Many of you will know that Mr E is a helicopter pilot. For many years, he flew helicopters over the North Sea, based in Aberdeen and because of that, we’re always huge supporters of the RNLI whose crews work tirelessly to rescue people and save so many lives (including those of 12 oil workers and two pilots who ditched in their helicopter about 30 miles off the Aberdeen coast in 2012). Did you know that 2016 RNLI lifeboats rescued 8,643 people? And they do all that good work with the majority of funding coming just from voluntary contributions. When Crisp ‘n Dry contacted me to tell me that they’re supporting RNLI’s Fish Supper campaign, I was happy to join in and I’ve got two delicious recipes for you if you want to host your own fish supper, including this yummy, creamy fish pie with sweet potato mash, plus a delicious crispy Baja fish taco recipe coming on Saturday.
I’m so ready for Easter! The clocks have gone back and there are new shoots and beautiful trees full of blossom everywhere you look (and obviously there’s the whole chocolate egg thing to consider). There’s something about this time of year that just brings the kid out in all of us, isn’t there? Daffodils, the smell of the mown grass, Easter egg hunts and hot cross buns – it’s one of my favourite times of year and reminds me so much of my childhood. This Easter, Sainsbury’s is celebrating never growing up, so it’s a happy coincidence that one of my favourite sharing dishes is a twist on another childhood favourite: fish fingers, chips and peas. These delicious salmon fish fingers are a great recipe for feeding a crowd, as you can just double, or even triple the recipe, and it’s also a really great way to encourage the kids to eat a bit more fish too. I’ve swapped the usual potatoes for sweet potatoes, and created a delicious, fresh mint, pea and yoghurt dip for dunking too.
I was sent this recipe recently by Bacofoil, who have teamed up with Dean Edwards to create a series of really nice, easy family recipes. And although I don’t generally share things like this, I actually think this is a really great dish. It’s super healthy, nice and easy to do and I love the idea of mixing the sweet and spicy flavours together with something like couscous that can be a bit bland if you’re not careful.
So summer is finally creeping up on us (I definitely saw the sun at least twice last week), and, with some fabulous fresh veg popping up in our local farm shop (I can’t resist a glossy aubergine), I felt it was time to dust off one of my favourite summer essentials: the barbecue skewer. It’s handy to have meat in the freezer (I often bulk buy meat online from Farmer’s Choice – the selection is incredible and the packs are very good value) that way, you can take it out to defrost if you wake up and it’s a sunny morning.
I favour the evil, pointy metal variety, especially when cooking meat as they do ensure that the meat is cooked through the middle – something always worth paying attention to when barbecuing. This barbecue sauce recipe is an old favourite and very easy to make. Once it’s cooked, split the quantity in half, so you can use half as a sauce at the table and half to marinade the meat as it cooks:
For the barbecue sauce/marinade:
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- About 1 tsp fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 4 tbsps runny honey
- 2 tbsps brown sugar
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsps soy sauce
- 4 tbsps tomato ketchup
- Pinch dried chilli
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
Add the oil into a saucepan, and gently fry the onion until it’s starting to go a bit translucent. Grate in the ginger (I keep my ginger in the freezer and grate it straight in), then just add in all the other ingredients. Let it simmer and thicken slightly, then reserve half for serving at the table.
For the skewers:
2 large chicken breasts
2 sweet potatoes
1 red onion
I find it’s best to give the sweet potatoes a quick blanch first, otherwise you can find that they’re a bit hard to thread onto a skewer without breaking.
Cut the rest of the ingredients into big chunks, then thread them randomly onto the skewers – pushing everything together so that everyone gets a generous portion.
Brush the skewers well with the marinade, on both sides, then place onto the barbecue or under a medium grill. Keep basting and turning until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are starting to char.
Serve with the other half of the barbecue sauce (throw the remaining marinade away) and fresh salad. Oh, and if the sun doesn’t come out? A baked potato wouldn’t go amiss.
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