Archive for the ‘Dressings’ Category

Serves 2

For the sauce:
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
50g anchovies, drained
175g pitted black olives, chopped
1 fresh red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
1 heaped TBS capers, drained
450g tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 rounded TBS tomato puree
1 dessertspoon fresh basil, chopped
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garnish:
Fresh basil, chopped
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


To make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan, then add the garlic, chilli and basil and cook these briefly until the garlic is pale gold.  Then add all the other sauce ingredients, stir and season with a little pepper – but no salt yet because of the anchovies.
Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer very gently without a lid for 40 minutes, by which time it will have reduced to a lovely thick mass, with very little liquid left.  Toss in the basil (set aside for the garnish) and serve over a large green salad with freshly grated parmesan on the top.


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Mexican tomato salsa

Serves 4

4 large firm tomatoes
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 heaped TBS fresh coriander, chopped
1 fresh green chilli (the fat squat variety that isn’t too fiery)
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place the tomatoes in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 1 minute.  Transfer the tomatoes to another bowl of cold water for 1 minute.  Drain them and slip off their skins.  Now, cut each tomato in half, and holding the cut side down, squeeze gently until the seeds come out.
Using a sharp knife, chop the tomatoes into approximately 5mm dice, straight into a serving bowl.  Next, de-stalk the chilli, cut it in half, remove the seeds and chop the flesh very finely before adding it to the tomatoes.  Add the chopped onion, coriander and lime juice, and season with salt and pepper.  Give everything a thorough mixing, then cover and leave on one side for about an hour before serving.

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Thai red curry paste

Makes 8 TBS (1/2 pint / 275ml)


4 stems lemongrass, trimmed and chopped
4 medium red chillies
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
4 shallots
6 cloves garlic
4 level tsp coriander seeds
2 level tsp cumin seeds
Grated zest and juice of 2 limes
2 dessertspoons hot paprika


Begin by splitting the chillies in half and removing/discarding the seeds. Wash your hands, then take a small frying pan and pre-heat it over a medium heat.  Add the coriander and cumin seeds and toss them around in the dry pan to roast them/draw out their flavours.  After about 5 minutes, tip the seeds into a mortar and crush them finely to a powder.  Place the chillies, spices and all the other ingredients into a food processor and whizz them to a coarse paste.  This is then ready to use.

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Avocado salsa

Serves 4

1 ripe but firm avocado
2 large firm tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
1 rounded TBS fresh coriander, chopped
2 TBS fresh lime juice
A few drops of tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


To skin the tomatoes, put them in a bowl and cover them with boiling water.  Leave for 1 minute, then transfer them to a bowl of cold water.  Leave for another minute, then slip the skins off.  Cut each tomato in half and, holding each half over a saucer (cut side down), squeeze gently to extract the seeds.  Chop the tomato flesh as finely as possible.  Next, halve the avocado, remove the stone, cut each half into quarters and peel off the skin.  Chop the avocado into minutely small dice, and do the same with the onion.  Finally, combine everything together in a bowl, adding the seasoning, lime juice, coriander and tabasco.  Cover with clingfilm and leave on one side for an hour before serving to allow the flavours to develop.  Serve this salsa with either grilled or baked salmon.


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Makes enough for a salad for 6 people.


1 TBS balsamic vinegar
4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 fat clove garlic
1 rounded tsp mustard powder
1 level tsp Maldon salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Crush the garlic and salt together in a mortar and pestle.  Add the mustard and several good grinds of pepper, and work these into the garlic.  Then, mix in the vinegar, followed by the oil, and when everything is amalgamated, pour the whole lot into a small screw-top jar until you are ready to serve the salad (give the jar a good shake before using).

Don’t make the vinaigrette too far in advance – it’s best made an hour or so before you need it.

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Garlic sauce

This can be eaten with hot or cold meat.  The sherry vinegar is available from Waitrose.

Serves 6


2 whole heads garlic

2 TBS El Majuelo sherry vinegar

Handful curly parsley leaves

1-2 TBS lemon juice

25ml extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 150C/gas mark 2.  Roast the garlic heads for an hour until soft.  Remove, and once cold, cut in half, squeeze out the cloves and place in a food processor.  Add the vinegar, parsley and 1 TBS lemon juice.  Puree, then slowly add the olive oil so it forms a thick emulsion.  Season, add extra lemon juice if necessary, then cover and chill.  Serve at room temperature.

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Lemon vinaigrette

2 TBS lemon juice

8 TBS extra virgin olive oil

3 TBS fresh mint, chopped

4 TBS fresh flat-leafed parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper

Put the lemon juice into a bowl and season to taste.  Gradually whisk in the olive oil, then stir in the mint and parsley.  Store, covered, in the fridge for up to a week; whisk briefly before using.

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