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Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad

Lots of crunchy fresh vegetables, juicy shredded chicken and rice noodles tossed together with a lime and chilli dressing make a megahealthy, refreshing lunch. The tangy dressing is fat-free and the veggies certainly give you a generous boost towards your five-a-day. Pack up the salad in a box and tuck into it with chopsticks if you want to be really authentic (or use pencils if you’re eating at your desk!).

serves two

takes about 20 to 25 minutes to make

for the salad

500ml water or chicken stock

2 skinless chicken breasts

125g thin rice noodles

1?4 Chinese leaf/cabbage, finely shredded

1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1?4 cucumber, cut into matchsticks

4 spring onions, sliced into thin strips

a small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

a small handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

50–100g roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped

for the dressing

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 long red chilli (about the size

of your index finger),

deseeded and finely sliced

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Chicken & Apricot Tagine

In Morocco, they do a lot of belly-dancing. After you’ve tasted this little number, you’ll understand why – it’s delicious.

Serves 12

About 25 minutes to prepare and 2½ hours cooking

approx. 2kg skinless and boneless chicken, made up of a combination of thigh and breast

4 onions, chopped

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

100g fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

4 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 large pinches of saffron

2 tablespoons harissa paste

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 litres chicken stock

700g dried apricots

8 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

200g pitted green olives, halved

200g shelled unsalted pistachio nuts

2 bunches of coriander, chopped Read more

Chickpea Fritters & Minted Yoghurt Dressing

Chickpeas are a fantastic, versatile ingredient, full of protein, and are apparently one of the earliest cultivated vegetables – 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East. To make this dish delicious, however, I suggest you use some that are not as old as that.

Serves 6

20 minutes

for the dip

150ml natural yoghurt

1 bunch of mint, roughly chopped

sea salt

for the fritters

400g tin of chickpeas, drained

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 clove of garlic

1 green chilli, roughly chopped

1 egg

75g plain flour

¼ teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

about 1 litre sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying Read more

Pork, Stilton & Port Pies

I know you boys like your pies. These are full of flavour and can easily be made ahead and kept in the fridge, so no last-minute chaos in the kitchen.

Recipe taken from In the Mood for Entertaining, Boy’s night in.

Serves 4

1 hour, plus up to 2 hours marinating

500g pork fillet

2–3 sprigs of  thyme

150ml white port (dry sherry could be used as an alternative)

2 cloves of  garlic, crushed

40g dried cranberries

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

100ml double cream

200ml chicken stock

100g Stilton cheese

500g puff pastry

egg wash, made with 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon milk Read more

Very Indulgent Cupcakes

These are the ultimate girls’ night in treat, but, it has to be said, they are equally delicious to enjoy over morning coffee, afternoon tea, at a celebration or even as an alternative to dessert. In fact, it’s hard to think of a time when they aren’t suitable.

Recipe taken from In the Mood for Entertaining, Girl’s night In.

Makes 12

1 hour 20 minutes

for vanilla cupcakes

175g caster sugar

175g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

175g self-raising flour

for vanilla icing

200g unsalted butter, at room temperature

400g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract Read more

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