it’s about an inch thick.  Use a round cutter to make about 10 scones.

I’d really recommend that you buy one of those non-stick black baking sheets to cover your baking tray:  it saves all of that greasing and flouring.

Spread a heaped tablespoonful of golden caster sugar over a flat plate, and sprinkle over some more nutmeg.  Brush the tops of your scones with milk, then dunk them upside down – one at a time – onto the sugar, so that they have a crusty top.  Place onto a prepared baking tray.

Cook in a hot oven (200 degrees) for 25 minutes, but know your oven – in mine, they cooked in 10 minutes at 190 degrees.  Take them out as soon as they start to smell delicious.  They will brown more quickly with their sugary tops.

I’m sure you know what to do with scones.  I had the first one with butter and the second and third with raspberry jam and clotted cream.

Rocket Salad with Rosemary Chicken and Gran Padano


This is a ten minute wonder, inspired by (or rather, totally copied from) my friend, Andrea.

The five minute marinade

You’ll need to chop a few rosemary leaves (we’re talking less than a teaspoonful when chopped) and a small clove of garlic, and rub them into 250g finely sliced chicken breast with the zest of a lemon (don’t use the juice yet – you’ll need it later), a little salt and black pepper and two tablespoons of olive oil.

Leave this to marinate while you drop 100-150g rocket leaves into a bowl and sprinkle through about 30g Gran Padano.  You’ll want about 30g more cheese to add at the end.

Heat up a frying pan to very, very hot, then fry the chicken until just golden (about 5 minutes).  Test your fattest piece to check that it’s cooked through before discarding the oil and tossing the chicken into the salad.

Final flourish

Sprinkle with lemon juice, good olive oil and more cheese.

Sautéed Ginger Carrots

DSC_0009[1]It might still be 22 degrees in County Durham, but my taste buds are craving something autumnal, and carrots with ginger are it.  Let’s see if it’s so simple to make that I can write the recipe in just two sentences.

Place a tablespoonful of grated ginger, plenty of peeled carrots (cut chunkily on the diagonal), a sliced onion and – if you want – a few slices of potato into a large, lidded frying pan with a decent knob of butter, a peeled clove of garlic, salt, black pepper and a teaspoonful of dried thyme.

No water necessary:  Just clamp the lid on and cook low-low-low for 30 – 45 minutes, shaking from time to time and removing the lid for the last five minutes if you’d like your vegetables to colour.

Sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Three sentences…oh, well.