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Spring 2011

Spring again, and though we are seeing a few valiant rays of sunshine the weather is still unpredictable. This lamb goulash is warming enough for a chilly evening or light enough for a sunny lunch. Chocolate brownies and this 'grown-up' orange jelly are good whatever the weather. Happy Easter! E.L.



JERSEY ROYAL SALAD WITH EGGS & CHIVES (Serves 6)

1kg / 2lbs Jersey Royals or any new potatoes
4 tblsps mayonnaise
3 eggs, hard boiled, shelled and quartered
2 tblsps chopped chives
For the dressing:
2 shallots or 1 small onion, peeled & finely chopped
2 tblsps lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
4 tblsps light olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and black pepper


Scrub the new potatoes then halve or quarter any larger potatoes so that they are roughly the same size as the smallest ones. Boil or steam them for about 15-20 minutes or until they are just cooked.
Meanwhile, whisk together all the dressing ingredients and set aside. Drain the cooked potatoes, place them in a serving bowl and while they are still hot, pour over the dressing. Leave them to sit until they are cool.
Add the mayonnaise, eggs and chives and gently stir through the potatoes before serving.

ASPARAGUS WITH FRIED EGGS & PARMESAN (Serves 6)

18 - 24 stems asparagus
2 tblsps olive oil
2 knobs butter
6 hen eggs or 12 quail eggs
extra butter, melted or olive oil for drizzling
a piece of parmesan for shaving
sea salt and black pepper


Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and discard. Steam the asparagus over boiling water or arrange them upright in a deep saucepan filled with a few inches of boiling water. Cover and cook for no more than 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter and fry the eggs until the white is just set. Serve 3-4 stems of asparagus per person, top with an egg (two if using quail eggs), a drizzle of melted butter or oil together with a few shavings of parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and eat immediately!


BRIOCHE BREAD & BUTTER PUDDING WITH RHUBARB COMPOTE (Serves 6)

Most supermarkets sell butter brioche loaves which are perfect for this recipe. Now is the time to buy 'forced' rhubarb which will make a beautiful pink compote to serve with the brioche bread and butter pudding. The main crop rhubarb isn't quite so pretty when cooked but just as tasty.

8 thick slices from a brioche loaf
2 eggs
3 tblsps caster sugar
600ml / 1 pint milk
grated rind of one orange
For the rhubarb compote:
a few strips of orange peel
1kg / 2 lbs rhubarb, trimmed
100g / 4oz sugar
Single cream, to serve


Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas 4. Cut the rhubarb into 3cm / 1½ inch lengths.

Place in an oven-proof dish with the orange peel and the sugar. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until soft and cooked.

For the brioche bread and butter pudding:

Butter a 900ml / 1½ pint oven-proof dish. Cut the brioche slices into quarters. Beat the eggs lightly with 2 tblsps of the sugar and all the milk. Stir in the orange zest.

Line the base of the dish with overlapping slices of brioche, pour over half the egg and milk mixture then repeat, using up all the brioche slices and pouring over the remaining milk and egg mixture. Sprinkle with the rest of the caster sugar and bake for about 30 minutes.

Serve hot or just warm with the rhubarb and some single cream, if liked.