Goat’s Cheese Salad with Figs and Walnuts

You’ll need spinach, small ripe figs, walnuts, goat’s cheese, a lemon, some balsamic vinegar and olive oil, some chutney, a clove of garlic and a little French mustard.

Start by making the dressing.  Put the garlic clove, a dessertspoon of balsamic vinegar, the juice of half a lemon and a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in the mini-processor with half a teaspoon each of any nice chutney and mustard.  Whoosh them together.

Slice your goat’s cheese, one slice per salad and place each piece onto a small square of greaseproof paper.  Put them under a hot grill.

Scatter a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves over each plate and sprinkle over some of the dressing, a few walnuts and about three halved figs.

When the cheese is golden and bubbling, carry the greaseproof paper to the plate and slide the cheese onto the salad.



Lamb and Spinach Curry

Fry 2 large, sliced onions in 4 tablespoons of oil until browning.

Skoosh up a two inch piece of ginger and 3 cloves of garlic and add to the onions.  Stir this into the onions with a teaspoon each of chilli powder, turmeric, ground cumin and salt.  Continue stirring and cook for 2 minutes more.

Add 500g lean diced lamb (I usually buy a leg or shoulder joint and cut it up myself so that there is no visible fat) and stir well.  Add half a tin of chopped tomatoes and stir.  Then add 400ml water and stir.  Put the lid on and cook slowly for 50 minutes.

Add 200g chopped spinach and cook – lid on – for a further 10 minutes.  Then take the lid off and turn up the heat to reduce the liquid for the last ten minutes.

Garnish with sliced chillis, ginger or coriander.

Spiced Chicken with Prunes


Start this the night before by sprinkling 3 chicken breasts (each one cut into 3 pieces) with a chopped up garlic clove, a scant tablespoon of chopped fresh mint and parsley, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon each of dried ginger, ground coriander and cinnamon, half a teaspoon each of turmeric and chilli flakes and the juice of half a lemon.  Put this in the fridge, covered.

At the same time, steep 200g prunes in 2 teaspoons of honey and enough boiling water to cover.  Leave this at room temperature.

The next day, preheat your oven to 180 degrees, then fry 2 sliced onions with 2 crushed cloves of garlic in some olive oil and a little salt.  Use a hob-friendly, ovenproof pan for this.  When the onion is soft, add the chicken breasts to the pan, and turn the heat up to colour.  Add a little more oil if necessary.  Sprinkle with a some nutmeg and black pepper.  Once both sides of the chicken breasts are golden, add a sliced red pepper and a sliced yellow pepper.  Stir well, then add half a pint of chicken stock (from a stock cube is fine).  Bring to the boil, then put a lid on and pop the casserole into a medium oven (180 degrees) for half an hour.

After 30 minutes, add the zest of a lemon and and the prunes.  Put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.  After that, stir in some fresh mint, parsley and a couple of handfuls of chopped spinach.  Leave it to sit for a couple of minutes, stir again and check for salt and then serve with couscous or rice and a further sprinkling of zest and parsley.


Chicken and Chorizo Tumble



A Nigella-inspired dinner, what with chorizo and chilli flakes and everything.  And the best part is, it only takes 5 minutes’ prep, 30 minutes’ cooking and one roasting dish.

Line a large roasting dish with a non-stick sheet and preheat the oven to 210 degrees.

Bash a garlic clove, halve 400g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut 250g chorizo into 2″ chunks, cut 4 mixed peppers into large pieces and throw into the roasting dish with a 350g pack of diced sweet potato and/or butternut squash, a big glug of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt, pepper and chilli flakes.

Roast super-hot for 15 minutes, then turn everything over with a slotted spoon to ensure even browning.  Pop back into the oven for 15-20 minutes, reducing the temperature slightly if necessary.

Serve on a bed of spinach or couscous.