Asparagus, feta and mint frittata

This time of year brings the end of the asparagus season so cue me raiding the shops and markets for what’s left in an attempt to hold onto this glorious British grown vegetable. Green, white and purple- you can’t beat asparagus in all its splendour and each with different flavour profiles so you can choose your favourite.

Frittata is perfect for a light summer lunch or dinner. I have chosen to add Jersey Royal potatoes as well to add another flavour and texture so all you need to do is serve the frittata with a salad and away you go! The frittata is also brilliant the next day when chilled overnight and then served at room temperature which makes it perfect for a make ahead picnic idea.

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Ingredients- serves 4
300g new potatoes
Glug of olive oil
1 banana shallot- finely sliced
6 large eggs- lightly beaten and seasoned
200g asparagus
100g feta
Handful of fresh mint- finely chopped

1. Boil a kettle of water and simmer the new potatoes for a few minutes until just tender. Drain and set aside, allowing them to cool until you can handle them. Slice them into thin rounds and place in a large bowl.

2. In a frying pan that is going to be large enough to hold the eggs, potatoes and asparagus, add a glug of oil and gently fry the shallot until softened. Depending on the size of the asparagus you have, cut them into chunks and if they are particularly thick then you can also cut these lengthways. If the asparagus is a little more woody (as it can be at the end of the season) you may like to blanch it for a minute or so before using it.

3. To the bowl with the potatoes, add the beaten eggs, asparagus and most of the feta along with the mint. Gently mix to combine and add into the pan with the shallot. Sprinkle the frittata with the remaining feta. Increase the heat to medium and cook until set. Towards the end of cooking, fire up your grill and pop the pan underneath to melt the feta until golden. Serve with a salad.

Asparagus, feta and mint frittata- a frittata fit for picnics across the land this summer!

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Rib eye with punchy chimichurri and roasted vegetables

Think of beef and you think of Argentina- the spiritual home of all things meaty! Chimichurri is a classic accompaniment to a good steak. Its fresh and punchy flavours bring out the best of a rib eye so read on and get cooking. I bought smoked sea salt from the lovely people at www.thespiceshop.co.uk.

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Ingredients- serves 4
For the chimichurri
Small bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley
2 garlic cloves
1 shallot
1 tsp fresh red chilli
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp red wine vinegar

For the vegetables
400g new potatoes
Smoked sea salt (or regular)
2 bell peppers- red and yellow work well
1 courgette
2 red onions
2 tsp oregano- dried or fresh
Olive oil
Few garlic cloves- unpeeled

4 rib eye steaks

1. You can start in advance by prepping the chimichurri. Simply roughly chop the ingredients and add to the wet ingredients and give a quick blitz in a food processor. You are after a saucy consistency. Alternatively finely chop the ingredients and give it all a good bashing in a mortar and pestle! Cover and set aside until you need it.

2. For the vegetables, cut the peppers and courgettes into chunks and the red onions into wedges and toss with a good drizzle of oil. I nestle a few whole garlic cloves in amongst the vegetables before seasoning well, popping the oregano in and off you go! Roast in a preheated oven for around 20 minutes at 180c/ 160fan until tender.

3. I like to serve this with simply roasted new potatoes. Start by parboiling the potatoes for a few minutes before draining well. Pop them in a baking tray with another good glug of oil and sprinkle over some smoked salt. I love the edge that this salt gives and it goes with the steak perfectly. Roast in the oven next to the vegetables for around 30 minutes until golden.

4. When the potatoes have around ten minutes left, prepare the steak. I like a beautiful rib eye but anything robust works well here- maybe save the fillet for another day though… Season the meat well and rub a little oil over it before cooking in a hot pan/ griddle. For an average rib eye I like to give it two minutes on each side for a rare finish but cook according to your preference so long as it’s not well done! There is more flavour from boot leather!

5. Rest the rib eye whilst you take the roasted vegetables and potatoes from the oven. Either divide the veggies between four plates or serve on a large platter with slices of the steak over the top and finished with a drizzle of the chimichurri so everyone can help themselves.

Rib eye, roasted vegetables and smoked salt potatoes with a classic chimichurri- you’ll love it!

