New things for new people: Clair (September)

This is my guest blogger Clair’s third month of trying a new recipe each week. I’ll let her off week 2 as the salads are so pretty. One of my new things this month will definitely be to cook one of the recipes she has tried myself, instead of just drooling over the pictures.


Peppered salmon with sautéed potatoes

This is a Cornish Sea Salt recipe. I came across it through last month’s blog post – they’re not sponsoring me, honestly! It’s just that their sea salt and luxury pepper is such a lovely product.

What’s new?

Seasoning the salmon with this particular salt and pepper, and sautéing the potatoes in this way. It sounded tasty and something that I could pair with my husband’s steak.

How did it turn out?

I was very impressed! The seasoning was very tasty with a bit of a kick, and of course quite salty. The recipe said to sprinkle it liberally and that’s what I did. If you want it less salty just use less.

The lemon and thyme worked well.

Sautéing the potatoes was a new method to me, and I didn’t quite know how long they would take to cook. I don’t think I initially had the heat on high enough for a while, and it took about 30 minutes in the end.

Next time I might put some rosemary in for a bit more flavour but they were golden brown on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, as the recipe said.

A very tasty and fairly quick midweek meal. I didn’t serve it with aioli though, maybe I’ll make that one day.20160907_200149


I was on holiday in Spain so no new recipe this week but I did try some new things; local specialities such as white asparagus, aubergine strips fried with sugarcane, and fortified Malaga wine!

I always find that salads in warmer countries are much more interesting than ours, simply because the vegetables and salad leaves are more tasty having been grown in all that warmth and sunshine. I tried two new salads: one in Cordoba and one in Malaga.

The Cordoba one consisted of local sliced sheep’s cheese, crunchy green salad leaves, tomato hearts, cress, and strawberries. Yes, strawberries! It was delicious. The tomato hearts added a bit of sharpness in contrast to the cheese and strawberries. I would never have thought of this combination.20160910_131514

The Malaga one consisted of a local goat’s cheese served with caramelised walnuts, sliced apple, green salad including spiralized carrot and courgette, and cress and tomato, sprinkled with sunflower seeds. Also delicious!20160913_135153

I will try harder to make my own salads like this in future, if I can find tasty enough ingredients.


Marmalade loaf cake

It was my birthday this week and tradition at work means that we bring in some cake for everybody to share, that you’ve either made yourself or bought. I usually try to bake something. I made double the recipe for two loaves.

What’s new?

I absolutely adore marmalade but have never baked with it before.20160921_190542_kindlephoto-2989508

How did it turn out?

It was lovely, everybody said so!

While I was making it and while it was cooking it smelt absolutely amazing. Mainly because of all the orange and orange zest.

I tasted the batter on the spoon after I’d filled the tins with it. I was a bit worried I could taste a lot of bran and that I hadn’t mixed it in well enough (the method tells you to sift the wholemeal flour and then put the sifted bran back into the flour and then put the the flour into the mix) but it was fine.20160921_200044

I was lovely and moist and crumbly, but not too crumbly. The icing sugar on top was just enough; I think glazing the top with melted marmalade would have been gilding the lily.

In summary, it was definitely ‘marmalady’, so if you don’t like marmalade then maybe this recipe isn’t for you!20160921_220333


Donal Skehan’s prosciutto-wrapped cheesy chicken with wild mushroom sauce

I just came across this recipe and thought it sounded tasty. I have made something similar, stuffing the chicken breast with mozzarella and pesto, and wrapped in prosciutto but this was a little more sophisticated. I halved the ingredients as there were only two of us.

What’s new

I’ve never used frozen spinach before. And I’ve never stuffed chicken breasts with that or Gruyere cheese.

How did it turn out?

The timing was difficult with this one, as I was also trying to cook roast potatoes and vegetables to go with it. I had underestimated how long it would take to defrost the spinach, and after 20 minutes it still hadn’t thawed. My husband advised me microwave it, so I did, and a couple of minutes later I had thawed spinach. I guess in some recipes you could use it from frozen? I like the way that the spinach has already been chopped and is frozen in about 50g blocks; it’s more cost-effective than buying fresh spinach, if you don’t need a lot for a recipe. It will also keep for ages and is easy to prepare when you need it.

We (this was a bit of a joint effort!) were worried that the chicken would take longer than 10 minutes to cook in the oven having fried it in the pan, but it actually did cook in about 15 minutes and was nice and moist because it was wrapped in the prosciutto.

The prosciutto was quite salty and overpowered the cheese and spinach flavour slightly for me. But on its own the chicken was really tasty.20160925_191453_kindlephoto-3299868

The mushroom sauce was quite rich and worked even though I forgot to actually fry the fresh mushrooms with the onions – I had to hastily add them to the sauce and they did cook quite quickly. This is why timing is important! I always get frustrated with the bakers constantly running out of time on the Great British Bake Off but it’s because you’re usually trying to do lots at once and you read the recipe again and again but sometimes it doesn’t sink in and you miss a step.

Overall, a very savoury and satisfying dish!20160925_191528


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