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.


Lemon and Cardamom Fairy Cakes


This recipe is dedicated to Andrea, a serious cardamom addict!

Use a electric beater to mix together 2 large eggs (which will probably weigh about 120g) with the same weight of self-raising flour, golden caster sugar and soft, soft butter plus a teaspoon of baking powder, the zest and juice of a lemon, a tablespoon of yoghurt and the seeds from six cardamom pods.

Bake at 180 degrees for 10 – 20 minutes until nicely golden, then leave to cool.  Don’t worry if they aren’t well risen:  the yoghurt keeps them a little flatter.

Now use the food processor to whizz together 100g soft butter, two teaspoons of yoghurt, the juice of a lemon and 220g icing sugar.

Use a very sharp knife to cut out a circle of sponge.  Pop a tiny tip of a teaspoon of good lemon curd into the bottom of the hole, top with a small spoonful of icing, then halve your circles into butterfly wings and sprinkle with icing sugar.


Pasta with Asparagus, Mint and Parsley


What can I say?  Lent didn’t quite go according to plan.  The scales this morning have convinced me that I need to go back to the healthier version of me.  This recipe kickstarts my first resolution, which is to eat meat just a couple of times a week.

1.  Prepare your vegetables.  Slice up the white of a leek,  a clove of garlic, 3 smallish courgettes and 200g mushrooms.  Prepare about 8 asparagus stalks and have a couple of tablespoons of peas at the ready.

2.  Fry your leek and garlic in 3 tablespoons of good olive oil.  Add some salt.  Meanwhile, pop your pasta on to cook, presuming that you’re using dried pasta which takes 9 – 10 minutes.

3.  Once the leek is nicely softened, add the mushrooms and courgettes and turn the heat up.  Stir and allow to colour slightly.  Meanwhile, grate the zest of a lemon, and chop about 6 mint leaves and a handful of fresh parsley.

4.  When the pasta is 4 minutes from ready, add the asparagus and the peas to the pan, along with the juice of a lemon and some black pepper.  Reduce the heat and pop a lid on.

5.  When the pasta is ready and drained, add it to the vegetable pan with the fresh herbs, lemon zest and a good sprinkle of parmesan.

Feel free to suggest some more healthy recipes below.

Lemon, Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Too much?  I don’t think so!

260g plain flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

110g golden caster sugar

85g butter, melted and slightly cooled

100g white chocolate, chopped or white chocolate buttons

About 12- 18 frozen raspberries; keep them in the freezer until THE MOMENT you need them, unless you’re going for a garish Halloween theme

Freshly grated lemon rind

240ml milk

1 large egg


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg, then add the milk and finally the butter and lemon zest.  Stir.

Pour the liquid into the dry mixture.  Using a metal tablespoon, slowly scrape the bottom and edges of the bowl until the flour is hardly visible. Stop.  It’s important not to overstir.

At this point, put the chocolate in, but don’t stir.

Take the raspberries out of the freezer and break them as you add them to the mixture. I like to find small bits of raspberry in my muffin rather than whole ones, and fresh ones can’t really be broken without making a big mess.

Scrape around the bowl once or twice more, so that absolutely no flour can be seen, then fill 10-12 muffin cases with the mixture.

If you want to sprinkle some oats or demerara sugar on the top you can.

After 15 minutes in the oven, turn them round 180 degrees to ensure an even bake, then give them a further 5 – 10 minutes, depending on your oven.  They are done when they are golden brown and hardly wobble at all as you touch them.