Sea bream with griddled baby leeks and beurre noisette

Sweet, delicate sea bream paired with fresh baby leeks is a perfect match for these seasonal delights. Sea bream can often be overlooked so give it a chance and give this speedy recipe a go.

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Ingredients- serves 2
2 sea bream fillets- skin on
100g butter
1 tbsp non-pareille capers
Lemon
1/2 tbsp flat leaf parsley- chopped
Small pack of baby leeks- washed

1. Start off by preheating the oven to 180c/ 160 fan, boiling a medium pan of water and heating a griddle to a medium/ high heat. Take a large non- stick frying pan which can fit both bream fillets easily- don’t crowd them! Heat half of the butter over a medium/ high heat and when melted, add the fillets skin side down and cook for 2 minutes. I season the skin before adding to the pan and aim to get the skin beautifully crisp and golden. The butter will foam which makes it nice and easy to then baste the fillets. When the fillets are ready, pop in the remaining butter, capers and a good squeeze of lemon juice before basting once more and putting in the oven for an additional 2 minutes. When the fish is ready it will look translucent so don’t overdo it. There’s nothing worse!

2. For the baby leeks all you need to do is make sure they are well washed to remove any grit that may be lurking and then simmering in a pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until they become tender. Remove the leeks carefully and finish off in the griddle pan until slightly charred.

3. When everything is ready to go, arrange the leeks on the plate and lay the bream on top. Add the parsley to the butter sauce before pouring over the fish and leeks and you are good to go! I served this with steamed new potatoes which are also bang in season.

Sea bream with baby leeks- a celebration of spring ingredients!

Spanish style marinaded quail with morcilla and pepper potatoes

A wonderous thing happened a few weeks ago when walking around Borough Market. We stumbled across a Spanish produce stall and morcilla jumped into my hands and propelled me towards the counter to seal the deal and I’m glad it did! Morcilla is a Spanish blood sausage which is perfect crumbled through dishes so this is when this recipe was born. I allowed two quail per person for a main meal but this recipe is easy to double as needed. I also served this with a dressed green bean side dish which is well worth a try so read on for the recipes for the quail, potatoes and beans!

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Ingredients- serves 2
For the quail
4 prepared quail
60ml sherry wine vinegar
40ml olive oil
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp runny honey
Salt and pepper

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For the potatoes
Glug of olive oil
250g new potatoes
1 large roasted red pepper- sliced
Handful of crumbled morcilla
Roughly chopped flatleaf parsley

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For the green beans
100g green beans- trimmed and cut in half
Glug of oil
1 garlic clove – finely sliced
1 shallot- finely sliced

1. Get started by making the marinade for the quail by combining the sherry wine vinegar, oil, paprika, oregano, honey and seasoning. Cover and set aside for at least an hour but longer if you have a bit more time.

2. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan when you are ready to get going, pop the quails in a roast dish and cook for around half an hour until cooked through and the juices run clear. During cooking I basted the quail in the excess marinade to keep them moist. I also covered them with foil for the first half of the cooking time before removing for the last part.

3. While the quail is roasting you can start the potatoes. Par boil the potatoes for a few minutes before removing and halving. If you halve them before cooking they can get a little soggy so this way round is better. Drain well and set aside as you heat a glug of oil in a frying pan. Pop the potatoes in the pan over a medium heat for 10 minutes until they are starting to become a little more tender and turning a light golden colour. Add in the pepper slices and crumble in the morcilla and cook for another few minutes. Sprinkle over the parsley when ready.

4. At this stage you can think about boiling a separate small pan for the green beans- multi-tasking at its best! The beans need to be boiled for 5 minutes and then removed with a slotted spoon before refreshing in a bowl of cold water. Reserve 100ml of the cooking water. Using the same pan, heat a small amount of oil and cook off the garlic and shallot for a minute or two before adding the reserved water and beans back into the pan. Pop the lid on the pan and cook for an additional few minutes until the beans are tender and the water has reduced. The water, garlic and shallot creates its own little kind of dressing.

Serve the quail, morcilla potatoes and green beans in warmed dishes so everyone can help themselves.

Spanish style quail with morcilla potatoes and dressed green beans- a perfect way to try morcilla!