Whether you’re a dab hand in the kitchen who’s looking to sharpen their skills or a dilettante eyeing up some failsafe dining ideas, our recipe writers have you covered for culinary inspiration. This month’s tried and trusted recipes range from a soulful stew and Asian-inspired comfort food to blueberry scones (slathered in butter) and a sweet tart from Ticino. The only thing left to decide is who’s coming to dinner, or whether you’d like to keep these dishes to yourself.
This warming stew works with any white fish – haddock or hake are particularly good. Ask the fishmonger to remove the skin. The mixture of chorizo and paprika gives the dish a piquant dash and the sauce is delicious mopped up with crusty bread. For the chickpeas, try to find the jarred variety, which tend to be of better quality than tinned.
4 tbsps olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g chorizo, casing removed, cut in half lengthways, then sliced
2 tsps sweet smoked paprika
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
150ml white wine
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
400g cooked chickpeas, drained
2 3 200g cod fillets, skin removed, chopped
Small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes until the onion becomes transparent.
- Add the chorizo and fry until the chorizo releases its oil, about 5 minutes. Add the smoked paprika and fry for 1 minute.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, then pour the white wine into the empty tomato tin, stir it to collect all the remaining tomato and add to the pan. Add the tomato purée, sherry vinegar, sugar and salt and simmer for 15 minutes, until thickened.
- Add the chickpeas and cod fillets, cover with a lid and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. The fish is ready when it flakes easily when you press it lightly with your finger.
- Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with warm crusty bread.
1½ tbsps sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10g fresh ginger, finely grated
250g pork mince
2 tbsps saké
3 tbsps mirin
1½ tsps soy sauce
4 tbsps red miso paste
2 tsps runny honey
200g dried udon noodles (or 2 portions of fresh udon noodles)
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
⅓ cucumber (100g) cut into thin batons
2 fresh organic eggs, yolks only
2 tsps sesame seeds, toasted
- Put a frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil, garlic and ginger. Fry until they release their aromas then add the pork mince, breaking up the larger lumps with a spoon. After 1-2 minutes, add the saké, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the mince browns slightly.
- Put the mirin, soy sauce, miso and honey in a small bowl and mix until it becomes a smooth paste. Add the paste to the pork and cook for a few minutes until it thickens and becomes glossy.
- Bring 1½ litres of water to a boil in a large pot and add the udon noodles. Follow the packet instructions for cooking time.
- Drain the noodles and rinse under cold running water. Leave them in the sieve to allow the water to drain off.
- Divide the udon between two bowls, spoon the miso pork on and make a small dent in the middle of each portion. Slide an egg yolk into each dent. Arrange the cucumber and sprinkle with spring onion and sesame seeds.
1 small whole chicken (about 1.1kg)
100ml olive oil (plus extra for coating)
1 birds-eye chilli, stalk removed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp lemon juice or red wine vinegar
1 tsp chilli flakes
- Take the chicken out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you are ready to grill. Turn the chicken over. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut down both sides of the backbone and remove (keep it for chicken stock). Flip it over and use the heel of your hand to press down the breastbone to flatten the chicken.
- Put the chilli, garlic, lemon juice or vinegar, salt (to taste) and 75ml of the oil in a blender and blitz until smooth.
- Add the rest of the oil and chilli flakes to a small pan, put over a very low heat and warm until the oil just starts to simmer. Turn off the heat and leave to allow the chilli flakes to infuse the oil. When it has cooled, add the blended garlic-chilli mixture to the oil.
- Preheat the grill to a high heat (220c). Put a piece of foil on a baking tray and add the spatchcocked chicken, skin-side up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Put it under the grill and cook for 10 minutes, then turn it over and grill for another 15 minutes. Turn the chicken over again and brush the skin with the chilli oil. Turn the grill up to its highest setting and grill for 5 to 10 minutes to char the skin. Keep an eye on it to avoid it burning.
- Remove from the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes. Drizzle the chicken with extra piri-piri sauce as you eat it.
Enjoy these scones warm, slathered in butter, or add thick cream and jam.
100g unsalted butter, cold
300g plain flour
1½ tsps baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp fine sea salt
180g full fat natural yoghurt
50g runny honey
2 tbsps milk (optional)
- Preheat oven to 220c (200c fan). Cut the butter into 1cm small cubes and keep in the fridge while you weigh out the rest of the ingredients.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the cold butter and rub into the flour until fine crumbs are formed. You could also use a food processor to do this by pulsing the ingredients together until you get the desired texture.
- Make a dent in the middle of the mixture. In a separate bowl, mix the yoghurt and honey together, then pour into the dent. Quickly incorporate the two mixtures with a spoon. When it comes together, tip out onto a lightly floured kitchen surface and knead lightly for 1-2 minutes.
- Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle. Gently work a third of the blueberries into the dough then fold the dough in half. Repeat this process twice.
- Roll the dough into a roughly 15cm 3 20cm rectangle about 3cm deep. Cut it in half lengthways, then cut each half into 4. You should now have 8 rectangular scones. Brush the tops with milk if you like – it will help give the scones colour.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes (keep an eye on the scones, allowing them to brown a little). Remove from the oven and serve warm with cool butter.
You will need a springform tin with a diameter of about 22cm. This cake tastes best if you let it rest for a day to moisten.
250g day-old bread
100g amaretti biscuits
1 vanilla pod
Oil and flour for the pan
75g cocoa powder
100g light raisins
100g candied orange peel
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground cloves
1tsp ground nutmeg
100g pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 180c.
- Chop the bread into 1cm cubes, crumble the amaretti and combine in a large bowl with a pinch of salt. Slice the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Warm the seeds and the pod in the milk.
- Pour the milk over the bread mix and leave to soften for 5 minutes. Remove the pod and discard.
- Cover the bottom of the tin with baking paper. Brush the paper and sides of the pan with oil and dust with flour. Melt the butter and leave to cool.
- Mash with a fork and mix in the sugar, cocoa, raisins, candied peel, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and half the pine nuts.
- Blend the butter with the eggs and grappa. Mix into the bread mixture.
- Pour the dough into the tin. Sprinkle remaining pine nuts on top. Bake in centre of oven for about an hour. It’s done when a skewer comes out clean.