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Spring 2009

The trees are getting greener by the minute and spring bulbs and blossom are brightening up the garden and hedgerows. Easter will soon be here and although chocolate generally features largely in our celebration menus, it is also good to have a couple of easy main dishes for the Easter weekend spent with family and friends. Both the recipes below are cooked in one pot and so they are quick and easy to prepare with not too much clearing up!
I hope you enjoy them. Happy Easter. E.L.



KEDGEREE (Serves 4-6)

Because the fish is cut into slices and cooked in the rice, all the fantastic fish flavours will be absorbed into it. As smoked fish can sometimes be quite salty, be careful that the stock you use is not overly seasoned.

250g / 8oz lightly smoked salmon fillets, skinned and de-boned
250g / 8oz undyed smoked haddock fillets, skinned and de-boned
125g / 4oz frozen prawns, defrosted
50g / 2oz butter
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
4 white cap mushrooms, sliced
300ml / ½ pint basmati rice
600ml / 1 pint hot vegetable stock
black pepper
1 bay leaf
125g / 4oz frozen peas
4-6 hard boiled eggs, shelled and quartered
Wedges of lemon and crème fraîche, to serve


Preheat the oven to 200ºC / Gas 6. Cut the fish into 1cm / thick slices and set aside with the prawns. Melt the butter in a large skillet or flameproof casserole and gently fry the onions until soft but not brown. Add the mushrooms and fry gently for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat in the butter. Fry for a minute or two then add the hot stock. Season with pepper and the bay leaves, then cover and put in the oven for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and gently mix in the peas. Place the fish pieces and prawns on top of the rice and cover the pan. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked. Arrange the quartered hard-boiled eggs on top of the kedgeree and serve immediately with wedges of lemon and a pot of half fat creme fraîche. Serve with crème fraîche.

Steamed green vegetables or a crisp salad would go well with both these recipes.


SPRING LAMB WITH FRAGRANT HERBS (Serves 6)

This amazing combination of herbs and fragrant flowers will give the lamb an aromatic and deliciously delicate flavour. What's more, the cooking juices make a ready made gravy ~ so no last-minute hassles!

1.5kg / 3lb shoulder or leg of lamb
A small bunch of each of three herbs, sage, rosemary and thyme
A good handful of dried camomile flowers *
1 tblsp runny honey
juice of a lemon
150ml / ¼ pint water
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 200º C / Gas 6. In a covered roasting pan or heavy casserole pot, use half the herbs and camomile to make a bed for the lamb to sit on. Settle the lamb on top of the herbs then sprinkle the remainder of herbs and flowers over and around the lamb. Drizzle the honey and lemon juice over the meat and pour the water around the sides. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook in a hot oven for approximately 50 - 60 minutes (depending on how 'well done' you like your meat). Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Strain the juices, check the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper and lemon juice if needed. Then pour into a warmed serving jug.

* You can get dried camomile flowers at health food shops. Alternatively, snip open 3-4 camomile tea bags and sprinkle them over and around the lamb.

Try serving with roasted new potatoes. Clean about 1kg / 1 lb new potatoes or salad potatoes. Halve any large potatoes so that they are all roughly the same size. Toss in a tablespoon or two of olive or vegetable oil. Season with salt and roast in a hot oven for 40-50 minutes.